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1) Do you remember the moment you wanted to be a hip-hop artist?

It actually hasn’t been very long since the ambition came about. I’ve been musical for most of my life but didn’t start rapping / producing hip hop seriously until I got to college. Prior to that I was strictly piano and singing.

Much more classically trained.I was 18 when I wrote my first rap verse. After reciting it to some close friends of mine, there was a heavy amount of support I got from them and it made me realize that I should consider taking this seriously. From there, the rest is history – not a long one though. Still have a lot to learn.

2) What was it like creating your latest project – Hallway Music?

This project came about at a really pivotal time for me. I started compiling the tracklist and focusing my energy on producing for Hallway Music around the time I was close to graduating college and transitioning into post grad life.

It was a scary time. But I saw an opportunity to start reflecting on the different emotions that came with it. That collection of sound became this mixtape.

3) What are you trying to achieve with Hallway Music?

This project is something I’m particularly happy with because I believe it has the capacity to speak to a lot of hearts and minds. Not to say my past work wasn’t capable of the same. But ultimately, this one could really resonate.

That’s what I want more than anything else. I believe I have something to contribute to this current state of music. Help bring it down to Earth. My sound is no better or worse than anyone else’s. All I want is for you to listen and decide how it relates to you. That’s what all music is intended for.

4) What are your thoughts on staying independent or signing to a major label?

I think there’s a lot of power in both. I see the good in being signed to a label and gaining the financial support to create on a much higher level. However I also see the good in staying independent and keeping my hands dirty in navigating my success.

I’ve had my reservations on being signed for a while now. But if it was placed in front of me, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my music.

5) How do you feel about the independent hip-hop industry right now?

I think it’s thriving. I think the number of notable independent artists is much higher than people realize unless you really follow what’s going on. The fact that we could consider it an ‘industry’ is a statement in itself. Because being independent can mean so many things.

To me it speaks for everybody underground that’s coming up right now. Both known and unknown. That includes me. That includes a lot of people I know well with just as much hunger as myself. I’m excited for the future of hip hop.

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6) As an independent hip-hop artist grinding it out, what sort of promotion and marketing are you doing to stand out from the rest?

My main focus has been staying active on social media. That’s something I struggle with as an artist. It’s also something I can’t afford to slack on so I’ve actively bettering myself with my visibility. Otherwise I’m as savvy with the schemes and styles there are for promoting yourself.

Promotion is a key component to this whole movement but it’s something that remains a work in progress for me when it comes to developing a pattern. But everything is up from here and that’s no different so it’ll all be good soon enough.

7) How do you think you’ve grown as an artist?

I have to admit that producing hip hop music only started when I was 18 and starting college. I’ve been musical for most of my life between piano and singing. But I haven’t been in the game for very long.

That being said, there has still been a significant amount of growth in the few year’s I’ve been in it. My outlook on life has continued to be a work in progress.

But at this point it’s been really fueling my topics and word choices. I’m very blunt and honest in this project and that’s something I’ve worked up to. All in all I’ve just grown up a lot. That’s what people will notice more than anything else.

8) How do you feel about hip-hop today?

Hip hop is ever-changing. I think in the past two decades this genre has arguably evolved more than any other genre we know today. That’s what makes it so powerful to me. The people created it. And we’ve shaped it into many forms fashions.

Today, I think it’s in the middle of a transition. Lyricism is now becoming more of a necessity than just flow and rhyme schemes. Mix that with the talent in this current pool of producers cooking crazy banger beats? Let’s go. The potential in the game right now is high. I plan to be apart of that transition.

9) What artists in the game today do you look at for inspiration?

Always been a devout Lupe fan since before I started producing. I gained a lot of knowledge on stage presence from just watching every one of his live shows. I’ve had the utmost respect for his resilience as an artist as well as a citizen. People need to stop sleeping on him.

He dropped an crazy album not too long ago. He’s still alive and well. Otherwise I would say I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from almost any type of sound that’s out right now. I can truthfully see value in it all. But inspiration commonly comes from things other than hip hop most of the time.

10) Who are your top 5 rappers dead or alive?

In no particular order: Kendrick, J. Cole, Eminem, Lupe and Pac.

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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.