Real Name: Greg Poe
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Influences: Big Punisher, Crooked I, Brother Ali, Tech N9ne
Who He’s Down With: Sandpeople, Cool Nutz, G Force
You have a freestyle and battle rap background and won Scribble Jam, but you’re also able to make good songs, something a lot of battle rappers are unable to do. Why do you think it is hard for battle rappers to transfer their lyrical talent into writing good songs?
I definitely think it’s been a stigma for a long time. The reason behind it was that, originally, you were competing all the time in the battle realm and it takes a lot of time to actually hone that and be involved in that. That time could have been spent making music, but it gets directed towards battling.
Then, of course, that style of rapping influences the music as well. In the battle scene lately, though, it’s mainly been the written a capella format. I think it’s that way because it’s more welcoming of seasoned artists, people who make music or have established names that wouldn’t typically put it on the line to do a freestyle battle but since they have a performance background are more comfortable in the newer age, written era of a capella battling.
You’ve done shows with M.O.P. and Slaughterhouse and you recorded with the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck on your new “Skrill Talk” album. What are things you’ve picked up from being around them?
It’s behind-the-scenes stuff, like how they handle business, tour scheduling and organization. Veteran Portland rapper Cool Nutz is my manager. He’s toured with Tech N9ne and I’ve worked with Tech N9ne. I’ve seen the breakdown of how everything is so organized when they’re on tour. At 9 o’clock they’ve got press. Lunch is served from 1:00 to 3:00, or whatever. It’s all very organized behind-the-scenes. I’ve done plenty of independently booked tours. While we maintain organization, seeing the actual work and focus that’s put in in efficiency on tour is a big thing.
What made “Under Their Radar, Over Their Heads” be the song you did a video for?
I really wanted that to be the first single after I finished the album and was looking at the material. I thought it would be something that no one really expected and because it was original. I really liked the sound of it. From the moment G Force produced it, he was like, “I don’t even know if this is a rap beat. I don’t know if someone could rap and make a song on this.” When he said that, I was like, “I want this beat.” The song came out and I saw the concept for the video in my head, something simple, clean and with this silhouetted crowd behind me in a performance shot. I conceptualized it with the director.