featured interview

Storm The Unpredictable Blast on you There's bad weather on its way! A lyrical storm in the form of 'A2: What Should've Been', an opus that should crown Storm The Unpredictable's long-time career in rap and confirm the several awards he's won.

So when you listen to music, do you especially listen to the lyrics or will we find you listening to an instrumental album too?

Actually you'll see me listening to many instrumental albums. There are many beat tapes that I received where I may not use the beats because it does not really fit with what I'm doing, but I'll still listen to it constantly because the music and mood of the music is so sharp or emotional. I love instrumentals just as much as lyrics.

Can good lyrics make a good song even if it's got a shitty beat underneath it?

Well, in terms of making a song they are both pretty much even. However I feel that the beat needs to fit the lyrics and vice versa, as opposed to the beat just being hot. I think that good lyrics over an ok beat can get by if the lyrics are really stellar, but if the beat is really THAT bad it won't make it because people will focus on the fact that the beat is terrible as opposed to the lyrics being dope. Especially if you?re a new artist.

How do you choose your producers, are you choosin friends, acknowledges, or do you actually go lookin for people who do you think make beats that match with your lyrics/voice?

As far as choosing producers, I really don't. I just select tracks from whoever submits to me. I've tried to get at certain producers but it hasn't turned into a good experience. Most of the time I just got brushed off to be honest. Fortunately I've been approached by a new crop of producers that make the type of tracks that are both dope and compliment my style. Other than that I'm pretty much open to any producers who may want to link up.

Who's the greatest freestyle rapper of all times, dead or alive?

Hmmmmm, wow! That's a tough one. I'd have to say a tie between Priest Da Nomad and Kokayi of Opus Akoben. They may not be the most known, but they are the best that I have been exposed to. Juice and Supernatural are right up there with them as crazy as that sounds, but I'd have to put them one notch ahead of them.

You've been in the rap game since the end of the 80s. Why did people have to wait until 2002 for your debut album 'Amalgamation'?

I was doing shows the whole time. I did not have an album out but many people knew of me. At that time it wasn't so easy to get a CD pressed up. I performed for almost 10 years before I even had a 12 inch out. And I was filling clubs too. I don't mean just performing at open mics. That worked to my advantage because it allowed me to sharpen up my stage skills as well as learn aspects of the business at my own pace. Once it got to the point that people were asking for an album, I knew that it was time.

How would you compare your new album with ?Amalgamation??

I think this one is better put together. I really took my time with this one from beat selection to lyrical delivery. I think the beats are progressive yet still fit the direction I was trying to go with the music. I felt much stronger at the completion of this album than I did with ?Amalgamation?. Not saying that I did not like Amalgamation, because I did. It's just that the creation of this album that felt more natural, like the creation of my EP ?The Unexpected? in 2000.

Why did you decide to include remixes of two earlier released singles, of which the originals appeared on ?Amalgamation??

Basically because the remixes came out so good. I always felt that they were strong songs that just needed a tweak here or there to make them even stronger. They always came off in live shows, so I did the remixes and they came off even more so I decided to keep them.

The album is called 'What Should've Been', explain a bit…

I feel that this is the way I should have come out before, hence this is ?what should have been?. I feel like lyrically I came much stronger, nothing was rushed at all, business wise I feel like I'm with the correct company that has a similar vision, and the overall atmosphere is just the way it should be. It actually goes beyond just the album.

How did you hook up with DJ Fisher and his Domination Rec?

I actually originally hooked up with DJ when he was at his former company. We were speaking back and forth at that time about possibly working together. When he ended up starting Domination, we began corresponding again, even more often, and I let him know what I was planning as well as let him hear some new material. He was interested in putting a project out and believed in what I was doing. I always had respect for him and the type of projects he and his company put out so it was a perfect fit.

You've received a few 'artist of the year'-awards, in what way has that opened doors for you and your career?

I've been contacted by companies that I know had it not been for that, they would have never contacted me. These awards have really given me exposure to a much more diverse group of people, who are buying my albums as well as bring me out to be involved in their events. It has afforded me incredible opportunities.

You're puttin your videos on Youtube yourself. How much time do you spend lookin to Youtube videos?

Honestly, I really only look when someone sends me a link because there is just too much to look at. However, it's definitely a great way to see videos from artists who previously I had no idea they even had a video made.

How important are videos for an artist and his music, image?

In this day and age, they?re extremely important. The videos can be in so many places that you can't be, especially with the internet. Plus it enables people to visually see what you are about, especially if your song is conceptual and you relay that in the video. It can help make things about you and your whole ideology that much clearer.

The new album is gonna have some footage, what exactly and why did you decide to put that on there?

The footage was taken from a show in Baltimore I did with DJ Craze and a show in DC with Little Brother. I decided to put that on there because I wanted to put something extra on the project to give people more than their money's worth. Also, I wanted people to be able to see elements of the live show so they can experience that as well. I think a lot of times the live show is forgotten about and artists just get on stage and spit as opposed to giving a complete performance. Plus the live show has been such an intrical part of my career I was more than happy to be able to include it as well as the videos and bonus audio tracks.

