Interview by from 2009

Read the interview I had with Jack M Silverstein back from Jan – 2009…Man scary how much I matured since then.


Ever since I was a little kid I was good with words. I remember 7th grade on this field trip, my friend asked me to battle. He was rapping, he was just fucking around. And my best friend wanted me to battle another one of my best friends, and we just went at it and I started winning. I was like, “How did he know I could do that?” (laughs)

I was 19 when I started writing. I could show you a notebook, my first wack rap notebook. I was just writing songs to myself, just going to the beat. At the time I was listening to a lot of Biggie, and a little bit of Jay. Project Pat, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, 8Ball & MJG, Outkast, and then I came to like Jay and Biggie a lot more after I started really listening to rap.

So I studied. I started rapping as an artist, just making songs, making songs. The first time I went to record I had to be about 20. It was wack. But I was always just trying to get better. I started off just a real, rough-around-the-edges writer. Just trying to be slick, trying to find who I was on the mic. I started trying to learn everything I knew about music. Started off with hardcore hip-hop…I still listen to everything else—R&B, old school tracks, random-ass rock sometimes. I take a pick off of everything. And I know the shit got to be melodic—it’s got to have a melody to it. But that’s later.

My first album I wrote, Audio Crack. Foul. Did it. I literally wove that album—every line meant something and was connected to another line. It’s like a fucking dissertation of rap. (laughs) But then I realized: It’s music, it’s not poetry. Who gives a fuck how much sense it makes or how poetic it is or how profound the lyrics or imagery is? If it don’t ride then it don’t ride.

I started learning that shit got to be melodic, and I started learning what kind of—I hate the word ‘swagger’—what type of persona I had to carry, what type of command I had to have over the track to mesh with the beat. You have to mesh. That’s what I’m learning now. You can’t beat the beat. You have to flow with it. It’s gotta be like water. Bruce Lee said be like water. And that’s what I’m doing now. More melodic. More friendly to the consumer. Not everybody wants to hear a fucking dissertation. Not everyone wants to hear some deep, profound thought. But they wanna vibe! You trying to just vibe the fuck out, just lose yourself in music. So that’s what I’m doing now as an artist. I’m taking the complex lyrics, I’m taking all the shit that a lot of people take for granted and polishing it, polishing it. I’m turning rocks into diamonds. You can’t sell rocks. (laughs)

A track is supposed to have a beginning and an end. It’s supposed to be about something. When I start rapping to you I want to stay on topic, so that when you go listen to music, when you got a problem, you know that this song right here is gonna relate to all your problems. Your bitch slaps you today—“Louch got a song about bitches slapping him, so I got to listen to that song because that’s gonna get me through the day.” I’m not just going to go rambling off like, ‘Yo! I slap hos! (changes voice tone) And then I read books!’ (laughs) It doesn’t work like that. Stick to a subject.

A lot of things I learned were about business. I’m actually building a business. I am a brand. I have become branded. I have to be something that’s believable, something that fits. No matter how much I try to be different, I have to fit into somebody’s mind and mold into what they think an artist is. What am I gonna be? What am I gonna portray myself as? It’s gotta be one word. You have to own one word in your customer’s mind, in your fan’s mind. What is that one word gonna be? You say Muhammad Ali…the greatest. Why is he the greatest? Because he said that shit all the time. You say Jay-Z…that’s Hov. That’s the God MC, Jay-Hov. You say Jeezy…you say cocaine. You say Weezy, Kanye…you say different. That’s what I’m going for now. I’m trying to find a way to brand myself the right way. That’s the difference: now I’m a business man.

And your one word…

That’s what I’m trying to find. You’re always supposed to have a ‘The’. You are ‘The Something’. And my thing I’m trying to go for is ‘The Reason You Listen to Rap.’ That’s what I want my ‘The’ to be.

I want to take you into the future. It’s March 4th, Wednesday night, Subterranean. You’re walking off stage…what has the crowd just experienced?

Connection. You want to feel as if for twenty minutes, or however long I’m up there, the twenty minutes went by like that. (snaps fingers) I want it to feel as if you got lost in music. You got lost in wordplay, you got lost in words. It just felt, for just twenty minutes, that nothing else in the world mattered, and you was just zoning. Not to say you was high, but kinda like, man, you just got caught, got stuck in the moment. It’s like watching rain fall. Like snow.

