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Vice Souletric: The New Ohio [Interview]

“We’re trying to put Ohio back on the map musically…hip-hop wise.” –Vice Souletric It was an evening early last month…

“We’re trying to put Ohio back on the map musically…hip-hop wise.”
–Vice Souletric

It was an evening early last month when I received a cold-call — if you will — from an Ohio-based rapper named Vice Souletric. A quick peruse of his SoundCloud revealed an impressive amount of quality material and features, which I directly correlate with cosigns. Ones that immediately jumped out at me were “Respect The Legends,” produced by the iconic 9th Wonder, “Stayin’ Out The Way,” featuring the BK rapper Skyzoo, and “Return Of The Blackman,” featuring Talib Kweli. Alongside his partner in rhyme, G.Huff, the two have formed an on-wax chemistry similar to Cuban Linx-era Ghostface and Raekwon. With premieres on platforms like Okayplayer, and most recently Revolt, the two seem to be making a tonne of moves at an accelerated rate.

Aside from rap, Vice is also an accomplished [visual] artist and producer. The latter he attributes to sheer necessity; “I couldn’t find anybody who made the type of beats that I like, so I learned how to make beats myself. Being from Ohio, it’s crazy because a lot of cats around here aren’t necessarily on that East Coast boom bap type of feel, but that’s what I like, so I had to teach myself how to make type of beats.” His cover artwork also led to him forming a relationship with producer Pete Rock, whom he’s considered a mentor over the past 3-4 years. With their biggest release yet, Vice and Huff [finally] released a song produced by Chocolate Boy Wonder, “Bills,” with a visual expected to follow shortly.

With two knocking mixtapes under his belt, and tonnes of exciting things in the pipeline, I decided to take some time to sit with Vice and learn more about his process, his music, and more. Check out the new song, “Bills,” and the interview below.


One thing that stuck out when I went through your stuff is that you had some pretty heavy features. Give me a sense of how you got involved with some of these people?

Over the last two years, I dropped two projects. One was an EP called Vice for President. On there, I was able to work with Guilty Simpson and Reks from Boston. Then this last project, Vice for President 2, was a full-length EP. I was able to work with Kweli, Skyzoo, 9th Wonder, and Rapper Big Pooh. A lot of times people do ask me a lot, like “Wow, how did you get to work with these cats?” It’s nothing more than stepping to these cats in a business manner — keeping it completely professional. Handling my business the way that they want to handle it. To be honest with you, I’m not personally friends with any of these cats; I had to hit up their management. I had to hit them up directly to see what they were talking about and just had to network. If I had to break off some bread, I did that; in some cases, I didn’t have to do that. But, at the end of the day, it’s just about building the best mutual respect, and I think all those cats have respect for me. I’ve got respect for them.

Did they give you feedback on the joints?

Oh yeah, definitely. All the cats that I worked with gave me feedback. One of the cats that I collaborated with that I didn’t have direct contact with was 9th Wonder, though. I collaborated with King Magnetic on that track, and he has a direct relationship with 9th. So as far as that beat, he pretty much worked with 9th on that, but as far as everybody else, I heard back from them, and they gave me good feedback. They liked the tracks; and you know, a lot of times with these cats, it doesn’t matter what the terms are, they’re not going to be a part of something that they’re not feeling.

Your latest joint on Vevo with Hi-Tek — how did that come together?

With that situation, that track is part of G.Huff’s album, and I’m featured on the song. We had to go [hard] for the longest, with us being from Ohio, to be able to reach out to Hi-Tek, and it was just something where we reached out to him on Facebook. We presented our music to him; we told him who we are, what we were trying to do, and it took a while — because Hi-Tek isn’t a cat that just works with anybody. So it took a while to crack that nut, but he eventually responded back to us like, “Yeah, let’s work,” and he sent us a few beats. It was very hard to pick the one beat that we wanted to use, but you know, we’re happy with it, and he liked the song. Like after the video came out and everything, he hit us up; he gave us our blessing, like “Yeah, that’s dope.” We intend on doing some more work with Hi-Tek in the future.

Alright, so you guys are indie right now, yeah?

We’re indie, man. Everything. It’s like I’m a producer, I naturally write my music, I’m a graphic designer, I do all my covers, websites, all of that stuff, man. Like, we’re pretty much a one stop shop. We take care of all of our business because, one, you need to be able to do that, just to cut costs, because it’s very expensive trying to do music. Two, it gives you more leverage when you’re trying to network and work with other people — being able to wear more hats. So yeah, we’re completely indie. We would like to get signed, that would be ideal, but right now we’re indie, and we’re happy with our position.

Have you had any interest from labels? Have you talked to labels?

We’re just in the beginning stages. To be honest with you, we’ve been doing it for a while, but just over like the last year and a half, people have been starting to take notice of what we’ve been doing. We buckled down and started releasing these projects that we put a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of resources into. But we are getting more interest by the day from different A&Rs, we’re connecting with a lot of different people in the industry, and they’re looking at us. As of right now, we haven’t had a contract pushed in our face yet, but with the moves that we’ve made, and a couple of things we have in the works, we’re expecting something to pop by the end of 2016, for sure.

