Credit is given to Petey Pablo for the introducing North Carolina Hip-Hop to the mainstream, but it was Little Brother who broke down the door for the underground. Now the floodgates are open and more Carolina Hip-hop acts are reaping the benefits. Newcomer Splash is one of these individuals who are representing the state's new wave. While not a member of the Justus League, Splash mirrors the Little Brother sound to a tee with his common man approach on the mic. He is not going to battle you, hit you over the head with politics, or make you dance. Instead, Splash offers the everyday struggles. With his debut album, The Ripple Effect Splash gives you his life. From the birth of his son, to troubles at the workplace, to trying to graduate college on time, Splash epitomizes your average man on wax. MVRemix caught up with Splash to talk about his impressive debut album, as well as his struggles coming up in the rap game.
MVRemix: I read that you were born in Virginia, but as a kid you lived in Germany for a little bit while your father was in the Army. How long did you live overseas?
Splash: I lived overseas for about five years.
MVRemix: What was it like over there? What do you remember about Germany?
Splash: It was a good experience man. I got to be around a lot of different cultures, so it was good.
MVRemix: You first got hooked on Hip Hop from Krush Groove. What about that movie made you fall in love with Hip Hop?
Splash: I don't know man, it was just so fresh. Seeing the culture in front of you for the first time was amazing. After that we were all beat boxing, trying to imitate what we saw in the movie. So it was a great experience, and it just stuck with me.
MVRemix: What was that one album you listened to over and over as a kid?
Splash: I would say Midnight Marauders and Illmatic, those two. I think I bumped those two albums to death when I was younger. I would listen to both albums all the way through every time.
MVRemix: When you moved back to the states, you lived in North Carolina. What was it like growing up there?
Splash: It was a culture shock for the most part. It was a lot different from being over seas, and it was a lot realer. The crime was higher, and family wise, it was kind of hard. My parents eventually separated, so it was real. The school system was different, the classes were different, so it took some time getting used to a different country.
MVRemix: How did you first get into rhyming?
Splash: I had some older cousins that rhymed, which was in '93 or '94. But my mother bought me a Yamaha keyboard when I was in the second grade in Germany. So I was always into music, but in eight grade I started to dabble in rhyming. My cousins told me I had a nice voice, so I tried it out. So that's how I started, and it took off from there.
MVRemix: When did you start to take it seriously and say, this is what I want to do with my life?
Splash: I wanna say towards the end of my high school years. I was around 17 or 18 when I started to take it seriously. I never knew it would get to where it is now, but it was always a dream. So at first I was just recording songs, like everyone else, and at the time the songs didn't have any structure, but I just loved to do it.
MVRemix: How did you start to make a name for yourself locally?
Splash: I battled a lot of people in my area. I used to work at a telemarketing job, and every time we would be out on break, I would be battling cats. I was eating cats, and my skills were tight. As far as getting my name out, I would go to different battles in colleges, like UNC Charlotte and NC State.
MVRemix: How did you hook up with Amp Truth Records?
Splash: I have a friend on the label now, who goes by the name of Picaso, and we went to high school together. He knew I rhymed, so when I came home for the summers he would tell me to hook up with this cat's at Amp Truth Records. So eventually I sat down and talked to them and it took off from there.
MVRemix: What would you say are your strong points as an emcee?
Splash: I think my strong points are, I'm real. I can connect to more than one audience with my rhymes. There are a lot of little things as well, such as my voice. A nice voice or good voice structure is real important, and people have always told me that's one of my strong points. So I try and use that to my advantage. Plus, I really don't bandwagon. You know how people are, when the next big wave comes they are automatically with it. I don't like everything that everyone else likes. I might bump Crime Mob tonight, and tomorrow it may be Little Brother. So I'm into myself so to speak, I just do the music that I like, not what's hot at the moment.
MVRemix: What is your main career goal?
Splash: My main goal is to broaden my horizons, and try to get as much as I can out of this game. This Hip Hop game is a risky business, so I really want to try and bring my music to the world. I want to represent something that hasn't been represented yet. I'm from eastern North Carolina, and where I'm from, there is a lot of talent and different ideas that haven't been seen or heard yet. And I wanna bring that to the forefront.
MVRemix: Ok, lets talk about your debut album The Ripple Effect. Why that title?
