Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interview with Vaig

Interview with Vaig

The state of Pennsylvania has always been putting out hot music by talent artists. Most artists from Philly had taken Pennsylvania by storm with their music. Pittsburgh has been making noise lately with Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa putting the steel city on the map. This also includes Pittsburghian’s words smith Vaig who is blazing the airwaves and blogospheres everywhere. With two albums under his belt, Vaig is a force to be reckoned with. Vaig comes through and blessed the interview with Intrigued about getting started, his motivation with music and working with Arson Amazing and Nesia.

1)            Yo, what it is? I got ya on this. Joining me and Intrigued hails from Pittsburgh PA is Vaig, what’s going my dude. Black and yellow in the building. You gotta big buzz right now, how did you get started?
Vaig: Whats Good Fam, Thanks for this opportunity. Music has always been in my blood since way back when.  I remember growing up and my mom and grandmother would play old music throughout the house.  So I’ve always been around music but when I started to take this seriously was about 6 years ago.  I use to write poetry and that eventually turned to music and figured I was good at it and loved it.

2)            How did you get the name Vaig?
Vaig: People have said in the past that I give vague answers or sometimes I can be vague in the way I was perceived meaning I was not always understood.  Also a portion of my name comes from my father’s real name so I kind of blended the two and Ran with it.  My name use to be R-Vaig since my real name is Ron but overtime I just dropped the R and kept Vaig.

3)            Your album “True to My Word” is popping, have fans been positively receptive to the album?
Vaig: Yes It’s been greatly received which I’m very thankful for being an independent artist.

4)            What was the difference musically between “Fall to Rise” and “True to My Word”?
Vaig: Simply put, Growth. With Fall to Rise I was just finding my way in music and in life.  With True To My Word I know the direction I want to go and I’ve also learn a lot through just living and experiencing life more.

5)            Definitely feeling the concept of the albums, it feels like a story of your life. What does “Fall to Rise” and “True to My Word” mean to you?
Vaig: Thank You, I appreciate that a lot.  Fall to Rise to me was taking all the frustrations, ups and downs and turning them into a positive through motivational music. True To My Word to me means exactly as it sounds.  With everything you do be True To Your Word.  Be True to Your Music, Be True To Your Family, Be True to Yourself.  That’s what that album represents.  Throughout the creation of that album I remained loyal to who I am, I wasn’t trying to be something that I’m not. 

6)            You worked with Nesia Beats and Arson Amazing on both albums. What do they bring musically to complement Vaig’s style?
Vaig: Glad you asked that.  Me, Nesia, and Arson go back beyond music.  Truth, I consider them my brothers.  I’ve known them for years so when it comes to music they know me personally and can apply the soundtracks needed for the story I want to tell.  For Arson and Nesia I can tell them how I feel about any subject and they know me well enough to give me the production I need to tell that story through music.  Arson is more the person I go to get a HipHop type track and Nesia is more the person I go to where I need something to bang in the clubs.  Both are extremely talented producers who bring a lot to the table.  I’m thankful they are on my side

7)            Your joints are spinning on the heavy rotation; many stations and the blogospheres are showing you love. What was your first reaction when you heard your music on radio stations especially outside of PA?
Vaig: Man I was on cloud nine,lol.  The first record of mine that I heard on Radio was GLIDE.  Dj Blakk Steel had a segment called “The Blakk Out” on Wamo.  He opened up his mixdown with GLIDE and I was just thinking that everyone who is tuned in at this moment is listening to my song.  People was calling me to tell me they heard me on radio, it was a great feeling.  To this day I’m thankful to Dj Blakk Steel because he showed that record love when he didn’t have to, and that’s real

8)            How do you get your music to the ears outside of Pittsburgh PA?
Vaig: Just networking in general.  I always try to reach out to different people in different markets.  Also I try to support other people just how they support me that way we keep the support flowing.

9)            Who are your musical influences and how do they play a role on your music process?
Vaig: My music influences range from Al Green, Sade, Miles Davis to Nas, Common, Pac, Mos Def, Kanye, Dr. Dre to really anybody who makes great music.  It sounds cliché but I’m a fan of music in general.  I listen to everything because I think it’s good to keep your mind open so you can never be put in a box musically.  The more genres of music you open your mind to, the more universal your sound is.  Music is like food, you’ll get bored eating the same stuff

10)         Wiz Khalifa put Pittsburgh on the map and Mac Miller is having a major buzz. Educate non Pittsburgh residents about your city. What is it about Pittsburgh artists that we don’t know and what does your city mean to you as an artist?
Vaig: Pittsburgh is a smaller city but it’s big in talent.  When you look at where’s Pittsburgh we’re not East, West, South, North, or Midwest.  I like to call it Pittsburgh Coast meaning we are in a location by ourselves.  Pittsburgh has certain issues that need to be addressed like any other city but regardless it’s my city and it’s where I’m from.  The majority of people know Pittsburgh for the sports and steel industry.  Hopefully with this movement they will also recognize us for our musical talent like they did in the past. 

