Interview by Steven Contreras | Client Experience Rep | CREATE.Digital Music
Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk to with me and our audience Craig. I really appreciate it. How about you tell everyone where you're from originally?
Craig: No problem, I'm from Philly, South Philadelphia, Tasker projects specifically. It’s a real rough place, pretty dangerous. I was born and raised out there till about 17 when I moved out but I still hung out there.
Did growing up in Tasker have a major influence on your music?
Craig: Yeah, Definitely. You see it more in my unreleased music but a lot of my stories are true. The subject matter that I talk on are all Glances at experiences I have literally seen or was there when it happened. It was my everyday reality. To a person who didn’t grow up in that type of environment it may seem abnormal or crazy but to someone who has been immersed in it, it’s just the norm.
How do you think growing up in that environment affected your overall life?
Craig: I’m not mad I grew up there because it helped shape me in positive ways as well. I feel like I have a good balance opposed to someone who is sheltered or their only knowledge has been sucked out from a book. As where I have a blend of street smart and actual intellectual properties that you need every day too. I feel I’m a fair medium of both.
Who would you say your biggest musical Influences are?
Craig: Number one is definitely God. G-O-D... but I really listen to everything. I can’t say one particular person influenced me most because I feel I’ve taken bits and pieces from everyone. If I had to pick one artist I would Kanye and Big Sean, mainly because people have told me that I sound like them the most. I would also throw in Part Next Door.
I want to talk about your newest single “Trampolines." What is the theme of the song?
Craig: I just wanted to have fun. A lot of my music touches on politics, social issues or something deep so I wanted to get away from that. It just kind of happened to be honest. I already had my verses written out and on my way to the studio and I was just freestyling the hook and out of nowhere “Trampoline” kept popping in my head over and over. As I was working on the hook the “Flyer than a 747, doing 120 in a 745” came in my head and then I really liked the number scheme so I continued with the “32 shots loaded in this mac11” and was like boom there’s the hook.
I am looking at your cover Art for “Trampolines” is that a giraffe? Who or what is that?
Craig: Yeah ha ha that’s my Mascot. My nickname on stage is “Mr. Superb”, I go by my government, Craig Myers, but that’s my nickname. So the giraffe is called “Little Superb” because he’s derived from me.
How did that concept come about?
Craig: The image of the mascot came from a picture of me at one of my shows from a while back. Literally I was wearing the same thing, I had on some nerdy Gucci glasses, a cardigan, a bow tie, some hi top Barkley's, skinny jeans like that’s me! Ha Ha.
Why a Giraffe though? lol
Craig: It came from from me wanting to embrace my uniqueness, individuality and just being different so I wanted to claim and own that. I can't fit in because I’m always going to stand out. Just like if you try to put a giraffe anywhere and try to hide it, it’s always gone stand out, its not going to fit in, it’s always going to stand out. In this music game you want to stand out, you don't want to blend in with everyone else.
What's the next step or project for Craig Myers?
Craig: I’m going to release another single called “Holy Matrimony” The best way to describe it is like a Trap wedding song. I’m steadily trying to put out singles though. I plan to release an additional five to seven songs before the year-ends and just carry that energy and consistency into 2018.
“Men are Made great by one thing and one thing only the relentless pursuit of a better world. The great men don’t give up that pursuit, they don’t know how. That is what makes them invincible”.
The above statement comes from the introduction of “They Don’t Wanna Know”, the most recent single from Jarred Illiad. I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Jarred along with Mod and Voris Forte, who are featured on the audio offering known as "TDWK."
Jarred, 'What was the meaning behind the phase after each verse when you say, " You can say you live, but you not Bruh, I can see it in your eyes you ain't been there before, recognize never lies we spit, this is pure uncut, we them genius' Jarred: The meaning in the phrase speaks to those in the rap game, hell, life; that claim that they’re, “live”, claim that they’ve been somewhere, claim they got all this status but really haven’t been anywhere. You can tell by speaking to a person, artist that’s been places….I'm talking about beyond their own block. Artists that have spent time over in international waters been in other cultures, seen REAL money beyond the chains and the Bentleys, etc. I can see in there eyes that the stories they have can’t come close to where I've been, even before getting a deal, or having real money. We don’t have to lie about these experiences because the stories are all true, uncut and raw.
