Everything that Slow Motion Soundz, the record label and spiritual movement, and marquee artists G-Side, ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova, have achieved in music over the last few years, including critical acclaim and support from around the world and the establishment of the Block Beattaz as the connoisseur’s producers of choice, can be attributed to the belief and efforts of one man.
Huntsville son Codie G reached out to Rob Breezy last year after hearing his Huntsville Alabama Mixtape and the HSV/UK bond was formed. It gives us great pleasure to be able to share this interview with you on the eve of the release of G-Side’s most important project to date, ‘The Huntsville International Project’. From one of the realest most spiritually strong people we’ve ever had the honour of knowing, we present to you some words from the soul of the wise. Mr Codie G…
When did you meet ST and Clova?
I met ST and Clova after I returned home from the military. I had just left Korea. While I was over there CP kept sending me their music. Tracks like ‘Yes Sir’, ‘Cold Blooded’ and ‘Ice Kisses’. God sent them to Slow Motion at the right time. The artist we were working with had moved on to try some new avenues out. So when I say G-Side was God-sent, I truly mean it. They helped nurture a new sound and reshape our business structure.
In your eyes what makes ST and Clova such special artists as a collective and as individuals?
As a collective, I think they are able to truly push the envelope to the max. There are no limits when they are together. In my eyes, they are the most talented and sought after duo in the game right now. Everybody else is a solo artist that has to maintain the listener’s ear by themselves. So, G-Side is not competing with those guys. As far as individual artists, ST is a monster. Period! He surprises me every time on his ability to spit. He really knows the music and is a student of true MCs, ya feel me? Clova on the other hand brings that star quality to the fold. The thing with Clova that I love is he is evolving as an artist. As an artist, that’s the best thing, keep evolving, don’t stay stagnant. That’s what I think is Clova’s strongest attribute.
Why did you decide to name the new album ‘The Huntsville International Project’?
That’s what it is. Huntsville International is a way of life. We are a cultured people at Slow Motion Soundz. We look outside of regional boundaries when it comes to aspirations and influence. Through the music, we want to prove that we can hold our own on any stage. Whether it’s politics, streets, education, religion, whatever the case may be, we are a people built for international living. The ‘Project’ is just that. I don’t think this has ever been done. Taking a group of digital brands who have formed a network in a matter of a year, putting together something based on natural time and movement, and giving it to the world. No exact math or science went into this, none. So it’s like a school project, November 9th is the day we go to the science fair [Laughs].
In a recent G-Side interview with our homies over at Zone2Homebrew.com, ST alluded to the fact that ‘The HIP’ evolved from a mixtape into something bigger, almost an album. What’s the story with that? Is it just a case of CP’s perfectionist streak?
In everything we do we pray. We were never fans of the restraints in names. Instead, we believe the name should reflect its actual state. It’s not a mixtape. It’s not for the mixtape circuit. Once CP got involved and did what he does, it became something that should be critcally acclaimed and really respected. CP did have to take it there and we knew that. We just wanted to get as much ground work done before we brought it to him. What people got to understand about CP is he is not a beatmaker. He actually produces. That’s why you can take like Mike Posner’s rendition of ‘Speed of Sound’. If he would have acutally recorded that with the Block Beattaz in a natural stage, it would have been totally different. So yeah, blame the delay on CP [Laughs]
What do you consider your role to be in spearheading the Slow Motion Soundz movement?
Man, I look at my self as the point guard of the team. I see the court from a different angle compared to the rest of the players. I have to be able to put people in the position to score. I have to call the play. I see the basket, but don’t have to score to win. On defense, I have to be the first one back down the court to stop the opponent from scoring. I think that’s my role in a nutshell, not to mention, I really played point guard in school.
What does Slow Motion Soundz offer the local community in Huntsville apart from musical aspirations?
I think we offer Huntsville a new age of black men that can be respected in all arenas who happen to be involved in hip-hop. We are fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and all around good people. We are not scared to tell people we work for a living outside of music. We tell people to stay in school. We are college-educated or en route to getting degrees. So, to truly answer the question, we offer ourselves. Any way the community needs us we are there to the best of our ability.
What do you feel are the keys to your success so far?
A healthy dose of humble pie. It’s great for success. You know instead of being out here eating fried boasting and roasted selfishness, humble pie seems to satisfy my hunger every time. Saying thank you for the small things. Saying thank you period has opened probably every door that has been opened in my life. I know this may sound clichéd, but God also. Six years ago, I was strapped in the middle of Iraq. Fast forward, and I’m sitting here doing this interview. This may not be MTV or BET but it’s on lines higher than that to me. This is vintage shit. Sticking to those lines of trying to be different and outside of nigga normal has played parts also.
Where do you find inspiration these days?
