“Right now it’s the fact that every dickhead with a computer is a rapper. The internet has been much more of a curse then a gift. True it is much easier to get your music to further places but you got to figure everyone is dropping links. If you’re a fan of Hip-Hop and Indy/Underground Hip-Hop at that, you probably log onto Facebook and depending on your number of friends see dozens of music links to songs each day. The problem is the vast majority is s–t. So when you click a link and you’re used to hearing bulls–t I feel like after a while why bother? So then if you’re me you got to hope your one of the choices that actually does get a listen. I feel like on Facebook I reveal a lot of my personality in order to further the music. You get these cats that make ten posts a week and nine say play my music. If somebody just ended up adding you but doesn’t know you as a person how do they have a clue about the type of life you reflect in your music.” – Side Weighs (On The Toughest Part Of Being Independent) / Side Weighs is a veteran emcee that has been all over the map but has ties to Milwaukee. He specializes in Horrorcore and spends a great deal of his time promoting his unique brand of Hip-Hop via live shows in different states. His ultimate desire is to leave his mark on the Indy scene via his Immortal Money/Murda Entertainment company. He slowed down his travels for a just a moment to grant The Illixer an open and honest interview. Find out all about: his views on the current condition of music, who he admires, his upcoming album, and much more; after the jump.
The Illixer: How did you end up with the moniker Side Weighs?
Side Weighs: Well I guess being knee deep in the game for years kind of brought me to this; as well as my love for Houston Hip-Hop. I’d say it was a combination. I had toyed with other names but I feel like this is something that really fits me as well as my style as an artist.
TI: Share a little bit about your Hip-Hop journey so far.
SW: I began rapping in late 1995 under the moniker Redrum Murda1. My biggest influence and probably the reason I started rapping was Brotha Lynch Hung. I really began as a Horrorcore / Wicked rapper. I really feel like if I would of focused on things and my work ethic and grind would of been harder earlier on, I’d already be having my way. Not as a rich Billboard Hip-Hop artist as that was never a path I wanted to take but as a successful Indy artist in the mold of cats like Tech N9ne, Insane Clown Posse, Haystak, Lil Wyte, etc. I feel like this is some of the last true essence of Hip-Hop that still breathes. Because they are artists that have done it on their own not conforming their music in order to get on the radio or get a core DJ to play it in the club. For me this is important. I feel like 90% of the artists out here would sell their soul or their momma’s ass to get a deal with a major. Would I like to see more money? Yes. Am I whoring myself to some label and being someone I’m not to get there musically? Never.
TI: If someone asked you to define the style of your music, how would you respond?
SW: It’s definitely hardcore hide this from ya parents if you’re a kid music. I grew up in that area of Hip-Hop. Remember when Hip-Hop scared America? I’m the rebirth of this s–t. As far as versatility goes I got so many different flows and styles. I feel like when I’m listening to a track by a producer I let the beat drive me not try to act like I have to have an atypical beat to fit my style. That’s another thing I feel like Hip-Hop is severely lacking, versatility as rappers. Seriously now we got Dope rappers, Swag rappers, Horrorcore, etc. Whatever happened to albums where a group like N.W.A. was on some gangsta s—t but still offered you some degree of social commentary as in songs like “F–k The Police.” On the surface that song is just a hateful song to most of mainstream America but in reality it exposed a lot of the actions of the police in urban communities. I definitely have a more hood element to my music but with all of the Hip-Hop I’ve witnessed how can you not have a vast array of different elements, styles, and subject matter?
TI: What is Immortal Money Entertainment all about?
SW: Immortal Money/Murda Entertainment is what I’m really trying to get off the ground and my dream. Currently we have two in house producers, two really talented graphics cats, and myself as an artist. This is my platform to not only show people the great music I can make but also to show those in the behind the scenes roles that they can be rewarded for hard work as well. I have things planned out in the future as far as profit sharing and things of that nature that I really feel as a label I’ve never seen done before. Seriously independently and underground I feel like you have to reward those who assist and help you. Everybody always wants a free ticket to a show or a free cd but those that understand that the early fan base is your inner circle a lot of times and that you depend on them a lot of times to support your music financially; I feel they also need to understand the need to reward people. These people believe in you a lot of times before anybody but yourself and I feel like that’s not always appreciated.
TI: What do you bring to the table that sets you apart from the pack of other underground/indie artists out there?
