MVRemix: Can you tell me a bit about your background...
Brooklyn: Well, I was born in Brooklyn. Haha. Kings County hospital and at around the age of four, I moved to Boston. Then came back at about the age of 12. My family as far as my background is concerned; they're Cuban and Haitian. It's a real good cultural mix.
MVRemix: So what inspired you to begin creating music?
I would have to say writing poetry, I guess. It's funny because there's actually a story that I have. I was a freshman in high school and there was this girl that rapped. She was like the "hottest" female rapper, all these people tried to battle her. Everybody was like "Why don't you battle her?" I was like "...I don't rhyme, what are you talkin' about?" So, she tried to play me like I couldn't rap, had no talent or whatever. So...I went back home that night and I wrote a rhyme, memorized it and came the next day and battled her. It was just like from there on I kept writing and I guess the feel just increased to the point where I was just writing songs all the time.
Nice, did you ever attend any battle oriented events - for example; Scribble Jam or the Rap Olympics etc.?
Brooklyn: No, not really. I think everything I've done has been "underground." Everything as far as battles, as far as recording or whatever. Its all been very low key. I haven't been to any of those "battles" or "olympics."
MVRemix: How did you manage to hook up with Dre and Aftermath?
I was in San Diego, just visiting and I happened to go back to New York and they told me that Aftermath was interested. Then my friend, Chris Boogie, bumped into Mark Went (who was the head of Black Music at Interscope) and told him about me. So, they played the CD and he went and played it to Dre. They then flew me out to California like two days later from New York and signed me.
So when did this happen?
This was in April.
And things have been moving steadily ever since...
Brooklyn: Yeah, I mean it's just the most wonderful experience. From the first day it started "Boom!" I started working on the album.
MVRemix: Now I read that in addition to rapping and singing you also produce. How did you get the knowledge to be able to do so?
Brooklyn: Pretty much from Dre. I asked him, I really did ask him to send me through school for it. But he was like "No, you come here everyday, you'll pick it up." Before then I'd created tracks on keyboards. Music is my thing. It keeps me calm, it's my escape, so anything that has to do with music - I'm with it.
MVRemix: Now "Weekend" will be attached to this interview so people can hear your material for the first time, for those that can't hear it - how would you describe yourself musically and what are your intentions with your music?
If I was to describe myself I'd say straight out; universal. It's universal, it's versatile, it's for everybody from anywhere. They can relate to at least a couple of songs on the album. My whole goal is to make music. I've lost interest in what I've been hearing lately, on the radio etc. - it's just something completely different and I think that it will bring music back to what it was. Before the 9-11, before the economy was messed up. I'm speaking to people about my life, this is my diary. Every single song in my album is about something I had to go through and there are people out there that go through the same things on a daily basis. It's definitely an album that you can just sit back and listen to...on a stressful day, a happy day, a club night. Any song - there are a lot of different moods on the album.
Sounds good...what's the title of the album?
It's called "Name and Address."
And when's it coming out? Can you tell me some more details about it...
Brooklyn: The album should be dropping late March of 2003. I have a song that I did with 50 Cent, called "In The Hood." It's actually out on the radio in New York right now and all over the East Coast. Anybody can find it on the Green Lantern mixtape and the "Shady Invasion" mixtape also; it's on there too. As far as my album is concerned, I have Xzibit, Ras Kass and Saafir - the Golden State Warriors. I didn't want to include so many different guests for the first album because the songs were already enough. I just wanted to prove myself. I can do this, I can hold my own weight.
MVRemix: Now obviously, it's imminent you'll be receiving more exposure. When that happens, you're going to be compared to various names. What are your thoughts on...I'm going to state an artist, I'd like you to give me your opinion on them as I state their name. Firstly, Ashanti?
Um...haha. Why did you have to ask me that?
Has to be done...
Alright, um, I have no idea. I mean, it really doesn't grab my interest, so...I really don't know what to say about that. She really doesn't grab my interest.
What about Foxy Brown?
Foxy Brown - I respect her as a female artist. I respect all female artists; being a female is very hard in this game but at the same time it's like...I don't know. I just think that she was hot before, but I wouldn't listen to any of her stuff now to tell you the truth. I really wouldn't.
I love Lil' Kim. I love Lil' Kim. I'm not into what she's doing now as far as the music is concerned, like the recent album that she's getting ready to put out. But, Lil' Kim I'd say is kind of one of my influences. Because it was just like this world at thirteen when the "Queen Bitch" album came out and she was so hot. Flowing like any one of the guys. I was always considered to be a real tomboy so I can relate to every song and that was my thing, she was the shit. So, I love Lil' Kim, I give her props.
Have you heard much of Ms. Jade?
I have her album. I purchase everybody's album. I have Ashanti's album, I have Foxy's. I still buy them because they're females and I support artists. I liked a couple of songs on her album, I really think it's different. But, at the same time, I think it's another Missy. She's talented.
Finally, the one they refer to as "The Baddest Bitch" - Trina?
Brooklyn: Trina? Haha. Okay, she's a hustler. She's real. I like Trina, I mean, I haven't bought any of her albums because I'm not that much into her music, but, just watching her and reading about her. Her whole persona is awesome. "I'ma get some money and I'm independent and I'ma get it my way!" I respect her for that.
MVRemix: Whats the first thing you're going to buy that you always wanted when you'd fantasize about when you blow up?
Brooklyn: Oh (chuckles). The first thing I'ma buy...oh god...I don't know. I don't think there's anything I've ever wanted that bad in the world. I would say, honestly, there's a lot of charities that I want to really support. That would be a main focus. For homeless children, children with AIDS, women with breast cancer...these are things that I really want to focus on. Growing up, I was homeless between the ages of thirteen to seventeen. I was house hopping. It was a real crazy life for me so I know exactly what them children are going through in the shelters, the group homes etc. I really take a live interest in that.
MVRemix: In your opinion, when you look at things - is the glass half full or half empty?
Brooklyn: I would say half full. I look at life a whole lot differently now. There are a lot of things that I appreciate more now than I did before. It's definitely a different outlook on life. I thank god for letting me understand the differences in life, it's real crazy, so...I'm happy where I'm at right now.
MVRemix: What are your favourite movies and records of recent times?
Brooklyn: I would have to say my favourite movie is "Hoodlum." I love Laurence Fishburne and I love the whole gangster/Goodfellas - I love those movies. "Hoodlum" is my favourite movie right now. As far as my favourite record is concerned...most recent or just a favourite record period?
Brooklyn: I would say my favourite record from the time I was younger was "Can't Knock The Hustle" from the 'Reasonable Doubt' album from Jay-Z. Mary J. Blige was singing the song "Maybe one day you'll be a star" - it was like listening to my Mom or an angel just sing "One day you'll be there." That's just like my favourite song, period.
MVRemix: Do you have any non-musical aspirations?
Brooklyn: You'll have to explain to me what you mean...
MVRemix: For example, writing a script, acting, another profession...
Brooklyn: I'm working on a script now. I'm basing it around my life, as far as the homeless thing. I didn't want to make it too much of an urban film, I wanted to make it a film for everybody. I'm working on that, I told Dre about it and he supports me one hundred percent on it. I will be submitting the script the Summer 2003. As far as writing for other artists - writing music and everything...I'm working on some songs for Macy Gray, I'm working on some songs for Bilal. I really take interest in writing for other artists because there are certain ways that I look at other artists. They might sing a certain song, but I might perceive them to be another way. The way I see it, it could work for them and could be platinum or something. Dre's upcoming album, I actually wrote a song for him. I wrote his verses, his rhymes. I wrote and sung the hook. So yeah, I do take an interest in writing.
MVRemix: 2003...what does it hold for Brooklyn?
Brooklyn: Oh, it's over. 2003 - I would say it's the beginning of a beautiful thing, it's the beginning of a new era. The beginning of a new, different style of music. It's with its own trademark. Nothing like you've ever heard before. It's different.
MVRemix: Are there any last words you'd like to put to your potential fans that are going to read this?
Brooklyn: The fans are important to me, really. I take heed, I take understanding, all that. This is what I do, I'm doing this for the fans, and every song is for the fans. It's teaching you a lesson on life, on issues. That's all I can really say for now.
Lâ€™Orange and Stik Figa â€“ The City Under The City album review
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MVRemix Urban | Online Hip Hop Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles