Freestyle - conducted by Christopher "Scav" Yuscavage
MVRemix: We'll move right into the new album then. First of all, why did you decide to call your new album, "Etched in Stone?"
I felt like everybody's first album is the album that everybody, all the fans or all the heads, always refer to. They always say the first album was the best album. The first album, he did this and now he's not doing that, I wish he did that. That's when he make your first step in the cement. And to me, when you like...Okay, the pyramids, the hieroglyphics, they're etched in stone. Anything that's written in stone is important. Either it's important or has a lot of meaning to somebody somewhere. It could even mean more to the people reading it after you wrote it, or whoever wrote it. And then you have the 10 Commandments, they're written in stone tablets. So that's like, I was in that realm when I wrote it. I want to write it in stone. It's permanent, it's forever. It's what everybody's going to refer to. Scientists, every is trying to figure it out.
MVRemix: On your album, you go, I don't want to say all over the place, but you have a variety of...
Yeah, I do go all over the place! (laughter) I really do. I know you don't mean it in a bad way if you were to say it. But I know exactly what you mean, that was my intentions when I did it. I wanted to make an album that had potentially every song being either a single or something that somebody out there likes. Like I'm trying to make at least one song for everybody. So I try to do all kinds of styles, I try to talk about a bunch of different things, I try to approach things in different ways, I try to do different rhymes, in each verse, in each rhyme, I try to say each thing different. Just so that I have that little variety for the majority of people. 'Cause everybody likes something different. I didn't want to just do an album with one sound, and then when everybody hears it, it's like, when somebody hears a Wu-Tang song, it's like, 'Oh yeah, that's a Wu-Tang song! That's a Wu-Tang sound!" I didn't even want to go near that. I wanted to come with all different kinds of sounds. So when different hear it, they're like, 'Hmm, I don't like that, I don't like that, I don't like that, I like THAT!"
MVRemix: Now, one of my favorite songs, I could easily hear it getting played on the radio, "Understand If I." Now, how'd you come up with that, and how'd you put that together? I had never heard of Eternia before, but I was impressed with the chemistry between you guys.
Basically, I've known Eternia for mad years, like maybe 7-8 years. I used to go back and forth to Canada a lot. And one time I went to Canada and she was recording for her album. The song was her idea and everything. It was basically a song for her joint. So we did it, we did the song together. We wrote the song together, she wrote her verse, and I fed her because it was her concept. She wanted to that on the beat. So I fed off her, wrote my verse, she really liked it. We practiced and really liked it, went into the studio, and bang, it was done. The song itself though, what were we going to do with it? She wanted to press up a single herself and she just didn't have the money to do all that. And the song was just sitting there as my album was getting done. I was like, you know what, let me put that song on my album. It will help you. It will help me. It would be more exposure for the song and the song won't just sit there and go to waste. She was like, 'Cool.' 'Cause, not to disrespect, but a lot of Canadian emcees don't get noticed. For some odd reason, no matter how good they are, they don't get the love they deserve. I was like, 'Yo, if you put that on my album, it'll help you a lot.' It'll put her name overseas cause I do mad shit over there, so wherever I'm gonna go, my album gonna go. And wherever my album gonna go, you gonna go! So it was basically me extending my hand. I know it would help me, too, 'cause it's a great song! But it was about helping her with her project and helping her get more exposure. And I always told her, yo, I'll do my best to help you out because you're a good emcee and you deserve to be heard because there's a lot of garbage out there!
MVRemix: Okay. I also thought that the album as a whole, the production was good, you had a couple different producers on there. Especially the joints produced by DJ Noize and Context. Now, do you usually work in the studio with the producers, or do they just send the beats to you?
Right, well, it usually depends. I usually do work in the studio with the producer. Some situations it wasn't like that on the album. Like the MGI joints, "Carry On," "Can't Let U Go," those joints weren't done with the producer. Reason being, I met him over the Internet. (laughs) I met him on the Internet, he was, I guess a fan of my music, he was like, 'Yo, we'd like to work with you, we like your stuff.' They sent me the beats, I was blown away, and they live in Finland. So I wasn't going to Finland at the time so I couldn't manage to get into the studio with them at that time although it would have been ideal. So they send me the music, I went to the studio and recorded it. The Noize tracks I did. DJ Noize, all he did was DJ on the songs. The producer was Context. He's produced for Q-Unique and a joint that Dilated and a couple others cats did that was a hit in Europe. But anyway, he produced those tracks and we were in Denmark and I went to the studio with him and Noize and did those tracks. All of the beats on the album are from European producers except for one and that's "Understand If I," which was done by a Canadian producer named Collision. Basically, I met all these producers from traveling. Every city I went to, I met somebody somewhere that liked my music or liked my show. We got in the studio in that city or country or whatever and did those songs.
