Whether it's tearing up the stage at the Apple stores in NYC or commanding the mic at AllHipHop.com's own Breeding Ground event, SneakerBox Chock has been generating buzz within the Hip-Hop community for some time. However, he is just now sitting down - exclusively with AllHipHop.com - to speak about his own personal story, and in doing so, is demonstrating what it means to triumph over one's own past. Check out AllHipHop.com's powerful interview with SneakerBox Chock!
AllHipHop.com: Thank you for deciding to come to us with your story, especially since it is of such a sensitive nature. You have been making noise within the Hip-Hop community over the last few years or so, but you are deciding to discuss this now. Why now, and why did you specifically come to AllHipHop.com, Chock?
SneakerBox Chock: First off, thanks for giving me the soapbox to be able to share. As far my life goes, I speak about it all the time. Maybe not as in depth as I will in this interview but, I definitely speak about it all the time. I have to. Being vocal about it, is my medicine. It's how I cope with it. It's how I don't forget. It's how I continue to grow. It's the path that growing up in Camden, New Jersey led me down. It's me!
AllHipHop has supported me from day one. I have the utmost respect for Chuck, Steve, and Grouchy Greg as men and for what they do for Hip-Hop. Chuck is someone I look up to, so what better avenue to travel?
AllHipHop.com: Well said! OK so what happened to you that you want to share? What did you learn from it, and how have those experiences translated towards the man that you are today both in everyday life and within your music?
SneakerBox Chock: When I was 18, I was incarcerated for "allegedly" having some involvement in a homicide. I found myself in the county jail with a quarter of a million dollars set for bail and facing life in prison. After long, stressful court hearings, I ended up being sentenced to 20 years in state prison, in which, I did a few months shy of 10 years and five years on parole. [extra long pause] I learned that life can be altered drastically, in the blink of an eye. Um, I learned that friends are not your friends. More importantly, I learned about me.
AllHipHop.com: What would you say carried you through that situation and led you to really make drastic changes within your life?
SneakerBox Chock: The thought of getting out is what carried me through. When I got locked up, my girl at the time was four months pregnant. So, me and my son both watched each other grow up in prison. After all, I was only 18. I was still a kid myself with plenty of growing up to do. I always told myself that I would be a great father because my own father was absent from my life. And, I felt as though I had already failed at being a good parent due to me being in jail. So, the thought of getting out one day and being a father to my son was what kept me motivated and on track.
And, of course music played a big part. It was the one thing that I could turn to in order to vent, no matter the day or time. No matter the weather. I didn't need to make a phone call, look at any pictures or have anyone listening. All I needed was a melody in my head and my ability to rap.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that you have a sense of duty to share your story and to promote a different path to young men out there who may be heading down that same path that you were on, or is there another reason you feel that sharing your story is important, or is it maybe a combination of the two?
SneakerBox Chock: I definitely feel as though it's my duty to share my experience, but I wouldn't say that I am a role model, 'cause there are still demons that I wrestle with. There are still things about me that I am working on, so I'm not trying to preach and say, do this or do that. I just want to share my life experiences in hopes that someone who has a similar story to mine can look at me as an example. No matter what you have gone through in your life, it's still a chance to pick up the pieces and reach what some would consider unreachable.
I would say that I am in a good space right now, mentally, physically, and spiritually, and I owe a big part of that to my incarceration. But, whether you were incarcerated or not, we have all had a major hurdle in our life that we had to jump. I would like to be an example for those who have gone through life's troubles as well. We all need a person to point to and say, "If he can do it, I can too".
AllHipHop.com: Without naming any names, unless you feel comfortable, [laughter )] do you have any thoughts about the artists out here in the game that promote a life they've never lived? Meaning do you feel any kind of way about the guys out here who glorify being incarcerated without knowing what they're speaking about personally?
SneakerBox Chock: I don't necessarily feel any kind of way cause Hip-Hop is a form of entertainment, and it's also a form of expression. So, if that's how they chose to express themselves, who am I to say they are wrong? But, I will say that if they ever find themselves in that position, they'll definitely have a change of heart about the whole experience [chuckles]. I mean, who wants to be in a small ass jail cell for 23 hours a day? Who wants to be able to only see their family for an hour or two, and only on the weekends? And, that is, if you aren't too far away for them to even come and visit. Who wants to be in a place where time sits still, while the world is moving. So many things had changed when I got out. I was like What The F***?! So, people glorify it without really knowing the effects it has on you.
AllHipHop.com: What does the word 'redemption' mean to you, and how do you know if you have been redeemed?
SneakerBox Chock: I'm not religious at all. So, redemption to me just means bouncing back from something. I would definitely say that I bounced back. At the same time, I feel like I have more redeeming to do. I feel like people acquire certain things and become complacent with just being a step ahead from where they once stood. I won't be complacent until about never! [smiles and winks]
AllHipHop.com: What's up next for you Chock? Can the people look forward to hearing anything new soon?
SneakerBox Chock: I just released a collaboration EP on Election Day with Bueller Da Don, called Election Day. He and I are solo artist, but we also form a group called "The Running Matez". So, it was only right for us to release a project on Election Day. So, that project is currently available via iTunes. My crew (Screwface World Music) is working on a compilation album that should be dropping in the first quarter. And, I'm working on a new solo project called Lucky 4 Me that will be dropping some time in March. So, I'm working. In the meantime, I have plenty of music previously released for people to check out and become more familiar with who I am. I'd like to add a thanks to my family and everyone who supports what I do. Y'all are greatly appreciated.
AllHipHop.com: How can the people find you?
SneakerBox Chock: All the social media outlets...
...Twitter @SneakerBoxChock. Facebook: SneakerBoxChock. Instagram: SneakerBoxChock. SneakerBox Chock everything [laughter]. Also, follow my group on Twitter (@TheRunningMatez), and my website iswww.chockinthebox.com.