(AllHipHop Features) In the current Hip Hop era, many fans look to their favorite music performer to hit them with bars as well as belt out melodies. The “rapper-singer” tag has become so popular the Grammys even renamed an award to specifically cover the genre-crossing category.
New York City-based artist OnCue is a new school representative that regularly puts his rapping and singing talents on display. Cuey’s latest EP once again intersects multiple musical styles.
After announcing he was an Angry Young Man on his 2014 project, OnCue is now telling the public You Knew All Along. The 6-track collection includes Just Blaze's protégé spitting on tracks like “Sip” and serenading the ladies on tunes like “On and Off.”
Get to know more about the You Knew All Along creator in AllHipHop.com’s interview with OnCue.
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When did you know you wanted to be a recording artist?
Growing up, I was always obsessed with music. My brother is 7 years older than me, and around age 3 or 4 he'd bring home cassettes of Nas, Kris Kross, sh-t even Keith Sweat. I looked up to my older brother, so naturally I started to love what he loved. Then, throughout my whole childhood I'd constantly watch Rap City: Tha Basement when I got home from school. I was hooked super young. I think I wrote my first raps around 9, believe it or not.
How did you first connect with Just Blaze?
Before moving to New York and living in the suburbs outside of Hartford, Connecticut, the internet was really my only connection to the outside world. Long story short, I paid a lot of early dues doing graphic design for random people in the industry. One of those people - Bald God - eventually years later played my stuff for Just, and we had a meeting about a week after.
What have you learned from working with him?
Just is a big music guy, through and through. I've learned a lot from him over the course of working with him: just make sure the music is great, first and foremost, and don't jump the gun on anything, let it come naturally.
How has the internet played a role in your career?
You know, as I previously said — the internet is everything to my career. Without it, I wouldn't have found a pirated copy of Photoshop. Without it, no one would know who the f-ck I am. My whole fan base and a lot of close industry friends I've made over the years is because of the internet. I owe my whole career to the internet. I'd be lying to say otherwise.
How is You Knew All Along different from Perfectly, Tragically Flawed?
You Knew All Along is really a compilation rather than a project. YKAA was not planned, it just really happened. Whereas, Perfectly, Tragically, Flawed is really a short album. Myself and [PTF producer] Maki really sat back and thought about how I should sound coming back out. PTF was days upon days in the studio, working for a certain goal.
On "Sip," you say this is a "brand new Cue"? What has changed about OnCue?
I can't explain it as well as I wish I could. I've had some ups and downs in my career, and I feel like I've made it on the other side without a scratch on me. I feel very much clearheaded these days. I feel as if I know what to do now. I've never really been more focused.
What inspired the subject matter for "43 ‘God’"?
Life - as cliché as that sounds. I'm a huge Bon Iver fan, and I've had the new album on repeat since it came out in September. For the first time in a long time, over the Summer I found myself slowly creeping into a serious relationship and I just wanted to write about it. That feeling of uncertain positivity. I was just really zoning, and writing is therapeutic.
Willy Wonka - misunderstood businessman or creepy child abuser?
People just want to make some crazy sh-t out of a child's movie. Culture has changed. Back in the day, kids and adults interacting wasn't a weird thing. You're wild for this. Ha.
What are your Top 5 Hip Hop albums by East Coast artists?
Hmm… This question feels so crazy because all the albums that come to mind are old. Damn the East Coast gotta get their crown back. Blueprint by Jay Z, We Are The Streets by The Lox, Ghetto Fabolous by Fabolous, Lord Willin' by Clipse - I know they're VA, but let's keep it honest it's closer to East Coast - It's Dark And Hell Is Hot by DMX, and maybe Ja Rule's 3:36... Too many as I think.