Lab Notes With Valid
1. Validation - It seems like you were trying to set the tone for the album, is that true? What made you incorporate the old school scratching? Very boom bap right here. Great track It seems like you’re lyrically trying “state your claim” in hip-hop. As if you’re putting the exclamation point before the sentence starts.
1. Thanks man, this might be one of the pieces of work I'm most proud of. I don't think “Validation” necessarily sets the tone of the album, but this being my official debut project I think it does introduce/re-introduce me to listeners. I kept going back and forth about making it the first song on the project, but it does the job of letting people know that first and foremost “this dude as an MC for real” grab ya pens and pads and lets breakdown these flows, lyrics, cadences, syllables, wordplay and all that. As far as “stating my claim” lyrically I think it definitely does that without trying though, it just brands my name into the brain of the listener, like a cover of a book with a bold title on the cover. And as far as the scratching goes I don't think it is old school, I think that's a timeless characteristic of Hip-Hop, and with the way the beat was made by Fresh Kils and the title of the track it was only right to let the legend DJ Los do his thing.
2. Versatility- What made you ask Supa Emcee on this track? “I get the job done, invoice run the check/ hold that, no man, cold cash I love to get/ MC's is light, actin' like the roughest necks/grab the pipe slug & tech, but real life, he's like, never even touched a tech/ V might, be right, now or whats comin' next/either which your not... ” You’re really going off again, flexing your lyrical muscle, kind of reminds me of a part 2 to Validation.
2. SupaEmcee is the only constant on all my projects. There is no other MC, beat maker, engineer or anyone that has something to do with every single project I ever put out other than my dude Sup'. My first video I ever dropped featured him, thats my bro for real and one of the very few people I can call true friend, if I stopped spittin' tomorrow your still gonna' see me kickin' with him out here, there aint many people I can say that about. And again, the first two songs on the album are kind of put there to crack peoples skulls open. If your just learning about me your gonna' know I got it, if you already heard of me and thought I could get it done, you ain't seen nothing yet, and if you thought I couldn't then hopefully your in for a surprise and will hear how far I have come.
3. New Nasty- This is probably the most catchy song of the album. What was the inspiration of this song? Is this a true story? How was it working with Nick Speed. “She’s on my mind, she don't want it all the time, she just wants to be my new nasty./She’s on the grind, helps me stay on top of mine, just wants to be my new nasty.”
3. Oh ya its a catchy one lol. I can't say this a true story, but I think all us men always think about “if I could build the perfect girlfriend” So I decided I would make a song about the perfect girl that lives in my head. I told Nick Speed about it one time before we got on stage and all I had was some funny stuff to say and Speedo said “Val, you gotta let me produce that record! That shit would be a hit!” I remember it vividly, because before I met Nick Speed, I knew of him. I seen his write-ups, I knew he was signed to G-Unit and I learned all of this because I have been a big Talib Kweli fan who also has beats by Nick Speed, that how I discovered Speed as a fan of music before we ever met, so it was a big deal to me, hence why it felt right to mention Kweli in this song. Few weeks later were in Nick's lab off Woodward & Grand Blvd. and were thumbing through beats until we found the one that felt fun, felt like something people could dance to yet still love the lyrical content and be entertained by it and maybe even get a few laughs out of it. Fast forward, we find the perfect guy to lay the hook, Mr. Pierre Anthony. Few weeks after that, I was just showing the record to DJ Head at his spot, he fell in love with it and said “yo' man, lemme get that!” He put the cut on there and from there the rest is history.
4. Vintage- How was it working with Keith Murray? What made you decided to work with him? Feels like you’re paying a nod to the old school and showing love to Detroit and NY at the same time. Nice concept.