I find a lot of inspiration in my kids. If I was to die today, the only thing I could truly leave my kids is this experience of Slow Motion Soundz. That all. Yeah a 401k is cool, but who’s to say they won’t run through that. A house, yeah, that’s cool too, but if they can’t pay taxes that could be taken away also. Slow Motion Soundz is something they could look at and be like ‘That’s what my dad helped to build. He barred none for it also’. Hopefully what I’m doing will inspire them to reach deep within themselves to change the world from just doing them. Not aquiring a dream that truly wasn’t meant for them.
As a self proclaimed ‘hip-hop father’, to what extent is what you do more than the music so to speak? And what do you mean by ‘hip-hop father’ exactly?
I think my previous answer explained the first part. A hip-hop father is just that. I grew up in hip-hop. I haven’t been to prison. I don’t sell drugs, I don’t want to kill nobody, I want the best for everybody. Those are the sterotypes we face every day. Being a father is one thing people outside of hip-hop think we don’t cherish. I’m proud to be a father. I’m conscious of what that means to my kids and society. So being a proud father who is knee-deep in hip-hop, I feel I am a hip-hop father. When I speak, I speak from a hip-hop point of view. That doesn’t mean I tell my sons to call women bitches or go cop a brick. I tell my sons to listen to Ed OG’s ‘Be a father to your son’ type shit. Outkast’s ‘Mainstream’ type shit. I can leave the studio and go straight to a PTA meeting and actually be involved. No matter what goes on between me and their mother, I will always stand in my shoes as they daddy.
When did you first meet CP of the Block Beattaz and how did you get involved in the music business?
I met CP about 10 years ago through a mutual friend. He had the HSV Starz production and I had the Huntsville Stars fitted cap on. It don’t get no realler than that. As far as music go, we rapped, Nobody would let us in they studios or the beats they was selling wasn’t what we was looking for. So we broke down and got it how we lived, musically. Ten years later here we are.
From over here in the UK, Huntsville appears to be a city in the south that’s perhaps disconnected from any major music scene. Is that something you feel has held you back, or has it actually provided the unlikely fertile ground for the Block Beattaz to grow such a unique sound without having to follow a particular sonic trend, and really make their own mark?
It’s the latter. I have been to a lot of functions here in the south. Our music just didn’t fit the mould. A lot of this shit down here is ‘HollySouth’ to me. It’s more flash and flare in the south now than it was 10 years ago. It’s really not like that. It’s real fucked up down here. Huntsville is economically better than some places, but it’s still fucked up. So we had to stay from the evils that were forming down here. It’s like people don’t rap the true ills that are still out here. So to say we are disconnected from the scene, that just depends on who’s listening and who’s writing. If people down here truly understood and checked the blogs, we got a decent following that has garnered us sales and helped us restructure to survive on this island we call Huntsville. We have people doing mixtapes on scene all over the world right now, but southern publications won’t report that beause I won’t buy an ad. Just because somebody is connected to HollySouth doesn’t mean their music is hot. We are pioneers in what we are doing, so my definition for success is different than someone getting info from the music conference circuit. I wouldn’t change our course for nothing.
What do you feel separates SMS from other artists coming out of Alabama?
Huntsville. Huntsville is just a different place and I think that we have a good grasp of what that is. It’s probaly one the most diverse places in the state. I think that’s the only thing that truly separates us. We do everything here. We are not trying to be discovered, we just want people to hear us. Just the history of Huntsville and the role it plays and the role we are playing or have played.
Was J. Dirrt’s excellent video for ST’s solo song ‘This Is Life’ something of a high point? The audio and visuals on that were just sublime.
That video was humbling. For Dirrt and everybody who was involved, that truly showed we had arrived to a place that was a long way from our genesis. The thing about the video is the texture of the scenes. What you saw is who we are. Nothing extra, nothing from a marketing department, or nothing artificial. That video was for everybody that’s involved with ‘The H.I.P’, not just SMS. J Dirrt said he was going do something and he did it. What more can you ask for?
What’s the next step after HIP hits?
We need shows. Simple as that. I’m not going to lie, I been trying but once again it seems people are scared to take a chance with us. I’m hoping the buzz from this project inspires some of these promoters to book these guys. We are true professionals. I just want G-Side to get their due. I also want all these artists out here talking big money to come break some with the Block Beattaz and my dude Mick Vegas. It’s not that cookie cutter shit. Quit playing and let’s make music instead of all this Hollywood and HollySouth shit. It’s real sickening.
Any last words/shoutouts?
I just want to try and shout out some people that haven’t been mentioned in past interviews. I want to say to Adam Katzman you made history booking G-Side. Thanks. I have to send a shout out to Trmndus from Southwest-Connection.com. That dude is a huge part of our success. Thanks mane. Everybody else I just got off the phone with y’all (Laughs).
God Bless, and let Rob know we’ll be over soon.
Codie G is marketing director of Slow Motion Soundz and a full-time hip-hop father.
Photo credit to 30 Pack.
‘Huntsville International’ is now available for free download.