“My biggest piece of advice would be get it how you live. Meaning, if you gotta freestyle on your local block to the OGs do it. Any chance you get to show your skills do it and try your hardest.”

Check out the interview with Zi_DOPE exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

Skilly: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
Zi_DOPE:
It all started in middle school. My friend Scotty was rapping Meek Millz and everyone knew the lyrics expect I. So I started listening to more rap songs seeing how my dad was a singer and loved Sam Cook. High school came and I don’t know how but by then I was full on battle rapping dudes in school. After that stopped and I started freestyling. Now I’m fully doing my thing and grinding.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
My biggest piece of advice would be get it how you live. Meaning, if you gotta freestyle on your local block to the OGs do it. Any chance you get to show your skills do it and try your hardest.

What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
Some of the challenges for me isn’t so much the music but the influence around me. You know who you want to be or the image you want people to see when they hear you but the environment I live in influences me to write about another thing. So portraying an image in the music industry would be the hardest I would say.

We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
I really can’t say there is a formula or one way is better than the other. So many good artists got their chance of glory from all types of platforms such as Soundcloud, local radio, and internet. I would just say if you got music you want people to listen to do what you can to make them hear it even if you gotta slip a mixtape in the mail box.

Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
My city is the toughest. Philadelphia doesn’t like new artists. We don’t want to see each other on. We will verbally say keep grinding but show no support. Every once in a while the city softens up and starts accepting new things. It’s a dangerous city, but if you can win the hearts of fans you will be treated like Allen Iverson.

Where do you see yourself a year from today?
A year from today I see myself with my own unique sound. I do have it now, but it will mature through time. I don’t focus on fame or money or being that guy who quote-un-quote made it. I do this for my guys on the block. I love to just spit and I trust the process.

Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
My biggest inspirations would be poverty. Yes, poverty. Poverty, being poor, or not having enough inspires me to go hard. Who I look up to in today’s world would be Kanye and Kendrick. Those guys are legends.

How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
I like the music today, it’s dope. Older generations always bash the new music of whatever time, but no one cares. I like the energy and that they have fun. If we all continued doing what the oldies did, artists will never progress as far as creativity. For the most part it’s pretty cool.

Where can we contact you and find you online?
Twitter: @zi_dope
Instagram: @zi_dope

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