Exclusive interview with Basquiat.
First in a series spotlighting emerging entrepreneurs and businessmen.
With no further ado:
-Where you from?
I am from Dyckman, but I was also raised in Harlem for a good portion of my life. So more than anything I would have to represent both as being the places that influenced my upbringing.
30 years old.
-How did you get in the game?
Getting into writing and media was sort of like happen stance. I’ve always been able to write and am pretty proficient at communicating and articulating myself. I was introduced to the writing and blogging game by a very good friend of mine, CJ, of Lynx Entertainment in London. She kind of inspired me to use my talents. In addition, another close friend of mine was influential in my actual application. He was doing an interview and recalled how often people would tell him that he was capable of more than what he was doing. So I definitely wanna shout out Leeky of TGO.
My brother, and friends were an encouragement as well, making me aware of the fact that I could put my past behind me and achieve some things.
-What made you embrace your position?
The reception that I got. I was afforded an opportunity over at Parle Magazine, and with that came more exposure, with greater feedback. GX Media had a lot to do with it as well. The more that I was around the industry so to say and given opportunities to sharpen my skill I was grateful and tried to make the most of it.
-What keeps you in your position?
More than anything, being humble and always willing to learn. I am a firm believer in supporting people, especially creative people. Those who are from where I’m from, and I don’t mean neighborhood wise; more so, the same obstacles and struggles. I have a profound respect for ambitious people. In addition, I have a great support system, and I was made a promise, as well I made one to reach for the sky’s and stay committed.
-What are your secrets to success?
I don’t really have any secrets. I’ve found a way to follow the blueprint that I saw materialize, and that’s hard work and being opportunistic. Where I’m from we have this paradigm that speaks of being willing to do anything to make it. I have people depending on me, and I have people that I look up to; for those reasons, I have pledged to give 110%.
-What don’t you like in the game?
I don’t like the fact that it’s changing to a point where its not about your character, its about how well someone can use you. More often people are associated with others that they have no reason to respect, and that’s a deadly combination. People re-invent themselves on a daily basis, and others commend them for it. I would say more than anything that is what I hate.
-What do you like in the game?
I like that it breeds opportunity. If you are willing to put the work in you too will reap the benefits. I’m inspired by success, and business-oriented people, regardless of what their craft is. Anyone that is reaching their goals- I take my hat off to them.
-What would you change in the game?
I probably would change the perspectives of those who are running it. I find it perplexing that the same methods that someone will criticize, sometime later you will find them utilizing it. To me that’s counterproductive and indicative of the state that we are in. If there was a way to take each individual on their merit before their buzz, I think there would be some progress- in life, and in the so-called game.
-If I gave you a milli what or whom would you invest in?
I would invest it in my community, the people who I have always looked at as my peers. That’s where karma, and anything else begins. There are some truly talented individuals sitting beside all of us that were never given a chance; focus on that and everything else will take care of itself. Outsourcing is not always the key.
-What sets you apart from the game?
I would have to say that being me sets me apart from others. I am not a follower by any means. I am an individual that gives respect, therefore I feel as though I deserve it all costs. I am me, by any means necessary. Anyone who truly knows me will agree, I’ve never tried to wear someone else’s shoe size. I play the cards I am dealt, and I make the best of that. I put my faith in a higher power and I prioritize working hard to get results, I don’t believe in hand outs.
-What are your thoughts on 360 deals?
I think that 360 deals have a way of holding artists hostage. There was a time when an artist saw light at the end of the tunnel by way of endorsements, and shows, etc now its like Pusha T said “contracts all *expletive* up.” I don’t really know where to point the blame, but I think everyone will agree. At the same time though, all obstacles have a way of making you work harder and by far we can say that there has been opportunity for artists to feed their families, and contribute to the culture which is what its all about.
-What made you love hip hop?
The lyrics. I remember listening to music that expressed what I felt and what I saw around me. I’ve always been a big fan of what you would call reality rap. The music that inspires us, the culture. It shows in the way I carry myself, I am a product of Hip Hop, I am a product of the inner city, the hardships. We all have the same story, and the way we express it, is Hip Hop.
-Who is your fav rapper?
-Best person to ever play your position?
Me. But if you mean in terms of on a journalistic note, I’ve looked up to guys like Bonsu Thompson. I remember getting the Source and seeing his name, and aspiring to be exactly that. Also I look up to the brother Sway, I think he is a tremendous journalist. Also Big Tigger had a swag when it came to media, that made me think an average person like myself had a chance.
-Best rapper alive?
Jay Z without a doubt. If not, Nas.
-Advice for my readers?
Stay true to yourself and your dreams. Anything is possible, and that is a fact. Never forget where you came from, and who helped you get where you are today.
-Your definition of success?
Being able to sleep at night knowing that I did the best I could. I am not defined by anything other than the respect that those I truly value, have for me.
-Any projects you’d like to promo?
For sure if you don’t have it already get the Vaygez Blakk project, Dame of the Game Vol 2, Support my family GX MEDIA, and PARLE MAGAZINE; The “Who’s Next” as well as “Book Edition” of Parle are bothing coming out shortly so be n the lookout for that. I have a collaborative piece I am working on which highlights the accomplishments of a tremendously inspiring brother by the name of Frank C.Matthews. Support DJ xxxotic Mami, Queen of the Underground, and Xtreme 104FM. Xtreme Magazine Vol 5 will be out towards the end of July, quite possibly sooner. Welcome to Georgetown, my brother’s project will be out in August, and Down Syndrome as well. Shout to TGO and my brother Bam as well with GlobeStarz management, and Grade A Hip Hop. Thank you to Dyckman, Amsterdam Ave, and The Block (7th to 8th).
I also want to take a moment to thank the brother Tone Cash, an extremely talented and positive brother for giving me this opportunity. Continue support him and his brand, as we all will undoubtedly find success in supporting each other and working together more easily than disengaging.