Interview with Xtro
I’m good, man. I can’t complain at all. I got up and I’m healthy. I can’t complain at all.
Your fourth mixtape, Ohio Representatives, is now out and it’s hosted by Joey Fingaz. How did you put this mixtape together?
It’s kind of a long story. We’ve been working with Joey. He does his mixtapes every season with the hits, and he always gets a track from us. I approached him with the concept of doing a mixtape with all original beats. We linked up and we got it popping. He wanted to do it. The tape took awhile for us to do. My brother and I, our schedules are different every now and then. We got in there and knocked it out. I mastered it and that process took awhile. Joey gave it his approval and that was that.
How do you and your brother work together?
We usually get the beats and sometimes the concept will hit us or sometimes it will take awhile for the concept to come to us. We’ll figure out a way to ride the beat and what we want to say on it. When we do music, we don’t try to do spur of the moment-type tracks. We try to be creative with our music. When we get together, we just try to shoot ideas back and forth and then we agree on it. We give each other ideas and feedback and vibe off each other. We put a lot of creativity into our music, in a nutshell.
And sometimes my brother won’t feel what I want to do and sometimes I won’t feel what he wants to do. We’ll have clashes every now and then, but we both know what we want to get out of this. The ultimate goal is to make classic music and something you can listen to later on. We want this to be something you can listen to, put to the side and go back to because it’s hot. We try to make classic material. We don’t try to throw music out there. We want to be creative. We have plenty of tracks that we’re still working on that didn’t make it on this mixtape but they will come out later on.
When did you and your brother decide to take rapping seriously?
I would like to say there are two phases to us. Honestly, I’ve been rapping all my life. Not always heavily, but when I was young, I used to rap Big Daddy Kane and Run-D.M.C. I loved all of that stuff. And then I moved around a little bit because my dad was in the military. Then I got back to rapping when I got back to Ohio. I used to freestyle a lot too. I used to crush cats in freestyles. One day we went up to Columbus. This dude was having a house party and all these cats were rapping. They were like, ‘Yo, Tuck, you should jump in.’ I was like, ‘Nah, I don’t feel like jumping in.’ I jumped in and we had a four-hour cipher. I was like, ‘I should start rapping again.’ I hit the studio and made some songs and my brother hopped on a few. I started hearing the creativity and I was like, ‘We should just team up.’ Our last name is Tucker, so it made sense. We’re Team Tuck, or Team Tucker as we sometimes say. Me and my brother rapped in the attic to each other. We had instrumental CDs and we rapped like that. Once we started hitting the studio, we were like, ‘We should do it.’ We did two CDs but after we leaked the third one out to the people, they said it was hot and that’s when we started taking it more serious. It was hot. I’m biased, of course, but I’m also an avid music fan. If it sucks, it sucks. Here we are with Volume 4, where I feel we’ve catapulted. If people listen to all four, I believe they will see a nice growing process. After Volume 3, I believed we could take it to the next level.
What inspired the aggressive “Prepare for War”?
The track itself kind of gave us both a war-type feeling. Just listening to it, it made us want to suit up, grab some ammo and go handle a few things. We put it together like that. I did the hook and we just had to bring a little bit of life into the track, so we threw in some sound effects like grenades and some other war sound effects. The track told us to do war and it came out. That’s how we do it.
What inspired “Don’t Worry”?
DJ Delight out of New York, he always gives us tracks. We gave him a CD awhile ago and he was just feeling us. He makes beats on the low. He’s not only a DJ. He asked us if we could do something with that and we could. That was a pretty gutter track. “Don’t worry, we got this. We get it popping right now.” That’s basically what the whole track is. You don’t have to do nothing no more. We got this. Don’t worry. ‘Nuff said.
Are you happy with the overall response to Ohio Representatives so far?
The area we’re in right now, it’s kind of swamped with a lot of local stuff that doesn’t meet the standard we set for ourselves. We don’t consider ourselves in the realm of where we are right now. We’re trying to branch out from where we are right now to where we know we’re supposed to be at. We’ll get responses where people say they didn’t like a certain song but they liked other songs. I’ve given the CD to a few different people and I know what kind of songs they’ll like off of the disc and then I’ll give it to someone else and I’ll know what tracks they’ll like. This CD is eclectic. It’s pretty much for anybody that likes music. You may like “Ohio Representatives” but someone else may not. They might like “Just Can’t Be.” We put it together like that for that reason. There should be songs on there for everyone. We made songs for the girls, the hustlers, the gangsters and everybody. We’re getting a good response from it and we feel it could help us launch Team Tuck to the next level.
How hard is it trying to break into the game coming from northeast Ohio?
It’s flooded. It’s mad flooded over here. There’s a lot of artists out here. It’s got its challenges, but for the people who stay focused and got goals set and mile-markers to help you get there, you’re not going to have too much of a problem. A lot of people get this game mixed up where they think it’s a fly-by-night thing where you do something one night and then you’re on. It’s a longer process. People getting on will tell you it took them five or seven years to get on. You have to be able to build your craft, do promotion right and you have to have money. It’s hard, but at the same time, as long as you stay focused, you’ll be able to do it. It’s so crowded right here with monkey see-monkey do rappers. They say, “Oh, he’s snapping, I’m going to go make me a snap track right now.” Then you have 80% of the rappers snapping and how are you going to get heard if you don’t snap? It makes it a little bit harder, but it’s not going to stop Tuck no time soon. We’re going to get those sales. We’re already going to get it popping.
How much of getting on today is talent and how much is grind?
I tell everybody, hip-hop ain’t even hip-hop no more. It’s all about the promo. The grind is 100%. I’ve seen enough artists, who in my opinion really ain’t that talented at all, get on and were making a little bit of money, but they were the monkey see-monkey do rappers. You’ll hear about them for about a month but then you won’t hear from them no more because their song got phased out. It’s all about the grind nowadays. You can have no talent at all and a street team that’s deep as hell, getting that music out there and everybody’s got it, and you’re on. It’s as easy as that. It’s all about the grind, baby. It’s 100% grind. We got talent though, so that helps us. But it’s all about the grind right now.
What’s the next move for Team Tuck?
We’re still working on about three discs right now. The next project that’s coming up is with myself and G-Spot. It’s called X Marks the Spot. That’s my solo debut. My brother had his solo debut about a year and a half ago. Me and G-Spot are working on the tracklisting and I’m working on mixing down the final tracks. That should be coming out next year sometime. We’re going to do some more things with G-Spot. I’m talking to him about solidifying some things. We’re doing another Team Tuck project as well. We’re working on the album too. We have a lot of stuff underway. We’ve been working on our website for awhile. People don’t understand that Team Tuck does everything on our own. We own Tucker Enterprises. It takes us awhile because we’re perfectionists and this is life, baby. We have a lot of other stuff to do and this music stuff really isn’t a priority right now. I’m working on X Marks the Spot, the website, a Team Tuck mixtape and the album. It’s a lot. We’re still grinding right now.
What are your goals for Ohio Representatives?
10,000 units. That’s the goal that we have right now. It’s like the United Way thermometer when they’re trying to raise money. We want to continue to sell them and hit that marker. Once we hit 5,000, we’re going to have to kick it into overdrive to try and get that 10.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Peace to everybody that’s a Team Tuck fan. Check out our MySpace. We put all our exclusives up there. We also have the Team Tuck t-shirts and sweatshirts.