Bobby Sessions is not surprised you’re reading this article. A feature in a publication like the Dallas Observer was just one of the many events the 23-year-old rapper envisioned as he came close to finishing his latest album, LOA, which will be released Friday.
LOA is an acronym for Law of Attraction, and it’s the philosophy Sessions has built his life around for years now. Late one night in the spring of 2013, he watched a documentary on Netflix called The Secret, which explains how individuals can apply the law of attraction in their lives.
“Basically, what you think, you become,” Sessions says. “Every time you have a thought, that thought omits a frequency and thus it has to get a return on investment, so if I’m thinking positive things all the time I have to attract positive opportunities, situations and people in my direction.”
These ideals were impressed upon him at a time when he needed motivation the most. Sessions had built a reputation in the Dallas hip-hop scene as a passionate performer and creative lyricist within the formidable Brain Gang collective, but he wasn’t happy with his life and music career. To test the law, he had quit his job, left college and gone all-in on his rap career, but the principles weren’t working out for him. He was failing miserably. He was sleeping in his car and scrounging money together to buy a McChicken, which he then had to pretend sated his appetite. Eventually, he was forced to go back to a job he didn’t care for and start over.
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Sessions believes an experience like that would deter most people from pursuing their dreams again, but he knew he simply hadn’t learned to apply the law of attraction properly yet. It was still new to him. As he began to learn about and understand the law, he would hear about opportunities and shows that he felt could advance his music career, but in the back of his head he was constantly making concessions in case those opportunities fell through, which goes against the law’s tenets.
“Playing it back in my head, the foundation then was always, ‘If it doesn’t come through, I’ll do this.’” Sessions says. “I should have been making it a reality instead.”
By December of 2014, the reality was sinking in — so much so that Sessions was losing sleep. He had so much confidence built up in the law of attraction, his potential and his career that he once again quit his job and went all-in on his rap career. He had spent time developing as a person, reading self-help books, strengthening his relationships and becoming a student of The Secret’s philosophy.
“I expect to have a long career that will span way past a decade, so why would I not take two years off to really learn and master my craft as much as possible?” Sessions asks. “If I make the music and the music is good, then it really shouldn’t matter when I put it out.”
It was still a risky move for the confident wordsmith. When he left his job he only had $50 in his bank account and no idea of how to pay his upcoming rent or for his next meal, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to fulfill his goals by going to a job he hated, working for a boss he didn’t respect and being stuck to a schedule that drained his energy five days a week.
“I just knew I had so much more to offer to the world, even deeper than music. I knew my reach should be way further than the building I was working in,” Sessions says. “Everything was kind of an unknown, but I had faith in the music and I signed with a label and it’s paid off.”
LOA focuses on all those trials and tribulations, and Sessions wants it to address a void of inspirational and uplifting music. “That will never not be a thing, because the world is a great place or a bad place depending on your perspective, and I know a lot of people have a perspective that it’s real bad,” he says. “So the void that I’m filling in humanity is to keep the cup half full.”
Sessions admits he also has vain motivations. The album expresses his desire for money, popularity and acknowledgment as the best or a legend. “I constantly refer to myself as a legend because the message I’m trying to put out there is if you wanna be a legend, you have to live in that reality right now, despite your circumstances,” he says, going into preacher mode. “If you want a million dollars and you only have two dollars, you can’t be thinking, ‘One day I will have…’ You have to feel like you have a million right now.”
To create an album that could inspire people to pull themselves up by their boot straps, he reached out to another Dallas rapper he admires, -topic, to produce it. “How can we make a bomb-ass album?” he asked. From the minute they began working together, their thought processes dovetailed and the project came together more simply than they could’ve imagined. So easily, in fact, that -topic was eager to record the material they were piecing together and asked Sessions if he would record with his close friend Donny Domino. Sessions was hesitant at first, but quickly the three became confident in the path of the album.
“Bobby coming into the studio is probably the best thing that could’ve happened to me and Bobby and -topic,” Domino says. “Bobby was like a catalyst because he came in here fired up. I’ve never had the pleasure of working with an artist who is as hands-on and detail oriented as him.”
Sessions’ adamant attitude about his goals and how he wanted the album to sound helped set a new standard for the studio, according to Domino. His confidence was infectious — there’s even a new poster in Domino’s studio that features several Grammy awards and reads: “This is why we work.” It sits under a poster Sessions brought in that reads: “Meditation. Preparation. Dedication.”
For -topic, it was refreshing to work and see eye-to-eye with another Dallas artist. “It’s not every day that artists who have a message are able to craft a whole body of work and by the end everything is still good,” -topic says. “There were no disagreements, no discrepancies.”
That message he refers to is the idea that you don’t have to tear yourself down or simplify yourself for others. You can say what you mean and mean what you say and make it sound good. To maintain that message, the three artists spent hours watching motivational materials, reading books to each other, exchanging dialogue for songs and meditating before setting to work. Some songs would come to Sessions quickly because they were so close to his heart, such as “Black America,” which was released on Martin Luther King Day and addresses police brutality. The song draws on personal experience — his cousin was killed by local police in 2013 — as well as the death of Eric Garner in New York. Other songs took longer to feel fully formed and sometimes required 75 to 100 takes to record a single verse.
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Sessions is so confident in the work that he feels by the third song the listener will already be thinking, “What can I do when I’m done listening to this album to go after my dreams?” It’s hard to imagine Sessions being anything other than confident at this point. In the last two years, he has been able to apply the law of attraction to his life and it has introduced him to a network of people including Blue, the Misfit, who produced some of the album; John Stewart, who contributed to the engineering; and a host of others who played a part in the album’s creation.
“It was a great support network of people that came together. If the purpose of the project is to say, ‘If you use the law of attraction, you’ll attract the right people and opportunities,’ then I attracted that network,” Sessions says.
He has no doubts about LOA’s potential to reach a mass audience, despite the fact that he avoided making radio-friendly singles. That’s because Sessions has made his own luck. He remembers the days when he was failing miserably and looking at his bank account, which had a balance of negative $140. He laughed, thinking it would be a good story to look back on when he’d made $14 million.
“All I got is this good-ass music and I trust this music,” Sessions says. “I trust that I’m going to meet the right people. To be at this point right now and see these things manifesting in front of me, it blows my mind. I need that $14 million.”