Rick Whispers - conducted by Bill "Low-Key" Heinzelman
House Of Hearts
Hailing from upstate New York, Rick Whispers represents a new bread of Hip Hop artists. Those not confined by labels and stereotypes, but those influenced by a vast range of sounds. It is hard to pin down Rick's musical style, as he is influenced by artists such as Public Enemy, Mobb Deep, Metallica & Bad Religion. His debut album House Of Hearts is an intelligent and noteworthy release from the Pitch Control Music representative. This is Rick Whispers, New York stand up.
MVRemix: Let's start in the beginning, where were you born and raised? And what was it like growing up there over the years?
Rick: I was born in Albany N.Y., but grew up in Clifton Park. Growing up there was kind of boring, there wasnít really anything to do besides skate, so me and my friends would go to Albany to check out shows and hang out.
MVRemix: What were you like as a kid/teenager?
Rick: I grew up listening to mostly hardcore/punk rock music. I was into skateboarding, and gradually become more involved in Hip-hop, and writing.
MVRemix: How would you describe yourself, introverted or extroverted?
Rick: I would say Iím more extroverted in that Iím not home very much these days at all.
MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?
Rick: I remember recording demos on my friendsí tape deck when we had a karaoke set up. Then me and my crew of friends use to look for house parties that had DJís, and we would show up with mics in our backpacks ready to rock the party.
MVRemix: What was the one album you constantly listened to as a kid?
Rick: I would have to say DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Princeís tape ďAnd In This CornerĒ. That tape sticks out more than anything else to me right now.
MVRemix: How did you first get into rhyming?
Rick: I knew these kids who started a group and they were really into it. So I tried writing and free-styling with them and eventually was like, this is what Iím going to do from now on.
MVRemix: When did you first realize this was something you wanted to do with your life?
Rick: When I would freestyle and actually get people to stop and listen in Washington Park. That was a really great motivating factor for me that I could get into other peoples heads like that. I actually stopped recording for about a year and my man Sam @ Butcher Productions called me up one day and was like you arenít quitting. I booked you some studio time and itís all paid for. Iím also going to pay to press this up to. I really owe him for that, if he didnít do that I might have just moved on.
MVRemix: How would you describe your style?
Rick: Iíd say I try and be as descriptive as possible with my writing, but developing new sounds and still trying not to forget the foundation of the music. Other than that I would say I try not to paint myself into a corner, by staying versatile enough to do anything that comes to mind.
MVRemix: How did you start to make a name for yourself locally?
Rick: Battling around Albany and catching ciphers with everyone around here. I started opening up at hardcore shows in Albany. After that I hooked up with a collective of musicians called Pitch Control Music and working with artists within that community and rocking shows with them.
MVRemix: From there, what happened next that lead you up to this point?
Rick: I recorded House Of Hearts. Mashie and Dezin8ed at Casa De Slobos helped me put the album together there and lent me their floor to sleep on so we could finish it up right.
MVRemix: Tell us about your debut album House Of Hearts.
Rick: House Of Hearts is everything that I had in my head and I had to get it out onto paper. The album from my standpoint is a pure reflection of how I view certain aspects of my life.
MVRemix: Who is doing the production on it? Guest appearances?
Rick: Production for the album includes: Mashie (also the man on the boards for the record) Dezin8ed (Executive producer of the album) and beat magician on 2 tracks. Ted Becker made four tracks; Sween and Vinylcologist both of Finer Arts each produced one track. Brian Patneaude laced two tracks with saxophone. And on the cuts, deejaygyro.
MVRemix: Tell us about some of the songs and concepts you have on the album?
Rick: Shards of Smoke deals with a lot of things I was going through with certain things in my life, situations appear one way but are just fogged up and synthetic at second glance. House Of Hearts is the day-to-day walkthrough the list of things I think of in relation to society.
MVRemix: What has been the biggest headache you have had to deal with in this Hip Hop industry?
Rick: The biggest headache for me in the industry is just weeding out opinions that arenít constructive criticisms so I donít get biased or influenced towards my own art. People are really critical/skeptical these days, myself included. Iíve learned to become closed eared to this. If you just act like yourself there isnít anybody in ANY industry that can replicate that, thatís my sales pitch.
MVRemix: Do you find it tough/irritating to get yourself head in this day and age of Hip Hop? Especially considering there are so many artists and the game is oversaturated.
Rick: I did at one time, but not anymore. As long as you come with something people can feel something refreshing and are true to your art, people will recognize that. If they like it, dope. If not, thatís ok with me, itís subjective.
MVRemix: Overall, what is your main career goal?
Rick: I would like to reach a massive level of people with my music, travel with it, and be doing so for a long time.
MVRemix: Do you think the upstate New York Hip Hop scene gets overlooked?
Rick: Not really, I think that Upstate is definitely making a name for itself. Albany has a really growing hip-hop scene. People have been traveling from other areas to come out here and check out shows and build musically for a long time. Pitch Control Music is an idea that only has room to expand. If you donít know now donít feel left out, you will soon.
MVRemix: Currently, who are your favorite artists?
Rick: This changes with every second so I donít think this is going to be easy to answer, Iíll listen to almost anything as long as itís entertaining and done well.
MVRemix: What else do you have going on in the future?
Rick: I have a new album in the works entitled ďAwed by the BackdropĒ my follow up to House Of Hearts, which has no release date yet.
Iíve also just completed a new video for the song ďShards of SmokeĒ which was shot by Jim @ Mastadon Media at the Shelter Skate park in Albany N.Y. you can view the video on my site at www.rickwhispers.com/av