All right, so thanks again for meeting with us. I’m here with Joe Exquizzit. He’s going to tell us a little about what he does, his music, and who he is. Welcome!
Thanks for having me.
Yes. So, just tell everyone here at Kingdom Magazine, a little bit about what you’re about and what landed you to come in contact with us?
Well, the first person who referred me was maybe Brandon Jackson. I met him back in October 2018, early October 2018 at an event, and we just kind of hit it off, you know? I told him who I was. I told him that I was an up and coming music artist and an actor and everything. He was like, yeah, cool. I gave him my card and everything and then just kind of, you know, hit it off. After exchanging a lot of DMs via Instagram, he referred me to you. So that’s the short story. You know, he thought it was cool that I was a music artist trying to make a name for myself and everything. I admired him and the films that he was in, like, you know, Tropic Thunder and Percy Jackson, you know, those were cool films. And so yeah, we just hit it off.
Okay, that sounds great. So, what do you prefer, acting or music or do you like both equally the same?
As of now mostly in music, mainly because this, you know, COVID pandemic, as you know, put a stop to pretty much all local film activities. So yeah, right now I’m doing music mostly. So I did a few acting auditions here and there in the past, but yeah, since you know, with all of this COVID stuff, that’s all you know, come to a halt. So, right now I’m mostly doing music.
Okay, so if your favorite rapper or emcee could hear your music, what do you think they’d say?
That’s a good question. I’d have to say my favorite rapper of all time is Eminem because he’s the first artist that I really got into. So, if he heard my old stuff he’d think it’s trash because to be honest it was. But if he heard my new stuff I think he would say it’s overall pretty good. I mean it might need a few tweaks here and there. Ultimately, I think I think he would give it like at least a B if you want to put it that way. So, a B is above average.
So, are you more interested in becoming an independent artist? Or do you want to sign to a major label? Or how do you feel about it industry wise?
That’s a good question. I like having control over my work. So, I’d prefer to be an indie artist then. But, if there is a major label out there somewhere that will give me a lot of control, a lot of say so, you know, let me call the shots, if you will, then yeah, that would be fine. So my guess, whatever or whoever would allow me to have a lot of control over my work and would help me reach as broad of an audience as I can. I guess a major label would do that. So, I don’t know maybe like something in between like Eminem did. I think he signed to like a subsidiary of universal? I think it was Interscope. Maybe something like that kind of like a middle ground if there is a middle ground. So, maybe some sort of middle ground between an independent and a major. That would be my answer.
So touching on the middle ground, you spoke on wanting to have control? What are your feelings on the state of the music industry today?
I think, especially nowadays, labels are too focused on just profit and appealing to the lowest common denominator. Which I get. You know there are for profit organizations. So, they have to put out the most marketable artists and whatnot. But I wish they would actually focus more on actually putting out good music, rather than just what appeals to the lowest common denominator. Like when I listened to channel 95.5 and 96.3, those are the only two I listen to, it’s just the same mainstream hits that you hear over and over again. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like them because I hear them over and over again, or, it’s just that they’re bad. I mean there are definitely some good songs. Don’t get me wrong. But I know it’s just like hearing it from I guess the radio perspective; they may be too repetitive or just too mainstream. Or they just, you know, appeal to the common denominator or whatever. It’s just, you know, I wish more of the major labels especially would focus more on just actually putting out good soulful music that people can actually love and appreciate rather than just like, you know, it feels like an AD. Or it’s just you’re trying to grab your attention. Honestly, I don’t like it, but that’s what a lot of entertainment has turned into. Music has turned into a lot of promo and propaganda in programming. It’s not right from the heart anymore. It’s just, hey, we’re trying to give you a message, and we’re gonna pound it into your head until you accept the message.
Right? Yeah. So what do you think your biggest achievement to date has been while developing your craft?
Oh man, I’d say probably hooking up with Brent Jackson was a huge achievement of mine. Also, I had a brief friendship with the brother of Eminem, Nate Kane. Although, we had kind of a falling out, but that’s another story. Every day, at least before the COVID pandemic, I was doing a lot of shows, venues where I live here in Oakland County. And, you know, every show I went to I would either go there to network and from time to time I perform. But mostly just network, meet people and whatnot. Just every event I get just all added up, you know. In terms of a single achievement, I would say when I hit 5000 plays on my SoundCloud, that was a huge achievement. When I hit $2000 on my bank, that was also a huge achievement. It was all organic. It wasn’t me buying plays or anything. So yeah, I’d say right now I’m mostly focused on online. I’d say every single thing I do just kind of all adds up. And that’s similar to what Ross said, the famous rapper. He said in an interview that his success is due to multiple or many different endeavors. It wasn’t just one single thing. So, that’s similar to me. But other than that, hooking up with Brandon Jackson and Eminem’s brother, even though we had a bit of a falling out. But that’s another story. There was another guy named Tel Ganesan I believe his name is. He’s like a really cool entrepreneur and filmmaker. Pretty cool meeting him, listening to him at an event, the same event that I met Brandon Jackson, by the way. Listening to him and his story and everything was pretty cool. So,
I think that’s really good too that you recognize that it’s not just one major thing that puts you on per se. Really, it’s a host of several things that have added up to where you are now that have gotten you to where you are. It’s not just one big thing, but every little thing matters.
