US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop coverage including Rap plus Soul - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles
Visual - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  


March 2006

MVRemix: I just want to start with some questions that delve into your past and background so the readers can get to know you beyond the music. To start, can you tell us where you were born and raised, and what was it like growing up there for you?

Visual: I was born in Chicago, on the North Westside in the Logan Square neighborhood. I love Logan Square. Since I was a kid it was one of the only neighborhood’s that I can remember seeing Mexican, Black, Puerto Rican, White, Cuban, Polish and Middle Eastern people all in the same neighborhood. It’s always been diverse there. I think because of that diversity, there was always something going on there and that affected my music a lot. Since a young age my mind was open to a lot of different things because of that neighborhood.

MVRemix: How would you say your environment or surroundings helped shaped you into the man you are today?

Visual: I say it affected me a lot. I had a lot of good times where I grew up and I also had some rough times. I would hang out all day long on my block and run around with all the other kids and act a fool, get into trouble, do a lot of dumb kid shit, it was fun. I remember times when I was about six or seven and mom’s and pop’s were struggling so me and my mom would grab this little metal cart we had (Old school shit) and walk down about a mile to this church where they would give us free milk, cheese, bread and cereal. Another thing in that neighborhood was the gang activity. It was crazy because in Logan Square at that time it was no joke. We had gang’s from both sides (People and Folks), just a block and two away from each other. I witnessed a couple people getting popped by my crib, that shit was crazy to me - especially being a kid and seeing that

MVRemix: How would you characterize yourself - introverted or extroverted?

Visual: I’d say a little bit of both. I’m out there sometimes just widlin' out and acting a fool but then I like my chill, leave me the fuck alone time just as much.

MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip-Hop?

Visual: My first memory is cats coming over to the crib with records to hang out with my brother and then him and his guys would fuck up my pops needle’s from the turntable because they were trying to scratch (ha-ha). But I would say my favorite Hip Hop memory from back in the day was watching videos in the basement.

MVRemix: What was the one album you constantly listened to growing up?

Visual: Wow, a bunch man … but the main ones would be Krs One/BDP - Criminal Minded, KRS ONE – Return of the Boom Bap, Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full Nas – Illmatic, Common – Resurrection, Wu Tang Clan – Enter the 36 chambers & Gangstarr – Hard to Earn … Those are classics

MVRemix: How did you first get into rhyming?

Visual: When I was a teenager I was heavy into Hip Hop . Anything cats would even slightly mention in a song, I would research. Doing shit like that got me into reading a lot about all kinds of topics. I got into reading so much that I wanted to write myself because I was so impressed by the way people were expressing themselves and how they would communicate the information they were sharing. It was amazing to me, so I picked up a pen and started just writing ideas down which turned into poems and later on, actual raps

MVRemix: How did you start to make a name for yourself locally at first, and then on a bigger scale?

Visual: Locally, I just started doing songs with different cats around the city. Eventually I got into battles and I won a few that helped me get some recognition. The more battles and songs I did the more other people would hit me up and want to hook up to do songs for their projects. After a while, I started hooking up with people out of state and eventually I started getting beats from cats out of the country. Canada, Germany, the UK - them cats show me a lot of love

MVRemix: How would you describe your rhyme style or sound? What are your strong points as an emcee?

Visual: I’d say my rhyme style in general is on some, “Hey let me talk to you for a minute” type shit… You know? Kind of like Scarface or Pac when he was on that tip … But to be real, I always switch it up. Most of the time if I don’t already have an idea for a song , I just let the beat talk to me and then I approach how I feel it should be approached. I would say my strong points as an emcee are my experience and my ability to express what I have gone through, seen or know about. I feel that have good vision, meaning I could see past my situation or what is going on around me right now. I translate that into my music; I think it’s what keeps people checking for me

MVRemix: Tell us about your debut album Figured It Out. What can fans expect out of it? What types of songs, issues and concepts will people hear on the album?

Visual: This album is not traditional hip hop. This album is not commercial. This album is something original because this is my first time bringing it to people like this. I never was and never will try to recreate a time in history with my music so people should not expect Boom Bap, Jazzy vibes, battle raps or anything that will “TAKE IT BACK”. You also won’t hear any club anthems, crack songs, or any whispering or work out songs on my album. What you will get is a cat that is just doing HIS thing and giving people some truth with their music. Consider this album motivational music with a whole lot shit being said that you will react to. I talk a lot about my personal experiences on this album. It’s me doing my thing and not considering trends or any influences. I have all kinds of songs on this album. The general concept of the album is reaching that point in your life when you say “This is it, this what I am, what I do and what I’m going to do” I come with a few raw concepts that people have already reacted to and have showed a lot of love for. Check out “Dope: My drug story” and “Dreamer”

MVRemix: Who's doing the production on the album? Any guest appearances?

