One man uses his passion to heal the wounds in Hip-Hop.
Whether it’s a colorful mature street-talk or a distant love letter, he still prides himself in storytelling. In his eyes there is no story without substance.
Skyzoo aims for the sky as if it is locked in his words.
Peep more of Brooklyn’s untapped finest after the jump.
Representing cloud nine lyricism and a clear depiction of reality, his artistry built a stairway to success not just by fans but quality. He’s more than your local hustler wearing a Yankees fitted standing at the top of the block. No he’s not Jay-Z but he’s a long time coming. His efforts live between the bars and scratches. Knowing the corners like his sneaker size the artist walks the line of conscious illustrations and familiar dreams. He learned how to thrive in his ambitions by watching his inspiration on the block of Fulton and Gates.
One man uses his passion to heal the wounds in hip-hop. Whether it’s a colorful mature street-talk or a distant love letter, he still prides himself in storytelling. In his eyes there is no story without substance. Skyzoo aims for the sky as if it is locked in his words. The soulfully heavy stories stand on their own against many and have survived the cuts of gimmick and trends. Avoiding the necessary evils in the music industry, Brooklyn’s proclaimed emcee finds salvation in being lyrically correct. Skyzoo is now living out his dream and getting in touch with his fan’s needs outside of his beautiful decay.
HipHopWired: Did you ever believe that you would be on the success level that you are on now?
Skyzoo: Honestly yes. When I was nine and I was a fan of Chi-Ali. Many people are familiar with the Native Tongue movement. There was an artist by the name of Chi-Ali who was the youngest of the group. I knew this was what I wanted to do when I saw the video for “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.” It was never just a hobby for me, I have always loved what I do. When I was a kid I would rap so much I thought I was getting a deal tomorrow.
HipHopWired: Every emcee has skills and learns new techniques to perfect their craft. Do you ever feel like you’re missing out or feel like your passion takes from your life?
Skyzoo: When you love something I don’t think you pay attention to it. All you know is that you love it; it can be a craft, your mate or your music. When you love something the way I love making music but you don’t notice it. I definitely worked hard and was influenced by everything around me; watching videos, walking around the corner to see kids do what I wanted to do and having my mother take me to The Wiz. I came up in the hood of Brooklyn, we didn’t have much. If I wanted to get tapes I would go to King Plaza Mall in Brooklyn where we had Nobody Beats The Wiz. They had the singles on the 99 cents wall and I would harass my mother so she would let me get tapes.
HipHopWired: Being known as a Brooklyn artist and now being known outside of Brooklyn. How does that affect your work ethic?
Skyzoo: It just definitely affects the way I make music. I am proud to have people to love my music and support it. I just did a show last night at Southern Illinois University and the crowd was going crazy, most of their students are from St. Louis or Chicago. So it makes me feel good to see them happy and rapping along with me. It was one kid at the show that knew every song word for word and I truly believe if I forgot a word I could just look at him. I didn’t get his name even though we kicked it afterwards. It was a beautiful thing. Everyone was yelling “Easy to Fly, Easy to Fly” so I hopped back on stage and we did it. They wanted an encore so I gave it to them. And that’s just an example of how the music will leave Brooklyn. I know what fans want from me and I know what I want to give the fans. We may not see eye to eye sometimes because as an artist you don’t want to be boxed in. You want to make the music you want and have them enjoy it. No matter what you make sure that you meet in the middle. I am very happy to have a fan-base outside of Brooklyn.
HipHopWired: What was it like to perform at SXSW?
Skyzoo: It always sounded like the paradise world for performing. The Duck Down show went great. I went out there and it was like 600 people in a 500 capacity room hanging on to every word. It was definitely a great experience for me. Those are the type of shows you want. I’m the type of artist where it can be 20 people I am still going to perform the same as if there were thousands.
HipHopWired: Do you feel that your lyricism frees your listeners or is it the experience of hearing you?
Skyzoo: I think it’s a little of both. When you’re performing lyrical songs people try to connect with those songs like “Popularity” and ”The Shooter’s Soundtrack. ” I try my best to remain lyrical and to tell those stories in my music.
HipHopWired: Is it pressure being an artist on the come-up in New York and what do you do to maintain your artistry?
Skyzoo: I don’t feel pressure. I feel more pressure on myself to create great music. God forbid if something was to happen whatever you leave is what you leave here. When I leave here I want it to make sense or share the story of what I was about whether I hang up the mic up or not. I just want it to represent me. The pressure is more so on myself and not about holding up the titles of Biggie, Jay-Z, Big Daddy Kane and Buckshot. It’s more so me making the best records I can make regardless what anyone else says.
HipHopWired: How would you introduce yourself to a gimmick rap listener?
Skyzoo: It’s just about bridging the gap. You can be lyrical without preaching. You don’t want to be one of those rappers who are also labeled as disgruntle rapper. When you talk about lyrics you think of the top five. Look at Jay-Z, Biggie and Eminem and they still cross into those groups that are gimmicky. A lot of times you may hear a lyrical rapper get grouped as being underground and that’s not the case at all. If I have to go to a 106& Park fan and make them a Skyzoo fan I’m going to make sure I have a records for them like “Popularity” and “Easy to Fly.” You may not understand the concept right away but it is music that makes you feel you should be a fan. You have to cover all your bases without planning it out. Just make the music you want to make and it will go where it’s supposed to go.
HipHopWired: When you hear a beat do you dream about what it will be about?
Skyzoo: No I don’t. For the most part the time I can hear a beat and come up with a concept for the song I want but I refuse to touch it. The beat may tell me what to do and I always have a vision for the song. I can see what I want it to be.
HipHopWired: There is a song you have with Rhymefest called Crack The Code, how did that collaboration happen? How important is it for you to crack the code to reach different markets?
Skyzoo: Rubyhornet.com which is a site out of Chicago. They bring in artists who are not from Chicago and introduce them to the city. While the artist is in the city they hook them up with a Chicago artist to record a song. We already knew each because we are fans of each other’s work. We got in the studio and clicked musically. We hear the beat and we knew could come up with something crazy. Rhymefest and I went with something that people that we started playing with area codes. We decided to rap about each other’s cities. It’s extremely important to reach into other markets. One thing I can say about the south, they go into other cities and markets reaching out to more people and getting that love and as New York artists we need to do more of that. I would much rather do a show in Chicago, Detroit, North Carolina than New York because I still have that New York sound. They already know me in New York. I rather spread who I am into other cities. So I have no problem with cracking the codes on those markets.
HipHopWired: You released The Salvation last September, did it reach the expectation that you had for it?
Skyzoo: There are so many songs that went over people’s heads and that’s the only thing that bothered me a little bit. I have a theory called the five year plan. They won’t get the album mentally until five years later. Perfect example of that Reasonable Doubt, you can’t tell anyone that’s not a classic but in 96′ when it came out no one was calling it that. I remember because I bought the album. I was there when the discussion came up, “You gotta get that Nas, leave Reasonable Doubt alone.” So people can front now and say they were on it. People didn’t recognize Reasonable Doubt and call it a classic until Jay-Z dropped The Blueprint. People were saying that The Blueprint was Jay-Z’s second classic. Even The Source only gave it four mics. When people were listening to The Blueprint they assumed he was just talking about popping champagne, hustling and spending money, when he really wasn’t talking about that at all. That album was about the demons that come with what you do in the streets. A lot of the records for The Salvation really went over people’s heads. In due time I believe people will get it. When they get it and they will say “This album is way better than what I thought it was.”
HipHopWired: You chose many soulful samples for your album. When you make those creative decisions how do you define the line between you vision and familiarity?
Skyzoo: With the album I wanted it to tell a story. The story is my story and the concept of temptation good and bad and the consequences behind your decisions so I wanted beats to reflect that. Not saying that I will use soul samples every album because I’m not. I’m not about being stuck, I’m about moving forward. With The Salvation I chose beats that complimented what I wanted to say. The concept for the record “For What It’s Worth”, I knew Eric G. could give me what I wanted. When he sent me the last one and I heard it I said this is it. I saw my story in the first 10 seconds of that beat. It’s all emotion and you can’t put it into words. I’m definitely not trying to stay in a box but I am all about making great music. Those soul samples helped me to illustrate my story. But it’s all about growth no matter what kind of music you make.
HipHopWired: What can an artist do to keep listeners from falling through the cracks?
Skyzoo: I’m not sure. You can do what you do and stay true to yourself. Whatever your reality you should speak on that. I do have a problem when people are making up their reality. No one can tell you you’re wrong for speaking your reality. It’s all in making great music and if they love it, they’ll come to it.
HipHopWired: What was it like working with 9th Wonder?
Skyzoo: Working with 9th is great because we’re like family. He works really fast. He’s really on the spot and he doesn’t over think things. That’s what’s so great about working with him. He’s not going to spend a half hour finding snare or two hours making a beat. If you like the beat—great, and if you don’t let’s get this out the way and create another one. That’s a great quality to have. He can pump out so much quality music and not get stuck on it.
HipHopWired: Do you have any new projects?
Skyzoo: I’m still touring and doing shows. I’m still really focusing on pushing The Salvation. I want as many people as possible to get the album and not for it to be swept under the rug after six months. I’m doing the video for “My Interpretation” this week and that should drop in three to four weeks. Right now I’m playing with the idea of doing the EP and looking forward to releasing another mixtape to keep the people in tune with what I’m doing. I don’t want to just have people waiting for new music from me. Later I will be working on my second album and I already have a concept for that but I don’t want to just drop another album in August and have it be the second album. I want to have a great second album so I’m finding that medium.
HipHopWired: Are you really teaming up with Torae for Barrel Brothers’ Corner?
Skyzoo: It’s actually not true. We kick it every day. I even told him about it, “If you go to my Wikipedia page you will see Barrel Brother’s Corner with Torae” and someone made that up but that’s cool that people would want something that badly. We haven’t talked about creating an album together because we’re both solo artists; he’s doing a lot and I am as well. You will always see us on tour together so who knows it may happen but Barrel Brother’s Corner is not true.
HipHopWired: When you enter the studio to create your music, is it your goal to create the “cassette quality”—and by cassette quality I mean to dead the decision to fast forward?
Skyzoo: When I make music I want to dead the fast forward factor and keep you listening to the whole album. My music has no fillers and no skipping. If I give you an album my goal is to keep the rewind factor. I want you to break the rewind button and say “Did you hear what Sky did on that one?” That’s what I’m all about. I have people hit me on twitter saying they listened to “Dear Whoever” twenty times or their girl will not stop playing “Easy to Fly.” I appreciate the love for my music. So I want to keep that going.