“This is like some horror movie shit.”
Old Man Saxon is looking back on one of the scariest moments during the 13 months he was living in his 2001 Ford Explorer Sport while trying to “make it” in Los Angeles. It was the middle of the night and he was sound asleep when a loud noise jolted him awake.
“My car got broken into while I was sleeping,” he explains. “But I didn’t wake up from them actually being in the car. The door slamming is what woke me up. I see this pickup truck with its lights on behind me. I was too tired to react, so I fell right back asleep. Then I heard something hit my car. So I wake up again and it’s the same pickup truck. They drive off again. I turn on my car to get out of that area. I patted my pockets and realize my wallet was gone. So I drive back and it turns out they’d taken all the money out of my wallet but threw the wallet back, which had my I.D. in it. That’s what I heard hit my car. Really, they were the nicest, most horrible people [laughs].”
At this point, the Colorado native had been used to the routine. In many ways, his bout with homelessness was strictly by choice. Stuck in a dead-end job and working 10 hours a day for a video game company wasn’t what he wanted — so he quit. It turned out to be the best decision of his life.
“After I quit my job, I realized I was spending 10 hours straight doing something I didn’t want to do,” he says. “After I quit, I just ran out of money. I ended up getting into a fight with my roommate at the time and I didn’t really have a place to go, so I just decided to sleep in my car. That one day turned into 13 months. I could have, at any point, gone back to Denver and told someone I needed help. But I just kind of hid it and stayed in my car because I was writing a lot of good music. For some reason, that restriction of being in my car helped me write really good stuff.”
Ultimately, a producer friend offered him a place to stay, ending his temporary personal housing crisis, but the idea of “The Perils” had already been birthed. With over four million YouTube views, the song by the same name put Old Man Saxon on the hip-hop map. His brutally honest account of homelessness resonated with countless people with lines such as “6 AM wake up all alone/Like what can ya boy say?/Shit shower shave’s taking the whole day/Thinking with no pay.”
“That first verse, nothing is exaggerated,” he says. “It’s a real ass thing. It’s the most simple shit and it’s amazing that so many people were connected to it. That means I did something right. I really communicated that experience well.”
With homelessness in his rearview, Old Man Saxon was able to focus on his next adventures, which included landing a song on HBO’s Silicon Valley soundtrack (“That was a miracle,” he says), a teaching role at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood where he taught rap and a spot on the Netflix competition show Rhythm + Flow.
Even with those high profile placements, it was his inclusion on the Silicon Valley soundtrack that meant the most to him.
“It’s hard to judge what are the things that got me to the ‘next level’ ‘cause Silicon Valley was big for me, but I don’t know how big it was for my fans,” he says. “For me, it was about being on the same soundtrack as Wu-Tang Clan and these people I really looked up to. It was a confidence booster to know I’m good enough to be on the same soundtrack as legends. As far as fans, it didn’t really do anything. The things that got me the most fans is ‘The Perils’ and Rhythm + Flow.”
“When I was 21 or 22, the tour was like the thing I wanted to do,” he says. “Now, I have two kids and it changes everything. I’m doing this tour now because I know in my heart I need to do it.”
Now back in Denver, Old Man Saxon is focused on his upcoming tour and being the best father he can be to his 1 and 3-year-old daughters.
In terms of the future, Old Man Saxon had an epiphany a few years ago that he was going to be “one of the best entertainers” ever.
“If I wouldn’t have — to be cliché — ‘risked it all,’ then I wouldn’t be here,” he says. “If I can make this into a bigger brand than just rap, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Old man Saxon’s plans for kicking off a nation-wide Spring tour at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins Friday, March 27 have been postponed due to coronavirus precautions, tentatively rescheduled for June 27. In the interim, visit www.imoldmansaxon.com and buy Old man Saxon merch to support!