Skyzoo: Commercial or Underground; My Interpretation Part 1

With video after video being released for his most recent project The Salvation, Skyzoo continues to keep listeners tuned in even if the major radio stations across the country don’t always play his music. Skyzoo understands the history of the hip hop game, and is well connected and well respected in the game, but his last project had no features other than production assistance from the usual suspects 9th Wonder, Nottz, Black Milk, Just Blaze, and Cyrus the Great.  There is a serious tone throughout the album, as Skyzoo paints pictures that are as vivid at the images seen in his Saving Grace video series that was released in concurrence with the album.  But don’t think Skyzoo  hasn’t reached the more mainstream audiences across the globe.   Skyzoo’s music has been featured on ESPN, MTV, BET and a whole host of other places since the album’s release thanks to the power of indie label Duck Down Records.  Take a look at how Skyzoo  creates his music videos, what its like being with Duck Down.AllHipHop.com:   What’s up man? Skyzoo: Everything’s good. I can’t call it. Just reaching out for this interview, nah mean.  AllHipHop.com:   Word, that’s whats up.   So, getting into it, I saw that you had a new video out recently, right?.  Tell us about that, the video and song concept.  Skyzoo: Yeah, it just came out two weeks ago. “Easy to Fly.”  Well, with the video, like the majority of my videos, I come up with the concept myself.  I always write the treatment pretty much myself.  The directors that I worked with have been incredible, and they all have brought their opinions to the table, and just expanded on whatever I did.    But, I’ll always have the idea, and I’ll go to the director, and I’ll be like, “  You I want to do this, or I wanna do that.” Like, I may have an Idea from Saved By The Bell, and I wanna do this for my video, and this is where I want to go. So, with “Easy to Fly,” it was no different. And, I wanted to make a video that reflected what the record was about, but could make people think, and bring people in that may not necessarily know me, or heard the record before.  I wanted to do something that was familiar to them.  So, instead of seeing a video where you see a girl get in bed, or you see me pull up in a Rolls Royce, or something crazy like that, I figure I’d do it centered around something that people are familiar with, like the movie Love Jones.  AllHipHop.com:  Right.  That’s a classic movie. Skyzoo: You know, the movie Love Jones, to me, is one of the dopest movies of all times. One of my favorite movies of all times.  The way they were able to take a story of love, particularly black love; without making it corny or cheesy.  They still showed all the aspects of it, which I thought was great.  I know overall, that it’s a movie that every black female on the planet loves. [Laughing] EVERY SINGLE ONE.   So, I knew it would work.   If we did it right, it would work. Because you can take a concept, and do it wrong, and people hate it. And so, I took the movie to my man Court Dunn, showed him the movie. I put him on to it, showed him the movie, and he was like, “ Nah,  it’s sick. You can definitely pull this off.” And we pulled it off, and it came out great.  AllHipHop.com:  Yeah, man. It was classic, I thought.  Just like the “Popularity” joint you did.  I liked the Saved by the bell concept for that.  I even remember seeing you on ESPN. Skyzoo: Yeah, I was on NBA Shoot Around.  AllHipHop.com:  How do you think that impacts your career? And how that ended up coming together? Skyzoo: The first thing, the NBA Shoot Around deal came from Duck Down [Records].  Also with seeing me on Time Warner Cable and MTV U , came with being part of a label with Duck Down.  Being a part of a label, all that stuff can happen. And all of that stuff is great. I think what it does is just put you in that light.  When you’re a kid and your  coming up, or even when you get older, when you want to do this full time, and this is what your life is about; you want this to be the end all, be all for you, that’s one of those signs.  Being able to say , “ I’m on MTV or ESPN; I’m on demand and stuff like that,  you know, is a sign of success.  I don’t think that it changes you, but it does show you that  your starting to make it, if you haven’t already made it already.  AllHipHop.com:  True. That’s what’s up, man.  It definitely does great things for the artist. I saw that Kidz In The Hall had something on ESPN too, on Sports Center. So, that’s a good look. Duck Down is really doing their thing with that.  Can you talk about what it’s been like working with Duck Down, and your experience with it all? Skyzoo: Umm, Duck Down has been real dope.  As a Hip-Hop Indie, they’re definitely the strongest indie label out, as far as hip-hop labels. Because they make moves like a major [label],  and there aren’t too many other indies that can get you those looks. Like you said, with ESPN and MTV and BET; those things happen when you’re on Duck Down.It may not happen all the time, and it may not happen to every artist. But, the option is still there. It’s not far-fetched. It’s not like you can be on Duck Down and say, “ There’s no way imma get this mainstream look, or that mainstream look.” There’s a good chance that they can find a way and make something happen.  