Blog

Home / Blog
Kareem Kateb

Hoodlouse: Kareem Kateb

26.06.2011

How many Hip-Hop artists do you know from Austria? If you know more than 5 then please get in contact with us, because we need educating!

Thankfully, when we found out that Kareem Kateb is from Vienna, we were gently reminded and suitably refreshed, acknowledging that Hip-Hop isn’t exclusive to the U.S and U.K, as some Hip-Hop blogs and informants may have you believe!

It’s no secret that we’re huge D’Angelo fans here. So when we opened the first of Kareem’s YouTube videos and the unmistakable bass line from “Devils Pie” hit, we were ready to be disappointed. However, we’re pleased to report that Kareem Kateb (aka Mirakle), got one stage further than Canibus and delivered a respectable, enjoyable few verses over this beat.

The rest of his “The First Wonder” mixtape and “Weekly Wonder” videos have followed a similar format. Popular beats from producers such as Exile, Bangladesh and Alchemist have all been explored and experimented on by Kateb, leaving the youthful sound of someone casually sharpening his style without inhibitions.

We’re always pleased to support any developing artist who puts in that extra effort to make engaging YouTube/online content, and more importantly, who approaches us with a down to earth attitude. Kareem did just that, so check the interview below to see what your new Central European friend has to say about life, times and Hip-Hop via Austria.

Interview with Kareem Kateb / A.K.A Mirakle

WTBD: Can you tell us about how you got into Hip-Hop as a listener and then as an artist?

KK: I think the first Hip-Hop song I heard which got me interested in the genre was “I Cant Deny It”, and that was like my favorite song back in the days, even though I heard stuff like Halftime afterwards which didn’t affect me in the same way because it was a little too complex for me back then. I only started writing rhymes seriously around 2007 because I was just interested to see how many words in one line I could get to rhyme haha… so I was trying hard to get like four or five syllables to rhyme and by time you got to the 3rd line it wasn’t even making any sense.

WTBD: Are there many Hip-Hop artists out in Austria? What’s the attitude towards Hip-Hop out there? Excuse our ignorance but tell us a little about what we’re missing!

KK: It’s not a big scene at all in my opinion. The last Austrian rapper that I heard of who got signed was “Money Boy” (Sony) so… there’s not much I have to add to that really. It’s a little out-dated, but there are artists I know of who are working hard to make original sounding music which is actually dope, one example is Left Boy.

WTBD: You were in the U.K for 3 years right? Where did you live and what do you remember/miss most (if anything!)?

KK: That’s right, I lived in Portsmouth and went to University there. What I miss most… apart from living independently, i’d have to say Greggs and this Chinese restaurant called Golden Bowl haha. The UK is a great place for music though.

WTBD: Your voice is a little unusual, in a positive way; you can hear the mix of European and American Hip-Hop influence. Do you find that the music you’ve listened to has shaped your vocal style consciously or just naturally?

KK: That’s a funny question, it’s actually something i’ve wondered myself. It could be that I attended an international school and grew up surrounded by all kinds of accents, but it’s just as likely that the amount of Hip-Hop and Rap I listen to has shaped my accent.

WTBD: You released your first mixtape “The First Wonder” back in February. How long was that project in the making? What did you learn from the experience?

KK: The First Wonder was super rushed to be honest, but I think for the amount of time and work I put into it, it’s a great mixtape. It’s hard to say how long it took because there’s tracks that I made long ago that I put on it, and tracks that I did the night before I released it and put on it, haha. So i’d have to say overall it can’t have taken more than three weeks to complete.

WTBD: You’re currently working on the follow up, which I believe is titled “The Second Wonder”, what will you do differently when putting together this project?

KK: Yep, it’s going to be called The Second Wonder, and the difference is that I’m not going to rush it, and i’m going to try and put more tracks on there than were on The First Wonder. I’m not really one for choruses, but i’m not foolish enough to think that I can make a whole mixtape with none of them, so I need to try and get better at writing them and putting them in songs.

