Marty Grimes & G-Eazy (Interview)
So last Friday our Campus Rep Manager got the chance to meet up with Marty Grimes and G-Eazy in Berlin, see their show, and get a short interview with both of them. Check it out, and be sure to give Marty and G a follow on twitter.
Marty Grimes Interview
In February you released your first track, Bang Bang, which just recently hit 1 million views. How does it feel to already have your first track have a million hits and what attributed to the success of that track?
It is indescribable to be honest, its like me and my very very first single I put out and it reaching a million plays in 4 months. Of course huge thanks to my homie G-Eazy for hoping on it. His fans just took it a lot more than had I thought. I had no idea it was going to blow up like that and to that extent. That song was really just a song that took us back to being in high school. It was just so original, something that showed where we came from, and back in the bay that is what it is all about.
Your second track Coastin had a very different vibe from Bang Bang. How do you think your second track Coastin compared to your first track, which set the bar for your career so high?
I just wanted to give something different, something that showed the other side of me. Of course we love to turn up, love to party, but then again it is like, you know, I’m a smoker. I like to chill roll up and just coast for the day, and I knew it was going to hit everybody left field. I just didn’t want to put out another track that was just like Bang and then have everybody think that I’m just like the “turn up music” kind of guy. How do I even put this… I don’t want to be one lane; I want to show my versatility and that’s what I love. I love making different types of music, I don’t want to one-lane it ever. I want to make something chill, something you could play for the club, something you could just ride around to and smoke to. Instead of being the guy who is just the guy who makes all of the club bangers, I want to be the guy who makes the stoner romance, the guy who makes the club bangers, the guy who makes the chill music.
Did Through The Smoke encompass everything you wanted it to as an artist?
I would say for my first release yeah. We’ve been, me and Kevin (KDE), shout out to my homie, we’ve been working on this since we were in college. It just felt really good to get it nice and well rounded. We had a lot more tracks than that, but we X’ed a lot of tracks. It showed me as an artist well-rounded, it showed me making the hits for the club, it showed me making the smoking music, which is my favorite. I like to go to the studio, smoke, play some tracks, and just record all day. That’s my mind set, and then some for the ladies, of course. You got to have that, and some real tracks like Overtaken. The moment I heard that beat, shout out to SykSense, I could tell it was something serious, I wanted to tell a story. That’s what I like to do, I’m a story teller. For my first project I felt like it was really polished, I’m really proud of it and it really set the bar for myself as well. Cuz I know that I can’t and won’t put out any product that is less than that. Its only going to get better. Just from the stuff we’ve just recently been working on, I already see it, it’s just tiers.
How is touring in Europe different than touring in the US?
Definitely the size of the rooms, just because the fan base back home is a lot bigger than out here. I feel like being so brand new out here makes it that much more fun, and knowing that you can come across the ocean and people know you.. For me it is like, of course these are G-Eazy’s shows, but it’s amazing when I get 5 or even 10 fans for myself that come up in Paris and know me. Like, what? That’s just mind blowing. And even though the rooms are smaller, like how we did three or four tours ago, the energy is still there and it’s amazing. I think the feeling of knowing that we can come this far and pull of a show like that, it just makes it’s that much more energetic. The feelin is still the same as 2,000 people back home.
How do you keep the balance between helping G-Eazy and starting your own career in such a crucial time in G-Eazy’s career, where it seems easy for him to over shadow what you’re doing right now?
Just because he’s my best friend, we grew up together and a lot of people don’t get it. They’re like “why aren’t you salty, why aren’t you jealous?” Because I am proud, we started back when we were like twelve years old, and to see him grow from that to this.. I got nothing but props. That’s more motivation for myself. Every day on tour I kick it with them and Matt (G-Eazy’s Manager) I learn so much about the industry, about music, about branding, and I just take it all in and I bring it back home. I link up with KD, and use that for my music. G supports me 100% too. But you know, it’s like we are on this climb and he is a lot higher on the ladder, so why not help push him to the top even though I’m still at the bottom. If I got a homie that I’m help pushing to the top, and I’m pushing myself up there too, like I told him a few days ago “Im going to catch up to you”. Straight up, I told him I was going to catch up to him. For me and G it’s always been like a competition, but more of like, “bro I’m going to eat you on this track”. Back in high school it used to be everyone would sit there, let the beat play, and write their 16, not say anything, then each person will go and we would just compete with each other. It was all motivation. Being around this every day makes me want it that much more. I would rather be here helping him and write my own stuff than be at home working at a pizza shop. There’s just not a lot of motivation to make music doing that. Coming to Paris and seeing 300 people come see him makes me think I need to work harder because I want to come to Paris and make people want to come see me. So that’s all it is.