So overall, you know, Duck Down has been a real good label to work with. They’re real supportive. I think that the best thing with them is the creative freedom that they give you.  You know what I mean? They let you do what you wanna do musically. And do what u wanna do as far as your set up and your campaign.  If you come to the table with a good idea, there not gonna shoot it down just because they didn’t think of it, or you didn’t go with what they [Duck Down] wanted to go with.   AllHipHop.com:  That Saving  Our Grace series was something that I wanted to ask you about.  Because I was watching a few, and the one that hit me the most was the Doubt joint. What was your whole idea behind the Saving  Our Grace and what you were trying to do with that? Skyzoo: Well, with the Saving Our Grace, I wanted to do something that brought people into the world of the album. Because I felt that the album was more than just 16 song. You know, a lot of people put 15 or 16 songs together. But, this was a album.  The Salvation is a serious album, and its cohesive, by telling stories, and it’s even emotional at times. It paints pictures, and it goes a lot of places. So, what I wanted to do is bring you in the world of it. I feel like the album was bigger than me. The album stands on its own.  And I felt like, there’s so many concepts and stories that are on the album, that I wanted people to realize that, and what was to be expected.   AllHipHop.com:  What’s up with the  Barrel Brothers project with Torae. Is that an album that you guys are working on that’s going to be coming up?  Skyzoo:  [Laughs]  It’s crazy, cause I’ve been asked about that a lot lately!  And, that’s a rumor. That’s a straight up rumor.  I don’t know where the title came from; nothing. You know, I remember talking to Torae, because me and him are like family; we kick it almost every day; whether in person, e-mail, or phone, we are literally like family.  And I remember kicking it with him, and I was like, “ Yo, have you been on Wikipedia lately?” And he was like’ “ Nah.” So, I was like, “ Yo, on  Wikipedia,  it says that we have a album coming out called The Barrel Brothers Compilation.” And we both just burst out laughing. (Laughing) Like, Yo, somebody actually sat, and took the time to come up with a title, and the whole deal, and ran with it. (Laughing). It’s kinda funny, but at the same time, I guess it’s a complement because somebody cared that much to actually go through the trouble to do that. Somebody said I’m gonna create a title and say that they have an album coming out.  So I guess it meant that much to somebody  for us to do an album.  But, nah, there’s no album or anything in the works. Me and Tore[Torae] are like family, when you see us, we’re always hanging out together. We continue to support each other, whether it’s on records together or on shows, were always holding each other down.  But, who knows, something may happen in the future; we may do something later on. But, as of right now, there’s no Barrel Brothers coined or anything like that.  AllHipHop.com:  The fans are calling for it clearly.  Now, can you talk about the local radio stations in New York and your opinions of them, and who plays your music?  How do you feel about that situation? Skyzoo: Well, with radio in New York, it’s just like radio anywhere else. It definitely a hard game to get into because  radio is real… It’s real corporate.  No matter what genre of music you’re talking about; It’s corporate. Whether people know that or not. But, at the same time, it’s good that you have people like your DJ Enuff, like DJ Self, like DJ Quiz, and Peter Rosenberg who go the extra mile to try to break new records or get new artist on.  But, they are willing to give people a shot, when they can. Now, that doesn’t mean that it happens every day, because it is still a game.  The game is a game. It is corporate, and you do have your 20 records that you have to play all day, because it’s a part of the game.  But, they do their job, but they also do the job of trying to break new records, and break new artist, and give people a chance. And, at the end of the day, that’s all you could really ask for. So, the people that have played my music, are the people that I’ve named.  Enuff and Dj Self over at Power[105].  DJ Quiz and Peter Rosenberg. All those type of people that play records. But I think beyond the major stations like your Hot 97, and Power 105, you also have Sirius Satellite Radio, which is heard everywhere, all around the world. People like Dj Eclipse; People like Green Lantern, you know, all those people play new records and support all the time.  Self has a radio show on there[Sirius XM Satellite] as well and he plays records all the time.  It’s dope, cause you get a little bit of both. 

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