After spending more than a decade creating and spinning tunes for Jacksonville’s modest hip-hop scene, the emergence of Mr. Al Pete [the Hip-Hip Artist], has definitely managed to give his fan base something to talk about.The much anticipated Talk About It is Mr. Al Pete’s very first release to-date. The CD is a diverse collection cleverly delivered lyrics backed by classic hip-hop baselines, samples & skits.
I caught up with Mr. Al Pete and spoke with him briefly about his latest accomplishment, the current state of hip-hop and the new CD.
Ambitionn: Let’s talk about it! *laughs* Tell me a little about yourself. I mean, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a DJ Al Pete Party/Event, but who is Mr. AL Pete the hip-hop artist?
Mr. Al Pete: Mr. Al Pete is the emperor of Fresh! *laughs*!! Naw seriously…just a regular mellow dude from the Northside of thangs (Jacksonville)…tryin’ to get my music out there so it can liberate the masses…on the flip side…make sure folks have a good time by entertainin’ them with various tunes. I’m an independent hip hop artist and a DJ to be clear. I have a company called GrownFolk Entertainment that I run with Shirl Dee Capital…that provides DJin’ services and promotional services as well.
Ambitionn: How did you get into music? And describe your style as an artist.
Mr. Al Pete: I saw my uncle Tre (aka Tru.ski) rhymin’ with his friend and as a solo artist…and he’s the real emperor of Fresh *laughs* He made it seem cool to do…so…I tried it when I was ’bout 8 or 9. My parents use to play music ’round me and my brother all the time so that’s an addition. The more I studied Tru.ski and hip hop as a whole, the more I got into it.
Ambitionn: [You've] finally dropped the much anticipated CD! How long have you been working on it, and what let you know that it was finally “complete”?
Mr. Al Pete: The recordin’ process took a little over a year. I’ve been tryin’ to “complete” the CD my whole life. The last song I recorded was “Summertime”…after that came out good, that sealed it.
Ambitionn: So how does it actually feel to have finally completed a project that has taken so long to create?
Mr. Al Pete: It feels GREAT!! This was a long-term goal I had…and it feels really good to have accomplished it. The road don’t stop here though…
Ambitionn: I’d hope not. The hip-hop culture needs artists like you who align themselves with longevity in the game. How do you feel about the current state or progression of Hip-Hop?
Mr. Al Pete: Of course it isn’t the same as when I was growin’ up…but…change is good (for the most part). There’s plenty of pros and cons we could discuss but to sum it up, it’s okay…not the best…but okay. I say okay ’cause from a DJ’s perspective, I can respect some of the tunes played. I say not the best…’cause some of tunes sound the same. Everyone is doin’ the same thing…sayin’ the same thing…bein’ the same thing…where’s the fun at?? That’s what makes it borin’, folks lose interest, and so on and so on. Me bein’ in that culture for years, my loyalty with Hip Hop remains…and I see hope…’cause I know plenty of folks that are on the frontline to save it. So that’s why it’s okay…not the best…but okay.
Ambitionn: Let’s say that those on the frontline break through this current state of hip-hop and begin to infiltrate our media, our homes, the minds of the youth, and are actually successful at putting a massive positive spin on the hip-hop movement, what path would you see yourself on as an artist as well as an entrepreneur?
Mr. Al Pete: I’ll play both roles…bein’ a follower and a leader. If…and when the frontline breaks through, it’ll be unity and understandin’ and trust…and with that, we’ll all be our respected bosses, at the same time, we can drop rank to encourage the weak (within’ the movement). Now which aspect I would be effective in? All of ‘em basically. Mostly with the verbal and writin’ aspect. I feel that’s my strong point…my diction and my delivery. I can speak for the unspoken.
Ambitionn: What do you think your listeners are going to “talk about” once they’ve listened to your CD?
Mr. Al Pete: I would like for them to see the Hip Hop artist side of me. Most folks only know me for bein’ a DJ and that cool dude…but I’m heavily into music. I also want them to enjoy the tunes and continue the journey with me.
