interview, Interviews, rileysbest

Matt Citron: The Buzz Is Infectious

“I remember going to the studio with Big Boi, and going there, and meeting him. I was playing some of…

“I remember going to the studio with Big Boi, and going there, and meeting him. I was playing some of my music over the AUX and saw him in the back of the room with his eyes closed swaying in the back.” –Matt Citron

As a city, Atlanta has a certain lane that it has come to inhabit in hip-hop’s eco-system; rightfully so, superstars like Gucci and Future, as well as coverage like that on Noisey’s Atlanta series, it would be easy to [some degree] pigeon hole their sound. That’s part of the reason that an election-day email telling men to check out the next biggest thing from the city was met with a little cynicism. That it, until I pressed play. The artist in question, Matt Citron, has a certain energy about him. His latest single, “404” featuring the Yeezy affiliated XXL freshman alumni Cyhi The Prince–and Money Makin’ Nique–is getting some crazy traction, but his Facebook reveals some of the madness that will likely come to pass. One example is him spending a week working with Buckwild of the mighty D.I.T.C—or him getting love from artists like Busta And Outkast’s Big Boi.

In general, artists who have this much buzz, they pan out to special—especially when respected taste-makers are giving their seals of approval. I won’t make unduly comparisons to past examples, but as a writer it’s exciting to catch up with the rapper in the ‘calm’ before the storm. Check out the interview with Matt below, and see what you’ve been sleeping on!

Early!

One thing that stuck out is, you had a quote from DJ Greg Street that says you could be one of Atlanta’s next top artists. How does a co-sign like that feel?

I think I met Greg going a little under two years ago now, and when we got introduced to each other, he supported me from the jump. Greg’s kind of notoriously known in Atlanta for not wanting to get involved with a lot of rappers early on. Obviously with what he does, he deals with rappers every single day, and deals with different artists every single day, but when he met me, he just took to the music right away. He took to the energy of what I was doing, and the reasons I was doing it. I’ve been around him a lot where he’s talked about how much he believes in what I’m doing, and basically, really just believes in my ability, and my vision.Greg Street, growing up, that was someone that I looked up to, and I admired. I’ve been having a lot of things happen lately that feel like–over the past couple years really-dreams almost? Not even like dreams, but they don’t set in. It’s crazy, you know?

Having someone that big giving that high praise, I always think with the amount of work I put in, and how blessed I’ve been to be able to do what I can do, I feel as though, do I deserve those words? Yeah, I feel I do, just because of the amount of time I spend on it. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s mind blowing to have someone at that level, and that stature, to say that. I obviously have the belief in myself that I can take this as far as I set my mind to, but to have someone at that level confirm it, it’s amazing, and it does feel incredible.

How are you different than a lot of Atlanta artists? Because also, from Greg Street saying you’re one of the biggest artists in Atlanta, that’s huge because there’s such a range of artists that have come out of Atlanta, you know what I mean? And the music from Atlanta has grown so much – I don’t want to say the genre has expanded there, but it has a lot of sub genres.

Well, honestly, I think maybe what makes me stand out in Atlanta is the reason that Atlanta stands out, period. I think that’s probably because there are so many different types of artists in Atlanta that aren’t afraid to stand out. I think that we kind of break the mold in different ways. You have different artists, even going back all the way to Outkast who broke the mold–Atlanta, back then, it wasn’t even rap. Like the booty shake music was big back then, and then Outkast came through with some real lyrics, and they cracked that open. They were doing this vibey, chilled out, super lyrical rapping, and they showed that Atlanta could break the mold. And then time and time again, I think Future invented that style of just the real gutter, muddy singing, and then you have artists like Lil’ Yachty who no one’s never heard anybody sing like that before, and then people just take influence from Atlanta. But I think really, Atlanta’s just not afraid to break the mold. If I’ve taken anything from the culture, just from observing it in Atlanta –not even really saying like ‘taken,’ but just really learned from what I’ve seen – it’s that you can do your own thing here.

