Describe your sound in 3 words:
Traditional, boom-bap, lyrical
Tell us a few things about your new song “Napsacks & Kickbacks”. What is the main idea behind it?
It’s a nostalgic track sort of reminiscing about care-free high school-ish days hanging and partying with friends but within that it’s talking a bit about how I got into rapping and what inspired me to get into it and then start taking it seriously. I thought of the line: “What the deally, just got to the Chat, it’s chilly,” which pretty much set everything up from there. Line’s of course a reference to AZ’s opening line on Phone Tap, a rapper I mention as one of my biggest influences alongside Nas in the last verse.
What is the main topic of your lyrics?
It’s just reflecting type of stuff really but also fun. The first verse is just setting the tone and talking about getting back to Chatham, the hometown, hanging with the old crew you always hung with and getting back into the zone you were in when you were younger, before the reality of life hit you and you suddenly couldn’t slog beers til 4am and do shit you used to do anymore. It sets up the other 2 verses. The second verse starts off by me talking about how they “done doubted this, etc.” because that was definitely the case. The time period I’m talking about, when I discovered rap and first got into it, I didn’t really have a niche like people I hung with did so I was kind of aimless and my self-esteem wasn’t the highest and I could often come off as painfully timid. So I was defined as that by a lot of people and written off as some sort of hapless, feeble person that probably wouldn’t do anything and that was going to me. Not to say I’m dwelling in the past at this point, but I think one of the underlying reasons I often rhyme the way I do and go as hard as I do is the chip on my shoulder that inevitably comes from all of that. I think other artists could probably relate to that.
The verse then transitions into talking about becoming the artist and how that has made me more certain of myself and what not. Third verse is basically summing it all up and saying that rap is what I want to do and forget all the BS, this is what I should be doing.
Your music has an old school vibe. Are you into today’s Hip Hop? Or do you prefer to listen to old classics?
I mean, when it comes down to it, I gotta say I prefer the classics. They’re what got me to fall in love with hip-hop in the first place, what I studied when I decided to really get into rap, and what I go back to the most when I want to get inspired to write something. But that’s not to say I just dismiss everything out now. I love Griselda, Freddie Gibbs, Pro Era, Earl Sweatshirt, and this new artist on Shady, Grip, is also great. A lot of other artists as well as who are doing dope stuff that stick to the fundamentals of good lyricism and flow and can bring it to a modern audience. I’ll even rock to some Denzel Curry or Bryson Tiller when in the mood. But the thing about the classics in the late ‘80s and ‘90s that makes them so good is that they came out in a time when your place in hip-hop was determined or measured by how dope you were, not all the other bullshit that labels and executives seem to emphasize now. All that shit was secondary. So you had to keep your sword sharp because there was so much competition. The level of competition there was back then is still missing a bit. You see evidence of that coming back now which is great but there’s a lot of bullshit to overcome if you want to be an artist sticking to that essence.
What does hip hop symbolize in your opinion?
Oh man, great question. This one topic could take hours. It represents a very significant cultural achievement for the Black community, which they should always have pride in. It went from Kool Herc’s parties in the Bronx to being dismissed as a fad or “ignorant gangster ghetto music” by an ignorant establishment, to being the most prominent genre and culture at the moment. It’s consistently proved everyone wrong since it started and continues to, I think. It also emphasizes competitive creativity more than most other genres, since it’s usually more based on individual effort and style and setting yourself a part. It’s unique in that way, as you’re always pitting your style against someone else’s and trying to push boundaries with how you flow or use words to stand out as the best. What it has symbolized for me and many others as well is building one’s individual identity and solidifying it. Not to sound hokey, but it’s been a passion of mine, a dream, and a hobby or whatever you want to call it since I love the artform and enjoy creating it. But it’s also been an outlet for people like me who otherwise probably wouldn’t have one and a big part of my personal development. It added a jolt to my confidence that wasn’t there and probably never would have developed had it not been for rapping. So it’s for a while now been the one area where I’m completely sure of myself. And I’ve noticed that sort of confidence has eventually found its way into other areas of life, too.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Probably when I was told “just put yourself out there and go do it. You have the talent now.” Simple, but helpful.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Probably when I hosted a party at my parent’s house where some property was damaged. Not sure I’ve seen the old man that hot before.
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