Ambitionn: If you could be anything else other than an artist, but you still possessed the talent for diction and delivery… what/who would you be?
Mr. Al Pete: Ah man I’ll play both sides…the follower and the leader. We all have to foe both sides to be effective in the movement…I can lead by example and help the weak, on the flip, drop down some notches and support others who are ahead of me…if it’s all for a good cause. Now what aspect would I fall in…I’ll be on the verbal and writin’ side more so. I feel like that’s a positive attribute with me…the diction and the delivery. Folks don’t realize that speakin’ for yourself and others is powerful and influential.
Ambitionn: Hypothetically then, as a motivational speaker, what would be the most pressing issues you would focus on and to what demographic would you cater to most?
Mr. Al Pete: I would stress unity more than anythin’…especially if I’m speakin’ in regards to the entertainment scene. I see little to none of that in the entertainment side and outside of that. I see little to no unity in families, schools, communities…nothin’…and it’s like folks don’t even see how much effect that has on each other…so yeah…I’ll stress the fact that we need more unions…whether it’s in the music scene or daily livin’. Cross the board. I could go on all day ’bout this *laughs*.
Ambitionn: Why do you think that is?? I mean.. as far as no unity.. what do you feel is the main contributor to that problem?
Mr. Al Pete: Folks not realizin’ it…folks so stuck on themselves and don’t want to lend that extra hand to the unfortunate and/or to people with no knowledge. Instead of enhancin’ one’s knowledge and supportin’ and encouragin’ and upliftin’…all that…they rather do it alone and watch innocent people fall victim when they are the asset that would make an unfortunate person’s situation better. Like I stated…I’m not a saint by far but if you know better, do better. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…as I progress, these cliches become more clear…and is relative to me speakin’ or promotin’ unity.
Ambitionn: While putting together this CD, were there any topics that you deliberately tried to stay away from? Why?
Mr. Al Pete: Yeah it was. I didn’t want to speak much on the state of the economy…it’s already bein’ spoken on by other artists and it’s all over the media. It’s bad enough we wake up and see it on the news, hear it on the radio, read it on the internet and in the newspapers/magazine. I just wanted to make some good tunes so folks can take their mind off that. When doin’ this album, Obama was runnin’ for presidency, gas was extremely high (which paused the recordin’ process a couple of times), foreclosures, etc. That’s enough to deal with…then have to pop in Talk About It and hear it all over…?
Ambitionn: What is your most meaningful track on Talk About It and why?
Mr. Al Pete: Definitely “Summertime”. I stated in the song that this was my intervention…I felt the need to state what I felt at the time. It’s some things I stated whatt occurred in the past what haunted and effected my present so…I released it and felt better about it. Honorable mention: “Rockin’ Me”. That’s my dedication to all local/independent artists in Jacksonville and ’round the globe.
Ambitionn: How did you come up with the title Talk About It?
Mr. Al Pete: I wanted to keep it simple. Plus…that’s what most artists do…speak on themselves and various situations/events/people/etc. No philosophy behind it…just “Talk About It”. It’s just a collection of good tunes where in certain songs, I speak on the subject at hand…but overall, it’s a CD full of Hip Hop.
Ambitionn: I see you grabbed a few samples from other artists. Tell me about some of your influences and inspirations.
Mr. Al Pete: The more I started recordin’ this CD, the more I got in tuned w/ myself…life in general inspires and influences me. Artist wise…Outkast, Common, Nas, Ice Cube…just to name a few.
Ambitionn: Describe your listener/ fan.
Mr. Al Pete: The fans/listeners are typical working’ folks, mothers, teenagers, lovers, street folks…I’m gettin’ an all around crowd…which is great.
The new CD, Talk About It, is available at The Royal Treatment Record Store, DJ’s Record Store, and soon to be Two and Fro Boutique Store. You also can purchase it online at www.cdbaby.com, iTunes, and www.amazon.com.
Be sure to check out these vids fromTalk About It:
and just when you thought the interview was over …
here’s a sneek peek for what’s coming up with Mr. Al Pete: