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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
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Director Myster DL Chats About His New Cypress Hill Documentary

Myster DL, rapper and trusted video director who has an excellent portfolio of over 250 videos with acts like Redman,…

Myster DL, rapper and trusted video director who has an excellent portfolio of over 250 videos with acts like Redman, Sean Price, Styles P, Chuck D, Cormega, and more, recently dropped a new documentary about Cypress Hill, a group he fondly credits for helping him to make Hip Hop himself.

The Haunted Hill Documentary was filmed in one night in Boston, Massachusetts, at the legendary House of Blues. “I worked on the edit for a few days and sent a few drafts over to the guys and management,” DL tells AAHH. “They do a three-day tour annually—and I usually catch a couple of those shows.”

“Earlier this year I had released a video for Cypress Hill’s Eric Bobo, and we are always planning our next project,” he continues. “We are in the process of possibly doing a few music videos for the band.”

As DL explains, he’s been aquatinted with the iconic group for over a decade. “I’ve known B-Real the longest; I met him in roughly 2004 while living—and DJing—in Miami. I made an edited version of his Gunslinger Mixtape and sent it to him via AOL instant messenger. He was grateful and said if I ever needed anything to contact him.”

At first, DL didn’t take the open invitation seriously. “I just thought this was something people say and took a chance and asked him for a verse,” he recalls. “Within two hours I had an email and acappella. I put the verse on my iPod Nano and walked around listening to it for three weeks. We did a song together in 2004, and that blossomed into a cool relationship with the whole crew.”

“I have a song with B Real, Sticky Fingaz, Rockness Monsta and Kool G Rap that will premier on the soundtrack of my next film,” DL says proudly. “Cypress Hill inspired me to make music which eventually turned into a successful film career, so its a trip to even know them.”

According to DL, this is his most significant project to date. “It’s my first documentary film; however I do have a series of short documentaries called “Rewind The Scenes” where I look back at the making of some of my biggest music videos,” he explains.

The Haunted Hill Documentary is a must-watch for any Cypress fan; check it out below.

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Sam Krow Is Ready For 2018 [Interview]

Sam Krow a.k.a. Hunnit Block from Dade County, Florida (by way of Little Haiti), has been featured on our site…

Sam Krow a.k.a. Hunnit Block from Dade County, Florida (by way of Little Haiti), has been featured on our site in the past. His single “Hunnit” featuring Zoey Dollaz—who is having serious run right now—and his Black On Black mixtape put him on the map within his local scene, and his upcoming EP Zoe Boy promises to open him up to the world.

“[My sound] is down south blended with the heartbeat of the islands,” he tells AAHH. “My mother was my inspiration. Before she died we listened to music together; then, when she died I used the memory of my mom as my pain reliever—my tranquility place. My anger releaser,” he continues. “That’s when I was motivated to do what I wanted to do in life…to make my mom proud.”

“My influence was the black stars in my neighborhood,” he told us, noting he was musically fuelled by Biggie, Pac, Bob Marley, Michel Martelly, Wyclef and the Fugees, Trick, Uncle Luke, and MMG capo Rick Ross.

He has a lot to look forward to, especially following the success of “Hunnit” which peaked at 83 on the national DRT charts—and number 8 the indie DRT chart. “[My goal is] to build a legacy, not only for my children but my people,” he says confidently. With a freshman album on deck for 2018 and a major tour in the works, it’s only a matter of time before Sam’s name is mentioned in larger industry circles.

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The Hoodies Are About To Be Two Of Hip Hop’s Brightest Stars

If we’re keeping it all the way 100, the schtick of rhyming in a car is beyond played out. Whatever…

If we’re keeping it all the way 100, the schtick of rhyming in a car is beyond played out. Whatever “cool” factor it did possess probably decimated after Carpool Karaoke became your mom’s fav thing to share on Facebook. At least that’s what I thought, until I stumbled onto E-Class (21-years-old) and his younger brother Young Poppa (11-years-old). Collectively known as The Hoodies, they’ve taken a stale concept and (with sheer quality bars) spun it into national viral fame.

To be frank, I haven’t been this excited about a new artist in quite a while—especially not a group. Especially not a group from New York.

Their chemistry is ridiculous. If their recent appearance on Flex didn’t have you Googling “who the fuck are The Hoodies and why have I been sleeping,” let me help you out with some of their must-watch episodes of In The Whip, their ongoing YouTube series.

First up, episode 5; these cats ran through a sneaker scheme, a math scheme, and a fucking cartoon theme so seamlessly I had to watch this shit multiple times to catch the blends.

