After meeting MCRE through Chris RWK on Instagram we have stayed connected ever since. MCRE sent us a physical copy of the new album with Think 2wice and we were really impressed. We were even more impressed after we heard about the setup they used. Also the bars, beats and everything in between were solid. We had to know more so we linked with MCRE to get a real in-depth look into the album and life for an exclusive interview only on StereotypeCo.com. Hope you enjoy.
Why did you make this album ?
Honestly it just became one…this project started out as an EP and at some point evolved into the album it is today. Think 2wice and I worked on a single together (“Carry On”) and decided to put out an EP. As we began to piece it all together it took on a life of its own.
What inspired you to create 'When No One's Listening'?
This album has a centralized theme with multiple meanings. "When No One's Listening" is about the obvious, being an upcoming artist and feeling like you have the talent but lack the resources to be heard the way you would like. Something I'm sure many artists of all genres can relate to. However, it also carries a deeper message about why someone would pursue something that doesn't necessarily give them immediate gratification. WNOL is about why we make music at its core. It's not for fans, it's not for money, it's not for what accolades it may bring, it's because of the way it makes us feel, the love for the craft, and the clarity it can provide through the darkest and toughest times. This album will hit home for anyone who has passion for what they do, whether they're actively pursuing it or not. Many of the tracks deal directly with issues upcoming artists of any genre or craft may face; self doubt and depression (Lost), the desire to leave a worth while legacy behind (All I Need), pursing your passion through adversity (WNOL), dealing with societal changes and political division (Two Sides Of The Same Coin), the constant change of the genre and how to deal with it (I Still Love Her) and remembering our roots and how our passion first started (Rewind). WNOL as a whole provides well balanced and thought provoking lyricism while still giving the listeners plenty to nod their heads to.
What was your recording setup like for the album?
I did all of my recording in my car, using only Garage Band on my iPhone and a Blue Digital Spark microphone. Think 2wice did the majority of his recording in his car or closet using only Garage Band on his iPhone and a Blue Digital Raspberry microphone. I mixed and mastered all but one song on my phone as well.
What is your goal as a hip hop artist and artist in general?
My goal as an artist is definitely to be respected, heard and to inspire other artists. We all get caught up in the instant gratification quest for views, likes, followers, etc., and I admit that I’m no different. However, I really want to create a product that is lasting. There are albums that are classic that never fade away regardless of trends and changes in the industry. I want people to tell me that our album had that same last effect.
How do you balance being a dad and music?
It is definitely a juggling act ha. I did all of my recording either on my lunch breaks at work or late at night once all the kids were finally asleep (often keeping a baby monitor in the car with me to make sure they stayed that way ha). I always want them to be a part of my music and get them involved in recording and a part of my songs from an early age.
When did you know you wanted to make music?
3rd grade ha when I performed Kriss Kross’ “Jump” at a talent show in front of my whole school in Denver, CO. I’ve always loved Hip-Hop and started writing my own songs in 5th grade. There have been a few periods in my life when I’ve taken a break from music for different reasons. But I’ve always come back to it and it’s a huge part of me that leaves a void when I’m not making music.
How did you and Think 2wice link up?
We met through two Hip-Hop communities on Instagram, @4barfriday and @cyphercircuit, both of which provide a great platform for emcees to showcase their talent. We only met in person once at the Cypher Circuit Murder The Beat One Year Anniversary Cypher at Marsten House Recording Studios in Philadelphia, PA. Emcees and producers flew in from all over the country to attend.
How did you come up with the title for the album? What inspired that?
"When No One's Listening" has a couple meanings. Obviously so many artists feel like they are great but they never get the audience they desire. But it also deals with everything that happens behind the scenes in being an artist and all that we do when no one is listening. We really wanted to get away from "bars" on this album. I think we addressed a lot of personal issues, issues about Hip-Hop in the present day and issues about society and politics. We definitely wanted this album to have real meaning and to have the listeners dive into our lyrics and analyze them instead of just nodding their collective heads. That's another meaning of the title. So many people today don't really listen to lyrics so it's kind of commentary on society as a whole and how everything is so passive and superficial. We want to have our listeners experience and engage in the album even though some of these tracks definitely bump!
What is your dream now that you just accomplished this dream?
My dream is to continue to make music and be heard and gain the respect of those in Hip-Hop. I don’t envision myself as a touring artist as I have three kids, but I would say my dream is that Think 2wice gets that chance. He is an incredible artist and deserves to be famous. If that were to happen with my help, that would be a dream come true for sure.
Who helped make this album what it is? Writers, Producers, Muses, Support System, Etc
So many talented artists helped make this project come together. Emcees that contributed to the project include El Gant, Ekspan, Jace the Truth, Revyved (Chris Romero & David Blade), I.N.F., Dirty Needles, Taboo, Coast, and Red Mercury. Producers include Per C. Wells, Devize, Major Dynamic, 17CVNDLES, Cosis, The Trill, and Edd Bundy. DJ TMB also provided cuts. Collectively, I couldn’t have asked for a more talented group of artists and all of them fit our goal of having a cohesive project perfectly. I am definitely inspired by these artists individually so it was an honor to have them contribute.
A number of influential Hip-Hop Instagram pages also contributed in supporting the album including your page of course!, @SaveTheHipHopCulture, @TheReturnOfHipHop, @OldSchoolHip_Hop, and @IStillLoveHerDotDE. I have great respect for all of them and appreciate the platform and exposure they provided to help get more ears to our music.
Amanda Mester, a very talented and knowledgeable Hip-Hop writer, did an excellent job of writing our press release.
What is your favorite track? Why?
That’s tough…I have so many favorites for different reasons. If I had to pick one it would be all of them ha. But really, if there was a gun to my head I would say “When No One’s Listening.” The title track of the album that really brought it all together. This was the last song we did and at the last minute. I think it really describes what we were trying to convey with the entire album and where we each were in our own lives as we created it.
Have you ever been Stereotype'd? Tell us more
Absolutely! I’m an aging white dad lol. There’s no way I rap and can actually do it well ha. I’m hesitant to even say talk about being a white rapper and the stereotypes that surround it because it’s so cliché at this point. Yeah I’ve been called “the next Eminem,” as ridiculous as that is. Yeah I’ve been told I couldn’t/shouldn’t be a rapper. Stereotypes are the lamest terms used to describe people that don’t fit into a neat little box by the laziest people who can’t see outside the box that they occupy.
Have you ever broke a Stereotype someone had of you? Tell us about it
Well someone who recently bought our album told me that he played it for his barber (all black if that matters) and they said that I sounded tough for a white guy ha. For real though, I am constantly told that it was completely unexpected that I could do what I do as an emcee. I love proving people wrong. I love Hip-Hop. I am Hip-Hop whether you like it or not!
What are some words of advice you can give to someone that doesn't have a lot of resources but wants to share their work with the world?
The time is now ha. The days of having to pay hundreds of dollars to record a song at a studio are gone. You just have to make your resources work for you. There are so many ways to make a quality product nowadays without having a large budget. It definitely took a lot of time and commitment to make this project come to fruition using only my phone. But being able to say that we were able to create a product of this caliber with minimal resources makes me even more proud of it.