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

I’ve been recording since my junior year in high school. It was nothing serious though. Me and my bros use to play around and make songs on my bro DD’s Mac computer with Garage Band and a mic from the “Rock star” video game.

But the moment I knew I wanted to take it serious and be an actual Hip-Hop Artist didn’t come until I went to College. I made a few songs and let different people hear it and they liked it and let me know should actually pursue music.

To get the reaction from people that aren’t from where I’m from and still feel what I’m saying let me know I can reach out to people beyond my Region. I loved the fact that it gave me a voice and people actually listened. I’ve just kept it going ever since.

2. What was it like creating your latest project?

Creating Young and the Restless was fun and it was a challenge. Some songs were rewritten over 3 times before I recorded them just because I didn’t like it or it didn’t sound authentic. I also had to make sure I had songs on there for everybody just to show my versatility. It was fun collaborating with different Artists in my City. They all were dope and it allowed me to build relationships while networking.

3. What are you trying to achieve with the project?

I just want to display a good representation of me, my loved ones and where I’m from. Portland is one of the most diverse places in America. So I know if I wanted to make a project that represented me and where I’m from I couldn’t just appeal to one crowd. There is something on it for everybody.

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

Honestly, I know everyone thinks that the goal is to get signed by a major label, but I don’t think that’s the definition of “making it” in the industry. There are a few reasons why I would rather stay independent.

I want to be able to control my own music. There are a few artists that I was a fan of when they were independent, and I feel that their music drastically changed when they got signed to a label.
I also hate the fact that somebody is getting paid off the music I’m making.

It doesn’t make sense to get a small percentage of what you put your heart and soul into it. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I wouldn’t sign I would just have to make sure the price is right and it’s a beneficial situation.

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

I feel that the independent hip-hop industry has more consistent music, which allows the fans to be more personal with the artist.

I like seeing that there are artists that don’t need a major label in order to have a major buzz. I think the music is more authentic with independent artists, and there’s so many tools (SoundCloud, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) that artists didn’t have 5-10 years ago.

6. As an independent grinding it out, what sort of promotion and marketing are you doing to stand out from the rest?

Well, one thing I do that I think all artists should do, is getting out in the streets and branding yourself. People wanna see who they’re supporting, so you’re more likely to gain a fan by making a connection face to face rather than them seeing you online with thousands of other artists. I also try to collab with other artists as much as possible, because that tends to help reach other fan bases.

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

I think that my lyrics have improved, as well as my delivery and versatility. When I came out with my first project, I had a lot of help from a producer I was working with, but I couldn’t rely on him as much when I was working on my second project, which taught me how to network and do a lot of things on my own as far as the business side of music.

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

I think hip-hop today isn’t nearly as good as hip-hop used to be. I think a lot of today’s music is watered down, and the true MC’s and lyricists today don’t get enough recognition. But I do think that hip-hop has become more diverse, and has the ability to reach a wider audience than it did in the past. I think hip-hop is now international rather than just in America.

9. What artist in the game today do you look at for inspiration?

Kevin Gates, hands down. I just like his hustle mentality, and how he’s so passionate about the lane he’s in. I like how his passion reflects in his music. His work ethic is crazy. Nipsey Hussle as well, because I like the way he manoeuvres.

I feel he is the prime example of an independent artist. He looks for more of a partnership than to be under a label. For me, he made me appreciate my value and talent. You gotta work hard, stay dedicated, and have a passion for what you’re doing.

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

Of course, you have to put Pac and Biggie, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar and Nas.

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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.