New Music: “Work Hard For The Money” (listen/download)
New Promo Photos: Versatile Excell In The Studio
“I wanted people to see that I’m all about peace but I won’t stand there and wait for anyone to attack me. Meaning any critics or spectators. Now I will ignore you as much as I can but once you try to harm me I won’t stand there without a fight. As well as your opinion don’t matter. I won’t sound like this or that artist because you like them. Because at one point you wanted them to sound like another artist before them. You either take me as I am or just listen.” – Versatile Excell (On His Hit Single “Rude Bwoy”) / Readers have heard quite a bit of Versatile Excell’s music on the site. Therefore figured that they might be interested in getting to know the Brooklyn emcee a little better. Take a glance at his exclusive Q&A after the jump. He chats it up with The Illixer about everything from being influenced by three different regions to how he feels about growing up without a father.
The Illixer: How did growing up in two very different regions like Brooklyn, NY and Australia influence you as an artist and individual?
Versatile Excell: Being from Brooklyn influenced me a lot due to the music scene having some of the best in the genre being from there such as: Biggie, Jay Z, and Nas. Nas as well was born in BK, even though he reps QB as his home. So being born there was like an honor automatically. But I never forgot my ancestry from Jamaica as well. Which is where I was really influenced with the Reggae and Dancehall music. Australia really opened my mind. I grew up listening to music being that my mom loved music. I actually understood it though once I was living in Australia.
TI: What was it like being without a male figure in the house?
VE: I was raised with an older sister and three brothers. But my brothers and I all had to make ourselves men with the help of my mother. So I wasn’t the only man, but we had to learn some stuff that a mother can’t teach.
TI: In what way do you feel having a constant male figure in your life would have made things different?
VE: I feel like a real male figure would have guided me and lead me on a better path or would have set me up in a better position where I wouldn’t have made certain choices or learned by myself. But the older I get the less I wonder because I feel like that’s what made me the person I am today. As an individual I love who I am.
TI: What was it about “Dey Know” by Shawty Lo that made you want to create a freestyle to it?
VE: It was a powerful beat. I love beats with bass that get your attention. And it grasped my attention.
TI: What was it that changed for you after releasing the freestyle that made you want to seriously pursue a career in music?
VE: At the time it reminded me of what Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley was doing on Hip-Hop influenced tracks. But at that time I only wanted to do political types of tracks but a lot of experiences got the better of me. I always wrote what I felt and switched my style up.
TI: What prompted you to mix the genres of Hip-Hop and Reggae for your sound?
VE: I had got into mixing the genres due to my love and upbringing of the music.. I always loved seeing Reggae stars collaborate with Hip-Hop artists and seeing whose style was better and who was better lyrically.
TI: What were you hoping to accomplish with your latest mixtape Diversity 2: Growth?
VE: A new sound, something different. The beginning of a new genre called “iPod Shuffle” music. Not knowing what would come next.
TI: You just released new pictures for your fans and the media. Describe what the photo shoot experience was like.
VE: Well, being from Brooklyn it was a must to show my backyard. What is better than the Brooklyn Bridge itself. As well as me being in the studio. Its where the therapy and magic gets done. I speak my thoughts in that place.
TI: Share four things that you would like to accomplish in your career before you hang up the mic for good?
VE: Help make West Indian Culture mainstream in the Pop Culture. Perform on the biggest stages with legends. Make a person feel good after hearing my music. And be one of the greatest entertainers that ever did it.
TI: What is the next venture for Versatile Excell?
VE: More music, more growth, and possibly drifting into my other love of entertainment with acting and screenwriting.
**My Two Cents: It was a pleasure to get to learn more about Versatile Excell. He has a very intriguing background. His latest single “Work Hard For The Money” can be heard above. It is a fine number that features an appreciative sentiment for the ladies. Which is quite the contrast from the street heavy side readers have heard in the past. Also, be sure to check out the pictures too. Excell is extremely photogenic. Additionally, readers can find him on the web here. -MinM