Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Interview w/rapper, Nerd

January 10, 2009

 

 

nerd
www.myspace.com/nerdraps

image.in: What makes a nerd, a nerd?
nerd: Focus. A nerd is someone who just focuses on something so much that you would’ve thought they invented it. Nerds are just focused people.

image.in: What’s the best thing about being a nerd?
nerd: Being able to outsmart people.

image.in: What are common nerd misconceptions?
nerd: They we don’t know what it means to be cool or interesting.

image.in: Nowadays its way more accepted to be a self-proclaimed nerd…but it wasn’t always that way. What are things you think contributed to this gradual acceptance/tolerance?
nerd: Well the “nerd” has always been the tragic hero, someone who saves the day when you thought they would have been the first to die. You got rebelious nerds like N.E.R.D, Phyarcyde, Del the funky Homosapien, that are just creative and artistic. . . people pick up on that.

image.in: You’re a rapping nerd…I guess the oppostie would be a rapping jock. What do you think would be characteristics of a rapping jock?
nerd: What you hear now on the radio (laughs), hell there is even a dude named Young Joc. Rappers out now often compare themselves to sports figures so I would call those people rapping jocks.

image.in: I think it’s safe to say nerds like to learn. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from pursuing music?
nerd: My favorite rapper once said, “Nobody belived, until I belived me.” Believe in yourself.

image.in: What’s it like being both a writer (URB, right?) who happens to do some music-related work, and a musician? Do you believe you gain a different perspective on both things?
nerd: It’s a humbling and complex experience because I’m someone who can make or break artist careers and at the same time I am out networking in the same field as that artist. I have to carefully use my words and make sure stick to them. So if I think an artist is wack, I have to tell them to they face “yo, you are wack”. At the same time, I make my music to the same standard that I judge other peoples music so really I am making or breaking my career as well. And people will flip on you, It’s cool if I’m interviewing The Cool Kids for the mag but the moment I wanna do a song with them they look the other way. You can only get so far until you step out of that position where you make people look good to you are their competition.

image.in: What are your interests outside of making music and writing?
nerd: I love to party and meet new people. I enjoy recreational stuff like swimming, bowling, minature golf – things that put me at ease.

image.in: The Cali rap scene has a diverse group of talent and subject matter. What do you think are causes of that?
nerd: The elements man, the air, the water, and to some extent the earth (weed). We are just in touch with natural things. Plus, this is the film capital so you have a lot of people with a lot of ideas who come here from all across the globe.

image.in: How would you describe life in Cali?
nerd: It really depends where you go. North Cali is family, close knit and people have the chance to take things slow. South Cal is fast paced, people will rush to go nowhere all at the same time and try to be the first one to do it. Then there is the Valley, I really dont know what goes on over there (laughs).

image.in: What’s the worst thing about being a nerd?
nerd: The worst think about being a nerd is having to “work” toward being noticed. Usually a nerd would just hide himself from the public anyway, so thats what everyone expects. For those who want to break away from that stereotype they have a difficult time.

image.in: Are you in college? If so, what’s your major?
nerd: Yes I go to California State Long Beach and I am an English Major with a focus in Creative Writing.

image.in: So, I peeped your blog about the Dis-ember mixtape, which is coming at the end of this month. Can you go into detail about it’s premise?
nerd: I just feel that there are too many people who feel that they can do what I do. I recent read an interview that Hip Hop DX did with Big Daddy Kane in which he talked about how the emcee got his respect off of the battles. It was real dog eat dog then because everyone wanted to be the best. Now everyone is just SAYING they are the best but don’t prove it. So I’m here to ruffle a few feathers. I have nothing to lose, and I’m not on no killing nonsence either.

image.in: Hm, the writer/musician standpoint does seem like a double-edged sword. Do you believe the critic/artist standard of your own work offers you an advantage in comparison to someone who is just an artist?
nerd: Besides the fact I get to run my big mouth? Ha ha, well I get more respect as a critic because I am supposed to “get it” when it comes to an artists message, but I am a fan first so that side comes out when I am doing my reviews or editorials.

image.in: If you had to describe your music as a formula, how would you do it?
nerd: rhyme skills(beats x performance)- lies + business(marketing,money,networking)/music consumers + record labels.

= X

Solve. Ha ha ha.

 

Interview w/UK rapper, Kidd Neer

December 30, 2008

Kidd Neer

http://www.myspace.com/kidduk

– What’s the meaning of your rapping name?