How has your experience been working in the rap industry?
It’s been great. There’ve been times where, not often, people didn’t really take me seriously. I don’t think it’s because I’m a white rapper. I think it’s just because, you know, maybe I look, you know, too dorky or something. But, overall it’s been good. I mean, there’s been where I kind of like to question myself. Like, man do I really want to do this? But, then there’s other days where I just (most of the time) love doing what I do. I am passionate about it. I’m interested in it. I’m always trying to learn more, you know. I listen to other people’s perspectives, like Ross, like Eminem, like Kendrick Lamar or Nasir, you know, old Tupac and Biggie interviews. Yeah, I listen to all of them, Jeezy, all those people. So, I mean, I’m not on their level yet, obviously. I mean, that’s my dream (God willing) to one day be on their level. There’s a lot of other people doing it [rapping]too, like a lot of people on SoundCloud. So you know, that’s the thing with technology these days is that it’s easier than ever to be a rapper or any other type of music artist. But, at the same time, it’s gotten harder to break through. But, yeah, it’s been fine.
That’s good. So what do you think your most meaningful song is that you’ve written? And why do you think it’s the most meaningful?
That’s another good question. It’s hard to choose, but it’s kind of like a live version that I did in my own studio. It’s a song called “Farewell Address to my Class of ‘17.” That’s when I graduated high school. It’s just a really heartfelt song. It runs kind of long. It’s about seven or almost eight minutes. It’s a song where I basically just expressed to my classmates, my high school classmates, what I feel about them, you know, from the bottom of my heart. I just rap saying we had a lot of difficult times, but at the end of the day, you know, we were classmates and I still had respect for them. It’s on my YouTube if you want to check it out, feel free. It’s a very heartfelt song. It’s a sad song. It’s done over a Kendrick Lamar instrumental and I kind of edited a bit. And so kind of depends on the day. Another song that I really think I did a fantastic job on was a song called “Of Dreams and Reality” on my Bandcamp account. It’s pretty popular on there. Another song I did was a song called “Sin Ballad” where I kind of talk about the dark side if you will, some of the more dark thoughts that I’ve had. And you know, how it’s been difficult to kind of flush them out of my head. I also have a song called “My Insistence (Gabby’s Song)”, which is a song about a girl that I was interested in, but she wasn’t very interested in me. So you know, kind of another sad song. Oh, a song called “Looking Back on Life” that’s done over an instrumental one that I really like. It was recorded about a little over a year ago. It’s a song where I just, you know, kind of talk about life, its beauty, and its hardships and everything. So, it’s kind of like a more out and proud type of song. So those are mine, you know, those are all kind of tied I’d say as my favorite song. I did a song called “Heart.” In addition, it was another one that I really liked. A song called “Uncertainty- What the Future Holds”, a song called “A Normal Life is Boring”, I really liked it. I did. Um, what else? There’s another song called “Ranting”, that’s more of a boasting song. Another song called “Sicker Mode” which is a remix of “Sickomode.” Okay, so those are all my favorite songs.
Okay, so what do you think? Lastly, I guess just to close this off, if you could give any advice or leave a message to anyone who may be out there, trying to figure themselves out just like you had to figure yourself out with music and just trying to make sure you’re really putting energy towards your passion, what would be some, some words you would leave with them?
Just be persistent. Keep grinding, you know. There’s going to be hard days. There’s going to be good days. There’s going to be a lot of days in the middle, you know. Just be persistent. Just keep grinding, just keep working, and you know, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re lost and that you need guidance. Just put in the work. Grind through the good days. Take advantage or grind through the bad days. Take advantage of the good days. Um, and yeah, just take the good with the bad. That’s what I’d say. Be persistent. Just keep at it. Whatever obstacle you run into, just find a way around. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. So that’s, that’s what I’d say. Just be persistent. Just keep grinding. Just keep working. What’s the saying? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard? That’s what you need to get attached to if you have to do so.
Perfect. Was there anything else you wanted to say before we close out?
I thank you for having me. And, yeah, I look forward to your future endeavors with the Kingdom Magazine.
Take a listen to Joe Exsquizzit’s music here.