UllNevaNo Speaks About The Ghost Of Len Bias EP, His Run on the Rap Battle Circuit and more.

Hip Hop surpasses Rock music as the most popular genre in the United States.  It's popularity continues to grow and despite the microwave music that is being promoted today on the commercial scene.  There are a lot of good music being released on the independent circuit and for those who think hip hop is dead.  They are clearly not paying attention.  Let me introduce to you hip hop artist and former battle emcee UllNevaNo.  I was able to do a quick Q&A with the Baltimore native as he talks about his new EP The Ghost of Len Bias, working with his producer Jumbled, whether he believes hip hop is dead and much more. 

Sincere: What part of Baltimore you’re from and how long have your been rapping? 

UllNevaNo: I was actually born in Baltimore, but was raised as a military brat.  When I was born my pops moved me and my brother to Fort Riley Kansas.  I spent majority of my youth in Southern California and graduated high school in a small town called Yermo.  I moved back in 2007 and I currently reside on the east side of Baltimore.

Sincere: Who were your musical influences growing up? 

UllNevaNo: My musical influences growing up was the typical cliche artists that everybody was into.   It wasn't until my freshman year in high school I really got into hip hop listening to Tony Touch mixtapes (that's when I first heard about Canibus), Big L, Little brother, Jean Grae, Wu Tang Clan, MF Doom, Talib Kweli, and the Reflection Eternal album really helped me mold into figuring out what type of hip hop music I wanted to create and be accustomed to.

Sincere: You have participated in the battle circuit from 106 & Park and Grind Time. How long have you been battling and would you go back to the battle circuit? 

UllNevaNo: I've been battling since I was 14, my last battle was in 2010, I stopped battling because it started to become not fun anymore once the money, the sponsorships and big name companies started getting involved.  I just lost interest and I come from that cloth where if you claimed you were nice we'd battle right on the spot off the top of the head.  There was no preparation it was just pure fun.  I still keep up with the leagues such as KOTD and URL. I would only get back into battling unless there were money on the line I'm at a point in my career that I'm not battling or writing for anybody for free lol, it just depends on the vibe.

Sincere: Explain the concept behind the EP, “The Ghost Of Len Bias”?

UllNevaNo: The concept behind the ghost of Len Bias was just a play off of my love for dope hip hop and vintage basketball, but not really praising basketball in my lyrics still keeping it traditional as far as hip hop is concerned. When Jumbled first approached me with the idea of doing a EP.  I had no clue or sense of direction of where the project was going, I build with my team MGNTK and they pointed out how my last project CIE2.  I had Spud Webb on the cover, and it just made sense to keep the vintage basketball and my love for hip hop going that's the wave and direction and it works I'm always striving for something different and out the box from everyone else. 

Sincere: “Shoot Your Shot” featuring Ashley Sierra is one of my favorite cuts off the EP. I like how you take the basketball concept and relate it to the boy meets girl scenario. What was going through your mind when you were creating this track? 

UllNevaNo: Shouts out to Ashley she's one of the dopest emcees in Baltimore and I'm glad she made it on the project, it just make sense.  I wanted to keep it conceptual along the lines of hip hop and basketball theme.  So when I presented her with the idea she did her verse justice. What was going thru my mind when I made this record was everybody is trying to shoot their shot and there's gonna be times when your gonna get shot down.  But you have to keep shooting cause eventually your gonna score at a high percentage.

Sincere: Jumbled produced the whole EP The Ghost of Len Bias. Is this the first EP you have worked with Jumbled or have the both of you have worked on previous projects?

UllNevaNo: Yes this is the first full length project that me and Jumbled have worked on and are planning to do some more work in the future my style and his boom bap sound compliments each other.

Sincere: You have mentioned on twitter that you are planning to release your upcoming video, “Tom Sheppard”. Have you started the filming of the video and do you have a release date for Tom Sheppard? 

UllNevaNo: Tom Sheppard is probably my favorite record off the project and it's already been shot and we're looking to drop it mid December end 2017 with a bang and if anybody isn't familiar with Tom Sheppard.  They need to watch Above The Rim. (lol)  We filmed the video in Norfolk, Virginia. 

Sincere: If Len Bias didn’t pass away at a young age. In your opinion, do you think he would have been a better ball player than Michael Jordan? 

UllNevaNo: I did my research on Len Bias as I was creating this project, I watched game film and interviews on people that knew Bias, to get that inspiration, it's one of those questions like who knows what would've been the outcome of his talents if his life wasn't abruptly cut short.  It is similar to the question if Biggie Smalls was still alive would he still be relevant five years down the line.  It's just a big question that we all won't know the answer.

Sincere: What separates you from the average emcee? 

UllNevaNo: What separates me from the average emcee, is I feel honestly my rhyme patterns are abstract and I just don't follow the trends or styles at the end of the day.  I like to be different and it's important to stand out and be consistent as possible, expect a lot more music dropping in 2018.

Sincere: There are some hip hop purists who believe hip hop is not the same as it was in the 90s. However, there are a lot of emcees releasing great music. Do you buy into the narrative that hip hop is dead? 

UllNevaNo: I don't believe that hip hop is dead because there is so much talent.  Especially, with the BOOM of social media.  These hungry artists such as myself can really rhyme and get busy.  There is so much easy access so that notion is untrue.  I don't believe in that statement honestly; it's constantly evolving that's what's exciting about being apart of the hip hop community.

Sincere: What is the meaning of success and how do you apply it in the music industry?

UllNevaNo: Success to me means enjoying what you do and staying consistent eventually you wanna earn your fruits from your labor, but when someone purchases my merch whether it's on bandcamp or at a show I greatly appreciate it, and that motivates me to continue to make the best music possible.  That's how I apply it to the music industry even though the music industry can be a monster.  I don't let that discourage me to make music because it keeps me sane and in a zone that is indescribable.

Sincere: If Big Daddy Kane and Krs-One battled in their prime. Who do you think would have won that battle? 

UllNevaNo: Wow! That's a good question.  I feel Big Daddy Kane would wash Krs-One, just because I feel like as a emcee Kane is very diverse, so no question Big Daddy Kane all day lol.

Sincere: Thank you for taking to conduct this interview. Do you have any final words or shoutouts and how can fans or artists find you on social media? 

UllNevaNo: 2018 is going to be the year for MGNTK, shouts to logic marselis, Stephen hicks, jay berd, Illien rosewell, yung d' the pilot, London boii, ill conscious and jay royale, you can follow me on all social media outlets @ullnevanohiphop and make sure to follow MGNTK at @mgntkrsrch, and thank you for such a dope interview.


Post a Comment