Ink Tone Swep Images Hellbound Location Hollywood, CA.
What exactly is the bridge between classic rap and the new era? What does that entail?
Understanding where it came from, the culture, the music, the origin stories. And having the amount of respect for both then and now; accepting that what once was isn’t supposed to be now, and vise versa. And also the bridge has two ends right, so it’s understanding what inspiration is and knowing how to draw inspiration from both ends. That’s what I mean. The understanding of it. The changes and challenges that come with it.
How do your New Jersey beginnings and Central Florida upbringing contribute to your sound? As an artist, how do you merge those lanes?
I was mainly raised in Jersey, like up until high school, and that gave me a lot of my codes and morals. My style came from Jersey, my grasp of music and my approach to creating it. The south brought the wrecklessness, the wild sh!t, that energy. I find space for all of it to share on every song, in every video, on projects outside of the music, and just everyday life in general.
In what ways have you grown as an artist since your early indie success with songs like “Bangk” and projects like the “Sixxxty” EP?
In my process of working and understanding the total song, the complete vision from song to video to promoting it, performing it. My studio knowledge is much better, my work ethic, too. And this growth was a natural journey. Nothing drastic happened that made me suddenly change my approach, the growth just came with time and experience.
Tell us how the “Hotboy” joint came together. When did you decide it was your lead off hitter?
I was scheduled to meet the producer in the studio, and I was already drinking and smoking (Laughs!). When I walked in and heard the beat those were the first words out of my mouth – Hotboy. I knew right away that was the title. That second the hook dropped I knew I had a hit… I was already in my Hellbound mindstate, that feeling where I didn’t want to just make a song but create a concept and live by it. Hotboy came from an aggressive place but with partying in mind.
The video concept was vintage on some player hustlin’ out of a Hollywood hotel sh!t. And you directed the visual, what was the concept conversation like between you and Brightmindsent?
The idea came from a picture he took in that same place. I saw it and was like ‘where is that hotel?’ My image is like… we’re cool and unlike other rappers. New, but reflecting on classic times while making new moments that will be unforgettable. I want my videos to be cinematic, like a movie filmed at a GQ photo shoot.
What’s up with Hellbound?
It’s an attitude. Around the time I made Hotboy, in my mind I knew I was going to land a record deal this year. So Instead of making a song, or an EP, or just an album, then having a short six month run and that flaming out, I wanted to take the risk of building something larger, and that’s what Hellbound Radio is. An entire lifestyle coordinated with music and other ventures I have going on.
Like the strategic approach, as opposed to just releasing music and hoping for the best. Where does the strategy derive from?
It comes from a lot of experience and knowing things, understanding my creative proccess. I don’t like to just put one thing on the table, I like to present options. It’s like old school selling weed, you got cash to put up, you got other sh!t for sale, depends on what he wants. You don’t want to let that money leave (Laughs!). Especially if it’s because you didn’t plan. I have respect for myself and for my team, I don’t want to let them down with short-term thinking.
What can we anticipate from you in the near future?
Good music. Fire visuals. I want to drop like three more singles and just see where that takes me.
Rap is a path to fame and wealth, for some. For others it’s proven to be a fast-track to early death by a senseless murder or drug overdose. Why in your opinion do these extremes, these lava hot or ice cold climates exist in the rap game?
Because of the disconnect, the people who can help guide our youth to a better place aren’t readily available. So, very few understand what’s going on in our world. There is just a lot of miscommunication and sometimes that turns deadly or, like you said, into turning toward drugs for relief. But no one seems to want to understand themselves, each other, the world we’re all trying to cohabitate in peacefully. And until we get a firmer understanding on all of this the cycle will continue, unfortunately.