Pittsburgh rapper Beedie has the artistic pedigree — but the road to success for the young MC hasn't been an easy one. Still, maybe being born into a line of musicians and actors suggests a little bit of destiny at work as the 24-year-old is poised for next-level success.
Born in New York City, Beedie (real name: Brian Green) spent time living in Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma, as his father's career as a sports announcer required the family to move around a bit. In 2001, Beedie and his younger brother moved with their mother to Pittsburgh, a city where his mother and grandparents had quite a history.
Beedie's mother, Marina Posvar, is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon's School of Art; she acted in commercials and television, including a role in the NBC soap Days of Our Lives. His grandfather, Wesley Posvar, served as the Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh from 1967 to 1991. Grandmother Mildred Miller was a famous opera singer in the mid-20th century. After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1946, she landed leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera from the '50s through the '70s. She founded Opera Theater of Pittsburgh in 1978.
Beedie began experimenting with his art-form of choice at a young age.
"I wrote some rhymes when I was 12, and then again when I was 15 and 16," he says. "But when I turned 18, I actually got kicked out of my parents' house."
He's critical of some of the decisions he made during his teenage years, such as dropping out of high school.
"There was a period where I was making some negative choices in my life," Beedie explains of his absence during what would have been his senior year at Taylor Allderdice High School.
Out of school and kicked out of his parents' house, Beedie stayed with a friend and took courses at CCAC to obtain his GED. The experience strengthened his thoughts about a career in music.
"That was really a transition period for me, 'cause that's when I really started taking music seriously," he says.
At 19, Beedie teamed up with then-15-year-old Mac Miller, forming the rap duo The Ill Spoken. (Back then, Miller was still known as EZ Mac.) The two aspiring rappers' mothers had attended middle school together, and their partnership stemmed from Miller's friendship with Beedie's younger brother. The Ill Spoken released their How High mixtape in 2008, and performed at hip-hop shows around the city.
The two MC's have since each pursued solo careers. Miller signed to Rostrum Records in 2010, had a No. 1-selling debut album in 2011, and has travelled the world on tour. Beedie's continued to build his buzz from his home base in Pittsburgh, releasing several solo projects and joining up with another Pittsburgh MC, Jon Quest, to form Varsity Squad.
But Beedie and Miller have remained friends, as Beedie reveals that the duo recently teamed up for a soon-to-be-released single.
"[The song is] about Pittsburgh from 2007-2008," he says with a laugh, "when we had to sell tickets to perform at the Shadow Lounge, because we weren't cool enough to get booked yet."
By consistently releasing new music, developing his brand via social networks, and performing locally and in the Midwest and East Coast, Beedie has paved his own lane as an independent artist. Support has steadily grown among his elder hip-hop peers, first with locals like Wiz Khalifa's former manager Chad Glick, and most recently with notable national hip-hop producers Buckwild and Statik Selektah.
"I think that I kind of bring an essence of the golden era with me. That's what I grew up on, so that's where my head is," Beedie says.
"I think that sets him apart," adds DJ Vex, who is often heard scratching records on Beedie's music and backing the rapper on tour. "He tends to work with people that are way deeper in the game."
Beedie's openness to experimenting with his own sound can be tied to the influences that surrounded him during his youth.
"I was a little kid listening to classical music because that's what was on, and to this day the local radio station I listen to most is probably WQED," Beedie reveals. "I can appreciate the composition of different genres, such as different segments of the music and how it progresses."
Beedie hasn't strayed from any daring attempts at creativity that have been convincing to his ears. On his latest release, an EP called Above the Weather, Beedie inquired within Carnegie Mellon's music department for a five-piece band that extended and reworked a Pheolix Nynes-produced track, fittingly titled "Do You."
"We had an upright bass, saxophone, guitar, piano, and live drums. The band reworked the beat," Beedie says. "Halfway through it transfers from the original beat into the live band, and DJ Vex is scratching on top of it. It sounds crazy, I can't even describe it. You just have to hear it."
On future projects, Beedie's ideal collaborations would be more with producers than with other rappers.
"I'd love to do some tracks with Alchemist, and I really like Flying Lotus' production. Madlib is another guy whose production is kind of outside the box that I'd like to work with."
Currently, Beedie is just excited to be sharing Above the Weather.
"On the surface, it's just supposed to be some easy-going, positive music," he says. "Being ‘above the weather' is being above those negative things in my past."