"I've always been like that since I was little; I've always marched to the beat of my own drum," Stone Mecca told me over the phone this morning.
In November, the longtime RZA guitarist and bandleader released "Alienman," a solo album that sees Stone zeroing in on the funk and blues that really defines his musical identity.
"The root of me was always that other guy.... Without those elements, I wouldn't have been able to do any of this stuff [RZA, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg collaborations]," he said.
"That other guy" is "Alienman" -- both external observer and active, but decidedly different, participator.
Look for a Billboard premiere of the song "Boogeyman" on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
"The album ended up being called that because after the completion of all the songs, it was a good way to explain what I am and what the concept of the whole album is," Stone said.
In the contemporary musical landscape, however, "different" isn't always better, and in the contemporary political landscape, being "alien" can be dangerous. Stone still sees hope in youth, though.
"The beautiful thing is there's an undertow of a lot of people looking for a lot of real things, so you can still be kind of successful if you're being true to yourself and painting your own picture. It's a large group of people that are doing that right now, and music is a part of that, a part of the fabric of the universe," he said.
"I'm hoping to play a part in this new way of being fed what you need through the spirit of music," he added.
Stone Mecca plays Winston's in Ocean Beach on Thursday, Jan. 17. More info here.
Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been with NBC SoundDiego since 2016. Find out more here, or contact him here.