Which track is the most influential track on the tape for you?
The most influential track on my tape? I don’t even know man, I honestly love every track. I’ll have to say “Not Fuckin Around”. That was the very last track I recorded literally before tour. 1 a.m. had to catch a flight within four hours, I’m at home finishing up this track. We were going to take this track and put it on the next tape but we were like “we got it now, its dope, lets just finish it and put it out”. That track made me feel like I’m not fucking around. Ground Up hopped on it, shout out to Ground Up, and they slayed it to. I really think the reason I like it the most is because I have heard it the least. The Weekend, we polished and polished and polished that song for so long, I’ve heard it over and over again. You know what they say, you’re your own worst critic, and you get tired of your work from hearing it so much. With Not Fucking Around we literally made it in two days.
Which track is the most influential track on the tape for your fans?
I would say Bang Bang because G is on it and that has gotten the most looks but besides that I would say Gone. People took to that a lot and that’s my favorite type of music, just storytelling about anything, even though that was about a guy going to the club meeting up, cheating on his girl. Life shit that everyone can relate to. I just felt like people took to that because of the chorus as well. Shout out to Tess Comrie, she did and amazing job with her voice and that’s gotten the third most looks right now. Everybody’s loving that track.
On Through The Smoke you had two features, one from Meta4 and from Tess Comrie, what was it like working with them and how did you make the connections?
Meta4 was actually in college with me and Kevin, and we started the track. First it was just me singing on the track, and as we slowly devolved it, we put in real guitar, and that was actually by Meta4. Meta4 had a real jazzy voice and one day we were in the studio, and we just put him in there with is vocals over it, and we were like “lets make that a thing”. We mixed it down and it was great. As far as Tess, we got hooked up with her through Kevin, which is my homie. I heard her voice when they were working on her tape and I was like “Yo this girls voice is amazing”. I actually wrote a hook for Gone and she wrote a different one and Kevin recorded it and I was like “Yeah of course, she’s amazing”. She is definitely going to be on the next tape.
Would you work with both of them again?
Oh yeah of course. Definitely Tess. Definitely Meta4. He lives out in Canada but you know, world wide web.
What steps did you take to allow yourself to tour in Europe so early in your rapping career?
Really its all G man. Starting up and then him building and then right when I finished college he offered me a chance to come along and of course I said yes. There was no way I was going to give that up. Then in each tour seeing him progress and then finally starting my own, he was like “Hey, I’m going to Europe. Bro I have to take you.” Its something we talked about for so long and then to finally come out her for music and not a vacation. Music has taken him there and then me as well. That track goes so hard, when we preform it the bass hits SO hard, last night in Paris we set it off.
What do you have planned for yourself and fans after this tour?
Straight to the studio. I got some new songs to record, videos to shoot, and we have some stuff ready to release. Just waiting to get back home and get phone access. I’ve got a lot and I can not wait. I’m itching. I want this to be a job, and if this is my job its not really working. Its just so fun, especially if I am coming back out here on my own, even if at home I pull 300 fans it’s going to feel amazing to me. Even though I’ve preformed with G for his 2,000 fans per show, 300, even 100 of my own fans, that’s an amazing feeling. Just to know that 100 kids love my music enough to come to a show for me, that amazing.
You just released Monica Lewinsky featuring Skizzy Mars & Kyle; are there going to be any more free releases before the release of These Things Happen on 6-20-14
There’s a bunch more music that didn’t make the album, that I look forward to putting out. I don’t know if I am going put it out before the release or after though. There’s this one track I am super Hyped about with French Montana. Its going to come out soon.
