You were originally born in the Bronx but were raised in Atlanta… How does that shape your music sonically and lyrically?
“You know, it all depends on the artist.. Me myself, I kinda’ like to talk about what’s going on in my life, kinda’ taking the different ways of art, like the sound, the way people slang they words. So depending on the beat, I might slang my words a little different just to kinda’ adapt to a different crowd. I do a real good job at splittin’ both you know, both different genres, or different you know, actual cultures of the North and the South, you know what I’m saying? I take that whole part of it really serious. So I use both.”
Out of all the mixtapes, few albums and even singles you have put out, what in particular do you think has been really overlooked and underrated?
“You could rate your own music. Now a days it’s, ya know, you got to brand and market it a certain way you know what I mean? That’s really on the artists end and who else… Maybe the only one I would probably say I thought is ‘Politically End Correct’. I think it will get a little more attention a little bit later. As it sinks in and hits a little bit more of the hip hop dominated blogs, I think it will pick up a little bit later. The stuff that I’m talking about on there will kinda’ always come back around so maybe that project. Maybe.”
Fans go crazy over your collabs and often tie you guys together, so tell me, what is your relationship with K.Camp like?
“K. Camp is fam. We actually went to the same high school. You know I’m real close friends with like his family, his mother and everything. She actually lived, like one, like two lights up from where I lived at. So we went to the same high school, so we kinda’ came out together. I came up a little bit before him on the north-side. Ya know he was always on the come up, he kept growing with his music and we got to work, kinda’ a little bit more personal with the ‘Work A Holics’ project that we did. I always noticed ya know [K.] Camp had a lot of potential on his own, nobody like ever made him. Like he had potential, doing one specific type of music but you could tell that he wanted to do you know, another type of music. So he’s kinda’ doing that now. Listen to his album. He’s telling stories on a lot of them. You know, he’s doing real good.”
Your mixtapes are released independently, correct?
“Yeah, yeah always.”
The Definition of Definition albums were released by Arrogant music. What happened to Arrogant music, what is the label situation right now?
“Arrogant Music was a company that I started. I had people under it. I went through a lot with Arrogant Music. Its just that the people that were still reppin’ it after I felt like… I got away from those people, even though we still cool. But business wise, you know, you learn this in the game… I just felt like it was a lot of frustration, arguing with people saying they gon’ do something – not doing it, not being on time. As I separated myself from it, I just wanted to start, you know, from scratch and just cancel the company as a whole cuz’ I didn’t really think they understood that I wasn’t looking for you and I to come back together, I didn’t see a future with them. So that why I cancelled it and I got me. It’s still in my heart and everything but as far as me reppin’ Arrogant Music as a whole, ya know, that’s over with.”
“Nah man, it just took off. Funny thing is, I cut that record. I was at a writing camp for Akon. Divine Stevens was a head of this whole operation. He [Akon] actually said he doesn’t do ballads. So I wasn’t able to use the record for him. After that I cut the record and I left a verse open. I sent it to Verse Simmonds. Verse Simmonds is a good friend of mine. I sent it to him to get on the second verse just to put it out. He even hit me back and was like “send me another record, this ain’t the one.” Then I sent it to Asia Bryant. I don’t know if you know Asia Bryant. She’s another person I did a record with on ‘The Heartbreak Kid 2’. Actually Asia Bryant is on The Game record [Just Another Day] that is on the ‘Compton’ album. She’s another old friend of mine… And she also didn’t do it cuz’ they didn’t like the song! So I was like ya know, I put it out on my own. So…Verse Simmonds, Asia Bryant and [K.] Camp, they all three had… and even Akon had opportunities… So I think if somebody way bigger than me would have cut that record, it would probably be a number one record on the radio right now. TLC for me, was very organic for me. I haven’t even sent that record out as a single. Never did. It was just on a couple projects and it did what it did, organically. I never put no money behind it. I don’t even have artwork for that song. You know what I’m saying? It just did what it did man.”
Is Kendall’s Bumsauce still a secret?
