Wed, 20 Nov 2013 11:04:19
"I did the whole set on stage in a wheelchair," laughs Freekstile of this summer's #FreekyFriday show. "Everybody showed love. It was a great experience!"
That's dedication. Luckily, the New York MC has recovered from his injury and isn't just moving through verses fluidly anymore. Freekstile doles out his own version of hip-hop justice on Vigilante. He's got his sights set on taking over the genre and, as evinced by his airtight flow, sharp rhymes, and brilliant lyricisms, he's well on his way. He's doing the game justice, and he might just change it in the process.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Freekstile talks Vigilante, video games, and so much more.
What was your vision for Vigilante?
I wanted to take people out of the norm and bring them into my way of thinking and my view on how I make my music and how things are out there. If it's a good tape, people will listen to it from start to finish. That's the intention.
Are you telling one story throughout?
Yeah, basically it's a metaphor. The Vigilante is me and my crew. In a world where everybody is rapping the same and doing the same thing, we're breaking out of that mold and doing something different. However, you still have the higher-ups or powers-that-be making sure that doesn't happen. With each project, they start to realize it becomes more and more inevitable. The next project will be a continuation of the last project with a slightly different sound.
What's the story behind the title track?
That's basically just letting everyone know, "This is me. This is what I do. This is what I'm here for. This is what's important to me and what I care about". I'm giving you that final release of honesty before the next skit comes in. It's the final word.
"Los Santos" stands out too. Are you a big Grand Theft Auto fan?
Oh yeah, I'm a huge game fan. I love that song, just off of the name alone. There are other tracks named after cities in Grand Theft Auto because that's my favorite game.
Did you beat Grand Theft Auto V yet?
Yeah, three times [Laughs]. It's dope. When it first came out, I was still recovering from my injury so I had a lot of time on my hands. Online is dope too.
What about Saints Row IV?
I'll play both, but once I saw dudes running around hitting people with dildos it was time to fall back [Laughs].
Is storytelling an important part of rapping for you?
That is a very important thing for me. I want to take people into a different sort of atmospheric experience. I want to be able to tell these stories and paint as much of a picture as I can while the person is listening to me.
What else inspires you?
I used to draw comics when I was in school. That introduced me to Japanese comics, Manga. I started reading those. I was cranking out on those, and I have a bunch of them now. Anime, certain series and movies I watch—they all play a role in the creative process. More important than all of that are daily life experiences. I have to be out and doing things. Through those life experiences, I'll be able to make something relatable to people while not losing its spirit.
If Vigilante were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
It would definitely be a Quentin Tarantino flick. It'd be a combination of Pulp Fiction and Spider-Man.
What artists shaped you?
The rapper that made me want to get into hip-hop and rap was Eminem. For a good couple of years, he was the only person I'd really listen to like that until I heard Jay-Z. I was nine when I first heard Eminem. Then, I was almost eleven, when I first heard a Jay-Z album. They're pretty much the top two of all-time. I also love Kanye West and Lil Wayne.
Have you heard Freekstile?