1) Talk to me about the making of your latest project. What was the inspiration behind it?

My latest project, the Miasma EP, was made to show off my diversity as both a lyricist and producer. I was inspired by a number of different styles and artists throughout the hip-hop spectrum.

It was made over the course of many months, it took so long because I was a student during its creation making it difficult to dedicate my time to fully. While some of the songs are made to just be light-hearted, easygoing, and fun, I also tried to include very personal and serious songs.

The one constant throughout the entire project is my focus on lyricism. Whether it be extreme amounts of rhyming or clever wordplay, I wanted my lyrics to stand out.

I’m working on new music currently, but primarily focusing on releasing individual songs rather than another project.

2) With the music industry tanking and record sales falling, how do you currently make money as an independent hip-hop artist?

As of this moment I have made no money as an independent hip-hop artist, I’m still very early on in the stages of my musical career.

However I intend to release physical versions of my projects in the future, and Miasma EP is available for sale on Bandcamp so it can be purchased.

3) From a business point of view, which artists in the game do you think are really pushing the boundaries and changing it up?

I believe Uncommon Nasa’s business approach to his music is very smart and innovative. He’s a New York underground artist and he maintains an extreme amount of control over the music he puts out.

From the lyricism and performances, to the production, all the way to the mixing and mastering which he handles himself, Nasa takes care of almost all of it by himself and this is shown off the most in his recent release “Written at Night”.

With many years of experience he’s become well-versed in probably every aspect of music and uses it not only for himself, but to help others with their music.

This control over his music and making his skills available for payment showcase to me a knowledge in the industry.

4) What business lessons have you learnt from the music industry so far?

The main lessons I’ve learned from the music business in my experience are to be very skeptical and independent.

While it’s great to have people who value you and want to help you, it’s rare to find someone with such pure intentions. Many people are working solely towards their own benefit with no regard for others.

5) What do you love about hip-hop music?

I love hip-hop because of how diverse it is. There are many different styles of rapping and production to appeal to different emotions and moods.

I love how rappers can be so honest and vulnerable, depicting their experiences vividly making it easy to relate to them. Hip hop has become a major part of my life and I owe a lot to the artists apart of the culture.

6) What still surprises you about hip-hop?

Not much surprises me, but there are some artists who gain extreme amounts of attention and I won’t expect it. This can be for better or for worse. I’m also surprised by how beef between rappers can still form over extremely small statements or actions.

7) If you had the power to change one thing about the hip-hop industry to help independent artists – what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the hip-hop industry to help artists, it would be to make A&R’s or other such executives open to experimentation and diversity.

The majority of record labels, major or indie, seem to be stuck on having their labels composed of extremely similar artists.

While I understand aiming for a certain style, I don’t think people refusing artists who they believe have talent or potential solely because it doesn’t fit their preferred style of hip-hop is good for musical experimentation and innovation.

8) Who do you think are top 3 rappers doing it at the moment?

There are a lot of great rappers out right now, from the underground to the mainstream. One of my current favorites is Lamon Manuel, a Chicago rapper who is very experimental and an amazing lyricist with loads of wordplay, symbolism, and emotion.

Short Fuze is another rapper currently based in Milwaukee who I enjoy a lot, a very emotional and vivid lyricist who performs beautifully over Uncommon Nasa’s production.

Lastly, Lt. Headtrip is a rapper I enjoy a lot, he’s a New York rapper who is extremely versatile, and often performs over loud and aggressive instrumentation with a passion just as captivating and emotional as the instrumentation.

9) So what are your plans for the future?

In about 2 months I’m going off to study genetics at UCLA. I’m hoping being in a city so crucial to hip-hop culture will help me grow as an artist and present me with new opportunities.

I’m also currently working on forming a new hip-hop group with my close friend Azure the Paradox.

Of course, I’m also working on more solo music and hope to release a full-length project at some point in 2018 while still releasing many songs leading up to it. I hope you’re all looking forward to what I make in the future.

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.