Filed under: Cool ppl, Jamz | Tags: 7 Questions with, Al N York, Hip Hop, mixtape, Noah's Arc (The Flood), The Commercial mixtape
It’s been a minute since I’ve been on my blogging. I apologize for the intermission but a girl’s gotta pay the bills you know? The first inteview I did on this site was with a young lyricist out of Florida who goes by the name of Al N. York. He dropped another mixtape the beginning of this month and hit me up with the hopes that I’d post it. I obliged, of course, because the kid’s got talent. He can spit, but he’s also got something to say. It is the balance of lyrical prowess, musical intelligence, substance,and relatability that is most alluring about Mr. York and will endear him to those who love hip hop and respect it as an artform not just a way to get “on”. His new mixtape “The Commercial” does not dissapoint. From the melodic title track in which he lays claim to 2010 being his year to break the glass ceiling to the infectious bounce-worthy “Limelight” which loops a young Biggie proclaiming “…now I’m in the limelight ’cause I rhyme tight” flawlessly into the hook York brings you into his world , the world of a young rapper who is hungry, ambitious and ready. There are a few slight bumps in the road as York slightly dims when in attack mode. Chest puffed and trash talking York still shines, yet his lyricism takes a back seat to his machismo. In my opinion York is at his glowing best when he allows his poetic soul to merge with his sharp tongue, trading quick jabs for round house kicks, allowing his skill to become his greatest force. The verdict: a nice addition to your mixtape collection, plus when he blows up you’ll be able to say “I don’t know bout yall but I been up on him since he dropped……”
HBBNG: Since we last spoke have there been any big developments that have taken place concerning your music? Have you found yourself garnering more attention in your city since the release of your last mixtape Homeless Millionaire? Have you found more people associated with the entertainment industry checking for you?
AL N YORK: Yes, I have been making a transition from the underground to being known to a lot of the major players in the city. I actually saw one of the biggest promoters in the state who is based in Orlando named Mercedes Streets, she was in a Ace Hood Promo van, I pretty much stalked her.. had her pull over, and handed her the mixtape. Later that week she expressed how much she enjoyed the mixtape. A lot of similar stories, and I feel w/ the release of this new project.. It will elevate a new level.
HBBNG: How have you matured as an artist in the past 9 months?
AL N YORK: As an artist I always wanna mature. I know for a fact Homeless Millionaire wasn’t for everyone, you’ ll see now the songs are more [well] rounded, and lyrically I always feel I have to improve, plus with me working on more original material I have to perfect my song making abilities, and always strive to improve.
HBBNG: What’s the signifigance of the title The Commercial?
AL N YORK: The significance is tha length, a commercial is just an interlude or a prequel to the actual show. The commcercial is only 9 songs, and just like something midway thru my underground career. I think that though its short, its my best project to date. So the commercial is kinda like, ok this is just an interlude in my career, but a strong one.
HBBNG: Artistically, what was your frame of mind with this new EP? What were some of the main influences and inspirations, whether they be situations, emotions etc, behind the creation this new project?
AL N YORK: Well, urgency.. I dropped ‘Homeless millionaire’ in Jan 2009, it did what it was supposed to do, plus as an artist I knew the sound quality had to be improved cause the people who are in a bigger position to help me, are not gonna accept half ass recording and mixing. So about the beginning of December I said ‘its time for something new’ started writing the project the 1st week of December, finished in 3 weeks, and im super happy [about] the outcome. My mindset, was to just get back out there, new energy for the new year, im still here, and im better than ever.
HBBNG: Who are some artists you’re feeling right now that reinforce your love for hip hop?
AL N YORK: Im surprised I loved Kid Cuddi’s album so much, it was incredible. Wale’s album was dope. 50 cent still being hungry after being so succesfull financially, even though the album didn’t sell, the art was there. Lupe’s new mixtape is amazing. J cole, who wasn’t big when we first spoke, that mixtape is very homeless millionaireish, we have the same steelo. And a lot of people from my city doin it big are inspiring me not to fall in the back of the pack..
HBBNG: Let’s say you have a magic Blackberry which has the contact information for everyone in the entertainment industry from rappers to singers to producers to record execs but you can only make one call. Who would it be and why?
AL N YORK: Im making that call to Jay-Z, from that call, you would be able to get in contact with anyone else. Knowin Jay gives an automatic buzz and people will listen off the strength of that co sign.
HBBNG: Finish the sentence: 2010 is my year to?
AL N YORK: My year to quit these 9-5s and make money doin what I love
Download The Commercial
Listen to The Flood/ Noah’s Arc
Filed under: Cool ppl | Tags: Al N York, Dopeness, Hip Hop, Homeless Millionaire Mixtape, New Talent
Aight. So in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a journalist. Albeit, an undiscovered and unpaid one, but a true journalist nonetheless. It’s what I went to school for and I love what I do.In an attempt to satisfy my magazine columnist fantasies, I have decided to add a new feature to this blog, ” Kickin it With”, now the title should be self explanatory. From time to time, I’m gonna kick it with the extremely creative and talented individuals I happen to bump shoulders with.
