MaleStandard spoke with two of the illest rappers making a commotion in the underground hip-hop scene: eNVy, representing Vancity, Canada, and Alyssa Marie from Boston, Mass. Though distinct in style and personality, the two equally assassinate the mic with their lyrical skill and rhythmic flow. Forget what you know of hip-hop from the radio and check out two artists bringing it to you in its purest form.
You are obviously quite ill, sir. Assuming you’re currently not in some sort of talks with record labels, why do you think you’re not signed?
I really don’t give a s***, is why. I don’t try. Getting signed doesn’t concern me, I just do what I love to do and fame happens to become a by-product of that. I don’t eat because I want to poo. Nonetheless, I have a bunch of work in the mix with some pretty major artists, so f*** a label. You’ll still see your boy comin out on top!
Nicely put. How long have you been doing what you do?
Been doin’ this s*** since pengu was chillin’ in an igloo [Laughs]. Nah, I’ve been writing since I was 9, though only been recording for about a year. But every day, every week, and every month I learn new things and I’m constantly changing my style up, trying to keep this ish versatile. But yeah, so far things have been smooth, a lot of official s***.
When did you first realize you had something going on?
It’s what I’m best at. It’s an everyday thing to produce satisfying music, there is a lot of garbage out there nowadays…. although, honestly, I am nowhere near what I want to develop as an artist and that is what drives me to make music everyday of my life. Even though it seems like I haven’t been dropping a lot of music lately, it’s because I have an album on the way filled with non-stop bangers and surprising features.
After hearing what I’ve heard from you, I’m seriously looking forward to your album. I’m sure all your fans and followers feel the same. Is there any more you can tell us about your album like the drop date, maybe some juicy details, or teasers?
Can’t speak on it too much just know there is going to be a quantity of quality. That’s why I haven’t been releasing much. And for details? Hodgy Beats from Odd Future is featuring on my album. If anyone has not heard of them they need to step their life game up ASAP, and a couple more artists I’ll wait to reveal. Nonetheless, what I have in stock for the album so far will be keeping people busy for quite some time.
What’s crackin’ on your iPod, or music player nowadays?
My 32GB iPhone is at full capacity. So really, I would be naming artists and genres on days end. As for new music, I “F” with Das Racist. They have a real dope approach to this music industry, satirical yet they come hard as “F.” And of course Odd Future, I believe they have what hip-hop is missing right now. That about sums it up. Oh, and Waka Flocka when I dumb the F out.
The obligatory question: can you talk about some of your influences?
Anyone out of the norm.
Fair enough. With all the file sharing, music stealing, bootlegging, pirating, etc., how can an independent or underground artist survive nowadays?
Well, the only logical way an artist can survive nowadays, with bootlegging and people leaking albums and such, is to honestly take advantage of whatever is out there. Even with mixtape material you will make zero dollars. Though if you build your name up, when you throw a concert you can make millions- Lil Wayne for example. Never lose inspiration, never stop grinding, and networking. Get out there and live this s***! But to really answer your question, every underground artist is financially f*****. Sell drugs, people.
Haha. Finally, what is your Male Standard?
Ain’t gonna be all corny and soundin’ like I’m trying to be all-motivational, so honestly- just do your thing. Forget anyone questioning you and never say sorry. People follow leaders. I usually say 5% is what happens to you in life and 95% is how you react…
When did you first realize you had something going with your MC skills?
I don’t think there was one specific event that solidified it for me. Ever since the first verse I recorded I knew it was something I had to keep doing for myself, but I think the responses from people surrounding me is what made me realize I could possibly make something more out of it than just a hobby. I knew I had something “special” when people in their 50’s who normally can’t stand rap were saying they were blown away by my music. I literally witnessed people of that age cry while they were listening to a particular song of mine on more than one occasion. I think that’s when I knew I had something worth putting everything I had into.
Okay, obligatory question: I have to ask what your musical influences are, including what you are listening to and really feeling right now.
My biggest influence as far as rappers go has to be Eminem, just for the simple fact that 3 of his albums make it to my list of favorite rap albums of all time. Along with him there’s Joe Budden, Slug from the group Atmosphere, Pun, Pac, Bliss n Eso, and the list goes on. And then of course there’s my man Wise, but you’ll find out more about him later.
I watched you talk about Wise in your video ”Wise Words.” Can you share a little bit about that situation and what you gained from it?
Definitely. Martin (Wise) was something of a mentor to me in music and also in life in many ways as well. He helped me in my process of discovering myself in both. It’s honestly difficult for me to break down the relationship him and I shared, but it was one of the most natural and comfortable connections with another person I’d ever had. Even though it unfortunately ended on a bad note between us I never stopped trying to make him proud. As my buzz continued to grow I wondered if he knew, or if he heard any of my new music, and if so what he thought about it. Little did I know at the time he heard it all, because as corny as it may sound to someone else he was with me every verse I recorded. As far as what I gained from him I couldn’t begin to describe. He taught me things I find myself referencing back to literally every day, and that was even before I found out he had passed away. Outside of that though he was just an absolutely amazing person I feel blessed to have known. Keep your ears open for W!SE REBORN.
Where else do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everywhere, however I think the beat is what inspires my inspiration, if that makes sense. The beat is what pulls certain things and emotions out of me. I’ve said it before, but most of the time I have no idea what I’m writing about until about a third of the way into a verse, I just let the beat take me where it wants and I go with it. I’m definitely inspired heavily by my own emotions and things going on in my life though, and on top of that listening to something dope by another artist can inspire me to write something dope of my own.
Is there anything you see differently about the game or hip-hop in general, from a female perspective?
I think I see a lot different than most rappers, I’m not sure if it’s due to me being a female or not. From where I’m standing I see a lot of people taking the game and their status for granted, and I guess as a female trying to make a name you don’t have that option. None of this is going to come easy for me. I’m not a gimmick, I’m trying to sell my mind and not my body like a lot of other female rappers might. There is one thing about me though; I’m not out to prove myself to anyone just because I’m a female. I’m doing what I do because I love it and whoever wants to ride with me is more than welcome and greatly appreciated.
Don’t laugh at me, but I was discussing the best female rappers of all time with my friend and she laughed when I brought up Lisa ”Left Eye” Lopes. Who do you think some of the best female MC’s are?
To keep it real with you, I don’t listen to many female rappers. I’ll never listen to a rapper just because they’re dope “for a female”; they have to be dope period for me to actually mess with them. I’ve heard songs here and there from some that I can respect, it’s just rare for me to find one that makes me want to keep coming back. I have crazy respect for Lauryn Hill – she’s insanely talented. Of course there’s Jean Grae, Left Eye, Kim. It’s really anyone who got they’re foot in the game somehow, Nicki is doing that right now. If we’re talking outside the industry though, there is one female rapper that I love and actually listen to regularly. She’s up in Maine I believe and goes by the name of Lady Essence or Lady E. She is ridiculously talented, not just “for a female”; she’s just straight up dope. Poetic lyrics, intricate rhyme schemes, nice flow – she’s the package. Check her out if you haven’t, for real.
Alright, we usually close interviews by asking ”what is your MaleStandard,” but since you’re not male and you seem to have universal standards, I’ll just ask: what’s your standard?
Find out who you are and once you truly do that, do you. Living life by other people’s standards ends with a deathbed full of regret. Also, to throw in a couple very true cliché’s: treat others how you want them to treat you because karma really is the biggest b**** in the world, and don’t leave someone you love angry.