Hip-Hop started in the Bronx, but Connecticut? Hell yeah, Connecticut is where Apathy is resides and continues to rep to this day. After dropping successful bootlegs and several independent releases, Apathy has truly dropped a masterpiece in “Eastern Philosophy” which is released on March 21st. We sat down with Ap and found out what Atlantic’s problem is, what he’s got on his plate and where he’s going from here. If you weren’t an Apathy fan yet, you better wake up because it’s about time.
What’s good, how are you doing.
I’m doing good right now, laying on the tour bus. We are in the middle of driving from New York to Georgia, 18 hours or something like that.
But that’s the life of hip-hop superstar right… (laughs)
Please…I’m on the coattails of a superstar, riding along with Shinoda. As soon as this tour is over and I go on an Apathy tour. It’s going to be a big difference from a lavish tour bus to a little humble van or something like that.
The question on everybody’s mind is what’s up with Atlantic…what is their problem over there?
Honestly is really hard for us to get on the same page. I don’t really know what they are looking for, my biggest beef is with one of the dudes who I respect over there, and that’s my A&R. He has taught me a lot and he is mad cool. He is my A&R, and he’s kind of a friend and I don’t know what I have to do. I’m kind of frustrated and I don’t know what more I have to do to impress him. I’ve recorded tons of material and I’ve done everything under the sun. I’ve hit every spectrum, from doing some crazy wild Outkast out there type songs to doing straight boom bap to doing semi-club joints. I’ve done from here to there and everything in between. They have actually told me verbatim “congratulations man, you just made your hit, this is it, you’ve just opened up your budget”. Then 8 months later I’m calling them like “hello, what’s going on” then they tell me they need 5 or 10 more songs and then we’ll fly you out here again and really start to work on the album. So I do that and call and it’s like I’m bothering them, so they tell me come up and we’ll do 20 songs and we’ll pick the best and go into album mode. I’m just like “are you kidding me?” Every time I call them it’s a new thing.
So the album is done then, like 3 times over?
I wouldn’t say that, I keep getting hit in so many different directions. When I did “Eastern Philosophy” I knew what I wanted to do to. It was very cohesive and I knew what songs were going where and in what order. But with the Atlantic project I just have a big clusterfuck of songs and I don’t have a cohesive album. I have tons of songs recorded, and pretty soon I’m going to release a bootleg 2 CD, so people can see what I’ve been doing for Atlantic. That way people can hear what I’ve been doing and how many different directions I’ve taken.
What would you say is the major difference between a major label and an indie label is for the artist?
Oh god, it’s night and day. Majors tell you what to do and what you can and you can’t use. Majors deal with the sample clearance issues and everything. On indies you do whatever you want to do and you create your album how it’s supposed to be. Don’t get me wrong there is bullshit with indie label’s too. There is bullshit with any label you’re going to deal with. Unless you are putting it out solely by yourself you’re going to deal with some bullshit if another person is involved and in the mix.
So in the meantime you have taken your career into your own hands, “Eastern Philosophy” is on Babygrande correct and comes out March 21st. Why Babygrande?
There was a whole bunch of people who were interested. I’m not going to say names, but you know, the usual suspects, all the major indie labels were ready to go. One of the biggest that was ready to go and then all of a sudden Babygrande came in and made me a really good offer. They came in and made the offer as long as I took all the other deals off the table. We agreed and I ready to go. They guaranteed things like making a video which has already been shot. Everybody came through for that, Demigodz, my crew the Dough Rakas and even Shinoda came through and did a little guest shot in the video
So I’m just going to ask, would you ever bounce from Atlantic and sign with Fort Minor?
Fuck yeah, hell yeah…I’m not even going to lie. Atlantic has to think of it from my perspective. If the relationship is not there and nothing is going on, why wouldn’t I leave the label? Don’t get me wrong, my A&R knows what’s going on and knows we can’t get on the same page and he said to me “you’re not shelved and I’d like you to grind it out with us over here, but I don’t want to be that big bad label and hold you back from your career. If you want to go, I’ll let you go”. So I can’t sit back and vilify him and make him out to be a dickhead, because he’s not. That’s real talk.
You have always repped CT and from the title and the sound of the album, you are really repping the east coast as a whole. Do you feel the east needs that resurgence in hip-hop?
If you want all this shit, it’s cool that all these dudes rap like this. But back in the day the east coast had its own sound. Kool G Rap, Big Daddy, Gangstarr, DITC, they all sounded different but they were still east coast. Nowadays everything sounds the same. “Y’all pop shots/we gonna do it like this/my man come through/you get hit with a fist”
Everybody sounds identical, there are only a couple of dudes from the east who still sound the same and still have their own style.
Ryu of Styles of Beyond makes an appearance on “Can’t Leave Rap Alone”, which is the b-side of the single. Styles of Beyond and the Demigodz have very different styles, how did that collaboration come about?
Well, as you might know Styles is Demigodz, we brought them on a while back. We actually didn’t know Shinoda and SOB did. Those dudes are literally like our brothers, they fit so well into our group and how we are. Ryu and I are like twins, the way we act, it’s crazy. For instance, the first 3 nights of the show by accident we ended up wearing the same gear. Shit was crazy…we were like what the fuck?
(Laughs) That is crazy, I can’t really see Ryu punching somebody in the face where you I can.
That’s funny, because you couldn’t be more wrong (laughs). For instance, we were at the VMA’s and we had some issues with one of the biggest rap crews out in the mainstream. I’m not going to say who it was, but Ryu was taking off his chain and we all taking off our shit getting ready to bang out with these dudes. It got real tense and heated and make no mistake about it, Ryu is a scrapper. Knowing that Ryu and Celph have my back I know everything is good.
On “The Winter” you bring back the missing in action Blue Raspberry and you really flip your style into a story telling emcee. Is “Winter” analogy to a personal experience that you have gone through?
For real man, that’s every year of my life. Winter is hell; it’s like a parallel hell where Satan freezes. Coming from the east coast and everybody in those areas knows that when you get hit with hard winters it just fucking kills you. You watch all the trees die, you watch everything die and everything turns gloomy. Sometimes it gets so cold it hurts your skin, you take a deep breath and you start to cough. You go outside and it makes you feel sick and it hurts. I wrote that song just sitting around, it’s cold and I got bags under my eyes and I didn’t even have the motivation to get up and take a shower. Chum played the sample and I was like, “that feels like today”. Chum flipped it and we started writing. We originally going to do cuts for the hook, but I thought there was already too many cutting tracks on the album. I sat there and thought Blue Raspberry from Wu-Tang clan be perfect for this. Chum and I are huge Wu-Tang fan and we thought Wu did her wrong when they stopped using her. So I’m driving around singing all high pitch and shit like she would, so that was my mission…find Blue Raspberry. It took mad long.
Since I’m a DJ and when I hear some cuts that really make me rewind the tape like on “All About Crime”, who is the dj?
DJ Mekalek (from Time Machine) did those cuts. That song has been done for a really long time. That’s funny because that was going to be on the first version of “Eastern Philosophy” and that song originally was completely different. I tell everybody before I play that song for people I tell them that those cuts are my favorite cuts of all time other than when Primo cuts up “DWYCK”. Mek is Chum’s favorite DJ and Chum is my DJ, so Chum said this is the only guy would I would say to do the cuts. After he did it, Chum and I just looked at each other after he did and looked at him like…”what the fuck was that”.
Turning to the production side of “Eastern Philosophy”, Chum the Skrilla Gorilla produced 8 of the 14 tracks on the album. Who exactly is he and how did you guys hook up?
I met Chum a long long time ago. I met Chum through a mutual friend. It’s a funny story, the original Demigodz were me and Open Mic. Mic had an ASR-10 and that’s what we would always make beats on. Mic ends up selling the ASR-10 to a local music store and remember, this is before me and Chum ever even met. He actually ended up buying Mic’s ASR-10 and then years later when we met I went to his house and noticed his ASR-10 had this scratch that Mic and I had put on it when we where moving it out of the car years earlier. So Chum tells us where he got it and it just bugged us out how it stayed in the family. Chum kept working with us and there is no one else I like working with more than Chum. No one is really on the same page as Chum. It’s mostly me, Chum and Celph who do most of the recording and mixing and we are all on the same page of how we go about doing things.
So what’s next for Apathy, we know Atlantic is still coming (hopefully), but you are a very busy man…what’s on your plate right now.
Biggest thing I want to say is go buy “Eastern Philosophy” on March 21st. Also, I want everybody to check for my man Motive’s album. His album is along the same lines as “Eastern Philosophy”. Me and Chum did all the beats and honestly his album is classic. He is going to come out of now where, he’s going to be the next one out of the Demigodz. Also, Styles of Beyond is working on their album and everything they are doing is on some next level shit. Plus, 7L and Esoteric is working on some new shit and Celph Titled and J-Zone got the “Boss Hogg Barbarians” dropping March 14th.
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