Early in 2014, Denton rapper Bryan "Infidelix" Rodecker decided to do something crazy: He quit his job waiting tables, cashed in his life savings and headed overseas with the wild idea of traveling the world to teach kids how to rap. But when he arrived in Spain, he quickly found out just how challenging his adventure would be. Trying to work around government laws regarding youth work internationally felt like fighting with the leprechaun who'd been haunting Infidelix's dreams before he left Texas. It was time for a new strategy.
"So instead, I became an influence in the lives of other rappers and the skater youth around the cities," Infidelix says.
Early last year, we wrote about Infidelix's journey abroad just as he was getting started. At the time, he spoke optimistically, even idealistically, of the adventure ahead: "Hip-hop to me is like a lifestyle," he said at the time. "It's far more than just making your music and putting it out there. It's about going and showing it to people in different countries and learning about their hip-hop."
But that first month in Spain proved terrifying for the rapper as he tried to figure out how he was going to survive on unfamiliar streets with only his CDs to panhandle for money. He began cleaning a bar in the morning, taking out empty bottles for a quick bit of cash to help him through the days.
"I learned how to survive very quickly," he says now during a conversation conducted via email.
Infidelix soon found a friend whom he met at a gig in London a few years ago and stayed with him for a short time in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion, where he met another rapper, Flameh. They recorded a song and made a video together.
"He didn't speak English, and my Spanish was weak; so we talked using Google translate and ended up creating a wonderful song."
A week later, he met a producer in Spain who recorded a mix-tape for Infidelix titled "South of Heaven," which led to gig at Roots, a rasta bar, playing in front of a packed house. But it wasn't paying the bills, only providing enough money to keep his dream afloat.
From Spain, Infidelix traveled to Scotland where he worked on an eco farm building a house out of straw and sheep wool to help pay for his food and rent, but he didn't know any rappers in the area. So, on his weekends off, he traveled to Glasgow and Edinburgh and eventually met some rappers and recorded another mixtape titled "North of Hell."
It wasn't until he arrived in Ireland when his luck began to change.
Infidelix knew a good amount of people on the Emerald Isle due to his past touring. He was finally able to work at few youth centers and get the local communities involved in motivating young rappers to pursue their dreams. It was appropriate, too, given that dream he'd had (before even leaves the States) about the leprechaun chasing him through Dublin. Perhaps it was fate that it would work out this way.
He stayed at the home of a producer name Hydrocondriac where top artists in Irleand would frequent to make music. "It was a mecca of hip hop every day," Infidelix says.
Although musically he was making good connections, his monetary situation wasn't improving. He was exhausted with trying to panhandle his CDs. The good fortune he thought he'd found seemed to be vanishing, so he started creating websites for people and appearing on a local radio show joking about how he had holes in his shoes, which was true.
Infidelix was able to save enough money to leave Ireland for Amsterdam. By the time he arrived, he was rethinking his decision to spend a year in Europe living his musical dream.
"I was literally at the point of quitting," he says.
But then he discovered the art of street performing in Dam Square.
"I'd never really toggled the art of street performing before," he says. "I've always thought that my music wasn't something everyone would like. It was hip hop so it most definitely couldn't be allowed on the busy streets of cities."
People started responding to his music, giving him hugs and thanking him for brightening their day and, more importantly, buying his CDs. Infidelix was finally able to afford hostel rooms and food, and he realized that he could finish his year-long musical journey.
Infidelix continues performing around Europe and the U.K., and he has no plans of stopping anytime soon. In turn, that optimistic, life- and dream-affirming attitude has returned.
"I want everyone to know that in life you need to take risks," he says. "This was my risk. I have seen nothing but positivity come from this experience. My music and fan base is growing, and I'm making an impact organically. If you believe in yourself, and you believe in what you are doing, you will only see accomplishment."
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