In the past few years, there have been numerous artists representing the city of brotherly love and its unique sound. Electric pianos and soulful singers often encompass thought provoking laid back rhymes. But perhaps the next step for the city will come from nearby Delaware.
Soon to drop his debut album, Hurry Up and Wait, on March 29, Hezekiah proves himself to be a true philosopher of life and the game of Hip-Hop. While examining life’s little inadequacies, he shows the elements of a matured and level-headed MC.
Rarely does a debut artist have as ravenous as an outlook as Hezekiah. This MC was willing to heckle [and battle] a legend, and make outrageous claims to get what he’s after. Some might call it cockiness or brazen arrogance, but perhaps Hezekiah wants it more than most. You be the judge, and read on.
AllHipHop.com: What’s your mission statement?
Hezekiah: To be the illest producer on the mic.
AllHipHop.com: That was Diamond D’s claim. With Kanye and others out there, is that an attainable title?
Hezekiah: When I said that i wanted to be the dopest producer on the mic, I was speaking rhyme-wise. Not a lot of producers focus on both. I want to excel in both. I’m just trying to claim and say who I am.
AllHipHop.com: So who do you admire around you?
HezeKiah:J-Dilla is a dope producer. Other than Dilla and me, no one. I’m not trying to sound cocky, but I have to stake my claim. Who’s going to go up against me, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Madlib? I don’t think so. Again, I’m not trying to sound cocky. I just want to be known as a great rhymer and producer. I want to be nominated and remembered as that. There’s no beef between me and anyone. I’m holding it down for the Beat Society. But today, producers are getting mad jobs. They’re producing scores for films. I’m hoping that everyone can develop together. I’m not trying to take anything from anyone. I want to get a lane and work to get to the top of my game. I’m not a hater. I was just talking to Juju of the Beatnuts about it. He was trying to get his video played on BET. They said that they didn’t break new artists. The Beatnuts have been around for a [fifteen years]. It’s like, “What the f**k!”
AllHipHop.com: You represent Philadelphia?
Hezekiah: Yeah, but I’m originally from Delaware.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me a little about the album.
Hezekiah: While I was writing the album, I was going through a lot. I matured and went through a lot of changes. I used to freestyle a lot of stuff, but I’ve evolved. Now that I’ve evolved, I don’t do some of the same stuff that I used to do. I got tired of being aggressive and battling. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. The album has multiple themes. The tracks only real connection is their soundscape. It’s mostly about self-examination. It tells a story.
AllHipHop.com: Who did you bring in to help you tell that story ?
Hezekiah: Bahamadia, Scratch from the Roots, there’s an up and coming kat named Elean who sings on the album. He’s about to blow up. My little sister Keziah is on a few tracks. Santi White, Chief Kamachi, Richard Raw, also make appearances. It’s like the Philadelphia experience.
AllHipHop.com: Explain your style.
Hezekiah: It’s melodic, traditional, thought and funk. I’m conscious, but also at the same time, p###. It’s not an oxymoron because in life we are all hypocrites. It’s about finding the proper balance between the two. Like I said, I used to freestyle most of my stuff, but now I use a formula of writing down my thoughts. I go back to them later on and organize them. I’m not underground or mainstream. I just do music.
AllHipHop.com: The album was good. It had a nice soulful Philly sound. What took you so long to come out?
Hezekiah: Business was holding me back for a while. I took some time off and went back to my old job for a year. Everyone that I knew started blowing up. They were all like, “When are you gonna put your stuff out?” I had to do self-examination. After a while I was like, “Yo, I gotta do this.” We went through a lot putting out the album, but we all stuck together.
AllHipHop.com: What job did you do when you took time off from rhyming and producing?
Hezekiah: I was a custom painter. I painted houses. That was my nine-to-five gig to pay the bills. I just took some time off to get my business straight.
AllHipHop.com: How’d you get into the game?