I think really, that’s the artists that make it. I think that the artists that try to copy other artists in Atlanta, they don’t cut through in a real way that’s going to have any longevity. For me, I just grew up listening to so many different types of music, so many different types of hip hop artists in particular, and so my influences were so broad that I took a lot from that. And also, I have a very large influence from the New York rappers as well, because I spent a couple of years up there, but really, my whole family’s from up in New York, so I grew up listening to a lot of the artists like that. But yeah, I think what separates me from a lot of the artists in Atlanta, I think it would be too hard for me to do that. It’s like, what separates Migos from Lil’ Yachty? What separates Young Jeezy from T.I? There’s so much there. And so I think that really, probably what separates me is the same thing that makes me alike. I am different, and I sound different, and I think there’s a lot of artists coming out of the city that just don’t sound really like anybody else around.


Matt Citron: The Buzz Is Infectious
Matt with (clockwise) Buckwild, Greg Street, & Diamond D.

Over the last few years, things have been picking up for you. What have been some of the milestones?

Well, I dropped out of school. After I was playing college ball, I hurt my eye and I just didn’t want to be up in New York anymore, [so I] decided to come down to Atlanta–back to where I was born and raised. I spent a lot of time by myself, just working. I looked up to Greg Street, and me and him had a close relationship, we spent a lot of time just talking, and doing different things, recording different stuff, and I just spent a lot of time doing some self reflecting. I think I really got to know myself for that first year, and then after that, finally I dropped the song. It was originally called “Exhibit C,” which is now call “Tabasco Flows.” I put that out, which is basically just me rapping over Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C” beat, and I remember the first night I put it out, DJ Khaled retweeted it, and that was crazy. After that, I took a little bit of time off, and I actually got linked up with Brooklyn Nights; I’m working with them now, and they introduced me to a bunch of guys. I went up to New York, and I was in the studio with Busta Rhymes, and Jim Jones. That was crazy, because those are two of my biggest influences I’ve ever listened to.

So, I was in the studio with them, and the fact that they listened to my music, but they didn’t just listen to it, like they really fucked with it…I think each artist kind of has their own growth, and it’s all individual. I think just the way that it’s been happening for me. I’ve met Sway, I did Sway in the Morning when he was down here in Atlanta for BET, and he really fucked with me. So I just felt like there are people in the industry that are so well respected, and the way I’m coming up with things, it doesn’t feel like a lot of other artists have been this blessed this early on with what they’re doing, but it doesn’t feel forced, it doesn’t feel contrived. These people don’t fuck with me because it’s like ‘Oh, this kid’s going to make us some money.’ Nah, it’s been ‘We respect what you’re doing, we love how you’re making music.’ It’s hip hop, it’s real, it’s raw, it’s what I’m doing, and so they’ve taken to it. Moments like that, like when I was in the studio with Busta Rhymes, we actually went out after that, and just being out, just off the sheer strength that he just fucked with my music. Things like that. Then putting out songs and having it get played on Beats One with Ebro. It’s just little things.

It’s just little things, and none of them, the Busta Rhymes and Jim Jones shit was fucking unreal, but none of them hits you crazy hard, especially with me, I’m the type of person I just like to keep my head down and keep pushing. But with that, it’s just these little things where I sit back for a second and be like, holy fucking shit; these are the people that I’ve looked up to for years, and that I’ve only seen on TV, and in videos, and over the tracks. I remember going to the studio with Big Boi, and going there, and meeting him. I was playing some of my music over the AUX and saw him in the back of the room with his eyes closed swaying in the back; it’s just little moments like that where you feel so blessed, and you also just feel proud of yourself that you worked hard. A lot of these songs, you work on them alone in your room, or just in the studio, just you and your engineer, and then you just don’t even realize the places they can take you, or the people they can put you in front of. It’s definitely been some very unbelievable moments, but it’s also just been a positive past year/year and a half of people just really showing me love, and supporting, and being involved with what I’m doing.

So what’s next then? You mentioned you’re in the studio with Jim, you’re in the studio with Busta, you’re in the studio with Big Boy, so is there like a super monster project we should be looking out for?

