featured interview

Butta Verses Still grindin' A few years ago we saw the name Butta Verses on the tracklist of De La Soul’s ‘The Grind Date’, later that year we saw him rocking the stage at a Belgian festival. Just to say that things went fast for this Bronx-bred MC who resides in Florida since ages. His debut album 'Brand Spanking' was also announced in 2004, on Maseo’s label Bear Mountain, but it was pushed back and stranded unreleased...untill 2008 as Butta finally got to release his debut album under the name ‘Reality BV’ on Culture Kings / Domination Recordings…

The work titles for the album have changed a few bits over the last two years, is it just the titles that have changed or the track lists also?

Well there were a couple of projects in the works at the same time. Songs are always being made and new ideas are thought up every day. I had the idea for 'Six Minutes To Ten' and only a few songs for it. My manager and I decided to put out like a pre-emptive mix tape with some songs that would give an idea of what 'Six Minutes To Ten' would sound like. That was called the 'The Fixtape'. Then some of the newer songs being recorded started to sound like its own project. That's pretty much what became 'Reality BV'. That's what's out now. There's 12 new joints on 'Reality BV' and rather then wait for the next project, I put a few joints from 'The Fixtape' onto 'Realty BV'. So yeah, the track list has changed. What you'll hear on 'Reality BV', you won't hear on any of the soon to come projects.

So how much does this record differ from the record you were supposed to release on Bear Mountain?

It's different in the sense that, the record I was supposed to release on Bear Mountain, that was completed in late 2005, early 2006. Life was a little different for me then. It's still 100% hip-hop from the heart. There are more producers on 'Reality BV' then I had on 'Brand Spankin'. There is a lot more energy invested in 'Reality BV' I feel.

There are some older songs on the record too, didn't you worry that the whole of the album wouldn't stick together, that it would be a non-cohesive sound?

Nah. I wasn't worried because those songs were allowed to be heard early as a means of promoting an upcoming project. So when people were saying that they were looking forward to the next album, I figured that they liked those particular joints. I feel all my songs connect in some way. I mean it's all me. It's all the way I feel. It's not really laid out like a chronological time line.

The album contains a few mid school legends such as CL Smooth and Kurious…

Yeah, my manager was able to reach out to them. I've been a fan of both those dudes for a long, long time. There is no way I would pass up the chance to have either one of them on a song with me.

Did you walk like a duck whenever you heard Kurious' records?

Umm...no (laughs) I always thought that walking like a duck was a bad thing. Did I have the message of the song mixed up?

Hello no, just checking, so is it coincidence that A-Butta has also 'butter' in his name?

Total coincidence (laughs). That's another dude I've listened to for a long time. People even used to say back in the day that I should do a song with him, just off the names. He was actually a big influence in what I sounded like in the late 90's early 2000's.

How would you compare both Internet and physical releases with each other, do you think that the Internet version will do better than the physical one?

I don't know.... one has better art work (laughs). In this day and age I wouldn't be surprised if the internet version does better than the physical version. It's easier to shop from your home then to go to the store. But you will always have those people who enjoy the old process. Going to the store, looking through the racks, reading the 'thank you'-notes and all that.

So can we conclude from the way you tell it, you prefer buying physical albums?

I prefer physical albums. I don't carry an iPod or my laptop everywhere but I can just take the CD out the player, take it to the car, put in my Xbox....I like CD's better than downloads.

The first few times we heard you we were kind of resembling with Ghostface Killah, later we heard that Pos of De La also compared you with him…is he a prototype for your rapping style, did you listen a lot to him and what do you think of the comparison?

I'm a huge fan of Ghostface Killah!! I listened to his music all the time. Still do. I can't say I set out to sound like him. I think the tone of my voice is naturally very close to the tone of his. He has been a big influence on me too though. He just makes the type of hip-hop I like to listen to. As far as how the comparison makes me feel, it makes me feel great. If people said I sounded like Soulja Boy, I'd be upset. (laughs)

At one point you sound a lot like Ol Dirty Bastard on 'Breaking Up', who did you relate to most? Him or Ghost? How do you remember ODB?

I am? (laughs) Not on purpose. I know there's a part where I yell, but it was just to express a real moment that happens in arguments when one person gets fed up. I'm probably really nothing like either one. I don't know. I like it raw too (laughs)! So I could relate to ODB on that. I remember ODB as a funny, talented, fearless human being.

Could you explain us a little more the concept of 'Reality BV'?

Well reality TV is the biggest thing right now. Everyone and they mama is getting shows. I'm a fan of it. I watch it all the time. I love it. So it's just playing off that.

Domination has really done an effort for the Florida scene, for instance; they brought Majik Most, Dutchmassive, Tzarizm etc.. to the attention of the underground crowd...what took so long to end up with Domination, it was only a matter of time, right? How did you get down?

My manager hooked me up with that. He hooked me up with Tzarizm a while ago too. Maybe this is bad to say, but, I'm more into the creative side and let the business men handle the business. I'm an artist. You need art? I got you. You need to talk business? I got someone you should talk too.

There has been quite a buzz around your Rick Ross diss, first off, how did you decide to make the song, how would you motivate your reasons for making it and thirdly how did you experience the multiple reactions?

Ah man. That song wasn't supposed to be put out like that. I make songs about people or situations that upset me or that I find funny all the time. It's like instead of dwelling on it, let me get it out, and then the feeling dies down. I thought what happened with him was funny and upsetting. When I seen it on sites and that videos had been made I was surprised. When I read the comments I was conflicted. Like half was like yeah people feel like I did. The other half was like, what right do I have to say anything about this dude? Morally, I feel I was wrong for that.

You're also not really a fan of 'Young Joc', but since you're from the South it's hard to look past it, in what way do you think it's wack music and to what extent do you think this kind of music ruins the culture?

Straight up, I feel like most of artist from the South are wack. Most of producers from the South are wack. Those who ain't wack, know who they are. Those who are, will be pissed if they see this. That's how they will be able to tell what group they fit in. I'm not at all talking about the lifestyle, or the people. I'm talking about rappers and producers. They tell me I'm too New York, too East Coast. This is the way I am. I feel they follow whatever is right now. If the style or the vibe changed over night, so would they.

In 'Big Dreams' you're telling young people not to become a rapper, do you think a lot of kids get brainwashed through video clips with a lot of bling bling (a specialty of the South)?

Absolutely. It's not the South's fault for that though. Almost all the New York rappers I grew up on, had big chains and dressed the way drug dealers did too. It's just painted to be a lot easier then it actually is. There is a lot of heartache, headache and misery in this thing.

On 'Backpackers' you mock at 'rap nerds' who despy you the moment you start making money with your music, do you think you can become rich with the music you make?

For sure. I wouldn't do it on this level if I didn't feel I can make a substantial amount of money doing it. I would keep it in my home only. 'Backpackers' is some true shit. It's things I've heard said. It's things I've said. In a lot of respects I'm still a backpacker. So I know how they feel. For the record, I wanna be rich as fuck!!!

To what extent can you be a fan as a rapper?

If you're really a fan of somebody then be that, stay that. There's people out there with no connections and can barely put a CD together that I'm a fan of. If i ain't feel dudes music before, I ain't gonna be a fan now just cause we both on the come up or at the same party. If you're a fan be a fan.

Were you also a 'rap nerd' when younger, like did you buy a lot of CD's, knew all the lyrics by heart, discussing with friends?

Hell yeah!! I still discuss hip-hop with my friends everyday! For hours. I love it like that.

What do you think of 'the back to the old/mid school'-'the golden years'-attitude among a lot of underground rappers?

I agree with them in the sense that anyone who feels that way, is taking steps to correct what's wrong with the music now. You have to try harder when that's the music your trying to make. Throwing money around don't matter. Dances don't matter. Lyrics matter. Drum sounds and patterns matter. Subjects matter!!

Do you listen to a lot of colleague rappers nowadays?

I listen to a lot of Green Llama stuff. Them and producers beats. That's about it. If somebody suggest someone to check for I will but I don't just be looking for whoever got something anymore.

If you would be still living in the Bronx, how different would you be as a rapper?

(laughs) I would probably dress a lil different. I probably be a lil more swagged out.

What do you think has given you more name brand: touring with De La or being on an album with De La?

The touring. Their people got to see and hear me for like thirty to forty minutes straight. They got to see all aspects of my personality. They got to touch me. They got to talk to me. They left with more of me then they came in with.

We guess you got to meet a lot of interesting people through touring, which encounters won't you forget easily?

Meeting J Dilla. Pete Rock backstage asking me if I was ready when they were introducing me at BB Kings in New York. Mos Def, Talib, Nas and Kelis all coupled up. Black Milk, Freddy Foxx, Will I.Am, Dave chapelle. Everybody. Too many to name.

Thanks for mentioning 'Belgium' in the chorus of 'INTL'. Do you remember performing at Leffingeleuren festival in Belgium with De La?

Yeah. Yo, that's where someone bought my CD with a ten dollar bill from Iraq. (laughs) I still have that bill. Where the hell am I gonna spend that thing at?

How did you get with De La Soul in the first place?

Well my friend stevie D started circulating a CD of mine to people. He happened to meet up with Maseo and gave him one. That's how it happened. He heard it and asked me to rock with him.

After the album was postponed on Maseo's label, you still released a 12" on Mountain Bear, so you're still down with Maseo on a business level or every tie is cut between you two?

I still got mad love for Maseo. Mad love. We haven't spoken in some time. I would hate to say every tie is cut. I wouldn't ever want to look at it like that. we ain't doing business, but if I see him I would still go up and say what's up and still be genuinely happy that I see him.

Is there anything that hasn't been asked to you about your collabo with De La Soul in previous interviews?

Hmmm. probably not. Well that's the first time anybody asked me that (laughs).

What's the first rap album you bought?

Wow, that was a while ago. It was some break dance compilation. It had Electric Kingdom on it. It had five minutes of funk on it. 'Jam On It' was on it. I don't remember the name but that was the first one I picked out myself. I was really young. I remember buying a Big Daddy Kane cassette and the Kid n Play album the same day as a kid (laughs) I thought I was the man.

What's the last album you've uploaded unto your iPod?

I don't have an iPod. (laughs) I had a nano for a minute but I only put beats on it. I still walk around with the round CD-player. (laughs) And like twelve CD's in my pocket. That's not cool at all huh? (laughs)

What's next for Butta Verses?

Touring, recording, building. Anything's possible. Whatever I want to do, I will wind up doing. Music has already proved that to me.

Shout-outs?

Yeah, shout out to you and yours, Brian Hamilton, Green Llamas, GCD, DJ Strike, Tzarizm, Nemo, Lex One, Mike Beats, Jay Leeb, Stevie D, Big Filth, all my other friends and family. To all the artists and producers that worked with me on 'Reality BV' or any project before that. DE LA SOUL it's always love. Um... yeah everybody and anybody. What up?!?!?!

Thanks Butta.

 

POSTED 10|01|2008
conducted by Cpf

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