I was able to talk with Yonkers emcee, King Phaze about what’s been going on…if you aren’t familiar with you yet…
you will be soon.
Essince: What’s up?
King Phaze: Essince, what’s going on, my brotha?
Essince: How[’re] you doin’, man?
King Phaze: I’m doing great. I’m feeling beautiful, man.
Essince: I’m glad to hear that. I’ve heard some of your music before. How long’ve you been doing this? How long have you been doing music?
King Phaze: I’ve been working on my craft since I was 13 years old. I got a lot of years in right now. I’m 26 now and I’ve just been going strong since like 12, 13 [years old].
Essince: Where are you from? Have you always been in New York?
King Phaze: I’m from Yonkers, New York, I was born in the Bronx. I lived throughout various parts of New York but I grew up mostly in Yonkers, the Bronx. But I’ve lived in different places in New York and stuff like that.
Essince: As far as hiphop goes, were you always on the MC side of it? Or did you ever, especially being from New York, did you ever experiment with graffiti or break dancing or anything else?
King Phaze: My musical journey started being at my grandma’s house listening to the Temptations and Elvis as a little kid. And it kinda ventured me into Rock’n’Roll. I listened to all these Rock’n’Roll bands for a long time. But hip hop for me started with the whole graffiti thing but I’m kinda like a product of the Wu-Tang Clan era as far as hiphop music. That’s where I fell in love with rap in the Wu-Tang Clan era.
Essince: That’s really similar to me. I grew up and my folks always had Temptations records we used to put on. I’m 23 now and started when I was 11. Do you think because you grew up the way you did with the type of music you did, the Temptations and Elvis, instead of kids today who only listen to one genre, how do you think that changed how you write and how you do music?
King Phaze: It’s like a gift and a curse because, like, I like all kinds of music. I really love Rock’n’Roll music, I still love rap music, but I listen to everything. For me, I really like music so when I pick my production there’s never no format and that’s why my executives on my project get kinda upset at me. I’ll do a rock track with the rap stuff but then I do a techno joint with the techno sounds. It’s always all over the place for me because I just love music. And if I like something and I gravitate towards it then I’m a work on it. You understand what I’m saying? But I think that’s what hiphop is. Because hiphop’s not really a genre. We sample from all different kinds of music, reggae, classical, rock’n’roll. It’s kinda like all music in one, to me, hiphop.
Essince: I’d definitely agree with that. With so many different cultures, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Whites. So many different people involved and adding their own story to the culture of hiphop, too.
King Phaze: Right. Exactly.
Ess; So what are you working on RIGHT now. What’s the latest thing King Phaze has going on?
KP: Right now I have a mixtape out now called “Conspiracy Theory”. It’s like a hard street mixtape. I got my single on there with Jadakiss, “Realer Than You Think,” which has been gaining considerable buzz on the internet and underground circuit. But what I’m really focused on now is dropping these two other mixtapes in two weeks and gearing up for my album right now which is coming out on Red Smoke Records and distributed on Fontana. Gearing up for the “King of America” project. Getting ready to put that out. Amazing collaborating artists on that. It’s like my baby right now. And a project with Billy Ray Cyrus called “Brother Clyde” which I’m also featured on. That’s coming out, too. This year.
[Editor’s note: Yes, he said Billy Ray Cyrus. That’s ‘Achey Breaky Heart’/Hannah Montana’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus].
You know, I just kinda got a lot on my plate with that, with my album, with Billy Ray Cyrus’ album.
Ess: That’s crazy, man. You sound like a busy guy.
KP: Ah, man. Real busy, man. I always got work to do.
Ess: You said you have TWO mixtapes coming out in the next couple weeks?
KP: I got two mixtapes coming out right now, one mixtape coming out with me and DJ Delz, and that’s coming like next week. And after that I got this other mixtape with me, an amazing artist from Cleveland named Half Dead and another amazing artist from Cleveland, Ohio named D-80. We’re working on a mixtape right now. I’m gonna be all over Ohio within the next 2½-3 weeks. We’re just in the writing process for right now. Getting ready to start going in the studio and laying that down. But mainly right now I’m in the studio with DJ Mauley T. He’s an amazing producer. He produced for Bone Thugs in Harmony, Eazy E, and several other amazing people. I’m working with him right now. That’s why I’m in Ohio right now.