Who are some of the artists that maybe you haven’t worked with yet, or that you wanted to get on this project, that you’re going to try to get in the future?

Well, one is Pete Rock. Like I have a joint on Vice President 2 called ‘Irap’, and like I know him personally — and I want him to rap on the song. Like I didn’t even want a beat, I just wanted him to rap, because the song is all about being a producer and an MC, so I thought it would be great to have him on it. It wasn’t able to go down because he was really busy working on this project he has coming out with Smoke Dza. But actually, Huff and I were just down there this past weekend, and we hooked up with him, and we got a beat from him. We’re going to be releasing a joint with Pete Rock real soon. It’s gonna be crazy; it’s gonna be nuts, man. [Editor’s Note: The song has since been released, it’s called “Bills.”]

You’ve been friends with him for quite a while, and you consider him sort of a mentor. Maybe talk a little bit about that relationship.

I would say maybe for like the last four or five years; he’s a real cool cat. Like, he’s a cat that interacts with people via social media, so we’ve always interacted online, and actually like I said, I do graphic design, so I did a cover for him. If you remember the project that he did with Camp Lo
maybe about two or three years ago, he had like this cartoon type cover – I did that. I’m the one that did that joint, so that’s sort of how we linked. It was real crazy. He hit me up in the middle of the night, dude. He hit me up, because he got my number from Huff, and he hit me up in the middle of the night with like 20 text messages. I wake up to all these messages from Pete Rock, talking about, “Yo, I need a cover.” So I did the cover man, and ever since then we kept in contact. You know we talk sports, we talk hoops; we talk music every once in a while. He has a mutual respect for us, but we never try to be too thirsty with him, and like beg him for beats, this that and the other. Everything has to happen in its own time, and you know, now it’s time, so we about to get it cracking.

So what’s next? What’s the next project we can look out for?

What I’m working on now is an instrumental album. Because I put out the two projects that I was rapping on, and I just want to showcase like the beats, and let people know like how serious I am, and how into the production I am, and how detailed I am with it. So that’s the next thing coming out, that’s probably going to be dropping within the next two months, and it’s not going to be throwaway beats either. Like I already told my boys in my crew, “Y’all gonna be pissed when y’all hear some of the beats I put on this because I’m putting out heat.” Because, no matter what you release, you’ve always got to put your best foot forward, and I want people to take me seriously as a producer as well, so that’s the next thing that’s coming out.

Any last words, or anything else you’d like to leave on the blog?

Pretty much, man, just check out Vice for President 2, and check me out on vicesworld.com — that’s my website. You can find all my social media up there. We are just trying to represent Ohio, man. Like this is a big year for Ohio, but we’re trying to put Ohio back on the map musically, hip-hop wise, so by the end of 2016 man, we’re just gonna try to be in the position that we want to be in.

 

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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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within 5 years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27 year old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only 5 years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work I would find a way. I go 3000% for what ever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve in order to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to takeover though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and continue my brand. The empire is forming, the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? Whats the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and myself are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between the both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from the both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

You know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ, you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. You feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or really making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late, bro got energy.

A few artists are rising up out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzin since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his own lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shitt my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we was in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up’, heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we was all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We definitely had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice is absolutely legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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James Seville’s Jamesville Is An Honest Slice Of Alt-Hip-Hop Vibes

Having first got onto New Orleans-born artist James Seville after he dropped his first release via streaming networks, Beta, he’s…

Having first got onto New Orleans-born artist James Seville after he dropped his first release via streaming networks, Beta, he’s been an exciting artist to watch grow. The initial taste of his sound provided a diverse base of alternative Hip Hop potential, and as he’s grown, the music has only become more personal, and — whether intentional or not — refined. His first official release, which comes after a string of one-off singles (which we were here for), Jamesville is an exciting blend of vibes that perfectly encapsulate the new waves blurred lines between bar-centric traditionalism and melody-driven bops.

“I open up a lot and talk about things that have helped me grow throughout the years…losing my dad, dropping out of school, falling in love, falling out of love, drinking, drugs [etc.],” James told N.O.-based Off Beat Magazine this past summer. “I like to make music that is genuinely good, and that people of all ages can enjoy. Rap music that you and your mom can bump together.”

It’s this universality and approachability that makes this latest body of work so enjoyable. With his late father being a blues musician, and having grown up engulphed in the iconically jazzy sound of “N’Awlins,” James music has this unique approach. It’s a melting pot of vibes, brimming with emotion — yet acutely aware of its contemporary appeal. This can be seen by contrasting the infectious groove of “The Kids Will Be Fine” with the sure-shot hit-appeal of “Send2Me” — which will be seeing a visual treatment this month — and “Margarita” featuring Shvkiel.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuetCVqlyKp/
 
The project kicks off with a playful vibe, with “Career Day” — complete with a skit that put us in mind (spiritually) of Kanye’s critically acclaimed debut, College Dropout. The tongue-n-cheek- theme of fuck school take your own path isn’t religiously adhered to (at least in a straight forward sense), but does carry over in the second song, “School Spirit,” which features Ayomari (an artist we’ve had on our radar for a while now).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn_mRWcAatI/
 

“I am inspired by a lot of older New Orleans musicians,” he told DNO magazine in an interview. “My mom always took me out of school and brought me to Jazz Fest ever since I can remember … I met Allen Toussaint when I was nine-years-old.”

