Sunday, November 30, 2008

13 Questions with Naledge

Naledge, ½ of Kidz in the hall, who stand as one of the newest additions to the formidable Duck Down imprint. Fresh off numerous tours and riding the success of his group's latest release, The In Crowd, Naledge is set on not conforming to any system or style. He doesn't feel he falls under the boxed in category of either "hipster" or "backpack rap". As a matter of fact, the latter is dead in his humble opinion. Naledge is fueled by his desire to do him till the wheelz fall off- regardless of whom or what machine naively classifies him.

DJ: What's going on Naledge, where you at?

Naledge: We are in Philly with El-P and Dizzee Rascal. We are opening up for them on selected dates of their tour. We just finished a college tour with Gym Class Heroes.

DJ: Where are you originally from?

Naledge: What many people don't know is that I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Still, I grew up pretty much my entire life (since age 2) in Chicago; Southside (Hyde Park and South Shore) to be very exact.

DJ: How would you classify your music? Do you think that you fall under what most people consider back pack rap? If I remember correctly on one of your freestyles you say, now back to backpack rap or something to that extent.

Naledge: I more so said that to mock the term and even more so to mock the fact that most people try to throw me into that type of shallow category. I try to make hip hop that reflects my life, my thoughts, life I see around me and my creativity. I rapped on the Shawty Lo beat because I liked the beat and I wanted to let people know that I wasn't going to let [them] limit me in the types of beats I rap on and the subject matter I decide to discuss. I just do whatever feels good to me at the time. For the record, backpack rap is dead.

DJ: What are you trying to accomplish as far as your content with regards to your music? Do you feel that you have grown lyrically as an artist since your last outing?

Naledge: Every time I sit down to write I get better. My ideas and concepts were always dope and to the left but now my flow and cadence is a lot more polished. I think I have done a good job of establishing my own style with this album. Hands down I feel that I am the best young writer out right now. I defer to legends just because of their consistency. As for content, I really just strive to make music that is extraordinary for the ordinary person. I don't talk for means or extremes...I talk for those in between. By doing so, I think my content crosses lots of boundaries...

DJ: How would you compare The in Crowd to School Was My Hustle?

Naledge: The In Crowd is a progression from someone fresh off graduation, to an emcee fresh off of tour. The In Crowd as title speaks to the lifestyle me and Double-O now live. The album shows the good side and the bad side of that lifestyle and it also discusses those who aspire to be a part of this industry life. Sonically, Double-O has definitely expanded his palate ofsounds and in the process I expanded the way I approach beats. This album experiments and takes a lot more chances. I actually do some singing on

DJ: There is a considerable amount of features on your newest release unlike your debut, was there a particular reason for this divergence?

Naledge: It was a part of the concept of the album. While also speaking to the industry lifestyle, we crafted an album to show the diversity of our crowd so to speak. Every song is a different experience, with a different crowd. If our album was a party, each song feature would be a different room with different vibe. Somehow it still works because we make it work.

DJ: You guys show a lot of support for Obama, even went as far creating a track in support of his candidacy. How do you feel about Reverend Wright's comments and do you think they will have a profound effect towards his campaign; derail his efforts?

Naledge: Reverend Wright means well but has taken his platform too far. He won't derail Obama, but it is very sad that it will force Obama to distance himself from him. Many don't really know how influential Rev. Wright has been in Obama's rise to prominence in Chicago. His church is one of 3 "mega-power" churches in the city.

DJ: What artist and producers besides Double O if any do you guys have on the new album?

Naledge: Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Estelle, Pusha T, Bun B, Cool Kids, Camp Lo, Buckshot, Sean Price, Skyzoo, Phonte from Little Brother, Fooch, Donnis and Tim William

DJ: How influential has Just Blaze been towards your career?

Naledge: He's just a great creative person to have on your side. He knows great hip hop music. He has it down to a science. He also was the first person to put his name on the line for us at labels.

DJ: Theoretically speaking the audience that the BCC amassed through the years may be different from the casual Kidz in the Hall listener is used to. Are you afraid that you might lose some of your fan base through this venture? Though your new video, "Riding down the block", reaching # 6 on TRL, might suggest otherwise...

Naledge: We weren't concerned so much with what the partner was going to do for us so much as we were they would complement what we already do. Fortunately, we are very hands on with what we do and we already saw the lane we wanted to move in. Duck Down just invested in us because they saw [in] us a means to extend their brand beyond the Boot Camp stuff they are known for.

DJ: Who are you feeling right now?

Naledge: As far as new hip hop, I like Proton, Pac Div, Lupe, Chip Tha Ripper, Donnis and Kardinal Official. I like Wayne, Andre 300 and Saigon as well. For real though, I don't really even listen to much new hip hop anymore. I listen to a lot of old Tribe, Nas, Common and Jay.

DJ: What is the most recent memorable verse you have heard lately, you know that made you say, "Damn, did he just say that?"

Naledge: Cory Gunz murked that Milli record with Wayne! Can't remember what he said but it is a nutty verse. I got a verse on the Dreamin (Baby I'm Shit Record) on The Geniuses Need Love mixtape that I kinda marvel at even though it was me.

DJ: Anything else you want your fans, haters and non-believers to know?

Naledge: In Crowd is on I-Tunes NOW!!! Hit us up on MySpace or Facebook and peep us at You don't have to like me, but you will honor my music because quite is good.

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