How much do you use the Internet in order to promote yourself and to network?

You have no idea!! (laughs) I couldn't even tell you how much because the amount would be too vast to describe. The internet is the way I was able to really get things going on a national and global level so I could expand from the regional buzz I have. I still don't think artists utilize it as much as and the way that they should.

Who are the Poemcees?

The POEMCEES are three talented brothers by the name of Naturalaw DP, Black Picasso, and DJ stylus. They are what I would consider living legends and veterans on this DC metro area hip-hop scene as well. They've also been on the last three seasons of Def Poetry Jam as well. They were also part of the 3 Piece, Extra Mumbo vinyl series one and two along with myself and Priest Da Nomad.

Is there a new album on the way?

I hope so. They are working on it right now so it'd something I'm looking forward to.

How long have you been down with Priest da Nomad?

Since the early 90's. I believe it was 1992 when I first met him in an organization we were both in called the Freestyle Union, which was an organization that focused on and held ciphers dealing on with freestyling off the dome.

Are you still workin as a Laboratory Coordinator for Montgomery College?

Yes, I am still the Biology Lab coordinator at Montgomery College. A day job for my rap career allows me to not have to stress about money, or have money dictate my reasoning for doing what I do. Especially my job since things are a little flexible and we have so many periods where we have time off. I always know that I have something that I can fall back on or use as a catalyst so other things can spark off. I'm never one to put all my eggs in one basket anyway so for me it's the perfect situation.

Please complete the following sentences:

The darker the berry...

is one of the most personal songs that I ever wrote.

I hate when...

women wear those opened toed shoes, with their toes hanging over the front, gives me the blues............still (laughs).

Performing on stage is...

probably what I enjoy most about being a hip-hop artist.

My favourite rap album is...

a tie between Slick Rick's ?The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick?, Big Daddy Kane's ?Long Live The Kane?, and Nas? ?Illmatic?.

If I was a rich man I would...

immediately take care of all my family?s financial needs, both biological and extended. I'd also create some scholarships for students who don't always qualify but have a desire to further education (where ever that may be), create more grants for artists, and start a serious of math and science day cares. A lot of times, children (especially inner city and less fortunate children) aren't exposed to science and math until much later in their educational experience, which at times sets them behind their counterparts. By the time they get exposed to it their interests are elsewhere. I think if they were exposed to it earlier in life and it was presented to them in a fun way, it would foster more interest later in life or at the very least increase success levels.

The album I'm listening to right now is...

Storm the Unpredictable?s ?A2:What Should Have Been? (laughs). Other than that it's Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth ?Mecca and the Soul Brother?.

What I'm gonna do after I finished this interview is...

get back to work. I still have some microbiology cultures I need to transfer and inoculate before the semester starts.

Hip-hop is...

a means of expression that people take way too seriously sometimes. Sometimes we need to learn to just sit back, relax and have fun.

Please leave a comment on the following names:

Danja Mowf

Extremely talented brother, both lyrically and production wise, that I hope to do more work with in the near future. His track record is incredible, and I've had the privilege to even hear material that is unreleased so I know what the brother is capable of. Point blank, Missy messed up big time.

SPP WaxWorks

The company created by myself, Priest da Nomad, and Naturalaw DP of the POEMCEES that releases the ?3 Piece Extra Mumbo? vinyl EP series vol. 1 and 2 as well as the Priest da Nomad ?Mr. Moov Sumthin? full length album. Something I wish we had got together and done a long time ago.

Time Machine

Cats that I really miss doing shows with here in the DC area, although I see they are really doing their thing in Cali, especially with Glow-In-The-Dark Records.

RAS Beats

It was a pleasure to be on his project, he just released and I also hope to work with him more in the future. He's a real good dude as well as him having some real bangers in his arsenal of beats. People need to look out for him.

OUO

Some of the hardest working hip hop artists I know and just over all good people. I think people underrate them as well because they don't roll up in spots with a huge entourage screaming their name out. They just make quality music and leave it at that. I also think people will be hearing more about them in the future.

Shout outs?

First off, to God and then to you all at Platform 8470 for the interview. I truly appreciate you all taking the time out to do this. Also, my manager Latonya St. Clair @ Lastreet Management (www.lastreet.com), Priest da Nomad, S.P.P. Waxworks, The POEMCEES, Domination Recordings (DJ, Mike and the whole staff as well as artists), Sheila, Ty-Riek, Xavier, Jeremy, all the producers on my album (Brainstorm sounds, Danja Mowf, Kokayi, Decompose, The Unknown), DJ RBI, DJ DSalaam/Urban Intalek Studios, Foundation Media, 89.3/WPFW and all the Decipha Radio shows, and last but not least the whole MD,DC,VA hip-hop scene (mcs, djs, graf artists, b-boys/b-girls) and area. Much success to everyone and God bless.

 

POSTED 08|01|2006
conducted by cpf

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