How are you doing today Trek Life?
Doing great homie, thanks for asking.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview. What does Trek Life represent and where do you reside?
No problem at all. I represent the working class man with dreams like everyone else. The dream isn't to be a "star," but to use my gifts to entertain & educate others, and feed my family. I was born in South Central LA and raised in West Covina or what many call "The Cov."
Recently Mello Music Group released a remix project called Wouldn't Change Nothing. Tell the masses about the concept of the project and the featured beatmakers on the project?
Wouldn't Change Nothing is a re-work of my album Everything Changed Nothing produced by Oddisee. I really enjoy the idea of remixing and reworking a project. I think it brings out the best in a producer and gives the listener a new perspective on the songs. I also want to play my part in helping producers from my area and others that have talent but not exposure, so projects like these help. It serves as promotion for Duke Westlake, A3, Audible Doctor, SlimKat and the cast of dope producers on the record. Of course Apollo Brown and Oddisee Got heat on there and Marv-One stepped in with heat as well.
Do you have a favorite song on the project and if so what is the name of it?
My favorite track would have to be the title track "Wouldn't Change Nothing." The song came about after finding out 2 friends of mine passed within weeks of each other of natural causes. It's crazy because they were both around my age. It affected me because like me they have kids and I realized how easily that could've been me. I felt heavy about them being gone so I wrote about how I felt in the moment. Very personal track
People should support Wouldn't Change Nothing and your discography because...
Because it's dope and I hope they like it. I can't ask anything more of the listeners than to purchase it if they enjoy it.
Describe the music scene in Los Angeles. Is it hard for an emcee that promotes positivity to stand out in a city known for gang violence and negativity?
LA is an awesome place for musicians, there are a ton of benefits to living in the entertainment capital of the world. With the mass amount of things going on, you can find ways to make a living without necessarily having to "play the record business game." The key to this city is to find your lane and work hard at making your name in it. Clicks and crews tend to hold you back out here more than help. You gotta stay true to your vision and it has a great chance of happening. Because of that it isn't hard to make it out here in the midst of the common view of Cali, there's so much going on that there's room for everyone.
One of my favorite tracks from you is from your 2005 release Price I've Paid album. "Maintain Excellence" is a song that caught my attention because of the production from Dj Babu and your raw rhyming ability. What did you want to present with the song and the album in general?,
Word!? Thank you. I actually produced "Maintain Excellence." Babu produced the A Side to the single "Hard Work." That was back when I had the patience to sit down sample and make beats. I dread the thought of that shit now lol. I just wanted to prove myself at the time. That whole first record was about proving my abilities to everyone, fans and industry folks alike.
Last year you released Everything Changed Nothing and I was amazed at the production credits. One song specially, "What It Is", garnered my attention because it is produced by Hudson Mohawke. You have work with a lot of dope beatmakers in your career. Describe the feeling associated with working with international beatmakers or beatmakers in general.
The thing about that is working with Hudson Mohawke, Oddisee, J.Bizness etc is a test of will power. Just about every track you get is fire so you have to be willing to accept that you're writing songs and not just beat riding. I like to be part of the beat, so when you hear it you don't hear it without me on it, or you automatically relate the topic I spit to that beat. I think those are the best songs and I've been blessed to meet and know some ill producers that support my vision. Internationally is just the same JR & PH7, Hudson Mohawke, Dj Flip all have extreme talent, you just have to find your place within what they produce.
Furthermore, you have a great ear for production. Has Trek Life ever tried his hand at production?
To me dope beats are relative to how well a rapper can play his part. You can get a beat that's super ill and mess it up by having the wrong song and/or emcee on it. I've passed on tracks that people would think I was crazy for passing on, but I couldn't hear myself or my story on them. Better to let them go to someone who can. I did beats for my first album and a few other unreleased songs before I started wanting to just focus on writing and business. I think it helped me pick beats because when I used to do beats I could hear the song as I was creating the beat. By the time I was done I had a hook and subject ready to go. Now I listen to other people's beats the same way.
Describe the relationship that you have with Mello Music Group and how did you link up with the Mello Music Group?
Oddisee brought me to Mello Music back during the New Money projects release. I was on some "hip-hop label fear" shit lol. But Mello is driven to push good music first. They don't put out what they don't believe in period and what they do put out, they are very open and available to talk about the whole story surrounding it, from sales numbers, to promo, to artwork. The experience is a shared experience as opposed to a label just snatching up your project and making decisions. I couldn't ask for a better situation since I had to make the climb back to being noticed by the fans. Mello has certainly been actively involved in pushing me back into the light.
I feel like you are underrated in regards to being an emcee. Do you feel that you are underrated or overlooked as an artist and does that fuel or inspire you to prove the naysayers wrong?
Sometimes I really do honestly, but I realize that the fans have so much music out there to consume and contrary to popular statements not all of it is wack. I think that there's a lot of good competition out there lyrically and talent wise. I try to keep that in mind when it feels like I'm being ignored. I also try to fine-tune the things that matter, like my live performance, my ability to make "complete" albums etc...A lot of people can spit, but there's a level above that, you gotta learn to use your talent to express the person you are. Ultimately that's what makes you great as an emcee. Battle rhymes can be just as empty as money rhymes, you know? I try to be the total package. Hopefully more people take notice as time goes on.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I'm working with a dope producer Duke Westlake on my 3rd official album Hometown Foreigner. I'm also working with producer crew Vinyl Frontiers on a project that's taking me forever to finish. I can't build a concept to it for some reason, but I'm looking to finish both by year's end.
What are some of your interests outside of hiphop?
I'm a straight computer and iDevice nerd. I hack my computer and phones and tweak things constantly, hell daily. I can sit for hours and jailbreak iPhones, customize PCs the whole 9. The homies call me Tech Life lol.
You are an avid Lakers basketball fan and a sports fan in general. What are your thoughts on the currently NBA Lockout? Do you think more players will take the D-Will route and play internationally as the Lockout progresses?
I doubt that a lot of NBA players will take that route. In the long run neither the players nor the owners are trying to sit a season without getting paid, I expect them to come to an agreement before the season starts. The NBA needs to take lessons from the NFL and put teams before players when they market, that's ultimately their biggest mistake. The folly of the Jordan Era.
How can the masses stay in contact with you?
Hit me up at my Official Site, Twitter or Facebook.
Any Final Thoughts?
Please check out Wouldn't Change Nothing, I work hard on every project and I hope you all enjoy it, thank you for the interview.
ALL OF TREK LIFE'S PROJECTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR $2.99 ON ITUNES. REPEAT, ALL OF TREK LIFE'S PROJECTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR $2.99 ON ITUNES. CLICK THE BUY NOW BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO ITUNES.