When do you think you will be releasing that?
Probably a week or two after the album.
What was your strategy or thought process for touring These Things Happen before the release of the project?
The thing about a tour is that you have to plan it two or three months ahead of time, really three or four months, so we made the plans to put the tour together when I thought the album was going to come out. The thing is that the album was the big picture, that’s like a body of work that lasts forever and I just wanted to take my time and make it perfect. You don’t get a chance to take the album back and work on it more when you put it out. You know, I wanted to take my time.
Who seems more willing to turn up: American fans or European fans?
We only just played our first show of the European tour yesterday in Paris, but the energy was insane. I didn’t see it coming, especially in a city where English isn’t the first language. Most people understand and speak English, but there was a little bit of a disconnect so it was a crazy, surprising experience.
You just completed a tour in America, what is your next step for you and your career when you finish this European tour?
Take over the world man. I’m just excited to get the record out, I’m playing at a few festivals this summer and then I’m sure we will go back out and tour the world in the fall and next year.
The Kennedys (Interview)
What’s it like being artists from Tuscon, a city that hasn’t bred many rappers?
Trix: Tuscon’s not a very big city you know, it’s just us and a couple other names out there just really doing it for the city. We’re probably the first artists from Tuscon to perform at SXSW, since we’re not from a big city we’ve really been focusing on reaching out to people and making connections.
Millionz: Like he said, there’s a lot of artists out there reaching for the same goal, some more motivated than others. At the end of the day it’s the artists who have their heads right and their business right, the guys making smarter and better moves than others are the ones coming out on top. I just think we’ve been blessed with making some of the right decisions.
I heard y’all used to go by The Movement as opposed to The Kennedys, what was the reason for that change? And what made you choose The Kennedys?
Millionz: Man that was really a rebranding thing; we got to the point in our career where we realized that for the better of our future we needed to change things up a bit, get our image looking right. We stepped things up, had a lot of talks and decided that The Kennedys best represented what we were trying to do with music as a whole.
From what we heard y’all weren’t always the beat-killing duo we know today, and y’all actually had to overcome some differences before working together. How did y’all end up deciding to work together and how did you overcome those differences?
Trix: A lot of the issues just worked themselves out when we started rapping, we had something in common you know? It was me, him, and these two other dudes; we took it more seriously so that fell apart. He moved away from Arizona at one point, and we’d call eachother up on the phone everyday and just go back and forth rapping verses. Eventually he moved back and we just kicked things off, got the ball rolling.
What about Bootleg Kev & Dizzy Wright? They’re pretty influential names in music right now, and clearly played a role in ‘As Requested’. Where did they come into the picture?
Millionz: Honestly it was just an outreach thing man. I met Bootleg Kev back in Vegas when we went out there with the big bro Juice McCain. We introduced ourselves, kept contact, and when we decided to do this tape we reached out and showed him some music. He liked our sound so he helped us out, ya know? He’s a huge in the industry, so having him on board definitely helped out.
I know this is y’alls first time at SXSW, so what are some of the goods and bads you’ve seen so far?
Millionz: Good has to be the people man, a lot of people and an experience that you can’t really get anywhere else. The open-mindedness, the exposure we’re getting, it’s all really good for us.
Trix: The bads is just all the damn walking bruh, my feet hurt man. But other than that it’s just a lil crowded in certain places, a lot of lines. All worth it though, having a great time out here and getting a lot of love from everyone here.
As Requested was a 6-track project, but it took y’all a couple years to put it together, so why the wait?
Trix: I think a lot of artists just have the mentality of, “Fuck it I’ll put this mixtape out” but we wanted people to give a fuck about us first. We dropped a few singles, dropped a couple videos, and earned some hype around us so that people actually gave a damn when we dropped our tape. So that’s where 2 years went, not to mention some shows and other shit. So we waited, and when we thought the time was right we dropped the project for the fans, which is how we got the name – As Requested.
Do y’all think it got as much attention as it deserved, or would you have liked to see it get a little more?
Millionz: I like the attention it got. As artists, obviously if the numbers were higher we would’ve been happier, but for the first project we’ve ever put out we’re satisfied with how it did. We feel a little under rated, but at the end of the day all it means is we need to keep grinding and getting in more people’s ears before our next project drops.