Haha, well I’m not gonna lie and try to think up of an extremely complex meaning to my name but I guess i can divulge into the story behind it! Before I finally got some recording equipment, I decided to put some videos on the internet of me just rapping over a few beats using my mobile phone. But I was really embarrassed about it man. People saw me as the person who does nothing except homework, so me rapping was something I kept secret. It was almost my secret identity…I even had the mask on in the videos as if I was Spiderman whilst the others know me as Peter Parker haha. Just to make sure no-one would know it was me, I just had the name Whizz Kidd. But as I got my equipment and I started making tracks, I cared less about other people I know listening to my music and then in the end, I dropped the Whizz which is real corny and added my real name at the end of it to make Kidd Neer. I think it sounds like a superhero’s name….something you would’ve read in the marvel comics.

– When did you decide you wanted to rap?

To be honest, I don’t remember an exact moment in which I said to myself, “You know what, I wanna’ begin making my own songs.” I guess it was just a natural progression from being a huge fan of rap and other forms of music, to then just deciding to take it on myself. I’ve always thought of myself to be an artistic person but just didn’t know the medium to express myself through. I’ve never been a good painter, but when I started dabbling with music, it felt right for me to pursue it. I was passionate about it, I enjoyed it, and at least in my mind, I was good at it haha.

– How did people you know react, when they found out you rapped?

There’s a wide spectrum to how people reacted haha. I expected a lot of my close friends to show some interest and support me but that didn’t really happen which was disappointing to an extent, but also pretty cool because it keeps me grounded. Other people who I hadn’t really spoken to really showed an interest though, listening to all the songs and staying on the ball for when new songs drop which feels real good. It feels good to be recognized for something you create. Like every song I make I feel as though I’m giving out emotions which I wouldn’t necessarily reveal to you in a normal conversation. Other people didn’t like it. I’d think a lot of it had to do with it being me making it rather than someone else, so they had it clear in their mind that they were never gonna like it. And then there’s people I have never spoken to liking my music which is pretty cool. Like when I hear back from a few of my friends that so and so listened to your music and wants to hear more, I feel as though I’ve achieved something. Things like that just make my day. Whenever I hear one of my friends making music, I always try and make it a point to congratulate them and give them a word of encouragement because I know the difference it can make. Sometimes you just need that little push; especially in times when you begin to doubt yourself.

Were you surprised at first that the initial support was somewhat juxtaposed concerning close friends and people that you weren’t as close to?

Well a few of my close friends I’m working with musically so that’s all good. But to be honest, I wasn’t surprised with the juxtaposition. You know, whether I rap or not doesn’t make a difference to a close friend who likes you whatever reason. To other people who don’t really talk to you as such, through the music they are allowed to get to know me in someway. So in that respect it isn’t surprising. But you’d still expect your friends to just be there to boost your confidence when you begin to doubt yourself. Self-doubt is like a prison. As soon as the thought creeps in, you’re sent spiraling downwards. Sometimes you just need that mentor so to speak to bring you back up. Luckily I’ve made lots of contacts through music who are there to just give me any advice I need.

So, who do you think has been you musical mentor?

Ah man, I have so many haha. Firstly, my dude Ears has been supporting me for a while now, helping me with the mixing down of tracks, the creative direction of my music and the business side of things. He’s working with Adam Tensta who is getting huge in Europe and branching off to the U.S, and hearing his stories of touring and stuff is just such an inspiration. I then got dudes like Fat Tony, the good people from Supreeme and ADD-2 who I see developing at such a fast rate that I can’t help but be inspired. Whenever I talk to these guys, I learn something new about the industry and the way it works which is priceless.

– What was your first hip-hop memory?

Oh I remember this vividly. I was 9 years old and in Holland with my family, staying with some family friends. My brother was listening to the Marshall Mathers LP and I managed to sneak a listen. The track I heard was “Kill you.” At the time I remember just being amazed by the vulgar language. As a 9 year old, I was just like “Woah! Did he really say that?” The thing which had me even more interested in the music was the melody and the catchy hook. God bless Eminem! If he wasn’t around, I’d never have come around to writing my own songs.

– How would you say hip-hop in the UK differs from hip-hop in other areas around the globe?

UK hip-hop is basically built up of grime. Usually simple beats with high energy vocals laced on top of it. In the UK, it’s quite big but I’m not the biggest fan of the genre. In my opinion, there are a lot of garbage artists in the UK. Luckily, most of the artists who do transcend the UK-US gap are the talented artists. So in essence, we kinda weed out all the crap artists for you haha. In essence though, there isn’t a great deal of difference between the hiphop in the UK and the US. Aside from the obvious accent difference, at the end of the day, hiphop is hiphop and music is music.

– Who’s your favorite hip-hop artist from the US, and who’s your favorite hip-hop artist from the UK? In what ways would you say they are similar, and how would you say they differ?

