Skee-Lo C’mon, you know the words…”I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish I had a girl…” you get the picture. Skee-Lo is back with a new “Overdose” EP on his own imprint. This twice Grammy nominated rapper talks about his performance with James Brown, the single “I Wish”, and everything else you wanted to ask him!
by Thato Dadson
WHO?MAG: Tell me about “Overdose”. SKEE-LO: Right now there is an Overdose EP that I put out to give to the fans. Overdose the album drops March 2010 and the songs on the EP will not be on the album. It’s a new Skee-Lo with an increase in the music. It’s about 18 songs almost making this a double CD. So it’s major overkill. It’s a very diverse album with different styles of hip-hop I’ve picked up through the years.
WHO?MAG: Why such a long time between albums? SKEE-LO: Well it took some time to put this together because it’s not just a release of Skee- Lo the artist. I also own a label called Skee-Lo music. It’s actually not my album, its Skee-Lo music “presents”. So it’s from the record label itself and it features some of the artist on my label, and other familiar names in the game. It took some time to build because it is a business, which requires careful planning.
WHO?MAG: What do you feel is the biggest difference between this album and your first? SKEE-LO: Well, I was real young when I recorded my first album. I recorded, wrote, & produced the songs myself, but I was able to put them out through a label. It’s been a good 13 years. But, as you know, as you get older you get wiser so you will find a more mature Skee-Lo on this album. I’m still a good story teller, with a unique sense of humor, and I still have my way with words.
WHO?MAG: Did you think “I Wish” would take off the way it did? SKEE-LO: No. I actually performed that song at an underground club called The Good Life. And when I did it at the time, I was having fun and just performing a song that made me feel good and others feel good. I had no idea it would have taken off like it has today.
WHO?MAG: How did it feel getting nominated twice for a Grammy? SKEE-LO: I felt very blessed because for a project that I did by myself without any label, it solidified to me what I’m capable of.
WHO?MAG: What was your favorite tour moment when performing that song? SKEE-LO: I would have to say the House of Blues with James Brown. I’d have to say that was my favorite moment because I looked up to James Brown, and to be a rapper that was able to perform with him was just an honor.
WHO?MAG: Now that the music business has changed so much, what are some of your new marketing techniques? SKEE-LO: What I love about being independent is the freedom of release, freedom of expression, freedom to do what we want. We are currently being distributed through Sony, but we control the product. Since we don’t have to wait for projects, we can drop albums and EPs more periodically for the fans. We plan on mainly putting out a lot of music. We have a video coming up, but most of all the skies the limit.
WHO?MAG: Tell me about your affiliation with And1 sneakers? SKEE-LO: And1 is my new sponsor. They are bringing back their classic shoe called The Tai-Chi which was a #1 seller. I’m sponsored with them and I got a new song out for And1 for their tour and products. So you’ll be seeing more things happening with us together in the near future.
WHO?MAG: Tell me about the new t-shirt line? SKEE-LO: Well right now my shirts have hit a few stores like Hot Topic for example. They were designed by this guy named Genero. When I saw them I was very impressed on how hot they were. Also with the T-shirts you’ll find Skee-Lo wrist bands, beanies, and jackets.
WHO?MAG: How did you get on the “School House Rock” album? SKEE-LO: They actually contacted me about that one. I believe it was Atlantic that had contacted me. So they had artists of the day redo songs in their own way. And I redid the song Mr. Morning, which I produced and wrote the lyrics for.
WHO?MAG: What would you like to see changed in hip-hop today? SKEE-LO: I would like to see hip-hop return to its grass roots. I started rapping in New York with groups like UTFO and Run DMC and what I learned about hip-hop was reporting about the hood but having fun. Back in the day you could do a song like the Fresh Prince, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” It used to be when people could just be theirselves and have fun. Now it’s gotten generic with all the gun talk and half naked women. It’s more of a stereotype then a culture anymore. Hip-hop is about being you, because you can be a nerd and do hip hop. So I want to see the culture return to hip hop.
WHO?MAG: What’s next for Skee-Lo? SKEE-LO: Well I’d hate to throw this out so soon, but I have a half time show for a basketball team that I will not say at this time. I will be doing more with And1. We will be putting together an Overdose tour with all the artists that are featured on the album. So you will be seeing a lot of things from us next year.