[Laughs] “Ight, since I don’t use it no more. Bumsauce is just something that people up top say like, playing basketball, like “you a bum, like you got bumsauce just drippin’ all over you. You a bum.” Then the Kendall thing was little code thing that me and my man Ls from Arrogant Music used to say so, nobody would quite understand it… Like if you say “kill that”, like we used to tell people “kill that shit.” But if you say it a certain way it almost sound like a G instead of a K. Like “Gill that shit.” There was a player back in the day that used to be nice that was named Kendall Gill. So we used to be like “Kendall ‘Gill’ that shit” you know what I’m saying? So we used to stop saying Gill, so people wouldn’t know what we was talking about we would just say “Kendall.” Like basically just “kill that bum shit, kill that bumsauce shit that you on.” And we made it a pact that we would never tell anyone what it meant so that we could talk about people while they was around and they wouldn’t know. But now I don’t even use it no more so… and the reason I do stuff like that is because I’m real big on lingo, like if you look at anybody that’s poppin’ they could say the corniest shit, but if they poppin’ they crowd will think it’s cool. So I try to influence the younger crowd and the youth to not always look… you ain’t gotta say “bang bang” like Chief Keef. You ain’t gotta say “bumsauce” like me. You don’t gotta’ walk around and do the Wiz Khalifa laugh. You create your own shit and once you become poppin’, that’s your brand, you know what I’m saying? Yeah so I’m all about being your own person, you know what I’m saying? Create your own codes, create your own inside jokes with your fam. That’s how you become a fam. I always wanted to promote when I do my thing, I don’t need to say nothing. I could come up with the corniest slogan but as long as my people think I’m cool, I’m cool. You know what I mean? So I never wanted to say something somebody else came up with, I just come up with some new shit, you know what I mean?”
Unfortunate or not, artists almost always get categorized. Whether it is trap, backpack, conscious, gangster. If you knew you had to get grouped into one category, what would it be?
“Well you know, I’m from the Bronx man. At heart, at heart, I love hip-hop. But now doing records like ‘Commitment’, ‘TLC’, I’m beginning to become more loving to the, I don’t wanna say RnB but just more you know, just more the crossover records…But at heart I started from day 1, my day 1 was “can I be a lyricist like Jay-z, Pac, Biggie, Nas, Eminem, Canibus, Big L, Big Pun.” I started like that. So that’s always… If I’m put in there… If I could go in there, go down in the game as one of the top 10 or 20 best to ever do it, i’ll die with that. But I won’t ever allow somebody to tell me that that’s all I can do. If you look at all them 2.6 million people that went on SoundCloud and listened to ‘TLC’, all of those girls, that’s what they think I do. They don’t have no clue that I have bars. They don’t even know that I battle. I had this chick on IG [Instagram] the other day, I posted a clip from my ENS battle, she said “you battle?” They have no clue, I’ve been doing this since I was 18. So, you know what I mean? I don’t let nobody put me in a box. So when the girls hear me rap they like “oh, I like your rap stuff but I want you to stay…” I have girls on my twitter asking me to sing to them for their birthday. I don’t sing. I use auto-tune and I’m good at harmonizing but I don’t sing, you know what I’m saying? I don’t have no box. You got different strokes for different folks, you know what I mean? And I’ve given people, I gave people four mixtapes this year. Four, all different types of tapes. AND I battle. Ain’t nobody did that. Nobody ever did that. In the history of hip hop or any music. No one on earth has ever given someone a conscious album, an RnB album, a damn down-south album, a damn freestyle tape and did a battle, and won. Nobody ever did that, you know what I mean? So I’m doing new shit you know what I’m saying?”
You’ve done work with some incredible artists, amazing producers and dope DJ’s but is there anyone you are really striving to work with?
“I really wanna work with… Okay so let me break it down… Producer wise, I always wanted to work with The RZA and DJ Premier and 9th Wonder. I’ve already did a record with DJ Premier last year, that was a dream come true. Artist wise, I gotta get one with Jay-Z and Eminem before they leave. Singing wise, still infatuated with Erykah Badu, Sade, those are like a lot of people that I like, came up on. Even on the crossover side I’m a big fan of Adam Levine. I’m a big fan of Maroon 5. Yeah, I would say that’s about it man. It’s a lot of people, I mean of course like the J.Coles, the Kendrick, Drake, ya know, all the new dudes thats really running the game, all of them, you know they considered at the top of the new age you know what I’m saying? So yeah, there’s a lot of people I want to work with but overall… Probably Jay-Z man cuz I came up using a lot of his lyrics as like the code to the street, you know what I mean? I think he’s one of the few people that did the best with talking about the street life, but you can adapt it – almost to everything. Whatever you’re doing you can adapt what he’s saying. It’s kinda’ like when you hear Kobe talk. You know, Kobe does a good way of speaking indirect. When he talks it doesn’t even sound like basketball. It just sounds like being great at whatever you are doing. You know what I mean? I think a lot of people miss that when he talk, and I think that’s the separation you that get from the Lebron, or even when Jordan… Jordan doesn’t have that vocal thing that Kobe has. [Kobe] Has a gift of explaining things almost to a certain… Where people will understand it and know where to go from hearing it. That’s kind of how I feel about Jay-Z cuz he taught me a lot things that he might not even know that he taught, you know?
