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New Artist Spotlight: Fade

by Travis on March 15, 2009

Ahhh, another New Artist Spotlight. Once again, we are coming from the city of “Brotherly Love”, Philadelphia. WYDU has a nice little connection to Philly, with WYDU favorites, Has-Lo, Small Pro and Clean Guns (Zilla and Nico) all residing in Philly. Recently though, my man Has hooked me up with another Philly MC who is not your average MC. And by saying he’s not your averae MC, I’m saying you’re not going to hear your everyday, average “rapper” spitting his three sixteens on a track and calling it day. Not in the least. Going by the name of Fade, this cat is deep. He’s a cat that you can listen to everyday for a year and hear something new. He comes off brash and full of himself, which makes him even more interesting in my book. I like an MC who can talk the talk, then back it up. Fade hooked up with another Philly producer, Odin Smith (more cats need to hear this dudes beats….yikes!) to release Benign Neglect, which if you know the origins of the title, you will realize this cat is on some thinking shit. He’s the quintessential “unknown” artist, you won’t find him on every blog out there, but you should. He’s a talented cat that needs to be heard, so we are bringing his voice this week.

Fade – Talking Money

Fade – Whatcha Know Bout

Fade – Skukyll Punch (From Benign Neglect)

WYDU: First things first, let’s just get this out of the way….all things equal, I’m going to stomp a mud hole in your ass when we finally get down and dirty on Madden. I guess it’s not really a question, but you can respond if you like and give me some “locker room” fodder to post up…

Fade: As far as Madden goes I am kind of rusty but my skills are so far advanced that you would have to play until Madden 2035 came out everyday 24/7 and find every glitch and cheat that the creators don’t even know about just to keep from getting 3 and outed on every possession. How is that for locker room fodder. In reality I am more of an NCAA 09 head and you may score a field goal against me in Madden but that’s it.

W: And would you like to admit now that the Steelers had the best D in the NFL last year?

F: I would rather not talk about D right now because my squad just lost B Dawk and it still hurts too much to talk about right now. I’m like that Philly sports dude from Anger Management. (Yes I watch Adam Sandler movies fuck off pretentious hipster assholes!)

W: Good enough. Now that we got the shit talking out of the way, let’s give the people the proper introduction on who you are and why they should continue reading this?

F: I am the second coming of Jesus Christ and I’m going to punish you all for your disgusting acts of buggery, fascism, sloth, and incredulous worship of Young Joc.

W: Coming out of Philly, how would you describe your come up in the game? Who and what influenced you? I guess basically I’m asking you for some background info since you are somewhat Mr. Mysterious.

F: Ok, well I wasn’t born and raised here. I moved here in 02 when I got out of the Marine Corps. The only times I came to Philly back in the 90′s was to buy bundles or get some pussy. Copious bundles. I was born in Wilmington Delaware then moved to Charlotte NC in 94.

I was influenced by the golden era and some 80′s emcee’s like Rakim, Kool G., Biz, Slick Rick, Beasties, et al. Then in the 90′s it was Wu, Outkast, Geto Boys, NWA, BootCamp, Das Efx, Diggin In the Crates (yes Fat Joe used to be “REAL” hiphop) and about a billion others. I also listened to a lot of rock, especially Metal. Also my grandma’s vinyl old big band shit and vocal jazz collections when I was comin’ up.I was your basic lunchroom emcee/table top producer until around 97 when I started recording with my man Mad Wreck that I went to school with in NC. I was just battlin emcees in the street callin in to the freestlye Friday shows in Greensboro and Charlotte(until Clear Channel and Viacom deaded the very few things that were good about hiphop radio) and makin my little mixed tapes and shit.

W: It seems like the city is starting to see a sort of rejuvenation of sorts with some nice music, MCs and producers coming out of the area, do you see that?

F: Anybody that is nice or makin moves leaves the city so yeah I guess you could say there is some talent coming out of Philly but they don’t stick around long. I can’t really blame em though. Honestly I hate the scene here. Most rappers are redundant as hell any only talk about guns money and what they will do to you physically. Buncha mass murderin kingpins that catch 73 bodies per 16 but in real life hop the C bus to their job at fuckin footlocker to pay their child support and the only bodies they ever caught were on Call of Duty 4.

