“The fans and artists in San Francisco are great. The artists are very supportive of each other. In the Bay Area, people don’t let their egos get the best of them preventing them for genuinely being fans of each other. While hip hop is not the most popular genre in San Francisco, the fans that truly appreciate our music will come to just about every show. But generally, most fans are other artists.”
Check out the interview with Watzreal exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
Watzreal: This journey really started when I joined a nonprofit called Beats Rhymes And Life (which uses the creation of rap music as therapy for adolescence) in high school in 2007 as a senior. Before then I was mostly just rapping as a hobby and I was generally too shy to share my rhymes with people. However, when I joined this organization I started to understand the power that I held as an emcee and the power that lied within hip hop. After spending an hour with this organization they referred me to another nonprofit that helped me to stay active called Youth Movement Records.
Sadly, this organization didn’t have the proper funding to continue in 2010 and when it ended I was in college and was going back to seeing rapping as a hobby. Luckily, a year later in 2011 I was asked to join Beats Rhymes And Life as an intern. I whole heartily believe that if it wasn’t for this amazing nonprofit I wouldn’t be rapping today and more importantly would not be the man I am.
To this day, I still work for this organization while maintaining my own career. While I’ve been doing this for quite some time I’ve only been fully invested for about a year and the payoff has been tremendous. I’ve already opened for Warren G at an out of state show that was sold out with 800 people and have had my debut album, Wisdom Wit Attitude, praised by Underground Hip Hop Blog as, “…one of the best debuts for underground hip hop for 2015.” I’m excited to see where the rest of this journey takes me.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
My advice to the kids is to achieve your dreams, you have to want it as bad as you want to breathe. A friend told me and I think about it every day.
What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
The most challenging thing about my position currently in the game is running a business and using myself to fill every position. I’m currently my own manager, promoter, booking agent, etc. And the things I lack the knowledge to do such as beat production, video production, and engineering I’m still using myself to fill those 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?
I’m still trying to find the best way to promote my music, but I know that consistency is key. Whether it’s a show, a song, or album. Constantly promoting whatever it is you are pushing will force some people to eventually look at your product and if you have the talent, that number will slowly grow.
I personally have found that being active in the hip hop community by going to shows and supporting other artists will make you a bigger part of the family in the region and will make people in your area more likely to support your music. I swear, once I started going to more shows and started helping out other artists I saw it all come back tenfold.
Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
The fans and artists in San Francisco are great. The artists are very supportive of each other. In the Bay Area, people don’t let their egos get the best of them preventing them for genuinely being fans of each other. While hip hop is not the most popular genre in San Francisco, the fans that truly appreciate our music will come to just about every show.
But generally, most fans are other artists. The Bay Area historically has limited artists break out of the region, especially ones that stay there. It’s imperative that artists support each other.
Where do you see yourself a year from today?
As of now I’m starting to get a lot of local recognition, most notably from Pep Love from Hieroglyphics. A year from now I see that slowly expanding to out of state. I currently have done a handful of shows out of state and I see my buzz becomingly bigger once I do. I also see myself charting college radio shows and having my music even expand to being played overseas.
Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the two hip hop nonprofits I work for, Beats Rhymes And Life and Hip Hop For Change. Seeing the power the culture holds and the actively seeing how it changes the lives for the better serves as a constant reminder to me about the power that I hold just as an individual artist.
I’ve also been inspired by a lot of artists including Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Rakim, Kanye West, Tupac, Biggie, Canibus, Royce Da 5’9, and KRS-One.
How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
I like some artists today like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T, Frank Ocean, and others. As most people, I wish music had that level of variety that it used to. When mainstream hip hop is controlled by Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros that put out 90% of music it’s easy to see why the music has taking the turn that it has.