Trix: Like he said, the numbers are good but we always feel like we can do more. I mean I feel like it’s a 50,000 download project, but we’ll get there.
So what’s next? SXSW was clearly a step in the right direction, any more festivals planned for this summer?
Trix: We killed it at the Bootleg Kev showcase, next year hopefully we can be out here doing double the shows we did this year. We’re gonna start working on another project here pretty soon, don’t wanna give y’all a release date yet, but other than that it’s just videos and shows all summer
Millionz: That’s it man, we’ll be out here with y’all again next year, and just grinding on more music until then. We’ll have more shows lined up, new tracks, new visuals, all that good stuff. Who knows, we might actually be headlining SXSW15.
Skizzy Mars (Interview)
First things first, let’s get down to your Mixtape ‘Phases’. Fans have been waiting for this tape to drop for almost 2 years, why did you decide to wait until now to drop your first project?
It wasn’t really a matter of waiting, it was just that I felt it was ready to be released at this point. Creatively, visually. There’s a lot that goes into this that fans don’t know, and I don’t blame them. I was a fan 2 years ago and I had no idea it was this tough to make a project. A legitimate one at least. But with me it’s always just been about getting it right. So I’m always just trying to make sure anything with my name attached to it is 100.
Now that Phases is all mixed and mastered, what track(s) are you anticipating to get the most love?
Sideways is definitely that standing on the couch with the bottle in your hand at 2 am in the club type of song. Real anthemic. But I just think the whole tape is super dope, front to back. So I’m interested to see what reacts the most. Can’t wait to play these tunes live too.
You recently went on G-Eazy’s ‘Must Be Nice’ Tour and got to see a ton of fans for the first time. What was the best part about the tour life and meeting fans from across the nation?
Signing boobs, selling merch, kicking it with the big homie G and his crew. Really good people. It was just ill to be in Iowa City and approach the show sort of as just a quest for new fans, and I get out there and half the crowd already knows the words to my songs. It’s a great feeling and it just shows the power of music/the internet. It was my first tour, so definitely an invaluable experience.
A few of the tracks that you’ve already released (Tara, Shangri-La, Together, etc.) are about relationships, what would you say influences your lyricism on these softer tracks?
New York City girls are very unique, especially the ones I grew up with so I’d say my experiences with them have given me a lot to write about. I met a couple girls in college that gave me a lot of ideas too. It’s more just the person. I like talking to people and just observing. It’s funny, I’ve written songs about girls that think I don’t give a fuck about them.
Along with dope lyricism, David Yassky’s production is also a unique sound that’s been branded to your music. Is all the production on ‘Phases’ original?
Everything but the interlude.
For an artist that’s only dropped single tracks, you have a pretty big following. In what ways did you market yourself and your music to grow you fan base?
Just good music. Really good music consistently.
Tell me about Penthouse Music, what’s next for your label?
I’m just building a team of some of the most talented young people in their respective fields. It’s just the future and something that’ll never die. Visual artists, recording artists, producers, photographers.
You’re a young MC from uptown Manhattan, how did you come into the rap game? What’s your start-up story?
February 2011 I got into college early decision. Fully planned on going for four years and getting my degree in English with a minor in music. I dropped Douchebag and a couple other tracks that summer and just started building a following. I went to school for a trimester then took this up full time. I always hated school it was just something that was expected of me. Once I found music it just took all my time and attention.
Douchebag has been your biggest hit so far, why do you think fans have taken such a liking to this track in particular?
It’s an anthem. I mean, I only have like 10 songs out. So I’m sure this new shit will have some more hits.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be touring this summer. And I’m just working on new music everyday. It’ll be a good year for us.
You mention your Dad coming to your show and singing along to even your vulgar songs, what role have your parents played in developing your music and pursuing this rap career?
Not much of one, just support really. They put me in these private schools growing up where it was expected that everyone do well on your SATS, go to a good college, then go to a good grad school. They did that so I’d have opportunities to do something special with my life. I was never fully about that life so when I found music, something that really motivated me, they just supported.
