You just released A Walk Through MySpace Volume 1. What inspired this project?
What really happened is after I did the song “Pandemonium” with Joell Ortiz, I noticed a lot of artists started reaching out to me asking me for features and if I could do songs with them. I started checking out these artists and I realized that there were a lot of talented artists on MySpace. I got the idea to connect with artists that were on the verge of doing things that had the talent but didn’t have the outlet. That’s where the idea came from and to see it come to life was a beautiful thing because there were a lot of talented people on that project.
How did the title track and standout cut “A Walk Through MySpace” come together?
That’s produced by the Legion of Boom. Those dudes are serious. That song features Maq, Mr. MRN, eXquire, Adullessence and Donny Goines. It was just good, man. The beat was fire. We made it happen.
What were the good surprises that you found when working on this project?
What I found was that some people are so professional. A lot of people in this business, they forget that it’s a business and they just don’t see themselves as professionals. I came across a lot of people where their music was sounding real good and I could see that they were about their business. A lot of people, the majority of them, they all work the 9 to 5 and they’re all talented musicians. This is the way to do it. There’s strength in numbers. We can all promote it and make it happen.
When you went to artists’ MySpace pages to see who you wanted to collaborate with, what were you looking for?
The first thing I listen to is their music. If I like it I reach out to them. If I don’t like it I don’t reach out to them. I’m currently working on Volume 2 now but I’ve had some people hitting me up wanting to get on Volume 2. I check them out and if I don’t like it I tell them to try again. I tell people to be persistent. Don’t give up. If being an artist is what you truly desire then stay at it but some people need to really go through this. I think it’s a great thing for people. It gives you an idea if being an artist is for you. People think it’s all peaches and cream but there’s a lot of stuff that comes with it and it’s definitely not for everyone.
You may be the first rapper to use his MySpace page for something other than trying to hook up with girls.
(laughs) That’s the thing. We gotta focus now. That’s for later. I gotta be on top of the business. At the end I was very pleased with the project and anybody who hasn't downloaded it, it’s available at Fokis2K.com or MySpace.com/AWalkThroughMySpace.
How important is it to use MySpace and other networking sites to interact and build with other artists on the come up?
Listen, at the end of the day, this what I tell people all of the time, this is a business and if you don’t invest in yourself no one else will. With that said, when people tell me that they’re looking for beats or that they need producers, they’re not being resourceful because MySpace is filled with producers and it’s filled with singers and it’s filled with rappers. I tell people I’m having the time of my life now because I’m able to play now. A few years ago it required so much money to even make a dent and now with the internet you’re able to get a nice following and build a fanbase cost-effectively and keep feeding that fanbase.
You’re also wrapping up your Road to the Riches reality show that ran on HipHopGame. Your goal at the beginning of the show was to get a major label deal and that didn’t happen. Do you still consider Road to the Riches a success?
Yes. The Road to the Riches was an extreme success. The last episode will be up December 30 so people can see everything. It’s been a great experience. I learned so much. I don’t want to give everything away but I have a movie coming out, a documentary-type movie that’s called Every Journey has a Story. I have nothing but good things to say about it because even through some of the trials and tribulations, there’s always a lesson to be learned. You live and you learn and you hope that you don’t make the same mistake again. That’s what I go by. It’s been a wonderful experience and I definitely want to thank HipHopGame for giving me the platform to experience that.
How important is video becoming to artists today?
Video is everything now. Visual has always been better than audio. Now it’s easier for artists to get videos out there and artists need to definitely take advantage of that. Get as much video as you can out there. That’s what it’s about right now. And remain consistent. And original. That’s another thing – remain original.
You’re also working on an EP with Punchline. How’s that coming?
It’s actually an album. It’s an LP. The album is called The Reset Button and we’re dropping a record called “We Came to Rock.” I’m learning a lot from him. It’s great for me. With EMc, they’ve done tons of tours and shows overseas and that’s definitely a market that I’m trying to tap into. I always tell him that he has to lead and I’ll follow. He’s leading and I’m following. That’s pretty much what it’s about, man. There’s always something to learn and I always make sure that I keep an open eye for that.
Punchline has been in the game for over 10 years. What do you learn working with him?
Listen, man, what's funny is that we’re actually from the same neighborhood but a couple of years ago we finally connected. Back then I was looking at him like he was on Lyricist Lounge and MTV and Tribe’s album. That’s great. Him being from my neighborhood, it just let me know, shit, I could do this too. Being around him and watching him work and seeing his work ethic and his drive has been great. He’s been in it for awhile and he has that drive still. He’s been in the game for over 10 years and that’s definitely inspiring. EMc, they do really well overseas and they’re constantly touring. This was a great opportunity for me. He wanted to do it and I was like, ‘Yes, let’s go’ because that’s what it’s about. I’m trying to work and to learn. There’s no school for this thing. You just have to see somebody that’s doing something good, attach yourself to that person and learn as much as you can. Learn off of each other and grow. That’s what it’s about.
From knowing you over the years, you’ve always had a tight team that helped you out and you’re rolling by yourself now. How has that changed your daily grind?
Well, I’ve never really been by myself. I got my team. My team is always there. If I got a show or whatever, I have a thousand people with me. That’s never an issue. It was just about finding the right people to do the right things. A lot of people were my friends and they have their day jobs and they have their other stuff going on and it’s not their priority like it was my priority. I just learned to surround myself around people that are like-minded. They’re hungry like I’m hungry. That’s why I did A Walk Through MySpace project. They’re hungry. They’re starving. I did a record called “I’m Starving” which is one of my next videos. The record just speaks for itself. I’m starving. That’s what it’s about. That's what I learned. It’s definitely good to be around people that are doing things and want the same things, more or less, that you want, and learn from each other and grow.
What’s the next move for Fokis?
The next move is I started a company called Loyalty Digital Corp. and I’m just looking to continue making great music. I’m also looking to work with up-and-coming artists. I have the movie, Every Journey has a Story, being released. And I have production with my partner. We’re the Acoustic Chefs. We’re just staying busy with the production. I took a good year off with the beats because I was just focused on building myself as an artist and a company. I’m focused on the beats and that’s one of the things I’m going to be working on for sure. And hopefully I can get a new show on HipHopGame. (laughs) We need to make that happen.
Download Fokis’ A Walk Through MySpace Volume 1 here: