North Carolina hip-hop artist Anwar Bryce is determined to build his own brand and succeed independently.
As the founder of his own record label Nulogik Music Entertainment, Anwar has learnt the grind from the ground up, inspired by hometown hero J. Cole.
1) Reading your bio, your background seems to have a lot of similarities with J.Cole – you’re both from Fayetteville, North Carolina and spent some time in Germany. What does J. Cole represent to you and North Carolina?
Cole represents authenticity. Right now, the rap game is so gimmick-heavy. With J.Cole you have an artist that would rather be authentic and focus on substance.
He represents someone you feel like you can support because he relates to the things you’ve been through/going through.
When you look at it from a North Carolina perspective, he’s like the homie from down the street that made it that never forgot where he came from despite the success.
2) In addition to NC and Germany, You also spent time in Virginia and DC, who were some of your early musical influences?
My early music influences were basically anybody my older brother Cedric would play around me on a daily basis.
It was a lot of Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang. Older hip hop like KRS-One and Rakim. My brother was a hip hop head. He was like Q from the movie Juice.
When I moved up to DC that’s when I got put on to Rare Essence, Backyard Band, Trouble Funk, UCB and obviously I knew Chuck Brown before I even moved to DC.
3) You credit your time at DC House Studio as a valuable learning experience for your career. What sort of things did you learn there and how has that impacted on your career so far?
Just their willingness to allow me early on to learn the whole recording process.
Allowing me to sit in on songwriting sessions, allowing me to see how to structure songs, make beats from scratch, mix down vocals but most importantly I just saw the work ethic that goes into perfecting the craft.
I owe a lot of credit to Yudu Gray and Jake G for just allowing me to see everything that goes into the creative process that fans don’t get to see and don’t know about within the music-making process.
4) As an independent hip-hop artist, you launched your own record label Nulogik Music Group. What is it like running an independent label in 2016?
It’s great! We are at a point in the music industry where with the impact that social media has, you yourself can mould and market your brand.
There’s free marketing in the form of Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram where you can really make your own success depending on how much time you’re willing to put in to making your brand a household name.
You don’t need major label backing. If I have the talent, and the means to make myself and my brand what I want it to be to the world, what do I need you cutting into my profit for at the end of the day?
I can market my label how I want, I can release material whenever I want and my artist as well as myself can dictate the content of the material that we release from my independent label.
5) Do you think it’s easier now more than ever to be an independent artist?
Absolutely, like I said, all credit goes to the emergence of social media.
6) After dropping your debut album, Golden Child Chronicles, in 2013 and Audio Euthanasia in 2015 – what are some of the lessons you’ve learnt about promoting independent album releases?
It’s imperative that you build a network that consists of people with a proven track record.
You want to surround yourself with people that know the job and know what kind of commitment it takes to be successful in that job duty. You have to be unwavering in your dedication to achieving the goal.
7) Tell us about your upcoming album, Young Legend, what was the inspiration behind it?
Shortly after I wrapped the recording of Audio Euthanasia (originally a free album in November 2014) my older brother passed and it hit me hard.
The thing that was dope about him was that he was always pushing me to be great. He used to tell me “you have to become comfortable being uncomfortable.”
One of our last conversations was him telling me “you can become as big as you want in this music business. If you do it right you could become a young legend.”
I took those words and made it my album title and also the theme behind the album. The album is about the pursuit of greatness and everything that comes along with it in the process.
The Young Legend album touches on jealousy, loyalty, ambition, love, hate, nostalgia, temptation, sex and commentary on the volatile environment we live in today.
8) What was your creation process like for this album? What were the studio vibes like?
I scrapped the album twice. First album was 12 dope songs but the album had no sort of flow or cohesiveness. The second version of the album had a better beginning to end flow to it but the songs weren’t undeniable hit songs.
The creation process began to be about grabbing production that fit the vibe that I wanted to display on the album. A complete mixture of emotions.
This version of the album I think I finally achieved what I was looking to accomplish. My studio vibe completely changed during the recording of this album.
I used to have a lot of people in the studio drinking, smoking, joking and laughing just hanging around the studio.
This time the recording process was all about me and the engineer being on the same page. The vibe I had was strictly productive energy with no distractions.
9) If you could collaborate with 3 artists – one rapper, one singer and one producer – which 3 would they be?
- Rapper: I’d go with Cole or Black Thought
- Singer: Beyoncé (she might be slightly beyond budget though)
- Producer: I’m going strictly 757 and knocking on Pharrell’s door.
10) Last question – top five rappers in the game right now?