Ess: With so many projects coming out so soon do you have a different strategy for like, how you’re gonna market them individually? Or how are you going to release all of these different ones?
KP: Well, for me with the mixtapes, I got a lot of love from the mixtape Djs ever since I dropped my song, “Yonkers Anthem,” witih DMX, Styles P, and Sheek Louch. That was pretty big on the internet and I started linking with a buncha Djs and we just started working on projects like with me and White Owl. And now, like, for me, the mixtapes market themselves. I put something out, my fans get a hold of them physically and digitally. That’s really how I market my mixtapes, word of mouth and from the power of the music and stuff like that but as far as these two major projects I’m working on, there are a lot of people behind the scenes. Like with “King Phaze” and this “King of America” project I got some major executives and marketing teams on the street right now. Element 9 Music Group and Fontana are about to launch my whole album. You know you got Ron Spalding, and Tony Franklin all these executives brainstorming and putting these marketing ideas together. So I can’t really say I’m responsible for the marketing of the record. Just making the material, staying in shape, and doing MY part, you know?
Ess: How did the Billy Ray [Cyrus] thing happen?
KP: Aw, Billy Ray Cyrus is a great guy. You know it all came through the power of the music. Just making the music and working hard on my craft and it just so happens that a friend of mine was working on a film with Billy Ray Cyrus and he heard the “Yonkers Anthem” and he loved it. He’s like, “man, who’s this kid?” And next thing you know, my buddy who produced that song started working on songs with Billy Ray, Billy Ray wanted to be on the album. We kinda got together, layed a song out, a duet/Rap-Rock collaboration. And , yea, man. He’s been my family ever since.
Ess; Wow, man. That’s crazy.
KP: Now we’re kinda rehearsing and gearing up for this tour. And it’s just getting ready to happen.
Ess; I never really pictured him as a hip hop head, you know what I’m saying? [laughs].
KP: Ah, man. You gotta understand he loves rap, he knows all the words. It’s great when we rehearsed the song we got together, it’s high energy, it’s awesome. My same team is actually working on the project with Billy Ray Cyrus. The whole Fontana/Red Smoke team. It’s huge. It’s huge for someone like Billy Ray Cyrus to embrace a local Yonkers rapper [who’s] just coming up in the game. You know? Especially since I work with like, DMX and Jadakiss, and all these hardcore rappers. You know the content is NOT commercial. [both laugh].
Ess: That’s great, man. You seem real focused and determined to work on music as the MC, do you have any plans, 20-30 years down the line, to maybe do some other aspect of music, like A&R work or anything like that?
KP: You know what? I’ve been doing A&R work for awhile now. I did some work with Ruff Ryders records for some time. And right now, Red Smoke Records, I’m the head of A&R for Red Smoke Records. Red Smoke Records is a newly launched Canadian record label and it’s owned by my partner, Matthew Bolton. We’re on the executive end of it. I A&R’d my new project. I helped with the Billy Ray Cyrus thing with Fontana and kinda put this whole Red Smoke Records thing together in conjunction with Element 9 and Fontanta/Universal. I’ve kinda been getting ready and dibbling because I know there’s gonna come a time where the rap thing gotta stop and I gotta put some other people on and really take an executive role in this. My whole thing is helping other people so I’m definitely gonna focus on the A&R aspect of the business because I wanna sign people and see people get successful and win and make it.
Ess: If someone wants to get a hold of you or wants to check out some of your music where does he/she go and how does he do it?
KP: http://www.RedSmokeRecords.com and [they] will have all the ways to get in touch with me; my Twitter, my Myspace. You can get right in contact with me directly on Twitter (@daRealKingPhaze). I talk to everybody. I follow everybody back. Hit me on Twitter, hit me on Myspace and whatev‘. Let’s work.
Ess: I really appreciate you taking your time out for this especially with how busy you’ve been with all…700 albums coming out, A&R and everything. That’s crazy. [both laugh].
KP: Hey, man, I appreciate you taking your time out to interview me, man. So, the feeling is 100% mutual.
Red Smoke Records
King Phaze on Twitter