Yeah, I mean really that was kind of vibing out, and then listening to what I was doing. I remember sitting down with Busta and him telling me ‘We’re gonna get on a track together, we’re gonna do it,’ and I remember what he said, he was like ‘I’m gonna murder you on it.’ Then he kind of laughed and looked around, then got quiet, got in close and said, ‘I’m really just saying that because I want you to murder me on the track.’ So just to feel the level of competition there – but right now, I think everyone’s just enjoying watching what’s going on, and I don’t even feel like I’m at the place where I want to – I mean obviously, I want to make music with guys like that, but I feel like I’m in the position where I need to prove myself more than that at this point. Right now, I’m making music, I’ve got a tape coming in December that I’m going to be putting out, it’s called Final Moments of Forever, and really on this tape, I just want it to be an introduction to what I’m doing. It does deal with a lot of personal things in my life, and there’s also just a lot to prove. I feel like I have a lot that I have to show out.

If I’m going to be regarding myself as one of the best lyricists, if not the best lyricist in my opinion, then I can’t come out of the gate with anything but really fucking crazy shit. If I’m going to have other people supporting me, and hitting me up, and sending me messages saying ‘You’re like the dopest rapper I’ve found in a long time,’ I’ve got to step up to the plate, and I’ve got to hit home runs. So I feel like right now, it’s just a point of stepping up to the plate and proving myself, and I’m still working on music nonstop. I’m just making it clear that I’m not interested in just being another guy in the mix. I’m here to compete. I grew up playing basketball, and I’ve always played that at a very high competitive level, obviously playing in college, and I don’t like buddy-buddy stuff.

I love the positive vibes, and meeting other artists, and vibing out with them, but it’s kind of like when I used to play ball. If we were boys, we played on the same travel team–we might even go out, get some food together, play some video games together, whatever. But when it comes time to play against each other, you’re ripping heads off, and you’re trying to come at that guy’s neck, and you’re trying to win that game. When the game’s over, you laugh about it, and you shake hands, and you talk shit if you want, and you take the shit if you lost. But right now I’m kind of in the mindset where I want to come in and make some noise, and I think there’s no better way to do that than put my head down and try to do the best work I possibly can. So regarding what’s next, this project coming up, I probably got one more track coming out before then that’s going to be on the tape, but other than that, the tape’s coming, and then I got a whole mess of shit coming after that. I’ve got a lot of shit in the chamber that I’m working on. I don’t really see any point or sign of slowing with what I’ve got going. I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been, and I wake up each day, and the hunger keeps growing, so I’m feeling it right now.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
interview

Rising Malaysian Star Zamaera Is Poised For Greatness

Z chats Malaysian Hip Hop culture, her new project, and much more.

Photo credit: Kanya Iwana

23-year-old Malaysian MC Zamaera has been slowly bubbling onto many radars as of late. After appearing on a viral installment of Yo! MTV Rap Asia’s Rap Cypher, knocking out her first festival appearance, and dropping a buzzing new single titled “Z vs Z” ahead of the upcoming EP of the same name, she is primed and ready to take things to the next level.

Hip Hop in Malaysia has grown exponentially throughout 30 plus years,” she explains to AAHH, indulging our ignorance of the regional scene. “I didn’t live through the early stages of this groundbreaking period in the Malaysian music industry, but one characteristic of Hip Hop is its continuous evolution in sound, style, and swagger.

“It doesn’t matter if you jump on the Hip Hop bandwagon in the 80s or 2000s; if you have something to say — visually, lyrically or sonically — you’re a part of the culture,” she adds.

 
As Z explains, Malaysian society’s reaction towards Hip Hop has been somewhat of a gradual appreciation. She fell in love with the culture in her late teens. “Love, heartbreak and all the sweet sins of adolescence brought me to Hip Hop; and now I’m in it for life.”

She’s accomplished a lot — considering her debut video dropped just over a year and a half ago. This year, she was blessed with the opportunity to journey to the US to develop and focus her craft, and her career. It was here that Z vs. Z was born.

“It was a very reflective period for me,” she notes of the experience. “I did all of the creative work while I was there. I worked with the amazing producer Floyd “Timeless” Thomas, writing the lyrics. I also teamed up with the ever so talented creative director — Kanya Iwana — and the most brilliant ALL FEMALE TEAM, Savannah Chonis, Francesca Martin, Nawel Abdelaziz, and Shaina Santos for the album artwork.

 
“The experience was humbling, overwhelming and stimulating,” she adds. I was given a chance by Lakefront Records, which resulted in the recording of this EP in the United States [specifically, Chicago]. It was overwhelming because I was in a foreign place, where EVERYONE is trying to make it. Stimulating, because of the work ethic that I managed to experience. The entertainment industry is no joke, and that motivated me to do more for myself as an artist.”

