Hazy Flow Interview

Q:What’s your story? How’d you fall into rap?

My story? Ha, I’ve got a million stories, but I started into rap after being a writer for many years. I never translated it into music, cause I’m not exactly a singer, and when I first thought to rap, I didnt like the image that the hip hop genre perpetuated. It just seemed too shallow, too obsessed over pointless things, but when I found Lupe Fiasco, I realized rap could be about absolutely anything and still be amazing. So I started rapping about my life, about the people in my life, and the stories that all those interactions weaved. And people seem to really enjoy how I tell my story.

Q:Who are you listening to right now?

Right now, I’m listening to J. Cole’s “The Warmup”. It’s an awesome disc, and he is really one of the handful of intellectual rappers out there still. Lyrically, he’s great.

Q:What or who do you think will be big in the next year?

I think the Midwest will be making ALOT of moves in the next year, look at MGK and Ray Jr. getting signed to Interscope this year. Alot of attention is on Cleveland specifically now, and the world loves how Cleveland does things. I wouldnt be surprised to see the next big rappers to come out of the midwest, I mean its already started, with Big Sean too, it’s just a matter of how many more midwest artists will get signed, you know? But the west coast is trying to make a revival, with Odd Future taking the lead, Hopsin, and The Game all making strides to bring attention back to Cali. I actually got to perform with Hopsin back in June, he’s a good guy and an even better rapper. Personally, i feel like the west coast buzz is built up entirely around rap beef, who’s dissin on who, and all that, and I dont feel like an artist should be recognized just for talking shit.

Q: How has your style evolved and changed over the time since you first started? Where do you think that your flow will go to in the months and years in the future?

Oh man, my flow has undergone SUCH an evolution since I started. Obviously, starting out, you dont really have a clear understanding of your natural rap rythym, but once you learn your own voice, the things you can accomplish in rap are innumerable. My flow has sped up quite a bit, and my delivery has gotten so raw, I love how my music is sounding. I only see my flow getting even doper in the coming months, and…years?, I cant even imagine how sick of a rapper i’ll be a year from now, let alone 2 or 3.

Q:What differences in terms of lifestyle, music, or anything have you seen between Cleveland and the other areas that you have visited?

Cleveland is one-of-a-kind, I’ve never been anywhere thats reminded me of Cleveland, and I would say its my favorite city ever, if i hadnt lived in Kent for a year and fell in love with it. Kent and Cleveland are my 2 favorite cities I’ve been too, the attitudes are completely different, but thats why i love em! Cincinnati has an awesome vibe too, I went down there with one of my rapper friends who was performing for the Ohio Hip Hop Awards Showcase, and that city has alot of love for what we do in Cleveland. Ohio is just a very supportive state right now, they’ve realized that we’re making a name for ourselves now, and they couldnt be more excited about it.

Q:Are drugs/alcohol good or bad for rap or is are the presence of those things just something based out of real life?

I dont think that it’s good or bad. I think it does lend some creativity to music, but I listen to rappers that dont do drugs or drink, and their stuff is just as ill as others. I mean, some of my favorite rap comes from Em’s days of being a druggie, too though. Since he’s gotten clean, I just havent felt the same raw power in his music. He’s still one of the greatest of all time, but i dont think he could ever top “Infinite”, one of his earliest tracks. But i think its just a life experience thing. Some people do, some people dont, its all perspective.

Q:How have you gotten more of your fans – Facebook / Twitter or traditional word of mouth? Have you noticed anything different between these types of fans?

At first, it was all word of mouth. But as I started to build on a fan base, the internet has become a very powerful tool for getting fans. My Facebook fan page touts the majority of my fans, because it just makes it so easy to share music nowadays. But there is a major difference in fan dedication. A facebook fan has invested 2 seconds of their time clicking “like”, whereas a word-of-mouth fan is alot more likely to come to shows, get CD’s, its basically a support level thing. But I’ve noticed more and more facebook fans coming to shows, and getting involved in the movement and I appreciate every fan who believes in the music like I do. Shout out to the fans at this point!

Q:Who else in the rap scene have you met and who is out there right now that you would like to collaborate with?

I’ve met probably hundreds of local artists, there’s alot of hidden talent in Cleveland, if you dont know. DJ $lim Jim is a close friend of mine, and he’s one of the handful of local MC’s from my area that I think are being slept on. As far as national acts go, I’ve met Afroman, Hopsin, Wishbone from Bone Thugs, opened for Twista, Ray Cash, and met MGK. Really, I wish i could collab with every dope artist that came my way, but it just doesnt happen like that unfortunately. But I am pulling some good collabs for the mixtape I’m gonna be releasing soon!

Q:How should people find your music? Are there any mixtapes coming out that they should look into buying?

You can find my music at www.facebook.com/hazyflow or www.reverbnation.com/hazyflow. All of my music is downloadable (except for mixtape exclusives), and yeah, the mixtape “Under The Influence Of Me” will be coming out by October, be sure to like the Hazy page and keep yourself updated on the release!

Q:What else should we know ?

That I’m here to fuck Ohio’s rap scene up, and you can either get with this, or be remembered as the one who missed it. My name is Hazy Flow, I dont fuck with lames, and you should HIT THIS!

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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