Outside of that, I just want you to be blown away. Not just entertained, but educated as well.

Educated about what?

A lot of my subject matter, content of my lyrics—it’s not just simple shit I put together. I do a lot of research. I study the world to the point where I feel like “Damn, there’s a lot of shit that people don’t know about.” Shit that I didn’t even know. So when I learn about it I feel it’s up to me to help—just kick somebody some game for a second. To give somebody some hope, to give somebody the adrenaline, the information to keep going. Because motivation is like haircuts. It’s gonna last for about a week maybe, and then you gonna need another one.

I’m a people-pleaser. I got a blog that’s titled “Self Help.” I’m into helping people learn. It’s always a mental battle between yourself and the world, and I want to empower people and give them an edge they might not have had before.

In front of a crowd, I get nervous as a motherfucker. I’m not gonna lie. I have no problem public speaking. I have no problem doing anything in public. But for some reason, when I start rapping, when I start entertaining, I get nervous. One on one, I can sit here and vibe off your rapport that you’re giving me. And we can have our connection like that. But when there’s 100 people, you’re like, “Fuck. How am I supposed to reach every one of these motherfuckers and please them?”

On stage, it’s about your swagger, about your confidence. It’s leading up to the sell. Like a commercial, right? This is a great commercial. But it’s all about getting you in afterwards to buy this product or fall in love with this brand. I’m not making a sale. I’m just providing a chance to make a sale. So that’s what I’m doing.

I want a legacy. I want, fucking—sorry I’m cursing so much—I want greatness. I want perfection. I want flawlessness. I want originality. I want creativity. And I look at every song I write—I’ll show you songs I’ve written ten times. I done wrote verses for ‘em ten times. Ten verses for a song that only had three verses. I recorded a song—I can pull you up a song, the same beat, with 17 different choruses that I wrote. No bullshit.

And those first 16 times…

It wasn’t perfect. Wasn’t good enough. That’s one of my problems: I’m my worst critic. Sometimes I actually strip away the fun I’m supposed to be having with music because I want it to be perfect. Because I want, when you hear this song, I want you to be like ‘Damn!’ Jordan-esque. Fadeaway, perfect.

I wanna do shit that’s never been done before. I wanna leave a mark. Put a twist on something that nobody ever heard or thought about. I just came and blew up something that—I know you can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can put rims on it.

I got an album called The Promise coming out. Man I wrote this motherfucker so many times. I done wrote tons of songs for it. But as I changed my perception of how I have to write music, I had to change what the CD was like. And in changing some of the songs I realized I was changing the feel of the album.

I want my album to have a conceptual feel. You listen from beginning to end. That’s what I’m going for: non-stop concepts, non-stop quality and quantity. It doesn’t just randomly go, ‘Whoa!’ So in changing how I rap and how I vibe with tracks, I have to change the concept, how the feel of the album goes.

Is your career goal to be self-sufficient just based on your music? Your music is going to be your rent money, food money, all of that…

Well, something like that…With my music, I plan on using it to open up venues in which I can make money doing other things. I want to get into clothes. I want to get into owning franchises. I feel like when I get this music money, it’s gonna be gone, because I’m gonna use it to invest in other things where, when I’m asleep, my money is making money.

Every dollar is an employee. And them motherfuckers is supposed to go out and do what they supposed to do. Make your money double. So when your ass is asleep, you’re making money. That’s the only way to leave your class that you’re in. There’s a reason why, what, 90% of the wealth belongs to 10% of the population. Because they know something that everybody else don’t know, or they mastered something that everybody else didn’t master.

What did they master?