The underground scene is lame too. Always the same cats freestylin in hole in the wall clubs that nobody but them go to. I used to go to open mics at Liquid Charm and Medusa’s and it would be nothin but emcee’s in the crowd waitin to perform then they would perform and bounce. It’s saturated there are too many emcee’s and not enough fans here. Everybody and their parole officer is a rapper! Even bitches think they’re nice. I like the rock scene though. There are some bands and some very creative DJ’s and producers for other genre’s I have a lot of respect for but since this is a Hip Hop blog I’ll stick to the script.

W: Since I ummmm, “previewed” your album, Benign Neglect, from the internet, I don’t have much info on it. Who did you work with as far as producers?

F: Well I have my man Has-Lo on it of course and my boy Icon the Mic King blessed me with a verse which was extremely good looks on his part. Odin Smith produced the whole album every track because he is a workaholic who lives in his studio and doesn’t get enough credit for what he does. I just walked in his studio one day with my friends Juan and Trev cause they were fuckin around makin a dance track they wanted me to spit a verse on this SNL type track they were makin called “I’m Broke”. It was about endin up at a strip club with your boys but you don’t have any money. So you’re tryin to get a lap dance and shit on your game. I killed my verse and Odin just kept throwing me tracks and we started recordin songs. The album just happened after hours of listenin to Odin’s catalog and beats. I didn’t know dude at all and he showed me much love, we become tight, now he’s my baby daughter’s godfather. Shit he even mixed and mastered the whole shit. You don’t meet many people like that in life.

W: How did you come to work with that Has-Lo character and Icon The Mic King?

F: I met Has through Odin. I’m actually going over to Has’s crib Friday to start workin on our callabo album, Fade-Lo, so stay tuned. I met Icon through this chick that used to be the receptionist at the barbershop I work at. I’m a barber (hence the name Fade). Me, Has, and the girl Gabby were going to a Def Jux show (Gabby did promo for them) we were walkin in and Mic was sellin his CD at the door (haha he got brass ones) when I went back to work Gabby had scheduled Mic for a shape up and the rest went from there. End credits.

W: The album has a real apocalyptic vibe to it, is that something you aimed for, or is that just kind how it ended up being?

F: Odin and I both have a metal background & bought every Wu album from 93-99 so we just clicked and the album took a natural vibe without an premeditation. I had to twist Odin’s arm to let me make the “Call Me” song cause he said the beat was made as a joke for this satire type project were he was makin fun of commercial producers. There are a few tracks like that on the album because I didn’t want the album to sound like a Killarmy record.

As far as the apocalyptic vibe goes when I was recording most of the tracks for this album I was in a real dark place mentally. I was livin in North Philly (16th & Brown) and I lost two of my friends to violence and one to suicide. I kept gettin letters from my best friend Damon who’s doin a stretch till 2012 about his peoples shittin on em and his Grandma passin (r.i.p. Nelly). And I always had to be on point leavin my crib and shit cause the block I was livin on was at war. Philly is a really violent and stupid fuckin place man. So the apocalyptic vibe was a product of reciprocal determinism( the interchangeable influence of environment on your state of mind and your state of mind on your behavior.) Look at that Community College money payin off baby. I might even spell check this shit for you Trav.

W: That’s good, cause I’m not even sure what some of those words mean…hahaha. Your lyrics have a certain complexity to them, how do you approach writing and/or writing a song in general?

F: Well thank you, that’s the highest compliment I can receive. I try to structure my lyrics to have double meanings but not be too cryptic. I want you to have to think about what is going in your ear. To me complexity separates the men from the boys. Anybody can say “I got a glock”. Ok big deal, lyricism is taking something simple like “I got my Glock on Cock makin moves on the block”, and makin it fly by putting it in a slang vernacular; “I’m the Bernny Getz Septa Commuter tuckin the ruger, move smoother than black ops maneuvers.” Nahimean? Septa=South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Bernny Getz that dude in NY that shot up those boys on the train that tried to rob him, it’s all connected in my line.

That’s the type Hip Hop I grew up on. We didn’t have google back in the days when I was comin up so it might take you a year to figure out what an emcee said on a track but you know it was dope and it sounded official. That’s authentic to me. Be original with your rhymes, talk about your travels and your environment. Nowadays there are too many homogeneous androids out there soundin like some A&R’s hand puppet. Fuck that!

W: Okay, I’m following you, but what the fuck is a “Skukyll Punch”?

F: Ha that’s Philly tap water. We got the Skukyll and the Delaware river running through Philly. You know how when People from a certain region are prone to some sort of behavior or physical trait one might say “must be something in the water.” Well that’s the idea behind the song “Skukyll Punch”. People say, “Oh Fade is crazy he’s always on some other shit, he’s too wild”. So that song was my answer, it must be something in the water. It also goes for the way people in Philly act.

W: What makes a good MC? Does bling, whips, and bitches mean anything?

F: Sure all that shit matters. But its how you implement it into your rhymes. Don’t just say shit like “I’m a pimp, bitches suck my dick in the backseat of the Hummer.” That’s lame! Flip that shit and make it sound original. That’s what makes a good emcee to me. How fly is the shit your sayin not so much as what your sayin. But I also don’t want to hear a whole album about one topic either. Versatility is a huge aspect of a dope emcee. Great emcee’s can take any topic and flip it and get a crowd open of the word play they flip.

W: Here is one of those stupid questions….What is the meaning behind the album title, “Benign Neglect”?

F: Its a quote from New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s memo to Richard Nixon on urban renewal in the Bronx in 1970. I got it from the book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang (Every Hip Hop head should familiarize themselves with this book).

In the 60′s-70′s slum lords would burn any shitty building they could no longer maintain(and that’s got to be pretty fucked up considering the conditions of the dwellings slumlords rent out) and collect the insurance money with little investigation to the fires causes. Moyihan wrote to Nixon and said if “Blacks and Latinos in the South Bronx wanted housing in the South B
ronx they would not burn it down. The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a little benign neglect.” Basically saying the city should turn a blind eye to the arson. Since it was in a shitty part of the city, the pols didn’t care because it was the old self cleaning oven theory. Benign neglect became a pseudo-science to justify city politicians removal of several fire companies in the Bronx. Basically opening funds to be allocated elsewhere. A few years later the Bronx had seen 43,000 housing units burnt to the ground.

That was the way I saw all the murders in Philly. John Street the former mayor used this safe streets policy of putting cops on every crime infested block around the clock to curb the violence. “Safe Streets” lasted about 8 months as he used that as his trump card to get re-elected. Then the day after the elections he pulled the plug on it. We had over 800 murders over the next two years. He said he cut the program because the city couldn’t afford to pay the cops all that over time. It has gotten somewhat better recently but a lot of those crime area’s got cleaned out by all the warring and the Housing Authority went on a mission to evict a lot of tenants on code violations and any kind of rent delinquency. Neighborhoods on the fringe of center city where I was living at the time that once ran amok with crime are now filled with 1/2 million dollar condos and shit. Hence the saying “when there’s blood on the street buy property.” I got that from The Wire. But I saw all that unfolding and felt the vibe of my album fit perfectly so I made that the title.

W: What does the future hold for Fade Money? Anything you are working on?

F: Has and I are doing the Fade-Lo jawn. I am also going to do an album produced by Has. I got my main man down in NC Johnny Madwreck send me beets too. He sent one to me recently Has and I will use. Hopefully I can get in some work with Odin but he has a lot of shit on his plate and he already slaved over this album so I don’t want to impose. But I’m sure we are not finished working together. I finally bet the bol Small Pro and we are supposed to link up as well. And I’m trying to get this paralegal degree then hopefully win this scholarship to Bucknell. Education is important to me and I stress that to my 4 seeds all the time.

W: Speaking of Has-Lo, to quote “Negadelphia”, did you ever figure out what the hell a “Has-Lo” is?

F: Didn’t you hear the track? Has-Lo is a department store that sells irregular Hilfiger shirts “and shit”.

W: Word on the street is you can be quite the consumer of fine American lagers…beer…., as am I. If my ass is broke, which is often, it’s hard to beat those Keystone Ice tallboys. You can get that shit for a buck for a tall boy and it’s got a 5.8% punch behind it and doesn’t taste like Water that has been soaking 20 year old pennies. What’s your usual poison?

F: I heard Has sent you some cheesesteaks. So I’m going to have to send you some Flying Fish or Yuengling. Send me your mailing address. Can you send beer? I don’t want the ATF rammin down my door for no bullshit like that after everything I’ve gotten away with. That be ironic and I hate hipster humor. Oh and 20 year old penny water is Skukyll punch flavor.

W: Any last words for any haters, future baby mommas or wack MCs?

F: I don’t talk to haters. I am done with kids. And wack emcees just read the interview and you can glean where you stand in my eyes. That is if you Blue’s Clue’s motherfuckers can discern my diction.

W: Thanks man, try not to take it too hard when I wax that ass in Madden…..


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