MuzicNotez: What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
- F.I.S.T.: I started producing in 1990, at the age of 20, as a dee-jay. I was the only one in my crew that knew how to program the drum machines, sequencers, and the samplers; my homeboy(“Gregory Silver”, son of the famous jazz musician “Horace Silver”), would have me program his ideas.
After programming enough of his ideas, and learning the components to creating a track, I start creating my own ideas; and now here we are today, over 30 years later.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
- F.I.S.T.: My early years, I was the producer more than a rapper. After programming ideas for “Greg Silver”. I started creating my own ideas; I did not, and still do not possess any talent for playing keyboard melodies, but I know how to program a drum machine, sequencer, and create bass lines. I would place samples to compensate for my musical deficiencies.
I have listened to rap since “Rappers’ Delight”; and these producers have influenced and shaped me greatly.
Teddy Riley: he offers the variety, when you hear one of his instrumental tracks, you can go r&b, or hip-hop, or crossover. An example would be “No Diggity”. The same for when I create a track, my example would be “Hip-Hop Iz The Lyfe of Me”.
Hurby Luv Bug: he used simple drum loops/beats and samples, and made them complex. That’s where my (CORE-“Hip-Hop”) comes from. My example would be “Old Hip-Hop”, and “Addressing Mr. Young 2Day!!!”.
Jermaine Dupri: his style helped me develop my method, and style of producing using samples to hide my deficiencies.
I title myself a “Sample Producer”, because I can’t play any instruments; but give me a sound kit, and it is said and done. Fast forward to 2014 after a ten year hiatus, I took on the influences of these two producers:
Timbaland: His style says “It’s okay to be different, and do your own thang’.
Pharrell Williams: “Sometimes less is best, and when it’s the right time, it’s okay to ‘Go Big'”.
In my early years, I did some rapping, but I didn’t embody being a rapper until 2014. Cut to the chase, my rap influences are:
Missy Elliot: allows me to write about whatever I want, and if you know what you’re doing, you can write about anything.
These last two are very similar in style and versatility: the only true difference is the subject content they rap about.
Nicki Minaj: allows me to say what I want, the way that I want.
Antoinette Banks “a.k.a. Tha Gangstress”: my lyrical structure comes from her. She and Nicki shift gears in their verses’, and bend words to have 8, to 12 to 16 lines to rhyme; I do the same and I get my versatility, and variety from both of these ladies.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
- F.I.S.T.: I have a sort of bucket list for this question:
– Leave behind a music legacy that will out live me.
– Produce and collaborate with other established artist.
– Sell out concert stadiums.
– Acting and writing aspirations.
– Establish myself as a “Hip-Hop Legend”
MuzicNotez: Your latest release is the album ‘Tha Playlist Vol1: The Beginning’, how can you describe this release?
- F.I.S.T.: I feel this release is a balance of my 3 albums “Disconnected”, “Back At It Again (Reloaded)”, and “70’s House Party!!!); what makes this album different than the others, is the earlier albums contain various genres because of the entire track roster of that particular album.
The album “Disconnected”: contains tracks that give the album a (Hip-Hop/Rap, and Rock) sound. “Back At It Again (Reloaded)”: is “Disconnected” with a (Pop/Crossover) vibe. “70’s House Party!!!”: is “Disconnected”, and “Back At It Again (Reloaded) with (Funk and Dance).
“Tha Playlist Voi1: The Beginning” embodies all the above. The tracks “N’ My Own Galaxy”, “Rock My Enemies…”, “Up All Nite!!!”, and “Still Tha Same”, are what I call genre-benders. These tracks do lotta things in them. I feel this is my best work ye, because you can hear the influences of the earlier albums all through this project.
When I began creating this project, I just really wanted to create a project that was just a feel good listen.
MuzicNotez: You have been creating music for a long time now, releasing over 5 albums by now. What have you learned over the years? How have you grown as an artist?
- F.I.S.T.: I have learned so much, that this answer would have to be an interview of it’s own. I’ll try to keep this short. I have learned a lot of things as an artist that has given me validation and the confidence to do this the way I was instructed. I had my doubts as an artist, about doing, and being different; The Alternative”.
I started pursuing a career before streaming, so I had to learn about the changes, and the requirements to establish success with these music industrial changes. When I first released my first four albums, I mixed them 16 bit, 44.1 khz; I had to learn mixing 24 bit, 48 khz, vocal effects, compression, and eq.
I have also learned about how important social media has become in this game, and how to break down contractual agrrements, and the importance of being able to create a lot of quality songs to greaten your chances of being playlisted. And that’s keeping it short.
MuzicNotez: You’re a producer too, what’s your production process like?
- F.I.S.T.: My process of producing will also explain my sound of music, and my style of rapping.
I call myself a “Sample Producer”, because I never became a skilled musician, I have learned the skill of using a sound kit to create my beats.
At one time, I was going to give up music, because I so long to sing; but God had other plans for my talent.
I was given instruction that I was to rap, and rap in a capacity that allows my listeners to sing a long with me easily. That’s why a lot of my songs have anthem like choruses. I feel that if you’re going to rap a long with me, im going to at least have something to say, which makes my music worth singing along to.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
- F.I.S.T.: Now that I have released my 6th release “Tha Playlist Vol1: The Beginning”, I plan on releasing 4 albums for 2023, and establishing some collaborations with other artist, and eventually start making appearances, create music videos, and accomplish performing.
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
- F.I.S.T.: I feel this needs to be expressed, as an independent artist; I feel that you should not have to sound like the popular sector of music to have your shine in this game too. I feel that there is room for everyone with “Talent”. In this industry, talent collaborates with talent.
I want it to be understood that even though my sound and my style is different, I have talent and create good music also, and I wish that people would stop sleeping on me and others who are different and unique with their talents and gifts.
I would like to see more realistic opportunities for talented struggling, financially dis positioned unsigned independent artist, which allows their music and talent speak for them without it costing them every step of the way. Unsigned artist dont have the funds to equal the talent they possess to invest in studio time, paying for a track, promotion, marketing, and distribution. More risks and opportunities should be afforded that allow our talent to be discovered, without it being an expense at every turn.