Whatup nerds and nerdettes? Today I bring you a fresh interview from Ghana born MC, Blitz the Ambassador. If you’re not up on Blitz as of yet, he’s one of the hardest working indie dudes I’ve seen in a minute as a result of labels frontin and sleepin’ on him. His music is an organic mix of live instruments, African influences, and raw hip hop. I had a chance to catch up with Blitz for a quick interview…..
FN: Being from Ghana, what was it like when you first moved to NYC? Any culture shock at all?
Blitz: Absolutely…there was an element of culture shock but I feel like I was a bit prepared for it. I had been living Hip-Hop culture vicariously for many years so everything felt knew but familiar at the same time.
FN: It wasn’t until I moved to London that I realized how heavily influential Reggae is upon Africa. How has reggae influenced you and your music?
Blitz: Reggae music has a strong presence in Africa for obvious reasons. Most conscious Reggae artist look to Ethiopia and the rest of Africa as their source of religious and cultural inspiration so that connection is very strong. The are lots of Rastafarians in Ghana where I’m from so its no surprise Reggae music is the soundtrack to our lives. Two of the biggest African artist, Alpha Blondy and Lucky Dube (R.I.P) were both Reggae artist, that should sum it up.
FN: What do you actively boycott?
Blitz: Wack Rappers…..hahaha. Nah seriously Alcohol and Tobacco. I have never spent a dime on either and never will. Not knocking anyone who drinks and smokes, but for very personal reasons I never support either product.
FN: Big ups for putting out your own music and being indie. With that being said, would you ever sign a major label deal? What would they have to offer?
Blitz: No smart person ever says never to anything. I have had deals in front of me and they have never been artist friendly. Especially in the age of slumping record sales most labels aggressively push for 360 deals where they take every piece of your artistry. It makes no sense. I’m not waiting for a traditional record deal. I always keep an eye out for strategic partnerships that can help me expand my brand.
FN: Tell us about an obstacle you’ve encountered along the way as a result of being an indie artist.
Blitz: There is the obvious difficulty in breaking as a new artist without major label support. We have encountered many such obstacles. Never being played on the radio is one example. Fortunately the climate is changing rapidly and indie artist are getting similar access media outlets so the tide is shifting in our favor.
FN: You were recently in the Bay area and linked up with Goapele to collab on a record. Let’s say you’re on a raft and Goapele and Lauryn Hill are overboard drowning, who would you save? And why?
Blitz: I love Goapele and all but come on….Lauryn Hill all day. Just so I can hear another album like Miseducation. That album changed my life.
FN: That recurring dream you have, what is it about?
Blitz: I don’t have a recurring dream…I do have a recurring day dream though, where I am on stage rocking a stadium with my name in lights and all of a sudden 2pac and Biggie join me for a re make of the Beatles ‘Strawberry Fileds’…..weird right?
FN: Take us through a day in the life of Blitz….
Blitz: I wake up around 4:30 because thats when my son wakes up and no one can go back to sleep once he is up. I try to remember what ever sounds I was hearing before I passed out. If I remember it I will work a bit in my head to build the composition. Middle part of my day is usually chill, maybe play records and take my son out for walks in my lovely Bedstuy neighborhood. most nights I am either recording or rehearsing with my band the Mighty Embassy Ensemble. I write at night so I go to sleep very late, wake up and start all over again.
FN: What’s one change you would like to see in Hip Hop in 2011?
Blitz: I wish for the same thing every year and it never happens, but I will try again….’BALANCE’ between the commercial radio music and socio political rap music. If not for us, for the kids coming up.
FN: You’re about to be shipped off to a desert island and you’re allowed to bring one Dave Chapelle episode and one hip hop album with you, what would they be?
Blitz: I’m definitely bring the ‘Black White Supremacist’ episode…..Dave Chapelle killed that one. Of course Eric B and Rakim ‘Paid in Full’.
FN: If you could change one misconception people have about Africa, what would it be and why?
Blitz: I will want people to see Africa for what it truly is. A very diverse rich and progressive continent and not a poster child for charity death and disease. Some of these problems do exist but they are also global problems. Africa has somehow been stigmatized with everything negative and thats one perception I will like to erase.
FN: The StereoLive record is pretty sick…..what’s next? Do you have plans bigger than Hip Hop?
Blitz: Thanks, absolutely love Hip-Hop but its all about expanding. I am working on a screen play and getting ready to shoot a feature film in Ghana. Its time to show the world a new picture of the continent.