This question stems from Mod’s verse, ”Money comes with problems some of y'all can't deal with it” I feel this is a really important message for the audience. Jarred, What was your mindset and mission going in while creating this track? Jarred Illiad: When Killa BeatzSoG hit me with the track, the Wanna Know theme came rather quickly because of the melody, with any track music etc., I let it hit me and carry it out from there. I didn’t have the mindset of creating a tracked called "They Don't Wanna Know." The beat allowed for the idea to be birthed.
How did you come to collaborate with Jarred Illiad? And What was your initial feeling once you heard the instrumental and message behind this record? Mod: We met years ago through a mutual friend. I started sending him beats I made and we've been collaborating ever since. My initial feeling was "who don't want to know?" Lol. But seriously, the beat is full of this melodic energy that tells a story in itself. And I knew I had a few tales of my life that could easily surf on that wave.
This question is for Vortis Forte, In the beginning of the record there is a sample talking about great men, what does it mean to be a great man in your eyes. Vortis Forte: To be a great man in my eyes, means various principalities. But overall you have to provide for your family and lead by example! Save The World & It's Children, Until Then, We Real Men In This Solar System...
Speaking of the intro, Jarred, Who picked the beginning sample and what were the reasons behind it? I picked the beginning sample because the composition is comprised of great men with a purpose to change their surroundings and to uplift others….great men who have been in the trenches trying to reach that goal to do this for the greater good, do this so we can have enough capital to start change the global climate on a real level…..”the pursuit of a better world."
For up and coming artists, if you could give any financial advice to the new generation of creatives, what would it be? Mod:Live life and enjoy it but don't spend what you don't have. Invest in yours.
Mod, In the beginning of your verse you recall a night where you were “clutching on a 1/5th fall in the bathroom while I take a sh*t” is that a metaphor or did that really happen? Mod: That really happened.
If people heard all your struggles and your life what would they say?
Mod: They would ask how I make it look so easy.
Jarred, What was it like reflecting on your spiritual life in the song, stating you’re “stuck in the middle between spiritual and secular”. That’s been my whole life, hence the name of the album, The Mind SPLITS….Ive always had to balance the streets and the church, survival didn’t come unless you knew how to survive in the streets and life wasn’t given and cherished without having, “God” first…so im stuck in the middle. I’ve had to hustle in order to survive at times…..did things that I wasn’t proud of, and did things that God and The Christ would be ashamed of but that’s the reality we live in now-a-days. Im blessed because God always kept me in spite of….that's the meaning of Grace.
That’s deep, it only makes me that much more excited for you to drop the album!
Next question, Voris, In this song you clearly state ”These people ain’t listening because they don’t wanna know.” What exactly do you feel scares people about your message? What makes them not want to face reality? Voris Forte:It's not my message the people are scared of; It's facing the harsh realities that are in front of them in which I explain through my music and experiences in relation.
What about the line ”Raiding these rumors, we are speaking the facts”. Truth, is a huge element in this record, why is the truth so important to you in these current days of hip-hop.
Voris Forte: Correction, I actually say "Spreading these Rumors." We as artist carry huge influence over a wide range of people. So speaking Truth 2 Power is most important living in the days where right is wrong and wrong seems right!
“They don’t wanna know where your people be, they just wanna know where the fxck you at”. This is a pretty big line for me, could you please give us your personal insight and reasoning for this verse. Voris Forte: The focus lies on the median. What is your flow, through this Universe? Will you leave an imprint or just be another individual with a lost cause. The Time Is Now*
Voris, Is there anything in the works people should keep their eye out for from you?
Yes, most definitely! I have the 3rd series of my project Solar System Part III coming out this Fall as well as multiple events/showcases titled "#WhatIsYourForte?" In conclusion, contact me on any social media platform @VorisForte to receive some new gear from my clothing line, brand & project "Compton UniverseCity," Enroll While Society Last!