Hezekiah: I used to freestyle. I loved it because the object is to push the other person’s buttons. I enjoy that. I’ve been making music since I was 15, and producing since I was 16. I’m a producer first. I’ve had a versatile up bringing in music. My dad was a big Rock fan. My mother and uncle were both in bands. I learned about bridges, chord progression and songs structures at a young age. So, going from producing to rhyming, it was a natural progression.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that the art of freestyling is dead? Who do you think is worthy that’s out right now?
Hezekiah: No, it’s not dead. It’s alive in the battle world. It’s just not as popping as much as other areas of Hip-Hop. 8 Mile brought it back for a minute. Everyone wanted to have a freestyle battle at their show. I think that MC’s get their respect in street credibility and skill credibility. Freestyling gives people rank in skill. They stick to written verses because they’re scared that people are going to hate on it. It’s like the B-boy. It’s never dead. It’s just not popping. There’s probably some ill cats getting wild, but we’ll never see them. Maybe when the next movie comes out.
AllHipHop.com: What artists inspired you when you were growing up?
Hezekiah: Otis Redding. His music was some of the first stuff that I felt. [Kool] G Rap also was a big influence. He has a well-roundedness about him. He had good wordplay can could also tell a story.
AllHipHop.com: What’s the Philadelphia scene like and who are some of the rising stars that are coming out right now?
Hezekiah: Bahamadia, Aaron Livingston, and the Roots. I’ve known them since ‘92. They used to perform on [South] Street. Musiq used to crash on my couch. We’re boys from back in the day. There’s also Elean. Even my little sister, Keziah is a dope rhymer. The Philly scene is really positive. Everyone helps each other out. We all respect and watch out for one another. It’s a good feeling to see your people coming up.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of watching out for each other, we heard you once got into some trouble with Biz Markie?
Hezekiah: Well, I was at a show and The Roots, O.C., Lord Finesse, Group Home. And Biz was performing. Biz was doing a DJ set and messed up a few times. I started heckling him a bit, and he challenged me. So I grabbed the mic. I had been at a Bad Boy party a few nights before and he was spitting some of the same lines. I mouthed along with him, and cats started getting hectic. They wanted to fight because they were like “You can’t do that to a legend.” The Roots had my back though. They were like, “He’s our boy. We can make this a Philadelphia [vs.] New York thing.” I don’t even freestyle anymore. All of that happend in 1994. I’ve grown a lot since then. Like I said, I’ve gotten off of that aggressive tip. I’ve grown and matured a lot since then.
AllHipHop.com: What other stuff have you worked on?
Hezekiah: I wrote on Musiq’s first album. We did a song called, “House Party.” I also produce a lot of singers. I’m working with Elean on his album.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about the current state of Hip-Hop?
Hezekiah: The problem is that Hip-Hop isn’t growing. There was a point in time when everyone had their own style. Now a lot of cats sound the same. I think that I’m apart of the last generation of the true B-boy.
AllHipHop.com: What is the one thing that through out your career that you are thankful for?
Hezekiah: Damn, that’s a hard one. The one thing that I’m thankful for is that I’m able to keep my head above water with all of this. I’m thankful that I’m coming out at a time when all of my family really wants me to succeed, especially my mom. She has supported me since day one. I’m thankful that she’s healthy and happy to see it.
AllHipHop.com: If you could work with anyone dead or alive, who would you work with and why?
Hezekiah: I would work with two artists for different reasons. I like challenges. I would work with Pharoahe Monch. He takes rhyme patterns and content to a level that makes you excel. I would come to the studio and be ready to write a verse. It wouldn’t be to battle him, but to challenge the song and make it the best. Like I said, I like a challenge. I would also work with Nas. I’d like to do a concept joint with him and touch on a lot of different issues. I like how he sticks to the subject. He makes tracks strong from beginning to end. He’d make it a challenge.
AllHipHop.com: What advice would you give to all of the young and up and coming cats in the game?
Hezekiah: Know your history. There’s too many cats that don’t know about the classics. A kid that’s into Jazz would listen to Herbie Hancock. A kid that’s into Rock would listen to Led Zeppelin. Find a voice of your own and flow.