Knobody is a smooth rapping fella from the West Coast for whom words just trip off his tongue. Since the age of 16 he has been slanging CDs on the street and in 2001 released Tha Book of Mathieu. In 2006 Knobody's career began to gain serious momentum when he hooked up with the Hieroglyphics Crew.
Knobody has just released his new album Tha Clean Up and the first single What U Think is a take-no prisoners anthem for staying true to yourself and doing your own thing. Check out what he had to say to Britishhiphop.co.uk…
OK, lets get straight into this. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about where you are from / coming from? Where were you born, where did you grow up & where do you live now?
Knobody: That's all the same answer, only one answer – born, raised and still reside in Oakland CA.
What is the Hip Hop scene there like? Is it underground or thriving and is it hard being away from the Epicentre – New York?
Knobody: It's a little bit of everything, Oakland is a big city. I respect NY, I respect that hip-hop came from there and shit but I grew up on West coast music.
Who influenced you and made you think, yeah we can do this? Things like who was the first guy from your area to put out a Hip Hop record?
Knobody: I grew up on Too Short, Too Short and Hammer. Those are the two names I know from Oakland who were performing. I remember Too Short performing on the roof of a liquor store in the 80's, back in the day. As far as history of hip-hop in my city, Hammer, Too Short, and Hieroglyphics.
How would you describe yourself and how did you come by your name?
Knobody: In a word, calculated. My name is JD, that's how everybody who knows me. There's plenty of JD's in the industry, though. I knew as my career in the industry moved forward I wanted something that represented me. When I came across Knobody it pretty much fit me. There are more Knobodies than there are somebodies, I wanted to identify with that.
Are you affiliated with any other crews and are you working with any young cats you are hoping to bring through? Who should we look out for?
Knobody: I got a bunch of crews I get down with around the bay area. I'm not bringing up anybody under me, I just have a bunch of colleagues I work with, I know rappers younger than me but I consider them equals. We're all struggling musicians at this point.
How did you hook up with the Heiro Imperium crew?
Knobody: One night I had a show, didn't know Casual was headlining, I gave him a CD – a couple weeks later casual called saying he was interested in setting up business with me and selling the CD.
What sort of a response do you get from the rest of the country, and are there regional differences you can discern? Are there any reasons for this?
Knobody: I really can't tell – I get up there and do my thing and at the end of the night there's a group of people who thought it was dope – it's nothing nobody else who has traveled wouldn't notice. I'm more tripping off of how similar it is everywhere.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Knobody: It's a constant mix – a lot of old school soul. A lot of old jazz, that whole era. Stevie Wonder one of my all time favorite artists. I've been around with Del, so it's been on an old-funky tip – so that's something that's also very familiar to me.
What’s your view on UK Hip Hop, have you even checked any out?
Knobody: So much stuff to keep up with – I would like to be the listener who keeps up with everything, but it's an overwhelming amount of music. I get turned on to music when someone brings it to me I'll pop it in, so I'm not as exposed to hip-hop in the UK.
Have you ever been over to the UK, or do you have any plans to visit? Do you have any family or connections over here?
Knobody: I would love to get there, I've never been. This is my first time even being to the East coast. I'm hoping to get over there in the UK soon, if anyone reads this and wants to hook me up with a show I'm definitely looking forward to it, and the rest of the world.
What would you say are the three biggest events of your life?
Knobody: Birth, uh, life, and death. I'm young right now, so to this point, my birth has to be #1. I look at life at a wide scale, and I appreciate the little things.
Tell our readers why they should listen to you.
Knobody: Man, I can't tell them why they should listen to me – listen to me first and then decide for yourself. Give me a chance, why not? If you like it you probably should listen to me, if not then you shouldn't I guess.
What have you learned from your recording, performing and business experiences so far? What advice would you have for anyone trying to get out there now?
Knobody: Just practice, man. One of the main things I can tell anyone is to stay in it. There's a lot of dope artists who start generating buzz, but once it dies off they just disappear. If you're a dope artist, you'll get in the game. If there was a blueprint to do it then everyone who wanted to would. For some people it happens when they're 13, they have somebody they know, it's a little talent and a lot of luck. So stay dedicated – I sold CD's on the street for a long time, I thought I would put a CD in somebody's hand who'd give me a deal, but it happened through someone else instead.
I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on, but most current Hip Hop heads decline to answer. I guess they don’t want to upset anyone. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes to?
Knobody: It's a million issues. That's a whole other form, we need to have another interview just for that. I could start from my hood and spiral outward and tell you crazy shit all over the world. It's all type of shit that's wrong, people starving on the street and shit. I could get into Katrina, I had folks in new Orleans when that shit happened. The murder rate in my hood, the drugs getting snuck into the country – people in my hood get snatched for small rocks but meanwhile you know people are bringing huge shipments into the country. And I probably didn't name one issue that's on your mind – the media doesn't deal with every issue that's going on. I don't believe tv, I don't believe the media, I don't believe politicians, I believe other people's opinions are based on perception. It's hard to take what somebody else feels and run with it. Murder, hunger, and racism are issues that are close to home, just to name a few.
If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?
Knobody: People should lighten up, smoke a blunt or something. Everybody else assumes everybody else feels the same way they do – everybody should respect each other's opinions or you end up in a dispute or a fight with somebody. Everybody is not going to agree with everybody all the time. Let's go with the short answer – world peace.
Where can people hear/pick up your stuff?
Knobody: Itunes, man I guess that's the easiest place to pick up stuff. That's the best place to look. Other online stores I believe are carrying it as well. If you're on the West coast you can pretty much anywhere, besides that you're gonna have to dig. Online is the best place for it.
Do your shout outs here:
Knobody: Shout out to Hieroglyphics, Bumpin Muzic, All my folks, I got a lot of folks, they know who they are who held me down before this deal came. Shout out to anybody reading this article, thinking I'm interesting enough to listen to. And shoutout to Audible Treats and British Hip Hop for setting this up.
Thank you very much for your time.
Knobody: Thank you. Peace.