Jarred , Is “They Don't Wanna Know” part of a future project? Would you say it sets the tone for the project? Yes indeed, Wanna is the second single off of the Mind SPLITS Album and it has definitely set the tone for what’s to come….every composition on this album will have a “wow” factor and this record fits right into that element.
Lastly, where can our readers find you on social media?
Jarred: All social media all music on all retailers can be found @jarredilliad
Mod:You can find me on all social media platforms @modbpt
Voris Forte: Any social media platform @VorisForte
I really would like to say thank you to Jarred Illiad, Mod and Voris Forte for this opportunity to get some insight into “They Don’t Wanna know." Available now on all digital music retailers via Black Jahpeto and distributed by CREATE Digital. Music
- Steven Contreras / CREATE.Digital Music / Client Experience Rep
As he completes his debut album, music producer, artist, songwriter, and musician, CharlesInCharge, leaked a record, "S=TC2," which did not make the album. We took this as an opportunity to gain insight on his creative mindset.
1. S=TC2 What exactly does this title represent?
Sexiness equals Thickness and Confidence Squared. It is my personal math for most of what drives sexiness in my opinion.
2. Is there anyone who inspired or helped the creation of this record?
I was in the lab on some mixtape-able hip hop sample 90's R&B late night ish. My wife came down to say good night and flipped the whole mood into a song with the coldest walk away in just a t shirt attire. The rest is history.
3. The cover art for this record states "Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear". In your opinion, what is the ultimate display of confidence?
There are many ways to display confidence. My ultimate or favorite is when someone is unique in spite of what everyone thinks. Following is not a part of her vocabulary. She got her own #444 mentality.
4. If you could have a listener take anything away from S=TC2 what would it be?
Come as you are, love who you are, be who you, cause we rock with who we are.
5. "I told my momma, I might have met someone to pull me out the streets" What is that one undeniable factor that can have that effect on someone to change their life to dramatically?
It was time for me to grow up. Every man faces this "update" at some point in his life. Some of us are just clicking "later" like the update on the OS for your phone. I just chose to accept mine, and my life has been a #cheatcode ever since. Real Spit. Steps ordered, Family quartered with money to afford it.
6. This is a really strong record, why did you decide to Leak the song and not leave it for the album?
Frankly, sampling is an expensive process. It's like building your house on top of someone else's house. They determine if you can and what the price is. Creatively, I felt like this was one I needed to share with my audience, so I just shared the record once it was cut. It was more about the message than the money. So releasing it for free and promotional purposes was not an issue.
Interview by Steven Contreras
Client Experience Rep
1. For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in five words
Resilient, passionate, genre-bending, purposeful, powerful.
2. As a songwriter, is it easier for you to pull inspiration from a dark place or from the joy in your life?
This is something I have come to realize over the past couple of years - that my writing is usually dark or about pain... but the reason being is this: when I write, I do so to escape the moment I'm in. So when I'm upset, angry, sad, scared, depressed, etc, I use my pen as a way to get out of that emotion. It dawned on me that's why I don't have much music that's really about something exciting, happy, or joyful - because I don't want to escape those moments. It's been something I've worked on since that realization, actually making myself write when I'm excited or in love, etc. I just know the most raw emotion comes through when you write in the midst of the feeling. To answer the question, it's easiest for me to pull from the peak of my emotional experience, no matter good or bad. Writing about and in the most extreme emotional circumstances generate the best music.
3. On your most recent release "Tell Me Anything", what was your experience like as you became the most transparent you have ever been as an artist?
Honestly it began as a journal entry. The very beginning is very "rap-like" because it was literally a diary of some sort of how mad and frustrated I was. And when I'm feeling that way sometimes I like finding chords on the piano that match my mood, if you will. And it just turned into a song. I was going to keep it to myself but decided I wasn't afraid for someone to hear what happened to me. Chances are whoever is listening has had it happen to them. And if it makes them feel less alone, or more powerful after they listen, I'm cool with it. Being vulnerable is strength.
