MVRemix: For those that are now hearing about you for the first time, tell us about yourself.
Visual: Well, I've been making music since about 2000. I featured on a bunch of local artist projects and put out my first mixtape in 2002. I worked hard... did a bunch of local shows, featured on more projects and finally put out my first album, "Figured It Out" in 2006 on my own label, Community Service Records. After dropping that album I started doing shows out of town in places like Virginia and DC. I also was featured on a couple Molemen projects around that time. "This Is Now" with Scheme of the Molemen and "The Resume" volume 1, a collection of a bunch of my previous material, are two mixtapes that I dropped in 2007.
Here we are in 2008 and I'm getting ready to drop my second full length album, 'Working Class Legend" The album has production from Domingo, The Molemen, Rashid Hadee, in house production from my homie Infinite Beats and some international cats that I ran into all over the net. I also have guest appearances from Capital D of All Natural, Sharkula who is sort of a local legend. Google him and you will see what I mean... [laughs] My homies Rios and Dism from my label, Scheme and Astonish from the Molemen camp and Wes Restless and Ale Nova with some ill soulful hooks.
MVRemix: As a songwriter, who has influenced you?
Visual: Good question. I've got a bunch of influences. In the rap world Slick Rick, Krs-One, Scarface, Nas, Common, Outkast and Ghost Face Killah are major influences. But I also have others that have made a major impact... Mainly Bob Marley, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against the Machine.
MVRemix: The Molemen clearly inspired you, what with Panik being your brother. But they've been making music for quite some time, what was it that made you opt to join in with the craft?
Visual: Yeah man, I would say that Panik bringing home record after record when I was a kid put hip hop in my life in a major way. It was too much to deny. It was every day life... I can't remember a day that me and Panik didn't watch Krs-one's "My Philosophy" video in our parents basement back in the day. It was a constant thing. It got so bad that I would wait for Panik to bounce just so I can grab all the CD's he had so I can listen to them by myself. It was then that I started analyzing what these cats were saying and how they would say it and I knew I had to start to write and eventually rap. "Illmatic", "Return of the Boom Bap", "Enta da stage", "Sun rises in the east", "36 chambers" and "Hard to earn" were the albums that had me going crazy.
MVRemix: Do you remember the first song you wrote?
Visual: Wow... No, I actually don’t. Because I know it had to be something that I never actually recorded but I do remember the first verse I wrote ! [laughs]... It was hilarious because it was sort of a diss to Snoop Dogg… [laughs] It went something like "Why? Why you wanna be a "G"/Do you know what that shit does to me?/It pisses me off!” [laughs] It was so wack. What's even funnier is that I always liked Snoop and "Gangsta" rap in general for that matter so I don't know... I guess I was trippin’.
MVRemix: How does living in Chicago shape your attitude towards music, art and culture in general?
Visual: Being from Chicago is a major impact. I grew up in Logan Square, a neighborhood that was very diverse and it influenced me in a major way. I grew up around black, white, Hispanic, Asians etc. Race or where you came from was never an issue so I hung out with everyone and it exposed to a lot of different music, food, art and culture in general. Also, living in Chicago is just crazy... From the people and situations you find yourself in to things you can't control like weather, police and politics. It's wild out here. You have to be real ass person to make through all the bullshit out here... At the same time all the good people, dope places to go to and just the vibe in general make Chicago a place that affects anyone that lives or even visits here
MVRemix: How did the name Visual come to be?
Visual: Visual came from the name I originally chose for myself which was Ndvisual.
Ndvisual basically meant "In the Visual" like everything was in what you see.
People use to butcher the name with misspellings and misinterpretations (people thought my name was individual and that to me, was wack ! [laughs] So I simplified and changed it to Visual.
MVRemix: How did you hook up with Domingo?
Visual: Funny enough, I linked up with Domingo through Myspace. You'll be surprised how many artist on Myspace handle their own page. I would see Domingo send out a shit load of bulletins and I would read them and say to myself "This is either him right now posting this or he typed it up and emailed it out to his PR people and they copied and pasted this shit" so I said, “Fuck it, let him this man up and see if it's him and I asked what was good with beats... He personally hit me back and I copped two beats from him. One I used for "Pay Day" which is joint I did with Scheme and Astonish of the Molemen and one I still have that will end up on a future project. Domingo is a real dude and mad cool. He was humble from the start and that made me respect him 100% more than I already did because it's dope to know that someone is talented and is bringing something to the table but when you interact with them and they understand your situation and don't act "Hollywood", it's a big relief.
