The New York rapper talks about his debut album, his project in the works, performing live and how his local hip-hop scene has changed post 9.11
Who are you and where are you from?
Atypical. Originally from Geneva NY (small upstate NY town), but have lived in Nashville TN and Albany NY.
How did you come up with your artist name?
I had mulled over a ton of different names for a super long time. And it occured to me that nothing "fit" in my head because I was different from what I was hearing from other MCs. So, I went with "Atypical" to reflect that. Something that let's you know off the bat that I am not like the carbon copies out there.
What releases have you dropped so far?
Only "Personal Space Cadet" which came out in the Summer of 2004. Sad, isn't it? I'm a slacker. Before PSC, I had a bullshit ass demo that nobody will be hearing because I sucked worse then than I do now. I have been featured on this and that compilation over time, but PSC is my only official release to date.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I would describe myself as a work in progress. Even since I released Personal Space Cadet in 2004, I have changed my approach. So, I guess I would say I am the type of artist that looks to strike a nerve with the listener that doesn't only want a quality MC, but someone that they can empathize or connect with. Ironically, my next album is going to be far more personal than "Personal" Space Cadet was.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I'm really into singer/ songwriters/ groups from the classic rock era. I dig Jefferson Airplane, Paul Simon, King Crimson. I also am into shit like Alice in Chains and Counting Crows first album. There is a lot of "feel" to be had there and I think that is the point of music. To give people something they "feel" – not just something they can bop their head to. Hip Hop influences include Sage Francis/ Non-Prophets, Can Ox, El-P and thats really about it.
What artists and producers do you dream of working with?
El-P on the production side of things. I also really like what Alias did on Sage Francis' "A Healthy Distrust" album. As far as MC's I would like to work with… I would think doing a track with Nobs would be dope. He has a really colorful and heartfelt style to his work and that is something I strive for.
Your album has 12 tracks on it. Do you feel this is the most suitable number of tracks for rap albums? A lot of artists seem to go way over the top and do 20+ tracks.
I get tired of listening to even my favorite albums after 6-7 songs, so I think to cram 20 tracks or more onto any album could be doing more harm than good. So especially as a relative unknown in this genre, I would rather leave the listener wanting more than feeling like they are sick of me. Short and sweet.
Are you active in any other aspect of hiphop culture besides from the music?
I am very good at watching b-girls dance. So, no, not really. I was once a b-boy back in like 2nd grade, but gave that up for no good reason.
How well known are Pitch Control Music artists and the 518 to the US underground scene?
I really dont know. I know Sev Statik is pretty well known from coast to coast as he has been in this game for quite some time, working really hard every step of the way. Dezin8ed is also another really hard worker who has made a lot of connections, but still will have gained a lot more shine before his time is up. I'd say we are at the highest point we have ever been as a collective, but I also know that we have a lot more to do before it's all said and done. Because we have a lot of people working together (and separate) – there is a lot of friendly competition going on that every one of us benefit from. It's a really healthy way to make moves.
What are some of your favourite PCM albums so far?
"Vodka Music" and "Thank You. Fuck You" by Dez. I appreciate his balance as an artist a lot. He can write just about any type of song and have it come off fly. He continuously impresses me with each new song for sure. I want to be as cool as him.
Do you do much live performing and what can future audiences expect from one of your shows?
When I was living in Albany NY, I was doing a lot more shows than I do right now. As far as what people can expect from one of my shows, I'd say they can expect a freestyle or two, some jokes, maybe me acting like Rain Man. If they are a new crowd that doesn't know me very well (I like to act mad nervous before my set begins and then absolutley tear the microphone apart). I don't know, I try to spit over different instrumentals at every show so it gives the regulars reason to come out again and again. It's always something different with me.
Do you think the war on terror and post 9/11 has altered the american hiphop landscape at all?
Great question. Yes I do. I will probably catch a lot of hate for saying this, but I feel that a lot of good came from 9/11. In regards to your question, I feel artists and fans alike now are looking at our own government with more of a fine-toothed comb than ever before. We question a lot more. We are more suspect. More cynical. More demanding. More engaged in voting and speaking out. Many Americans (hip hop kids included) never really used to study or examine what our government was all about. I think 9/11 changed that considerably. We're now more in touch with our rep in the rest of the world's eyes.
Do you think there's any hope for the quality, genuine hip-hop artists working hard on the underground, of breaking into the mainstream which gets dominated by the likes of 50 Cent and his 500 friends?
Yes. Although entertainment trumps expression 99% of the time in the corporate world (and thus, our world), it will be difficult for credible artists out there expressing real thoughts and feelings to make themselves wealthy. But, the artists that are expressing themselves genuinely arent in it to make themselves wealthy. They are in it to make a living doing what they love. And they value who they are more so than they value a luxury yacht or penthouse in South Beach. And fans of the real shit will never be wiped out. They will always love and respect the real deal they get from true expressionists.
Do you wanna make any shout out's or plugs before we wrap this up?
Well the only real tangible plug I have is for my next album due out in the fall of this year. I don't have a ton of information on it now other than the fact that I am pretty dang excited to have Maker and Joe Beats on board doing production. As well as a lot of friends that are ridiculously talented. Pitchcontrolmusic.net and Atypicalsite.com is where you can find a lot of gibberish and psycho-babble worth reading if you are bored. Check out some audio at www.myspace.com/atypical Stee out there in the UK is our official PCM-UK delegate so he should get daps. And thank you for the chance to holler at the UK massive.