On New Hip-Hop, In New York And Beyond
How do you guys feel about the state of New York hip-hop in general right now?
Cha$e: I think it’s on the rise, man, there’s a bunch of dope artists that are coming out of New York, not only that are doing numbers but that are really putting out dope work. Smoke of course, Joey Bada$$, myself, Kid Art. Ferg and them and the whole A$AP Mob. I think there’s a pretty good movement of New York artists. My homie Action Bronson. I fuck with him, too. There’s a lot of New York shit. French [Montana], that’s another one, that’s my nigga. I fuck with French, no matter what people be trying to tell you guys.
Who are some of your favorite artists in the scene?
DZA: That I like to collab with? I got like three off the top—Big K.R.I.T. is one of them, Wiz, Curren$y.
Cha$e: Yeah, Curren$y is dope, too.
DZA: I like J. Cole’s shit a lot, that shit inspired me. Ab-Soul as well.
Cha$e: I try to listen to everything, not just rap, because the rap pool is small if you look at just quality. A person like me, when I’m looking for videos to entertain myself, I don’t like seeing the same shit, you know what I mean? I don’t want to see the same type of video or the same type of shit over and over, so I just look for different sources of inspiration, from MGMT, Daft Punk, to Jay-Z, not the new Kanye, but the old Kanye stuff. That’s the type of shit I look for for inspiration: people who just make art in general, not just rap. Creative motherfuckers, designers, people that make shit that is striking to your eyes. I like shit like that. That’s all I do in my videos. My videos will never contain something “regular” or “cliché.” If I do do something cliché I’m gonna point it out and say, “Look how cliché that is.”
There’s been a ton of hip-hop releases lately.
Cha$e: Yeah, I like the J. Cole shit too.
DZA: It’s the hottest shit out.
Cha$e: He actually put in some work, you know what I mean? He liked his listeners enough to put in some cover art. [Kanye]‘s dope, I like his shit. It is what it is. Nobody can see his work and say he’s not talented, that’s impossible to say. If you were to say that, you’re blind. I just think that between J. Cole and Kanye West and the albums that just came out, I like J. Cole’s work now more than Kanye’s work now. If you was talkin’ about last albums, I wouldn’t have said that. Kanye has definitely made some of the best music in rap, but today, as far as those two albums, I would say that J. Cole definitely has a little bit more substance on that one.
DZA: J. Cole’s shit is hot—I don’t even wanna rant on [Kanye]. J. Cole’s hot.
Cha$e: [Cole] surprised me, man, that shit was like, shockingly hot. I mean I knew it was gonna be hot, but it was above the bar I thought it was going to be, which is always a dope surprise.
Outside of those albums, what have been your favorite releases this year?
DZA: I don’t know, I didn’t put out nothing. [Laughs] I got some shit coming soon though, the RFC tape coming.
Cha$e: I got some shit with [DZA] coming too, actually. I got some stuff I’m putting together on my new mixtape King’s Landing that’s going to be really really really serious. That’s pretty much what I’m doing before I get ready for my album, just getting my musical and visual shit before I dive all the way into that.
DZA: The RFC tape is coming out—well, it’ll be out by the time this surfaces, Ralphie’s Forgotten Children. Dream Zone Achieved, that’s my next shit, I know y’all been waiting on that. It’s gonna be real harsh.
Cha$e: Yeah, music like that matters, ’cause there’s not too much quality shit, there’s like 5-10 quality [things] out there. So when people like DZA or myself or Curren$y comes out with something it’s gonna be dope, you know what I’m saying?