Well man at the moment, my favourite hip-hop artist from the US is Kanye West (that’s if you wanna’ call it hip-hop!) whilst from the UK it is probably Kano. Aside from the obvious difference of one of them singing and the other not, they are both similar in the way that they write from their own past/current experiences. Kano often reflects on his life in the streets but the way in which he delivers it is so fresh and Kanye is…well Kanye is Kanye. 808 and Heartbreaks was amazing. The way in which he turned tragedy with his girlfriend breaking up and the death of his mother through singing is something which couldn’t have been achieved through rap. The problem is with rap is that it is often difficult for artists to convey true pain being felt other than through the selection of words.

– The internet has allowed for more of a global connection on between people on many levels.
How do you think it has helped the music industry, and how do you think it has hurt?

I think that the internet has affected the business side of the industry. Before, there was big money involved in rap music but that’s kinda gone downhill due to the ease of listening and downloading music online. However, I believe that in the near future the industry will return to normal. The labels have gotta somehow incentivise the music listener into wanting to legally download the music legally as opposed to doing it illegally. Conflicts such as the one between Kanye and 50 worked great in getting listeners to actually buy the cd. The sad thing is though that artists have to almost cook up these schemes in order to get their music sold. The music doesn’t sell for itself these days. But the internet has helped in so many ways. I believe that it’s helping push the wave of new talent coming into the industry. For a new artist like me, the internet has been priceless in terms of promotion and also helping to make contacts with other musicians. Overall, I think that the internet has been good for the quality of music being produced (aside from the crap musicians who spam add you on myspace…not good) but not quite for those artists who wanna see the 8 digit cheques.


How do you think music would be different if the internet didn’t exist?

If the internet didn’t exist, music would be spiraling downhill drastically. Like to be honest with you, a lot of the music I listen to these days are indie artists, save a few acts. It’s not even a conscious decision to go against the mainstream. It’s just I feel as though a lot of fresh artists are coming out of nowhere on the internet, and when you do come across them you have no choice but to follow them. There’s a lot of talent out there man, bringing a new, fresh sound. It’s just people have to begin to tap into it a bit more and support the talent.

If you could think up an acronym meaning for the word rap, what would it be?

Reciting actual poetry? That’s a bit crap but it was the best I could think of. It was either that or retards attempting poetry haha.

– How would you describe living life in the UK?

One word: rain.

lol, how would you say rain affects living in the UK?

Makes it depressing man. Waking up in the morning to the rain, going to school, and then coming back and it’s dark. I saw Dom Kennedy’s video to Watermelon Sundae and I was literally in a state of disbelief. The palm trees, the deep blue skies, the sun, everyone in the swimming pool chilling and a Barbeque to top it off. Seemed like heaven to me. I plan on moving out to the US after I’ve completed my education in the UK. I guess I’m kinda attracted to the flashing lights and the American dream.

To you, what is the American Dream?

The American Dream to me is the good life we all aim to achieve. This is in regards to both materialistic and spiritual. The idea that regardless of where you or your family come from, regardless of the class or status you were born into, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Finally, it’s the idea that the impossible is possible. I’ve been reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ which is so perfect in portraying the American Dream and also the corruption of it. Nonetheless, the American Dream is an ideology of some sort which I strongly believe in and I hope to live out.

If you could describe rap music in one word, what would it be?

Reincarnating! It’ll come back to life soon.

Dannii Danger Interview…!

April 21, 2008

Dannii Danger Interview

 


www.myspace.com/itzdanger

DRENCH: What triggered your desire to rap?

Dannii Danger: Well I been writing since I was 8, but I didn’t start rappin till I was 17. I would never be rappin if it wasn’t for my brother Gray. He showed me the ropes on how to actually flow gracefully across a beat. Trust me what I used to wasn’t pretty. Ha!

DRENCH: Does your borther Gray still rap?

Dannii Danger: Yea he still raps. Its been hard lately because of family reasons. So he’s been dealing with that for the time being.

DRENCH:You’re also the member of a group named C.P.R. What do you believe are the main differences of being in a group, and being a solo artist?

Dannii Danger: Being In a group is harder than it may seem. Sometimes you get an idea for a song, but you dont feel like the other can convey the message that you are trying to send. I mean we had lots of ideas & topics…but sometimes he didnt know what to say or how to say it and vice versa. So I think being solo is a little more easier for the mind. Its easier for me to make music.

DRENCH: How did the group C.P.R. come to be?

Dannii Danger: It took a while for the name to be created. I came up with the name & reasons for it like late 07. C.P.R stands for Common People Rappin. I feel like its so many artists that rap as if they were the flyest mothafucka on earth. So i wanted to get away from that. So we rap about being common, ordinary people. Yea we have a talent, but it doesn’t make us better than the next person. So thats our goal, to try to not be arrogant & gaudy. Its still a work in progress..haha!

DRENCH: How do you define success in music?

Dannii Danger: Success in music is just establishing a credibility for yourself that you are comfortable with. Money is only half the battle, because you can lose it. Its just gettin to a point where fans know you, and they automatically know that you’re gonna drop something worth listening to on a consistent basis. So you have that core fan base & the respect around the music industry.

