HipHopWired: We’ve heard Bankhead, the SWATS, College Park, Decatur and even now Marietta get shouted by way of Migos. But Mechanicsville is a part of Atlanta that we don’t hear from often.
Chilly Chills: Mechanicsville is the heart of the city of Atlanta for those who don’t know. It’s one of the most prominent communities in Atlanta. The movie ATL was based there. You had to brush shoulders with people from here if you we’re gonna say that you was from Atlanta. The Braves play in Mechanicsville. The Olympics was there. Magic City is in Mechanicsville. It’s the heart of the city. We’re preserving the old Atlanta in Mechanicsville, we’re not doing what other people in the city are trying to do. We always got our due in the city, but never really recognized nationally. Bankhead is known because T.I. was one of the hottest artists in the game and is still an OG. Then you saw East Atlanta get acclaim with Gucci Mane. But I need people to understand that the reason this city has catapulted is because of Mechanicsville.
HHW: When did you start making music?
Chilly Chills: Music was actually forced on me. I remember my mom playing jazz all the time growing up. Frankie Beverly & Maze or Kenny G or Kool & The Gang. It hypnotized me and made me go to sleep as a kid. As I grew up I would go over my uncle’s house and he’d have Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s albums. CDs were so cherished back then, you wanted to read the credits and see the pictures. I wanted to see why they cherished it. I wanted to be as excited as they were. Then I started listening to the radio, and I would go print out the lyrics to songs on the radio at the library. 2 Pac, Clipse, Eminem. I wanted to know what they were saying. I wasn’t really rapping or wanting to. But I always had an ear for music. I caught on to Drake back in 2007, on Comeback Season. I got on Wiz Khalifa after Prince of the City 2. But I saw a hole in the game, nobody was mixing the sophistication with the ignorance. I used to do poetry slams at V-103 and the National Black Arts Festival. Nobody was making music with good lyrics but just as hypnotizing as Future, with something that Kendrick would give you. So I started being the change I wanted to see. I had my first show in 2012 on the Live Mixtapes stage at SXSW. I did a poem about my friend who got locked up for life. I was a poet and decided to rap. People always knew about my poetry skills, but that’s when I started rapping. In 2013, I stopped playing. I was waiting on someone to do it for me, but then I read Ghandi and he said be the change that you want to be.
HHW: How do you define “sophisticated ignorance?”
Chilly Chills: I say things that would make you think that I’m a stereotypical rapper, but if you really think twice, I might be saying something deep. No matter what I rapped about, I always positioned myself to feel good doing it. All of my earlier music was not as successful because people liked the beats more than the lyrics. At first it was frustrating but all I had to do was stay in tune with the struggle. I knew what I was going for so I never stopped.