Former HipHopDX Features Editor Andre Grant said in his “Defense Of The Struggle Rapper” editorial, “Out of all the things the Hip Hop web has vilified, the “struggle rapper” might be the least deserving of all that ridicule.” Before Kendrick Lamar became big enough for Barack Obama to sing his praises or Drake found himself making deals with Apple, they were artists without a significantly large fanbase attempting what seemed like the impossible. Hitting the top of the charts became a distant goal to making past one hundred streams of a song possibly made within the confines of their bedroom walls and gaining likes, re-post or anything else that would reach someone. Providing a weekly outlet for those getting their feet wet in the sometimes brutal sport of Hip Hop, allow us to give readers a look into tomorrow’s possibilities through “Up NeXt.”

Floridian Calls Music Devin The Dude Meets Harry Potter Meets A Caramel Macchiato

Inspiration For Career

“The first person I ever saw write a rap was my cousin; I was 12. That was a really cool experience. I didn’t even pursue it until a year and a half later. One of my friends in the projects wanted to rap and he would record with one of those mini-karaoke machines. I was working at McDonalds and I bought one for $100 with that money. We became a group together. It probably was his idea, because I was more of a business person. I turned my closet into a studio booth. Stankonia came out the same year that I was 100% serious. Because I didn’t talk when I was younger, I only really started talking after I started making music. Having a voice in music inspired me to do it more because I was quiet before that. It felt like a mask, and I felt like a superhero. Goodie Mob’s Soul Food album and OutKast’s ATLiens inspired me to write. For one, everybody else at that time was rapping about drugs, and while I grew up around that I wasn’t really gangster. I don’t recall anybody else talking the way we do. That was refreshing to me as opposed to what else was on the radio.”

Do you believe you have a shot at stardom?

“Yeah, just because outside of the music I’ve noticed that I have a dope connection with people, and I think that all stars have that ability. I think it’s more than the music. So for instance, everyone I ever meet, the initial meeting has always been incredible. My relationship stands to this date, even before they heard the music. I can talk, I can engage, I can listen. I worked with old people for six or seven years, and you learn a lot from conversating with them about how to be on your toes with humor. It was a magical thing when I went overseas. I found out that my personality was probably the biggest thing of the actual set. Being interesting and wanting to learn that proved to be the biggest connection. Trying to find what we share in common. I would ask questions, and they would ask questions in return, and we would find out what was totally different or what was similar in both ends. And because I’m such a nosy ass person, it made people appreciate their own culture because somebody else wanted to know about it. I wouldn’t have any subjects to talk about if it weren’t for the conversations I have in real life.”

Project(s)

 “The Local Cafe is a balanced project with a very social element as well. I talk about being poor, borrowing money, relationships, and death. Some of the songs, like “Rushing Forever,” are pretty much for the ladies. It’s me telling a woman how I immediately want to be with you forever, which is the opposite of how men usually try to take it slow and milk the process. I thought that was a beautiful thing to tell a woman.
The whole project ties together into a personal theme. You should feel like you’re experiencing different characters or moments in life of an entire community. Each song is telling a bit of the story of each person who comes to the local cafe. It’s almost as if I’m the barista at the counter, and I know everyone in the community and their stories. I try to give it a local feel. You knew of Compton through NWA, you knew of Brooklyn through Jay Z and Biggie, and Staten Island through Wu Tang and Atlanta from Outkast. I wanted to take it back a notch and make I local. There might be things that you won’t pick up on until later when the project takes off because I come from Delray Beach, which a lot of people don’t know about.
I had half of the songs already before coming up with the name. I wanted the body of work to relate with each other through the title, for that to connect everything. Without the title, it’s just a project; you don’t even know if there’s a direction for the project because it bounces around thematically. So I came up with The Local Cafe to make it about the community to talk about some really local concepts that can be relatable globally. Big Boi said, “If you want to reach the nation start with your corner.” That’s what I wanted to achieve with this project.”

Twitter: @EricBiddines

Instagram: @EricBiddines