4. Thank you, very much! Working with Keith Murray is something that still is kind of weird to me in a good way. My man has songs with some of the greatest artist in the history of Hip-Hop and I have a song with him, kind of surreal still. But, that whole idea popped in my head when my dude DJ Butter who had some mutual connect's with Keith's people in New York brought him up in a convo. Keith is one of them dudes I look at as one of my all time fav's, I still believe he does not get as much respect as he deserves. One thing I always wanted to do is show love to the Hip-Hop that when I was a young child what came to mind when I would hear the word “Rap”. Adidas jump suits, gold ropes, and all that good stuff but even go further back in time with it. Record's with these kind of concepts are not original by any means but I think you could do it in a way that is original and interesting. We did not talk too much about the past era's of Hip-Hop for it to be a typical “ode to Hip-Hop”, all we really did was just kind of say that in a way we giving you that feeling when you see a classic 75' Lincoln Continental. When people see a ride like that in great condition a lot of them will say something along the line of “now that's a REAL dope ass whip, a vintage old school ride that is rare and special”. Were not saying the music is outdated, its just special and timeless. Thats what I meant in the first couple bars when I say “the feel is vintage yet it thrives to innovate/captured rarely, though many strive to imitate”.
5. There it is – Probably you’re most honest track. What made you decide to expose yourself this much. “Late 20s, never made money, can’t enjoy a meal, fella’ stay hungry/grown man broke and living in his parent’s crib. Feeling like a bum, eating at his parent’s fridge, here it is the narrative.”
5. I want to be transparent to listeners. One day I'm going to be long gone from this world, and once that happens I cant tell my story. So for whoever enjoyed my music, friends and family, or whoever it may be that discovers it for whatever reason, they have a true honest representation of my life. I want people to feel the real me through the speakers when they listen, feel my pain, my happiness, or whatever I was feeling that day. I'm just putting my true story out to the universe.
6. This Music- kind of a happy song, and ode to hip-hop song, and love for music track. Was that the intention here?
6. I don't think so. I would not consider it an “ode to Hip-Hop” song, definitely was not intended to be, this is more like the opposite of the last track “There It Is”. In “There It Is” I explain all the difficulties and hardships one can have chasing their artistic dreams, while in “This Music” I kind of explain why some one like me still peruses their dreams. It's just something innate to do it, this is me, it is a part of my essence, its a property and characteristic of who I am to make music and rock shows. Its essential to my existence and who I am, nothing really more to it. And I got made love for Jade Lathan who took care of me on the hook for this track, shout out to Mic Todd for the suggestion.
7. Solemnly – this the classic “Detroit” song-lol You do a lot of d-town name dropping. There have been several emcees over the year that have done Motown love songs (like Detroit Vs. Everybody)- how were you trying to make this one different?
7. My connection to the city is different than most. I was born in Detroit, and I came home with my parents from the hospital to a house that was on Florida Street in South-West Detroit. I was baptized on Detroit's East side, I worked in Detroit, I spent and spend a lot of time in Detroit, not just downtown, but in the neighborhoods. BUT, with all that being said I also never went to school in Detroit, and I was very young when my parents moved to Dearborn Heights, literally down Warren Road from Detroit. So I was raised in DBH, even though I spent a lot of time as a child in South-West where my relatives stayed and would often babysit me when my parents were at work or something. I'm first generation in this city and my bloodline runs pretty deep on some blue collar, hard working, something out of nothing, Detroit shit to be honest. BUT in this song I still rep' my Dearborn area too. I mention Beech-Daly, Warren, Telegraph, Inkster, all that, hence the sample in it that says “Dear, Born” and the middle eastern feel in the music. I'm not Arabic, but being from this neck of the woods it only seemed right to have that relevant in the music. So I don't think there has ever been a Detroit love song like this, may never be one like this again either LOL.
8. Would You- You and Ellie Sandiego have pretty good chemistry together. She’s a pretty talented lyricist as well. What was the motivation for the song. This is a very real life type of situation (with her getting pregnant and all in the song).