My first session belongs to Al. N York. I met this gentlemen when I got a friend request on MySpace with the message ” I see you got good taste in music. if i’m wack don’t add me period, this is HIP HOP, where skills matter…” Hmmm. So, I check his page, listen to what he got for about two minutes, go back, and add him. In the snippets of the songs I heard, I heard nice beats and a nice flow. As I listened more, and eventually downloaded his latest mixtape Homeless Millionaire, I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. It seems like these days everybody, thier cousin, and thier man down the street can rap, but I heard somebody who actually had the skills they claimed mattered so much. The kid was nice. My substance radar started going off something crazy, I don’t know what it is but I always seemed to be up on stuff right before it blew up, and this I believe, is no exception. So for you’re reading pleasure my convo with Al N. York
TAE: So first things first, for all those who don’t know about Al N York, why don’t you tell me a little bit of your background, when did you realize you wanted to be a mc and how long have u been putting in work?
AL N YORK : I started writing around the age of 11. I was writing lyrics before i was listening to hip hop due to strict house rules. Started my ghetto recordings at 14 passing out mixtapes at school since around 15, 16
TAE : Alright a true hustler, that’s wassup, strict house rules huh? Do you come from a very religious background?
AL N YORK : My mom is christian thru and thru, there was no ‘cecular’ music in my house. Cable was off and on, and if it was on, lord forbid I was watching those raunchy videos with my mom around. I knew some hip hop acts, and enjoyed what I could, but I didnt have an constant hip hop outlet when I first started as a MC, I was my own outlet
TAE : Wow, I feel ya tho, I kinda went thru the same thing as a child, I couldn’t even watch nickelodeon sometimes..lol…I find that interesting though you started writing at 11, were the verses coming out as rhymes(2 be put 2 music) or were you writing stuff more like poetry?
AL N YORK : No they was raps lol I wrote words for rhyming purposes and found it challenging and fun, I didnt really look at it as an outlet until I was around 12-13.. you know the regular hardships you go thru as a teen.
TAE : Right, right, now when you started recording at 14 was it straight guerilla style or did you have connections with a studio of some sort?
AL N YORK : gorilla.. 10 dollar mic. windows recording program, it used to stop after a minute, so all my songs had a cut after 1 minute and it resumed lol.. I didnt upgrade equipment until around 16 or 17, but still had a sucky mic
TAE : but you gotta do what you can do at the time right, sucky mic and all..lol..how did your peers recieve the mixtapes, did you gain a following around the school?
AL N YORK : its funny you mention that
TAE : why so?
AL N YORK : can i send you a song.
AL N YORK : After that song, you can ask clarification, i just recorded it yesterday
AL N YORK : day before yesterday
TAE : Is this gonna be on the Fools Gold Mixtape, i don’t really care for radio too much either, lol
AL N YORK : lol yes it will be
TAE : cool, so i’m listening to the song and you talk about loosing some fans due to being true to yourself concerning the content of your lyrics, how’d did that make you feel and how does that affect you now with the content you create?
TAE: tite song by the way
AL N YORK : well its everything.(thanks)
AL N YORK : i gotta big buzz by just freestyling, i was known as the rappin guy.. you know then its gets to a point where it graduates from that to recording, and as a 15 year old i was talkin about my surroundings
AL N YORK : family issues, school, whatever… but the people i hung out w/ was more like ‘gotta rap like this and that’ and for a sec i conformed, it got me a buzz because i was good at speakin about those topics of foolishness, but i knew if i wanted to be taken seriously in the long run, i needed to rap about what was on my mind, not what others wanted to hear
TAE : right and you were feeling that pressure to be something that you weren’t?
AL N YORK : Pressure, to a point. I just loved the craft so much, if people said i needed to rap about xyz to prove i can rap.. i would do it, that phase didnt last too long though.
TAE : i’m glad you touched on this because i wanted to get into the state of hip hop right now, i know it’s a question that has been asked many many times recently, but how do you feel about the glamourization of hip hop music, rented mansions, fake personas etc, the prevalence of ignorance over substance, i saw your anti-stanky leg movement message..lol
TAE : what is your assessment as a mc and as a fan?