DRENCH: What thoughts would be going through your head if you gained success on a mainstream level tomorrow?

Dannii Danger: I wouldn’t like it. I would feel like it was given to me & not earned. I haven’t accomplished or done enough to even be considered for that type of success. I would be trying so hard to make music to where the quality & feeling would be tarnished. I mean how many times has an artist came out & you felt like who is the dude…and where did he come from? I dont want to be that person.

DRENCH: Even though you’re new to the rap game, where do you feel you are as an artist?

Dannii Danger: Right now I’m still growing. I know what I want to do & how I’m going to do it, but I’m still getting there. I’m further than most tho, for the fact that I already found my aim. I’m not just making songs just to say that I’m making music. It’s a purpose behind my music.

DRENCH: Why do you believe people should want to listen to your music?

Dannii Danger: First because it comes from the heart. I’m not out there makin songs about girls, jewelry, & all that. I want to make people feel better about themselves. If you dont have money & you going through tough times it’s ok. Just dont give up on chasing your lifelong dream. My music is for all the people who feel like the world is against & they dont have anywhere to run.

 

DRENCH: What do you think are the most difficult challenges for an upstart rapper to overcome?

Dannii Danger: The most difficult challenges are finding people who want to deal with you. In the music business people dont want to listen to artists they never heard of. So if you never been on t.v. or have a song on the radio, then its hard to get attention

DRENCH: What do you think are advantages that new artists have over those who are already established?

Dannii Danger: New artists have more knowledge of what road to take. We’ve looked & learned from the mistakes major artists have made. So we know how to escape from getting messed over. We also have something fresh to offer to music.

DRENCH: What’s something you believe all rappers have in common (besides rapping)?

Dannii Danger: All rappers have pride in they’re music. No rapper feels like his music sucks, basically. If someone tells him otherwise then he’s going to defend his music until the end. We all want to be innovative & create that new sound that nobodies heard before. That way when people mention us, they’ll remember us as that artist who broke the mold of his generation.

DRENCH: What’s something you believe all rappers need?Dannii Danger: We nee inspiration. All rappers have reasons on why they do what they do for a living. You just cant make a song without being inspired to make it. A rapper may be inspired to make money, so he’s going to make a song about money. A rapper may be inspired to be fly, because as a child he didnt have the name brand clothes, so therefore he’s going to makle a track about being fresh to death. It’s all inspiration.

DRENCH: What’s something you believe all rappers should avoid trying to do?

Dannii Danger: I believe rappers should avoid doing what’s popular at the time. No one will remember you the way you want them to. Some rappers can follow what’s popular and do it sucessfully, but that’s what they’re going to be remembered for…following the crowd.

DRENCH: Who are people you want to work with in the music industry?

Dannii Danger: As far as major I would like to work with, Lupe Fiasco, Common, & Andre 3000. Now this underground list is goin to be huge! I want to work with Heat Roc,Young Felz,Uzoy, Arc,D.LLoyd Tha Ish, Mickey Factz,No Parking,The Undying Machines,nerd,Speak,Fudd Burton, etc. I could go all day!

DRENCH: How does your rapping name embody your style? What’s up with the two ii’s?

Dannii Danger: Man…this is going to be kind of long! My rap name is simply a cathcy name that people can remember. When my friends say, it cracks me up. They may not notice it, but they say it all the time.

Its also created to weed out people who “judge books by their covers”. I know my name isn’t the best. Some have said that it sucks. My point is that if you’re going to judge what you listen to by any type of appearnace, then I dont want you to listen to my music. I chose Danger! because my life is in constant danger of failing. I feel that I have to be successful, a lot of people are depending on me and I dont want to let them down.

And the two ii’s are just me being rebellious, and not trying to be like my dad. His name was Danny, he was never there for me so I want to be the total opposite of him.

DRENCH: Do you think you’ll ever reconcile with your father?

Dannii Danger: I mean we working on that right now. It’s funny because after I did this intereview he called. I was feeling a little regretful on the answer i gave to the prior question saying that I didnt want to be like him. He gave me a call & we talked about everything that has happened. I’m a forgiving person, but I never forget. So we’ll see what happens. However it goes, you’ll probably hear a song about it. HAHA!

DRENCH: What are factors that you’d say have the least influence on your style?

Dannii Danger: I would have to say fame & money. Now dont get me wrong, being famous is a dream. But, I’m not about to sacrifice the content of my lyrics to become famous. I know im not the artist who creates “radio friendly” music, and I dont care. So if I get famous, I’d love that. If not, then thats cool too. I’d rather be an underground artist who’s respected, than a famous rapper who’s a sellout.

DRENCH: If you were a comic-book superhero, who’d you be, and why?

