This interview is long overdue.
No doubt! We had to do something, you know!
You’ve been on the grind for a long time. Is the hard work finally paying off?
Yeah, it definitely is. From Nuyorican Poets Café to Fat Beats, I came a long way. I saw Eminem, Thirstin Howl, Wordsworth, Punchline…I’ve been there. I’ve been putting in a lot of work. Since the late ‘90s, I’ve been working. Hopefully they’ll recognize who I be.
What are your favorite memories from the early days?
The battles. Definitely the battles. All the open mics at Nuyorican and waiting on those long-ass lines just to get in there and spit a 16 bar onstage in front of a whole lot of poets and musicians. It was definitely an experience, man.
“Stronger” produced by Green Lantern has been getting a lot of play lately. How did “Stronger” come about?
Green Lantern’s been checking out my music and Ron Mills is a part of our Poor Pocket Team. I’ve always been in the mix and I definitely caught his attention and he just gave me a beat to see how I sound on it. He thought it sounded like a Nutso beat and I rocked it and it is what it is now. It’s getting a lot of good feedback and that’s what I love about it.
Will you and Green do some more stuff in the future?
Of course! That’s definitely in the works. We’re about to definitely do a mixtape, man. We gotta do a collabo, me and Green, man.
You’re on the “Don’t Push Me (Remix)” with Nina B and Fred Da Godson, among others. How do you approach verses where you know you’re with a group of talented, hungry artists?
I’m always going to be me. These artists, they’re striving and they’re hungry like me. Maybe they haven’t been through the same struggle as me, maybe they struggled more, but at the end, I have to put it down for me and for hip-hop, period. When we collaborate and when we do something together, it’s about creating history and putting it down. I definitely let them know who Nutso is on that song, ya dig!
What have been some of the cooler moments for you as far as getting love and getting played?
The most for me was when DJ Premier came to the “This is My Hood” video shoot. He had been hearing my music and he came to my video shoot. So did Blaq Poet from Screwball, who was one of the first MCs to answer back to KRS-One after MC Shan. That was a real big point. And besides that was going overseas, man. Seeing the other side of the world. I had never been there. I started traveling in ’99 and wow, I recommend it for anybody, man. That was definitely a big experience for me. I was on tour with the Beatnuts, Wu-Tang, we did the Canary Islands with Craig G and the Juice Crew. These last 10 years, it really hit me in the head that I got it and there are people out there who love me. I just have to do me, man.
Who did you have the most fun with on the road?
Honestly, the best time was with everybody. I can’t discriminate. I had a good time with every artist I was out there with. There’s so many DJs representing Nutso right now. It’s hard to name all of them, but going on tour, I was out there living for two months. There was a Spanish tour and the experience was crazy. You got a Queens, New Yorker living out there and doing shows. It was great, man.
Why do you think you’ve gotten so much props throughout your career?
Me and my team, we’re out there. We put the work in. We do the Facebook and Twitter and we did MySpace when MySpace was alive. My lyrics are on-point and my stage performance is official. I got dudes like C. Rayz Walz and Talib Kweli and The Roots and Kanye West when he just got signed to Rocafella. It’s definitely a stamp and the background is straight official. There’s a lot of history behind me. I’m not an up-and-coming artist. I’ve been doing this. I’m just getting recognized now. I just keep elevating. That’s how I look at it. I keep climbing to the top and I haven’t fallen down yet.
How do you feel when artists have overnight success?
Good music is good music. I can’t knock it. Just don’t get in my way! (laughs) When I come out, don’t get in my way. I’m never going to change. I can do a song with anyone and I’m still going to be Nutso. That’s the way I look at it. Music is music and I don’t look at it as crossing over. Now if you see me in a helicopter with a big ol’ chain and strippers everywhere, you’re not going to think it’s me. If I got it, I talked about it and I’m going to be me and spit it from the heart. That’s the only way you’re going to come up in this world. You just have to spit it and be yourself.
You’re working with ALMG Digital. What made you want to go that route?
That’s teamwork right there. I’ve been guided well. I’m in New York City. The No. 1 station out here is Hot 97 and you can only get played out in the Tri-State. If Flex doesn’t play your music, you can feel bad. But Ron Mills is at Sirius and everyone can hear that. That’s what counts at the end of the day, if I got everybody’s ear, not just two or three.
What’s coming out through ALMG?
We got a lot coming out. I got the Facebook and the Twitter and the YouTube. You can check out all of my videos and I’ve done stuff with people overseas. Shout out to the Snow Goons and everyone overseas. We’ve been doing our thing, definitely. I’ve worked with so many people and people in the states are showing me love. I was on Kay Slay’s last album More Than Just a DJ with Nina B and Mike Beck, Rest in Peace. I got the single with Mic Geronimo and Royal Flush. Reef produced all the beats on there. I got a song with Jay Rock from the West Coast. You can check me out. I’m focused. It’s big right now, man. I’m just waiting to see what happens next. I also got “Pockets on Swole” with Tony Yayo and Maino. That’s going to come out on my next project and also got F.T. and Sick Jacken from Psycho Realm and L.I.F.E.Long from Stronghold.
How did you and Reef come together on King of the Project Hallway EP?
Reef is another one. He had been listening to my music. He works with Eminem and Paul Rosenberg and the whole Shady/Aftermath thing. They were looking for that hard street shit. At the end of the day, you’re going to hear good music and you have to stay in tune. He’s loving the music. It wasn’t hard for them to connect with Ron Mills and we got it done. Five songs strong. We’re killing the streets with that. You know how it is. A lot of people don’t like to come out their pockets. They’d rather buy some Heinekens but go online and cop it. People love it. We got fans all over.
What was it like working with Mic Geronimo and Royal Flush?
That was actually nothing because I’m from Flushing. I’ve always been a fan of their music. Shout out to Large Pro. Come on, that’s Main Source, man! That’s back in the day. Shout out to Dres too. I can’t wait to work with other artists from Flushing and hopefully I’m an inspiration to them. It wasn’t nothing. I see them in the ‘hood every day. We just got together and we made history, man.
Do you feel like fans are more likely to buy an EP as opposed to an album online?
Yeah, of course. An EP is better. Nowadays people aren’t supporting music like they did in the ‘90s. People are just going to play what they hear on the radio. If you give them five joints and they’re short and sweet and if they like two or three, that’s good right there. But if you release 23 tracks and they only like two or three, you gotta go back in the booth and show and prove that you got it. I try to leave fans anticipating.
What advice would you offer to up-and-coming MCs?
Do open mics, man. That really counts a lot, man. If you got a studio that you’re working with and you have Pro Tools or whatever, just be consistent, man. Dedication. That definitely right there will make you come out with something that people are going to actually hear. You gotta be organized. You can’t just rap on the block all day and you have the illest battles and your man is telling you that you’re hot. Every artist did that. You gotta show and prove. You gotta get the deaf people’s attention! You gotta go overseas, even if you don’t got that connection. You gotta get that connection. Get on the internet. You gotta get out there. You gotta put in work. It’s hard, but if you’re lyrically inclined, you don’t even know what the future is holding for you. Don’t be scared, man. Stand for something or fall for everything. That’s my words right there and that’s real talk right there. Go after what you want. It’s not going to come and look for you.