I’m doing all right. I’m just out here grinding every day and working the nine-to-five, trying to keep my head above water.
You’re working on a new mixtape, The Fixtape. How’s it coming?
It’s coming pretty good. Right now we’re just trying to wrap up some skits and maybe a couple of little interludes and that’s it. The music is pretty much done.
Why the title The Fixtape?
We’re just playing on the phrase “the mixtape.” We’re playing it like the music is like the dope and people are trying to get that fix just to get right. This tape is their fix.
What do you want to give people with The Fixtape?
I would just like them to see the full range of my personality. There’s joints on there that are a little older that I may have done when I was feeling a little different. I just want to make sure that the people see every side of me, from the sensitive side to the angry side to the humorous side. I just want to cover all of the bases.
You’re best known for your work with De La Soul for “No” on their album The Grind Date. How was it working with them?
For me, that was a dream come true. I remember seeing the video for “Buddy” as a young teenager and thinking to myself, “Those guys are cool.” When I looked at them on TV, they reminded me of me. There was nothing flashy about them. It was just dope. That’s who I wanted to rock with if I could have rocked with anybody. Then to grow up and to get the opportunity to do that, I was just zoning for that whole time. They are a great group of people, individually and as a collective. They really gave me a big break. It didn’t pan out the exact way I hoped it would, but I have mad love for them just for giving me that shot.
What was it like recording “No”?
Actually it was a lot of fun. When I got the track, Pos’ verses were already done. It was a skeleton of what it should be. I just took it. I sat with it and I tried to make my verses tie into Pos’ so it didn’t sound like we wrote it at different times. When I went to record it, that was the first time I actually met Pos in person. I had met Dave before on a trip to Canada, but that was the first time I was with all of them together and saw how they did things in the studio. Probably the best part of that session was getting to hear “Rock Cocaine Flow” before everyone else. That was the most memorable part to me, just sitting there and previewing The Grind Date.
What did you learn from working with and being around De La Soul?
I definitely learned more about showmanship and how to really, really address the crowd and try to take control of the crowd. I learned how to handle fans coming up to you and what’s too much time to spend and what’s too little time to spend. I learned a lot. It’s hard to put it all into a couple words, but I definitely learned a lot from those dudes.
Why are you trying to distance yourself from that situation now?
It felt to me like things had gone as far as they were going to do. I was signed to Bear Mountain Entertainment, which is Maseo’s label. I have time constraints. I don’t have time to sit and wait. The plan might be a five, six, seven year plan and then it will pop, but I need it tomorrow. I just couldn’t wait anymore. I got too anxious. I wanted to get it to pop. I’m not trying to say anything bad about Mas, but I should have been doing this interview with you six years ago. None of that was happening. I got to go on tour, which was fantastic and I got to be on that record and their mixtape, which was fantastic, but it wasn’t enough for me.
You recorded an album, Brand Spankin’, that never came out. What happened?
I don’t know. That would be another issue with that particular label. It was put out on iTunes, which I was disappointed with because I didn’t feel I needed a label for that. I can make as many CD’s as I want and put them on iTunes. There was no backing and no promotion or anything like that. I really don’t know what happened with that album. I know I did it but after that, the ball got dropped.
That had to be frustrating.
Right. It was very frustrating. It feels like you’re doing it for nothing. I felt like I had proven myself. It was like I had a gold chain but everybody knew it wasn’t gold. That’s how I felt. And I guess that was also a big something that prompted me to want to break away from that label and try to get it popping myself and with my manager Brian Hamilton. At least we have the reins. We have control. There’s no loss of communication and there’s no having to wait for somebody else’s schedule to allow you to flourish. You can do whatever you want to.
You recorded with Bean One and Vitamin D on Brand Spankin’. How was it recording with them?
Before that, I was doing this music because I loved to do it. Some people play basketball or baseball for fun and I made music. When I got with them, I heard their tracks and they were dope. I felt we could really cake off of doing them. The music was also not on some kiddie crap. So sitting there and being able to structure songs with them and being in the studio with Vitamin, who’s incredible, was great. I actually lived with Bean for a month and a half and recorded in his basement. It was just dope. We all had our hopes up and I’m sure they were just as excited as I was. We felt our hard work and effort was going to pay off in the right way. I have no regrets when it comes to the making of the album and who I made it with. My only regret is that it didn’t get the push it deserved and that the rest of the world didn’t get to hear it.
How’s your new album, Six Minutes to Ten, coming?
That’s coming really good. That album, I’m proud of it. We took a lot of stuff that I was doing for Brand Spankin’ that didn’t quite fit with the rest of the stuff. We have a couple of older joints on it, but everything new that we’ve done that was dope is going on there too. It’s dope because I got to address my anger at the situations and it was really good to record that. People from around my way were looking at me like I was finished and I didn’t really get to get it popping, but it was like that. I was in one situation with some people and that situation stopped, so they just wrote me off. It’s good to let everyone know that I’m still here and my music is still dope. We’re looking to smash them with that one.