Dannii Danger: I would be the Ninja Turtles! Them dudes didn’t care what people thought. They just had fun doing what they do best, saving people from harm. In a way that’s what I’m trying to do with my music.

DRENCH: Which Ninja Turtle would you be in particular, and why?

Dannii Danger: I really dont have a favorite. Individually they had their own skills, but as a team they work together. So I feel that my all my traits & characteristics mesh together to make me who I am.

DRENCH: What separates Dannii the rapper, from Dannii the person?

Dannii Danger: Dannii the rapper thinks about what he says all the time. He doesn’t just go around and talking non-sense. He feels that everybody deserves a chance to be somebody. While Dannii the person says what’s on his mind. It might offend you or hurt your feelings,but he still says it. Basically he keeps it real with everybody, no matter who you are.

DRENCH: Why do you think that your rapper persona, and who you are outside of music have such a direct contrast to each other in what they say?

Dannii Danger: Because with music my main motivation is to help people. I wanna say all the right things and make music thats stays with a person and helps them grow. While the regular me just worries about himself. I mean I do care for my friends & family and I help them however I can, but I been hurt and backstabbed a lot so I’m looking out for myself more.

DRENCH: If you had to strike a connection between hip-hop & a romantic comedy movie, what would it be?

Dannii Danger: Hitch. I chose Hitch because in the movie he was helping other people find love when he couldnt help his self find it. That’s how artists are with their music. We want to help people become better people in the way we feel they should become better. Whether its being fly or being humble. But sometimes its not people who need the help….its us.

DRENCH: What’s your opinion of the current state of hip-hop culture? What do you believe you’ll contribute to it?

Dannii Danger: Hip-Hop is in an evoulutionary period. More artists are fusing other types of sounds & genres into Hip-Hop. Look around, artists are using techno, break-beat, house, electro, & rock. It’s all apart of Hip-Hop now. So now artists are going to veer towards that sound because it’s universal.

My Interview w/Mickey Factz for DRENCH magazine

March 4, 2008

Mickey Factz

Mickey Factz is an up-and-coming MC, who emerged from hip-hop’s birthplace (NY). With a style he has deemed “Uber Music,” his sound sticks out like sore thumb from the status quo of rappers. With all of this said, he’s still sifting through record label offers, trying to find the right deal. Will the Uber music reach it’s goal of global domination? Only time will tell.
 
DRENCH: I’ve discovered your music simply through searching somehwat new avenues that allow artists to get exposure (the internet in general, myspace, blogs, etc.). Do you think this new style of guerilla-marketing on the net is more of a gift or a curse?

MICKEY FACTZ: It’s definitely more of a gift. You have access to the entire world in front of you. That right there is amazing. Because of the internet, my reach has grown tremendously, allowing me to perform and travel as well as meet new people from all over the globe. And that’s absolutely perfect for me, especially with the global direction that I’m taking with my music.

DRENCH: Could you expand on the global direction you’re taking with your music? You’re like an “everyman” rapper, but I wanted to know if there was more to this…

MICKEY FACTZ: Ok, you know how the Dream Team was a team comprised of the greatest players in the country?

DRENCH: Yeah.

MICKEY FACTZ: The reason they put the team together was so they could be the greatest team in the world. Competing and performing for the entire world at the highest level possible. That’s what my global direction is. I’m not making music just for my man on the block. I’m making music for the kid in Iowa. His uncle in Idaho, and his distant cousin out in Bangladesh. At this point, Hip Hop needs to grow. I’m one of those dudes assisting in that process and I’m going to be the best at it.

DRENCH: I’ve put a few people onto your music before, and the first thing is they often ask me is how did you get your name, Mickey Factz? What’s the story behind it?

MICKEY FACTZ: Mickey Factz is a combination of two things. My first name derives from the movie Natural Born Killers’ character Mickey Knox. He was in love with Mallory and they did everything together, good and bad. He would’ve died for this woman. My Mallory is Hip Hop and Knox’s sentiments are the same as mine when it comes to her. Factz comes from what I talk about in my music. Everything that’s real to me. The z is just the rebellious side of me.

DRENCH: If you could describe how you rap in one word, what would it be?

MICKEY FACTZ: Extravagant. It’s breath taking, honestly.

DRENCH: Haha, that was pretty funny. What do you think is your best attribute as an MC?

MICKEY FACTZ: My best attribute would have to be my versatility. I could record a straight “traditional” hip hop record with Pusha T, record a rock record with Curtis Santiago, perform a house record at an all white club, and then step out and air a cipher out. So that’s my best attribute. Ever heard of a trick question? That was a trick answer. Haha

DRENCH: Your sound is definitely not conventional. What do you think contributes to that?

