T.O. Tha Prezident and Only4TheReal.com have a special bond. T.O. was the first ever artist featured here on the site (Back when we used to be called ThinkingButYallCanReadIt.Blogspot.com). Both of our ventures have come a long way since those days. I contacted T.O. to let him know my idea about interviewing him and he was down with it without question. We took a Saturday night meeting @ the Only4TheReal offices and discussed a few things together. This installment we Salute T.O. Tha Prezident, as he gives us a look into his thought process, life and plans for the future. Enjoy.
You’ve been releasing Material for a while now. What do you think you must do to get to the next level in every aspect of your business?
T.O.: Really, I just gotta, I do have a lot of material. I just gotta push the material I already got. Go full force with that material, and keep hitting niggaz in the head with it. Keep printing more mixtape covers, Keep selling it, keep pushing it. Keep repackaging this Product, keep pushing it. Then the next level, is a nigga start buzzing, getting the fliers and posters, hitting these clubs, doing all these shows. All that shit will make the buzz come. So that’s getting to the next level.
Everybody has a mixtape. Anybody’s material can be found via the internet, how must you get separation from an oversaturated mixtape market?
T.O.: Being myself, being real. Because a lot of rappers making these mixtapes, they ain’t really talking about nothing. They all talking about the same shit, its all recycled music. Right now, I’m trying to hop in another lane and be original and more creative than the next man, try to stay myself and keep making that feel good music niggaz can relate to, instead of making this bubblegum ass rap, everybody trying to make a dollar off of. Basically just stay me, T.O. Da Prezident. That’s all I can do.
As far as validity goes, how important do you think it is that an artist is not creating an image he/she cannot validate?
T.O.: That’s very important, Cause niggaz get to acting like they somebody they’re not, at the end of the day will be exposed. It’s going to be somebody that pulls your card. All that shit niggaz claim, its another nigga out there claiming the same shit, and once you run into that nigga, he will check that card. That shit ain’t valid? You know what it is after that.
In your lyrics there is a lot of references to “Street life”, besides just your use of hood terms and without incriminating yourself how can you get the message across that you have done what you are rapping about?
T.O.: Continue putting it into this music. Cause in my music I keep it 100% all the time. I ain’t gon say nothing I ain’t did. I’ma keep it 100%. If I said it, I did it. I ain’t gon lie in my raps.That’s one thing I do not condone, lying in your raps. Nigga might over-exaggerate a bit, but everything I say in my raps I do. I’ma continue putting it in my raps and keeping it 100 with myself at the end of the day.
How can you reassure your audience you are not fake and are who you claim to be?
T.O.: At the end of the day when I’m doing all this rapping, and niggaz see me on TV, in these videos and all these shows. Niggaz gon see me in the street. NIggaz that fuck with my music can call me right now, they can see me, come to my crib, They can ride thru my hood, see me in they hood. I’m in everybody hood. I’m everywhere. Niggaz have known me for a minute all this trapping, all this shit I’m doing, niggaz know I been doing it. Niggaz cop my music, niggaz shopping with me. So they already know what it is.
You keep your circle small a far as collaborations go, do you have any plans to work with other artist? If so who?
T.O.: I got plans, but really I don’t fuck with a lot of niggaz. I ain’t gon stunt. A lot of niggaz be characters man, they aren’t really thorough to me. It’s a drought on Real Niggaz right now, so at the end of the day, I fuck with those who fuck with me. But if I do collab with people, I’ma try and keep it local. I don’t fuck with a lot of these industry niggaz. But like I said, I fuck with those who fuck with me. Nigga gon have to come at me if they want me on a track, we can negotiate something. But right now I’m not really looking to collaborate with anybody
Do you think artist have any obligation to give back to communities they come from?
T.O.: I think they do, cause at the end of the day your community made you who you was. They helped you get your buzz and helped you be the nigga you are today. Why not give back to the people that made you? If you can’t do that you ain’t a real nigga. You’re not giving back to what bred you. You have to give back to the foundation, that’s what niggaz forget. Niggaz get all that money, get confused, get brainwashed and let that shit change them. That’s what I was talking about that real shit and niggaz don’t be real at all. Talk all that real shit in raps, but when it comes to “Real situations” they on some other shit. So yeah I feel it is very important you give back to your hood. At least I do.
Do you think artist are obligated to give back to the many youth they influence with negativity?
T.O.: YES! Because a lot of these rapper myself included, we are feeding these kids poison. These teens are looking up to us. They watching us and listening to every word we say, so we basically teaching them. Especially in the household’s where there’s no father, we teaching them to sell drugs, wanna be the dope man, fuck all these bitches, and treat them bogus and all that, we play a big part in the negativity in these kids lives. If you rapping about all this negativity, when it comes to the kids, do right by them. Be positive, give back to them. Do something positive. If you are negative come back two times stronger with the positivity.
What do you think you can offer the world that it lacks artistically?
T.O.: Realness. This truth about the world. The world is backwards, straight up and down. And a lot niggaz don’t know what I know, as far as the world goes. Only a few know the truth. So that’s what I feel like I can give the world artistically. I put what I know in these raps, because at the end of the day people don’t know how serious these evil spirits and the holy spirit is. They are definitely lurking around, even if you don’t believe in that shit and call me crazy, trust me I’m one nigga that’s a witness to all that shit. And that shit is real. I can offer niggaz insight and that’s what I think I can offer the world musically
If you had two options, one is you can have little/moderate success in music, but you will make quality, timeless music, that will be appreciated by your small/moderate following?
OrYou can get to the top quickly, pop out a few hits, cash a few checks, live the rest of your life off the residuals of your limited catalog, which option would you take?
T.O.: I’ll take that small/moderate following, because at the end of the day it’s not about money to me. I ain’t gotta have the fame. I ain’t gotta be in no videos. I ain’t gotta be the number one star in the country. As long as a small group of motherfuckers fuck with me and feel my music, that’s all that matters. They feel good hearing my shit, that’s all that matters. I just want to get paid doing shows.
I’ll do shows for the rest of my life and not have one video playing on t.v. , not be on a single t.v. show. None of that. Ain’t gotta have an album in stores. As long as I’m getting paid off these performances and people loving my music, and really giving the people something to make them feel good is all I care about.
As far as Chicago artist go, who can we catch you listening to?
T.O.: I ain’t gon stunt, I fuck with Bo-Deal. He a real nigga. The way he puts his bars together, I fucks with it. I fucks with Rob G, that’s my artist. I fucks with CoStill that’s my nigga. I fucks with L.E.P. and whole lot of other artist I don’t know names. No commercial Chicago artist.
Long term and short term what can we expect to see from T.O.?
T.O.: Short term, hitting these clubs up, doing these shows. Stay promoting the movement. Long term, I will continue with my music, but long term, only time will tell. I can’t call it. I really can’t. I know I will continue to do this music thing, it’s in me. It will never stop. My music will continue to grow, change evolve. So only time can tell the long term, but short term, I can speak on right now, focus on this movement. Promote the movement, promote these mixtapes.
Where can we find T.O. and stay updated on new material & performances?
T.O.: Shit, Only4TheReal.com of course. Facebook T.O. Da Prezident. Myspace ain’t on shit no more, that shit dry as hell! (laughs) Twitter (T.O. Da Prezident) Youtube (YungPaid2), search for me on DatPiff.com, Check out my Reverbnation.com/TOdaPrezident. Check me out.
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