I've been real
good. I've been grinding man, doing everything I can do just trying to promote
my album "Good Mourning America." We also just finished the DVD of
the making of the album, and my Source article is out, I'm just grinding man.
How do you feel
about the way your album "Good Mourning America" came out?
I feel good about
it. I've been working on it for awhile. Usually it doesn't take me that long,
but this one did and it makes it more special. I've been working on it since
Who is the Choir
Choir Boy is a
musician, a rapper, and an artist I come from the church, both of my parents
are ministers. I've got a whole lot of background from being in orchestras and
jazz bands and being in church.
Can your music
be compared to Gospel?
I wouldn't say
Gospel. I try to shy away from that. I call it real talk, where you talk about
what's going on in the community and all of that. A lot of cats don't do that.
I'm in the hood, so I know that it's crazy out here. I live in Newark, New Jersey,
and I just try to talk about what's going on. I try not to preach, but I try
to give them something that's positive.
do you want to give people?
One of the lessons
is that I'm the best at being me. You can't lose if you just be yourself. A
lot of the other messages is just about taking care of your own and taking care
of your city and repping where you're from. Especially for Jersey, because we're
always in the shadow of New York. Jersey stand up, we got talent too! There's
also a song in there called "I Know Y'all Heard of Me," that's a song
about the AIDS epidemic going on out here. There are a lot of messages in there,
you just have to check the album out. It's real heavy.
Do you feel
like artists are scared to rep Jersey right now?
Yeah. There's a
couple artists that are coming out, Nucci Reyo, Joe Buddens but there's
a lot of artists that are from Jersey but they're not saying it. They'll say
they're from New York. I feel like it's our time, because everybody else popped
What do you
think is wrong with Jersey?
I'm sorry to say
it, but we kind of catch on to a lot of fads that's happening, like the gangs
is real heavy now. A lot of people in Jersey just see what other people do.
We don't have our own image. If you look at ATL or St. Lou, they have their
personality, and they have rappers that came out and are setting the precedents
for the rest of the city. We don't have that here, and that's what's going to
change with all of us coming out.
What do you
bring to the game?
I bring real music
back, and I bring originality. I bring a lot to the game. With me coming to
the game, a lot of artists are going to see that they don't have to be Jay-Z
or 'Pac to sell records. It's the personality that sells records. With me coming
out, people can see that they can be themselves, they don't have to be clones
and they can be successful.
your name set you back at all?
Yeah. I was invited
to a concert in LA, and I was doing the Mic Jones thing real heavy. That' when
Mike Jones just came out on BET. People were like "oh, I just saw you on
TV." I'm like "nah, that's not me, that's another dude." I was
real heated. A lot of cats were telling me to go battle him. And I didn't want
to, he's from Houston, and he's grinding, so I have to respect his hustle. The
smart thing for me to do is change my name. It's really all the music to me,
it's not hype to me. It's all about the music and the message. It set me back
a little bit, but the Choir Boy thing is picking up fast and people are liking
the hardest thing for you so far in the game?
that's even really hard, because if you've been doing it for awhile, you've
just got to come to a realization that it's not going to happen overnight. It's
like baby steps. Each thing that happens is good, and you have to take it one
at a time. Like the Source thing is good, let's celebrate that and then move
on to the next thing and forget about it. You have to keep it all in perspective.
I've done things I've never dreamed I would have done. I did a lot of shows,
I opened up for some people, it hasn't really been hard.
the most frustrating lesson you've had to learn?
Depending on people.
It was really hard for me to depend on people. As people start to learn more
about the Choir Boy, they learn that I rap, I sing, I produce my own tracks,
I'm a musician and I even did my own graphic work. I don't like depending on
people, because people are so shady. There comes a point and time in business
when you have to trust somebody, because you can't do it all yourself, and that
was a valuable lesson because you can't do it all yourself.
With all these
new rappers, where do you see yourself in the mix of everyone else?
To me, I don't
have competition. If I do a track, I picture Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Quincy Jones,
Betty Wright, all of them sitting there and I'm asking myself is what I'm doing
good enough for their presence? I'm always competing with myself, and I have
high standards. And I'm different; nobody out there is like me. There's really
no competition, because I'm the best at being me and nobody can beat me at that,
so there's really no pressure.
Being that you
produce, and you're good at it, did you ever want to pick one route to go?
That's one of the
struggles I had. Do I produce or be an artist? And then with Kanye coming out,
I feel that I can be successful at doing both. I've been producing for awhile,
and I was only doing beats for awhile. But then a lot of stuff started happening,
like two of my best friends got murdered, so I started telling people what was
really going on instead of talking about the regular stuff. With the producer
thing, I hope that I produce for a lot of other artists and help them form who
they really are. Let's say you do a song with Swizz Beatz, and you know it's
a Swizz Beatz song because of the sound. But when I work with an artist, I want
them to discover their sound is and try to help them find their sound instead
of them using mine. That's what I want to do.
Where do you
want to be a year from now?
I just want to
be further on. I don't know how long this thing is going to take, I want to
change the game and influence young people and everybody to be themselves and
not follow fads and peer pressure. And I was on the news for an interview, and
I told them I want to sell a hundred million records. That's unheard of, but
that's something I want to do. A year from now, hopefully I'll be a little further
on. I'm not sweating a deal right now. Shyne said that "cats are sprinting,
but this is really a marathon." And I really took that to heart. Sometimes
you get tired, and sometimes you want to quit, but this is a marathon. Hopefully
a year from now I'll still be running.
What do you
want to say to everyone?
Just look out for
the Choir Boy. Look out for Beautiful Music. Look out for Joell Ortiz and Tom
Gist. Those are my peoples, and we're all in this together. It's no competition,
we're all in this together. And look out for "Good Mourning America."
Jersey all day.