You originally started out within Music as a rapper, why did you decide to pursue promotion after a while?
Lil Rudy: When I moved from Waycross, GA, to Jacksonville, FL, I was working with the Circle Boys on the west side, Orange Park. We had great music and a strong drive from the beginning, but in the music biz, you run into all kind of brick walls like money, haters, and politics, so I started studying what other people did with their music once they had a sure winner. I figured out quickly that promotions and having a good publicist goes a long way on a low budget like mine, so I made friends with a few publicist, and started my own promotions company, Lil Rudy Promotions, which is also a website now. My switch to promotions kind of slowed down the whole group, and we ended up branching off into solo projects instead.
What is your link with Hood magazine?
Lil Rudy: My girl Ms. Rivercity, well known journalist in Florida and Georgia, used to work for HooD real heavy and really introduced me to them. We used to run into each other all the time on the Jacksonville scene, but when she started working with Ozone Magazine, she started being out of town more often, while me, less mobile at the time, was still here in Jacksonville. I ended up stepping up for HooD Mag not only because I was doing CD reviews for them, but I really believed in the product they were putting out and I knew it was only a matter of time before they would be up to the calibre of Ozone, so I took on distribution for them in my region to help the process move faster. Now, if people don’t know me for the music I put out earlier, they definitely know me for my work with HooD.
Tell us about some of the artists you work with?
Lil Rudy: Right now I am doing about 75% promotions & 25% music. With my promotions, I’m focusing on helping artists that I see going hard on the scene but may not necessarily be thinking about how important promotions is even if you’re already relevant on the scene. My dawg P.I.T. (the Don of Duval, Riverside Records, was one of the first rappers I saw that needed major promotion, because dis dude already got 7 albums / mixtapes and most of his fans don’t even know it. I got a group of young savage niggaz, Guttah Squad, going real hard for me, and even won one of my performance battle TV. show episodes I hosted this summer with my dawg Midget Mac and Spikes Hill Productions. I saw raw talent in them boys but they had no real direction, so I’m looking out for them real heavy (Certified Guttah Vol.1 coming soon. I’m also working with Dirt Diggla (904 Click) on promotions, and a young producer with a lot of talent named Pyro, $25 beats on deck.
You did release a mix-tape a while back, tell us about that? What response did you get from people?
Lil Rudy: Yeah, my first solo mixtape, The Mobile Trappin Mixtape Vol.1, got a lot of love from the streets, teens, and the internet, so I’m about to re-release that on I-Tunes around April (songs to other people beats will be given away on, plus I got a video on that page for one of the songs off the mixtape called Sittin’ Low with my dawgs Stank and Dirt Diggla. A lot of good times came out of that whole project which eventually evolved into a whole Mobile Trappin’ Movement (every real nigga that got they hand on this CD road round to it, because it had a whole theme / feel to it that real trap niggaz could relate to).
Do you plan to have your own label maybe one day?
Lil Rudy: Not really. I love artist because me being one myself, I understand the urge to get on if you think you’re the hottest, as most artist do, so anybody I see out there trying to get it, I feel where they coming from. What they may not realise is that at some point in the game they will have to be fucked some kind of way to get ahead, and labels are the ones doing the most fucking. From a promotional standpoint I can give it to these artists raw and real, let them know what I know and how I can help them from where they’ve already come by themselves, and possibly get them ready for the shock of real business out here. I'd never want to be involved with fucking an artist, that’s why I’m always teaching, preaching, inspiring, and helping whoever needs it because we all need a breath of fresh air in this shit. You don’t get to run into too many people like me once you get to a certain height on the totem pole.
Can we expect any other mix-tapes from your self as an artist over the coming months?
Lil Rudy: Most definitely! I got the Mobile Trappin Remix (produced by M. Geezy) ft. G-Code and Young Cash on the Duval Mixtape vol. 3 thats about to drop. I’m still working on the theme song for NASCAR which should hit the streets around late January (already on the internet @: http://www.myspace.com/hollowp123), which will include the completed single NASCAR ROCKSTAR ft. Jasmine, Young Cash, R.A.W. from Rebel Gang, Dirt Diggla, and Zenni Boi (also produced by M. Geezy) & 5 to 8 of my hottest tracks. In April I plan to drop my first real album (Lil Rudy The Album: Handcrafted Lyrically) with all original tracks on it. I told you bout the Guttah Squad Mixtape I’m working on, plus I got a nigga ready to hit the scene going by the name of Pope (straight out of VA, but he got more talent than a lot of artist I’m seeing out here heavy), probably going to drop his mixtape around February.
You make beats also? A real jack of all trades (laughs).
Lil Rudy: Hahaha!!! Beats was one of my first loves actually. That came from never having nothing to rap to when I got access to my first karaoke machine! Trying to rap over other people just wasn’t working, so I used to take 3 blank tapes and record one instrument at a time off my lil sister keyboard till the beat was finished, then when it was all done, of course, go back and rap over it. One thing I learned from that early experience was how much harder it was to make beats than to rap, but it was also much more interesting to piece together those musical puzzles than the raps I was trying to put on ‘em.
Things have moved incredibly fast for you, where do you aim to be in 2 years time within the music industry?
Lil Rudy: Hopefully one day I can get into full artist development for a major label. I really can do it all as far as getting it to the front door (from running a studio by myself, to producing an all around professional project, then putting full promotion behind it) and I’m well connected already, so I could only believe my network will continue to grow rapidly over the next two years. If I never make it to the top with my own music, my resume after six years of hard work and dedication should be able to get me that kind of job easily. Plus I love to read and write so I'll always be involved with magazines heavy; I just got picked up to do CD reviews for GrindTime Magazine matter of fact, so I could see a long marriage happening.
As a publicist and CEO of a PR company myself I know how tiring and demanding the job is, how do you manage to stay focussed and keep your moral high?
Lil Rudy: I wake up almost every morning and hit it hard as possible before even eating breakfast. Staying humble and focused has taken me a long way, but even after what would seem like success to everybody else, I personally feel I’m no where near the goals I set out to reach 4 years ago. If it wasn’t for the love I get when I’m out on the streets with my CDs or the HooD Mags, I’m sure I would have went off in search of a real job a LONG time ago! The people make it worth it, even the haters, I love you all for keeping me encouraged, keeping me fighting for my dreams. I love music and being around it 24/7 is as necessary to me as air to humans.
What plans do you have for the artists you work with for 2008?
Lil Rudy: 2008 will give me a chance to see how strong my promotions will be, and I should have a pretty clear view of the right path God meant for me to take. You can bet Ill be pushing the artists I work with as hard as I’ve ever pushed my own. Plus, I consider myself multiple people in one body, so you’ve got Lil Rudy, the brains, the business man, the country boy with good manners, and then you’ve got Hollow P., the mobile trapper, the real hustle behind the business, and then Rude Williams, the producer and studio engineer that should’ve went to college to be a pharmacist but ended up thuggin’ it, all in one. I’m pushing them all separate so be on the lookout for that shit (hahahahaha!)
Lil Rudy: Big shout out to you for staying connected and showing love over the years, I see you doing big thangs with DJ Smallz now. Big shout out to my all my Florida homies / connects, HooD Magazine, C. Wakeley and the GateKeepers, Ivory & PointBlank Ent., my dawgs Young Cash & Midget Mac for putting J-Ville on the map, my niggaz I started this shit wit, The Circle Boys, the whole Floyd Circle for teaching me the streets, Tom over there at Myspace, and all my haters. Plus a big shout out to everybody in Georgia that showed me love, everybody in Jacksonville and the rest of Florida that showed me love, I love y’all and I ain’t gone stop until we get where we supposed to be! Thanks.
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.
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