07 March 2016
[ BayUndaground.com ]: What's good Unknown! You must know that interviewing same artist for the 3rd time isn't our routine; on the other hand we have still a lot to ask you about!
Last time we talked you said you were more focused on a digital market. Just curious, what are the numbers (of downloads) you're reaching on your cds? Which one sold the best?
[ Unknown ]: Yes it's been awhile since the last interview. I have been handling all my own distribution ever since the split from Darkroom. My personal catalog I currently have are:
- Unknown "Best Of Darkroom Days"
- Unknown "Still Standing" (mixtape)
- Unknown "The Soundtrack of My Life" (mixtape)
- Unknown "Gwap City Hustlin"
- Unknown & Venomous "Firebreathers"
- Unknown Venomous & Casper Capone "Thug Money Volume 2"
I have a couple different distribution deals right now. My top seller is the "Still Standing" (mixtape). On a good day I get over a million combined streams/downloads so I'm doing pretty well. The last couple of albums I released ("Gwap City Hustlin" and "Thug Money Volume 2") have been more on an underground level as far as hard copy distribution. You can find all of my hard copies on www.rapbay.com. With my new solo, I will be getting back to pushing more hard copies into stores.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: What's up with all the camps you've been working with: Thizz Latin, Gwap City, Stack Your Grip Records (no, I won't be asking about the Darkroom)?
[ Unknown ]: I'm still working a lot with Casper Capone and Gwap City for the most part. Me and Boogie Locs of Connected Ink have been working on a few things together, I fuck with Eclipz and M.A.E. and I've been working with C-Dubb pretty tough over the last year. Me and Boogie Locs did a track for the new Mobb Hour 2 that has done pretty well. I had my run with Thizz Latin and have nothing but good things to say about Goldtoes and everybody involved with that camp. I'm at a point in my career where I really just want to focus on my label/brand and do my own thing.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: Tell us about your own label - Platinum Dope.
[ Unknown ]: As far as Platinum Dope Entertainment, I founded it back in 2003 when Dyno got locked up and Duke and Crooked retired Darkroom. I've worked with a fair share of artists/labels but Platinum Dope is my baby. It's just me and Venomous (who also came from Darkroom) since day one that's all I really need. He's such a talented, versatile artist I really want to just focus all my time and energy into his and my projects. He has been eating people alive on the battle scene. Look up Venomous Kennedy S.T.F.U.A.R. on YouTube to check them out. I have been a part of Gwap City since day one. That's family right there so me and V will always be a part of that squad as well. Me and Casper have worked on a lot of good music/shows together I always got my Gwap City fam's backs on anything there doing.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: What's up with your studio in Turlock?
[ Unknown ]: I did build a studio in Turlock a few years back when I was living out there with some of my San Jo dudes and we made a lot of good music. We lost Jay The Butcher last year who was one of my close friends from that circle. R.I.P. Jay! I do most of my work in the Gwap City lab here in Modesto or my own personal studio I've built over the last year.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: Shed some light on your tattoo and clothing line business. Is it more of a hobby or a real money thang?
[ Unknown ]: I still tattoo by appointment only here and there. I worked as a professional artist for about 10 years. The last couple years I have been more into marketing and sales. It's been really good to me. Never really go around to getting my clothing line off the ground; there are just not enough hours in the day. However I am making an "Addicted To The Hustle" shirt that I will be pushing along with the new "Addicted To The Hustle" hard copies coming in a few months.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: Correct me if I'm wrong, but despite countless verses on DRF projects you have quite a large catalog of your own: solos, duets, group albums, compilations... Which one is your favorite album and why?
[ Unknown ]: I have released a lot of projects over the years. This new "Addicted To The Hustle" solo will be my 7th solo album, I have another 6 or so collab albums and too many group albums to try to count. It's hard for me to pick a favorite. Every album I drop is a piece of me that represents a certain time period of my life. I love working with Venomous though. We push each other to another level and make great music every time. I feel the same about Hex and C-Dubb; we just click.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: You're about to bring your new solo album very soon. Tell us something more about it. Why are you using the same title as for the project from 2007? Any similarities we can expect, except for the title?