The new EP, as she explains, is the essence of her as an artist, stemming from reflection and acceptance — two things she describes as dominant themes in her writing. “It took about two months for the idea to be translated into the entire project,” she reveals.

During her recent appearance at the Good Vibes Festival in Selangor, Malaysia, she had a chance to debut her two-month labor of love in front of a receptive audience — an experience she doesn’t take for granted.

“That was a day of many firsts. The first time I performed at a festival, first time I used in-ear monitors, first time performing with dancers, first time I played the entire EP LIVE,” she exclaims proudly. “I’ve learned to let go of the things I don’t have control over — but all in all, it was an adventure of a lifetime.”

With a dizzying 2018 thus far — and an even more jarring 2019 ahead — Zamaera’s current mood is focusing on her mind, body, and soul. With an endorsement deal with Nike Malaysia, her project, and (if it all pans out the right way) a tour, you can hardly blame her for cherishing a little downtime.

“Follow me on my social media,” she says as our interview draws to a close, “because I will be announcing something extremely exciting very soon.”

Continue Reading
interview

World Premiere: Koncept Takes To The Night Streets Of Seoul In “Fuck You Music” Visual

The song is about anyone that ever told you that you couldn’t do something or that you couldn’t accomplish your dreams,” Koncept explains.

AAHH proudly presents the second of five new visuals by Brown Bag All-Stars alum Koncept, who we’ve been rocking with for a minute now. Set amid the futuristic looking night lights of Seoul, South Korea, the song, “Fuck You Music” — which appears on the Sony Asia release 14 Hours Ahead as “You Music” — is a middle finger to anyone who ever tried to hold you back.

Relevant: Koncept Talks Korea & Premieres New Video For “Never Again”

The song is about anyone that ever told you that you couldn’t do something or that you couldn’t accomplish your dreams … [that] you can’t go after what you believe in. This is a big fuck you,” he explains.

“I was working really hard on things and I was sort of in a place where I had no choice but to wait for something to happen … I was in a funk,” he said of the song’s creative inception.

Currently in the Los Angeles putting the finishing touches on his new album, Koncept shares that he is planning to come out strong after the final three visuals in this latest run are released; his roll-out includes an Asian tour with Scoop DeVille that kicks off in November with stops in Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Intriguingly, he also describes plans for a collaborative project with the “Poetic Justice” producer.

Check out Koncept’s “Fuck You Music” video, above.

Continue Reading
interview, Interviews

#Interview: RoQy TyRaiD in ‘PLYNwcha’

RoQy TyRaiD drops a brand-new single “PLYNwcha” produced by NYC’s Motif Alumni with a psychedelic backbeat over hypnotic chants that…

RoQy TyRaiD drops a brand-new single “PLYNwcha” produced by NYC’s Motif Alumni with a psychedelic backbeat over hypnotic chants that groove. With an edgy prose, RoQy TyRaiD takes Hip Hop to the next level and Above Average Hip Hop wanted to know more. What can be said about his subject matter personifies the culture that raised him. Coming up in the game can be a struggle, but for RoQy, it’s all about keeping it real. “I don’t have to play by the rules. I’m going to do what I want, and I’m going to find my success regardless,” says RoQyTyRaiD.   

 

I get placed on this green planet for a finite amount of time and I don’t feel like I’m surrendering any of that to people who are championing consistencies and stratification and all of that nonsense. – RoQy TyRaiD

However, there are different modes of success, and whether it equates to monetizing your product or artistically expressing and further developing your brand, the rapper RoQy TyRaiD stays true to his values in the culture that brought him his new single “PLYNwcha.”

Tell me about RoQy TyRaiD. Who are you and where are you from?   

I reside in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m originally from southern California, born and raised. I’m just here to advance my artistic pursuits and find myself deeper in the culture that inspired me and gave me a live soundtrack. I feel that artists, at the end of the day, are just glorified fans. I’m finding my way further in the culture that inspired me, and this is why I’m here.

Some would describe you as a socially conscious rapper. How would you describe your subject matter?

