Flawless Real Talk has the rapping ability to become one of the greats, and he’s well on his way. Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, Flawless Real Talk, real name Alberto Martinez caught his big break with last year’s appearance on Netflix’ Rhythm + Flow even getting to the grand finale as the series’ runner-up.
At an early age, his stepfather was a tour bus driver so Martinez had the inside scoop on what life was like as a touring artist. As he grew into his teenage years, the trials and tribulations he faced led him to pour his emotions on paper and turning to hip-hop as a form of therapy. Quickly becoming popular within his city through local shows, Flawless was only in Atlanta for two months before winning a Wendy’s competition to open up for Ludacris and Rick Ross at Philips Arena.
He states, “That’s why those shows back home were really important, it molded me and prepared me for that moment. Had I not done those weekly shows back home and trained myself before, I wouldn’t have been ready for that. So I’m grateful.”
Earlier this year in August, Flawless unleashed his powerful new single titled “What A Time,” which unveiled a first-person perspective into his life as he imagines his one-year-old son having to also one day take a knee for social injustice. Additionally, he partners up with live streaming app LIVIT in offering the ultimate fan and artist interaction experience while giving back to charitable causes.
AllHipHop spoke with Flawless Real Talk, who was located back home in Providence, describing it as “the smallest city in the country. We love it.”
AllHipHop: What’s it like being from Rhode Island?
Flawless Real Talk: It’s the smallest city in the country, we love it. A lot of people are from Rhode Island. We have a few actresses like Viola Davis, some hip-hop people like Mike Stud. He’s an independent artist, pretty big out of Rhode Island. AraabMuzik is from Rhode Island, he’s a big producer. We’ve been on the cusp for a little while. Now we’re trying to get there, make more of a name for ourselves.
AllHipHop: How old were you when you went to Atlanta?
Flawless Real Talk: Oh man, I was 19 going to Atlanta and with no plan. Everybody said I was crazy. Because people from Rhode Island, a lot of people in my family have never left. They don’t really know what it’s like. Hearing that somebody’s going to take off to another state with no real plan to follow a dream that they don’t really believe in, it’s crazy. I was really having to prove everybody wrong from home and make it happen in Atlanta.
AllHipHop: What was it like coming to your own musically in Atlanta?
Flawless Real Talk: It was incredible coming into myself, finding myself, finding my sound. I could’ve gone to Atlanta, I could’ve changed my sound and tried to fit in. Try to blow up and take that route, blend in with what was hot at the moment in Atlanta. Going up against the grain and sticking to who I really am allowed me to really flourish and stand out more. The culture of Atlanta is so amazing because they’re so accepting and receptive to everybody. They weren’t really prejudiced to my style, in the sense of it wasn’t trap, it wasn’t good. It was different and they all showed love and I had four wonderful years in Atlanta. Once I started touring independently, I went back home to Rhode Island to be close to my family. With the internet and social media, it allowed us to be more free. It didn’t matter where you are, being able to reach the world. It’s been much better now, being able to be close to the family and still manage my career from here.
AllHipHop: What does the song “What a Time” mean during a time like this?
Flawless Real Talk: “What a Time” really signifies social injustice, it speaks on it. Doesn’t sugarcoat it, doesn’t sugarcoat anything that’s really going on. Speaks on my perspective of it and what I feel in my emotions. I thought it was important to put it out so my fans know where I stand with social injustice. Everybody was in a dark place. The world’s in a dark place right now, putting out anything other than “What a Time” would’ve been an injustice to the people who really needed to hear that. It was important for me to put that out at that moment.
AllHipHop: As the music industry continues to pivot completely from in-person to virtual, talk about the importance of live streaming. Why’s LIVIT the perfect partner?
Flawless Real Talk: Live streaming is more important than ever right now because due to COVID-19, we’re not able to tour. Not being able to tour, we can’t connect with the fans that support us on a day-to-day basis. I do free Meet & Greets before all of my shows. I like to meet, take pictures. I like to see everybody that supports me. That connection really builds a foundation for the future and them continuing to support you. Live streaming still allows us to still keep that connection with the fans to the best of our ability. With LIVIT being the perfect fit, it’s more of an interactive app where the fans can actually connect directly with us. Instead of watching the live stream, they can take part in the live stream. That’s really important for us to have fun with the fans, interact with them, all while giving back to charitable causes.
AllHipHop: Give us an inside look on your first live concert with LIVIT and what that would look like.
Flawless Real Talk: Yes, the first live concert is November 13 at 9pm EST on LIVIT. It’s going to be different than any other concert they’ve seen because not only can you watch the concert, but you can take part in the concert. We’re going to be interacting with the fans during the concert. Talking to the fans, shouting the fans out, fans are going to be able to donate for the charitable causes we’ll be fighting for. We’re going to be able to interact with them during the concert like they’d never been able to do before.
AllHipHop: Who’s an artist that had the biggest impact or influence on your artistry?
Flawless Real Talk: Jay-Z. Being from Providence in the New England area, we’re bred from New York hip-hop. Being that close, Jay’s the GOAT to me. Not only what he’s done musically, but how he’s taken his career to different heights. Becoming a CEO with everything he’s done outside of music has really showed me coming up that I don’t just have to be a rapper. I can be so muchy more, so many other things. I can really, really have ownership in my music, really protect myself and become a boss. The way that he operated and moved in his career really had an influence on me and how I wanted to be when it was all said and done.
AllHipHop: What do you hope to accomplish over the next year?
Flawless Real Talk: We hope to accomplish and give as much as we can through the LIVIT platform. We’d like to establish more of a hip-hop culture on LIVIT. That’s why the partnership is a perfect fit.. I’m bringing a lot of streamers within the hip-hop community who are going to see what we’re doing and want to really be a part of it. Within a year, we’re going to really turn LIVIT into more of a hip-hop based charitable app. I’m excited to see who wants to join in on this journey and be a part of the giving.
AllHipHop: What was your best experience on the show on Rhythm + Flow ?
Flawless Real Talk: The best experience for me was working with Jhene Aiko. Being able to work with established artists already in the industry really gave us a sense of belonging. Being able to perform with her at that level, make such an impact and have such a wonderful performance, was a little bit of validation for us that were in the final five. To say you know, we belong here too. That’s a great moment for me to be able to accomplish that, as well as the finale. Being able to go out on my own and give tribute to my family and know that no matter what the results were, I was going to leave behind an imprint on that show.
AllHipHop: What do you hope to see when it comes to equality?
Flawless Real Talk: First and foremost, it needs to start with accountability for what’s happening. That’s important. Not taking accountability, not getting justice for the things happening aren’t making things any better. I believe we need police reform. I don’t believe we need to defund police, the training needs to be adjusted. The way that they approach situations, the way they’re trained in these matters needs to be adjusted. The system has been in place for a long time. It’s been a long time coming that changes need to be held and brought up with the time so to speak.
AllHipHop: What are you working on now?
Flawless Real Talk: Right now, I’m working on LIVIT. Our focus is going to live streaming and giving that personal experience, that interactive experience with the fans. Really connecting with them on a different level and giving back to these causes. The world needs our help. What better way than to use my platform and my influence to help out and give back? Last year, we had a toy drive for the kids at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in my city. We pulled up with bags full of donations and it made us feel so good. I want to pull up with a box truck this year. I want to continue to give more because it feels great to be able to use my influences in a good way. Be in the media and in the news for positivity as opposed to negativity.