4. Who is your biggest musical influence?
It's a tie between Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. And it's funny, the way they influenced me has mostly been as a person/artist and not so much the way I sound or produce music. Lauryn taught me to be real as possible and not to be afraid about it. If your voice sounds raspy or you get emotional mid-song, keep rolling because people feel it. It's dope, it's raw, it's vulnerable. She taught me to make music that means something is more important than the way it sounds. Amy taught me how to make pain into a melody. She made depression sound like flowers. And I went through a lot in my late teens... hearing her voice and her dark lyrics over such bouncy, happy music made me feel like everything was gonna be okay. It's what I decided I wanted to do with my music.
5. Where is your favorite place in the world to travel to?
My favorite place in the world to travel to is any place I have never been. It's my number one dream to travel to every part of the world and see it/experience it for myself. The more of the world I see, the closer to God I feel.
Interview by Steven Contreras
Client Experience Rep
Students from all over California are invited to the Student Voices Summit & Screening, the culmination of the 2017 Student Voices Campaign.
The Summit will feature student-led advocacy workshops, opportunities to learn about careers in the state's creative industries, and the chance to see student videos on the big screen.
A panel discussion on creative careers will be moderated by Priska Neely, Arts Education Reporter, 89.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, featuring professionals from film and television, music production, aerospace engineering, automotive design, and more! Panelists will include:
Elizabeth Frances, Actress
Philip June, The Boeing Company
Patricia Villetto, Writer, Director & Actor, Dreamworks
Chelsey Semidey, General Motors Advanced Design
Amilcar "PRO" Welton, CREATE.Digital Music
Panelists will share their stories and offer students insight into what made a vital difference in their success. More program details and breakout sessions to be announced!
This free event is open to all California public school students in grades 7-12 and their teachers and families. There will be separate learning opportunities for adults who accompany students to the event.
Space is limited and registration is required.
For questions, email email@example.com and note “Student Voices Summit” in the subject line.
Q: How did you get the name "DOE Boy Philly?"
Doe boy was my nickname growing up because of my size. I made the acronym "Dollars Over Everything", because the main goal is financial stability & to take care of our families. The Philly of course is for the city I'm from.
Q:What is your favorite meal in Philly? In Atlanta?
Most people would say "A Cheese Steak", but I'm going to say fried chicken, rice & peas & cabbage from J&J's West Indian restaurant in South West Philly. In Atlanta It's probably Gus's World Famous
Q:Who would you say have the largest influence on your music?
Biggie Smalls is my biggest rap influence. 70's Soul Music also heavily influenced me to speak from the heart with emotion.
Q:Vacation is the Bahamas for a week with 2 women of your choice, all expenses paid? Or have a studio for a week and you get to work with any 2 artist?
Can I pick any studio? Lol. Honestly, I'll take the studio for a week. Quad Studios in New York. Jay- Z & Drake would be my 2 artist.
Chopmaster J Legacy Series presents Dave Hollister,
Tramaine Hawkins, & The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir "Spirit"
As heard on TV One’s UNSUNG Dave Hollister
From the man that helped bring you Digital Underground alongside Shock-G, Humpty Hump, and Tupac Shakur. Chopmaster J has returned with the single entitled "Spirit" (Do You Really Care?), a song who’s original version was included in the Oscar-nominated film “Boyz N The Hood” (1991). Now Chopmaster J's vault brings you the inspirational unreleased version featuring Dave Hollister, Tramaine Hawkins and The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. We all can use some positive reinforcement in today's social climate. This previously unreleased version of “Spirit” is powerful and uplifting and may move you to question your spirit and the spirit of others as we seek happiness, love, prosperity, and fulfillment.
Google Play https://goo.gl/PtQdp9
Amazon Music http://a.co/fbccxob
Herb N' Soul Entertainment Media
Chopmaster J Legacy Series
Distributed by CREATE.Digital Music.
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