Rookie Watch: Is Vado The Future Of New York Hip-Hop?
He might draw a striking resemblance to a young Shyne Po who signed to Bad Boy a decade ago, but Cam’Ron protegé Vado is officially the hottest new New York City rapper. The Harlem-bred Teeyon “Vado” Winfree has the city riding behind him from his memorable appearances on the DJ Drama-hosted Boss of All Bosses mixtape series, which he co-starred in alongside Killa Cam.
With a heavily ’90s influenced rhyme style and vernacular that is as Harlem as Willie Burger and Rich Porter, Vado (‘Violence And Drugs Only’) is currently working on his first release with Cam, Gunz & Butta, due out next month on E1 Records. Killa was M.I.A., but we tracked down his cohort at his record label HQs and let the interrogations commence. —Mikey Fresh
VIBE: There’s a lot of talk of you having the hottest verse on the “Salute (Remix)”; the first Dipset record since their reunion. Was that Cam’s idea for you jump on it?
Vado: It definitely wasn’t Cam’s idea. Somebody just put the bug in my ear saying I need to “Salute.” I’m new to the table and the Diplomats put out this hard record, so I just did a little freestyle to salute them and congratulate them. I’m just paying homage. He didn’t even know I did the record, I think he was in Miami when I put it out. But when he heard my verse, it was all love.
Have you officially recorded any new music with the Dips?
I haven’t done anything with them, but I’m sure I’ll end up on a track or two. They got like six or sever songs that I’ve heard them. It’s the takeover, Slime.
“Speakin’ Tungs” is one of the hottest club records in New York right now. I heard the video shoot in South Beach got a little wild…
Yo, we was really partying, drunk as hell. But that’s just the beginning,“We All Up In Here” is the next one, we shot like 10 videos for the Internet.
You guys named The U.N.’s debut album “Gunz & Butta”—was that influenced by the economic policy “Guns and Butter”?
Well, you’re going to have to ask Flea about that. But it’s about getting money and doing whatever necessary to protect that. It doesn’t have to be guns though, it’s really your brain. Brains and business.
After putting out three mixtapes with Cam and Drama since last summer, what can we expect with this album?
There’s way more concepts on there, I’m a concept artist. I take time with my music and really think it out. I’m not just spitting bars, but I’m bringing you into my world. Cam brought me here and I’m going to show them. I’m trying to reach the kids that just don’t have shit. They out there hustling for someone else. I want to be in every kids’ iPod in Harlem.
Your chemistry with AraabMuzik is reminiscent of Dipset and The Heatmakerz in their heyday, how much input do you have during his beat-making process?
Me and Arab is like X and Swizz. He’ll come in the studio and just start punching on the machine, making beats in front of me. I’ll let him what I want to hear when I’m there.
Do you have a personal favorite from the album?
My favorite joint is “American Greed,” the first song on the album. Shout out to Lou Pearlman—God bless the dead—Kirk Wright and all the white collar criminals, corporate gangsters. I feel like a lot of rappers talk about the drug game but they never talk about the other side of it. Dudes with no guns in suits is making billions off this.
I’ve noticed your rhymes are heavy with white-collar crimes references, was that something you were really into?
Growing up in my teens I was hustling, so of course I was like looking up to the Rich and Po[s]. But in my early 20’s, I got involved in the white-collar game… credit cards, checks, instant credit, all that. I was heavy into it. It’s not really the drug game where I’m from, it’s that game. That’s the new hustle.