It’s a nice feeling knowing cats like Aj Suede exist. Believe it or not, amidst the sea of audio shit bombarding the airwaves daily, there are artists among us who value the creative process and take pride in the long forgotten practice of releasing an album. Mixtapes are a dime a dozen these days. Unfortunately, all you need is a hashtag twitter hashtag account and a few weak instrumentals. Almost instantly you can enjoy the fame and fortune a few thousand followers can get you.
Thankfully, Suede isn’t cut from that overnight social media cloth. He’s a self-reliant artist intent to create music his way, aiming to “make music that people from any race, religion, creed or walk of life can identify with.” His newest offering, the intelligent and deadly Gold and Water is a testament to his grind. Not only does Suede murder verse after verse, he created a bulk of the beats himself, allowing for complete creative control. Suede was gracious enough to answer some questions so we could better understand the stance of the Suede God.
SGH: First off, your record is dope. For every “national” or “chart” artist covered on this site, there’s three or four posts dedicated to people like you, artists that make real shit because it’s in their blood. And for the record, that Dexys Midnight Runners sample (on “Rose Gold”) is fucking bonkers.
Suede: The crazy thing about the Dexy’s Midnight Runners sample is that I woke up one morning and started watching pop up video on VH1 classic. As soon as the” Come on Eileen” video came on, I grabbed my laptop and made that beat. I appreciate that you recognize the art within the album. At first, I wasn’t really planning to do many beats on the record, but as the sessions progressed I ended up using the production in an attempt to create my signature style that nobody can copy, and it obviously worked. If I would’ve got on other peoples beats it would’ve been a “rap” album instead of an album full of “music”.
SGH: Where and when did you start making music?
Suede: I got my start at rapping when I was probably six or so…this shit is in my blood. My mother raised me on the elements of hip hop, that’s why i try to preserve the culture while still helping it evolve into something that’s completely opposite from the bubblegum shit on the radio.
SGH: What motivates you to create a beat then murder it?
Suede: What motivates me to make a beat and murder it is, nobody has the ability to make these beats the way I make them. Especially with the limited resources that I have. With that being said, I build a beat up and demolish that shit, because I’m one of the best to do this. When people start waking up from their mainstream slumber, they’ll know that I’m not to be fucked with when it comes to making music.
SGH: One thing that’s perfectly clear is your confidence. I love the fact that it’s more than bullshit and boasts which are far too common in the hip hop game. I definitely hear the artistry and the creativity in your work.
Suede: I was never about the bullshit and boasts. I don’t think any rapper in my position has the right to be cocky, especially when they haven’t paid all of their dues, myself included. At first I was mostly humble and what not, but I was still getting overlooked. I’m still down to earth about this, but I don’t have time to please anybody with my humility. I do what I do better than most, so I’m going to make that abundantly clear. Especially because I’m more about my music than the flash. Most people do this so they can be seen. It’s cool if I’m seen, but it’s more important to me if I’m heard. The purpose of the music is get the point across, mind fucking people and all that simultaneously.
SGH: Who did you listen to while you were coming up to help form your sound? Since I was a kid I’ve always identified with that dark, harder, east coast sound. Crews like Wu Tang and mc’s like Nas kept me searching for real shit, which I’m proud to say I still do today.
Suede: My favorite crews at that time were Wu Tang and Mobb Deep hands down. Their debut albums were raw, east coast to the fullest. My debut may sound nothing like those but it’s still consciously gritty and east coast at its finest, (it’s) the evolution of that east coast sound maybe fifteen or so years in advance. I’m so ahead of my time (laughs).
SGH: What does the future have in store for Aj Suede? What’s your goal, or mission in this fickle music business?
Suede: As far as the business is concerned, I might just keep it indie (since) these major labels and all that cause too much fuckery. The future of my music is going to be me making the type of music I want, signed or unsigned. The music will always progress as my artistic process continues to evolve. I’ll do my best to make sure I don’t get too abstract with it, but even if i do, So what?
I just imagine being something like the MF DOOM or Aesop Rock of this generation…one of the most respected underground legends this game will ever see. Even if my music was to find its way to the radio audiences and what not, I’ll always find ways to make my lines fly over heads.
SGH: The more I listen to the record, the harder it gets for me to pin down a sound or “label”. That’s one thing I love about it. You’re killing verses one minute, then leaning on a dubstep beat to close the record out. It’s refreshing to hear an artist who works within himself, which becomes a reflection of you. It doesn’t lend to being confined to one particular sound or style. If you had to describe your music to someone who’s never pushed play, never heard a second of it, how would you do it?
Suede: I try not to label it so much myself, because once somebody is too self aware of the music they’re making it loses its authenticity. Every time I make a beat I never have any idea how it’s going to turn out. Some producers have a blueprint for every track, I just let my soul speak. I’d rather consider it multi- genre so it doesn’t have to conform to the standard of “rap” music. It is hip hop, but maybe hip hop twenty or thirty years from now. I just try to make music for people that know music. Not radio shit, not top 40 hits or whatever. Just music, past present and future.
SGH: Lastly, what’s the future have in store? And I have to ask, what’s your drink of choice?
Suede: In the future I’m just gonna kill shit, once the right people wake up to the type of music I’m making, we gonna kill shit… have legendary rare shows. Party with models and all that. I’m just gonna keep making good music for my supporters and disrespect my haters on a hourly basis. I plan to shit on alllll my haters…and my drink of choice, Keystone and Pinnacle. ———
Well said young man, well said. Head to http://www.ajsuede.bandcamp.com and bathe in the Gold and Water.