By Carlos Cureno
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Often times, fans within hip hop try to label the artists by geographical region. However, just like every other sub-culture in every genre, people move around. Quite possibly, a rapper could have grown up as a military kid and traveled around.
For the rapper, Victory, he didn’t grow up as a military brat, but he did grow up traveling. Growing up in the Midwest, Victory is definitely a resident of the Rust Belt. The primary cities Victory spent his time growing up in were Chicago and Cleveland.
Recently, Victory spoke to Hip-HopVibe.com as the latest On The Rise artist. During his interview, he described what life has been like for him, growing up in the Rustbelt. Aside from this, he also discussed the path he’s taking to stardom.
Read the entire interview below:
How did Chicago and Cleveland, individually and collectively, inspire you as a person and an artist? Yeah, fasho. Rustbelt. I was definitely young, then, and, growing up, we moved around Illinois before Chicago. Like, I was in an all black school one year, and the next year, it was all white, all in a year. I just remember the Chi’ being huge and my parents, wow, we were blessed and working. I was a “latch key kid,” so I kinda moved around and found that I liked sports and music.
The “gang thing” was happening, but it was never heavy where I was at. I had so much time to myself, so I would write like these poems, 6 to 8 bar hooks from watching videos, or listening to people rap. If it wasn’t for that, I was just a nerdy kid, or trying to be up on everything, learning that I wasn’t cool, yet. Also, had a little stutter. I wasn’t comfortable, I guess.
Anyway, just before I was able to enjoy that space, like 13, we moved to Cleveland. I was officially a “heights kid” and became “the burbian” lol. Matter of fact, I moved up the way they used to call me Chicago for like a year lol. But,in hindsight Cleveland was the best thing to happen to me. All my firsts happened here…so it’s home for real.
You cited the likes of Slick Rick and LL Cool J as inspirations, what elements of their style were fused into your style? Like Chris Rock said, “LL ..before the show.” Seriously though, LL and Slick Rick were the two solo rappers that stood out to me, even though they might be from a different era, when I was a kid. They made the first cuts that I wrote my first bars to. I mentioned them because, as a kid, listening to mixtapes every DJ cut, or blended, those two.
It piqued my interest, so I studied them and it is proof that you can make a song that will still be relevant, decades later. Legends like him live on forever, as Slick Rick is that dude, still. Also, I mean for in your lifetime, who hasn’t drawn inspiration from like Bone Thugs, WU, Outkast, Kool G Rap, Scarface, and Jay. I mean, from T.I.to The Pharcyde, and Tribe, music has shaped who I am. And yeah, I listen to Kendrick, J. Cole, or maybe like a Childish Gambino, now, but that era made me.
At a time when people consider hip hop oversaturated, how are you managing to stand out in the crowd? Yeah, yeah. Needle in a haystack, right? You know people have always said that, though. I think the music I’m making is definitely A1, but who doesn’t claim that. The biggest difference, for me, is we are grassroots. Like, let’s gets some fans. It’s cool to do showcases and network, but I just want to stay consistent and keep, creatively, doing things that are close to me and bang out!
The music will do what it’s supposed to in 2017. I just want to be out touring, building, and living. My goal is to keep doing dope shit and drop it in the right place for the movement, period. The right peoples will gravitate toward it.
What is your opinion on the hip hop landscape, outside of yourself, currently? Here? I actually try to get to a show a month in the city just to keep a pulse. There are some amazing, talented, individuals in our city, along with some dudes that should go home – but – you get the point. Regardless, gotta let that spotlight hit your face.
As far as overall? Independent has always been the way to go. Maybe, Chance The Rapper is proving all of this, but its a great time to invest in yourself if you have something to bring to the table. I just hope we leave something for our kids. All these dollars we claim to be making, we need to invest, and start giving ourselves an opportunity for generational wealth.
Can you tell us more about your Made4Victory brand? Sure.. It was an opportunity for me…My G Mayes..and the homie D’Rand and a couple of others were able to take a thought of what I wanted and help create a movement with a slick concept and kinda see the progression of music, culture and community.
We have been able to do some great designs and hope to continue working on some clothing/ lifestyle launches this year.
And also use music as a calling card for the brand. Other artists have thought it was dope too.
Hope to keep involving people in keeping this growing as long as people are interested.
Overall, I want made4victory brand to represent people that’s out here that go hard and take advantage of every day to get ahead
and still use the positive vibes only concept to make things happen for yourself, your fam..your community.
As your career progresses, could you see yourself expanding into bigger music ventures, similar to what Jay Z has managed to do? My short answer is yes, as this is the future for entertainment entrepreneurs, and I would be misled not to take advantage of an any type of opportunity for growth. Ultimately, there may be another purpose for me.
Where can people go on social media to connect with you? Thanks for having me. Twitter: @made4victory; Instagram: made4victory; Facebook: Vic Freeze Soundcloud: made4victory, https://soundcloud.com/made4victory; You Tube: MADE4VICTORY
Watch “Change The World” by Victory below:
Follow Carlos Cureno on Twitter @DjayyCharliee.