8. Ya' thats my homie Ellie, she's dope and the second we met it was a natural connection on the music tip. She has been hosting release parties for me, and is like the main host of all my valid313.com interviews and stuff, so she is home team for real. And yeah, this song is very real to me, kind of like “There It Is”. JMAC made this beat and I walked into his basement just complaining about everything. I was broke as hell, not much room left on any charge cards, and I was working at Henry Ford downtown and a lot of people knew who I was while I was working there and I'll admit it bothered me when they noticed me and say “Hey Valid!” or when they say “aren't you that rapper guy?” while I was mopping floors or scrubbing toilets, that shit pissed me off, but it definitely humbled me and taught me no matter what keep a level head cuz I aint' that special after all lol, and now looking back I realize its better people noticed me than didn't regardless of what I was doing when they did notice me. But, when I say no loot to buy me lunch in this joint, or I slept in the city in a van because gas was too expensive to drive from HF back to Dearborn Heights, and then back out again for work the next day, that is ALL true. Me and my dude Chris from Titan Records (what up Doe Titan by the way) had a studio at the Russell Bazzar for a while as I was working at the hospital, I was going to go spend the night at the studio which was only couple mins away, but he had a late session going so I slept in the back of his van in my work clothes and went to to work the next day, thats all in this song. The things about this song that do not come from my personal experiences is all the relationship stuff that I wrote in there, which Ellie complimented perfectly in her verse.
9. Ball and Chain – love the drums on this track. Alia Norrae is the singer right? Probably you’re most “conscious” track of the album. You speak on a lot of issues here. What made you decide to get political? “Sending you to fight for human rights, morals and ethics. Bullshit; you lose your life over corporate investments.”
9.Ya' thats my homegirl, and this is the type of shit I think about all the time. It has always been crazy to me that people think their government and their politicians are on the side of good and of the people, that always shocked me that someone can be that gullible. People in power do not send troops to fight for some type of moral reasons, its for more power. Your government is not trying to stop poverty, they love it, their the reason why it exist in the first place, it keeps them in power and in control. And the many issues I attack on this song I ended with saying basically, its really our own fault for letting these things happen, we all got blood on our hands and help this evil system stay operating.
10. Silent Mode –it reminds me of “There it is” but not as morbid. It’s like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel in this one. Am I correct? Please explain
10. Ya this is not as angry as “There It Is” or as serious as “Would You”. This is more just on some when your stressed out and fed up with a lot of bullshit, and the sound of your phone going off pisses you off LOL... You just want to get away from all the tedious stressful things about your everyday routine. You want to be alone and just vanish for a little bit, relax and leave your problems behind. As far as seeing the light at the end of the tunnel I could say the feel of this record provides that though I may not with the lyrics, but it definitely has a “everything will be alright, just give it time” feel to it.
11. EZ2C-Okay, you finally lost me a little bit-lol Break this one down for me. I get the title but I’m not sure that I get the purpose of the song. I just feel like you’re all of the place with this one.
11. lol ok thats fair K, but I had one direct target in this song, As you can hear on the hook my dude Pig Pen is saying “There can only be One”. Throughout my lyrics thats basically what I'm saying that in this scene and beyond it, I'm a one and only, famo'. I play a role in this scene that is unique, I got my own niche in the game and I had some of the most respected names out here tell me I remind them of nothing before me, I stand out as a one and only. And with that said, all I can be is myself, no one can be me better than me, I just do my own thing and not trying to follow the trends to fit in. I see some artist, they got gimmicks and/or don't stick out at all. While I always stayed true to myself and never acted to be anything but the ONE I am. In the second verse I take a lot of shots at those type of rappers that choose to not be themselves and be the one who they really are, their carbon copies oppose to the one. And throughout the track I make it really clear I'm claiming my spot and title out here and rightfully so. I'm on my Ric Flair shit on this one lol!
12. Private Party-so now you done went all Trey Songz on us! Lol I’ll be honest – I think I have to be a woman to feel this one! Lololol I do like Jade Lathan though. She has a great voice. What made you decided to make this kind of track?
12. Trey Songz?! You gotta do me like that Kahn!? LOL, I would say this is another look into a mans life. I would feel weird if you told me this was your favorite song on the record LOL! But on some real shit, as seductive as it sounds there is a bit of a serious tone to it underling it all, much of it is about vices, that thing were all tempted by, some drink a lot, some do drugs, some gamble, and well I guess you can see what just might be my vice is in this song LOL.