11)         Chuck D mentioned that your music is both hot and poignant. That is definitely a complement coming from one of the biggest voices from hip hop!
Vaig: Yeah that was big for me! I mean you talkin about the legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy.  For whom he to mention my name was crazy!

12)         Love the joint “Glide”, has a great concept and vibe to the ladies. What was the concept behind it?
Vaig: GLIDE is about just about enjoying the company of a special lady.   It’s about a lady who is confident and knows how to carry herself.  Soon as Arson made that beat I knew exactly where to go with it.  I just wanted to make something for the ladies but not too soft that fellas couldn’t rock with it.  I like to consider myself as somebody who respects women so I wanted a record to reflect that.

13)         I noticed that you’re very versatile on your tracks. You can rhyme to any style of beat and still sound polished. As an indie artist, how important is taking risks in the music business and networking to get your joints out there?
Vaig: I think it’s very important to take risks musically and be versatile.  I never want to be known as just “This type of Artist”.  You have to take chances and be an Artist and what successful artists do?  They paint different pictures.  You can apply that theory to anything.  If you play football you eventually have to take a shot down field.  If you’re following your dream you may have to take a chance in a different market and city to make things happen.  Point is there are times where you need to go out of you comfort zone to make things happen. 

14)         On the title track “True to my Word” you mentioned that you learned your lesson from fools. Love the slick wordplay on that track. Care to elaborate on learning your lesson from fools.
Vaig: Thanks that’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.  Learning lessons from fools is really just me saying how I learned lessons seeing where other people made mistakes without me having to go through them myself.

15)         Any artists or producers you haven’t worked with you would like to work with?
Vaig: Too many to name but I’m going to continue to work with artist and producers in my hometown and eventually I would love to do a record with Jill Scott, Bilal, Common, Nas to name a few.  It could happen right?

16)         What do the fans expect from Vaig for 2013?
Vaig: Visuals for songs off “True to My Word”, Shows, more great music, also look out for clothing coming soon

17)         What advice would you give indie artists on the music business and taking their craft to the next level?
Vaig: Be professional and believe in yourself

18)         Definitely a pleasure interviewing you, before wrapping the interview, give peeps info on where they can get at you for music?
Vaig : Thanks I appreciate this a lot.  They can go to my website which is and that will connect you to all the social media sites I involve with.  To contact me you can email and last but never least my album “True To My Word” is available on Itunes and all Major Digital Outlets.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Juelz Santana-God Willin'

Juelz Santana drops the ill mixtape wit the hottest joints track for track. Slamming tracks produced on his latest opus God Willin'. Check out the tracklist. Dope listen

  • 1.Sho Nuff (Prod By Buda Da Future)
  • 2.Nobodys Safe (Prod By Jahlil Beats)
  • 3.Bad Guy Feat Jadakiss (Prod By Dr Freak)
  • 4.Soft Feat Rick Ross Meek Mill / Fabolous (Prod By Young Shun Beats)
  • 5.Black Out Feat Lil Wayne (Prod By Sha Money XL / Ty Real)
  • 6.My Will (Prod By Gnyus)
  • 7.Clickin Feat Yo Gotti (Prod By Non Stop)
  • 8.Everything Is Good Feat Wiz Khalifa (Prod By Kino Beats)
  • 9.Wanna Be Me (Prod By Prime)
  • 10.Turn It Up Feat Lloyd Banks (Prod By Automatik Beatz)
  • 11.Nobody Knows Feat Future (Prod By Freak)
  • 12.Blog That (Prod By Sha Money XL / Ty Real)
  • 13.Nothing To Me Feat Jeremih (Prod By Futuristiks)
  • 14.Both Sides Feat Lil Durk / Jim Jones (Prod By Ronnie)
  • 15.What I Want (Prod By Sha Money XL)
  • 16.Awesome Feat Wale (Prod By Jokey)
  • 17.Bodies
  • 18.Shootem Up Feat Bounce

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Interview with Grant Parks

Interview with Grant Parks

Chi-Town has the talent right in the middle where it blends with the east coast, west and the dirty south hip hop vibe. Chicago’s producer Grant Parks has elevated his craft to the next level and has worked with Grand Puba, Sadat X, General Steele from Smif N Wessun, KRS-1, Masta Ace and many others. Intrigued got the chance to talk to the windy city producer about his craft, how he got into the business,  Coal Mine music  company, working with Sadat X and expectations for 2013.

1)            Joining me, is Chi-Town’s producer Grant Parks. What’s good so how did you get into music production?
I was a fan of hip hop first & had instrument lessons during childhood and it grew from there.  I was working on a computer with limited memory and graduated to my first drum machine, an MPC 3000.

2)            Chicago got very talented producers like Kayne, No I.D. and The Legendary Traxster. In your opinion what makes Chi-Town’s sound so unique from the east coast, the west coast or the south sound?
Chicago is in the center but we do have a lot of so we do have a lot of sounds from NY.  The North side is more underground based and the West side has more of a down south sound and the south side has a combo of it all.

