With a sound that combines Hip Hop lyrics with the sultry vocal stylization of R&B, Chicago native Andreus hopes to carve out a place for himself in the saturated R&B scene. In the way of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, Andreus wants to bring the reality of the streets back to Rhythm and Blues. Passionate and convicted, Andreus refuses to have his sound dictated by the current monotony of urban entertainment, and he pledges to be a source of reflection and thought in the mundane sea of “sex me” crooners.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: You are pretty self-contained as an artist. You produce, you write, you do everything…Is it harder for an artist to break into the industry when you don’t have some famous producer or industry suit pumping your name?
Andreus: Actually coming form Chicago it’s hard to break into the business. There’s no platform here. We’re not really recognized as a city with a vast amount of talent. So I would say the hardest part is just being out of Chicago and being independent.
AHHA: Did you ever think about switching your home base to New York or California?
Andreus: The east coast is really taking to me, so yeah it crosses my mind, but I know I can do it from here. Ya got Kanye West coming out of here holding a lot of things down, but even he left. I don’t know, I suppose to go to New York in about another couple of weeks and I’m gonna see – if I like it I might be there.
AHHA: You used to rap. Why the transition to singing?
Andreus: Everybody from my mother to my friends was saying, ‘man you cold on the emceeing, but man you got a voice, and with a voice that good it don’t make sense to waste it’. But I wanted to sing about what I rapped about, so that’s where I come up with the street lingo, [reminiscent] of Curtis [Mayfield]. I was more or less conscious like a gangsta rapper, but I just started back singing like two years ago.
AHHA: Did you ever think about doing like a singing-rapping combination kinda like Lauryn Hill or Novel?
Andreus: Yeah, I was maybe think on my next album maybe kinda doing that. It just depends on my direction. I kinda did that on my current album – there’s a song called “Ghetto Music,” where I do some rapping.
AHHA: Your moms is from Mississippi, and you have a song entitled “Mississippi,” is there a connection?
Andreus: My mother was born and raised in Mississippi, my fathers mother…every member of my family, and as a kid I grew up there in summer times. My mother would send us down south to keep us out of trouble. I hadn’t been there in years, and I had a dream one time that I was there and I was fishing with my uncle that I hadn’t seen in twenty-something years, and that’s where that song got it’s fire from.
AHHA: It seems like R&B is pretty saturated right now, and it even feels like it’s at a creative halt. You’re either a neo-soul cat or you’re a Hip Hop/R&B act. What do you think that’s about, and what do you think will get R&B over this creative hump?
Andreus: It’s corporate man. Hip Hop was our answer cause we’re the generation X’ers and the only thing we had was Hip Hop. Once they figured out that Hip Hop was the new language and Hip Hop is keeping these kids out of trouble, they used cats like NWA as scapegoats and gangsta rappers to glorify Hip Hop and now all you here in Hip Hop is ‘I’ll kill you’, ‘my bitch this’, ‘my bitch that’.
What it sends is disturbing messages to kids instead of having a variety – and it’s the same philosophy with R&B I feel. As long as R&B is disrespectful to a women and disrespectful to ourselves you’ll hear it a million times a day…
But you get a cat like myself and you’re not gonna hear it, cause corporate America don’t want our youths to hear a good positive message. Everything we create, they use it and we shoot ourselves in the foot with it. People like myself and other artists just need to rally together and keep pushing it to the radio and program directors. I mean, you hear the same song a million times a day. The Black music scene is horrible right now.
AHHA: With that said, what does Andreus bring to the table?
Andreus: Andreus is bringing what Curtis and Marvin brought thirty years ago. I spend a lot of time talking about relationships. I spend time talking about what happens in the hood, what we’re going through – real things that real Black people go through, cause what you seeing on the video, that ain’t how we living out here – that’s an illusion, just a real small fraction of us. These young boys need some new stuff and that’s what I’m providing right now.
AHHA: Any last words for the people?
Andreus: Real music ain’t dead. I’m holding up the candle for all the Jill Scott’s, Maxwell’s, and D’Angelo’s.
AHHA: Yell out your website for the people.