If you don’t know who Chris Webby is, well than it’s time to get familiar with the 23 year-old , Norwalk, Connecticut native who has been selling out shows across the country for the past couple of years. Webby, who helped usher in a new school Hip-Hop movement and mentality several years ago, has been steadily building upon the grassroots foundation he created while simultaneously honing his skills. Having worked with artists like: Freeway, Mac Miller, Joell Ortiz, Big K.R.I.T., and more, Webby has shown and proven his worth time and time again.
AllHipHop.com got a chance to speak to Webby as he prepares for the release of his first commercial project, There Goes the Neighborhood, which will drop later this month. Webby spoke on his come-up, his thoughts on other white rappers, his work ethic, and most importantly, what’s next for the “Suburban Commando.”
Introducing, the newest addition to the Breeding Ground, Chris Webby…
AllHipHop.com: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Who is Chris Webby?
Chris Webby: I started rapping in 6th grade, so I’ve been rapping now for 12, going on 13 years, so more than half my life which, I think, speaks volumes about at least my lyrical capacity because there’s a lot of dudes who just see rappers blowing up nowadays and they think they can do it by putting a couple of songs on YouTube, and on occasion some of them do do it. You know, the Internet is a great thing. It’s made artists like me possible but it’s also made a ton of sh*tty artists possible too. I have been doing it for a very long time though. I grew up ciphering, and freestyling has always been a huge part of my forte. I grew up doing that and battling back in the day and the music has come over time and it’s just been a crazy experience. All of the grassroots growth, from the bottom to where it’s at now, which definitely isn’t the top but we’re getting there.
AllHipHop.com: Would you say that going back a few years, that you always wanted to rap and you used the outlets of parties and school functions at college to show your skills, or were you just messing around and realized that you could make a career out of rapping?
Chris Webby: Definitely the first option. I’ve always wanted to do this and I used all those parties as like my first audiences, you know, freestyling at keg parties. I mean drunk people are easy to entertain, everybody knows that, so you throw out a couple punch lines and get all the sorority girls going crazy, get with them later that night. Battling used to also be a huge part of what I did, but I barely do it anymore. There’s nothing more gratifying then just lyrically slaughtering someone in front of a crowd, like some modern day gladiator’s.
AllHipHop.com: So did you end up graduating college?
Chris Webby: Not even close. I got kicked out of Hofstra [University] sophomore year when my buddies robbed a drug dealer and I drove the car like a dumb*ss of course and then got ratted out and went through a real nice legal situation which sucked *ss. In retrospect though, the reason that I am where I am is because if I was trying to balance classes and this, it just wouldn’t work.
AllHipHop.com: Sounds like a major blessing in disguise.
Chris Webby: It absolutely was.
AllHipHop.com: So since you just mentioned the robbery, I have to ask if you have heard anything or have any thoughts on the supposed shot that Mac Miller took on his Blue Slide Park song “One Last Night” where he raps “A million people in the world, I don’t hate one, even them dummies robbin people with some fake guns, make mistakes young boy”?
Chris Webby: Yeah, I heard about that and checked it out cause I have to stay on top of what people are saying. I don’t think he would take a shot at me, I really don’t, the last time I checked me and Mac were cool, it’s not like we talk everyday but you know. I don’t see any reason why he would. We’re not like buddy-buddy on the phone all the time but it’s not cause we’re not cool, we’re just busy doing our own sh*t. I see him around every once in awhile; it’s good, you know, it’s love.
AllHipHop.com: Well it’s just interesting because it’s coming on the heels of the whole Machine Gun Kelly and Yelawolf “beef” that the Internet ran away with recently. We don’t need all these dope white rappers going at each other, what’s the deal?
Chris Webby: Exactly, exactly. As far as I know, Me and Mac are cool. I met Yelawolf in Atlanta the other day, I saw Machine Gun Kelly at a XXL showcase last week, I try to keep it pretty cool with everybody. I’m not a fan of Sam Adams, but those that are my fans know about that.
AllHipHop.com: Well since we’re on the topic of white rappers, what are your thoughts on these artists individually starting with Yelawolf?
Chris Webby: He is very dope. I really, really like his music. That new Kid Rock song he just released, “Let’s Roll,” is sick. He’s got Shady Records behind him, that guy is about to make things happen, he’s not going anywhere.
AllHipHop.com: What about Eminem?
Chris Webby: Eminem is my favorite rapper of all time. In my opinion, he’s the greatest rapper of all time; I know everybody has their opinions but I mean, to not have him in your Top 5 is ludicrous if you ask me.
AllHipHop.com: And Machine Gun Kelly?
Chris Webby: MGK is cool too. I know a little bit less about him, cause he kind of popped up recently. He’s got the Diddy backing which is interesting, and it’ll be interesting to see how that whole situations pans out. But yeah, he’s cool, he’s got a dope flow. The comparison I hear the most is between me and Mac though because we have a fan base that overlaps so much. But you’d be an idiot to say that we sound anything alike; our styles are so different. It’s really skin color, that’s the only thing in common there.
AllHipHop.com: Well you have to know that everyone is going to go to that first anyway, that’s just a part of the whole game.
Chris Webby: Of course, of course. I understand how people think.
AllHipHop.com: You actually got to perform at a CMJ showcase in October with Machine Gun Kelly. What was the whole New York music festival scene like?
Chris Webby: It’s an interesting vibe because it was at Highline Ballroom, which I’ve personally sold out as my own headlining show, so there was definitely a big Webby following there but there were also people who were like “get this f*cking white boy off the stage,” just because people are very quick to judge. I feel like a lot of people who don’t like me, really haven’t given me a chance or they’ve been hearing the wrong songs, because it’s not just about smoking weed or f*cking b*tches, I mean I do talk about that, I like to do that sh*t, but there’s a lot more to it then that.
AllHipHop.com: What does it mean to you when you look at yourself in the mirror and can say “holy sh*t, I’ve sold out Highline Ballroom by myself and I don’t even have a deal”?
Chris Webby: That sh*t is mad gratifying and I really think it’s the best way to do it ‘cause you can just look back at your accomplishments and know that you f*cking did it yourself. I would say, between me and my manager Dana, the two of us, we really linked up last year around July and that’s sort of how everyone… I kind of already had a little fan base put together but before that we were kind of just spinning the wheels and then in the past year we’ve taken it to a lot of new levels. Me and Dana are just tag-team independent and just been going at it. We have other people obviously who assist and help and sh*t, other boys who drive and sh*t, I’m just here chilling, playing Call of Duty with my DJ right now.
AllHipHop.com: So you’ve pretty much done the whole independent hustler thing on your own for a few years with great success. What is it about the work ethics of new, emerging artists that has worked so well for you guys?
Chris Webby: Well, I mean, I definitely have to attribute a lot of it to the internet; most of it, cause it’s just a new outlet to get your shit up there, like anybody can put something up on YouTube and you could blow up because of it nowadays, you really can. So, I mean, how many times have we been seeing that happen over the past couple of years, you know?
AllHipHop.com: More like in the past couple months.
Chris Webby: Yeah, exactly. It’s very interesting and like I said, it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s great cause it lets a lot of artists who might not be able to get out there, get out there. Kids like me who didn’t have connections growing up. We don’t know the President of Universal Records, we don’t really have a shot without the internet, so I mean that’s great but it also allows a lot of f*cking sh*tty artists to get out there too, but what are you gonna do?
AllHipHop.com: Are you personally looking for a major deal or would you prefer to stay grinding on the independent, hustler route that you’ve been on?
Chris Webby: Honestly, one of the dudes I look up to most, especially business wise is Tech N9ne, I think that guy is a f*cking genius.
AllHipHop.com: That’s interesting.
Chris Webby: He makes a sh*tload of money, he works his *ss off, but honestly, as lazy as I may be, I never stop working for Rap. This is the one thing that I really do love and for me it’s not work. I’ll be up in the studio till four in the morning and that’s not work, that’s fun. We had a 20-stop tour in July; it beat the sh*t out of me, it was tough you know, we had to get up, we drove from New York to Cali and back, like that was no walk in the park but it was fun. That hour and fifiteen minutes on stage each night makes everything worth it.
AllHipHop.com: Are you currently still touring or did you just wrap one up?
Chris Webby: I had a West Coast tour booked for this month that we rescheduled for when the EP drops, so we’ve got a lot of new music. The EP, There Goes the Neighborhood, is really going to be the best product that I’ve put out thus far. It’ll be the first one on iTunes, so it’ll be the first time I actually see money off of my music, and I want to wait for that to drop before we go out on that tour and then I’ll probably hop on a big-*ss tour after that that’ll make like 30 or 40 stops, something like that.
AllHipHop.com: I got you. You’ve released something like five or six mixtapes in your career; for someone who is about to discover Chris Webby, which is thee mixtape that you want a potential fan to hear?
Chris Webby: I would say the last two tapes for different reasons. Webster’s Laboratory is the most recent, and that is in like the classic mixtape form, there’s some industry beats, there’s some original sh*t, but it’s got a real mixtape feel to it, and then I would say that after you hear that, go check out Best of the Burbs which is the one before that. That has a much more album feel to it because everything is original on that one and the songs are a lot more album driven. So I would say those two, and then you’ll get a good understanding of what I do and what I’m all about.
AllHipHop.com: In terms of production and guest verses on your projects, do you tend to keep it mostly in-house with your crew or do you accept a lot of stuff from other people?
Chris Webby: I mean, I’m open to working with whoever, especially when it comes to producers. I’ve worked with some awesome producers like Statik Selektah. A hot beat is a hot beat though, so it really doesn’t matter who makes it. When it comes to artists, I’m still working on getting myself up. I’m not really in a position to be helping out upcoming dudes right now, like throwing verses to people. So I’m working with whoever really wants to work with me. Without a label backing, it’s all hard to get sometimes because they might not know who you are, your managers asking, it’s not like you’ve got some super powerful dudes asking but for people that want to really look, they see the hustle and they can’t help but to respect what I’ve done whether they like the music or not.
AllHipHop.com: Absolutely. Well that’s the perfect segue-way into talking about the EP, There Goes the Neighborhood, which will be your first commercial release. What can you tell me about the project?
Chris Webby: It’s going to be on a level above anything that I’ve produced thus far. The sound quality, to the songs, the beats, you know, it’s going to pretty f*cking crazy. I mean, we have a Statik beat on there, we have a couple of Sap beats, that’s the dude who made “Donald Trump” for Mac, and he’s a cool dude, I’ve been f*cking with him. I’ve got more beats from a bunch of people, it’s just going to be a dope release, I’m excited for it and to see how it does.
AllHipHop.com: What about in terms of features? You’ve been on tracks with the likes of Freeway, Joell Ortiz, Big K.R.I.T, and many more. Did you call in any favors for the EP?
Chris Webby: Actually, a bunch of the features are going to be last minute, we’re working on them now. You’re just going to have to wait to see and hear it, but yes, there will be some big features on the EP.
AllHipHop.com: Let me get something exclusive…
Chris Webby: Well, one that I know for sure that is definitely going to be on there is the track that I recorded with Statik down at his spot, and that is going to be with Slaine, who’s an underground legend from Boston. I love underground Hip-Hop, so as much as my fan base may not have been ready to hear the same kind of music, cause they’re a lot younger and sh*t, that for me was dope and the track with Slaine is f*cking crazy. That one’s going to be real tight. And the others, I don’t want to say anything without everything being finalized before I have an actual verse in my computer.
AllHipHop.com: You said you listen to a lot of underground Hip-Hop, do you mean artists like Necro and Ill Bill?
Chris Webby: Yeah man, Ill Bill, Jedi Mind Tricks, Apathy, who is actually a close friend at this point because we both rep Connecticut; that’s my dude and it was really cool for him to extend his hand to me.
AllHipHop.com: Well he is someone who is been around for awhile on both ends of the spectrum both as the artist and as the businessman so that’s definitely a great person to have in your corner.
Chris Webby: Of course, of course. I listened to him when I was in middle school, like that’s pretty sick you know what I mean? That’s one of the coolest things; getting to meet and work with other people that I grew up listening to. It’s really a crazy concept.
AllHipHop.com: I can only imagine. Who are some other artists that you’re feeling right now? Is there anyone that you’re listening to more of now than you were before?
Chris Webby: I love J. Cole; his new album is crazy. I can’t wait to hear Yelawolf’s album. I just discovered this dude Hopsin recently, someone told me download his album, and I checked it out and that dude is f*cking nice. I just like dudes who are very lyrical ‘cause that’s what I grew up listening to; it’s kind of like the East Coast thing. Punchlines have always been a huge part of what I do.
AllHipHop.com: Who is Chris Webby in three words?
Chris Webby: Motivated. Lyrical. Goofy.
AllHipHop.com: Perfect Webby. Thanks for your time.
Chris Webby: Thank you!
Download “Chris Webby – Webster’s Laboratory” Mixtape!
For more information on Chris Webby visit ListentoWebby.com