How long have you been rapping?
About a couple years less than I’ve been breathing lol
So tell the people what you’ve worked on?
We’re just finishing up my debut album Sorry I’m Late. We got to work with some truly amazing people – artists that I really admire. It was a very humbling experience.
This is actually the third album I’ve been a part of. My label, Culture VI Records, released “Elite” back in 2004. That was my first experience recording an actual album. In real studios like Chung King. The process is crazy. And in 2008, I did a lot of work on my manager Wil’s album “ninety-four”. That really prepared me for the work portion of releasing an album. The marketing, the relationship building, the performances.
But when you think about how few artists will ever get to record even one album in their entire career? To be part of three is really something I’m very proud of.
Who are some of your biggest influence’s in the music industry?
I don’t want to sound corny, but I’d have to say Wil and my producer, YZ. I mean, there are a lot of artists that inspire me – but those two TEACH me. I feel like every day there’s a new lesson. Those guys really understand the industry. They’re long term thinkers, not short term hustler.
YZ is one of the most underrated musicians in the industry. And the people he’s worked with? I mean, Mary J Blige?? Patti Labelle? And worked WITH! Not just somebody picking a beat off a CD. He came up under Chucky Thompson. That was his mentor. He was coming up with Rich Harrington and Young Guru. He just doesn’t hang a sign around his neck to tell the world. I’m hoping Sorry I’m Late can be that sign.
And Wil? Shit. I honestly can’t even describe all the things that he does. He just does everything. He’s the “make shit happen” guy. A visionary. His songwriting skills are unreal. He just knows exactly what he wants to hear and he’s able to bring that music out of us.
Those two allow me the opportunity to focus on music and not have to deal with all the bullshit. Man, you should be interviewing them, not me!
How would you describe your music?
Authentic. There’s nothing else to say about it. Every single word is a direct reflection of me. No exaggerations or stories.
Any rappers/singers you’ve worked with or want to work with?
Shit, I’m the luckiest person in the world. I got to work with one of my true idols, Marsha Ambrosius. We wrote “All I Got to Give” together – my most personal song ever. I’ll never forget that as long as I live.
I also got to work with some of my favorite producers – Nottz, Needlz and 88-Keys. Needlz crafted 3 songs on the album and brought a whole new dimension to the album. Nottz and Keys collaborated on a beat for me for Nobody’s Somebody – Nottz also spits a verse on it (it’s crazy), which i don’t think they’ve ever done before. I also worked with J. Cardim, Frequency — ooh and Dub B and his band did a live song with me. A rock/hip-hop hybrid called She Loves Me…Not.
I did songs with Skyzoo – who had one of the dopest albums of the year in ’09, Joell Ortiz – who is among the best out right now, PackFM, Ill Bill, Jaiden, Sha Stimuli, Amanda Diva – like I said…humbling.
By the way – the word ‘epic’ is very overused, but the song with Joell – Yesterday – is as close to epic as a song can be. It’s him in a way you’re not really used to hearing him.
Do you ever get nervous when performing?
Every time! Shit. I’m a big white dude. People automatically think that i can’t rap, that I’m a gimmick, or that I’m super scientific lol. They never look at me as just a rapper. So at every show, I’m battling that same pre-disposition. It’s kinda exhausting. But every time I win over another crowd, I feel like Rocky after he knocked out that big Russian dude.
Any upcoming projects or shows ?
Sorry I’m Late is finally mixed! Tony Dawsey at Masterdisc will be mastering it this month. You’ll start to hear the records soon. It’ll be followed by a major college tour. We’re putting it together now.
And what do you think should change in the music industry ?
Artists need to take more pride in our music. Too many times, artists are putting out leaks of records that aren’t their best work, that aren’t finished. I dunno, I think it dilutes your catalog. Over-saturation is a huge problem. We have to realize our music is our legacy. Rappers, specifically, put out too much garbage. You’ll never see Beyonce or Alicia Keys leaking records in the studio where they’re off key or songs that have no hooks. Every single thing you release is a reflection of you.
Where can people reach you?
Well, for any business (features, interviews, appearances), you can get at my manager Wil. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and his twitter is @culturevi. You can always find music and everything else at CultureVI.com.