I'm just staying on the grind and working on music, trying to perfect
the craft. I'm maintaining, I'm breathing.
unknown to the HipHopGame audience. How do you want to introduce yourself
I want to
tell everyone that I'm a Hip Hop artist from Providence, Rhode Island,
which is a state that gets no recognition. Blu Cantrell came from here,
and she never really represented for us, not that she was obliged to,
but a lot of people don't even know the state exists. I'm trying to bring
some street consciousness and cultural awareness while being entertaining.
I'm not a coffeehouse dude, but I want to be known as someone that is
known for representing where I'm from, like Nelly in St. Louis or The
Neptunes in Virginia.
you describe growing up in Providence?
It's so small.
Everyone knows everyone. The Hip Hop scene is an extremely tight-knit
community. Everyone has done shows with everyone. I'm definitely trying
to expand. I was homeless for a little bit. I was sleeping at different
friend's houses. My mother and I didn't get along a lot. I have a lot
of different experiences which made me open-minded and gave me an eclectic
view on things. I think that's evident in the music. One night I can listen
to Phil Collins and the next night listen to Nas. It's definitely a place
where you get different views. There is a diverse mix of people living
your motivation for writing "Breathin'"?
honestly, was the whole Katrina thing and what went down. When you look
at certain things, especially natural disasters like Katrina or a tsunami,
I would watch TV and see the survivors and hear their stories. They were
still smiling even though they lost everything they had. They were still
happy to be breathing. It shows that you still have to find some way to
keep it moving and stay positive. The hook says, "I wake up early
in the morning trying to make it/Got some shit on my mind, trying to shake
it/Niggas been on the grind trying to make sense/But the little we got
they're trying to take it." You get that whole yin and yang in the
hook. It shows that I'm still breathing and still here. That's the most
important fact. The survivors of disasters lost so much and they're still
hear, alive, and you're here to see another day.
a freestyle titled "I'm Not a Rapper." Can you explain that
like 2005 was all about the beef. Some of it was warranted, but a lot
of it was straight-up bullshit. I'll give you an example. I'm a recent
college graduate. In my dorm, a lot of my suitemates aren't exposed to
Hip Hop. When I told them I rapped, they said, "Are you beefing with
somebody? Are you going to bust a cap in someone's ass?" I'm trying
to show that that's not me. I'm not into that beefing stuff and publicity
stunts. I'm here to give you good music. I'm trying to do away with that
stereotype. That's what that whole message is.
for young artists to rock over old-school beats like "Don't Let It
Go To Your Head."
cats don't appreciate artists like Brand Nubian. It's like if you reach
a certain age, you're "old-school." Being old-school has a negative
connotation to it. It makes me mad that the Geto Boys dropped that dope
album last year and got completely slept on. You take other genres of
music, and you have guys like Rod Stewart still dropping albums and going
platinum. I got a song paying homage to Scarface. Cats in Hip Hop now
don't appreciate those who paved the way. I'm not one of those cats who
is going to be cliché and wait until someone passes to make a tribute
record. Let's pay homage to him while he's breathing. I hate the fact
that the game is so fickle and we don't pay attention to cats like G Rap
necessary to have in the game right now?
how you define "gimmicks." It could be a peace conference or
saying "George Bush doesn't like black people." It helps. I
would rather come in and be embraced on my own merits and the fact that
I can make dope records. That whole gimmick stuff, I think we've seen
it all in 2005. It's crazy. The people that capitalize off of it aren't
necessarily the artists. It's the puppet-masters because you're not really
cashing in at the end of the day.
the title "Project English Teacher" mean to you?
alter-ego. That's what I'm all about. A lot of times, you get a lot of
kids out here, especially in Providence, who have nothing. We have no
professional team, no Hip Hop scene...so a lot of these cats follow these
trends and start blacking out. There's a lot of crime out here. I just
lost my man that's 15 years-old the other day. I think that's due to the
fact that these kids have nothing to look forward to or identify themselves
with. I named myself "Project English Teacher" because these
kids don't listen to their teachers or parents. They'll listen to 50 Cent
first. Me naming myself that, that's me incorporating responsibility into
my music, just trying to slip some jewels in there. I remember LL's award
speech when he told artists to slip jewels in their music. Even like how
we were talking the other day about Brand Nubian and joints like "Don't
Let It Go To Your Head" and "Slow Down." You can nod your
head and get knowledge at the same time. I'm speaking the same language
as the kids, dropping jewels, and giving you dope Hip Hop at the same
and your producer Tactix seem to have good chemistry.
Aw man! Let
me tell you about that dude. That dude is the truth. I may be biased,
but you'll hear a lot about Tactix soon. I put him up there with the best
of them, the Dre's and the Just Blaze's. He's only 16. He's a prodigy.
He's the guy on the hook in "Breathin'." His musical IQ is ridiculous.
We have a lot more records to come. When we get together, it's magic.
He's producing my whole project.
Statik Selektah helping you today?
brother I have been fortunate to meet. He's extremely humble and down-to-earth.
We communicate a lot through e-mail these days. We got up at an industry
party not too long ago and he gave me some advice. We did a dope track
together. He's got his movement and I'm working on mine. When the schedule
allows, we'll definitely make some more music. He's definitely given me
some great insight about the game being he's ahead of me right now.
you come up with the title "Café Society" for your album?
Back in the
day, Billie Holiday couldn't perform in certain venues. There was this
one spot in Harlem called "Café Society" that was open
to all people. It was a place where you could get all different kinds
of music. I adopted that. My music is the perfect introduction for someone
who doesn't listen to Hip Hop. Look at "BE" from Common, that's
a perfect introduction for someone to Hip Hop. I like to think my music
is for anyone, white, black, young, old, dumb, smart
My music starts
in the hood in Providence and the end is infinite.
the album coming so far?
a lot of tracks. I have an album's worth of material, but I want to analyze
it. I want to stay away from it for awhile and see if I can come up with
something else. It's almost done. I'm looking for the right type of deal.
I'm not going to just jump on the first boat that sails. I'm not anybody's
tax write-off or overnight celebrity. I want my career parallel with LL,
Nas, 'Face, and Common, brothers that are still relevant and withstand
the test of time.
your goals for 2006?
2006 is to
get the name out there and use platforms like HipHopGame. I'm a frequent,
frequent visitor on the site so interviews like this are extremely important
to expand the name. I want to get myself out there to the point where
the labels come to me. My indie label is Essence Music Group. We're going
to continue to make good music that lasts.
you want to say to everyone out there?
Be on the
lookout for the Project English Teacher. It's Renaissance City, Providence,
Rhode Island. Look out for my crew The Imperial and my dude Taktix. I
also want people to know that if you're not from the big places like New
York, LA, or ATL, don't think that you have to conform to the standards
of a big city. Look at what Eminem and The Neptunes were able to do. I'm
holding it down for Providence right now. It's the Renaissance Man, Renaissance
City stand up.