Hometown: Chicago, IL
Length of Time in Game: 4 Years
Influences: Timbaland, Eminem, Lupe Fiasco
Websites: http://myspace.com/gobullet, http://gobullet.com, http://twitter.com/gobullet
When did you first realize that you are an artist and that what you do through your music affects the fans and listeners?
I knew it started affecting people when my first record “Shut it Down” came out and I started getting booked for shows. Right after that was when I started getting press and all that stuff when that record first came out.
Was that the point where you felt that you’ve been able to make a contribution to Hip-Hop?
Yeah, basically because I was making a transition from battle rapping and being a mixtape rapper to actually being able to write songs. So that’s when I realized that I could do this.
Battle rapping has changed a lot over the past decade. What did you do in that scene?
Well, basically when I was at Columbia [College Chicago] my game plan was of course to be known and to get my name out there. So I started out battling and I was just beating everybody and then they had a competition at school and I got to battle everybody and I beat everybody in that battle and I just kept winning and winning and that’s how my name got known and I started doing interviews and radio and stuff like that and that’s when I knew had to be able to do songs and take it to the next level.
Do you think that it’s hard to go from battling to creating songs with structure? More than less you see failure when this is done.
Yeah, it would have been really hard if I kept battle rap tags because my fan base now they wouldn’t even know that I battle rapped because of the songs I make. That was a big thing with me, to make sure that ‘okay, let’s drop that I have nothing else to prove with battle rap, let’s just learn how to song write.’ So I just practiced, practiced, practiced, on songwriting to the point where I wouldn’t have to say, “Oh, I’m a battle rapper,” because now from what I do you can’t even tell that I did that.
As a new artist do you feel like your voice is not being heard even when you feel it needs to be heard the most?
Yeah, sometimes I feel that way because my genre is pop/hip-hop/electro whatever and I just feel like sometimes when I put out certain songs or whatever people will post it online on blogs and websites and then certain people wont post it and then you have another artist that kind of did what I just did and he’ll have his stuff posted in the places where I’m not and I feel like I did something wrong and that confuses me a lot.
Do you think that the biggest frustration now for artists, getting that coverage from the internet?
Yeah, basically. I think it depends because some people have publicists and stuff like that but I think internet coverage is a good and bad thing because not everyone can get that so it does frustrate many. If you do get it by yourself I think it’s a big achievement in itself.
Now that the internet has sparked so many careers that would have gone nowhere, do you think it is safe to say focusing on an internet buzz is a necessity?
I think the internet is definitely necessary. Like that’s where most of my fanbase came from, and everything I’ve done is focused literally on the internet, from websites to Facebook and MySpace. I’ve invested a majority of my money towards internet.
Internet buzz is obviously not something unique about your up rise, but the fact that you keep all of your songs clean is something unique. Why did you choose to do that?
Basically the reason I stopped cursing was first because one of the fans hit me who was like 12 or 13 and he just hit me up and said he loved my music and stuff like that and I was like, ‘Oh, crap I’m influencing young people.’ And the second reason was when your editing your songs and stuff like that, to get a song edited for radio it cost me more money to get it edited and after it was done I was like what’s the point of cursing if it’s gonna do that. I also realized if you don’t curse and stuff you’re more marketable to certain audiences so soon as I stopped cursing I was able to headline a dance marathon for kids in Nebraska and stuff like that so it worked out better for me.
Don’t you think you would get more criticism for not saying things that inappropriate?
Not really because people don’t know that I’m not cursing unless if I tell you that I didn’t curse in that song. I have people that still ask for radio edits because they don’t realize that I don’t curse.
Do you have people that reach out to you now and thank you for keeping everything clean?
All the time. All the time. That’s the majority of the reason why I get shows booked now.
Do you think that gives you an edge over other artists?
Yeah, I think so it makes me more marketable. It’s less of a risk to have me performing or representing.
Do you ever slip up while recording?
Yeah, all the time (laughs). Or I’ll just do it on purpose since I can’t curse on the record I’ll just mess around with my engineers and start cursing up a storm since I can’t do it on the song (laughs).
Let’s talk about your last release, Back to the Lyrics, which was a digital album which gained a lot of recognition and even got you a big look in The Source. How did that feel?
It felt surreal because I’ve put in a lot of work on that project so it was just my in house production which was Vanish and Slot-A. I didn’t know I was in The Source and I kept getting phone calls from one of my friends but I didn’t know what it was about and I couldn’t answer the phone because I was writing songs and on the phone with other people so I got their voice mails. Then I got a call the next day from Vanish and he was saying that his friend from New York said, “Don’t you work with Bullet? Your name’s right here in The Source!” So I went out to the store and saw my album in it and it just felt like I accomplished a lot just off that plus all the other press I was getting at that time but that one right there just felt like a victory I guess.
How many opportunities did that open up for you?
It opened up a lot! I got more interviews, more looks, getting shopped to labels so it’s really good right now.
On the album you describe yourself as a Martian, which is obviously something Lil’ Wayne has manicured, but word is that you have been rocking that theme for awhile before it came out of Lil’ Wayne’s mouth.
Basically what happened was I used to always make little space references in songs and stuff and even on my facebook and MySpace I would say in my bios that I was from Jupiter and I just felt that way because humans sometimes just confuse me a lot and it’s just like what’s the point and I would just hate being around humans and stuff so I would always say that I’m a Martian or whatever.
So then when I started working on Back to the Lyrics I was working on my single and I actually flew to Atlanta to write the record but it didn’t get done out there so I came back and I started working with Slot-A and he was just like, “Yo why don’t you just be the alien that you are and just start making songs like that.” So I was like cool and that’s when we came out with “Earth Girls” and this was before anybody started talking about aliens and all that stuff and so it hit the net and when that track spread everywhere that’s the one that initially got all my buzz and the press started coming my way. So after that I started seeing songs like “Embrace the Martian” and Lil’ Wayne came out saying, “We are not the same I am a Martian.” So that kind of got me upset but it didn’t because like if I was signed, doing this stuff it would have came out even bigger.
Do you think because of that, people get the wrong impression and think that you’re biting off of that trend?
Sometimes I feel like that because I remember one time when they were reviewing one of my songs on another website it got a great review but they said that they thought I was like the 5th person to call themselves a Martian and it kind of made me mad because dude I’ve been on this stuff. That’s the bad thing about being an artist that’s not signed because you come up with stuff before other people and it gets out and then some other people take it but they have more notoriety then you so it looks like they started it.
That kind of connects to a lot of unsigned artists doing ghost writing for these bigger artists. How do you feel about that? Would you ever consider doing it?
I think it’s beneficial to some extent because sometimes that’s the only way a newer artist can break into the industry. Kind of like when Kanye was talking about how he was ghost producing for D-Dot and that was the only way he could get into the game and if it wasn’t for that we wouldn’t know who Kanye West is. So I do think it has some benefits to it. I haven’t taken part in it but I wouldn’t be opposed at all. I would love to write for somebody because song writing is like my second hobby to rap.
How is your process for song writing?
Well basically I’ll get a beat from a producer or whatever and hopefully I’m in the zone and then I’ll just listen to Timbaland’s “Shock Value” a lot, that’s one of the main things I will listen to before I song write. Then I’ll think of a concept that nobody has used and then I’ll start thinking up a hook that’s catchy but creative and not dumbed down. Then once I get done with that I’ll start writing my verses and thinking of good melodies to write to the verses and keep some lyrics in there like a couple metaphors and then give it to Slot-A and he’ll remake the beat and we’ll get it in studio.
So your trying to reflect the same kind of music that he makes?
Right, exactly. If I could hook up with him I’d be good (laughs).
You’re next project is called The Lost Jabawockee. What’s the meaning behind the title?
The Lost Jabawockee came from me watching the movie Step Up 2 and since my genre is mostly pop/hip hop when I was watching the movie I was just amazed at how the dancers were doing their thing and moving to the beat. And I was just like ‘wow I want people to be able to move to my music like that.’ So then I was on YouTube and I saw my song “Earth Girls” and it was a video of somebody dancing to it and I was like why don’t I just make music like this because I’m already on this single wise. I was watching Americas Best Dance Crew then and watching the Jabawockees dance and them winning and it was just perfect because if I’m making a dance project full of songs you can dance to and I’m a fan of the Jabawockees why don’t I just brand it together and call it The Lost Jabawockee because you’re going to associate them to dancing and my project is about dancing so I figured that would be the perfect title.
For being new you certainly have a lot to say that you have accomplished and I’m sure you mapped out a lot of these things. How important is it for a new artist to have a game plan coming into this industry?
I think it’s very important. I think the first thing you need to do is have the music because I think the music is the foundation of everything. First you have to ask yourself, ‘Okay, if this is good and if it wasn’t me on this product would I buy it myself?’
Secondly one thing I learned at Columbia from my dude Cosign is that if you don’t have money to do the music, don’t do it. And at first I didn’t get what the heck he was talking about but I found that in order to make money you have to have money at the end of the day so you have to figure out okay, how am I going to push this project? You can put it online but where is it going to go online? Like a lot of people make videos but it’s stuck on YouTube because you have nobody pushing the song. So if I were them I would have a project that once you feel that it’s a dope project get a publicist or somebody that has connections over the internet or whatever that can get you publicity because that’s the name of the game, getting a buzz because if you got buzz and dope music you will be successful. And another thing is, when you have the money you need to know where to invest it at. Like when I had the funds I invested it in the publicist and in the music because if you look at it, a lot of up and coming artists they don’t record quality material. Like they don’t get it mixed and it just sounds like it came from the basement. So I think that you have to invest in your career for someone to invest in you.
What’s next for Bullet?
Right now I’m getting shopped to labels and then once we figure out what situation I’m gonna get then we’ll drop the video for the next single, “Mr. Robotic.” Then hopefully head overseas to perform.