A few years ago I stumbled across the name SoulKlap on Kevin Nottingham’s website. Notthingham doesn’t give out his endorsements to new hip hop artists very easily, and so when he does, it’s a good sign to that something big is about to happen. I was at a place in my life where I was really trying to do some collaborations with hip hop artists, and SoulKlap’s music was exactly where I heard myself heading. The lyrics were honest, the beats and production were perfect for the style, and everything just seemed really fresh and on point. I reached out to him, and we ended up not only working on a few tracks together, but becoming really good friends. We connected over the fact that there are way too many fake people in the music world, and that if more people took a moment to be a bit more humble, they’d end up doing a lot better.
Soulklap has since gone on to work with heavyweights Mick Boogie and Talib Kweli, and has now changed his name to his birth name, Archie Green. Along with the name change has a come a new movement that Archie calls CLASS. He’s been working on a new project called The Greatest Pretender, and in order to put it out, he is turning to indiegogo.com, a crowd funding website. I gave Archie Green a pretty open forum with which to discuss his new project, and simply asked him one interview question. That question, and his answer, can be found below :
What does music mean to you, and how do “words” play a part in that?
Music to me is everything. My mother told me that even before I was born, that my destiny to be in music was foreshadowed by what she termed as “dancing in my belly” during a few concerts she attended while pregnant with me. I seriously can’t live without music, not even solely in terms of creating it. It plays very important parts in my day-to-day routine. Before I hop in the shower in the morning, I religiously go through my iPhone to find the right tunes to set the tone for the day (I highly recommend Songza for fans of curated playlists. They literally have songs for damn near every activity, mood, or genre you could possibly think of).
In terms of creating and making music, I have truly been blessed with this gift. I honestly can’t explain it. This morning I actually woke up at 6AM with a song idea, and within 2 hours had composed a new beat and written a new song. Now, don’t get me wrong it took years and years of practice to get to the point of doing something like that in such a short period of time (especially a song that can rival with the best rappers in the game right now, not braggin’ just stating facts). My writing process varies depending on the song. For example, this song that I wrote this morning is titled “Complex To GQ.” The concept of the song goes beyond just the titles of two influential magazine’s in men’s fashion & style, it shows the evolution that someone like myself has gone through.
When I was in college and even after I first graduated, Complex Magazine was my style bible. I wouldn’t call myself a sneaker head per se, but I was certainly a sneaker enthusiast to say the least. But, I’m 28 now, and my style (in clothes as well as life in general) is more GQ. Instead of getting all my style tips from Hypebeast, I prefer Menswear blogs like, TSBmen.com. Although I still own a few pairs of Jordans, I’ve started moving onto hard bottoms. Instead of just rocking tee shirts from 10.DEEP (or any other streetwear brand) I’m now starting to rock button ups from Roundtree & Yorke and snapbacks from Topman. It ties into my brand & lifestyle, which is CLASS (Creatively Learning to Achieve Sustainable Success). Ever since I started living what I call the “CLASS Is The Life” lifestyle, I’ve become a lot more conscious of what I write about. CLASS is more than just style, it’s a persona that ties in elements of self-respect and empowerment, business sense, respect for elders and your heritage as well as believing in yourself. So with my new project, The Greatest Pretender, I’m being a lot more transparent than I have in the past. I wrote about what it was like living in New York City (I’ve since moved back to my native Cleveland, OH). I wrote about my upper-middle class upbringing (specifically in the new single, “40 Acres”) for the first time, telling the story of what it was like to be the “token black kid” at school growing up, as well as being blessed to have not grown up impoverished. Too many of my friends love hearing records from Jay Z, or Rick Ross, Ye or even Drake but their story is not really being told. That’s almost taboo in Hip-Hop, I’m out to change that.
One song in particular that I’m really proud of is, “Black Excellence,” which I did with my homie MaG. The music was just so regal, with horns, drums, strings that really made me take my time with how I wrote it. It’s about paying homage to people like Dr. King and Malcolm X, and making a rap song that our parents would be proud of. The title track, “The Greatest Pretender,” touches on something so many 20-somethings can relate to: Fake It Till You Make It!! Sure we all front on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram like we’re the shit, and that shit don’t stink. However, 9 times out of 10, that shit….well…smells like shit. That shouldn’t stop us from pursuing our dreams until we make them a reality. It’s hard work, but if you’re committed to it and faithful that God will lead you the right way, you can do anything.
I would definitely say that my new project, The Greatest Pretender, is definitely my best work to date. I decided to start a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo, to raise money for mixing and mastering as well as efforts to market the music video for “40 Acres.” It’s been overwhelming the amount of support I’ve received thus far, and there’s still about 3 weeks left to go. At the end of the day I just want to give the fans what I feel they deserve from me, a solid piece of quality music with a positive but authentic message. God willing, this November that’s exactly what I plan on doing.
In The Poetry Question’s opinion, you should definitely toss a few dollars in the direction of Archie Green. I see big things coming from AG over the next couple of years. Why not be a part of the early days?
Links to Archie Green and his crowd funding website: