(Honored to keep bringing you underground hip hop fire. This time, I spoke to Match McKenzie, one of the lyricists in the trenches hustling every day to get his sound out.)1. With Iggy & the blingification era Puffy created, has hip hop lost its way? The thing about hip hop is that it all falls within the realm of expression of self and art. I think Iggy has some great songs but they have more of a pop accent to them in terms of appeal. I just wish the industry would’ve given her the respect to be judged in the Pop category for her work, because that too is a category full of award winners and amazing artists that have completed great feats. As for Hip hop, I’d like to think that it’s in great hands. Yeah, there’s a lot of foolishness going on out there, but at the same time there are still legends carrying on the craft, blessing the young and gifted, like myself, with knowledge, and there are some great artists such as J.Cole, Kendrick, Childish Gambino, Logic, Chance Da Rapper who are already established. I can go on for days, but basically the point is the message will find a way…we just have to keep them aware.
2. Who were you on when you were coming up? Anyone who helped your sound become what it is today? I came up off of a different mixture of hip hop, back when music was very different and the riddims were very distinct. Back then, you knew where the sound was coming from. I came up more on Alternative Metal, Ska and Hip Hop… I had so many influences it’s crazy. I had influences like Outkast, The Dungeon Family, The Roots, Kanye West, Depeche Mode, Chevelle, Smashing Pumpkins, I just remember only wanting to fuse a sound to bring something even more amazing to life. So many people have influenced me over the years, Tokyio Shrympz, Scamz and DrumNSkillz my producers; Loaded Lux; Face The Writer; Malayika Lemoine, ESQ; My Breden At The Unpopular; as well as every artist or producer I have ever met has influenced my sound in some sort of way. I feed off of creative energy, so everyone i come in contact with can add to that and influence me in some kind of way.3. What is hip hop like in NYC these days, with the rise of DJs & all of that? This is the Mecca of Hip Hop. It will always be competitive, but with so many Dj’s on the rise I’m sad to see that they don’t make it their job to find new artists and introduce the population to unique artists and their music. The sound of Hip Hop has undergone some big changes, and the DJ’s could really do a whole lot to introduce more people to more than just the same old thing. New York is such a great melting pot of cultured artist that I feel still embody that golden era charisma, with great delivery and substance. Dj’s have to be willing to give us a chance.
4. Forgive my ignorance, is there still a battle scene in the city anywhere? Do freestyle skills still matter in the game these days in NYC? Yeah there is.The Battle Scene is actually gaining even more popularity. I feel it’s necessary for you to know how to freestyle, just to be able to expell your thoughts in a pattern, if your working on your creative process or just to help your delivery, growth, or your mind hold no limitation in the thought process. A legend like Cassidy literally came out of retirement and collected a 100k plus check, freestyling. It can really hold some strong opportunities for ones that are really skilled.
5. Do you feel that hip hop artists have a responsibility to stand with the protesters in Ferguson/around the country, or is that something that you can’t touch at the moment because of the grind? I feel it’s our responsibility to keep our brothers and sisters aware of problems like this in our society, as well as other serious matters that continue to plague our communities. We should all be out there if we can afford to take time out to get a good look at the reality of what’s going on, even just for ourselves, because at the end of the day the goal is knowledge of self.
6. Do you feel MCs have a place in the EDM explosion we’re currently seeing? Or is it all about back to basics hip hop? Of course there is. We all have a place in music. Music isn’t as categorized as we make it, it deserves to get a chance to be innovated. There are so many things that can arise from that initial fusion. Hip hop itself has been evolving there have been so many sounds used and it can change in a matter of seconds. Each new fusion, each time someone tries something new and pushes those boundaries, it’s a great creative moment, and goes to what’s at the heart of music.
7. Any tips for up & comers or hustlers on the grind like yourself? Any studios or people in the biz help you out that you want to shout out? Believe In The Blessings You Have Been Bestowed, and “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” (that quote has kept me going everyday). This is the age where you can defy the label gate keepers, if your following is strong enough, they will be on your heels every step. Just keep building your foundation. There is a means of overcoming the machine, if you believe in your ability to keep the masses aware. With all the social media outlets it can happen. There will be days where doubt will try to creep up on you but if you can pull together a team the possibilities are endless. Keep networking. It’s the means of strengthening your rapport and even may open you to other ventures that fall under the umbrella of what you’re doing. I would like to thank BlackHart, The Unpopular, 173ENT, Tokyio Shrympz, LTI, City Official, Scamz OndaBeat, DrumNSkillz, Xyayx Studios, these people are all responsible for bettering me in some way as an artist , performer, and entertainer. They believed in my message. 8. How did you connect with Tokyio Shrympz for your new releases? Are you doing just one EP or are there going to be more? I actually have had a great rapport with Tokyio Shrympz for some time now, we have been working on a few projects for the past 3 years but I have known them for almost 9 or 10 years now. Miyagi Sport aka Mr.Calligraphy, Savage Hype, and Miami V.I.P crafted the production. This will be our first EP together entitled The Unpopular: The DRACONIS IGNIS COMPLEX. There will be many more projects to come. We’ve recorded quite a bit of material by now, so we have some songs to choose from. But first we’re going to make sure the masses are aware before we just jump into the next album. I really believe we made something that deserves to be heard, that holds great substance, so I’m looking to keep promoting once the EP finally drops.
9. Is there anyone in the game right now that is doing stuff that blows you away? Someone in your crew or across the country? There are tons of amazing artists that are doing great music that aren’t necessarily on the radar yet. There is a young lady by the name of Versailles The Great, She is something special to look out for. She is more in the Florida area. Personally, I like to hear music from all regions. There are great artists everywhere such as Face The Writer, who also is one of the writers at Circle House. He has crafted tons of hits for some of your favorite artist favorite artists. Also there’s my bredren dem, ESFX, who is a great artist and writer as well, who is actually working with B. Howard (son of Mickey Howard) on his debut EP. ESFX likes to take on the Hip Hop/Rock Live Band Fusion which is super dope and creative. And I can’t forget my LTI Large Tunez International label mates. They’re a vastly composed unit of artist that take on different genres of music as well. Really, there’s a lot of talent for the most part in New York coming out of the Bronx, but the Bronx doesn’t get much love due to so many of the industry types that feel that Harlem or Brooklyn may hold a deeper talent pool than the other boroughs. And then of course there’s the regulars that keep it consistent, such as the J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Big Sean and even the new breed like Childish Gambino, Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Casey Veggies, I can keep going forever…
10. What is on your calendar for 2015 after the dope battle you rocked last winter? This year it’s all about bigger and better. On top of releasing my EP, I’m looking to do as many shows as possible to keep hustling and getting the word out that I’m here and I’m bringing a sound that people really need to hear. I’m trying to get around to CA, GA, and TX. I just got back from FL earlier this month. And of course I’ll keep performing around the Tri-State area. Plus, my team and I are in the process of putting together a set of college shows. I’ve also got my eyes set on some of the big festivals like SXSW, A3C, Indie Spring Jam, 5050 Music and Arts Festival and a few more industry mixers and showcases. Basically, I will keep going until the world is fully aware of my presence. Thank You for taking time out to press play and thank you to all my fans that keep me on repeat everyday. I love you all so much It will take hard work but the world will know soon.
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