Friday, August 8, 2008

Kevin Nottigham Interviews Ft Lauderdale emcee Trav Williams

Yo, so we’ve featured this cat Trav Williams on the site a couple of times these past few weeks. First we offered his album, The Trickle Down, up for download; then my man Deez gave his take on the album. Well now we’ve had the opportunity to sit down with Trav and get an inside perspective on the album and the man himself. I’ve had his album on repeat the last few weeks and this guy is definitely someone to watch out for.

Kevin: How you doin’ man? Since I first heard The Trickle Down a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to sit down with you to get the inside scoop. The album is great, by the way… real hip hop represented. How has the reception been so far? Are you getting a lot of good feedback?

Trav: Yeah cats are really appreciating the music in a major way. Cats have been hitting me up on the email, the myspace, at shows and everywhere in between showing mad love. Shot out to my homey James C., when that dude hit me up like “The album is dope”, I knew that we might really be on to something. Just finding out that people still want hip hop in the tape deck is the best part, you know.

Kevin: Why don’t you introduce yourself… tell us a little bit of who you are, how you got started, and how long you been doing this.

Trav: I been emceeing for a minute. I think I first got the courage to kick a verse in front of people in like 96, 97 and back then niggas wasn’t spitting at the crib. Cat’s was on some other shit. So I was always looking for ciphers and shit for a while and it wasn’t until like 99 that I started putting out little songs. And that’s when me and Pee Dub first linked up and I had a deal on the table with a little branch of a now defunct label that I won’t name but it feels longer than it really has been, you know. And I guess that was the best part about being from Ft. Lauderdale in way. We didn’t have a musical identity as an area so I could kick whatever and it was dope. But now, it seems like we just get bunched up with whatever drops from the whole area (South Florida). So my hip hop roots was ciphers and what not but I would only count the late 90s. Either way it’s been a while and the ups and downs have been there for sure but now the whole internet jump off gives me a second wind.

Kevin: When I first heard your voice, I thought I was listening to a young Too $hort, but you also remind me of a new-aged Redman/Luda because of the wit and humor that you display in your rhymes; you seem to be having fun on the mic. How would you describe your style?

Trav: That Too Short shit is funny (you have no idea about how many people say that foreal). But I would have to say “regular”. The way I see it I’m in my own genre; Regular Rap. Life…chicks, regular shit. Regular shit is funny and dope and fucked up and everything in between and I live that regular shit everyday. So I try to capture that sonically.

Kevin: Speaking of “regular shit”, you seem to have touched on a lot of personal topics on the album. Were these based off of personal experiences? For example, what’s the story behind “Tag-a-Long”?

Trav: Real Story foreal but essentially that’s just how I create records. I sit and listen to the beat and channel from experience. But I was dating this young chick (shout out to my ex) and her home girl was always drinking my damn orange juice and it was just a little pay back. But that’s the advantage to kicking some real life, real live shit people can relate to. Slowly people begin to realize that we all have a Tag-A-Long or whatever.

Kevin: Who are your musical influences? Who did you listen to growing up and who do you respect in the game now?

Trav: I stole like half of my style from Illmatic track 6, ya dig. But I was a big Tribe fan, “Check the Rhime” totally fucked up my attention in school trying to listen to my little raggedy-ass tape player. “Me My Self and I” was like the first song I ever knew the lyrics to without the beat, so definitely De La. Meeca and the Soul Brother changed my life. And from 96-2001 I thought I was Ghostface. Cube; and of course way back when I was in Middle School I spent my little birthday money on Outkast and Do or Die. I guess the beautiful thing about that whole era was the classic collections of songs that was offered. Joints like Goodie Mob’s Soul Food, Dare Iz A Darkside and Business Never Personal mean even more to me now as an adult. I mean I’m more of an album kind of dude, I love particular projects but those cats were so major to me when I was a youngster. But today I respect a lot of cats like Little Brother, Joell Ortiz, Jeezy, Lupe and Royce and other dope cats and Jean is hot.

Kevin: “Shut It Down” is one of my favorite tracks…it sounds like an updated version of Ghostface’s “Fish” from his 1996 classic, Ironman. You said in your verse Pee Dub feels you all are “one listen away” and Pee Dub feels you guys are the “new aged Rae and Ghost.” Obviously you admire Ghostface, so is that the level you are trying to reach? Where do you see your career going and how do you see yourself getting there?

Trav: I see things moving. I mean slowly we have made some progress (operative word, “some”) and I can’t be mad at that. Most importantly that whole era of the bullshit is almost over. Cats is doing bad in the world. Gas is like 4 and a half dollars right now. Cats don’t want to hear about no damn rims and making it rain, niggas can’t afford gas and milk type shit. People want the real…something more tangible. And that’s when things will take off. The people are frustrated with nonsense and they just don’t know it yet. So when they figure that out, this Regular Rap movement will be bananas.

Kevin: “The Anthem” is another personal favorite…break down that 3rd verse. Lyrically that was one of your strongest performances on the album. What point were you trying to get across?

Trav: Well, first I got to show love to the BCT (Broward County transit) and everybody catching the slave ship (the 36). I used to ride the bus everywhere, all over from the crib (Lauderdale) to Dade to Palm Beach, everywhere; so me and the bus have a very intimate relationship. But the whole song tells a story; verse 1 was waiting for the bus, verse 2 was the frustration of being on the bus and verse 3, I wrote that imaging my self at work at wack ass Mickey D’s and standing on the counter like fuck that, let’s run out of this bitch. Those years working at Mickey D’s were the muse for that verse.

Kevin: LOL, that’s some real, regular shit! Aside from your lyrical skills, the production on the album was outstanding. It seems that each track fits perfectly with the content of the song. How did you go about picking the beats for each track?

Trav: That’s God. Skidmatick, Mozaic, Skinny; all them cats reached out and the connection with Keenan and 20 Keys was a blessing. But cats like Skid reached out and we just had mad chemistry. But I look at picking beats as the most important stage of album creation. I approach it like a listener and dope is dope from that angle.

Kevin: So what other projects are you working on right now? Anything else planned for this year? Will you be collaborating with Pee Dub or any of the album’s producers in the future?

Trav: I got a project coming out on with the homey MoonChild on his label later this summer and I’m also working on an EP called I THINK I LOVE MY GIRLFRIEND which is a spin-off from “Tag-A-Long” to help promo the album and hopefully it will come together like August and then me and DJ Bazarro (Jean Grae’s DJ) are working on another project, so I try to keep busy.

Kevin: Cool man, can’t wait to hear the new stuff. Hey, thanks for taking the time to chat with us and good luck with the album. Any last words?

Trav: Download the record, burn it for your folk and then bump it again. I really do this for the love and to get that love back is the shit I live for. This hip hop shit is an interactive sport where the emcee and the listener need one another equally.

That’s real talk right there. Make sure you check out Trav at his MySpace page and, if you haven’t already, download The Trickle Down below. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Regular hip hop for regular people.

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