MVRemix: Now, recently, you just came off tour. Or you've been doing some touring, right?
Well, I just came off touring, but I mean, everybody calls, if you just go do one show, everybody will call that touring. I just do some spot dates. But I did just come back from Europe anyway. Europe and Canada...
MVRemix: Where in Europe were you?
Finland. And I was in Canada doing a video release party for the song I did with Eternia. So we did a video/album release party. It was pretty cool, up in Toronto. And I was in Finland, did a couple shows, and I recorded some in the studio.
MVRemix: When you did shows out there, did you do it with other artists?
Yeah, but it's artists that you don't know. They're all from Finland. Being that they're all from out there, most people don't know who they are. And Finland is a small country, so to even hear about these dudes, is a long shot. You'd have to go and ask somebody in Finland or go and look them up on the Internet. That's the only way you really gonna find out.
MVRemix: Being that you're primarily an independent artist, what are the problems or frustrations trying to get your music out there? Especially within the United States?
Well, basically, a lot of labels went under. That's number one. Number two, it's hard to put stuff out on the independent level because cats are afraid to go under themselves. So they're afraid to take more chances now, so they're taking a lot less chances and giving a lot less money for that same reason. So, then you're trying to look around for a place to put you're album out. And then it's like 'Yeah it's gonna cost me, blah blah blah, to do, blah blah blah, if we're gonna do this deal.' No we can't give you blah blah blah because we don't have money like that. So you have no place to put material and no place to get your material out there. So that's one frustration. Another frustration is that labels that used to put out vinyl don't do that anymore. They only deal with certain cats because they know they are guaranteed a certain amount of sales because those dudes sell that much for whatever reason. Only certain things are selling right now. Like, for instance, Fat Beats, they wouldn't do a single with me. All those years of them working with me and Arsonists and now they're turning me down. Turning me down and like, unless you have a remix by blah blah blah, or blah blah blah featured on a song, we can't fuck with it! It's understandable, 'cause everybody gotta make money. I'm not mad at nobody, but that is one of my frustrations.
MVRemix: Asides from hip-hop, I know you talked a lot about being into computers. Are you still real into computers?
Freestyle: Yup. I'm looking at one right now!
Did you create your website?
I created my first one, and the second one somebody did for me. The one with the flash and the folder and the animation and shit like that. I don't have time to do stuff like that right now, or the mindset. I'm concentrating on other things.
MVRemix: Last but not least, what are some future projects that you are going to be putting out? What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm walking on an album in Finland with a Finnish artist. Putting that together as far as the beats and rhymes go. I want to be the first emcee from the States to collaborate with an emcee in Europe to put an album out in Europe. I want to be the first international collaboration ever! (laughing) Working on that right now. And then, my second album as well. Just collecting the beats and writing the rhymes.
MVRemix: How far along with that are you?
Well, I got mad beats. But the thing is, I got a lot of beats but I'm not really finalized on them because I'm trying to outdo myself now. I'm trying to go somewhere else with my music as well. And a lot of the beats I'm getting are the same stuff or along the same lines as what I would have done with he first album. So I'm stuck between these beats that, I'm really really feeling them because they're really hot, but at the same time I want to go somewhere else now! So I'm not getting those different beats. So I'm usually going to do this and get it done and put out another version of "Etched in Stone," but with some different rhymes and different concepts, of course, or keep waiting until I get the right beats for where I want to go with it. I don't want to wait 'cause there's no time. At least I don't feel that there's time to wait for anything in this world. So working on that, working on an album with Shabazz (Shabazz the Disciple). Me and Shabazz are cousins. We were gonna put out an album but we had some problems with a label guy out in England. So that got held up and now we're back to square one. We got all the rhymes, now we just need new beats and a studio. It shouldn't take no time anyway 'cause me and him don't waste no time. So that'll be done soon, but as far as getting put out, I don't know! That's about it!
Check out Freestyle’s latest release, “Etched in Stone,” on Battle Axe Records.