How did you link up with G. DEP?
Ice Grill: I never personally met him although My Producer and the other half of BlackChalk use to produce and work with him extensively.
What made you choose to drop this song as a single considering your feature was in prison?
Ice Grill: Because the song was official and DJ M-80 shot it to me and the rest is good music. I also related to the topic beat and G-Dep’s flow so it was a no-brainer. We all have a story to tell so this song was reflection of my prison experience. (Stream “My Mistakes“)
What do you feel about the state of Northeast hiphop/rap right now with the recent successes of Desiigner and Fetty Wap?
I think it’s horrible and the art form I loved so much has been degraded so much because of the subject matter and the skill being dumbed down so drastically. Although there are glimmers of hope such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Joyner Lucas, Joey Badass, and a few others that give the hip hop community hope. As far as Designer and Fetty Wap I try my best to not drop or give negative energy so all I can honestly say is their particular styles and flavors of music aren’t my cup of tea at all. But they obviously have a fan base and seem to be very successful. I wish I could hear something of substance or complexity from them to show more creativity and depth but this is the norm these days Auto-Tune redefined Rap.
You worked with Dj M-80 in the past on Black Chalk and have this next upcoming edition with M-80 as well. What made you rock out with him again?
We actually dropped Black Chalk, The WestSide Stories, and we’re working on BlackChalk2 now. And to answer the above question it’s our chemistry we both hear music with that pure 90’s feel so we just do our bests to recreate that type of music. Plus, our music meshes so well sonic-ally all the fans of my music have let me know that they all hear the growth in the projects we dropped together so why fix the recipe if it’s perfect.
What if anything is different about Black Chalk 2?
It’s a step up from our last 2 projects i.e. different deliveries and a whole different feel. If you enjoyed the past pieces of work this will be a totally different experience and because we both strive to improve and grow every album or mixtape you can expect no less. We are 20 songs in and we are planning on recording and mixing 16 to 18 more to trim the project down to the perfect 13 or 14 songs. With Black Chalk 2 you will get that boom bap gritty 90’s era with slight tweaks and touches and we promise to give the listeners our best material to date this is a promise we fully stand by.
Do you have any features on this next project besides G. Dep?
We have a very impressive line up but we don’t like letting the cat out of the bag too soon. I can say that the 2nd single is in progress where awaiting the session from the studio in Florida. We will out-do what you previously heard from Black Chalk. We are aiming for 4 industry features we knocked out the first so you can expect 3 more to follow and Stack or Starve will get them first exclusively each round before they officially drop any where else. (Ya Heard?)
You are back working on Black Chalk 2 – is the sound similar than the first one? If so how much?
DJ M80: Topics, bars, beats, will be similar in the manner of the “grimey” classification. We aim to make each project progressively more ill than the last, we really compete with ourselves to surpass any previous projects we’ve released.
Are there plans for a video?
DJ M80: Yes, videos for our singles will be released as the single is released. Also, there will be random freestyle, and in-studio footage prior to the debut of #Blackchalk2; on our social media channels.
What did you use production wise on this project?
DJ M80: I’ve never changed my equipment selection. (well I’ve upgraded some), but I’m still an analog producer. My set-up consists of: MPC 4000, Technic 1200s (for cuts and sampling) Kong Triton, Micro Korg (ill basslines), emu mophatt, Yamaha Rack XS. These are my favorite pieces, I have more, but these are what give me my signature sound, “New Era Boombap.”
How do you feel about the state of NY hiphop/rap right now?
DJ M80: Lol, we’ll it sucks! I was upset that we didn’t really have anyone on the XXL freshman cover reppin the roots. Ny hip-hop is still a mockery of watered down rhymes and simplistic beats with mismatched bass lines (nothing against southern rap). Now, when you talk about the underground, there are many enriched emcees, producers and dj’s awaiting the exposure to set the trend of “bringing back New York.” I could go on about this…..
How is it working with Ice Grill?
DJ M80: Well aside from our studio and stage chemistry, that’s my best friend, like a brother. The dope part is; we constructively critique each other’s craft to maximize our potential as a duo.
What separates this apart from say other artists/projects dropping this year?
DJ M80: Remember when I was talking about how New York underground hip-hop…well, we feel that this will speak to the masses that are looking for that spark. This will be the ignition not just for Blackchalk, but for NY hip hop. The features are amazing!
As someone who has been in music for over a decade do you have any knowledge to share with the ones just getting started?
Invest in yourself and product (equipment, publicity, etc.)
Hustle!! Sell your product never give it away!
Perform and travel as much as you can, video tape everything!
Take criticism to advance your skills (have tough skin)
Take advantage of digital distribution platforms.
LISTEN TO BLACK CHALK