“Don’t even know where to begin with that one; we would be here all day. All I can say is that there are a lot of ups and downs, and you have to manage your expectations at all times. People change, situations change. You just have to maintain your beliefs and know who you are. A lot of artists get caught up in trying to be what they think they should be as opposed to who they really are. Just keep it real at all times and you will never go wrong.” – $hamrock (On Facing Career Challenges) / About a year ago, Florida emcee $hamrock took a major step in his career and released his debut album on Wyte Music Records. It is a move that turned out to be fruitful, as the album did well and he has been making major moves ever since. From doing collaborations with your favorite Southern artist to gaining features in big named magazines, $hamrock is headed straight to the top. But he was nice enough to pause for a minute and chat with The Illixer on topics such as: performing live, his new t-shirt venture, staying relevant, and more. Get the scoop after the jump.
The Illixer: Lil Wyte has been named as one of the artists who has had a major influence on you. What is it like working with him and being a part of the Wyte Music Records family?
$hamrock: It’s unreal, Pat is one of my top five favorite rap artists period and I can honestly say that some of his music shaped my style today. And that’s before meeting him. Now that we work together so much, I get to absorb everything from him and it makes me a better artist. The whole crew like Partee, Miscellaneous, Thug Therapy, Lord Infamous, everyone goes so damn hard you can’t take a verse off, ever!! It’s a brotherhood for real and it comes out when we all collab.
TI: It’s been a little over a year since you released Tha WyteRapper $how LP. How has the success of the album impacted your career?
$ham: It’s been incredible, it’s a life-long dream come true. I always told everyone it was my dream and I’m sure I sounded confident when I told ‘em, but I don’t think I ever thought it would really happen. These kinds of things don’t really happen to people where I’m from. Opened many doors, puts you in a new league. People come out the woodwork, but it’s all good! It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.
TI: Why did you choose to release a video for “Right Now” over any other track off of Tha WyteRapper $how?
$ham: Well, I did a visual for the intro and some behind the scenes videos for “Penitentiary” & “Name In Lights”. It was really timing because me, Lil Wyte, and Partee had a show in St. Pete, FL and the producer Marco Dane was with us too; so it just seemed like a perfect time to do that song. Big shout out to DJ Ritz and Kentrall who offered to do the video in the first place!
TI: Tha WyteRapper $how was a great album but there is always room for growth and improvement. Share three things that you feel you could have done differently and how that will impact your next LP.
$ham: There’s not a whole lot I would change because I love that album. I would make sure to keep all the production in house this time instead of reaching out to big names; the best things come from in-house teams. Same with features, I basically just want my people on it not a big name just to have a big name. Lastly, my thank-you list inside the jacket will be much longer!!!! When people put you on the spot to write thank-you’s, it’s hard to remember everyone who helped you when you don’t want to leave out anyone.
TI: Since the release of your debut LP, you have released two mixtapes: $helf Life and $t. Patty’s Gang. Which project do you prefer and why?
$ham: That’s a hard question! $helf Life overall had such a great concept and meaning behind it and felt like a second album. I love the artwork and the mix by DJ Ritz is sick. But $t.Patty’s Gang has some of my favorite collabs I’ve done like “Spinach” “Show Me Somethin” & “Playa Drankin,” so it’s up there too. Too hard to decide!
TI: You do a lot of collaborations and features. What are some of your expectations when working with other artists?
$ham: I don’t care if that artist is famous or not, I just want to work with people I’m a fan of. I want them to bring it because it’s going to make me go harder on my lyrics and verse. I’m at my best when I’m working with cats who really go hard, it makes me step up because I’m not trying to get left on the track!
TI: Lately you have been doing a bit of traveling and performing. For someone who was going to see you perform live for the first time, what can they expect?
$ham: They probably expect me to be smooth and polished like my records, but it’s the opposite. I like to perform like a Waka Flocka show and just get so turnt up that everyone else does too. I might mess up my lyrics cause I’m getting so hype but it’s worth it to give out that energy. I want to be drenched in sweat by the time I’m done!
TI: The music industry is constantly evolving. But you have remained relevant for quite some time now and released a ton of music. How do you keep your style and lyrics fresh and original?
$ham: I’m a fan of music first and foremost. I listen to all styles, all genres. I watch the news every night, I’m informed, I read a lot. I love to travel, eat new food. I just think that if you continue to grow as a person it will make your music grow with you. And I’ve always been slightly ahead of the curve with style too! (lol)
TI: Describe the experience of being featured in Urban Ink magazine.
$ham: Awesome, so dope to get exposure of any kind from this site to magazine to radio, anything. I’m super honored I got to show off the artwork from my big bruh Randy of Tattoos By Randy. He’s a legend in Atlanta and his art and talent are incredible. I get stopped more on the street about my tattoos than from being recognized! It was dope, got it framed, and a great look. Huge shout out to Randy, Urban Ink, Koopa for the photos, and Dove for hooking it up!
TI: You have a new t-shirt coming out in partnership with DJ Mays. How did that come about and what is the purpose of the shirts?
$ham: DJ Mays is a life-long friend of mine, he’s like a little brother to me. He’s so talented it’s unfair. We came up with a t-shirt to represent my next project which is called Money Green and will be out this Summer. We are going to sell the shirts to help fund the promo for the new project and hopefully we can raise a lot of money this way. And the shirts are dope!!
TI: Do you have any other upcoming projects/ventures that you would like to discuss?
$ham: My next project is called Money Green and its coming out this Summer. I got a lot of special guests on it and dope producers. Be on the lookout for new projects from Lord Infamous, Miscellaneous, Thug Therapy, Luney Tunez, Lil Wyte, and Partee’s King Of The BHZ Part 4: Think & Grow Rich is out now!!!
**My Two Cents: Now that readers are all caught up with $ham, be sure to check out his current mixtape, $t. Patty’s Gang. Despite having a holiday themed title, the music is a must listen for any time. And much love to $hamrock for taking time out of his busy schedule to do the interview! You and your music will always have a place here on The Illixer! -MinM