This will be my first official album. I did a project called Juggernaut under an independent label, but it didn’t do that well. They didn’t know what to do with me back then. But really, I’m just trying to bring back the days when hip-hop could be diverse. This album is like a journey of my life. Every song is a movie score. I don’t put myself in a box. I don’t have one particular style. I study the greats and utilize what they do, but apply it to my own individuality. I can do all types of music. I’m a musician…I started playing saxophone when I was nine- years-old. I also produce. A lot of rappers are just that: rappers. They are not musicians.
Do you like producing more than rhyming?
I like producing tracks for local artists in Boston. But I haven’t been making any beats in a while. I let my production company take care a lot of the music because I want to focus more on my artistry.
Who are some of the other producers you worked with on Red October?
I worked with Many IdeaZ, who is part of my Juggernauts Music Group. He’s from Massachusetts and he’s very talented. We have Lay One…he’s from Chicago. To me he is a protégé of Kanye West. There’s Duane “DaRock” Ramos who produced four tracks on the album including the song with KRS-One. I like getting the new, younger producers. That’s important because the kids are our future. I never had help as a kid. All of the older guys hated on me, so I felt like it was my right to take these younger kids and give them an opportunity.
Talk about coming out of Boston. How hard was it being from a city that historically has had a rough time breaking into hip-hop outside of Ed O.G. & The Bulldogs? Not to mention the negative baggage of being from a place mostly known for birthing Ray Benzino’s Made Men.
It was hard. It’s a weird place for hip-hop. Everyone has to leave to be successful. Boston doesn’t really respect you unless you go somewhere else and blow up. You don’t get that same support you would get coming from Atlanta or even New York. The times when Ray Benzino and them were first out, Boston was really violent. I was living in Dorchester where there were a lot of gangs. Dorchester is basically a Catholic area, so people would ask you what parish you were from and I was from the Saint Matthews Parrish. I grew up in a diverse area where there were Jamaicans, Haitians, Whites, Cape Verdeans. I actually grew up with the Wahlbergs. I was mad young break dancing with Donnie Wahlberg [laughs]. But I’m glad Boston forced me to leave and go do what I had to do. Because if I stayed there what would I have become?
You went to the Air Force straight out of high school. Did you have to make a choice between a military career and hip-hop?
That was my father. He didn’t want me staying in the house. He wanted me to make moves. He gave me an ultimatum. I’m not saying he kicked me out…but he gave me a kick-start. But even though I had to leave Boston to connect with the right people, I never forgot where I came from. I think I am establishing a new era for Boston hip-hop. [I just finished] doing a show with Drake. I feel honored to be opening up for one of the biggest hip-hop artists out today. That shows that I’m relevant and that I have what it takes.
How far do you want to take your career?
I want to open up the Boston market a little bit more. Boston is kind of known for death music [laughs]. That real grimy, demonic shit. It’s not happy music. But I want to change that. I want to change the whole sound of New England. I want people to see Boston as a diverse, intellectual place. When it comes to hip-hop we are still evolving. But we have tremendous talent. All we are trying to do now is reach the masses. I’m just following in the footsteps of Ed O.G., New Edition, New Kids On The Block, Clinton Sparks…they all did their thing. Now it’s my time.