MICKEY FACTZ: It’s the fact that people are bored with the staleness in hip hop. It’s the same shit over and over and over. Recycled material. No substance. What I’m creating is a fusion between cultures and their sounds. And because I grew up listening to the pioneers and lyricists, that makes me that much better in satisfying the needs of all the lovers of our art.

DRENCH: If someone listens to your music, they can tell you’re into fashion (The Supra Song, etc.). Some people would even go as far as to say that fashion is like a 5th element of hip-hop…would you agree with that sentiment?

MICKEY FACTZ: Fashion and Hip Hop go hand in hand. If it wasn’t for Hip Hop a lot of brands wouldn’t be standing today. We as a culture have set standards and trends for many different companies. So yes, fashion is the 5th element of Hip Hop.

DRENCH: What do you believe is the most unlikely inspiration towards your music?

MICKEY FACTZ: I get my inspiration from the willldest places. The evolution of the world inspires me. Its crazy because I don’t just rap about one subject matter. I try to cover as many issues so that people can relate.

DRENCH: When everyone was younger, we all had a generic idea of what jobs would have when we got older (astronaut, cop, doctor, lawyer, etc.). What was yours?

MICKEY FACTZ: Haha, its funny you ask that because my dream was to become an astronaut. I told one of my friends and he blatantly killed my dream. His exact words were, “What happens if your helmet bursts open while your floating in space. You’ll die and float away and nobody would know.” Haha. The next day I picked up a pen started writing rhymes…Crazy but true.

DRENCH: You ever had a so-called “regular” job?

MICKEY FACTZ: I was a paralegal at a law-firm for about 5 years.

DRENCH: I understand you’re not signed yet? You been in talks with any labels so far?

MICKEY FACTZ: I’ve sat down with almost every label in the industry. I’m looking for the best home possible.

DRENCH: Could you specifiy on what label you’re leaning towards, or what?

MICKEY FACTZ: I’m leading towards the label that is working on new processes and innovative approaches in capitalizing on the marketing and distribution mediums that are out there and those to come in this growing age of technology. I want to go where the transition is taking place. I’m not concerned about being signed to a “name”…GFCnewyork is the name.

DRENCH: What places has rapping taken you to? And where do you expect it to take you in the future?

MICKEY FACTZ: My artistry has taken me to China, Hong Kong, Miami, Texas and so forth. This year I plan on going to France as well as doing some more touring within the states. Its shaping up to be a very eventful year.

DRENCH: What’s your favorite place that you’ve performed so far outside of NY?

MICKEY FACTZ: Favorite place has to be Houston, TX. Everytime I go out there, its nothing but automatic love soon as I hit the stage.

DRENCH: What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen in your travels from touring?

MICKEY FACTZ: The wildest thing I saw was when I was in China and seeing the effects of communism and how it has taken its toll on the nation. I don’t think anyone has ever seen one strip in a city that looks like Times Square, 5th Avenue, Hunts Point in the Bronx and a poverty stricken town in Africa- all on one block! So I saw lights, the Louis Vuitton store, prostitutes/pimps and huts with poor people in it. Sad but true.

DRENCH: Is the groupie thing all it’s cracked up to be?

MICKEY FACTZ: Groupies are great, aside from the stigma they have. Their very loyal and I appreciate all of them.

DRENCH: What’s this groupie stigma you speak of, haha?

MICKEY FACTZ: The sexual favors. We all heard the stories of those. Honestly, I don’t want the chicken pox on the D. So when it come to groupies I show love and respect.

DRENCH: Do you hope to branch out in other areas besides music?

MICKEY FACTZ: I plan on having other businesses. As well as investing in properties and the financial markets.

DRENCH: How’d you link up with RockSmith Clothing?

MICKEY FACTZ: My firm GFCnewyork does creative consulting for them. So it was given that we’d work on the music end eventually. Especially since they’re a music inspired line.

DRENCH: I’m sure you’ve brushed shoulders with a couple of big names in the industry by now. You ever been starstruck by someone?

MICKEY FACTZ: Its funny. I’ve met a lot of people and been in the studio with some big names. But because of my roots, when I saw Rakim perform in boston for free. I was in awe and starstruck. I think the only other stars I’d do that with would be Denzel Washington and Stevie Wonder. 2 amazing figures in their respectable fields.

DRENCH: The phrase, “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper” is thrown around quite a bit in the rap game…who’s your favorite?

MICKEY FACTZ: Jay-Z. Hands down. He’s amazing.

DRENCH: You ever meet Jay-Z?

MICKEY FACTZ: No, not yet but I’m sure I will in the near future.

DRENCH: What do you think was the last “great” moment in history of hip-hop music?

MICKEY FACTZ: Nas and Jay-Z on the same stage. That right there was the ending of a great battle between two great artists.

DRENCH: Do you think the general state of hip-hop is headed in a positive direction? How so?

