Who are you?
I am the Black Bon Jovi.
What is the story behind “Divas At The Disco?”
“Divas At The Disco” is one of the first records I worked on with Thelonious Martin for my next album. We’ve been homies since in high school so it’s always dope to get in the studio with him. It just brings back that feeling of when we were both starting out pushing each other to make the illest material possible. The song itself is all about being conscious of the present. I like it because it reminds me of when I first moved to New York, it’s like a time capsule for me.
What is the status of your upcoming project The Honeymoon Suite? What is its conceptual approach?
The Honeymoon Suite is pretty much complete; I’m just having a hard time whittling it down, sometimes I get too attached to songs. I purposely designed it so that every song on the LP has it’s own sound and lives in its own space. When you play it for the first time, every track should feel like entering a new room in one of those cheesy old motels, like out in vegas or something.
Your latest video “Coping Mechanism” was quite a cinematic experience. How did this come about and can we expect more ambitious visuals like this from you in the future?
“Coping Mechanism” was my first time really directing anything. I always play a heavy role in all aspects of my music, from the production to the artwork or whatever but this was the first time I had a vision for something aesthetically and then made it happen, just how I saw it in my head. I can’t lie – it was fresh as fuck, can’t wait to do it again. I’ve got a couple more visuals coming up with my partners Simon Davis & Jason Filmore that helped me do Coping, those guys are geniuses. Definitely expect more like that in the future, I have a habit of being too ambitious for my own damn good.
Thoughts on the NYC rap scene these days?
I’m not necessarily someone that hangs with a lot of “rappers” but from what I see out here there’s still plenty of talent. I think in the past its been a lot of purists and emcees that sound like they probably used to be in a b-boy crew back in the day but now it’s like a new wave of artists coming out of the east side that really wanna take this shit somewhere new, which is always a good thing.
Do you think it’s still good for hip-hop music to be categorized through different regions?
Nah, I think if anything it’s extremely restrictive when they do that. I know for me, I’m influenced by music from all over the place so one day I could be listening to Sly & The Family Stone or Outkast and the next day it could be Italian film scores and Nirvana. That’s what the internet did. It made a generation of kids who had the opportunity to go wherever they wanted in the world with one click. I definitely try to put some of the DNA of wherever I’m making an album into the music but overall I want to be perceived as so much more than just a “New York artist.” I always felt like more of a world citizen than anything.
What was the most influential album for you this year?
This year I listened to Stankonia by Outkast a lot, it was one of the first hip-hop albums I remember actually owning. They always inspire me to push myself creatively. Pretty much that and Back In Black by ACDC were the mainstays in my rotation.
Your plans for 2014?
Drop that Honeymoon Suite for my riders that waited it out and keep doing these shows. I’m a performer first and foremost, so it’s exciting to watch people that fuck with my music bug out at the concerts – they’re never ready for it.