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Soulstice - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  

SoulStice: Pursuit Of Perfection

September 2005

MVRemix: As I've stated, my favorite track is "Always." To me, that track shows your growth and maturation to the fullest. I mean, just listening to your delivery, wordplay, and how you ride the beat - its amazing. Is that track a prime example of how you have evolved?

SoulStice: I think that is a perfect example. I have just taken a lot more chances with my music now. You don't have to spit everything the same way and everything doesn't have to rhyme exactly the same. Shuko hit me up with a crazy beat for that one and I just adapted to the beat. The beat has so much emotion behind it, I was just trying to capture that. But that song is definitely an example of what's to come with the next album.

MVRemix: What the name of your next album?

SoulStice: Tentatively titled Dead Letter Perfect.

MVRemix: What's the meaning behind that title?

SoulStice: Dead letter perfect is actually a phrase that actors use to indicate when they have a script down completely. I thought it was perfect because - first off, that is a related genre - but I am taking that meaning and I'm really trying to dramatize the pursuit of perfection with my art. I'm trying to be perfect. I don't achieve it and nobody does, but I am trying to be everything I can be. That is going to be the creative direction and force behind this album.

MVRemix: How will it differ from North By Northwest?

SoulStice: First of all, North By Northwest is really personal. The tracks talk about different feelings that I have and different things I went through. The second album is going to be personal, but I am branching out a little more. I'm talking about politics, the state of society and other things. I'm not going to loose the fans that loved North By Northwest, but I am definitely taking it farther. I'm looking at the world and everything around us. So the content is going to be a lot broader and the beats are just crazy. I just want to say that. I went through a fine tooth comb with the beats for this album. Cats sent me beat CD's with 30 tracks on them and I was really picky. So the production is going to be top notch.

MVRemix: Are you working with anybody different for this album?

SoulStice: M-Phaze, who is a new face in my production team. He is out of Australia and is with the Wax Reform crew. I'm working with the Molemen from Chicago. I had to do something with them being from Chicago. Also, Analogic, who is cat out of New Jersey. I'm also hoping to have a couple more surprises as well.

MVRemix: Any guest appearances on this one?

SoulStice: As it stands, I have a guest appearance from Cuban Link, Wordsworth, Oddisee and a bangin' artist coming out of the D.C. area named Jesus.

MVRemix: When are you shooting to release this?

SoulStice: If the stars really align, this should be coming out around summer of next year. The album is basically done - its already recorded. But I'm really looking to do this one right, as far as a business aspect. I'm a free agent right now - I'm not locked down into a contact with any label - so the short answer is summer next year, the long answer is I'm really going to wait until I have the right business situation.

MVRemix: So far, have you been happy with the things you have experienced in this Hip Hop game?

SoulStice: Yeah man, to be honest, I really don't feel like I'm in the game per se - which is a good thing and a bad thing. I'm not an industry cat. I dont got to a lot of industry functions and I dont do a lot of things just for the sake of doing them. A lot of the artists I work with are either part of my crew, extended fam or cats I have networked with. So I try to keep it all pretty close to home. So I am very happy with my experience from that point. I am only working with people I am feeling.

MVRemix: What has been the biggest headache?

SoulStice: By far the biggest headache is doing everything myself. Because I am a control freak and I can't really have other people doing stuff that I know exactly how I want done. So I am my own manager, promoter, publicist - everything. So everything gets done being a control freak, but its difficult because I work nine to five as well. I have a career, I have a girl, I'm engaged, and I'm also a workaholic.

MVRemix: You touched on having a day job, what is it you do again?

SoulStice: In addition to being an emcee, which is my 24 hour job, I have a masters degree in electrical computer engineering and I do work for the department of defense.

MVRemix: How do you balance the two jobs?

SoulStice: Its funny, because a lot of the stuff I do technically relates to the stuff behind the music thing. I work a lot with acoustics, in terms of my day job, and of course, music is all about acoustics. Signal processing, frequency spectrums and all of that stuff - not to get too technical - but when you sit down and master a song, of course you are tweaking the frequencies of it. So a lot of the stuff is parallel. So in that respect, I appreciate the overlap. Other than that, you just learn how to be yourself in any situation and you are able to walk through any task.

MVRemix: A lot of people reading this are gonna be like, "He could make a lot more money doing what he does, instead of rapping." So if you had to choose one profession, which one would it be?

SoulStice: The business has to make sense for me to be a full time musician. Music is my heart and I'm always going to do it, but for me to take it to the next level the business aspect has to make sense, otherwise it doesn't make sense for me. I went through the trouble of going to six years of college and graduate school to be stable financially. And I'm lucky enough that I can use those resources to help me out with my music. And I'm hoping to invest in myself as a musician to get to the point where music can support me. But I like my day job as well, I'm lucky for that.

MVRemix: Do the people at your job know that you're an emcee?

SoulStice: Its funny you ask that. I went into this that I would only share the music thing with close friends. If you knew me well enough, I might say, 'Here is my website, check it out. Or, I'm doing a show in DC, come through.' And I tried to keep it in the circle, but there was an article that somebody did on me in the National Society of Black Engineers Magazine and that got out at work and the word got around. Then they interviewed me at work in a newsletter and basically blew up my spot. So everybody knows now, but its cool. Everybody is real supportive and there is no conflict of interest. I have been lucky in that respect.

MVRemix: Has anybody treated you different since they found out?

SoulStice: Not at all. I work in an environment where creativity is expected. So I don't feel any different, but when I'm at work its all business. I'm not going to work so you can look at me and tell I'm a rapper. I'm always myself, but I'm a regular dude. So even when I'm in a Hip Hop setting, I'm a little more of a regular dude than most. When I'm a work, I'm a little more of a regular dude than the people who wear suits. That's not really me. I'll wear them if I have to, but I'm in jeans most of the time. So I'm not coming to work and bringing a lot of that there, its all about business.

MVRemix: What else do you have going on in the future?

SoulStice: I'm doing a project with Jesus, another emcee out of DC, and collectively we just formed a group called Wade Waters. That is actually who I did the Cuban Link single with - Jesus and Cuban Link. That song is called "Rock Solid," and it will come out on Up Above Records this fall. And that Wade Waters project should be out sometime next year. So every time I come out its going to be something bigger and better than last time.

MVRemix: Any last words?

SoulStice: Hit up my website, Its constantly updated and there is a forum if you want to leave me a message. Other than that, I tell people - do your thing. Life is short, live for the moment, but always have a plan. That is how I got where I am and that's how I plant to get where I'm gonna go.

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"The album is basically done - its already recorded. But I'm really looking to do this one right, as far as a business aspect. I'm a free agent right now - I'm not locked down into a contact with any label - so the short answer is summer next year, the long answer is I'm really going to wait until I have the right business situation."