good. I'm about to head to the studio in a little while to finish a song
I was working on last night. I have to stay focused.
mixtape, Fully Focused, is out now. How's it doing?
great. I knew we were going to do some things with it but the response
has been real, real good. We just got reviewed in Scratch. They called
me personally telling me they were really feeling the CD. We're trying
to turn it up right now. We've been getting a lot of love and a lot of
feedback. I'm very grateful for that.
your goals for Fully Focused?
put an album out, More Than One Way (available on website) and that's
been doing real well. The independent grind is so different from the majors.
We've sold about 9,000 of that. That album is more well-rounded. It has
some street and party joints. This mixtape is to keep the name out.
you want Aftermath's Focus to host your mixtape?
out to him a long time ago. We have the same name and we respect each
other's work. He's ridiculous beyond belief on the beats. The first record
we did was "About Dat Doe." That came out so crazy that we just
kept on making records. We put this out together and we're going to do
more in the future.
you guys working on?
We have a
few things up our sleeves. I don't want to put too much out, but his label
A-Fam and mine, Loyalty, are going to do some things. You know he's signed
to Dre at Aftermath and he's ridiculous on the beats. He has his label
A-Fam and he has a nice stable of artists and I have my own label. What
we did was we basically did a joint venture for my project. We united
as one. I have a brand new album I'm working on called Every Journey Has
a Story which should be out next year. Focus is executive producing that
album. We banged out a couple of joints together. We're holding some of
them. This is a dude who's worked with The Game, N-Sync, J.Lo and other
big artists. It's a pleasure to work with him. I'm glad everything worked
it like working with him?
He's the most down-to-earth person you would ever meet. He's a very genuine
dude. He's not on no industry shit. I respect that more than anything
else. That's worth more than the accolades. He's a regular dude and that's
what it's about. Just to give you an example, he dropped his mixtape,
Ithadtohappen, and it had all big names on it like 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes,
Chino XL and Stat Quo, and he asked me for a verse. He's not on that industry
BS. I respect that more than anything else about him. That's worth more
than the accolades.
a lot of rappers named Focus out there. Are you worried about any confusion?
Not at all.
At the end of the day, I own the trademark. I'm just waiting for one of
them to pop up so I can shut them down. I trademarked that years ago.
I'm not concerned about that at all. I'm about my business. People know
my music and fans really know my work. That's not even a problem. I'm
not even concerned about that one bit.
a song with G. Rap. How was it working with him?
G. Rap is
a legend. That was a great experience. My man Mike Heron plugged that
in for me. We went to his spot and banged it out. It was crazy being in
his presence. As soon as I saw him I turned into a kid. I was like a fan.
I told him he was one of the nicest niggas of all time, then it was work.
We got mad drunk and worked. It was just crazy watching him work. I grew
up listening to him and being on the same track as him was definitely
an honor. He's a real good dude too. He made me feel right at home.
your album More Than One Way do for you?
did great. We've been on the hand-to-hand grind. I've been down to Florida,
VA and some other places just selling them out of the trunk. I used to
work for James Cruz at Violator. I got to see so much and learn. A lot
of what I saw I applied to my career. I was able to make a lot of relationships
and connections that I was able to use. I know how to approach people.
It's not really about the product, it's how you pitch it. That's important.
People have to understand that. You have to be approachable and you have
to be likeable. You have to approach it in a certain way. It's a business
and you have to understand that. Some artists' music may not be the greatest
in the world, but their presentation is unbelievable so you have to respect
you do as an engineer?
A lot of
people don't even know I was the engineer behind a lot of records like
Tru Life's "New New York" record. I have my own studio. That's
what I did with the first money I started making. We started building
it up slowly. A lot of Dreddy Kruger's album, Wu-Tang Meets Indie Culture,
was done at my studio too.
you done on the production tip?
I no longer
go by the name Fokis out of respect for Focus. Me and my man JFR have
a team we call The Factory. We've done records for a lot of people like
Tru Life, G. Rap, Canibus and the Diplomats. We work.
your relationship with Tru Life?
brother right there. We grew up together on the Lower East Side. We were
working these past two years just banging out records. It's crazy. I guess
a lot of people don't see the working side of him. I've seen him do three
straight records from beginning to end in one session. He's a good dude
and he's definitely going to win.
you have a problem with the Diplomats now?
We had done
a joint on the Diplomat 2 album. I think it's called "40 Cal."
They never got the clearance for it so we're trying to resolve that now.
I respect them for what they do and their work ethic, but at the end of
the day, business is business. If there's any money that's made that I'm
a part of, then I have to get my share.
your goals for Loyalty Records?
the goal is to continue to put out product and keep that momentum. That's
what it's about. We're going to keep moving and keep on pushing that product.
We're trying to get that label situation but at the same time we're not
going to turn down anything if it's right. I'm not a starving person that's
going to snatch up any deal. I have a great team and great management
(Rene McLean of RPM) and great support from a lot of people, so I'm not
going to jump on just anything. You have a lot of groups like the Diplomats
and cats from the South and Houston, they maintain control of their product.
That's what it's about. It's business. That's how you have to do it.
The way this
business works, everything is timing. I learned that. You have to be playing
though. You can't be on the bench and expect to score. It's all about
playing the game. I'm enjoying it right now and it's beautiful. We're
finally getting some loyalty on the Lower East Side and it's beautiful.
We're all trying to get it at the end of the day.
the next move for you?
out to the Power Summit. That's my motherland out there, the Dominican
Republic. We're pushing this mixtape and we're about to start working
on the album. I just did another video too which should be on my website
soon. We're trying to work hard. That's what it's about. We're all trying
to progress. There's also a documentary coming out on the Lower East Side
next month called No Place Like Home. We're releasing the soundtrack on
my label. It's all about forward movement. My moms always told me hard
work pays off. That's the motto I continue to live by.
you want to say to everybody?
If you believe
in something, just stay positive and move forward. You also have to be
a realist and track progress. You have to keep moving and keep pushing
and don't let nobody stand in your way. Don't get trapped in these streets
because there's nothing there. Thank you for your support and be on the
lookout for the new album. If you don't have the old one, please go get
that. It has G. Rap, Killah Priest and Hell-Razah. It's definitely a tough
project. They're all on my website.