Talented artist Virghost
uses his latest album, GHOSTS
, to reflect on a period of his life that’s haunted him for years.
The emcee’s life between 2005 and 2008 is revisited on GHOSTS. During those years, he wasn’t known as Virghost, a raw lyricist with multiple projects under his belt and accolades for winning K97’s beloved “Next Big Thing” annual competition. He was Durand Somerville, a graduate of Millington Central High School excited to finally live life free from the surveillance of strict parents.
In 2005, Virghost enrolled at the University of Memphis and moved into the Richardson Towers dormitory. New to the college scene and clueless of what he wanted to major in, his first few months on campus involved nothing more than chasing ladies and skipping classes.
This carefree lifestyle would come to an end, however, after he befriended a young lady on campus. Subsequent to becoming intimate with her, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. And Virghost found himself immersed in a world of rumors, ostracism, intoxication, deception, and conflict as a result.
Virghost took time out to explain the story behind each track on GHOSTS. You can stream the album and check out his thoughts below. And you can download the project here.
Track #1: “Free”
[The song is] telling why I even made the CD. I was briefly talking about the K97 stuff, the people that were talking about me during the [competition], where my name came from … I was just talking about being free from all of the things that I kept in my past and never faced. I recorded this album to free myself of the stuff that happened back then. I was just looking for my freedom, and my freedom was in creating the album.
Track #2: “Grand Am Music”
I got the Grand Am when I was in high school. My auntie gave it to me. It was a two-door. The hook was basically me talking about what my uncle told me right after I graduated: ‘When you go to college, don’t be getting up for dudes to get in your car. Make them get on the other side of your car and get in.’ When I thought about it, it was kind of like a metaphor: When you’ve got a particular spot that you earned, you don’t get up out of that position for nobody. That was the opening theme for everything that was going to happen.
Track #3: “Carpe Diem (Young Nigga Talk)”
It means seize the day, but [with the song] I mean seize the day, like, basically you’re going out there and trying to talk to every girl. I didn’t care about school, what my major was going to be. I don’t even remember being in class that first semester of school, especially the first couple of weeks. It was so many women in college, and that’s all I cared about. I didn’t care about class. I talked to a lot of girls at that time. As a young man, it was just an exciting time.
Track #4: “Towers”
When I was up there, it was just everybody having sex with everybody. That’s all it was. When I first went to college, I didn’t expect the dormitory life to be like that. It was crazy. It was like a whole bunch of stuff you could get into. I was just trying to give listeners a glimpse of how it was. The song is about the experiences and the things that I witnessed when I first got there. The last verse on the song talks about me accidentally stumbling across a chick that I would get in a relationship with. I put that at the end to basically show people how “Rumors” and “’Pac in ’95” came about.
Track #5: “Rumors”
I was up in [the girl from “Towers”] dorm room one day and when I came down this Sigma was waiting for me. And he said that there was a rumor going around that she had that package. At the time, I didn’t know what the slang “package” meant. I asked him, ‘What you mean?’ He said, ‘Man, they say she got HIV.’ That made my heart drop. I called my friend that introduced us. She said, ‘Yeah, there’s rumors going around.’ I said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ She said, ‘It’s not true, and I didn’t want to mess up her chances with you.’ I finally got around to asking [the girl], and she said it wasn’t true. I got tested, and I didn’t have nothing. But at the same time, a rumor started going around about me. Literally, all the dudes I was cool with on that “Carpe Diem” song turned on me. They didn’t mess with me. The only person that was still cool with me was my homie Yayo. That was one of the worst times in my life. Everybody in that whole dorm was talking about me.
Track #6: “Pac In ’95”
Me being an outcast kind of made me rebellious. I didn’t like that girl like that, but I felt like I had to protect her from everybody. At the time, I used to go to the computer lab and listen to [Tupac’s] “Until the End of Time”
everyday. And then I started listening to Me Against the World
. I was like, ‘This is exactly how I feel.’ The part at the end is basically about the girl I was talking to at the time. She was cheating on me with somebody, and Yayo basically told me what happened. I was mad as hell, because I felt like I basically put myself out there to help her. I left her alone after that.
Track #7: “Sprung on the Pussy Interlude”
That was a chick that I talked to in high school. She didn’t know about the rumor, obviously. My Granddaddy had got real sick; my other Granddaddy had kind of lost his mind at the time, so I was going through that. And then nobody messed with me, so I started talking to her. She was crazy ass hell. I kind of got sprung on her, because I didn’t have anybody to talk to.
Track #8: “Crazy”
The whole year was over at school, and I moved back home with my dad. My dad did not like the fact that I was dating this girl, because he felt like something was wrong with her. At that time, my dad was real strict and real religious with me. I stayed in the dorms, and he always wanted me back home all the time. And at the time, he basically made me stay home that next year. I was a sophomore. The whole time that I was there, he manipulated me to the point where I was staying in his front room. I couldn’t go nowhere else but the front room. And then me and him kind of got into it, and I moved out. The reason I named it “Crazy” was because that was a crazy period.
Track #9: “Jeep Cherokee Music”
I had a wreck. Somebody ran me off the road and totaled my Grand Am. When I got my insurance money back, my dad co-signed for me to get my Cherokee. He felt bad because he made me break up with the girl I was talking to at the time. He didn’t like her. It’s probably my favorite song on the CD. It’s a big turning point on the CD. After I got kicked out of my dad’s, I moved back to Richardson Towers. That’s when I first started smoking. That’s when I first started drinking. And I was giving my dad all my checks, so I had to figure out a way to make some money. I was a manager at Kroger. I used to do the book keeping, and before I left I used to take stacks of Black and Milds. I used to sell them at Richardson Towers. I made a lot of money. I became a totally different person all together.
Track #10: “Drowning”
It’s about two girls. The girl I talk about in the first verse, I met her like way back in-between “Towers” and “Rumors.” She wanted to talk to me, I didn’t talk to her, because I didn’t know if I had a disease or not. I was like, ‘Naw, I’m not going to talk to her until I make sure I’m okay.’ The song opens up with her calling me. I had moved back in the dorm, and I seen her on campus one day. I gave her my number, so she gave me her number. She hit me up one day crying, trying to get me to come over. She really, really liked me and wanted to be in a relationship with me. I didn’t want to be in one with her, but I really liked her. It was so loud and crazy in my dorm room, I used to be over her house every night. Basically, the same thing happened to me on the other verse.
[The second chick] was somebody I met, because she saw I was making a lot of money with the Black and Milds, and she wanted to be around that. I did kind of like her, but she didn’t like me like that. And that’s what that last verse was about. We were over Yayo’s house, and I was trying to talk to her, but she didn’t want to talk to me like that. I was drinking so much that night, I literally passed out. The whole thing is about karma.
Track #11: “Bullshit & Nonsense”
That was one of the songs I actually didn’t have on the CD at first. I put it on there because I felt like I had too many songs about women. I said, ‘I want to talk about the mindstate I was in during that time.’ It was bullshit and nonsense. I got fired from my job. I didn’t have my truck no more. I used to be up in my dorm room bored as hell. I used to write a lot of poetry. I was thinking about rapping, but I wasn’t a rapper yet. It was different. I went from having everything to nothing. I had a lot of time to think. My day went with the wind.
Track #12: “Goblins”
One day I was outside and this chick asked me to come smoke with her and her friends. I was like, ‘Cool.’ I hopped in the truck. I didn’t see them roll nothing; I just assumed it was regular weed. I smoked it, and I started hallucinating and tripping like crazy. After that situation, every time I smoked, I kept tripping to the point I stopped smoking all together. It’s true, and it’s serious, but I tried to make the song comical. It wasn’t funny when it happened, but after I thought about it and talked about it with people, it’s actually funny.
All that stuff on the song happened for real.
Track #13: “March 4th, 2008”
That’s actually the only song I cannot listen to on the CD. I think I’ve only listened to it one time. It was hard for me to write. It was hard for me to record it. I know the situation like the back of my hand, but I can’t tell you the lyrics. At the time, I had lost my job. And I think what happened was, like, I’m a real cool dude, even when I’m not trying to talk to a girl, I’ve got a lot girls that are my friends. And this particular girl, I didn’t like her like that, but we were real, real close. She was my friend, and I think she liked me. She had a boyfriend, and I had a lot of girls I was talking to at the time. She knew that, but I was real cool with her.
I stayed up at the dorm on spring break, because I was not welcomed at my mom and dad’s house no more. [The girl] felt like we needed to talk about why we should become friends again, because I wasn’t talking to her like that no more. I don’t know what made me go over there, but I went over there. I didn’t think it was going to be like it was, because we weren’t in any relationship. I went up there to just talk to her, and she was talking all crazy. I was like, ‘Man, I ain’t gotta hear this. This is not what I came up here for.’ And when I tried to leave, she blocked the door and literally would not let me leave. I didn’t really know what to do. At first, I thought she was playing. I was laughing, like, ‘Man move.’ When I realized she was serious, I was like, ‘You need to move.’ I was telling her, ‘I don’t want to move you. Move.’ She wouldn’t move. When I tried to move her, she thought I was trying to fight her, I guess, and she started fighting me. She grabbed a curling iron and hit me in the eye. I got a scar on my eye right now. It’ll go with me to my grave. She hit me in my eye and busted it wide open. It shocked the hell out of me. I was like, ‘What in the fuck!’
Track #14: “WTF”
When everything kind of calmed down, she called the police on me. At this point, I was able to leave, but I was like, ‘I’m going to wait until they come up here, because you’re not about to act like I beat you up. I was just trying to leave out of your room.’ I stayed up there like a dumbass, and when they got up there I was trying to tell them what happened. They were screaming at me, telling me, ‘Get down! Shut the fuck up!’ They didn’t want to hear nothing I had to say, so when I kept talking, I guess they felt like I was disobeying what they had to say. They all jumped on me and beat the shit out of me.
Track 15: “Infinite”
When I got arrested, I moved in with my mom and dad. Me and my dad got into it, and I told him, ‘Give me a week to move out.’ He said, ‘Naw, you can leave tomorrow.’ He kicked me out the house on my birthday. He ended up dropping my stuff off at the University of Memphis. I moved with my homie Yayo. That was kind of the start of when I became an artist. When I moved with them, I started recording rap songs with Knowledge Nick and Quake, and that’s when I met PhatMak, too. I got in HypeLife, and I started doing spoken word poetry. That was basically when I finally got out on my own and out of the shadow of my parents and all of that. That’s when I started doing music. And I call the song “Infinite” because it’ll live on forever.
Track 16: “Ghost”
That’s a clip of my performance at this place called “Steppin Up.” PhatMak and them used to have shows there every month. That was probably the first performance I got recognized as Virghost. People dug the performance and everything. That particular performance is when people really started to notice me as a spoken word artist.
By Louis Goggans