I’m feeling great. I’m just getting ready to do a show tonight with J.Hatch.
You recently dropped your Rapstar Phenomenon mixtape. How’s it doing for you so far?
So far, it’s doing a lot better than I expected it to be doing, especially for a new artist. It’s been doing phenomenal for me right now. The dream is bigger than the reality and the tape’s allowed me to be on MTV within the first two weeks of it dropping. My presence has been crazy recently and I’m happy.
Have you been getting the feedback from your fans that you wanted?
Yes. That’s mainly what I was concerned about. I’m not so concerned with the labels and trying to get a deal. I’m more concerned with the streets and my fans. That’s why the tape is doing so well because it was made for the people.
What are your goals for Rapstar Phenomenon?
My first goal right now is to really become hot and to really become a commodity and to create a solid buzz and foundation by pounding the pavement. My focus is not to put out some music with a label. I’m really trying to create a fan-base. This mixtape is going to help me reach my goal of reaching 50,000 fans. That’s my ultimate goal right now.
The mixtape has four hosts, DJ Dirty Harry, DJ Green Lantern, DJ Sickamore and Clinton Sparks. Why did you want to have four hosts?
The game is so saturated with mixtapes right now. Those are some of the biggest DJ’s in the game. That was a marketing tactic to make people listen to it. I know writers get a million mixtapes and I felt if I was coming from a different angle, it would make people at least listen to it.
Is this a good time to be a rapper coming from New York?
I think it’s always a good time. If you study the market, the best time to win is when there’s a shortage or saturation. When it’s saturated, you have to work ten times harder to stand out so you have to dig deeper within yourself. You’re going to dig deeper within yourself to make yourself shine. And to be honest with you, in New York, there’s not really too many new rappers. I don’t see them. There aren’t crazy rappers standing out up here. Hip-hop is about being creative and with the market being saturated, it just makes you want to dig deeper and be creative.
You worked with Ron Browz and the Alchemist on Rapstar Phenomenon. How did that go down?
I had a relationship with Ron Browz through my man Fudge. He would give me beat-CD’s. I know Alchemist through Spliff. When you go to any producer with a name and you say, “I want something from you,” you have to come hot. They’re not going to just give you something.
What did you learn working with Ron Browz?
A lot. Browz is a talented dude. I feel he’s in the top 10 of producers. Ron Browz says he has a selection of beats that are A-beats and B-beats. I don’t think he has any B-beats. I think Browz is very talented.
You got a ton of artists on “Listen to my Gun.” How did you pull that off?
I was originally going to make it a full New York track with some of the biggest features from out here. I felt that wouldn’t be right and that would be sort of like cheating. Since I have the buzz in New York, I wanted to get who was bubbling in their own regions and make it more of a Class of ’07 joint. It was strategic getting artists like Ransom and Kardinal Offishall. Hip-hop is global and international and doing this made it different.
You get a lot of different personalities on one beat when you do a track like “Listen to my Gun.” Are you happy with the final outcome of the song?
Yeah, I’m definitely happy with the final outcome. When I set up the track, I want to give the other artists credibility where I’m from and I want them to give me credibility where they’re from. They all bring different personalities and swaggers to the table. Hip-hop’s not all about spit, spit, spit. It’s about flow and personality at the same time. It’s like gumbo; they brought a lot of different personalities to it. Plus there’s internet hip-hop and street hip-hop. Those are two completely different types.
How close do you follow the feedback your songs receive on HipHopGame?
I take the negative and the positive. I listen. A lot of my feedback comes from the streets too. I study the feedback on HipHopGame and the ones that get rated a 5 are the ones they like. You have to always take feedback with a grain of salt. Sometimes fans say they don’t like something because of personal feelings. Sometimes records that are popping out in New York aren’t popping on the internet and vice versa.
“Happy Fathers Day” seems like a very personal song. What does that song mean to you?
That’s not just talking about me and my father. I think about my borough and where I’m from and the dudes out here. People haven’t really even touched on the topic. It’s definitely something on my chest that’s personal and I look at my homies and my cousins. A father not being there is an epidemic that’s not being talked about. I’m pretty sure there are over a million other males and females out there that feel the same way.
Is Rapstar Phenomenon a hint at how your album will sound?
Nah. I have another tape dropping November 26. I can’t tell you all the tricks because I’m about to pull another trick out of the hat. The name of my album is going to be titled The Greatest Show on Earth. I’m going to break down everything, show my earlier life and just break down everything from politics to the hood to my life.
You used to drop a lot of mixtapes with Kingz of da Castle. Is the group still together?
We split apart. Everybody went their own way. Everybody’s doing their own thing to get hot. That was a platform for us to get hot and to use it for our advantage.
Do you have any regrets over that situation?
Nah, I have no regrets at all. It was a great platform and a great learning experience for us. I learned a lot and there’s no love lost. We’re all on to bigger and better things.
What are your goals going into 2007?
My goals are to follow up with these next two releases in November and December. I’m trying to get nominated for a Mixtape Award. Then after that, in 2007, I have a tape coming out called Power of the Dollar Volume 2 with DJ Drama and DJ Whoo Kid. It’s all original music and it’s coming together packaged with a DVD movie. Once that’s all packaged and out there, I’m going to take that buzz and try to get an indie deal for the album. From there, I’m just going to be grinding. Before I want to even talk about getting a label situation and getting signed, I want to really lay the foundation on my own and go to the label with BDS and Soundscan. I don’t want to go out there with my hand out and say, “I’m the hottest dude on the mixtapes.” I want to come to labels and do business and come to them with that idea. I already created my own imprint and All City Distribution. I showed I can do it on my own. In 2007, that’s my main goal. I’m not going to stand in line and say I’m a businessman.
How has All City Distribution helped you strategize your moves in the rap game?
It’s helped me build relationships with a lot of people, but I still can’t force anybody to play my music. If I give somebody a song and they don’t like it, they still don’t play it. All City Distribution has helped me really build relationships and go out there and build a platform for myself.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I just want to say thank you to all the people out there who supported me. Shout out to the Castle Hill Projects and Carterville. Shout out to Ebony U, my man Chozen and all the sites who help me. Don’t let nobody knock your dreams and knock your hustle and knock your dreams. Anything you want to do, you can do. Don’t blame the South or anything else. It’s the way you apply yourself that you can make it happen for you.