AL N YORK : lol i think its always been like that to an extent.. i think around.. 96-97 when diddy started gettin the big money, we, as a culture (hip hop, not race) wasnt used to gettin that type of money in a business sense.. so it went from people braggin about it who actually had it, then others who are just trying to keep up for image sake. the only difference now is, theres more outlets to expose the fake.. information is easily accesed
AL N YORK : I think an mc is someone who raps, for the right motives
AL N YORK : alot of people like to pigeon hole ‘talib, common.. mos def’ as mc’s, but will discredit ‘jeezy, 50 cent, and nelly’.. which i think is unfair, i think we shouldnt let topic decide whos an mc.
AL N YORK : To me it’s more so who takes the time to polish thier craft and wants to be the best at it, and not taking advantage of hip hop for financial gain.
TAE : right right, i agree with you to an extent, i do think that content matters and there’s some stuff i just can’t connect with, i feel nowadays there’s a lot of braggin goin on that i could care less about, like times is hard i don’t wanna hear bout how you can just throw away 50 stacks or how you just bought some 1200 dollar shoes, but that’s me tho
AL N YORK : of course, i think each subject matter touches a diffferent audience, as long as a rapper stays in his lane, i think its tolerable, you dont need to listen to it. as an MC i respect people who do the craft and do it well, even thou i might not like there music
AL N YORK : as much as i would love for all black men to be intelligent and proper ect.. we gotta acknowledge the ones who(for whatever reason) are not, and they need a spokes person too, im ok as long as i stay tru to myself.
AL N YORK: we(as hip hop) gotta acknowledge the kids who are stugglin and really do move weight and are in those extreme situations.
TAE : That’s wassup… i must say one of the things that i like about you’re homeless millionaire mixtape was that i could really connect to what you were talking about, i heard you say in one of your blogs that there would be less bravado on this mixtape than heads were used to hearing from you, what prompted you to open up more on this mixtape
AL N YORK : correct, i mean i think thats somethin that a and r’s and mainstream people fail to realize. like i said in ‘rnr’ as far as the average joe, theres more of them then dope boys. or super rich people, those subjects only cater to the minority.. the majority is people like me, working, trying to achieve the american dream
TAE : i agree, i feel that the majority is being widely underserved in mainstream music right now.
TAE : the first time i heard you spit, i don’t know why, but the first name that popped into my head was Nas, you definitely have your own style, but who are some artists who influence you creatively
AL N YORK : um, creatively is a good way to pin point it cause i dont have a ‘favorite rapper’ but some mcs are. Joe budden. Nas. 50(a very poilished song writer). Little brother definitely… so many people
AL N YORK : Kanye’s, lupe.. listenin to jay-z just always makes me wanna rap lol
TAE : ok i gotta ask, cuz they my hometown favorites, who put you on to little brother?
AL N YORK : um. I put myself on. Seen on a hiphop website some fans was givn there music rave reviews, heard a dope record.. and i d/l the minstrel show(and phonte knows. via twitter)
AL N YORK : Since then ive gone back and done homework on the listening, chitlin circut, bought get back the first day it came out. seen them in concert. I can honestley say ‘The minstrel Show’ album changed my life as a mc.
TAE : yes, the mistrel show is wassup, as was the mixtape with drama, and getback, what was it about the minstrel show that changed you?
AL N YORK : well. It kinda let me know, i was making the right kind of music. there are peple who really need this kind of music. The way that album was put together. The beats, 9th production.. the whole 9 i felt was justification that real music will always be made. It just takes brave people to make them
TAE : there was a verse in say what’s real that touched on the Chris and Rhianna fiasco and you said you couldn’t chastise because you’d been in his position but you wasn’t in a lam and she wasn’t worth millions, i thought this was powerful becaue i felt the media turned that into a circus, everybody comin out the woodwork condemning Chris and coddling Rhianna when truth is this type of thing happens everyday in the hood, would you be willing to talk a lil more about your situation and what were you’re thoughts on the medias handling of chris brown?
AL N YORK : well my situation didnt get as far as that. As guys, especially when your dealin with young chicks. emotions and lord for bid shes from the hood(or the islands.. or dominicans) tempers flair all the time. my hands were never put on a women, but there havebeen incidents where ive thought ‘this chick could really wild out on me right now’ and we all have our little relational issues, so my rhyme was more of tryin bring a realization to the situation like ‘im pretty sure you know a couple girls who beat up on there men’ some tempers react differently.. its life
TAE : exactly…. shifting gears, you’re a college boy, where do you attend and what’s your course of study?
AL N YORK : Valencia community college(top 3 community college in the nation.. woot woot). Im persuing, well after my summer course i will have an AA in Interpersonal Communications. I plan on taking a semester off to see where i would [like to] to further my education in the spring.
TAE : whaat, alright Valencia…..you speak about growing up in the Clinton projects, was there any particular incident that made you decide you wanted to pursue higher education or was there anyone in your life who really pushed you to pursue a degree?
AL N YORK : My mom is a Harlem chick thru and thru. She decided to get me out of that situation early and move here to florida. We moved here around 1995, but she always wanted me to keep my harlem culture so i pretty much spent school seasons here.. and we went back for christmas.. and summers so i had a split upbrining, and ive always wanted to go to college, honestly because i was into watching college sports. then the installment, that education is the only way(from my mom) it wasnt even an option to me.
TAE : alright so mama didn’t raise no fool, did she raise you on her own?
AL N YORK : lol yes she did
TAE : that’s wassup my mother as well, as a young man how does that affect your drive to succeed. Is she supportive of your music?
AL N YORK : well, My mother is still moms lol she isnt into that cecular music. Even thou my lyrics arnt any thing that would warrant a moms rejection, im kinda quiet about it. she knows i do it but, its not something we communicate.. she’ll know im serious about it when i get that condo for her lol
TAE : i know that’s right, i’m sure you’ll do her proud…now you talk about having haters around the city, do you get a lotta love from you’re city as well? I’ve seen you’ve done some pretty high profile performances
AL N YORK : well. my city is interesting. me and my boy Turb was talkin about this.
AL N YORK : theres a division and competition.
AL N YORK : a division from the underground MCs.. who love hip hop. and Theres the people who are boarderline famous. outr high profile faces of orlandos are producers and djs, and alot of undergroud heads feel those djs aren’t supporting locals, and alot of us move to get noticed, so from the underground audience i feel respected.. as far as the other side is concerned i honestly dont think im on thier radar
TAE : have you ever had anybody step to you on some physical ish?
AL N YORK : noo.. honestly its unspoken, cause the semi famous producers/djs dont pay us any attention, and the artist they support from here are usually there homeboys, or knock offs of another rapper from another city
AL N YORK : that, plus the radio station here is horrible.. lol
TAE :what i figured florida radio would be bumpin, but then again….would you say that’s the hardest part about breaking into the game, the lack of support from those who’ve almost “made it”…..
AL N YORK well there are people now that are doin alot from the city. i think the hardest part IS gettin local support
AL N YORK : theres 1 dj.. dj strong who whenever I listen to his radio show he’s puttin new cats on.. other than late night shows.. or little 1-2 minute snippets.. as far as regular rotation is concerned. No orlando artist gets radio spins on a regular basis.. none
AL N YORK : you know how people from other city comes into town, and they listen to the radio to see whos hot in the city.. everyone who comes down here gets atl music. texas music, miami music… not orlando music, thats why no1 has been checkin for us.
TAE : yeah, little bro talks a lot about that, you figure your city would be intrumental in puttin you on. How has the reception been for the homeless millionaire and so far wrong mixtapes?
AL N YORK : so far wrong is reall low key havnt really been promoting that, the response from Homeless millionaire has been very good. better then i expected, alot of people gravitate to it for its content. and the only issue people have is some of the quality.. i figure, if the worse ting you can say about my music is the studio quality. I must be, winning, cause that I can fix. but beinng a bad mc.. not so easy to fix.
TAE : yes, i agree, i was pleasantly surprised with homeless millionaire, it was a surprisingly smooth ride, no kinks, i can listen to it all the way through and your ear for beats is impeccable, nice production
AL N YORK : thank you.
AL N YORK : ive seen too many mcs waste thier great talent on horrible production
TAE : yea i’m the type where production is everything, the first thing that draws me in is the musical composition some stuff just hurts the ears..lol…So what can we expect from the Fools Gold mixtape and when is it droppin?
AL N YORK : I gotta call from this indy im workin with. they want it out by the end of the month. You can expect me, you’ll get another installment of ‘all of me’ about a different x-girl, theres a story or two in there. Alot of real music. I figure, money and hoes get old.. but reality you cant escape.. so i’ll keep it real as usual.
TAE : So I did my research, what is it about Sgt Alvin. C York that made you take on his name. He led a unique and remarkable life to say the least but what did you admire most about him? What do you feel you have in common with him?
AL N YORK : I’ll be the first to admit I am in the process of doin more research.. I had been playing with the name al. n (insert name)
AL N YORK : So like al.n credible a.ln whatever .. one day in class in 11g rade we where speakin about him, and i figured it be a better repersentation to take on a name of someone who assisted our country as opposed to gangsters and criminals being uplifted all the time
TAE : yes yes, allright so our time is drawing to a close, you’ve been great. One last question, what is the one thing you would want the world to remember you by after you’re gone?
TAE: or remember about you
AL N YORK : um
AL N YORK : Tru to one self. Tru to people around him. Inspired truth out of other people
TAE : Beautiful
Off his 2007 mixtape, Streets is Callin Vol 3
Off his 2009 mixtape, So Far Wrong
download homeless millionaire/so far wrong @alnyork.blogspot.com
check him out @ www.myspace.com/alnyork