What are you doing on Six Minutes to Ten that you couldn’t do on Brand Spankin’?
With Brand Spankin’, I didn’t want anybody else on it. I could have had De La on it but I didn’t want them. I wanted people to see that I held down the whole album from start to finish. On this one, I have some features on it. I have CL Smooth on it and A-Butta from Natural Elements. I worked with a lot more producers where the last album was just Vitamin and Bean. I got Marco Polo, DJ Shorty, Nemo and Tzarizm. We just reached out to anybody that was down to rock with us. The last one I was trying to filter through just the three of us who were working on it.
When are you looking to drop Six Minutes to Ten?
We’re looking to drop it right before or right after The Fixtape. That way, we can give you more after the album or piggyback off the mixtape. That’ll be somewhere around the same time for The Fixtape, which is somewhere around the summertime.
You’re also doing a single deal for the song “Jones In Ya Bones”. How important is it to do deals like that to keep your name out there?
It’s very important. I’m hoping I can get fifteen more of those. It sucks to have music that’s done and to have it just sitting there. It’s not doing anything. Doing it through Audio Clutch is great because you know it’s going to get out there. I’m already getting emails from radio stations that are playing it. It’s like instant gratification almost with a deal like that.
How did moving from the Bronx to Fort Lauderdale change your music?
It changed the music slightly. It would be stupid for me to be here where I am and still be repping the Bronx, New York. I’d be alienating every friend I’ve made and everybody I’ve worked with down here as well as my area. I’m incorporating the influence Florida has had on me into my music. In my opinion, it’s an easier life down here. It’s a little slower and that southern hospitality is in full effect. It’s a little more open and the scenery is nicer. It’s definitely expanded my dreams more. I see bigger and better things being down here and being able to look up at beautiful skies instead of looking at the same buildings in New York every day. It definitely influences my mind to form greater things than I did when I was in New York.
What’s going on with your group Glee Club Detention?
The group is still the group. We’re doing what we have to do to get it popping. Our singer Lucien is working and DJ Shorty and Doc Seuss just moved to New York. We’re going to see if we can work with some artists out of New York and bring them into the fold. When this thing pops, it’s important that we have a roster of cats we’d like to see pop. We’re just expanding. We have a branch in the UK as well. We’re working with cats who appreciate the music we make. We’re telling them we believe in them and to rock with us. There will definitely be a lot of things coming from the Glee Club Detention in the future.
You have a couple projects you’re working on now, but what’s your main focus?
Shows. Hopefully some shows are coming. We want to get out there and promote this record. Other than that, we’re looking for new beats and something to come with a follow-up. When I feel like a project is done, I don’t even like to sit there and nitpick it. If I like it when it’s finished, I leave it like that.
You’ve recorded with De La Soul and had your music play on Dog the Bounty Hunter. That’s a pretty big range.
That was very entertaining for me. To have people calling me telling me I was on Dog the Bounty Hunter was crazy. There’s other shows too. My music’s been on The Real World and Saturday Night Live and some other MTV shows. Just for that to happen shows that the ball is slowly rolling into the goal.
How important is it to have your music on shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter, even though you may not be reaching your target fans?
The true answer for that question would have to be posed to a manager or marketing guy. For me, I just know that I’m on TV. I might not have the video playing on MTV, but my song is being played on The Real World. I just sit back and say, “I made it in a small way.” I’m happy about it. As far as the importance of it, I’m sure it’s very important, but I’m not the marketing guy.
You’ve had a wide variety of experiences so far. What advice would you offer to other artists trying to come up?
Stick with it. Don’t give up. If you really believe in yourself, then what you need to do is find people who believe in you as well. You need to work as a team. People that are negative, you don’t need them. If you feel like somebody is holding you back, chances are that they are. Make the best music you make. Make something that exceeds your own expectations and stick to what you want to do. Keep at it and keep a good, positive mindstate. Work hard and it should happen. If you keep laying down bricks, eventually you’re going to have a structure. Once you have that foundation, then you take it to where you want it to go. If you never lay down bricks, there’s no way you’re going to have a structure. You just have to keep working at it.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I’m definitely a dude from the truest era of hip-hop. My teenage years were spent with groups like the Native Tongues and EPMD. The era that everybody says is better than what’s out now, I’m from that era. That’s where my mind is, not that I’m making old school music. I keep the same principles, like that you’re not supposed to bite or flow offbeat. Simple things that kept it so dope back in the days are still relevant to me.
Other than that, I want people to check my new music out. I want to know who thinks I’m dope and who thinks I’m wack. I want people to know and I want people to be able to express their feelings about me. That’s what I’m looking for. I think every rapper, deep down inside, just wants acceptance as a rapper. I’m looking forward to hearing that feedback, whether it’s good or bad. If it’s bad, it lets me know I need to change. If it’s good, I’ll know I was right all along.