Prince George’s County, Maryland born MC, producer, artist and educator, Substantial, debuted in 2000 collaborating with the late Japanese producer, Nujabes, who later worked on the popular show Samurai Champloo. Legendary rapper and activist, Chuck D of Public Enemy referred to Substantial as “One of the great MCs of our time.” His soulful and introspective brand of Hip Hop music has received critical acclaim from The Source Magazine, HipHopDX, Ebony.com, DJBooth.net and Okayplayer.com. His music videos have appeared on MTV, VH1 and BET. In May of 2018, Substantial released his debut instrumental album, The Garden. Within a year, his production has been streamed nearly 4,000,000 times on Spotify.
Substantial has performed in nearly 20 countries and has collaborated with artists such as Kool Herc, Verbal (M-Flo), Oddisee, Jeff Bernat and more. Substantial has licensed music to major brands such as Ford Motor Company, Amazon and UBER and also had his music featured in films and television shows such as Kevin Hart’s Laugh at My Pain, Kill Me 3 Times starring Simon Pegg, Daytime Emmy nominated show Tough Love and it’s spin off series Pillow Talk. Substantial has appeared in the documentaries, Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme and Give Back. In 2019, Substantial wrote and produced music featured in the video game Renaine, to be released on the Nintendo Switch and the South Korean online game Tree of Savior.
As an educator, Substantial has served in communities in Washington, DC, Maryland and New York City. He currently teaches Music Business classes at The Omega Studios’ School of Applied Recording Arts & Sciences in Rockville, MD. In 2017, Substantial along with his wife Co-CEO, Rachelle Etienne-Robinson, founded Substantial Art & Music, LLC (SAM), an organization focused on providing consulting services to the art and music community. He has built partnerships with Technology & Gaming Labs, Oxon Hill Middle School and Guerilla Arts Ink to offer workshops in Music Production and Art & Design. Substantial has created and implemented programming for Baltimore City Public Schools, Prince George’s County Public Schools and The Maryland-National Capital Parks & Planning Commission. While working with Covenant House Washington as a Youth Leadership Development Trainer, he built recording studios for teens in Southeast, DC before becoming Assistant Director of Prevention Services.
Although he is mostly known for his work in music and education, Substantial received extensive visual training at Suitland High School's Center for Visual & Performing Arts with a focus in Printmaking and later at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he majored in Graphic Design. He has designed most of his cover art himself and has been commissioned by other musicians such Mega Ran, Marcus D, Jsoul and many others for cover art, web design and logo design. In 2016, the Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center featured Substantial’s cover design for Bop Alloy’s sophomore album “Another Day in the Life of…” in there Through Their Eyes exhibit.
With so many years of activity and accomplishments, Substantial has referred to himself as “Mr. Consistent” or “Black of All Trades”. He continues to redefine himself and blaze new paths while embodying Ayesha A. Siddiqi’s quote “be the person you needed when you were younger”. His mission is to inspire those who question their worth and abilities, while arming the next generation of artists and musicians with knowledge to create change in their lives and in their communities, all while supporting themselves doing what they love most: creating.