"I just wanna be painting and making music till I'm dead," Pecks says, stoked, as he walks away from the tagged canvas that had been replastered many times over. A summer breeze swirls through the Anaheim alley where the 19-year-old and his OG homie Kenos are making calculated strokes. A light, pink dust drifts through the 80-degree air, producing a synthetic odor that hits your nose every few moments.
But the board would undergo yet another revamping on this Tuesday. Before pulling out the wooden canvas from the garage (he calls it a "G") of another of his homies and putting his "baby Rustos" (cans of Rustoleum-brand spray paint) to work, Pecks and Kenos stroll to Remy's Liquor for a few 32-ounce Miller High Lifes and a pair of Swishers in a slim foil pack. Pecks has recently become weary of frequently tagging in public. "I be gettin' up, but I don't wanna mess up what I got going right now," he says wearily.
Until about three months ago, the Cypress native took a hiatus because of issues he refers to as "mental," pointing to the fitted Yankee cap he's been fond of since his Little League days. He's been on a high as of late, happily indulging in a little bit of graffiti as well as emceeing. But just two years ago, he began his first stint at a youth facility. He has served three jail stints, equaling 10 months, and Pecks has been working every day to mature from an angsty, dumb young'un to one who can channel that spunk associated with teenageers into songs speaking of the high-risk experience of his upbringing. "I was 17, fresh out, I just had that drive and shit," he says with a childish jitter.
As his peers have often succumbed to a life of addiction and lethargy, he realizes he needs to seize the opportunities before him. In the same alley he shot the semi-autobiographical video for his song "Fuck It," Pecks has a creative hub that permits him to indulge in his favorite activities and avoid the type of riffraff who once sliced his face with a box cutter. Since May, he has preceded hip-hop's biggest acts on stages throughout the OC; his most recent set, a slot just before headliner A$AP Ferg at the Yost Theater, was his all-time best, he says, a wide, childish grin spreading across his face as he recounts that night.
On July 15, Pecks releasedA City Kid
, a 12-track LP with major contributions from his peer, Eric Martinez, who acted as sound engineer and producer--as well as a harmless rival pushing the budding MC to improve.
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features a wider array of producers than his previous release, Above Common Knowledge, but like that album, the new release offers revving wordplay and entendres Pecks can take deep into a verse.
Upon day's end, Pecks has completed his best piece ever, symbolizing the improvements begotten by his rapping. "Music saved my life," he says. "I haven't been to jail since I been back on my shit."