Project City's own Rasheed Chappell / by Randy Ortiz

l_e76566cdb1014e678931b83f5625eabc Recently I got the chance to listen and talk to one of Jersey's upcoming power hitters, Rasheed Chappell and see what he's bringing to the table. Currently working with the likes of Kenny Dope, DJ Clark Kent, and the almighty Biz Markie, Rasheed is on the right path to deliver the goods.

He has the power of making his lyrics come to life and bring you in to what he's talking about, leaving you wanting more. Weaving together tales of the streets, the people, and life, while still maintaining the flow that keeps your head on constant nod, that is what you get with Rasheed. Giving off a vibe from Hip-Hop legends such as Rakim, Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane infused with crazy beats, he just got a new fan.

WGM got some real talk in with Rasheed, lets see what going on in his world.

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What's the first thing you want people to know about you? The first thing I want people to know about me is that I'm here...haha. It's been a long time coming and I'm extremely humbled to be in a position to finally have my voice heard by he masses. I also just want to thank everyone who has supported me in any shape, form or fashion to know how grateful I am for that and without it I wouldn't be the man, let alone the artist I am today.

What was the moment where you felt it was time for people to know who Rasheed Chappell is? That's a good question, I never really gave it that much thought before haha. I think it was an evolution from writing in my notebooks to recording into 4 tracks, then playing it for my crew. As my skills progressed and my content expanded, I began to feel that I had something that I thought the world would be interested in hearing. There hasn't been a singular moment, but there have been moments of confirmation... hell the fact that we're doing this interview is one, haha. I do remember opening up for Doug E. Fresh many years ago at the Music Factory being my first time in front of a crowd that large, and I did my thing. Heart beating out of my chest, haha... the crowd loved it. People where showing me love after I came off that stage, so that was a moment of confirmation that maybe I was onto something, haha.

Your musical influences are some of the best in the industry. How have they affected what you write about? Wow, my influences are soo varied, but I try to take a little something from each of them. For instance in a song where I try to convey my vulnerability I tap into my Donny Hathaway zone, when I feel like being pinpoint precise the God Rakim comes to mind. I'm not an artist that will exclude giving credit to someone or something that influences me, but when I listen to Bob Marley or Nas... that only pushed me to constantly revise, revamp, and reconstruct my ideas until they are as crisp as they can be and then start all over again. I always feel I can exceed my best and my influences inspire me to do just that.

What was your first album? My first album haha, that was Built On Slave Bricks. I recently got a request for a digital copy of that album from someone a few weeks ago, it was released in 2000, and when I say released... I mean I sold it hand to hand after shows, radio shows, and to anyone that would listen... ha. It was produced by Tar of SOOT Factory out of South Jersey, I love that album and where I see how much I've grown as an artist. I would cram a million words into a single bar haha, but I had soo much to say and I wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything... but yeah Built On Slave Bricks was my first joint and when I started getting positive feedback from that album, that served as another confirmation going back to your earlier question.

You talk about the corporate mainstream in Hip-Hop, what are your thoughts on the genre's current state and where do you see it going? A lot of people who label themselves purist take offense to alot of the music that gets the most radio spins and video play, but with the influx of people resorting to the independent route via Youtube, digital downloads, Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, I feel that there is enough representation of different kinds of Hip-Hop out there, we just have to dig for it. The search is part of the fun. Do I feel artist like myself, Jay Electronica, Elzhi or anyone doing there thing should get that type of love? Sure, but it's a simple fix, the power is in the hands of the people they have to support by buying the music, coming out to the shows, calling stations and requesting what they want to hear. I don't feel discouraged though, because good music is gonna find a home. I can't remember the last time I heard a song on the radio from The Roots, but every time they drop, I cop. Just went to Rock the Bell's to see them perform because I'm a fan, so the fans have to decide what they want and make their voices heard. I do see and hear a shift rather in music... people are taking more chances. Nas for example with Untitled, and this new project with Damien Marley... so as long as the artist is willing to push the boundaries, we should be fine as a culture.

Any released, or upcoming projects you want to mention? I have the mixtape available for free... I repeat FREE download on my myspace page, The Chappell Show, The lost Episodes Vol. 1. I dropped it just to bring people up to date on where I've been and where I intend to take it... Vol 2 on the way. Nostalgia which is my debut album is on the way, it's going to be special. I don't like making predictions like Ali haha, but I feel this album will be more than a album, but a moment... a time capsule. I can't wait till it's done, we are about 80% done but we are just being creative everyday. Shout out to Kenny Dope, Clark Kent, Maleet, Super X, all the producers on the album, Raheem De Vaughn, Biz Markie, Mishal Moore, Tarbaby, and Sughaill for helping me put my vision together on this album.

Silverhawks or Thundercats? And yes I am serious about it. Oooh you taking it back. Silverhawks or Thundercats... haha how about both, or is that a cop out?? ...Nah I have to go with Lion-O and Panthar and the crew... dope villain names, Mum-Ra. Yeah Thundercats, but the best cartoon was G.I. Joe, now you know and knowing is half the battle, hahaha.

Before I go though I just wanted to say thanks for the love with this interview man, I mean it. Blogs like yours are vital outlets for upcoming artists like myself so keep doing your thing and much success to you!

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Well you got the man and his story, now download the mixtape below and see what I'm talking about. I'd like to thank Rasheed for giving me the time to get his story out and show how many people prefer Thundercats, hehe. Also like to thank Marcus and "Tati" from Rasheeds Marketing /Promo team for putting all of this together.

Rasheed Chappell links:

Myspace

Twitter

The Lost Episodes Vol.1 mixtape