People Everywhere by Mirakle

WTBD: Do you find your location makes it harder to collaborate and generally gain exposure? Are you finding you’re using social media heavily as a networking tool?

KK: I feel like there’s a lot more rappers per capita in the U.S or the U.K compared to Austria, so that makes it harder to find people to actually record with and just chill and discuss music with. In the grand scheme though its not a barrier at all, i’ve done tracks with people in LA, Virginia, New Jersey, Seattle, so it’s not as if i’m struggling to get collabs done. I’ll admit that I wouldn’t mind having more ‘rapper-friends’ in Vienna though, just to exchange ideas with and work on stuff with.

WTBD: Tell us about an average day in your life, when do you find the time to work on your music? What kind of equipment are you using?

KK: I think my life on a day-to-day basis is pretty similar to any other 22 year old – I go out a lot, I work part-time, I play football every now and then, and I make music. To record I use an Audio Technica microphone and some kind of standard audio interface haha, and yeah, I record into Ableton Live.

WTBD: Your “Weekly Wonder” episodes on YouTube have gained a lot of positive responses. Is this something you’ll be continuing? Do you enjoy making the videos and putting the visual content out there?

KK: For sure. I feel like putting out a video with a track is the most logical thing to do with tracks that you really want people to hear, plus I enjoy making them and being involved in the whole process. I actually wanted to make a whole edited video for my track 24 Hours, just because of the issues I discuss and points I make, so that people pay more attention. At the end of the day, with a video you’re addressing two senses instead of just one, so yeah, it makes sense!

WTBD: What albums and artists have you been listening to lately? Do you find you listen to more or less music from other artists when you’re in the process of making your own?

KK: I’ve been listening to a lot of wild stuff. I like to pick random artists that I hear a lot about and watch a few of their videos and try to pick apart the reasons for why people like certain rappers, because unfortunately there’s a lot more to it than just the music. I’ve been listening to a lot of J. Cole. Wax is a great rapper and overall musician, i’d recommend anyone to watch all of his videos on YouTube and get all of that man’s music. I’d say those two are probably the best out right now. I listened to Tyga’s version of B.M.F a few weeks ago and that shit is still stuck in my head which is crazy. Big Sean just dropped his single “I Do It” which is also stuck in my head. Earl Sweatshirt’s album also gets a lot of play and Brandun DeShay’s second mixtape Volume Two! For The Show is dope too. I really vary a lot between styles, as far as Hip-Hop goes.

Free Food (Case Nine Remix) by Mirakle

WTBD: Finally, what’s your ultimate aim with your music? Are you setting yourself targets or goals you want to reach or just putting the music out there and seeing what happens?

KK: My aim is to be able to make a living out of the music I make, Regardless whether that’s $2,000 a month or 1 Million. The main thing for me is that I won’t have to change the music I make or anything. I don’t think its wrong to try and make money out of the art, its just that I think its a viable career choice!

To connect with Kareem Kateb, hit:

twitter.com/kareemkatebyoutube.com/kuririm

Laws

Interview with Laws

21.05.2011

Your Future Favourite Rapper. We would have said it, but he already got there first.

There are phases in Hip-Hop where it feels like a certain type of artist or quality is missing from the forefront. Right now, we’re all swagged out. We feel like the only people in Hip-Hop who aint ‘in the lab’. Yo, we admit, we’re not writing this from the iPad2 in our Maybach.

Click to download Laws’ latest mixtape ‘Yesterday’s Future

 

Thankfully we were treated to that storm after the drought feeling when we were first introduced to Laws through his 4:57 mixtape. On first listen, Laws’ mix of intelligence, humour and humility gave us the instant impression that he was already one level above, one step ahead of his peers and those that were fighting for a ‘freshman’ title. The synth-heavy input from J.U.S.T.I.C.E League also helped in convincing us that Laws isn’t a guy who will be (paused.) upon.

We realised that what we’d been missing is an rapper willing to talk honestly about his background and experiences on the come up, without them being glorified or straight up made up. Laws’ wit and ability to layer clever references that hit you a few seconds after they’ve dropped are what make him so relatable.

Then the pumped up 5:01: Overtime mixtape arrived last year, followed by the videos in this feature, leaving us with no doubt that Laws’ prediction of being our ‘Future Favourite Rapper’ was both smug and accurate.

Check what we had to say to rapper-come-prophet Laws in our interview below.

INTERVIEW WITH LAWS

WTBD: We notice  a few gaming references in some of your tracks. Is that something you do a lot away music? We’ve got a feeling you might be an old school Nintendo fan…

LAWS: When I have time, I like to get some gaming in.  The key word is “when”.  I’m an 8-bit junkie from way back when.  Metroid/Punch Out/RC Pro am ALL DAY!

WTBD: Back when you started out, rhyming at the Orpheum and hanging with your Cousin and his group, did you ever envisage what’s happening to you now? Or at that time, was it more of a hobby to release those shy kid anxieties?

LAWS: It was something to do.  My skills sharpened up pretty quickly though, so I was advancing at a rate that didn’t really allow me to reflect or envision much of anything.

WTBD: You really came to a lot of people’s attention through your hook upwith J.u.s.t.i.c.e League on the ‘Your Future Favourite Rapper’ mixtape. However, just before that you had a project with Rawkus that didn’t really take off in comparison. In the grand scheme of things that was a minor setback, but looking back (Boys to Men style), what gave you the motivation to carry on?

LAWS: Being broke.  Having family, friends, a girlfriend..that were
all broke too.  Sharing a dream with a bunch of people from a small
town.Laws

WTBD: By the time you came to the attention of Rooks (which I believe was through the ‘Where My Horns At’ track?,’ you had already had around 8 years to develop and find yourself a little. I’ve heard you refer to it as like an ‘internship’ period. Do you think this kind of ethic or grounding is something that’s maybe missing from Hip-Hop? I mean, most rappers on the come up are taking ‘The Rick Ross Route’ and speaking about how their first job is shifting narcotics, like there’s some negative stigma attached to hard work…

LAWS: Producer/Artist relationships are vital. Just look @ The Beatles and George Martin. The process was essential.

WTBD: You’re quite literally living the dream right now, but is there anything in hindsight you miss about a regular 9-5? On the flipside, aside from the obvious of being able to focus on music, which day to day things do you appreciate more now you’re not sat in an office?

LAWS: The only thing i miss about a 9 to 5 is the steady paycheck.
Mornings are really nice.  I get to enjoy those now.

WTBD: Your mixtapes 4.57 and 5.01, as well as your ‘Yesterday’s Future’ project, all show you’ve got a pretty diverse taste in music. There’s everything from dance, to rock, to straight Hip-Hop. When you get to releasing that first album, do you see yourself taking a similar approach?

LAWS: Of course!  Half the fun of hearing my new projects will be
guessing which direction I’m going to go in next.

WTBD: Going back to the ‘Yesterday’s Future’ project… you’re a big
Beatles fan right? Have you been to the U.K already or have any plans to come here in the near future?

LAWS: HUGE Beatles fan.  I haven’t been to the UK unfortunately, but I def hope to one day.

WTBD: What stage are you at now? Can you give any information as to the current project you’re working on?

LAWS: “Yesterdays Future” my Paul McCartney
dedication, is released in about 2-3 weeks.  All I can say is, this is very different from my last one.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/15514354″]

WTBD: Finally, you’re getting more recognition and hype with every track that you release. In fact, a lot of journalists and bloggers are gonna have to play catch up. To make sure they do their homework and to prevent you from hating all the media work, is there any question you don’t want to be asked in future? At this stage, I hope I haven’t already asked it…

LAWS: I appreciate every question, no matter how many times I’m asked it.  The fact that you guys even wanna know about me is a blessing.