Money. What to do with it. How to treat it. How to do what you’re actually supposed to do with that money you get. You’re not supposed to go—that’s why we’re in the economic crisis now. You want a loan, but you have to pay they ass back! You know that, right? Why you gonna buy a house you can’t afford because somebody gave you some magic money? What the fuck you mean you got some money? The bank make money by…how? Hey, Federal Reserve! We need some money! OK, write us these little pieces of paper and we’ll give your ass ten million dollars. Thank you! They just made some fucking money. They ain’t get shit for it but some paper that said, yeah we gave you ten million dollars, and you have to pay us back. We didn’t get any more gold. That’s all money is: gold. A representation of how much gold we got. So a dollar bill is just a fucking symbol of debt. As soon as you get it, somebody else owes some money. The bank got ten million dollars. “Hey, Jack, you want a loan, don’t you? Come get this nine million from us.” Now, whatchyou gonna do with that nine million? “I’m finna go put it in my bank account!” So you go up to Chase Bank, you just left Washington Mutual, you go to Chase Bank, deposit your shit in there, “Thanks Jack!” They take your money and give someone else a loan. And now you just, BOW!, loan, loan, loan. Nobody getting paid back. So now you’re fucked because you didn’t make that money back to pay these banks back, and now they’re gonna foreclose your house.

How are you going to avoid all that?

By investing in shit that’s gonna make money. Fuck buying a house. That’s the American Dream, and people die before they pay off their house. You want me to spend all my life trying to maintain a dream that was given to us from a long fucking time ago? House with the picket fence? Fuck that. Go buy that business. Go learn something about a business. Go franchise a McDonalds. Them hos make dough. McDonalds is not in the industry of fast food. They in the business of owning property. You might think that McDonalds down the street just selling hamburgers. No. It’s the land that they sitting on that they want. For example, the Rock-n-Roll McDonalds. Guess how much that motherfucker make on property tax? A lot of fucking money. They got prime real estate. It’s the location. They always say ‘Location! Location! Location!’ Same shit with food. Starbucks. Fuckers came up everywhere. You own the land, you own the world. You can’t own the world unless you own the ground you walk on. Niggas don’t own shit out here in these streets.

So why use hip-hop to reach people and spread this knowledge? What do you love about hip-hop?

I love the impact it has on people’s lives. It raises—I was raised off music. It was fucking Pimp C saying, ‘It’s Pimp C, bitch! So what the fuck is up? Step wrong nigga, and I’ll take your fucking nuts!’ 8Ball & MJG, ‘Pimp hard. Pimp harder.’ I was raised off this shit. These are like father figures to me. Guidance counselors.

So is your passion for music? Or is it for guidance. Teaching.

I wanna say music. I’ma definitely say music. Because a lot of my favorite songs ain’t got shit to do with guidance. (laughs) That’s my problem, because my favorite songs ain’t nobody teaching or preaching to me. So I have to subliminally do the shit. It’s gotta be hints of it, cause you can’t overwhelm somebody. Nobody wants to be in class, in music. I kinda talk my shit and then I be like, “but in case you need a hug…”

You’re 22.


So when you’re 52, and you listen to The Promise, what do you think you’ll see in that 22-year-old version of yourself?

I was hungry. I was passionate. I did everything I could do at the time. Said what I had to say. And I tried to make it acceptable to the masses. I might be rough around the edges, and, you know—that’s gonna be my baby. I’m gonna grow, the music’s gonna stay the same. That’s the only thing I don’t like about it. So that’s why I’m trying to make it as classic as I can, as timeless as I can, as far as the lessons and the message behind it. So that even when I’m 52 and I listen to it, the values still hold true, regardless of the economic situation.

We’re all human, no matter how much money we got. When it’s there, it’s great. When it’s gone, what the fuck you gonna do? There was a man who killed himself because he went from having two billion dollars to having 200 million dollars. Killed himself. I would kill somebody for 200 million dollars! (laughs) And you killed yourself because that’s all you had.

We gotta learn together. We gotta grow. We’re all people, man. Everybody’s so focused on how to differentiate themselves from somebody else—I wanna say ‘Fuck that.’ We’re in Chicago. We already hate each other enough. We need to bring each other together and say ‘This is what we gotta do.’ It takes a team. You’re a part of my team right now whether you know it or not. So it’s like, what can you do? You can only build. Build and build and build.

Build to where?

Happiness. Pursuit of happiness. It’s the shit that we feed ourselves that fuck us up in the head, and I just want to make sure you got your mind right. You’re on the right path. That would be my satisfaction.