13. Down Pour – this nice. You’re in story-telling mode. Is this based on a real person(second verse)? Rape is serious, you told the story well. Is every person a different girl or is it all the same girl. Reminds me of a old Roots song from back in the day
13. This one is crazy, because yes it is loosely based on an actual person I met. It is one continuous story about the same girl in all three verses. I met a young lady one night after a show at the venue Blondie's which isn't around any more. She was from Detroit but stayed in Atlanta, and after talking for a very long time through out the night just having normal conversation when you meet a chick it basically came out she was a prostitute for a couple rich ass dudes in ATL. She kept it real with me and she told me bits and pieces of her life story, which I used for mostly the story of this song. Of course it is only roughly based on what she told me her story was. I never spoke with her again once we left the show that night, but when I heard this beat the stuff she told me came to mind and there you have it.
14. Reach High – nice way to close out the album. You kind of tell ya’ story in a way that’s different from the other songs on the album. You give a lot of shouts. This feels like a 3 minute outro-lol
14. Thank you my dude, and YES! It is a long ass outro I didn't care if it was too long or not, this one is for me and my closest people, and whoever wants to listen and enjoys its for them too, who doesn't that's OK they can skip it. There is a shorter version of it that were using for a commercial for the release party were having. And I tell my story of how I got to this point and the whole feel of the album, Reach High, chase your dreams. Take all the lumps, bruises, cuts and keep reaching high because your time here is limited. And the people I shout out are people that inspire me to keep going, so if this were to be my last time to do what they inspire me to do, its me reminding them to so the same and chase their dreams to the fullest extent. Don't settle, get the most out of life while your here on Earth. There is this subtle theme throughout the album of the “end” if you listen closely that I think ties the album together. In “There It Is” I mention death in a dark light, in “This Music” I say “live by the gun, die by the gun, live by the music, this will be the death of me/stiff in a herse, 6 in the dirt, on some real shit man, this a gift & a curse”. In the hook of “Would You” I say “would you wish be gone just to never be seen?”. In “Silent Mode” the third verse is like you said earlier is not as morbid, but fantasizes about going to heaven. So in “Reach High” wich is that “Alpha and Omega/Intro and Outro” of my project, this theme is not so subtle, and I'm not thinking about death or nothing like that LOL, I dont want people thinkin' I wanna die or any crazy shit like that. It's just from my experiences I know tomorrow is not promised, so every time I touch the stage and grab the mic it could be my last time doing it so make it best as possible. Every time you do an interview K, could be your last one, so making this album, for all I know it could be my only one ever, I wanted to put it all out there and give myself fully to the listener and to the world.
Closing comments – you chose to work with a lot of different producers. Why? I see Pig Pen did the most songs out of any one. What songs will be singles/videos? What’s your favorite song on the track?
I love great music, and this city has TONS of great music. I want to work with every producer if the shit is hot. And Pig Pen is a G in that lab. Something about his music is complex yet sounds so simple and smooth. Its not too much not too little, its perfect, and he has them beats that move your soul man! He made them beats that grabbed me and I said “I need that on the project” his beats just fits the feel I was shooting for when making the album. And mad love to Fresh Kilz, Nick Speed, Big Tone, John Wize, Eddie Logix, Hir-O, and JMAC for creating the canvases that I painted my pictures on. I have to mention the legendary DJ Head, DJ Sicari, DJ Butter, and DJ Los who all did cuts on my album, thats a big honor to have those guys involved.
“Validation”, “New Nasty”, and “There It Is” are the singles/videos we already have out and been pushing that you can go on YouTube and watch them and download the songs off iTunes, Googleplay, amazon, and most other digital music outlets and all that info can be found at www.valid313.com. Also by the time this article comes out the single/video for “EZ2C” should be out too, so peep that as well and much love to my director Diego Cruz who has been shooting almost all of my visuals. I don't know if I can pick a favorite track, maybe the outro/title track of the project “Reach High” just because of the content, but something about “Silent Mode” that gets me, I don't know I really can't say whats my favorite, thats up to you and every other listener to decide for themselves when it comes out to the world on Tuesday, April 28th and by the way, The release party is April 25th @New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck and we will have exclusive physical copies to purchase before the official release date! (shameless plug)