What do you think separates your style from the others?
What separates me is…..I don’t think I sound like anyone out right now. People will ask who I sound similar to, and I really can’t give one definitive name of another artist who sounds a lot like me, whether it be sound or flow. I have the versatility to switch my flow from an older sound to a newer, trap style flow, and I feel like a lot of white rappers get pigeonholed into a very similar sound with the same methodical flow over the same type of instrumentals…I’m constantly making it different between my flow and instrumental choices and trying to keep it fresh. I had a chance to talk to Grafh, out of NYC, about this, and he said, “Don’t let them be able to define you – be able to flow on anything and change it up,” and I’ve taken his advice.
“Count It Up” displays a bit of an old school No Limit vibe. Were they an influence on you? Who do you think most influenced your sound overall?
I love No Limit. Nothing but respect for the legends. They didn’t really influence me though, at least directly. I’ve taken a little bit of each region I’ve stayed in – midwest, south, and Florida – and combined them with a little east coast vibe because that is what I grew up listening to. Combined, this is what makes the sound you hear today. I’d say Fabolous and Kevin Gates have influenced my sound the most: Fab with his versatility through the years to always stay up on the freshest flows, and Gates with his flow that changes speeds and cadence so often. It’s an industry of taking what’s hot and putting your own spin on it, which is what Fab does so well, and that is what I strive to do.
Describe North Carolina to someone who’s never been there.
It’s pretty chill here compared to a lot of the big cities. The people are friendly. The college basketball scene is nuts. The country is usually just a few miles removed from major urban areas, which is kind of crazy. You go from traffic on traffic to farmland in the blink of an eye at times, depending where you are. And we got a strong music scene here! Lot of talent in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but we don’t get the buzz that the other areas get since we are a lot smaller, other than J Cole out of Fayetteville. Raleigh’s got the bigger city vibe, Durham’s more eclectic, Chapel Hill is the college town…it’s a nice combination with a little bit of everything.
What’s your favorite rap album of all time and why?
This is a helluva question…I’m going to have to go with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy from Kanye West. I don’t care about the reputation people have given Kanye- no one can deny the man is a musical genius from a production standpoint. He is ALWAYS ahead of the curve musically, he creates unexpected collaborations, and he doesn’t stop until he has achieved his idea of perfection. This album is no exception at all, and I vibe with every single song. The production is SO strong, the bars are real talk, and you can feel his bravado, but also the authenticity, in the bars. “Power” and “All of the Lights” are staples at every arena, but songs like “Gorgeous” and “So Appalled” are vastly underrated. He’s controversial, he calls people out on their shit, and his musical talent is A1 throughout. Easily a top album.
What do you think about the outcome of the election and what it means for America?
Oh boy. The election is ALWAYS a fun topic, living in a swing state. At this point, what’s done is done, and there’s not a whole lot we can do one way or another except try to unite as a people and stay strong so we can grow as a country. Things are going to be fine. You gotta live life optimistically.