Also there may be a video of the interview coming soon. So stay tuned. Like there anyone who reads this blog.
Here's the interview that my man was so gracious to do shout C.minor for bless the blog
. Where are you from originally :
I was born and raised in New Bern, North Carolina but I stay in Raleigh, NC. Thats my Home now.
2. What Are your first memories of music :
That's a tough one. But my first memories of music had to be when my dad was practicing on his keyboard and his saxophone. My father has been playing music for 20+ years and he's been teaching music for 10+ years. One of my favorite memories was of me when I was still a toddler and I climbed into my dad's keyboard stool and I started banging on the keys pretending to play the keys. Those were good times.
3. What are first memories of rap music
Man cookouts in the Summer time. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince always got play at the cookouts and family reunions. In my area back then R&B/Old School music so we weren't really getting what everyone was getting. But what hip hop we did get was pretty solid. Some of my cousins bumped a little De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Other than the other commercial stuff out there like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, etc I really wasn't raised around a whole bunch of hip hop. I had to go out and get an understanding of it on my own and I had to do my homework.
4. When did you know you want to make rap music
I wanted to start making rap music when my boys got me started rapping. I was really into church as a kid and some of my boys wanted to start a gospel hip hop group. My other homie was rapping about other stuff that he was hearing on the radio... ya know a whole bunch of gangsta stuff and he was freestyling and thats how it really got started for me. He just started tryin to get me to freestyle but I felt more comfortable writing and then I heard Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Blackstar Album and the rest is history. Pun intended
5. What were the first songs you wrote
My first few songs were Christian type joints... but I kinda fell away from that for a few reasons at the time. But there was a black history program at my school that was going to have a spot for a rap performance. So my teacher made the beat and got all the guys together including myself and we all wrote out our own verses. The song was called "Black Man, Born Free".
6. What other genres are you interested in other then rap music
Other genres... hmmm... That has to be undoubtedly Soul Music and Jazz. I have an ecletic style. I like Gospel, Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Dubstep/Techno/Electronica, Alternative, etc. The list goes on but Soul Music and Jazz just touched me in a special way. It still does to this day.
7. What are favorite albums from these other genres and why?
My favorite Jazz album of all time has to be John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme". That album means a lot to me because Coltrane is a personal influence in my life. He truly made music that came from his soul and that album wasn't just an ordinary album. Coltrane said it was his first offering to God after he quit heroine. And it was the first of many albums to display that type of devotion he had for God. You don't find a lot of people really making music with the purpose to better themselves in mind. It's mostly about expression and thats what art should be about. Expression... but Coltrane took it to another level to me.
As for Rock it has to be Pink Floyd's Darkside Of The Moon. That has to be one of the most creative concept albums I've ever heard of in my life. Pink Floyd reinvented themselves with that album after their lead singer dropped out of the group and went into seclusion. It was simply a flawless album.
As far as hip hop goes... I don't think I have a favorite. Most would say Illmatic or Resonable Doubt. I wouldn't say I have a favorite but I do have some that have really influenced me. Such as Mos Def's Black On Both Sides, and Common's "Like Water For Chocolate". Especially Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Blackstar Album. There are a few other honorable mentions such as A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Murauders", De La Soul's "Grind Date", Kanye West's "College Dropout", and Lupe Fiasco's "Food and Liquor". I gotta mention Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt. But I could go on and on about dope albums.
8. What are your favorite artist from these genres and why?
Thats a good question. It has to be guys like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Beetles, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles. They were innovators. They made some of the most timeless music I've heard in my life. I know I've said that a few times but to me thats the key. Music that ages well and still gets spins years and years after the album is released... and it definitely says a lot when you're music is still getting play years and years after the original artist is dead. When you have artists doing covers of your songs years and years after you've retired and for a lot of those guys when you're dead... that speaks volumes about the music that you've created because you haven't only just created great music. You've created a lasting memory. You've impacted lives that you may never see and you create a long lasting legacy. I always wonder what it would be like to be immortal. I plan to make music that will live on and impact people long after I'm gone. Not only that... but they taught me how to think outside of the box and not to be afraid to express myself and make music I can be satisfied with. The artists I mentioned dropped music that got me through tough times and some sticky jams. Those memories are tied to that music too. I'm sure there are A LOT of names I forgot to mention but those right there are the ones that really stick out to me.