This impending sense of making his dreams a priority is felt on the album, as is this gloss of smokey grooves that make it immediately likable. With James recently revealing that he is becoming a father this August, there is feeling that things go in full-circle. Jamesville is an encapsulation of his road up to this point; an excellent opportunity to orient yourself for what he has coming next. “I haven’t stopped smiling since Jamesville came out,” James admitted via Instagram. “I hope y’all are enjoying it.”

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Madwiz Chats Career Goals & Creative Inspirations: ”One Of My Fave Rappers Is Kool Keith”

When artists say their inspirations include names like Eminem, Biggie, Tupac, or “all the greats,” but their music doesn’t represent…

When artists say their inspirations include names like Eminem, Biggie, Tupac, or “all the greats,” but their music doesn’t represent it at all, it simply comes off as pandering — to us anyways. It’s natural to be a fan of the greats, but we often find ourselves drawn to artists who not only like to explore a bevy of genres but timelessly seek out and draw inspiration from artists that other rappers may not. That’s one thing that drew us to Brooklyn MC Madwiz.

We’re admittedly late to the party, but his latest LP 718-MAD-WIZ is an absolute masterpiece that we’ve been bumping since discovery, and it’s not getting old. It’s this cool eclectic patchwork of samples and vibes; we decided to reach out and learn a little more about his sound — and career trajectory.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt3fv9nnVC2/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=13m90cfi57e9m

“I’ll put it plain and simple for you: I want to be the greatest rapper that ever lived,” he tells AAHH bluntly. The self proclaimed “new sound of Brooklyn” hails the Ohio Players and his favorite band, and Prince as his favorite artist. His biggest inspiration (as far as career direction)? Marvin Gaye.

“One time I got in trouble with my pops and he took away my ‘new music privileges’ and I had to start listening to hip hop from scratch,” he explained (low-key making his father sound like the coolest guy ever. “[I listened] from the beginning: Cold Crush, Egyptian Lover, Soul Sonic Force, Newcleus … ’Jam On It’ is still my shit. I had to study until I caught up!”

With such an eclectic array of sounds molding his own, the final layer can be attributed to one of Hip Hop’s most unique figures, the ”Ultramagnetic MC” himself, Kool Keith.

“One of my favorite rappers is Kool Keith. Whoever knows him recognizes he can say the most outlandish shit at times, but I’ll be damned if he ain’t telling the truth when he does,” he notes. “I took pages out of that book and added it to my style … and boom — Madwiz.

“It’s raunchy, it’s sexy, it’s poetic, it’s gangsta, it’s love.”

Having opened for names like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Ferg, he has more than a few milestones under his belt, but says his biggest career moments are often the result of leveling up. “My biggest accomplishments are whenever I level up creatively… it shows in the reaction when I put shit out.”

This latest album, though, is something he considers to reside amongst his brightest accomplishments. “I evolved significantly from my last joint and the ones before it,” he says proudly. “I thought I was better than lots of these ”MCs” before, but once I saw that come together the way it did … I don’t even doubt. I’m humble though, I’ll talk more shit when I get through the door. Job not done [*Kobe voice.*]”

As he continues the rollout for the project, telling AAHH he has videos planned for every track (we’re looking forward to a visual for “2” featuring Radamiz, btw), Madwiz hopes this music will ultimately resonate amongst the majority of listeners.

“I want the world to agree on something for once … I’m making it so that one thing is the Madwiz discography and whatever it brings,”
he says. “I’m just creating as I go through shit, but above all, I want what everybody else wants. Peace of mind. Let’s find that.”

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#Interview: Kaash Paige Talks New Video “Love Songs”

“This song could potentially change my life,” she says.

18-year-old Texas singer Kaash Paige has been popping up on our feed — and playlists — as of late with her infectiously mellow vibes that we, quite frankly, can’t get enough of. After teasing a visual for her new single titled “Love Songs” for the last month or so, she finally releases it yesterday (February 14), with a trippy treatment sure to get you hooked.

“It’s about being infatuated with someone who wants nothing to do with you,” she tells AAHH of the single. “It’s like being stuck on stupid that four letter word, love. “I feel like the catchy hook caught everyone’s ears [thus far] and this song can potentially change my life.

“The visual is the icing on the cake; my friend Matthew and I directed it,” she continues. Basically, it’s me reminiscing on every little thing I used to do with my significant other.”

As Kaash explains, she doesn’t plan on slowing the momentum at all, and if you’re a fan of the vibe, she’s about to get even more mellow.

“I’ve gotten more into acoustics and neo-soul,” she notes, ”so keep rocking with me for the groove.”

Check out Kaash Paige’s “Love Songs,” below.

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Like Controlla: Dancehall And Contemporary Mainstream

Music derives from culture. It’s how we can distinguish and categorize what we listen to on a daily basis. It’s...

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