“Music isn’t what it used to be and it’s societies fault. Society chooses to accept the less than quality music that is being pushed on us today. You can’t spray cologne on a garbage bag and expect it to turn into a bouquet of flowers.”
Check out the interview with BlackList exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.:
BlackList: We started off as solo artists. Rip (pictured front left) started his journey at the age of 15. Primarily making crunk/club music he made 2 solo mix tapes during his solo stent. Sin (pictured back right) started his journey at the age of 12. He started off engineering and producing beats before trying his hand in rapping. Once Sin decided to rap he made 3 solo mix tapes and 2 albums making primarily horrorcore/shock rap.
We met and decided to do a few collaboration tracks. After receiving great feedback from our fan bases we decided to make a collaboration mixtape. An opportunity came about to where we were able to open up for a known artist in our hometown for a fee. After speaking with the event promoter and booking agent we agreed to pay the fee to perform at this show; however, after every attempt to pay the funds we would keep getting shut out by being ignored. We felt as if we were being blacklisted. At this point we decided that we would for a group and call ourselves BlackList.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
Rip: Don’t conform. Don’t make music just to try and please an audience. Make music for what you believe in. Stay strong to your values.
Sin: Be yourself. You are your biggest critic. Don’t be quick to react to criticism. You can benefit from every ounce of criticism that you receive. Stay true to yourself and have your own style, don’t copy the next man.
What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
Sin: Everyone thinks they can do what we do. Nowadays everyone is an artist. Being an artist used to be a rare thing, now everyone claims they can do what you do and swears that they are the next big thing. Also being able to support a family and a dream is rough. The fact that so many people are artists now it’s hard to get people to give you a shot or take you seriously.
Rip: Being both a father and an artist at the same time and being able to maintain both positions.
We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
Rip: In the streets face to face with people. When people see you in person it builds a relationship with them versus people thinking that you’re putting it on the internet waiting for a shot.
Sin: I agree with Rip, although we do use social media to promote just because it’s almost a necessity in this day and age. Most people prefer digital music verses hard copies. I’m a firm believer in face to face interactions. To me it solidifies that you’re about your business and not just the next local rapper. It’s also a great way to make new connects and build beneficial relationships.
Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
Rip: We are from a rural area in Virginia called Culpeper. Most of the other artists in our town make more of a mainstream product. The fans in our area can be difficult to grasp, but once you have their attention they become loyal followers.
Sin: I would have to say to just take Rip’s word on the artists because I don’t focus on other people. My main concern is BlackList. I don’t have issues with any of the other artists and I commend them on their craft and we are always open to work with other artists, but I don’t focus on them. As far as the fans go it can be difficult, but as Rip said once you got them you got them.
Where do you see yourself a year from today?
Rip: Breaking out of Virginia and reaching the entire DMV growing BlackList as a brand and not just a musical artist.
Sin: I agree with Rip. Breaking out of Virginia and growing our name as a brand as well as being the go to guys for help. We enjoy helping other people whether it’s local artists, businesses, or charities.
Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
Rip: For me the people I look up to are the group SlaughterHouse and Kevin Gates. In my opinion these people went through incredible odds to become who they are today and they stay relevant in the industry. My biggest inspirations are my family and me just wanting to do better.
Sin: My biggest inspirations are my family (my brother Meatchi included), my work ethic, and Rip. Rip pushes me to the next level constantly and always has a way to inspire me to do and be more. The people I look up to are Rittz and Kevin Gates. I look up to them because even after all of their trials and tribulations they still managed to grind, support families, and come out on top.
How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
Sin: I don’t listen to the radio. It all sounds the same to me. The improper use of auto tune is ridiculous. Half of the time I can’t even understand what they are saying. Most of their songs have no concept or meanings except for the usual get money, get girls, and do drugs. Music isn’t what it used to be and it’s societies fault. Society chooses to accept the less than quality music that is being pushed on us today. You can’t spray cologne on a garbage bag and expect it to turn into a bouquet of flowers.
Rip: Unlike Sin I do listen to the radio. I partially agree with what Sin said, but I guess figuratively speaking you have to look through the trash to find the diamonds. If I choose to feel that the industry doesn’t support artists like BlackList then I choose to give up and that’s something that I refuse to do.