off, congratulations for signing with Rawkus...
Thank you very much. The negotiations have been an arduous process and
I'm glad it's finally done. Now we're ready to proceed to change the game.
It is definitely a good day
How have HipHopGame and the internet played in getting you some notoriety
and eventually this deal?
The internet was key in Kidz In The Hall going from a local crew to a
national movement. The internet has no boundaries or time constraints
and allows you to reach a niche market easier. Being that our movement
was very rooted in the college market, we knew that the best avenue to
attack was through the internet. HipHopGame was the very first hip-hop
site to take a real chance and consistently post my music on their site
even though I didn't have a deal. They never tried to charge me to get
on their site, or bullshit me about why they weren't able to post my music.
I've had label meetings purely based on an A&R peeping my songs on
HipHopGame. I feel like y'all broke me to a lot of people. People in the
street also recognize me from HHG. I'll forever pub this site. It's the
This is a
lesson to all those cats trying to promote themselves on a shoe-string
budget. The internet if used correctly is an excellent tool for self promotion.
You just have to be smart and creative about doing things. The support
of sites like HipHopGame is crucial. If you align yourselves with the
proper brands and respected entities people will take notice.
A lot of people thought Rawkus was no more, what can you tell us about
the 'new' Rawkus?
on hiatus for about 3 years when they broke their deal with Geffen. The
new Rawkus will be the platform for the Kidz in the Hall movement and
it will continue the legacy it has always had as the most innovative underground
brand in hip hop. I hope to help lead that movement.
it feel to resurrect the legendary Rawkus brand?
We haven't done anything yet. To me, Rawkus won't be resurrected until
an acclaimed product is released in stores. There's a difference between
being invited into a fraternity and being the president of a fraternity.
The real work begins after induction.
when I sit back it is absurd to think that you are now at the forefront
of a brand that you grew up on and admire so much. Now that we are 'in'
the next step is making sure we put our best efforts into this project.
To breathe life back into such an acclaimed brand is a huge undertaking.
I believe that this is the perfect climate for the return of Rawkus and
we have the music to do so.
Who else is on Rawkus today?
As far as I know just The Procussions, a Christian rap group out of Colorado.
There are other deals in the works...
What kind of deal did you sign with Rawkus?
I signed my deal through a joint venture between Hustle Period and
Rawkus. Hustle Period is run by John Monopoly, who is one of Kanye's managers
and is President of G.O.O.D. Music and Datu Faison, who manages Consequence
and Carl Thomas. The deal is unique because although my solo will be the
introduction, the Kidz in the Hall project is also a priority to the label
and it will follow my debut.
venture, I believe, will allow us to attack on all cylinders. Hustle and
Rawkus both understand how to take something from a grass-roots movement
to a mainstream phenomenon.
Will Just Blaze play a role in the recording process of your album?
A big role. Besides giving beats, he will play a great role creatively
in just providing his input on the songs we have and helping me to mold
a cohesive album. Just is involved in my project to make sure I create
the best songs musically to get my points across. He has seen a few classic
albums during their creation, so his help is invaluable.
We knew from
Day 1 that we wanted Just involved. There are few people producing at
that elite level, so to have him on our team is a great honor. His knowledge
of hip-hop is rivaled by few.
You've also worked with Rhymefest, any songs in the works?
Fest is the big homie. We will definitely be working together. I actually
laid a verse on the street remix of his single Brand New. A few DJ's have
spun it and he allowed me to perform it with him at an Adidas party here
in Chicago. I wish Fest the best of luck with his shit. He is very underrated.
work atmosphere surrounding you sounds perfect: Just Blaze, No ID, Sa-Ra,
etc... what can we expect from your first album under Rawkus?
Naledge: I think I have the sleeper album
of the year. I will stop at nothing but to create something that I feel
is classic. Having people like Double O, Just and Taz around will help
because they care about the music as well. I aim to make an album that
gives me the same feeling I had when I popped in Resurrection for the
first time. Expect no frills raw Chicago hip hop.
I think we
are going to surprise a lot of people. We are both so prepared to put
together the best product possible. We've recorded so many songs already
but we are still going to record more. Then go back and tweak every syllable,
snare and bass line possible. This is a great year to be 14-16 years old.
I really feel like this album will be that album that makes you fall in
love with hip-hop.
Double-0, how do you feel about splitting production duties with Just
Blaze and Memo?
To a certain
extent I am the newbie in this project. Just Blaze and Memo have made
a name for themselves in their respective communities already. This is
also going to be my opportunity to solidify my name and production with
those of the greats. At the same time to have a great overall product
you need to have a unified product not just 12 dope beats. We are all
working together to get the best out of each other and create a cohesive
product. And I'm going to steal all their drums kits (laughs) nah just
You're both Ivy-leaguers; do you think it is a blessing or a curse
in today's industry?
Being Ivy League means nothing more than us having a label to brand us
as intelligent or "conscious" but Double O and I are intellectual
individuals anyways. We didn't need our degrees to validate that. At the
same time, the Ivy League is an elite community that few kids from the
inner city are given entry. In this industry, anything that makes one
unique is a blessing. As long as you own your identity and maintain your
hustle, the music will be the only thing that matters. As long as people
buy into your message and believe it, you're good.
To me it's
definitely been a blessing. Not even just being Ivy-Leaguers but specifically
being UPenn graduates I think has been a great benefit. The campus is
built on success, but not just 9-5 successes. So many of the graduates
before us carved their own niche; whether it be an internet start-up,
invention, music career or teaching, Penn's lineage is full of go-getters.
When you spend 4 years in that mentality you cannot help but want to create
your own lane.
want to appeal to a specific type of fan base?
Naledge: Nope. I hope to inspire the
masses. Anyone who will listen to me, I will have a song that can speak
to them. You know people say, 'you can't please all of the people all
of the time'? Well, that's my goal. Unfortunately, the label will target
the market that they feel will be more likely to buy the record.
As an artist
or musician you want everyone to hear what you have to offer to the world.
There is no reason to limit your listeners. I know this statement is clich?
but music IS a universal language. Look at how Hip-hop in such a short
span has crossed every national border and been heard or heard of by so
many races and nationalities. We just want to continue that progress.
A lot of people compare you to Lupe Fiasco, can you tell us what separates
you from Lupe?
First off, shouts to Lupe. He, Fest and Saigon are the only new rappers
who inspire me these days....
you, what separates us, is that we are two very different people with
much different life experience. I don't skateboard, I don't proclaim to
be a nerd and I'm not Muslim. At the same time he's not the son of two
doctors, a Jack and Jill type or an Ivy League graduate. That being said,
our point of view will be somewhat different. The thread that makes us
similar is that we care about our lyrics the utmost degree and we are
often said to rap "over people's heads." I think people compare
because we are both new artists from Chicago who are not mainstream.
you feel about the current state of Hip-Hop in Chicago?
Industry wise it's better than it has ever been. Talent-wise, I think
we always had tons of talented artists. Some of the most versatile rappers
are in Chicago. The one thing that troubles me is that we don't support
each other enough. If we banded together like Atlanta or Houston, the
game would have a problem.