I mean, people have classified me like that. I’m just more aware to life. I mean, it happens to fall in it in terms of just discerning your surroundings. Unfortunately, and fortunately as opposed to politics and things related, social climate plays a role. So, I could say, you know, they’re right. I’m just a normal dude.  I mean sometimes the content touches on political topics.

What is your most recent single?

It’s called “PLYNwcha.” It’s me flexing my capabilities lyrically, providing some hype music. I’m breaking away from the direction that I was sent down artistically and just getting back to making music that makes you want to throw a merch table across the venue. I detail instances where I was just being delivered pipe dreams just waiting for this nonexistent idea of success or mythical ideas and just really being fed up with it. I guess I deliver it in a more aggressive energy forward manner. But what it is — I have no time.

I’m not like a 21-year-old dude who can play trial and error. I get placed on this green planet for a finite amount of time and I don’t feel like I’m surrendering any of that to people who are championing consistencies and stratification and all of that nonsense. We’re with the advent of social media, Internet, and advancing technology. I don’t have to play by your rules. I’m going to do what I want and I’m going to find my success regardless. I guess it’s realizing that feeling and you know, taking the gloves off.

It sounds like you have a different set of values on what constitutes success. Would you say that is accurate?

Absolutely, my role is looked at differently from the next man or woman. Even describing the adversities and the games and you know, standards you have to abide by. For example, I have two sold-out dates in the UK, another one lined up press and individuals waiting to get the piece of this new music and you know, I think that reflects taking your destiny by your own hands as opposed to abiding by what you’re told to do.

Continue Reading
interview, Interviews, Main

Sha Money XL Artist Tedy Andres Drops New Track “Ominous” & Chats Upcoming LP

“I just want to be the best,” he exclaims without hesitation.

It’s been a process for young Houston-bred MC Tedy Andres; he’s been bubbling up over the past few years, setting the stage for his upcoming release, which is poised to change everything. “I’ve been rapping since I was like 13,” he tells AAHH, “that was ten years ago, man., man.

“It’s been a slow build,” he continues. “I released a project called Mad Illusions and started getting a little buzz off the song called ’Mercedes.’” He rode that buzz and aside from multiple online nods, captured the attention of industry heavyweight Sha Money XL.

 
Sha was a producer for 50 Cent at his (musical) peak, and served as president of G-Unit Records, before taking the helm as VP of A&R at Def Jam in 2010. Currently working as an executive at Epic Records, he is currently managing Tedy.

“That’s like a big brother to me,” Tedy says of working with the storied executive. “We got a great relationship, he’s a top 5 A&R in the game, you know what I mean? So sending him records and getting his opinion is always good.

“He’s was a businessman,” he adds. “We’ve been working hard together,” he notes.

His latest release, “Ominous,” is a song that is setting the stage for his upcoming project. “My producer [Kill] and I locked in the studio and ade that beat together,”’he explains. “I just had some inspiration a couple of days after … it’s a storytelling vibe about a couple of people I know.”

 
He cautions not to get too comfortable with the vibe of “Ominous,” as he’s definitely diversifying his vibe. “I don’t really have a title for it yet … I’m kinda keeping it under wraps,” he says of the LP. “I’ve been making a bunch of records, and hopefully around October I can get this [album] out.

“There’s going to be different types of things,” he explains. “I mean, it’s going to be lifestyle, it’s going to be storytelling … I’m trying to make new, different types of records. I’ve just been making a bunch of songs and they all sound a little different, but I’m going to wait til everything sonically go together.”

One producer he’s worked with is Harlem’s own V-Don — who we’ve chatted with in the past. His sound is quite dark, but Tedy is clear that he is trying to brighten things up this time around.

Related: Read our V-Don interview, here.

“I don’t want to do something so dark because my last project was a little dark … I was kind of in a dark place for it,” he says. “I don’t even want to put it in a box right now because I’ve been making so many records.“

Tedy has lots lined up, including a host of new videos that will line up with the release of the new project. Ultimately, he just wants this album to be an enduring, timeless piece of art.

“I just want to be the best,” he exclaims without hesitation. “I want people to love it. I want it to be a classic, you know what I mean?”

Continue Reading
More in interview, Interviews, rileysbest
‘Don’t Smoke Rock’ Is Crack [Pun Intended]

"They chasing a hit, I'm chasing legacy."— Smoke Dza I was actual sworn to secrecy about the existence of the...

Close