What is your Pittsburgh background?
I was born in McKeesport, PA which is a suburb about 15 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. We moved around a lot out of states while I grew up but my family came back in the area by the time I entered high school. After living in Virginia on my own for a few years, I migrated back to Pittsburgh because I missed the city. I’ve lived in Penn Hills, Forest Hills, Monroeville and Oakland before finally settling in West Homestead.
How did you get started with RepPghHipHop.com?
I was introduced to Pittsburgh hip hop back in 2006 by producer Nesia Beatz. At the time, MySpace was the primary vehicle for showcasing music. I really started there by creating graphics for some of the local artists like banners and flyers under the name K-Mo Design. I sort of fell off the scene a few years and was reintroduced in early 2009 with the growing popularity of Twitter. I saw that it all seemed disorganized; there was no where that anyone could go to get all of this random music in one place. I also noticed that everyone was divided more than ever. I knew that Pittsburgh could never get noticed under these conditions. So I took my love of graphic arts and web design and brought that one stop for Pittsburgh hip hop to life.
So how did you come up with the name RepPghHipHop?
Initially, I wanted the name PittsburghHipHop.com but that name is registered and as I understand it the owner wants a small mint to purchase it. I also toyed with the name RunPghHipHop but I feel for anyone to say they “run” it has a negative connotation and can cause animosity therefore creating a larger divide. We all represent Pittsburgh hip hop and the name was born.
You’re wearing a TWT PGH shirt, is that something you started? What is it?
TWT PGH is basically anyone who Tweets and is from Pittsburgh. It started about a year ago. There were the same handful of people always tweeting and we sort of bonded over it. We collectively decided on the name and the moniker applies to anyone that is motivated to support each other’s common goals.
Tell us about Sunday Night Showcase and how come we never see you there with Beat Supreme?
The Sunday Night Showcase operates in 6 week seasons. Each Sunday, Beat Supreme plays new music from unsigned artists (not just locals) on a live web show. The viewers are then asked to vote whether they think the song Delivers or we Throw it into the River (hot or not). I’m not on there because I wanted to build a team that had the talent and needed a vehicle to show it. Beat Supreme was a great choice to host a live web show because he’s not only knowledgeable but he’s also very funny and outgoing.
At the end of the 6 weeks, Beat Supreme reviews all the songs that Delivered and picks the best to include on the spinoff mixtape series entitled “Burgh Famous”. We just released Burgh Famous Vol. 5: The Delivery that you can download from the site. Season 6 of the Sunday Night Showcase begins August 22 at 8pm. We encourage all to participate.
Where is the best place in Pittsburgh to pick up CDs by local hip-hop artists?
The best place to pick up physical copies of CDs from local hip-hop artists is Time Bomb Shop in East Liberty. The owner/operator goes back in Pittsburgh hip hop more than a decade so he understands the grind.
If a local wants to get their first recording done, where would they start?
If someone wants to get their first recording done locally they should first establish a budget. There are many studios in the area and they all vary in regard to experience, knowledge, level of recording expertise, equipment, etc. Obviously the better quality studio will be the higher rate.
What does the rap world think of Pittsburgh? Do PGH artists get respect?
I think the rap community’s overall impression of Pittsburgh is that there aren’t many standout artists. Unfortunately, this is solely because there haven’t been any big rappers to come out of Pittsburgh recently (prior to Wiz). I am hoping that the growing readership of RepPghHipHop.com can help change the perception and show that we do have a lot of good artists. Wiz Khalifa being thrust into the national spotlight should definitely earn more respect for Pittsburgh in the long run.
What are your thoughts on Wiz Khalifa?
I think Wiz has immense star power. I think that he has the potential to make a lasting impression on hip hop music and his name will be spoken in the same sentence as some of the greats. I don’t think that he is a fad rapper like Gucci Mane, for instance. Wiz talks about things that most people can relate to and that will give him longevity.
Will he still mention the Burgh in his lyrics after he gets bigger and bigger?
One of the best things about hip hop music is that the artist almost NEVER leaves his hometown behind! I think Wiz will forever be representing Pittsburgh. His “P” charm on his necklace will probably just get bigger and more blingy lol.
Who will be the next Pittsburgh rapper to blow up?
The next rapper to blow up will be Mac Miller. He has the same relatable quality as Wiz and he’s young. Plus, Mac has an awesome team behind him that will make sure he’s on the right path.
Do you think Pittsburgh is boring? What are your thoughts on the Burgh?
I don’t think Pittsburgh is boring at all. I could go on for paragraphs about all the things there are to do in this city. I’ve been to a lot of big cities and Pittsburgh is still the best skyline. I do think Pittsburgh has its limits as far as being a city where a young person can thrive professionally. Personally, I think everything is what you make of it no matter where you are.