SW: There are a lot of things. I won’t bite my tongue for s–t. If I see something I view as wrong like a promoter I feel is exploiting other artists by paying crazy amounts to open for a has been headliner, I’ma let people know. I feel like it’s my duty in Hip-Hop to try and help those whose role I was in at one time. What I mean by that is as many years as I’ve been rapping I’ve gone through and fell for all the scams. Now I’m exposing them so that the next wave of artists doesn’t have to go through the same struggles I did and can save themselves time and money. As an artist I feel its uncut raw skills. I have gone back and forth and toyed with different styles and flows. I feel like I was born to do this. I also feel a lot of these cats think this is going to be an easy ride. If this is what you want to do for a living, have you ever put in 40 hours of furthering yourself as an artist in a week? I do it routinely. I feel almost like it’s disrespectful to Hip-Hop to not give it your all. It’s a lot of these cats who rap just to tell hoes they rap. Six songs a year? Come on, I’ve knocked out mixtapes in two days including the writing and recording process. These weren’t no EP’s either, I’m talking 22 songs! I feel like there is nothing that can stop me from getting where I want to be but me.
TI: You previously mentioned that you spend a lot of time on the road doing shows. In what way do you find this beneficial to your career?
SW: Obviously constantly exposing myself to new listeners and audiences. I feel like the scene locally in Milwaukee and the support is so dead I can’t waste my time catering to something and someone who doesn’t exist. This is not a reflection on the quality of the artists. That being said the difference between places like Houston and Denver versus Milwaukee is there you’re more inclined Hip-Hop wise to find somebody who wants to support locally instead of the shit they play on the radio. It’s up to us and our Hip-Hop community to change that. I see shows in Milwaukee and a lot of them the bulk of the attendance is fellow rappers and their girlfriends. I see a lot of cats performing for free or coming out of pocket to get on a show. I’ve got homies with similar opinions. How many times have you seen a guitar player in a band pay to perform? Now that being said it doesn’t happen everywhere at every stop but I’m not going out of my way for nothing either. If you don’t get paid to be on a show you better have some merchandise, cds, anything in order to get off at the show to be able to somehow pay for your hard work. This is what I do. I put my entire soul into this s–t not to mention spend a lot of time away from my family. Ten local rappers co-signing and big upping me on a performance sure ain’t going to stick to my babies’ ribs. I also feel like a lot of times people are scared to get out of their element. I feel like they stay local because they know they have that twenty or thirty person fan base who supports everything they do locally. You know what really gives me an adrenaline rush though? Going’ into a place I’ve never met anyone, doing a show with artists I barely know and I walk in and kill that shit and have everybody showing me love. How many of you local cats can even conceive of that?
TI: Give three reasons why people should check out your upcoming debut solo album, Out The Cage: Year One?
SW: I am not run of the mill or run of the Mil. I have so much more I bring to the table musically than your average emcee. I am one of the realest cats you will ever meet. If I f–k wit you my loyalty is undying and if I don’t its f–k you for life. And I’m not simply trying to get on or be heard. I am trying to be the best who ever lived, period. That goal is lofty but it drives the madness that sometimes keeps me up for three days at a time writing songs.
TI: Explain a little bit about the creative process for your debut album.
SW: This was a growing process going from convict to free world back to chasing my dreams again. I was going through some major changes in my life while all this was going on as well as reestablishing myself on the underground. The main producer on the album is J. Reap from Alabama who I have worked with about five or six years. I have a few others but for me I feel like working with one producer through the bulk or entire album gives you a sense of working and building something together. It isn’t just I sold you a beat. Its look what we created! Now it also helps that he is versatile and it’s not like there’s this generic sound throughout the album. Songs, I mean I tried to choose those that were meaningful but also that represent my different styles and versatility too.
TI: Besides Out The Cage: Year One, what are some of your other ventures that people should be on the lookout for?
SW: I have a mixtape called Organized Chaos which is a duo consisting of myself and a Quad Cities artist named Riplak. I’d look for that to drop this month. After that, I’m in a group with two phenomenal artists PoeticCc Tha Prophet from Oklahoma and Damndest Dude out of Sacramento. Our group is called 3 Strikes and we’re going to begin work on that album. My solo mixtape Sorry for the Weight is in the works too. I can’t lie sometimes working on so much at once pushes things back as far as just focusing on one project at a time. But I also feel like working with the people I do brings me more listeners as well as gives me a chance to work with talented cats from around the country.
**My Two Cents: Now that readers have a better feel for Side Weighs, they can check out a sample of his music above. For additional tunes they can peep his channel on YouTube. This definitely was a very interesting interview and I feel like Side Weighs provided a very well rounded picture of himself as an artist and a person. Much respect to him for taking the time out to do the Q&A. -MinM