Before we get into your start at Rostrum Records, I want to ask you about this Pittsburgh Battle of the Beats event where you were on it for eight weeks straight. What happened with that?
That was one of the first wholesome songs I ever recorded as far as it not being any else’s track. It was something I bought and actually went into the studio and recorded. I did that in 11th and 12th grade in high school. At the time, the local radio station was holding this rap contest every Friday to see who had the best song. I had released this song over this Luther Vandross sample [by Saigon] called ‘It’s Alright.’ It just blew them out the water. They just kept giving it wind week after week until they had to retire it. 

 

I would say that the Pittsburgh hip-hop scene has struggled finding its identity in music for some time finding. It’s like a collage of music that comes to Pittsburgh.

Damn, eight weeks was the retiring point?
I guess so.

Maybe you could’ve been on it for a couple months without that retiring point.
Yeah they should’ve just put it in the rotation. It was a real cool point in starting up my career.

Plus, you were in high school. What was the feedback like with your friends? Was it weird?
It was funny because I never really got too personal at school with anybody like letting them know my hobbies and things like that. Nobody ever knew I did music, so it was kind of surprising when I went to school the next week like, ‘Wow we never even knew you rap!’ From there, I’ve been a pretty popular kid.

Let’s talk about linking up with Rostrum. How did that come together?
We’re all hometown based from Pittsburgh, so we’ve been seeing and have known each other for some time. Benjy Grinberg and I had met years ago. At the same time he had started his company, I started mine. We talked back then and he had told me how good of an artist he thought I was, and how inspired he wanted me to stay and keep grinding, and if I was ever interested to work, just to reach out. He had been busy with Wiz Khalifa and building their brand, so over the course we continued to grow. Wiz shot through the roof and brought Rostrum a bit more grand success.

 

We were all pretty close knit. We all recorded at the same studios in Pittsburgh and we all knew each other. It just got to a point where I was growing, they were growing, and the only thing that make sense was to collaborate and help both of our success reach a whole new level.

How exactly did you and Benjy meet? Just on the scene?
Just on the music scene. These guys were just people I recognized in those stages—in those Battle the Beat days. We were all pretty close knit. We all recorded at the same studios in Pittsburgh and we all knew each other. It just got to a point where I was growing, they were growing, and the only thing that make sense was to collaborate and help both of our success reach a whole new level. It was just something I could say was meant to happen. It was really just an effortless thing. It was meant to happen.

It’s crazy how the Pittsburgh music scene blew up, and in such a short matter of time. For you, has the music scene always been like that and then it blew up, or was it something that came out of nowhere?
I would say that it’s a scene that struggled finding its identity in music for some time. It’s like a collage of music that comes to Pittsburgh. It’s not one direction—some people like music from the Southern coast, some people like music from the West Coast. It’s not one distinct genre of music. You’ve got such great artists and at the time, there were no powerhouses in the city, very little radio support. The artists were having a hard time getting heard. I think with the success of Wiz, it was just reversed. That energy shined a light.

It saved that entire scene.
Yeah, it was a resuscitation and everybody was like, ‘Wow, maybe we should look to Pittsburgh for this music.’ And then comes Mac Miller, which is a change for the game. Now it’s like hip-hop coming back full circle with the style I represent. It’s this gritty street, organic hip-hop. With Rostrum supporting that, people seem to give a bigger light on the city now.”

Definitely. So you signed to Rostrum, you’re working with Wiz and Mac. You just dropped two singles with them, and now you released Bases Loaded. 
I think it was grand, especially at this point in both of their careers. It’s not even so much being a fellow Rostrum artist. The tracks were things we had to obtain personally. Even talking with Artie and Benjy like, ‘Yo it’s something I can do, but Boaz I’d rather you establish that relationship and make sure you guys are on your own, and you’re all still wavy.’ So when we seen each other, we brought it up, and it was no question. Everything was so well arranged and well articulated. I think we were prepared in putting Bases Loaded out. 

 

Now it’s like hip-hop coming back full circle with the style I represent. It’s this gritty street, organic hip-hop. With Rostrum supporting that, people seem to give a bigger light on the city now.

With putting out Bases Loaded, what were some of the things that you learned now being on Rostrum?
It’s just a different degree of the music industry as I’m learning. I’m on probably my fifth or sixth solo project, that’s even with me naming it Bases Loaded. At this point in my career, it’s like everything is set in place, so you’ve got to do what you’re going to make of it at this point. Everything has been a smooth transition, from running my own company to partnering with a bigger independent company to take us to the next level.”

Was there was no struggle with that for you? You’re making it seem like it was a really clear path just to join Rostrum even after years of being independent. Do you feel like you’ve progressed as an artist since signing?
I don’t think it was necessarily the signing, it was just me growing. That’s what brought me to the signing. It wasn’t like they just signed me because we were good buddies but the talent that they recognize and the goals we set for each other. It’s just about being a precise artist and knowing what you’re doing. There’s so much talent on the playing field that you have to be the best and the most accurate at what you do, and try to keep it as original as possible.

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