MICKEY FACTZ: Hip Hop will always be a positive platform. If you hear a rapper talking about guns and drugs in his raps and how’s he’s killing. I’d hope to believe he’s seen this carnage to be able to express it. It’s up to the the communities to do something about what’s going on. As far as topic wise, hip hop is definitely going into a more positive direction and I’m one of the guys at the fore front of that.

DRENCH: What’s your favorite body of work in music?

MICKEY FACTZ: Wow. That’s a 5 way tie between: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In the Key of Life,” John P. Kee’s “Not Guilty,” Jay-Z’s “Volume 1: In My Lifetime,” and Telepopmusik’s “Genetic World.” Those are all great bodies of work in my opinion.

DRENCH: Any people you wanna’ give a shout out to?

MICKEY FACTZ: Shout out to drench mag and GFCnewyork.

Links to Mickey Factz:
www.myspace.com/itzmickey
http://www.gfcny.blogspot.com
Download Mickey Factz latest mixtape, “Heaven’s Fallout,” for free at http://www.gfcny.com!

My interview w/rapper Fat Tony for DRENCH magazine

March 3, 2008

The Houston Hip-Hop scene has caught a lot of attention within the past couple of years…though this is true, some mention that eyes are veering off in different directions. But a surge in skilled rappers has become noticeable throughout hip-hop in its current stage. Of the noticeable few is a Houston group, the Low Ends, namely one of its members, Fat Tony. With a quite prominent resume for an up-and-coming emcee, and a stage such as the South, there’s a possibility that Fat Tony and the Low Ends may be something to look out for.
DRENCH: What was your first hip-hop experience?
Fat Tony: The first Hip Hop experience that comes to mind is buying my first CD, Kriss Kross’ Totally Krossed Out with Jump, I Missed the Bus…all those Jermaine Dupri money making classics. Their Sega CD video game had me wanting to be a rapper hella hard. I was into rap heavily since I got that CD in 2nd grade…after that there was a bunch of Fat Pat, Jay-Z, Biggie, Scarface, 2Pac, Cash Money (Mannie Fresh has always been that dude to me), Geto Boys, De La Soul…getting played. I went for any thing I’d come across on TV or the radio at the time. Video programming was much better back then…I remember even MTV, BET, and local video shows like Street Flava being a bit more varied then before the focus of commercial music hit that ballin’ craze and rap became the biggest seller. They’d even play older shit sometimes. That’s how I saw De La cause that “Me, Myself, and I” was still getting put on as a throwback jam. Beastie Boys caught me early on too. One CD I remember saving up money to buy was, “Hello Nasty,” at Sam Goody (which, of course, was super expensive…like $20 for one CD – a bunch of bullshit); that was 4th grade for me.
DRENCH: What’s the history behind the creation of the group, The Low Ends?
Fat Tony: In fall of 2005 I decided to try my hands at a new rap project aside from music I made with Young Cuz and what I wrote on my own. I got together with a friend named Roman who made beats and we started making songs together. I came up with the name and started getting the ball rolling on writing more songs and getting shows after a few months of that. Spring of ‘06 I found Robert and we became cool through bonding over music in a class that meant nothing to my credits that senior year (basically I was looking for something to interest me in that room). He made his way into the group simply ‘cause I believed he had hella potential for a guy a couple years younger than me, and I knew he was a person that strives to be creative lyrically. Myself, Robert, Roman, and Young Cuz all went to high school together at Carnegie Vanguard.
DRENCH: Who are music artists who influence your style?
Fat Tony: A lot of folks…and a bit varied. I was always interested in music, musicians, instruments, mics, and records from an early age but my thoughts toward creating music really came around age 14 when I was heavy into punk bands and starting to look more into rap that just wasn’t out there mainstream wise. The internet did hella good in influencing me and helping me read/hear/see all that’s out there. That’s why I can look back on all this illegal file sharing fiasco nonsense going on and think it’s totally silly. Napster and other programs put me on to a lot of stuff I would’ve never gotten the chance to sample and listen to without it. But that’s a tangent for another interview…as for the styles that I influence me, it’s always been a lot of rap, punk, reggae, soul/r&b, post-punk, funk, and rock ‘n’ roll that really caught me hard. My biggest influences rap music wise would be Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, Devin, UGK, Mos Def, De La Soul, Timbaland, Prince Paul, Little Brother…(The Listening is forever a classic in my eyes…and not for golden age nostalgia/old rap style wishes either…it felt & still feels like fresh music), Supreeme, Beastie Boys, Rakim, Slick Rick, Souls of Mischief, Common, Kanye, Ice Cube, Ludacris, Jay Dee (J Dilla), DJ Screw, Goodie Mob, The Neptunes, Murs, Atmosphere and Nas. 10th grade year a girl sold me Illmatic for $3 cause she got it as a gift and didn’t know about it nor want it…..the best $3 I’ve ever spent (Thanks, girl.) Other big influences on me are Prince (mainly his late 70s/80s period…Dirty Mind is my record til the grave), Ian Mackaye, Bad Brains, Lee Perry, The Wailers, Sly & Robbie, Pixies, Sly Stone (and the Family too…especially Larry Graham), The Smiths, Modest Mouse, The Ramones, My Bloody Valentine, Parliament – Funkadelic, and Michael Jackson (since I was in diapers that’s been the nigga for pop music!).