3)            You got a lengthy resume under your belt. How do you get the attention of heads outside of the windy city?
Traveling and networking! Going to music & DJ events, promoting and able to make connections. You have to get out of your regular surroundings and build a base. The more you go to different places and attend different events, the more you expand your network. Networking is essential to build your own brand.

4)            What was your first beat and who was the first artist you worked with?
My first artist I worked with was an unknown artist from the west side of Chicago. It was a good experience because it helped me build my skills.

5)            Talk to us about Coal Mine music and how it got started?
CoalMine Music started as a production company and is ran by Terron (my brother), Joanne (sister-in-law) and myself.  Over the years, we have grown into a label, offering four components of the music business - Production, Management, Marketing and Consulting. Working on production with local artists early on, allowed us to learn other aspects of the business, in turn, branding CoalMine

6)            I know you hear so many unsigned artists trying to get in the game. Let’s say an unsigned artist gives you a demo or mixtape, what do you look for in an artist that gets your attention and say I want to work with them?
Their presentation is important, if their CD is raggedy, that tells a lot.  Then, their skill level. I can tell if they are serious and confident.

7)            You also have a production album “Parkstrumentals” in which you produced the project. Was it difficult getting the guest appearances on some of your tracks?
No, not really. The thing that was tripped out was, everyone sent their files in on time, for when we wanted to release it.

8)            What’s your arsenal of production equipment when making a beat?
FL Studio, MPC MPK 88, MPC 2000 and a mix of computer programs.  I’m a tech head so I stay up with music production and computer programs so I use pretty much everything.

9)            How long it does usually takes to make a beat?
It depends on the beat. The fastest I ever made a beat is from five to ten minutes; it doesn’t take much. For a more intricate beat, it takes a while, no specific time.

10)         What are the least favorite aspects about producing?
The least favorite aspect about producing is sometimes getting producers block, just like when artists get writers block. It’s a frustrating experience.

11)         You were the executive producer of Sadat X’s album “Love Hate or Right” album and produced three tracks. Was it difficult packaging the album together?
No, not really because when I got the files, they were on the same vibe. Sadat came to Chicago to master the album with me at my studio.  When we were figuring out what order to put the songs, all of them were in the same lane made the process easier.

12)         You produced the track “Hunny” from Grand Puba’s “Radioactive” album. How was it working with Grand Puba?
It was a great experience. Puba was easy to work with.  At first, I was surprised about the beat he picked, but after listening to the track I see why he picked it. It was a good vibe and fit him. Great dude to work with!

13)         What do you think of Chi-Town’s Chief Keef’s unpredictable success at such a young age?
Chief Keef success is great to be that young. We wish him success, as we do any other artist.

14)         Your beat was featured on the MTV’s PUNK’D episode. How that came about?
Joanne was working with Sadat X on the MADE episode and they were looking for music to use on the show.  She pitched our production catalog during a meeting and a few months later, we had a licensing deal.  This is a great example of what networking is all about. We have a few other placements that are in process of being aired on other networks.

15)         What was your reaction when you were nominated for producer of the year in both 2008 and 2009 Chicago Truth Awards?
I was in total shock and it was about time that I got recognized. It was great to be recognized by your city. I wished I won but it felt great to be nominated for those awards.

16)         You worked with KRS-1’s stop the violence movement and produced the “Self Destruction 2009 track with numerous artists. How that came about, did KRS-1 reached out to you or you reached out to him?
Joanne and Terron were working with KRS on a few things for the STVM and putting an album together so when we had him out here for a fund raising weekend, we started working on the song.

17)         Any artist that you haven’t worked with yet you would like to collaborate with?
A lot of artists; too many to name! I would like to work with Common, Twista (again, he was on the Self-Destruction 2009 song), Jay-Z (of course, who wouldn't (laughs).  I also would love to work with some South artists - T.I., Young Jeezy, etc.  My production is versatile, although I came up from the underground, which they call “real hip hop”, but definitely willing to expand. I listen to any type of music and can produce any type of beat - trap, R&B, underground, etc.

18)         What are Grant Parks’s expectations for 2013?
Making more solid connections and staying relevant in the game. By the end of 2013, I hopefully working with artists I haven’t worked with, as of yet.

19)         Will we see another Grant Parks production album in the works?
I'm working on a few other projects right now, but as the year progresses, I will have a GP project ready.

20)         What advice would you give to artists and also people that want to pursue in owning a label about the music business?
First and foremost, if they are serious about their craft and the business itself; they have to understand it’s not going to come overnight. You have to give in order to receive. The game doesn't give you anything. You have to put a lot of work in & handle the business behind it all.

21)         It was a pleasure interview you Grant Parks, is there anything you will like to add before we wrap it up?
Thank you for the opportunity, much appreciated.