You’ve definitely put your work on in the battle scene and have a mixtape coming soon. What can you tell us about the mixtape so far?
Well, basically I can tell you that I’ve been working on it for a real long time. To be honest with you, I’ve been working on it for almost three years. I’ve been working so long on it because I know what I’m capable of doing. I know my talent and I wanted to put out a classic. Not to sound cheesy or like anyone else, but I feel like I finally have the material I wanted and I can finally make people catch on. It’s been a very long time coming and a long time in the making and hopefully people can really feel it. If you like lyrics and you like substance in hip-hop, man, and you’re from the Nas and Jay-Z era, you’re definitely going to want to hear this.
You’re coming from Neptune, New Jersey, an area not known for hip-hop. How do you get around that and get your music out?
It’s definitely harder, but basically, if you’re determined, it really shouldn’t matter where you’re from because if you look at artists like in the whole Midwest movement like Nelly, he was one of the first people from that era. He just had to grind. All I pretty much do is grind, whether it’s on the internet or in local clubs and venues. Whatever I can do to grind to get the people from New York or wherever to give me a listen, that’s what I’m all about.
Do you feel like you’ve been getting the feedback you want for your music?
A little bit. It’s still not as good as I wanted, but that just shows me that I have to grind harder. But the material’s there. I’m very confident in what I can produce. The more work I put in, the more I’ll get noticed.
You got some nice features on Tri State Music. How did it come about?
It’s really incredible. Not to toot my own horn, but if you’re into lyrics, you’re really going to enjoy this mixtape, from lyrics to punchlines. There’s all types of songs on there from freestyles to club joints to personal joints about my life. It’s kind of like my baby when you give birth to a child and raise it. I’ve been working on it for so long and I want it to mature. I hope this can give me some exposure.
“Get Paid” features Papoose, Grafh and Awthentik. How did that go down?
First I reached out to Grafh. He’s real down to earth. I always thought he was. Him and Papoose were two artists I really idolized. Grafh didn’t act real Hollywood like a lot of these mixtape rappers who think they’re bigger than they are. I told him my idea for having Papoose on the joint and he gave me Pap’s contact and he was also very down to earth with me. Then I got my man Awthentik. There’s basically three lyrical East Coast artists on there. It’s one of the best joints on the mixtape.
Do you feel any pressure going verse for verse with Grafh and Papoose?
Oh, absolutely. When you’re working with an artist with the lyrical capabilities of a Papoose or Grafh, I know me, personally, I’m so locked in to trying to outdo them. I have to raise my game to the highest level of lyricism. I didn’t feel pressure. I was up to the challenge. I knew I had to come with my A game on that.
How do you choose what artists you want on a project?
A lot of times, I always work with who I’d like to work with. When I work with an artist and want to collab with them, it has to be someone I respect and someone who can generate more fans to me. A lot of times you can have a rapper that you really like and are a fan of them, but at the same time, if you do a song with them, is there buzz popping right now and is that going to help you? If not, then there’s no sense in doing it. If you want to do it just because you’re a fan, that’s one thing, but at the same time, you have to work with someone who is “hot” right now. It’s on a much larger scale, of course, but that’s why Lil’ Wayne was on everybody’s song, because he was that dude right there. It’s real important to do that. The mixtape game is a little iffy right now, but I feel like Papoose and Grafh are artists that definitely left their staple in the game and that’s why I went after who I went after.
How are you going to make sure your buzz never goes down the way some artists did in recent years?
Personally, man, this is my life. I’ve come to the conclusion that hip-hop is my destiny. It’s what I was sent here to do and I’m going to give it 129% of what I have, which means constantly releasing new music and keeping my name out on the internet. I’ve got a great video production company I’m working with and we’re going to be releasing a lot of videos. We’re going to keep on putting out quality music and hopefully people will recognize it and hopefully that will get me a buzz and hopefully a record deal, man.
How long do you think this process will take for you?
Of course I would like it to be as short as possible. Ideally, I would love for the mixtape to drop and for it to get a tremendous buzz for a major label to recognize. But realistically, I realize that that probably won’t happen. Red Café was on Violator seven years ago and he just signed his deal. He got dropped and signed again and there’s so many other artists like that who have put in way more years than I have. Hopefully it will be a matter of months or a year, but hey, if it’s longer than that, I’m ready for that.
Coming from Neptune, which isn’t too far from Seaside Heights, do you ever hit the nightclubs and go fist-pumping?
No fist-pumping for me! The show is entertaining. It’s definitely not a real perception of the Jersey Shore. That’s just the one area in the summer and in the summer, that’s part of what it’s like, but don’t get it confused, everybody out there. The Jersey Shore still has ‘hoods. If you go to areas in Neptune, Asbury Park, Long Branch, believe me, there’s no fist-pumping and there’s no guidos around. Jersey Shore is entertaining but it’s not reality for what the Shore is really like. But I do hope that one day they’ll be fist-pumping to my music! (laughs)
What keeps you going in a game where there are so many rappers chasing what you are?
I just feel like when there’s passion inside of you and you just can’t let it go, you have to do it. I’m 23. I’m young. I’m gonna be realistic. I’m not going to be 40 years-old trying to get a record deal, but there are artists out there like Black Rob. His first hit was really his only hit and I don’t mean that in any disrespect because I’m a huge BR fan, but his first hit was at age 30. Not to sound cocky, but I know what I’m capable of but I know that I’m probably better than 85-90% of rappers with deals. I know my talent and I’m pretty confident that I’m not just doing this to waste time. I’m pretty confident that something will happen.
You got Sammy, J-WOWW and Snooki. If you have to fuck one, marry one and kill one. Go.
I can’t fuck and marry Sammy? I’m definitely gonna fuck Sammy. I love Snooki, but she’s a little too airheadish for her. She’s a blonde without being a blonde. J-WOWW, she’s a cool chick and she seems pretty down to earth more than any of them. I don’t see myself marrying her but if I had to, I would probably marry her.
None of them strike me as marriage material.
No, especially after you see them at Bamboo and Karma.
Have you ever been to Bamboo and Karma?
I have, but to be honest with you, I was too intoxicated to remember. I don’t remember the dance battling going on like that, but hey, it’s a reality show and I’m sure that’s what goes down. That’s definitely not a spot that I frequent so I’m not a good source for you.