Putting New Jersey On The Map
What’s your background? What got you into rap music?
To keep it short and sweet, I’m a project baby that grew up in the suburbs. Born in New Brunswick, lived in Plainfield for a few years until my mom decided to move out because she had a belief, my brother and I wouldn’t live to see 20 while living “in the hood”. I grew up in Middlesex and although the small town was mostly white, I had a diverse group of friends. My parents have had a separated relationship since a young age, my mother works for the state and my dad, a basketball referee. Basically, I inherited book smarts and street smarts. I have one brother and one sister, I’m the youngest and we were each born 6 years apart.
How did you come to realize that music was the way forward for you?
Music has been apart of my life since before I was conscious of it. My mom’s brother is a DJ and curates jazz, r&b, and anything saxophone onto CDs for my Nana. There’s never not background music at her house. One of my dad’s brothers used to run with Jay Z before his music took off and a cousin on my dad’s side was in a group with Rah Digga. I have a cousin on my mother’s side with a blossoming music career as well, even writing for some industry artists.
How would you describe your style of music?
My style of music is Neo Hip Hop Soul. Old school, but not boom-bap, consciousness meets braggadocio on a Gritty Jazz type beat. Grimey r&b, think MJB and Method Man or Nas and Lauryn Hill.
What’s your favorite project so far, and why? How do you see your sound evolving in the next couple of years?
My favorite project so far of mine so far is “Double Up”. It marks such a turning point in my career from how it sounds sonically and it’s birthed my development of marketing and turning every song I make into something substantial that I can look back on for years to come. My favorite released song “Godspeed” is an upbeat anthem that boasts an energy of maintaining growth through relationships that didn’t work, plans that didn’t go through, and trusting the pace of this process. Double Up is an EP produced by my engineer, AuxGod, with the closing track produced by my cousin, Tiranic Drakon, released on April 11th 2022. The project also features local Jersey artists, True God and Shhloh.
Who are your biggest musical influences? Would you say you’re at all like them?
What makes me different is how I approach hip hop. My standpoint, perspective, morals or lack of. I can take my favorite aspects of others and put my own spin on it, in a way that makes you want to see what I do next. And I can work with less, a lot of industry rappers do too much.
My biggest musical influences are Lloyd Banks, the punchline king, Snow Tha Product, the independent queen, Kixxie Siete, he never went global but has the smoothest flow ever, and Hopsin, emotionally one of most outspoken rappers.
I completely started as mini-versions of all those named except Kixxie. Everything that rolls off the tongue now, was just stutters a few years ago. I’ve come more into myself as an artist, person, and creative. Our values are similar and I draw direct influence from those artists, but other than that, I sound like me. You won’t turn on some Chiefy00 and be like “Yo he biting Banks heavy right now” at most you’ll hear a bar recycled and flipped for homage, but my sound is my sound. I ain’t a new age Nas, I’m Double O.
Who would it be and why if you could collaborate with any artist?
Joy Crookes because she is for sure one of the greatest singers of my generation and I have to work with her directly, not just sample her voice. I’m hip hop to the core, but put me in a recording studio with Joy Crookes or Cleo Sol and maybe throw Masego in the mix, I’ll give you a full experience of Neo Hip Hop Soul. Rap wise, I need a Joe Budden collab. That’s for Jersey and I want to go bar for bar with him on some introspective shit.
Headshot Photo Credits: Instagram @kayslifecamera
Single Cover Credits: Instagram @zjatier @designedbywavy