DRENCH: How would you describe your style?
Fat Tony: A mesh of conscious raps (term used for you knuckleheads that think you need a name for someone with a mind & an opinion), hella energy, charm, hopes & dreams, determination, lust, love, shit talking, good flows, & cadence filtered through a water pipe and clouding up your room…all coming from a 19 year old dude out of Houston, TX. I like talking about how good I am like every other rapper in existence, and I really like messing with concepts & focused song writing. I think my style is for everyone. I think genres and styles and all that are cool for convenience…but when it comes down to it I never want to be pigeonholed. Ultimately, it’s just American rap music.
DRENCH: There’s a lot of talk nowadays about the state of hip-hop…what are your thoughts on it ?
Fat Tony: It’s good, it’s bad, it’s silly, it’s yadda yah…it’s a bunch of shit that needs to catch up with the times and develop – on the artists & label’s parts. Those suits gotta be more selective in picking quality…and folks gotta come with fresh stuff. That’s how Hip Hop has been though…so I don’t see a reason to complain. I’m just excited with all the new stuff I’ve been discovering around this country in the past year. Good rap music is coming up (as always).
DRENCH: A lot of artists liken hip-hop to a woman. What would you compare hip-hop culture to?
Fat Tony: A greedy, old white dude…cause that’s what a lot of it is! Money hungry, prestige hungry and greying in all the wrong places. But that’s just for this moment…as a whole Hip Hop is BEAUTIFUL. If it were a woman she’d have to be a dime…that had a thing for tagging and doing as b-girls do. And making it rain too.
DRENCH: I hear you’ve been doing a few shows lately, what’s the show experience like?
Fat Tony: The show experience is wonderful. I’ve been performing music for about 4-5 years now but really getting into the swing of emceeing in the past 3 years. I’m always trying to improve as a performer ‘cause live shows are very important to me. Ain’t nothing like a crowd. That’s the best arena for Hip Hop to go down…live & in person. I just played Halloween night at the Pi Lounge and have a show coming up November 2nd at my school – University of St. Thomas. I played a Thanksgiving show at Warehouse Live in Houston on November 22nd, and a show at the Contemporary Arts Museum on December 1st. I have a couple shows going down at the SXSW pre-party in Austin at Salvage Vanguard Theater, March 7th. I’m coming with another one at the Karma Lounge on March the 9th, and I’m performing at the March Mashup on a floating party boat in Lake Austin, March 12th. Then I’m performing at Light Bar for the SXSW (Austin) showcase on March 15th. Come check me out some time and get that experience. Just bring a lot of open minded people that are ready to have a good time, just bring two girls for every guy in your party…a sausagefest at a Fat Tony just won’t do…no disrespect to my male bredrin, we’re cool.
DRENCH: What do you think your best song so far is?
Fat Tony: At this moment, “Love Life” (Produced by Hollywood Floss), & “Jaded” (beat by DJ Steez), are my favorite songs. I’m excited to see where the rest of my songwriting is going to go with the songs I’ll be writing from this point on. I feel like I’m in a real good state of developing my music right now. I’m trying to take it to each and every ear willing to listen!

DRENCH: What do you think makes a man?

Fat Tony: Integrity, discipline, and being able to learn from mistakes and grow through tough times. I think all those things ultimately make up the strength a man needs to carry himself and even others through his life. A man must make himself, and a good woman (emphasis on good), can hold that up through support & seeing eye to eye with one another.
DRENCH: What are your aspirations concerning music? What do you believe is your loftiest goal?
Fat Tony: I’m down for whatever comes my way music wise. I’d love to continue being an artist and gain success in it. I’d love to also help others with their music through managing or even A&R work. My loftiest goal is to just remain great, consistent with the quality, and continue to grow with my music the best way I can. All that is natural in my eyes, plus hard work & definitely determination, so I’m just excited to see where my life takes me. I definitely want to be remembered past my years in this. I believe in myself enough to make whatever I conceive in my hopes & aspirations become reality. Just gotta keep it moving.
• end •
Direct link to interview:
http://www.drenchonline.com/magazine/features/artistspotlight/fat_tony.html
Resources:Looking For Fat Tony?
www.myspace.com/fattonyrap
www.facebook.com/pages/Fat-Tony/9656164815