(AllHipHop Features)In part 2 of AllHipHop.com’s interview with Skyzoo the Brooklyn emcee shares his thoughts on one of the topics that has consumed New York City Hip Hop over the past month - Trinidad James’ “South Runs New York” rant. While Sky points out that the Atlanta-based rapper was “disrespectful” for making those statements in NYC, he also contends some of the blame for a speech like that to even happen falls on the city itself.
Besides the dust up over Trinidad, Skyzoo also discusses his views on New York’s rising generation of rap stars, why the somewhat common practice of “ghostwriting” stays hidden in Hip Hop, and what his beloved New York Knicks can do to turn the franchise around. And be sure to go back and check out part 1 of AHH’s Q&A where Sky gives details about his latest project with Antman Wonder An Ode To Reasonable Doubt.
Being from Brooklyn, what’s your opinion on Trinidad James' recent comments about the south running New York?
I think a lot of people may have taken it out of context. First of all, the fact that someone would come up here and speak like that in New York just shows where we are as New Yorkers sadly. I don’t think you can go to any other city or region and do that. And that’s not to start a Hip Hop war, but if you go to certain cities and regions they’re not having that, but it seems like in New York we’re okay with that. We allow that for some reason.
Why do you think that is?
Identity crisis. I look at other regions who weren’t running Hip Hop before, but now they run it. Look at the South or the West Coast or the Midwest, whether they were winning as far as the popular consensus in Hip Hop or not, they never lost who they were. When L.A. was winning they were L.A. When they were quiet they were still L.A. The South started running it, and they were still the South. When we were running it we were New York. When we stopped running it we became whoever was running it. That’s the problem. That’s the identity crisis right there. So you’re raising up a generation that doesn’t know how to be New Yorkers.
There are a lot of reasons for that. You can look at the media. You can look at the radio. You can look at TV. We became that to survive. We said, “oh they don’t want this. We got to survive so we gonna sound like Atlanta or Houston or L.A.” Whereas with these other regions they said we may not be winning in the grand scheme of things, but we’re winning where we’re from. We’ll survive until it’s our time. That’s why they were able to still have an identity. L.A. never sounded like the South. Down South never sounded like New York. New York is the only city where cats can say there was a time where heads sounded like they were from over here or down there. We’re the only ones who copped out and did that.
It’s not everybody. You have a lot of artists that stood tall and made New York music. Myself, Torae and Stimuli, Fred The Godson, Mysonne, Maino, obviously The Lox, Troy Ave, French Montana. They’re a lot of artists who stood tall and made New York music regardless.
Going back to Trinidad, obviously it was crazy for him to say that here, but when he’s talking about rap he’s right. It was disrespectful, but he’s right. If you listen to the radio in New York, it's everything but New York. Now there is a little spurt where we’re gonna play some New York records cause he said that, but that will die in a month. It’s like when the Trayvon Martin case happened. Everybody was so militant for about a week after George Zimmerman was found not guilty. A week later everybody was back to being ratchet. It’s the same thing.
[ALSO READ: Mysonne Speaks On Confronting Trinidad James (VIDEO)]
How do you feel about the younger generation of New York rappers?
I think it’s dope as long as heads are being authentic to themselves. It’s just about making the music that you can be proud of. No matter where you’re from. No matter what you listen to… I’m from New York born and raised, die-hard New Yorker, but at the same time I’m a fan of music from the south.
I think T.I.’s Trap Music was a classic. I love Scarface. He’s one of my top emcees ever. Storytelling is immaculate. He taught me how to tell stories. The same way Raekwon, Jay, Nas, and B.I.G. taught me. Andre 3000 is in my top 5 emcees ever. I grow up on Snoop the same way kids in Compton grew up on Snoop. It’s about keeping your identity of who you are while still showing love to everybody else.
But the new artists are dope. Anybody who’s making music that just reflects who they are, at the end of the day you can’t really ask for much more.
I have to ask. What’s going on with your Knicks?
Everything and nothing at the same time. I’m one of those guys that rides out regardless. I was a fan when they were trying to sell Chris Duhon jerseys. It’s rough times. The roster’s not put together right. Sometimes I feel like I’m a G.M., but who am I? I’m just a rapper/songwriter. I don’t run no team. [laughs] We gotta change that point guard situation. We gotta get another big body in there. A whole lot of pieces need to be put together.
I do feel like in a couple of years, if we don’t make any stupid moves between now and then, we could be something, because the cap will be wide open. Right now we’re dying off this Amar’e [Stoudemire] situation. We’re dying off these contracts we have on us.
Amar’e comes off the table, you offer LaMarcus Aldridge a nice deal, you put a couple of pieces together to get a [Rajon] Rondo in a year, now you’re dealing with something. You can’t do those things if you have Amar’e’s contract for this year and next year. It’s tough, and lord knows I talk so bad about The Nets. I hate that team.
Do you still follow the Hip Hop battle scene?
Somewhat. I do enjoy and respect it. I am a fan of it. I don’t watch every week when it’s a battle going on, but I feel like I know enough about who they are and what they’re doing. I know a good amount of them personally. Cortez is my man. Loaded Lux is my man. I know DNA, Charlie Clips. I’ve known Serius [Jones] for a while. I know [Math] Hoffa real well. I know a good amount of them just from coming up in the New York scene. Before the battle thing really popped we all knew each other just from the scene.
Your Twitter bio says “ghostwriter.” Have you written for any well-known rappers?
Yeah, I’ve helped people out, rap and R&B. That’s something I want to continue to do more. I just love to write stories and create music, so whether it’s me in front of the camera or me behind it, as long as the story I’ve created is being told I’m with that. That’s something I want to do well on into my career.
You mentioned you write for R&B artists too. I know lyricism is the core of Hip Hop, but people in the industry know that a lot of rappers work with others when it comes to writing. When you’re in the studio you bounce ideas of each other. Why are rappers so afraid to admit that they had a co-writer? R&B artists will say they didn’t write the entire song, but in Hip Hop you can’t say that you didn’t write every single syllable.
In R&B, job one is to be a great singer. Whether you can write or you can dance, all that stuff is additional. As long as you can sing you’re straight. No you can’t write, but it’s all good because if somebody writes that record for you and you can blow that through the roof with your harmonies or a certain cadence, that’s the job. With a rapper, we don’t sing. We don’t dance. It’s literally just about rapping. It’s like we’re having a three-point shooting contest and you can’t shoot. It becomes, "wait a minute. Why are you even here?" That’s why it’s so taboo and hidden under the table in Hip Hop.
[ALSO CHECK OUT: Mixtape Download: Skyzoo [#BGA] – The Penny Freestyle Series]
Stream/download Skyzoo and Antman Wonder's An Ode To Reasonable Doubt below.
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