Visual: My guy Infinite Beats did a majority of the beats on the album. A few others are done by my guy Bigg Deebo and I have one by Panik of the Molemen. On this album I have a guest appearance by my man Juice and also Nalij, Chances and Dism of Community Service, which is my label. With help on hooks and background vocals I got Wes restless of Dynamic Vibrations and Lady T and Blanca Rodriguez.

MVRemix: What do you want to accomplish with this album and what do you want listeners to come away with?

Visual: Basically, I would like people to get something positive out of listening to this album. Maybe it will make something clear in their life or they’ll just forget about some bullshit when they listen to my album … Whatever it is, I just want people to see my CD and think “This shit gets me pumped” or “This cats be saying some shit” … Know what I mean?

MVRemix: What has been the biggest headache you have had to deal with in this Hip-Hop game so far?

Visual: Just little bullshit … Rappers that complain instead of getting on their job and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That shit don’t affect me in any way but I think its so fucken sad to see cats complaining about things like “Hate” and “Haters”, the shit is pitiful. The worst thing is them lil’ niggas that barely do shit, haven’t paid dues and get way too hyped up about themselves. The shit is always funny to me. You see those cats record a song and think they made it in the game or win a fucken local battle or have a few friends dig their shit and they think they’re on top. The shit is comedy.

MVRemix: Corporate America has basically taken over Hip Hop and brainwashed the public to think what you hear on the radio and TV is real Hip Hop. What do we have to do to change that, or can we change that? Because it seems as if there is no hope in the fight against the corporate manipulation of Hip Hop?

Visual: Honestly, we can’t change it. Not the way that we’ve been going about shit … BUT, what we can do is be ourselves. A big problem is that people are not being them selves. Everybody is always worried about what the next person thinks or they want to fit in so bad so they follow. If an artist did what they really wanted to do and didn’t give in to trends or some corporate asshole saying “Follow this formula” or “Just be like this”, then we would all be in a better situation. The reason I say artist is because people look up to us, we are a voice for a lot of people and they depend on us. The things we do as artist affect a person’s real life. Not everyone is a boss, not everyone is a gangster, a hustler, a pimp or even a fucken Emcee, producer or DJ for that matter. People need to learn to accept. Acceptance is a hug problem for people because they dream so much. If people come out here and start planning shit out more and stopped dreaming so fucken much we all might actually get our shit together. The problem with that is that these stupid ass rappers, producers, DJ’s, managers and who ever the fuck else helps corporations shit on us, are exaggerating too much. These cats act like they aren’t human. I’m like “C’mon man, are you serious?” I mean, I know people like to forget about whets really going on in their life and that’s why they listen to music or watch movies or what ever but I think it got to the point where everyone is forgetting too much and dreaming too much. We are not all going to be rich and we are not all going to live in mansions, be on TV, and have a shit load of cars and whatever other crazy shit. That isn’t reality. Accept it, people. Then we can take control of what belongs to us and make a change. Hip Hop/Rap music is huge and every day more and more people are becoming fans, trying to get in the game, run a label etc. If the cats in a position to make a difference don’t make that difference, then we’re all fucked.

MVRemix: It seems as if a lot of emcees create an overblown character or image for themselves so they can sell records. But after while, they get wrapped up in their own character and can't decipher between the two. Do you think that is an accurate statement and have you seen that in the Hip Hop game? Does that make it harder for the regular guys in this rap game who aren't Mr. Super Thug?

Visual: Hell yeah it’s an accurate statement! It goes right along with what I was just saying about these rappers that exaggerate so much. It is part of the reason Pac and Biggie got killed. The media messed it all up. Pac did or said one thing and they added all kinds of flavors to it. I think eventually the shit made Pac himself start believing his “Image” a little bit more. It’s like this, the media called Pac a thug and yeah he was on some shit but they blew it up too much and then he and people around him gave into that. Things like this make it hard for “Regular” rappers like my self to make an impact like “Commercial” artist do. It’s not about talent any more, corporations back artist up depending on how marketable they are and how marketable a rapper is usually depends on things that are irrelevant to music, culture or an average person’s life and that shit is sad.

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

Visual: A lot of stuff … The album is out now and I’m always working on promoting that as much as possible. I’m about to drop a mix tape called “The resume” which is a collection of music from my own previous projects and mix tapes, album and compilations that I have been featured on. That mix tape will be dropping very soon. I’m also working on a mix tape with my guy Rhyme Scheme entitled “This is now” and that should be out in the spring. Also, by late spring early summer I’m going to be dropping a solo mix tape with all new music called “Grinder” … After that, it’s a surprise …

MVRemix: Any last words, shout outs or plugs?

Visual: Yes sir … Thank you for the interview. Much love to all my people that I build with constantly, you all know who you are. Thank You to all the people that reach out to me and feel the music, ya’ll keep me going. Peace to all the real people out there on the world that hate dealing with bullshit. Oh yeah, Cop my album! “Figured It Out’. It’s available online @, and Soon it will available on digital download sites like iTunes. Peace.

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"I’d say my rhyme style in general is on some, “Hey let me talk to you for a minute” type shit… You know? Kind of like Scarface or Pac when he was on that tip"