Exclusive Interview with Ceez
An exclusive interview with Ceez
Upcoming 100: How long have you been in the music industry and has music always been a part of your life?
Ceez: Well I’ve been “DJ'in” and rapping since middle school, and my uncle DJ Hightech was a big Freestyle DJ so I guess it's in my blood. By now I’ve been recording 20+yrs. Industry shit maybe 15.
Upcoming 100: Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “music is what I want to do”?
Ceez: Nah I just never stopped doing it, and it took me longer to learn the business because I was mastering my craft and was always against the commercialization of Hip Hop so $ was never my main objective. It's also therapeutic for me, and a lot of it is for my mental health not to sell to people. Nowadays Hip Hop needs artists like me. I wish there were more.
Upcoming 100: What inspires you (or your music)?
Ceez: Life! I'm a normal dude rhyming about normal things, who has seen and been through some tragic and amazing shit. So if you want to fantasize about what you don't have, escape reality and project an image you are not, that's cool everyone needs and escape, and music is an escape for most, but for those people, my music is not for you. If you have a goal or something that needs to get accomplished so you can get to your "escape" place then you should be riding to my shit whether in the gym, in prison, at work or in school. My shit is Go Get It Music!
Upcoming 100: Who’s on your iTunes playlist?’
Ceez: I listen to my entire library randomly. It ranges from Redman & Cypress Hill, to Bob Marley & Marc Anthony back to Nas & Jay-Z with some Nirvana mixed in. Plus some Jersey House shit. I get bored easy, I need a lot of choices.
Upcoming 100: The project you are currently promoting, how did the idea for it come about?
Ceez: Well I record all of the time, it is my therapy, I have another album done too. These were basically all of the songs that were original tracks that didn't have any sample issues, and that kept with my motivation theme. All of my mix tape tracks are basically songs that may have clearance issues so I throw them out for free. Those 2 Mix tapes are available on Datpiff.com for free they are called "Dat MC (Mothaphucka Ceez) Volume I & II."
Upcoming 100: There are thousands of artists trying to do what you are doing, what do you think gives you an advantage to break into mainstream America?
Ceez: Well the fact that I don't sound like anyone helps because I don't even pay attention or care about mainstream America or radio. I feel like I get dumber every time I watch TV half the time. If my shit ever went mainstream I would just switch it up, and start a whole new lane. People are always looking for the next new thing while they are doing what everyone else is. I am always like fuck what everyone else is doing so I will always stick out, sometimes that is good and sometimes that is bad.
Upcoming 100: I’ve heard your latest music and it’s amazing! I can definitely tell your sound has evolved over the past few years from previous songs we’ve heard from you online. What are your thoughts on the evolution of an artist and the evolution of music today?
Ceez: Thank you. Appreciate that. I believe you should be growing and evolving every day, in every aspect of your life. As you learn new things and take on new responsibilities you should grow and your ideas and mind should change because if you're not evolving that means you are not training your mind or your body. In order for your muscles to grow you need to work them out and break them down so they grow back bigger and stronger. I apply that philosophy to all aspects of my life. Cause the same way I want more muscle mass, I want more mass in my bank account, and I want more knowledge so I'm always breaking myself down and rebuilding. So I am intense, aggressive, comfortable with all forms of confrontation because I don't mind being broken down. I seek it out that is how I train myself and build myself into a stronger person. Who knows what I will be on in my 3rd, 4th, and 5th albums. The older you get the better you should get. I would never want to be in my 20's again, it was rough back then and I was stupid.
Upcoming 100: Do you have other passions in life? Do you believe passion is an essential part of success?
Ceez: Yea I like to chill with my family, that is important because you never know when your last day will be, so you can't miss the chance to build memories with people you love. I also like to lift weights, do real estate, trade stocks, read and fuck with MS Excel. All while I'm blazed lol.
Upcoming 100: With your current success and working with a renowned PR firm such as Starlight PR, What advice would you give to someone just starting out in his or her career who doesn't even have a studio to record but would love to do what you are doing now?
Ceez: Unfortunately you need $. It's a cold hard fact that people must wrap their head around if they want to get into this game. Investors can own you and you can go that route, but I prefer self investment, to start. Gotta have some skin in the game. Also you gotta finance yourself before you can expect someone else to invest in you, especially in today's music business landscape. So first and foremost you need to invest in yourself. So I built my own studio as my first investment, and K-Def helped me upgrade it. For the same price you might pay a studio to record your album you could build your own; maybe even cheaper with the way technology is today. It's not what you got, it's knowing how to use it. Unfortunately nowadays good business prowess is more prevalent than well crafted Hip Hop. So it is obvious that you can put some wak shit out as long as you got money. So being that $ is the main barrier to entry in the music industry, not talent, I would advise people to cut expenses wherever possible because you will need $ for marketing and promotions. So studio expense is the best, cheapest, and easiest to eliminate by building your own studio. You might have to learn how to build your own studio and do it yourself so, do that. That is an example of breaking yourself down financially, mentally, and physically with hard work, but then building yourself up with the knowledge and savings of recording yourself. If you’re serious then you should be recording somewhere or with someone. So if you have access to someone with a studio already that will show you how to build one or build it with you that's even better. Studio expense is the first expense that needs to get cut out of the budget. Then you need to learn how to record yourself, and learn how to be an artist/engineer at the "Same Damn Time." That's a lot of commitment to ask of most people. If this shit were easy, everyone would be successful at it because we already know everyone is doing it.
Upcoming 100: Where can potential fans find out more about you?