MVRemix: Tell me about the album, "Working Class Legend." How did the title come about?
Visual: "Working Class Legend"... It's what i am. It's what you are, it's what most of us are.
Whether it be school, a 9-5, or in my case a 10 pm - 6:30 am, music, art etc. We all work hard for what we need and want and it's our right to be considered "Legends" for that. It's like "Hollywood" status for regular people. Know what I mean?
What some of us do and go through to get ours is crazy. Check it out, I'm in management for a Fortune 500 company and I work 10pm-6:30 am.
I come home, shower and try to eat something. I wake my kids up, change them, feed them and I'm with them until about 4pm or 5pm (sometimes later) because wifey is a teacher and is off to work. So between 7am when I get home and 4-5 pm when wifey gets home I have to shower, sleep, eat, send out emails, make phone calls and try to write something new or come up with some ideas all while I have twin monsters - cute, but monsters! [laughs] Crying, screaming and running around. And of course I have to feed them, play with them and pretend I'm not tired as hell in between all of that. And this is not including my weekend.
I think I deserve to call myself a fuckin’ legend for that! [laughs]
MVRemix: How long did the record take to record and how planned was it - ie did you set out with a tracklisting and stick to it or record a number of songs and chose a select amount leaving the rest on the "cutting room floor"?
Visual: The album was supposed to be a mixtape with the same concept and was originally called "Grinders" and the cover was going to be a play off of the "Rounders" - Ed Norton, John Malcovich, Matt Damon DVD cover. But after recording a bunch of songs that I wanted on an album instead of a mixtape and the word "Grind" and all other uses of the word became more and more played out, I decided to make the project an album and change the title. I recorded a bunch of joints and cut out a few when it came to finalizing.
MVRemix: What do you wish to achieve with the album?
Visual: I want people to get a good Idea if not a complete Idea of what I'm about.
This album comes from the heart and I just people to appreciate the honesty in the album. I want to reach more people with this album than I did with my last album,"Figured It Out". I've worked very hard up to this point and I want to continue to see progress with each project as far as gigs and opportunities that come from this album are concerned
MVRemix: How does the album compare to "Figured It Out"?
Visual: I had more time to work on this album. The rest of my life didn't allow me to put so much time into music and it first it was very frustrating but after being realistic with myself, I chilled out and decided to just take my time with this project. This album is better planned out. I have better production and a better grasp on the concept of this album.
MVRemix: Any videos planned?
Visual: Yes. I have a video for 'What I'm On" that can be seen now at Youtube.com/visualcs and Vimeo.com/visualcs. I also shot a video for "We Gonna Fly" back in August and I plan to have that out by the time the album comes out on 1.27.09. I also plan to shoot a video for the joint I did with Cap D of All Natural called "Never Sold Crack"
MVRemix: In a sentence or less, what do you do to relax?
Visual: I relax by watching football, sleeping or doing absolutely nothing !
MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la "Fight Club" - "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight"?
Visual: Honestly, I would fight Kanye right now! Don't get it twisted, Kanye is fresh and one of my favorites, but right now, Kanye is being a big pussy! [laughs] He's so emotional and soft right now that I know I would whoop his ass. I mean, the dude is a genius and has made some dope music but his new shit I am not feeling and it's so soft that it makes me want to fight him. I mean, he is talking about a chick that broke up with him right? I don't know man, a whole album? Ye, lets fight! But after I whoop your ass can we build on some music? [laughs]
MVRemix: You sure you would win?
Visual: I would whoop his ass!
MVRemix: Do you have any non musical aspirations?
Visual: Yes! T Shirts have always been a passion of mine. I love copping shirts that are rare and no one has. Even though I don't design, I have tons of ideas and I plan to start a T shirt company in the near future. I also plan on starting up a PR/Consulting firm at some point to help artist get connected with the right people and to make sure their music is heard. Getting my music out there has always been the biggest challenge for me because of all the time and research that it takes and I feel that with my experience I can help new artist out with that. I also plan to start shooting pictures and directing videos in the very soon so artist get at me!
MVRemix: What next do we have to look forward to from you?
Visual: A lot more music! I fee like I finally got out everything I needed to get out that kind of carried from my last album into this new album and their are lots of new styles, ideas and approaches that I want to take with the music that will be totally new for me. And like I mentioned in the last question pictures and videos are two things I will be doing very soon so look out for that.