[ Unknown ]: "Addicted To The Hustle" volume 2 is going to be really big! I spend a year just hand picking out production for the album from some of the top producers out here. C-Dubb produced about 6 tracks, my dude J Pryce (produced for Yukmouth, Jacka and more) produced 4 or 5, I produced 5 of them and Babyzilla produced 3 or 4. Babyzilla is a really talented up and coming producer; you will definitely be hearing more about him in the future. My albums are more like movies. Everything from the title, productions, topics and features play out more like a story rather than just throwing a bunch of songs together and calling it something catchy. "Addicted To The Hustle" is me, it's who I am as a person; I'm constantly hustling whether it's music, sales, graphics, production or throwing shows. I have been getting a lot of love from the old school fans lately so this album is something for all those who have supported me through all the label changes. I have all the right features on the right tracks; it's really something special. I'll have shirts, flyers, posters with full promo in effect. It's the first time I've really been able to invest big and do everything I always wanted to do with an album. I've had quite a few projects back in the days where I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I was able to really go all out on this one and it shows in the final product. It will be a full length 18-19 track album. It has a little bit of everything. It's going to do really well. The album will feature Ren Da Heatmonsta, C-Dubb, Young Droop, Reece Loc, Casper Capone, Venomous, Hex, Boogie Locs, Cadillac Todd, Danny Boy, Lou E Slicc, DJ 40oz, Kaz West, Eclipz and a few more. Be on the lookout for the first single of the album along with a video in the next month or so.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: Share your opinion on the contemporary state of homeboy rap scene. Is it hard to be an artist on the Nor Cal rap scene?
[ Unknown ]: As far as my opinion on the current rap scene, I think we have a lot of talent out here right now. I think Norther Cali is underrated and really needs somebody to step up and take it to another level and shift more attention over to us on a national/worldwide level. It just hasn't been the same since we lost Mac Dre. That's really my goal at the end of the day. It's not about the money or the fame I just want to show the world that we're still here and we can push out some solid music on a major level. With that being said I gotta give a shout out to C-Dubb. He's fully independent and consistently putting out good music and doing it the way it should be done. He's really inspired me to get out here and start grinding again. Dj 40oz is all over the place pushing his music and clothing. I really admire his hustle. Casper Capone has been working on numerous albums/collabs/shows and he pushes nonstop as well. I love seeing our people out here making moves; it's great. Life is good to me right now and I'm really having a lot of fun doing music again which is important to me. Sometimes the struggle of this business can really drain you and take the fun out of what we're doing. I went through that phase for a couple years. I was fighting a 4 felony drug case where they were using my lyrics/music against me in court so it definitely slowed me down for a bit. I'm pushing to get back to where I was when I started Platinum Dope and had a distribution deal through ADI. We were putting out 3-4 albums a year so that's my goal for 2016.
[ BayUndaground.com ]: Except for that, what are your plans for this year?
[ Unknown ]: 2016 is going to be a busy year for me. "Addicted To The Hustle" will be released in late April / early May. Then my focus is going to finishing up Venomous's new solo (Dancing With The Devil) which will drop in the summer. Hex dropped a really solid solo album last year and we are in the planning stages of doing an album together here shortly. I have a whole project in the planning stages with C-Dubb as well. Casper Capone is about to release the new Family Reunion album which I'm all over. You'll hear me on Hex and DJ 40oz's new album about to drop, I've got something coming with Talksick on his album; going to do something for C-Dubb here shortly and the list goes on. Me, C-Dubb, and Casper just did a show out here in Modesto that was a success so we may have a few more coming this summer be on the lookout.
Check out Unknown on Facebook, ReverbNation and YouTube.