My cities (Minneapolis/St.Paul) are very liberal artsy cities anyone who is interested in any kind of arts activity can not only be encouraged but feed mentally very well here at a young age. I was in major recording studios with major artists hearing about the business learning about how business is done and also being taught to respect the craft. Also having so much access to museums and just sculptures around the cities I quickly found similarities between music and all arts and to this day that helps me find inspiration. The biggest thing I pulled away from living here is a sense of balance and that inspiration is where "You" find it. Allow your self to be open to new possibilities and you'll always be able to inspire yourself to inspire others
When did you write your first rhyme? Do you remember it?
I wrote my first rhyme when I was 13 it actually was like 70% Spice One and 30% mine. I was really concerned about figuring out the mechanics of rhyming bars, cadence, word placement, structure so I used to copy artist rhymes down in my note book and then "improve" them with some of my own lines.
You were basically a poet until one of your high school teachers open your eyes to rapping. How was that process because even though their similar, their also very different.
For me was rhythm, attitude, word play and content has never been a problem because as a poet that's all you are, the rest is just smoke and mirrors. So that adjustment was the part I spent the most time on. I've always been concerned about doing things right almost obsessed with it so I am truly a "student" of the game. I really studied rappers. I would pick four MCs and study them for a week rapping aloud like them, trying to write like them, imitating their accents and then on Sundays I would sit down and write songs and see how well I caught on. I did this for a bout a year until I felt like I understood.
After graduating you chose to move to Atlanta and attend college where you went head first into music. You gained a lot of recognition from winning various battles, what was that like for you?
It was fun I was winning battles here in MN all the time me and my crew were the crew to see on the mic if u felt strong we were known to embarrass cats from outta town so bad they would never come back to the poetry spot we pretty much ran. In the Midwest at that time if you couldn't battle you weren't a respected MC and if u rhymed and did poetry you were respect. It was about the art and respect for it. People gave u props if they could tell u were committed to your craft because of how dope u were.
Was that your first taste of fame? How did you handle it?
I've always garnered attention I am a bit of a comedian so I was always on camera being funny or telling my mom and her friends dirty jokes when they had a Lil bit too much wine to drink on the weekends. One thing my mom loved for me to do was imitate my dad he kind a had a foul mouth (sorry pops lol) and I could imitate his voice and mannerisms to a T so she'd let me cuss and go in as my dad, those were good times.But I handle fame well because I know its just an opinion someone has and nothing more its almost like being rich. If you have nice things people think you got dough you may or may not but its someone else's perception that puts you on a pedestal your just doing your thing and accomplishing what you set out to do or get so its business as usual with you because this is what you do and the standards you have but others see it different.I appreciate peoples admiration for my work though I've actually been getting paintings and portraits from people who say my music inspires them (shout out to Sarah Taylor from Seattle and Madoka Udea from Japan for the artwork) So I'm amped people see my hard work and support it but fame is an illusion its the respect for the art that matters.
Musically how diverse is Minnesota from Atlanta and like wise? Does it at all make you gravitate to one more or less?
Musically they are the same on different planes really in MN Rymesayers dominates the scene but there are other GREAT musician and artists and in the Atl crunk music dominates the scene though they have other stellar artist. Both are very diverse once you get into the scene and you find out who lives in Atl and Msp as far as major artist and who's making music there for the rest of the world but the cities themselves don't always reflect those influences as much as the underground movements.
Did Atlanta prepare you for music outside of the college arena?
Most definitely, I got to rub elbows with a lot of artist working at CAU's(Clark Atlanta University) radio station as the program director also performing a lot while I was in school I met lots of people in the industry. College introduced me to the career snake dudes and chicks who have made a career out of not delivering what they said they would just a lot of talk and tricks emails and gifts but no delivery promises and or contracts. So for me nothing is final or OK till you sign the check and I cash it.. Keep your circle small and tight and always pay your way and take care of the people who do what they said they would because they are valuable and to be respected!
Growing up who were some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Prince, Nina Simone, Etta James, James Brown, Miles, Coletrane, Alexander Oneal, MJ, Stevie, PFunk, Ice Cube, Heavy D, Pac, Snoop, NWA, Nas, Funk Flex, Run DMC, Sade, Queen Latifah, Spice One,Scarface, Ghetto Boyz, Terrance Trent D'Arby, Arsenio Hall brought the music to me. Janet, LL COOL J, Iron Maiden, Led Zeplin, Frankie Beverly and Maze, I could keep going and going I had access to A LOT of music my father was a DJ and had a huge record/CD/Tape collection
How do they inspire your own artistic abilities?
They taught me what I later on learned from one of my favorite philosophers Bruce Lee that Balance is a way of life not just a concept so musically and personally I always aim for balance.
What are your thoughts on the music industry now? And hip hop?
Music is making a come back but it is the way it is because we are the way we are. Music is us once we can improve our own live we will improve the music. As far as Hip Hop we just need more FORMER artist in seats of power I feel like our forefathers KRS One, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow etc dropped the ball on that one thing they did not seat themselves at the helm to help steer hip hop in business so now all these corporate dick heads who are fans but don't really know music are in charge and that's 50% of the problem right now.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully looking to make a transition out of hip hop as an artist and as a CEO or President and starting to lean towards a career playing piano in a jazz band.
What would be a dream callbo for you?
To get to work with Pharell DJ Quick and Buss One on an album and get them to over see the project. As far as songs I'd love to work with Little Dragon right now and Big Boi from Outkast.
What's one of your favorite verses ever spit, yours or someones else that made you kind of lose it?
Man on both sides of that question, its a hard choice my favorite Hip Hop albums of all time are Nas It Was Written, TuPac Me against the world/Makaveli (tie), LL Cool J Mr Smith and Lil Cease The Wonderful World of Cease the Leo.
If you weren't rapping what would you be doing?
Working in recruiting, training and traveling the world. Eating exotic breads and candies (laughing...just kidding) I don't know music is one of the reasons I'm here, so I wouldn't be who I am now. No telling what I'd be in to, I've had a very diverse experience so far as a young black man I couldn't tell you.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
Nothing is more important than the music not me, the money, the fame, the people who come along with it and every choice I make is to make me a more balanced artist.
For more information on Ceewhy check out