People are waiting for another full fled album, mixtape, whatever it might be. What can fans expect next?
“I still considered my three projects that I dropped this year as actual albums. You know they not really distributed by a major label but they still on Itunes, you can still get it. But I’m working on my next main-main focus is ‘The Heartbreak Kid 4’ because ‘The Heartbreak Kid 3’ did so well. I’m actually gonna treat that like an actual album and by the time that actually drops, my fan base will already be so large that everything that ‘TLC’ and ‘Commitment’ is doing, it will be able to do, you know, instantly instead of it taking, you know, so long. I dropped ‘TLC’ early this year…Well you know it’s pretty good cuz it’s really still only the summer time. Still going good but… That’s gonna be the next thing that I’m gonna treat like an actual album. I’m gonna put that together like a label would try and put out an album on a major artist, ya know?”
-We talking 2016?
“Yeah, I have to drop it before Valentine’s Day, so I might drop it a little bit sooner. I usually do them around Valentine’s Day. But I kinda want people to already have it sitting in they head before it.”
-So maybe the top of the year?
“Yeah, maybe the top of the year. I hate to say so, so far away but yeah I need to because ‘TLC’ the video isn’t out and it’s still doing what it do. So at least by then I wanna be able to have, you know, big artists on the remix and just do it the right way, you know?”
In thirty years, what will the legacy of Sy Ari Da Kid look like?
“Well my main thing is, one of my stories that kind of separates me from others like what I just told you… I’m creating a lane to where people said that it could never be done. So that’s what I’m aiming to do. It’s not like I plan to do it from the jump like the battling, the hip hop, the RnB tip, the down-south… And I wanna dominate in all… Like almost how Floyd [Mayweather] would go from four different weight classes and have the belt in all of them. That’s what I’m going for. I wanna go down as that dude. Like there are people who won’t do that, you know what I’m saying? So I can still go from having a radio hit, to a song that the girls are singing and go on Sway In The Morning and do a freestyle, you know what I mean? And go battle, and at the top of that I’m a single father doing it without no baby mother. It’s real hard to go out and do that all together and that’s just what I’m aiming for. That’s my lane, that I know a lot of people ain’t never gonna be able to tap into. Cuz like Kobe said, when he thought, when he got to the pros that everybody in the league was gonna be working like him. He thought it was gonna be difficult. And he got there and it’s not like that. Like there are literally the greats, don’t even work as hard as I work, and I watch em’. I watch a lot of these successful dudes, they don’t do a lot of work at all. So I know in due time I’m gonna easily pass em. I know I’m gonna easily pass em cuz they not even doing half the work that I’m doing, they not paying attention to half the things I’m paying attention to. And then my story alone with the single fatherhood, I don’t even know. I don’t even know any successful rappers thats really puttin’ it out there. Most of the rappers that I know that have kids, they either have the baby mother or they goin’ through child support or different stuff like that. I actually have full custody of my son so my stories a little bit different, you know?”
-People sleep on that Sway freestyle, I gotta say. That pizza line? Damn.
[Laughs] “I think that line went over a lot of people’s heads, they ain’t get that. [Laughs] They ain’t get it man, they ain’t get it.”
Any last things you want to say to the fans?
“Yeah man, follow my Instagram, Twitter, @SyAriDaKid. Hit the booking, hit [Diana] Schweinbeck for all the management and booking. And now the people that are responsible for marketing all of my stuff, P.U.S.H. LLC, that’s all of the social media. So if y’all want any marketing done, or hit me up for some of the marketing it’s P.U.S.H. LLC for the features so you know, we’ll work it out. Love like that man.
Also y’all man, go get K. Camp album man, I’m real proud of him. I’m not on it but it’s definitely something to go check out, it’s somebody to support. First person to drop an album from the north-side. So yeah go get K. Camp’s album, it’s called ‘Only Way Is Up,’ it’s in stores. I went and copped about 10 copies myself so y’all go get it and check it out give y’all feedback.”