9. Do you think lyricism is better rap or in other music such as soul,rock,etc
I don't think lyricism can be greater in any genre really. As long as the music has a message or is painting a picture for the listener that's all that should matter in my opinion. For instance... Lets take Mos Def's song "There Is A Way" off of his album Tru3 Magic. He pretty much keeps up the same 2 or 3 lines he has in the whole entire song. It isn't Lupe lyrical at all but the message is truly the most important thing in the song that people should be hearing in my opinion. "There is a way, No Matter what they say" and "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In". That's all he really says in the song. Now there are some individuals in hip hop that are less lyrical than others... but I don't knock them or whatever. They do their thing and they do it well. As long as they stay in their lane thats cool with me. Just don't go outside your own perverbial box to prove a point... do you. I do my thing and I know that others may not feel my music which is why other artists are out there to appeal to those people that may not feel my music.
10. I see you produce what interested you in this aspect of rap music
Well all the legends I grew up listening to like Dilla, Premier, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder... Then Kanye really got me interested into it. I always wanted to know how these guys did it. Then I started messing with Fruity Loops (FL Studios) and just studying the game. Learned different techniques and experiemented. There is a method to everyone's madness and it's always interesting to view how other artistic minds process and work things. Well at least it is that way to me.
11. What equipment do you use
I use Fruity Loops, Reason 4, Pro Tools, The MC Roland 909, The M-Audio Axiom 64 Key Midi Controller, My Ocean Bass guitar, My Hartke Bass Amp Head.
12. Why you choose to you use this equipment
Well some of it isn't by choice. lol But they offer me a lot of variety and they deliver the goods. I get results. Thats the most important thing to me.
No not really. It's about what you do with it... not what equipment you have. Some guys don't even have half of what I have and have made dope music with it. All 9th Wonder had was Fruity Loops 3 when he made all the instrumentals for Little Brother's Classic album "The Listening"
14. Your mix tape [A] Summer Soulstice what was the inspiration behind the album
If you really want to know. It was a Woman... A very special woman in my life. She gave me the amount of tracks she wanted to hear on it and set the deadline... and I got it done. I mean I wanted to put something out but I wasn't sure how I wanted to execute it and she provided the inspiration for me to make it happen.
15. I see you did some production on the album. Do think rap music is better when artist produce and raps.
I wouldn't say that... But it definitely does give you a greater edge in my opinion. Especially if your beats are pretty dope and you can still rap circles around the competition. The best I see doin it now is Big K.R.I.T. That guy has some pretty dope beats and he can kill his tracks lyrically as well. But there is something about two individuals coming together and taking their talents and combining them to make some truly beautiful music that is dope as well.
16. Who are some your rap influences
I'd have to say Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Jay Z, Elzhi, Kanye West, Q Tip, Phife Dog, Phonte/Big Pooh (Little Brother), Chaundon as well. He's pretty dope. He's always on his grind.
17. Who are some your production influences
I'd have to say J Dilla first and foremost. His music changed my life. Madlib, Dj Premeier, 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, The Justice League, Ski Beatz, Just Blaze, Kanye West, The Alchemist, 88 Keys and all the producers I personally know like my homies, Millie Vaughn, Vino, and Ill Will. Even though Will doesn't produce as much as he used to he kept me sharp and on my toes. I think thats one reason why I always got better because I had someone that I felt could keep me on my toes ya know?
18. What are some your favorite raps
My favorite of all time is probably "Respiration" By Blackstar (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) ft. Common. That record really was the blueprint to the emcee I am today. I love that song and my favorite verses of all time are on that one song.
19. What are some your favorite beats
Man I can't even goin into that. I got a lot of Dilla jams I love. Ski Beatz is really killin it right now and 9th Wonder keeps getting better and better all the time. Just Blaze got a lot of em, and so does Kanye. I can't even answer that question man. There are too many beats to name. lol
20. Top 5 producers
1.) J Dilla
2.) Pete Rock
3.) Ski Beatz
4.) Just Blaze
5.) Kanye West
Honorable Mentions that should be on this list include...
9th Wonder, Dj Premier, Madlib
21. Top 5 Rappers
1.) Mos Def
3.) Lupe Fiasco
4.) Big K.R.I.T.
5.) Talib Kweli
I wish I could mention the local emcees I know too like...
Drique London, Tuscon, Ghost Dog, Live L!ght, Lazarus, S.Gold, Sky Blew, Azon Blaze, Rome Jeterr, a lot of dope cats around here in my area. Most of the world thinks it's just J.Cole... We have so much more talent here in this state its not even funny.
22. Top 5 artist
1.) John Coltrane
2.) Jimi Hendrix
3.) Jaco Pastorius
4.) Marvin Gaye
5.) Mos Def