Splash: I went back and forth with album titles, because at first we were gonna go with Alter Ego, and different things. But after awhile we just came up with The Ripple Effect, because my name is Splash, and the obvious connection. So I'm trying to have a ripple effect with my music. Put this album out, and in turn, it will generate this, and then generate that, and so on. Life is one big ripple effect.
MVRemix: What type of songs, concepts and issues can fans expect from this album?
Splash: I put it like this, it’s a non fiction album, so to speak. Fans are gonna hear a lot of reality, but this album is just one part of me. It's kind of like a thinking mans album - it's something you put in your car or headphones and it gives you something to think about. Its just something different from what you hear everyday on the radio. But don’t get me wrong, I feel the stuff that is on the radio as well. But this is a real album, its not no cookie cutter shit. I talk about everything from having to go to court, to getting your girlfriend pregnant, to having a child. It's my blood, sweat, and tears.
MVRemix: Production wise, everybody notices 9th Wonder. So how did you hook up with him?
Splash: 9th is a mutual friend of my manager. But I was feeling 9th before the accolades and success. I was hearing him through the college circuit - NC State, and all of that. The first time I actually met him, I had gotten in a battle with Phonte, and this was like 2001. I didn't know he was making beats, but it was the first time we met. So we clicked from there, and is a real good guy. And he just gave me a chance, and I appreciate that. I mean, how many emcees do you meet on a daily basis, either good or bad? So 9th just gave me a chance, and I really appreciate that.
MVRemix:. Do people in North Carolina credit Little Brother for helping to bring more attention to your state?
Splash: I think they are getting more accolades now then they did at first. North Carolina, for the most part, is kind of a wait and see state. Petey Pablo, he put it down, and had the videos on 106 & Park, and things of that nature. But when I went out of state and traveled more, cats would be like, 'I can't believe the way you sound, being from North Carolina. I just thought y'all were swinging your shirts around'. But its not like that, and I think Little Brother proved that. So any respect they get is well deserved, they make great music. Plus, they reached a part of the Hip Hop population that hasn't been reached yet, so they opened up a lot of doors.
MVRemix: When I first heard of you I immediately thought you were part of the Justus League. Do you get that a lot?
Splash: I have had certain people say that. I did an interview with this person at Norfolk State, and he thought I was down with the Justus League. But I told him, that's my people, but I'm not actually in the Justus League. And I don't have a problem with that, I can see why people get confused. In music, I don't think there is one artist who can say their road or path they traveled on was 100 percent perfect.
MVRemix: Let me ask you a real question, 9th Wonder gets a lot of love, as you know. But he also gets criticism for his beat patterns. A lot of people feel he uses the same pattern every song. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Splash: I think some people feel 9th gets repetitive, but I feel that is his niche. I feel he has his own style, it's dope as hell, but there are a lot of haters our there. I think the same thing could be said about a lot of producers, such as the Neptunes, Kanye, who ever. Every producer has their own distinct sound. I don't think he should try and change it up because of the critics. He music is dope, so just appreciate it. Don't try and focus on the negativity. So I feel 9th should just brush his shoulders off and keep it moving. People are going to talk about you regardless.
MVRemix: Going back to The Ripple Effect, you have a bonus instrumental disc with your album, which is very rare. Not many artists do that, that’s a cool bonus.
Splash: I put the bonus instrumental CD out because, I don’t know about most people, but I like to listen to instrumental albums. I like to ride around in my car and listen to them. I just wanted to give the fans some raw music. Listen to the instrumentals and maybe you can understand where I was going with each song, or where I was coming from. It was just something different, because you can't do it the same way as everybody else is doing.
MVRemix: What else do you have going on in the future?
Splash: I got another project that is coming out soon, which is called The Alter Ego. Its going to be a harder album than The Ripple Effect, more mixtape ish - less concept joints and more spitting. Its going to have some different production as well. I have also been in talks with Supastition about doing an album together, but that is up in the air right now.
MVRemix: Any last words or shout outs?
Splash: I wanna give a shout out to ECSU, that is the college I attend. Also, the whole Amp Truth staff, and everybody that is affiliated with the album - the Justus League. And Hip Hop in general - I think we all need to get back to the music a little more.
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"I think some people feel 9th gets repetitive, but I feel that is his niche. I feel he has his own style, it's dope as hell, but there are a lot of haters our there. I think the same thing could be said about a lot of producers..."