That same drive to relate and support is evident in Black, even when so much is changing around him. He recently acquired new management by way of Collins Management Group; in fact, his manager looks on as we speak. Black carefully lays out the game plan that he and Collins have formulated. "For the past eight months, our aim has just been working and getting as much content as possible out there and doing as many shows as we can do," he says. "That's what it's been the whole time — just constantly being on the move." He tells me the RedPiLL series is just part of that plan, with Part 2 scheduled for sometime late this year or early next year. Other possible ventures include penning a Buffalo Black comic book series, collaborating locally with other artists and possibly moving forward with an XXL Freshman Class 2015 bid.

But even as Black pushes on the gas, plenty around him are taking notice. Among his newfound fans is director-producer Spike Lee, who recently used one of Black's songs in his new film, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. The placement was a simple matter of opening Instagram at the right time.

"I was on [the app] when [Lee] posted that he was looking for independent artists. I had his Gmail up in 20 minutes," the rapper says with a laugh. "I sent him Enter the Black Hole: The Void and 'Just Breathe' [from Let There Be Blk] and he responded to one of them like, 'Yeah, I want to use it.'" It was an opportunity that almost seemed too good to be true. "At first, I thought I was being punked. But then it was like, 'This is really happening!'"

All in all, it's an unnecessary reminder of how hard work can lead to success. To Black, both the work and the success come naturally. "I've always been this way," he says. "If I see a path and can envision something at the end of that path that will benefit me exponentially, I go after it."

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