Next up, episode 4, which featured a surprise cameo by (perhaps) the only other emcees in recent memory with a back and forth chemistry as thick as these two, Styles P and Jadakiss.

Lastly, Young Poppa flamed one of my fav instrumentals “Banned From TV” in episode 7.

After binge-watching their videos, I couldn’t help but wonder what these two had in store. It’s rare to be so acknowledged without any actual songs or traditional videos out. “Mixtape dropping sooner then you think,” E-Class revealed to me. “It’s going to change the whole face of Hip-Hop.”

The way they tell it, this is in their blood. “I been rapping for almost 12 years now,” says E-Class. “I’ll be 21 in February, and I started at nine on a serious level.”

“Poppa got into rapping at a really young age,” E-Class continued. “I’m talking diapers young. He just loves everything about the culture. He loves NWA, Pac, Nas, and 50 Cent … he’s an old soul and very intelligent, so he knows how to put words together. Plus, I was a heavy influence on him.”

Young Poppa doesn’t dispute that last point. “[I’ve] been rapping since I was 4-years-old,” he says. “I came up watching my brother and learning from him.”

They have an aura of excitement surrounding them; you can just tell this is the calm before the storm. Any doubt of that was washed away when Ellen’s team reached out to the duo—literally on the strength of their videos—and asked them to appear on the show.

“We were in complete shock when they reached out,” E-Class says. “Even though we are passionate and believe in ourselves, we never thought we would be on Ellen … especially off of our In The Whip series.“

Since their Ellen appearance and their much-lauded performance on Hot 97 industry heads seem to have the duo under their microscope. “Labels have reached out … we can’t disclose too much information, but they know we out here killing it.”

Whether or not a bidding war is on the horizon has yet to be seen, but one thing for sure, it’s Hoodie season in more ways than one.

https://youtu.be/eRrKDnXWC3A

“We have our mixtape Family Business coming out real soon, music videos, and our In The Whip series is still killing the streets. We ain’t going nowhere anytime soon, so get used to hearing The Hoodies.”

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#SALUTE: Slick Rick’s Debut Turns 29

As the gap between the old school and new school becomes broader and more apparent, so does the necessity for…

As the gap between the old school and new school becomes broader and more apparent, so does the necessity for icons like Slick Rick to be honored. On this, the 29th anniversary of his classic Def Jam debut The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, we thought we’d take a few minutes to help newer/younger fans understand why us “old heads” hold Ricky D in such reverence after all these years.

It’s kind of hard for anyone under 25 to conceptualize a time when Hip Hop wasn’t a well-oiled machine with multiple touchpoints and sub-genres, but there was a time when it was a lot more … straightforward, for lack of a better term. Much like Rakim, who came in the game with a level of wordplay that blew people away, Slick Rick — a member of Dougie Fresh’s Get Fresh Crew — brought a level of storytelling to the genre that has carried forward and created a platform for generations of artists after him to bring that thematic, content-rich song layout to the game.

“Children’s Story” and “Mona Lisa” were marvels on so many levels; the way that Rick switched up his voice to give life to multiple characters, his crystal clear vocals, the friendly/approachable English accent — it changed the game. His entire debut was full of gems, like “Moment I Feared,” which follows Rick on a possibly the most unfortunate series of back to back events ever, or “Kit,” where he and the infamous car from Nightrider attempt to find Rick’s stolen crown (a reference to bummy impersonators).

“I was never the type to say freestyle raps, I usually tell a story, and to do that well I’ve always had to work things out beforehand.“ — Slick Rick

Then there was the letter to the youth of the late 80’s “Hey Young World,” which I’ve written about in detail in the past:

“The average (young) hip-hop head in NYC in the late 80’s, early 90’s lived through some arguably wild shit. 1989–1993 saw the highest crime rates in the history of the city, teen pregnancy levels were at an all-time high, and the effects of the crack epidemic were everywhere. This was the breeding ground for much of the golden era that hip-hop heads revere so much. It was also during this time that Slick Rick addressed the youth of the time with his classic record.”

Rick did suffer some setbacks in the 90s after catching an attempted murder charge for shooting at former bodyguard — also clipping a bystander in the foot. However, Behind Bars, released during his incarceration, is in my top 50 records ever list, and his Art Of Storytelling LP was a cornerstone of my High School years.

All that to say, if you were born in the 90s, Rick hasn’t done very much for you. However, your fave artist with a storytelling style was likely influenced by another artist who was affected by the greatness of Ricky D. Lets revisit some of our fave cuts from his debut, below.

Salute.

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