You’ve been working with G-Eazy for a long time, how did y’all meet?
Through DJ Carnage, actually. We did ‘All I Could Do’ over the internet and I met him at this festival we did last spring in Texas. We smoked a blunt and we’ve been homies ever since.
How did you go from Myles Mills to Skizzy Mars?
I don’t know fully, to be honest. I just came up with it and it stuck.
Last, but not least, what’s your favorite college music blog?
You guys! And nycetracks cause those are the homies
Ground Up (Interview)
As a group you guys have dropped 11 total Mixtapes, how does Supernatural compare to the last 10?
Malakai: It’s definitely our most commercial project, it has the most download out of anything we’ve ever made, which is awesome.
Bij Lincs: I think it’s one of our most experimental mixtapes, ‘Girls That Smoke Cigarettes’ was probably my favorite mixtape we ever worked on, and ever since then we’ve been growing but Supernatural was a stretch for us; doing features we’ve never done before and musically doing stuff we’ve never done before.
So what’s next for Ground Up?
Azar: We’re gonna be dropping our new EP next fall, like you’ve said we’ve already given away 11 free Mixtapes, so hopefully the fans will give something back, you know? But giving away free music man, that’s always gonna be in our repitoire, that’s what got us here and we’re well aware of that.
Bij Lincs: And the music industry calls for it, it’s so easy to get music these days then you kind of have to start off by dropping free projects.
Y’all have a really unique style to your music, the vibe people get from it draws them in and separates you from other up and coming groups. What would you say Ground Up’s style is?
Bij Lincs: I feel like we keep the sound of Philly. A lot of the artists around Philly influence our style.
Azar: We’re all big music fans, if you ask any of us what our favorite artists are we’ll name a couple of MC’s just like any other rappers. We have a very diverse music catalog that we listen to, and I think our sound reflects that, because we come together and all of our tastes kind of combine.
How did Ground Up come to be? Where’d you all meet?
Malakai: We all met and started making music 4 years ago, getting high, and just having fun with it. Eventually it got to the point where we started thinking “maybe we should continue this on a bigger scale”.
Bij Lincs: We had a lot of support from our friends and stuff, and they drove us to keep going, and we were just like “fuck it, let’s do it.”
Malakai: We actually started trying, and haven’t stopped since.
How do you consistently drop so much music? I don’t know any other group that’s dropped 11 mixtapes in 4 years for FREE.
Malakai: The thing about us is we’ve released almost every song we’ve ever made. A lot of people probably wouldn’t have released our first 4 mixtapes, but we just love doing it. Music is a priority in our life, and we make time for it.
Azar: We’re all driven people, it’s kind of second nature for us to make music. For us to stop making music would just mean giving up everything we’re passionate about. It’s not this argenous task, but really we’re having fun the whole time.
Bij Lincs: I think we’re just eager to better, at least that’s what keeps me motivated.
Y’all are based out of Philly, and you definitely carry your city in your back. Kind of like how MGK is the new rapper from Cleveland, Ground Up is from Philly and is on the come up. How do you feel about representing Philidelphia in your music?
Malakai: I love Philidelphia, and I really don’t think there’s a better place for us to make music and represent in our music.
Azar: I hope we can carve our own niche, but at the same time it’s been a blessing because we’ve worked with a ton of people that we grew up listening to. It’s surreal, but Philidelphia has our back, and we’re always going to ride for our city.
What’s been the biggest change from doing local shows on the east coast to hopping on bigger tours like the one you just went on with G-Eazy?
Bij Lincs: I feel like being in touch with the fans and everything, places we haven’t been before where we have fans is dope, and I love that we get to go out and meet them now.
Malakai: Directly gaining new fans, being in front of a large crowd who doesn’t really know who we are is intimidating, but when it’s time to get down, they do, and that’s awesome.
How was touring with G-Eazy & Skizzy Mars been?
Malakai: It’s been crazy.
Azar: They’re good people, talented artists, and they party in every city.
Bij Lincs: I’ve been drunk every night.
Planning any collaborations with Skizzy & G-Eazy?
Malakai: I’ve been planning it… I just don’t know if they know I’ve been planning it.
Azar: If all goes well, look out for some Ground Up feat G-Eazy.
Production work is a huge part of y’alls music, some of the beats you make bump really hard and it’s clear that you’ve experimented a lot over the past projects with Ground Up you’ve worked on. Do you think you have a certain style now? What brands a ‘Produced by Bij Lincs’ track?
Bij Lincs: I met them in 7th grade, started making beats in highschool, so I’ve had some time to grow as a producer and learn how to adapt to what people want to hear. There’re people out there right now listening to electronic, dubstep, and all these different kinds of music. So the hardest thing is making something that everyone can jam to.
Last question I have is about your recently dropped track ‘Head Over Heels’. It kind of came out of nowhere 6 months after your Supernatural Mixtape dropped. It’s a dope track, and really different from the sound you had in Supernatural. Is this track foreshadowing where Ground Up is headed over the next couple of years?
Azar: The thing is, we never really stop making music. Even after we release a project, we’re gearing up for something else. So for right now, I don’t want to let out too much info, but we have a lot of songs in the cut preparing for this EP while keeping our fans happy and still giving them free music.
The Dean (Intreview)
So… Who are you?
I’m The Dean, but most people know me as Trevor. I spent most of my life in Houston, which is where my taste in music comes from. Since I was in 6th grade I’ve been downloading underground Artists and Mixtapes onto my ghetto 1st gen iPod and sharing it with friends. Now I’m a Business Major in college, and somewhere inbetween partying and studying I find time to run this music website. My style is a mix between swag and class, if you ever see me I’m either reppin sweatpants or a blazer, and occasionally I do both just to mix things up. I enjoy driving fast, listening to hip-hop music, eating mexican food, and taking long walks on the beach.
What’s the story behind UniversityHype?
I started this site back in March 2012 after I moved to Washington D.C. in the middle of my senior year. I’ve always loved hip-hop music, and I’ve been going on sites like GoodMusicAllDay and The Kollection since the 7th grade. After being bored as hell for a few days, not knowing anyone in a new town over Spring Break, I decided that I should do something productive.. like making a website. I wanted to fix all the flaws that I saw in other music blogs, like making album art for tracks, not putting any ads on the site, having a really easy to use layout, and being way more interactive with the audience and the artists. After a lot of reading, googling, youtubing, and designing, I finally had something that I could launch and share with people. I never anticipated it getting as far as it has. I never thought I’d be working with artists that I used to listen to in highschool. It started out with me texting a few people in my phone to get their opinion, sharing it on facebook a couple times, and putting up stickers on the Metro in D.C… In early November, the site hit 1,000,000 total visitors. Simply by word of mouth, the sites gotten followers from all over the world, which I think is pretty dope. That’s the best summary I can give you, but there’s dozens of other milestones and near-catastrophes that I could tell you about if we went in to detail.
What’s been your favorite part about running a music blog?
Without a doubt, the artists I’ve met through this is my favorite part. I usually get about 2-300 emails a week with music submissions, which seems like a lot, but after throwing out all the PR Agency submissions, e-mail blasts, and the bullshit ‘Yo niqqa mY songz da shit, Put iT uP’, I get about 30 decent artist submissions a week. Being able to help up and coming rappers build their fan base is dope, and watching their tracks get hype from our audience is by far the favorite part of my job.
What’s next for UniversityHype?
I don’t want to give away any surprises… but we’re probably going to be expanding the UniversityHype wardrobe here pretty soon, as well as making a social media move to Facebook and Youtube. Other than that, there’s a lot of ideas in the works, but nothing really solidified yet. I do however want to see us start sponsoring some shows and hosting events, but it’ll take some time before we reach that point. At the time being it’s sole purpose is to be the best music blog around, and as I continue making small changes to the site I feel like we’re setting ourselves apart from the rest. Be assured, whatever our next move is, it’s going to be a big one.
Do you make any money off the site?
Not at all. We don’t receive any profit from the clothes we sell, all the music I put up is free, and there’s not a single ad anywhere on the site. Probably not the best Business model, but keeping the site clean and the visitors happy takes priority over my wallet getting fatter.