Some may know him, some may not but ever since the first time I heard Chaundon on Little Brother's 2005 classic album, The Minstrel Show, I've been a fan of his work. Whenever he was featured on a song you knew he would bring punchlines, energetic rhymes, and comedy. Chaundon released his debut album, "Carnage" in February 2008 and on October 26th, 2010, Chaundon will finally release his second studio album simply titled… "No Excuses".
Today, I go in depth with Chaundon about his upcoming album, his upcoming I-95 Live tour, why critics think he can't make a definitive album, and his view on why music sales on continuing to decline.
You're set to release your 2nd album, No Excuses, on Oct. 26. Your last album, Carnage, was released in Feb 08' and I'm pretty sure your music has gone through a growth process since then. What can people expect to hear on No Excuses?
Since Carnage was a mixtape, the people can expect a cohesive album filled with gems, and vivid stories, with a backdrop of incredible production from Illmind, M-Phazes, and D.K. The Punisher.
When your first album Carnage dropped in 2008, some criticized you for being just a "feature artist" or a guy who can't hold an entire album down. Will No Excuses act as a silencer to the critics that say Chaundon can't deliver a definitive album?
I don't listen to critics in the first place so "silencing" them is not a priority. The people that purchased Carnage loved it. But for arguments sake, NO EXCUSES will showthe world I put together one of the dopest albums in the last 10 years!
The album's lead single, "Y'all Don't Want It" was produced by M-Phazes, a guy who's worked with artists as from Amerie to Pharoahe Monch. Production from M-Phazes has been in demand as of late, how did "Y'all Don't Want It" come to be?
I linked up with M-Phazes through Matt Diamond of Coalmine Records. I was knocking out verses for Matt for a couple of projects and he knew I was looking for tracks for the album. He sent me an incredible folder of beats from M-Phazes and the track for "Y'all Don't Want It" was the 1st one I heard. I wrote to it immediately. As I was listening to the track, the sample sounded like it was saying "waaaaaaaaaaaaaant it" so I wrote the hook and called Carlitta Durand to knock out the vocals for me. And the rest is history.
I've noticed that you've worked mostly with one producer on No Excuses, a guy named DK The Punisher. How did you link up with him and why did you decide to work with him for most of the album?
I linked up with D.K. over the internet. During the "Myspace era"(laughs) I gave out my email on a bulletin and I received thousands of emails. After hours of listening to the worst beats in the world I was about to give up and erase everything and something told me to check one more. Then I opened an email from D.K. and all it said was "I am a 16 year old producer from Baltimore" and it had 5 tracks attached. As soon as the music started playing I started writing. I finally found the sound I was looking for. At that moment I knew he would produce 90% of the album. Plus all of the tracks he sent me were sample-free. It was a no brainer.
With this album, I heard it will feature only you on it with the exception of a few choruses done by other artists. Why did you decide to record an album with no other rappers?
I didn't plan on recording the album this way. It just happened. In the midst of recording I looked up and saw I completed 9 songs and felt that getting a feature would be over kill. The stories I told on this album are events I personally been through and witnessed. So I figured it wouldn't make sense to feature somebody to tell a story they didn't see through my eyes.
I know you may be a bit biased but do you have a personal favorite track off No Excuses?
That is a tough question. Its like saying what was my favorite moment in my life. But if I had to pick one it would be "No Excuses". It sums up exactly how I feel about everything right now.
I've been hearing things of a "I-95 Live" tour in promotion for No Excuses. How far along Interstate 95 will the tour go and will this be just a solo tour or will you be rocking the stage with other artists?
That tour is still in the works. But the plan is to stop in every market on I-95!!
You've also taken on video sites like Ustream, Livestream, and Stickam to spread the word and build on your fan base. How helpful has the world wide web been for you in this era of music when using the traditional format of getting signed to a major record label is becoming more and more outdated?
It helped me considerably! Its giving me the opportunity to connect with fans and sell my music to them directly. I allow them to see the process of me picking beats, recording in the studio, and just hanging out. By personalizing the experience, it becomes bigger than music. Now the people are buying into the brand.
You also got your internet radio show known as The IMO Show to promote unheard independent music. What inspired you to create The IMO Show?
The inspiration behind The IMO Show was the lackluster support of independent artists on other radio & internet radio shows. Its like you need a co-sign to get passed the red tape in order to be heard these days. There are a ton of talented artist hanging in the balance that don't get a fair shake. So I took it upon myself to give them a platform to stand on and let the world know that Hip Hop is still around. "If its dope, its on The IMO Show".
When things are FREE you can never complain but I really feel that artists are devaluing their music by constantly releasing music for free. With fans becoming accustomed to receiving free music, do you think that contributes to the decline in album sales?
Yes it does. Does Apple give away free Mac Books, iPhones, and Ipads? NO. If they did, Steve Jobs would be out of, well, a job. So if people don't expect for him to give away free stuff, why should they expect artists to give away free music. Its not like recording, artwork, email blasts, pressing and distributing is free. When you have artists that take pride in their work and make sure they put out quality material, its only right that the people who say they support Hip Hop, should actually do it by making a purchase especially if they like a particular artist.
I was one of those guys that would say "hip hop is dead" and that nobody made good music anymore but after discovering guys like Pac Div, Sha Stimuli, Skyzoo, Torae, Fashawn, J. Cole, and with veterans like Raekwon still creating great music again, I really think the future for great thought provoking hip hop is alive and growing. Do you think the industry will eventually get away from the swag era and get back to what counts, the music?
Who knows. I don't even get into that any more. The game is going to go where the people take it.
In closing, your album No Excuses is on the way. With that said, what do you want people to take away from the album and what's next for Chaundon after No Excuses?
What I want people to take away from the album is no matter what obstacle stands in their way, there are NO EXCUSES not to go around it! I have 4 more albums in the works. I told yall, I record more than Pac in his prime. GET READY.
For those interested in the IMO Show, features and staying up to date, how can they contact you?
I can be reached on twitter @chaundon or firstname.lastname@example.org For producers who want to send beats, email@example.com For artists who want to get their songs played on The IMO Show, firstname.lastname@example.org