First and foremost, who is UllNevaNo?
UllNevaNo, is a emcee born in Baltimore Maryland, but was raised in Southern California a hip hop junkie that represents 1/2 of the Equation, and 1/4 of Action Figures Crew.
I was always mesmerized by the uniqueness of your name. Could you let the masses know about the origin of your name?
Hahahahahaha I appreciate that, funny thing is before I went by "UllNevaNo" I went by Verb for sometime when I was in California, I was known for battling and freestyling that was basically it, but then before I moved to Baltimore I realized how cliche that name was and how many people have used it. A good friend of mine named Mischief who was actually in the military admired my skills and talents and one day while discussing hip hop names etc, he said "you call yourself you'll never know" he dropped the science behind like how everyone that rhymes has an identity and a name, so you can clearly be who you are and it keeps the people guessing. I ran with it, and the reaction I receive from the name is unique like "what's your name" I'm like "UllNevaNo" and there still mind boggled like wow he's arrogant like he doesn't want to tell me his name, but once I tell them that it's my real emcee name its all love and kicks and giggles lol.
I actually met you at Scribble Jam Preliminary Round at Sonar in Baltimore a few years ago and I enjoyed your battle style. What are some factors that made you decide to battle and will you continue to battle in the future?
Word! Yeah that was actually a very good event, everybody was in the house on that particular night, the factors that I think about when prepping for a battle is energy, punchlines. Stage presence and trying to break my opponent down, I use to battle out of anger whatever I was going through personally I would channel all of that energy into battling, I considered it a great way to let out frustration but still have fun at the same time. I originally started battling cause it was a way to earn a rep in high school, then it went from 106 and Park auditions, to Speaker Boxin, to Grindtime. At the moment I'm not focusing on battling, who knows I may get back in it today or tomorrow, next week, a couple months from now. I'm just focusing on creating music and expanding my career as a emcee.
Do you think that the stigma of being a battle emcee presents an obstacle in regards to presenting yourself as an artist?
Yeah, I definitely feel like being a battle emcee is an obstacle to branch out as a artist, because people are so one dimensional now and days and are just known for you doing one thing, and I believe it creates a frustration because labels are not willing to take a chance on these battle emcees who can also make dope music.
What are some factors that prevent Baltimore from being a hip-hop capital that rivals L.A, N.Y., and Atlanta?
Baltimore is real funny when it comes to hip hop. Like you have your underground emcees, then you have your underground rappers, there's some unity in Baltimore but not as much that I think it should have, people have this crabs in a barrel mentality instead of helping one another they all try to bring you down. North Carolina, in all honestly, is on the come up as far as hip hop is concerned because they look out for individuals and there's unity, at the end of the day that's what's its about.
If you had the opportunity to sign with a label, who would you sign with and why?
I'm strictly all about indie labels lol, I have a handful I wouldn't mind getting signed to I'll just mention three. Mello Music Group, Duck Down, and Stones Throw. My reasoning for wanting to get signed to these labels is most importantly they will not interfere with your creativity and I have witnessed these labels grow through the years and admire the talent that they have signed. I would definitely want to be a part of that and just learning as a artist.
I recently listened to The Color Brown project and I must say that I enjoyed the lyricism that is presented on the project. The Color Brown project gave you an opportunity to rhyme over Kev Brown's production and thus promote your brand even more. Will there be a sequel to the series?
Thanks for checking out that project, the "Color Brown" was a bit more personal then my first mixtape the Color Purple where I was rhyming over Evidence of Dilated peoples beats, Yes! There will be a sequel to the Color Brown part 2 over Mello Music Producer, Apollo Brown Instrumentals I'm like 4 tracks deep into it looking to drop it this fall with Mixbullies.com x Bricktoyaface.com.
I also noticed that you have a new project dropping with Logic Marselis called Instant Messengers. Instant Messengers will drop on Monday, 4/11/11, via MixBullies. How did the collaboration come to life and will you guys continue to work together in the future?
#InstantMessengers is dropping Monday..looking forward to that all production is handled by Logic Marselis, he's a good dude and has a crazy work ethic he's always in the lab working on music, the collab came about was I met him through my producer "Knowledge" 1/2 of The Equation he just told me to work with him from there on we just started sending beats, verses back and forth until one day we decided to work on a project.
#InstantMessengers is just a FreEp to get heads ready for our full length album entitled Protocol we have no release date for that yet, we both have our hands full with projects.
What did you want to present with The Color Brown project and do you think that you achieved the initial goal?
What I wanted to achieve with the Color Brown was to be different among everybody else, I mean anybody can drop a mix tape every six months or so but the question is how do you stand out from everyone else, the response I received from it was overwhelming and I honestly think that was my goal to grab the attention of those that think I couldn't make good music, and expose Kev Brown beats as well he's too dope of a producer, Under Sound Music helped a great deal by getting this project out into the right hands as well.
Who are some of your influences and who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
My influences change periodically, anybody that is dope can easily influence me right now I've been listening to HomeBoy SandMan. Elzhi, Shad, BLU, Tiron, Jean Grae, Actual Proof the list goes on. As far as collaboration goes production wise I would love to do some work with 9th Wonder, Exile, !illmind, Khrysis, M-Phazes, and Ayatollah.
Being on stage allows you to...
When I'm on stage I'm a totally different person, just wild energy giving my all when I rock a show, none of that standing in one spot holding the mic stand, or a million and three hype man on stage lol just believe I try as much as I can to give people a good show, and I don't mind opening up or going first on showcases, I feel my job is to bring that energy as high as possible.
How does UllNevaNo deal with criticism? What are some tips that you can deliver to up and coming emcees?
Criticism I accept it for what it is, and I just listen and try to change my flow or rhyme scheme to make it better and a lot of my peers are older than me so when they say there not feeling a verse, I know its the downright truth I don't get salty about it, just listen and try and learn. But one of my closes friends keeps it real with me every time he doesn't sugar coat anything and we went to high school together and still are cool to this day.
My advice to upcoming emcees is, no one is perfect there's always more to improve on as a emcee just have to constantly work at your craft, and don't give up if this something you really want to do stick with it.
How can the masses reach out to you?
You can reach me at Twitter, Facebook, and check my music out on Undersound Music and if you have a blackberry here's my pin:21A30FD2 I'm always down to work with new people.
Any Final Thoughts?
#InstantMessengers make sure you download it, Shouts out to My parents, Knowledge, J-berd, Minus Nine, Black Sunn, 810, Rome Cee. E-Major, Dj Face, Cynthia Hawkes, Malcom, Sean Toure, 1-Ton, Lawrence, Dj Red Rocks, PedX, Agio Life Clothing and everyone who has been supporting me through out the years....peace