[Interview] Skyzoo: Discussions With The Great Debater
When it comes to being prolific and equally consistent in terms of the quality of music one releases, Skyzoo has proven that he’s lyrically in a class all his own in that regard. The Brooklyn emcee spent a few minutes out of his day with The Well Versed to discuss a variety of topics including his upcoming projects, his personal influences, and everything in between.
The Well Versed: Last year you gave us The Great Debater, and The Penny Series, what’s your thought process when coming up with concepts on a project by project basis?
Skyzoo: As far as The Great Debater I wanted to put out a complete all new mix tape, and I hadn’t done anything like that in awhile. People who know me, they know me from my mixtape career with my mixtape history leading up to the albums before Live From The Tape Deck, before The Salvation, I had a long mixtape career. The Corner Store Classic, The Power of Words, so many tapes even before that when I was really young in the game just coming up. Obviously the game is at a place where artists of all calibers and levels are dropping free mixtapes , but at the same time I just really wanted to give something back to the people that have been supporting me. I put out 2 retail projects back to back so I wanted to go back to the free project, but I wanted it to be something complete that people could be like “Yo, this could have been an album, but he gave it to us for free”.
TWV: Despite being apart of this current generation of emcees, your body of work dates back before the whole digital boom that has given opportunities to countless new emcees, which also brings more competition. How do you strive to stay above the rest of the pack?
Skyzoo: With me it’s just about making sure I’m dope with what I do. I really don’t worry about too many other artists, not to say I’m not a fan because I definitely am. I think that there are a lot of dope new artists, and a lot of my peers are people that I rub shoulders with every day that really get busy and I salute that. It’s not really about clocking everything they do and trying to counter them. With me it’s just me making sure that I do what I do better than anybody else can do it.
TWV: You’ve always been prolific in terms of the way you use words, and with your overall depth. Do you feel lyricism is valued as much as it should be these days, or should more emphasis be placed on it?
Skyzoo: It’s always more room for emphasis being placed on it, but at the same time I do think that the relevancy of lyrics has come back to an extent. You have mainstream artists that are starting to really put that forth. You have Lil Wayne, you have Drake, you have so many artists who are lyrical. Whether you’re fans of the music they make or not, you can’t say that they not lyrical. When you can turn on the radio and hear a ton of Drake records all day, but he spitting on every one of them you can’t be mad at that if you’re a lyric lover. That opens the door for when the type of lyricist that you may be a fan of, radio stations and TV are more likely to give it a shot. You definitely have to applaud that.
TWV: What are your views on social media? Do you feel that its too intrusive or an advantage?
Skyzoo: I think I’m one of the few that’s in the middle. Definitely think it’s a huge advantage, a large part of my fan base is on twitter. It’s definitely a way I generate a lot of business, Twitter has saved my life at times. People hitting me for verses, and shows, and it’s just a good way to stay in touch with the people and the fans. At the same time, it does get a little out of hand. I do but so much on Twitter, I like what its about, I like what it offers, but depending on how you use it, it is intrusive at times. Some people are living their entire lives off of Twitter. A lot of people are becoming celebs or popular off of Twitter, or Facebook, and Tumblr. There are pros and cons with it just like everything else in life, but you gotta know how to work it a certain way.
TWV: Let’s take it back to last summer. While The Great Debater was still fresh in our ears, New York was in the beginning stages of the Occupy Wall Street movement. What are your thoughts on that?
Skyzoo: It took over the whole country, I was just in Rhode Island for a show and I heard all this noise, and I said “Yo what’s all that noise sound like it’s coming from around the corner?” The promoter was like “Oh that’s just Occupy Rhode Island”. It just surprised me to see people coming together and stand up for something especially when it’s the right cause. The disappearing of the middle class is a scary thought. In a lot of urban communities it’s a goal to make it to the middle class, and they’re eliminating that, making it all or nothing now and its really scary.