As a hip-hop fied and one who truly cares about the culture it's always a blessing when a fresh, young emcee comes out and sweeps the rug with most of the veteran's work of the year. That this scenario would happen in 2011 with brand new and dope releases from artists like KRS-One, J-Live, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch and Timbo King seemed unlikely. But that is exactly what happened when newcomer Rasheed Chappell released his critically acclaimed debut album "Future Before Nostalgia" on Kay Dee Records earlier this year. I can't imagine many heads dissapointed by this drop, and if you have yet to pick it up - do so while you still can @ for example UGHH or cut out the middle man and get it from Kay Dee Records. I recently got the chance to ask Rasheed himself some questions about this album, so check it out and enjoy!
c7: Peace, How are you doing?
Rasheed: I am doing GREAT! Feeling good, enjoying life.
Could you give us a quick breakdown of the title "Future Before Nostalgia" and what it means to you?
The title actually came about after recording "Building 8" we were working on an album entitled "Nostalgia". We wanted to give people a warm-up, it was supposed to be a mixtape but it morphed into an album the more we worked. The title serves as a bridge to what has inspired Kenny and I musically but also a glimpse of what we hope to be.
It was very refreshing to see you using a back-to-basics formula by sticking with one producer for the entire project, especially since the chemistry between you is so evident. How did you first hook up?
[Speaking on the 2008 single release, "Dope Muziq" / "Resurrection"] Well Kenny is a DJ first and foremost so the 7" was his way of introducing his fan base & DJ's to him embarking back to his hip-hop roots. I was happy with the turnout of that single, it's become a collector's item these days ha ha! I am blessed for that & yeah, those were some of the first songs Kenny & I recorded. The producer of the B-side, Maleet, was the link to Kenny and I. He actually produced "Resurrection" and he played that song for Kenny. Kenny liked it, asked to meet me and the rest if "future before nostalgia", ha ha!
What's your personal favorite joint of the album?
Ahhh, my FAVORITE joint on the album, probably "The Genesis"! I feel it tells the entire story of the album and the ideas and mood behind it.
What was the idea behind the album opener "Invocation" and the closening "The Future" which really sews the LP together in a major way?
It's funny, with both those records Kenny had a clear idea of where he wanted them on the album before I wrote a single word. With "Invocation" he came to me and said "THIS is gonna be the intro" ha ha. He has visions I guess and so I wrote it with that in mind. Same thing with "Thankful", so many people are responsible for me being here and I just wanted the world to know their names.
Was it a conscious move to only use songs that made the album a coherrent front-to-back listen; no skits, no filler?
Yes and no. I couldn't think of any skits and by the time I did it was too late ha ha. I have never really done them, I might in the future thought if it makes sense and fits the story line.
How long did the recording of the album take, everything counted, and did you think the LP would have the impact on the underground scene as it has?
The album took about two years to complete. Kenny always said that there is no time limit, let's just get it right. I was anxious to release music at different periods of the recording process but I am happy we waited and put the right songs on the album. I am just thankful people listened, I had no idea it would be received so well, I had hopes but no real idea. I honsetly feel like I have SO much more to give so I just take it as a blessing.
Were there a lot of songs that got cut from the album and if so, are there any chances fans will get to hear any of those in one way or another?
We recorded about 60 songs for this project, some will be used on the next album, some for different projects because they didn't fit the vibe of this project.
Only one alternate version [of anything from "Future..."] exists and that's for "Shut It Down".
Your music has a boom-bap quality to it and it's refreshing to hear someone with well thought out socially conscious and personal lyrics. What are some of your main influences and what do you listen to?
My main Hip Hop influences are so varied, I grew up listening to my older cousins music such as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, BDP, Lord Finesse and others. When I finally got a chance to have MY Hip Hop I was into Nas, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, The Roots, Common and others. Outside of Hip Hop I am a huge fan of old Soul and R&B courtesy of my parents. I listen to everything honestly, Rock, Jazz, Reagge. I listen to the lyrics first and if they draw me in, I listen.
Any producers or artists out there that you would like to work with at the moment or in the future?
I am a fan of so many artists and producers out there like Nas, Raekwon, Premier, Alchemist, Evidence, just too many to name, but right now I want to focus on our sound, perfecting my craft and etching out my own legacy.
Last but not least I want to ask you what the future holds for Rasheed Chappell?
God willing more music, more LIFE and more oppurtinity to fulfill my dreams!
Many, many thanks to Rasheed Chappell for taking time out and doing this interview. "Future Before Nostalgia" is available in stores and online NOW so make sure to support the realness. As an added bonus, check out this recent freestyle where Rasheed goes IN over the classic DJ Premier beat for Nas' "New York State Of Mind". Of course hailing New Jersey, this is the "NJ State of Mind".