They say everything is bigger and wilder in Texas, and we’ve seen the music scene matching up to the hype over the years.
The state has given us pop icons such as Beyoncé, and hip-hop veterans like Bun-B, Pimp C, and Slim Thug. It’s even had a huge influence on Drake throughout the course of his career and stardom.
While Houston seems to be the birth place for a lot of classic Texas hip-hop, other cities shouldn’t be slept on, including Dallas.
Underground artist Block has moved from city-to-city in the U.S., but reps Dallas at the end of the day, and takes most of his grind mentality from the Southern city.
The rapper, who was formerly signed to Dorrough’s label during his “Ice Cream Pain Job” days, has just moved to NYC this year, and is already giving us club bangers on his Billboard Music Vol. 1 project.
His style steers away from the more gangster rap sound, and might remind listeners of a more focused Flo-Rida and Pitbull as he incorporates EDM beats with his fierce lyrics.
Block’s sound is refreshing and relevant, and is even influenced more from R&B and Prince than classic rap, calling his style “hip-pop.”
I got a chance to meet up with Block in NYC in a Manhattan coffee shop, and his personality is just as turnt up as his music. His presence in a room is not one that you will be able to miss with his unique sense of style, outgoing personality, and passion for all things music and people.
Check out my interview with him below and hear his latest project BMV1 here!
How did you get your start in music?
I been rapping ever since I was little. In high school we used to freestyle in the cafeteria. As far as taking it more serious, it was probably when I was 18 when I recorded my first official song called “When I Was Fit.” It got very popular at my college, and I ended up getting signed to Dorrough Music. I’m his former artist, since I was on his label. That’s my first introduction into the music industry. I was traveling with him during the “Ice Cream Paint Job” run.
What was one of the craziest stories from being on tour with Dorrough?
We actually put a girl in a dryer. She said she was the biggest Dorrough fan, so we told her if you’re the biggest fan, we want you to get in this dryer. She did it! She even got fired from her job because she worked for the radio station.
What was your “a-ha” moment that made you want to pursue music as a career?
I’m an only child, so music has kind of always been my “best friend”, since I had no one else to play with. All I had was music. So I knew from a young age that I really liked music and I was really attached to it. Once I started freestyling and recording, I found a real, genuine love for it. I could listen to music all day every day, put my headphones in and be good to go. At the very beginning, I knew I was going to do something with music. I didn’t know if it would be performing or writing, but I knew it was going to be something.
You rep Dallas, but you’re from a bunch of different places in U.S. Most people from certain coasts tend to be influenced by the artists from their coast like Jay Z & Biggie, or Snoop and Dre. Being that your locations were diverse, who were some of your influences growing up?
The person that really introduced me to rap music was my mom’s twin brother, who played Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP and a lot of Slick Rick. I love Slick Rick because of that. Being that I lived in Cleveland for a bit, I was definitely influenced by Bone Thugs N’ Harmony. My Uncle really loved that. Someone I really loved from a young age, though, was probably Nelly. I liked that he came out of St. Louis when no one was coming out of it, and he came out strong. I remember he was like everything.
Your style actually reminds me of a mix of Nelly and Flo-Rida since you incorporate EDM into your sound. What made you want to go more on the EDM-rap route?
I felt it was always good to not put yourself in a box. You should be able to rap over different kind of beats. I also love Travie McCoy. I really loved Gym Class Heroes. I love the way Travie does pop music, but still incorporates hip-hop, which is what I want to get into. I’m trying to mix it up between EDM beats and cool hip-hop sounds.
What’s a go-to album of yours that you could put on repeat that inspires you as an artist?
I have an artist in mind, but he’s not a rapper. Prince is my favorite artist. I think he’s the best artist. To me, he influenced a lot of 80’s music. Prince is someone that really influenced what I try to do because even though he sings, he loves to experiment, which is what I like to do. I’m trying to experiment to get my own sound and get my own style to be me, and that’s something he did very well.
Your sound can also be compared to someone like Pitbull, who loves to always make a song to turn up and get the party started. You have a similar sound on your Billboard Music Vol. 1. What made you want to make more turn up music than going into deeper rap?
I’m always turnt up. Even when I’m chillin’, I’m turnt up! I feel like I can still grow, but it’s easy to me and easy to write music like that. But the 2nd volume of Billboard Music is going to have some deeper stuff, I’m telling you!
When you’re in the studio recording, what’s your recipe for success for a good session?
My recipe for success is probably just to practice before I go so that I can really just knock it out. I try to go over my lines in my head. A lot of people go to the studio and just write before they even record. I don’t do that. Most of the time when I go in I know exactly what I want to do.
If you could describe your artist aura in one word or phrase, how would you?
A-whoaa! That’s my own word, and that’s how I would describe what I do. It’s the first song on BMV1, and it’s just a term of excitement. It’s a term of fun and turn up!
How has Dallas influenced you?
Being in Dallas has influenced me a lot. Just being in the South in general too. They’re more about being independent with their grind, and I just learned from being there that it’s good to get that independent grind where you’re behind yourself. You don’t have to immediately go to that big label all the time; you can work independent. It reminds me of how Master P sold hundreds of thousands of CD’s out of the trunk of his car before he was big. So the independent grind is what I learned the most about down there.
What have you taken from NYC since you’ve moved up here so far?
The one thing I learned is that the hustle doesn’t stop. People don’t slow down and keep moving. People in the South move a bit slower. It’s kind of just their nature. It’s a good thing they move quickly though because if mix what I’ve learned in the South about being independent, and use it while I move quick here in New York, I’m destined to win.
What’s do you have coming up for the rest of 2014?
I’m going to be working on and eventually dropping Billboard Music Vol. 2, of course. I’ll still be promoting Volume 1 and shooting some videos soon. Promoting, promoting, promoting. I dropped it in April, so it’s still pretty new. I feel like it’s a lot of songs on there that could catch and hit if it’s in the right hands. I’m up here with no label and no management so I’m by myself. I just want to get out there and get my music to the right person because I know someone can take it to the next level.