Connect and keep up to date with Laws here:

twitter.com/lawshiphopyoutube.com/lawshiphop

 

Hoodlouse: The Boy Illinois Interview

24.04.2011

Say hello to the next notable college dropout from Chicago. We forget who the other is…?

We know what you’re thinking… you’ve heard the ‘college dropout turned rap star’ story a thousand times huh?! Maybe so, but The Boy Illinois is proving he’s everything but that tired Hip-Hop cliché.

The struggle between academic life and the creative mind is something that we all know too well, particularly within Hip-Hop.

Should an artist stay in education, using the stability of a degree as something to ‘fall back’ on? Or should they go all out and commit to that ‘grind’ mentality of striving to get whatever they want?

The Boy Illinois chose the latter. A decision that takes considered mix of courage and confidence. For that we applaud him.

Initially what caught our attention, and ultimately impressed us most about ‘Illi‘ was the quality and effort put into his online content. As a marketing company, we can only tell any aspiring/up and coming rapper to follow his lead. Producing quality videos, updates and trailers (as you’ll see in this feature) can make or break whether someone is willing to lend time to your work. Fans are impatient, but they’re out there waiting.

We caught up with Illi upon the release of his third mixtape, ‘Inhale Pt 3: After School Program‘. Listen back through from Pt 1 of this mixtape series and you’ll catch the sound of a boy chasing his dreams through to a man speaking through experience.  We went from listeners to fans as we were able to hear the development in The Boy Illinois’ delivery and content over the last three years. A shout out must also go to ‘Baron Boys‘ whose production style never fails to compliment Illi‘s style.

The Boy Illinois is proof that the University route isn’t for everybody. Sometimes we teach ourselves the best lessons we can learn.

INTERVIEW WITH THE BOY ILLINOIS

WTBD: So what were you studying at University before you dropped out? Did you learn anything academically that’s served you well in your music career so far?

TBI: At first, my major was Political Science, but then that became boring really quick. Then, I switched my major to Sociology, and after that I majored in common sense. Academically, I don’t think I learned a thing while in college.

WTBD: What did you do in the first few weeks after deciding to leave University? Was it straight into the music?

TBI: I was still working at the time. I worked with disabled students who attended the University. That in itself taught me more about life, which was probably the biggest thing I really accredit college for. I was doing music still as well, just more than ever since I didn’t go to class.

WTBD: What’s been the hardest aspect of leaving education and going out to work for yourself?

TBI: No more refund cheques.

WTBD: What did your family and close friends make of the decision and how do they feel about it now?

TBI: My mother didn’t like it at all, but my father was behind me and is still behind me 100%. My homies was with me 100% as well. Girls around me at the time always told me that I should just finish school and do the music thing at a later date. You only have one chance to cease the moment and live your dream, and you can always go back to school.

WTBD: Some notable Hip-Hop artists have hailed from Chicago. Who have been your influences musically?

TBI: Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West. They say what they want, when they want, for the most part.

[audio:http://whenthebeatdrops.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/03-Breakfast-of-Champions-Prod.-Baron-Boys.mp3]

WTBD: From the outside, it appears that with the recent third and final instalment of your ‘Inhale’ mixtape series, you’ve really come into your own and seem to have built yourself a platform. There’s clear progression through the mixtapes to this point. I’d say you’ve self graduated.  Do you feel comfortable as the artist you are now and the direction you’re heading in?

TBI: First and foremost, thank you for taking an in-depth look at the music that I create and put out.  As an artist, the fact that people listen to and appreciate your music is profit in itself. I think I’ve gained a lot of self confidence realizing that people like my music and want to hear more of it. So I’m very comfortable at the moment. I think I’ve found my niche and I’m going to continue to do what I’ve been doing until it gets old. OH, and that inhale series, we have one more to go!

WTBD: From a marketing point of view, I’ve been particularly impressed by your YouTube videos/content. It’s something that’s either overlooked or unprofessionally handled by a lot of up and coming artists. Even back around the time of your first mixtape you were releasing videos to accompany your music. Do you enjoy making music videos? You obviously see the importance…

TBI: It’s always a plus to give a visual with your content. You can then control the picture you paint when they actually see the video, and put them in that same realm you were in when you were creating the record.

WTBD: You also seem to put a lot of energy into your live performances, and recently performed at SXSW. How was that?

TBI: I love performing, and the energy I provide just goes hand and hand with the song. If it’s high energy, I’m going to give high energy. If it’s smooth, I perform that way.

WTBD: What’s the strangest thing that’s happened so far at any of your live shows? Tell us a little about your live shows, are you hooking up with promoters from different states? Is this the first time you’ve been travelling around in your life?

TBI: Haha, I don’t know about anything strange. Nothing is really strange to me, I mean in a sense everything is strange if you haven’t seen it yet. I have been linking up with some good people outside of the state of Illinois for music and shows, so that’s always a positive. I have a lot more travelling to do in the future, and hopefully I can make it to the U.K. soon.

WTBD: You’ve worked with a host of other artists and producers, as well as remaining involved with your long time group F.A. Who’s continued to be supportive of you and helped your career so far?

TBI: Always, if one makes it we all make it. Family Affair, shout out and much love to my brothers Rel and Tre-Style.

WTBD: So, what’s next? What do you consider the most important thing to be doing at this point?

TBI: As far as the inhale series, we still have Pt.4 this summer, right along with the group project ‘The Pilot’ right before. After that tape I’m going to get started on my first album. I want to at least make and create an album before mankind destroys the earth.

For more information and to download mixtapes from The Boy Illinois, visit theboyillinois.com

TQ

TQ Interview

03.04.2011

It’s difficult to write an introductory paragraph introducing TQ and his music. His fan base is so diverse that to try and make this content generalised and unbiased is a challenge.

So, let’s not bother. We’ll openly admit that we’ve followed TQ’s music since ‘They Never Saw Me Coming‘ and have rocked every album since. We still even bump an occasional Coming of Age track.

If that last paragraph flew right over your head, let this video kick-start some nostalgia:

Yup, you ALL know him. Westside is still THAT track that resurfaces every summer, every party and takes everyone back to a moment in time. A playlist necessity.

If you copped TQ’s debut ‘They Never Saw Me Coming’ you’ll appreciate why he’s got such a dedicated fan base. The content and delivery within that album had street relevance. Everybody could take somethin’. If you weren’t from California, this was your glimpse into the West Coast way of life.

From that point, you’d be forgiven if you found his career difficult to follow. Though TQ has dropped 5 albums in the last decade, juggling label requirements and the desire to make music his way meant the airwaves were, at times, sacrificed.

One thing that TQ refused to compromise was his creative freedom. In today’s climate where the phrases ‘keeping it real’ and ‘selling out’ are one and the same thing, TQ made the decision to stay true to himself. For that decision alone, we have respect for him, but the fact he made that decision and still continued to make unrestrained R&B music? It’s unheard of.

T’s last album ‘Kind Of Blue‘ was released last year and we caught up with him at a time where everything seems to have fallen rightly into place.

Proof for any aspiring artists that the real deal is not always a deal that’s offered to you, it’s a negotiation you’ve got to make with yourself.

Interview with TQ

WTBD: Hi TQ, we’ve caught up with you at a time where, from the outside, it looks like you’re pretty settled. ‘Kind Of Blue’ was released a year ago, you completed a European tour last summer and now you’re working on your new album. How you feeling right now?

TQ: Aw man, 2 blessed 2 be stressed!!!!

WTBD: You’ve had your difficulties with record labels in the past. Can you tell us the stage you’re at now? We understand you’ve got some kind of dual deal with a U.K based media company, is that accurate? How does it work?

TQ: Yeah basically these days I’m just doing single deals with different labels on projects not connected to my albums. They can do ok with singles but when the value of a full TQ album comes into play the labels don’t get that I can just do better by myself when it comes down to dollars and cents… As if ANYTHING else matters! LOL!

WTBD: What’s been the hardest aspect of putting out a record without major label support? What’s the best lesson you’ve learned?TQ

TQ: Lack of marketing and promotions. My sales methods are pretty straight forward. I have a built in demand that doesn’t change much project to project. Especially, without a huge budget behind it u know? My best lesson learned is to supply that demand first and foremost before trying to increase it.

WTBD: What would you consider the proudest moment of your career to date? Has there been a point you’ve surpassed that you never expected to even reach?

TQ: Prolly when all my catalogue reverted back to me a couple years ago. First time I completely owned myself. It was interesting to see the real value of making music for as long as I have. There’s nothing like a 100% cheque! Opening “The Up in Smoke Tour” for Dr. Dre, Snoop, Ice Cube, and Eminem was pretty damn cool too!

WTBD: You’ve often worked with a variety of artists from different genres. Looking at recent collaborations, you’ve worked with Gyptian, Danielle Senior and The Ying Yang Twins, three completely different genres of music. Who have you really enjoyed working with and is there anyone you’d really like to work with in future?

TQ: I’m such a non genre dude these day. This is my job but I survive off what I’ve done already. Like, the nitty gritty bread and butter has been taken care of already. Right now it’s about building on that fact and having fun. I listen to all kinds of shit. I create all kinds. Maybe my country or my look or whatever automatically puts me in a box, but who cares? I can easily kick a hole in a box right?

WTBD: Your cross-genre collaborations have also seen you develop quite a diverse fan base, particularly in Europe. When you sit down to make a track, do you worry or consider the fact you have to please so many different types of fan? Or is this something that doesn’t even cross your mind?

TQ: It has! I have to make sure that it never does again! They all love TQ. All I have to do is be myself and write down the true me on top of whatever musical bed I’m feeling at that moment and we’ll be fine…

WTBD: Going back to your work in Europe, do you have an insight as to why your career has developed more so over here than back in the States? Does it bother you that it’s worked out this way, or have you just embraced it and are seeing where it takes you?

TQ: Yeah I spent the time in the beginning man. History was my fave subject in school. I wanted to see it all u know? I kept going back! Then when the Euro took over it was a rap! LOL!  To be honest, the fans seemed as passionate about my music as I was making it… I was sold. I asked God to make the music that people loved. I didn’t specify what language I wanted them to speak!

WTBD: Can you tell us a little about your next album… is it still going to be called ‘I Wish’? Can we push you for a rough release date?

TQ: Working title is “LEGENDARY”. “I Wish” may be the first single. Prolly late this year. I’ve got some other projects that I’m working on that I wanna get finished so that I can stop everything and just work on the album.

WTBD: You’re also working on a couple of film projects that are in production at the moment right? Do you see yourself lending more time to acting in the future?

TQ: Yeah thaz wat I mean… I do have a thing for film. I’m gonna definitely do more of it. Juggling ain’t easy tho… that I do know about myself.

WTBD: Finally, you’ve often spoken about not giving away too much of yourself to record companies and have arguably sacrificed a lot of exposure (and money!) that you may have got from a major label deal. Has there ever been an offer that’s tempted you? Or are you happy with the way things have worked out?

TQ: Yeah there’s always temptation. I’m just a knucklehead I guess. Thank God he made me start this thing when it was really lucrative. I’m self sufficient enough to just keep chuggin’ along. It’s fun!!!!

 

For more information on TQ, hit www.thugpoetry.comtwitter.com/tqthetrojan

 

Malcare WordPress Security