Detroit artist Finale knows a little about being a new comer to a large audience. A while back he received his rap name after being unexpectedly pulled up to the stage at Detroit’s legendary rap battle club, St. Andrews. After ripping several other ciphers, the artist that dragged him up on the stage said, “this is the Finale.” The words struck Finale…hard. The upstart had an epiphany, which he relayed to us when we spoke with him shortly after the release of his debut LP, A Pipe Dream And A Promise. “Yo that’s going to be my name,” the emcee decided right there and then. With his debut album, Finale is definitely is introducing himself to a new audience, with something reminiscent of Hip Hop’s older days: a rhyming pattern and delivery that is drawing comparisons to the great Rakim.
RH’s Ashydakid caught up with Detroit’s Finale for an extensive interview giving you a deep look at this up and coming artist out of the Motor City. Finale speaks on the conscious and unconscious impact of the Motor City, shares J Dilla stores, and more. Check out the full interview below.
Rubyhornet: So lets jump right into this, how did you come up with or get the name “Finale”?
Finale: Well, somebody actually gave me the name. I was at this emcee battle. I wasn’t in the battle. but it was at St. Andrews. It’s a real legendary spot out here that everybody has rocked from Dilla to Em back in the day. On the main floor, before the battles started, it would be like 6 different ciphers going on all over the floor. So what happen was, I would jump in the cipher and nobody would want to rap after me, so I would kind of shut it down. I would jump from cipher to cipher…and this dude was following me and he got called to go on stage to perform, and all of a sudden he was like, ‘hold up you coming with me.’ He got up on stage and was like, ‘yo I was just in the crowd and I seen this dude shut down everybody out there, and this is the Finale.’ And I was like… yo that’s my name.
Rubyhornet: Detroit is known for a few things that has kept America going from GM automobiles to Motown records. How has that type of musical history and just history of greatness and longevity affected you as an artist?
Finale: It’s definitely taught me to respect the past just as much as I respect the now in order to get into the future…I think being in the city is what ties into each genre that’s out right now it kind of helps molds us to be a little different because of the very powerful influences coming from different angles.
Rubyhornet: Your album, A Pipe Dream and A Promise, was just released a few weeks back. What cultivated the title of the album besides what may be the obvious of your music being a part of your life long dream?
Finale: It’s my personal definition of Hip Hop. It’s a way for me to get a little deeper with it besides the usual I love Hip Hop. I think there’s two sides of Hip Hop. There’s the pipe dream part and the promise part. The pipe dream part is the label that is places on Hip Hop by the people around the artista. Whether it’s your loves ones or family members or people who work with you or against you, it’s like what we do is labeled as a dream…The promise part is the promise that the artist makes with theirself to make it through and to keep pushing and the promise that they make to the people around them. It’s just my complete definition to both sides of Hip Hop.
Rubyhornet: As I sat down to listen to the album something struck me right at the very first track, “Arrival”. Your voice and delivery sounded a little familiar. It was Rakim. Has Rakim directly influenced your style or your music in any way, and if so how?
Finale: Artists from back then have definitely influenced my style, but the way that Rakim spit is still relevant today. I could go to a show right now at BB King’s and watch 90 percent of the crowd rap his lyrics to the point without him opening his mouth. I wanna make Hip Hop that powerful, that timeless so that when I see artists like Rakim and OC, OC is my favorite rapper by the way, but like Rakim is definitely an influence with just controlling your own cadence and make something that people can relate to. I have to respect him because if he’s doing it now, and he’a 40 plus, the same way he was doing it when he was 20, I wanna do that someday.
Rubyhornet: I see that you have two J Dilla produced tracks on this album, “Heat” and “Pay Homage”. How has Dilla influenced you, not just as a Detroit artist but as an artist as a whole? How was it working with him?
Finale: Working with Dilla was an honor, just to meet the man face to face. He was just as surprised to meet me as I was him. He definitely keeps up with his Detroit Hip Hop. We met through mutual friends, people started telling him about me and I always knew about him. It just clicked that way once we got that Detroit connection. Dilla was loyal. He looked out for Detroit people. He always made sure that Detroit came first so you got to respect that. It was an honor, he taught me humility. Humility transforms or translates into longevity because the only way you gone get ahead is to kind of keep yourself neutral not get caught up into beef things that kind of limit your career, or things that keep you away from that. Dilla was all about the music, the beats and the studio. Everything else was extra. And that’s the way I operate. Anything besides music or the studio is extra and I don’t really have time for that.
Rubyhornet: What other Detroit producers and artists are you working with and are there any other emerging artist you feel our readers should know about coming out of the D?
Finale: As far as producers, I have an album coming out produced by DJ House Shoes. It’s about 85 percent done. It features a lot of Detriot artists, some of which you know. It’s got, Invincible, Fat Cat, Elzhi…But it also has artista like Clyde one Quest Macully, Mis Carona, Mo Dirty. There’s a lot of dope artists coming right after me out of the city.
Rubyhornet: The album really seemed to just bring me back to the golden age of Hip Hop from the types of samples used in production to your rhythmic patterns. Do you feel that the game is getting back to those roots or is taking its listeners down another path?
Finale: Right now with the collapse, well I don’t want to say collapse or downward turn of you know the whole digital age kind of growing and the way the major label industry works. You’re seeing major labels crash because they don’t know what to do. The way it used to work, an artist used to be able to, excuse my french, but sit on his or her ass and just expect a whole team of people to push them and just do a few shows a year and, you know, ball out. But now it’s going back to what it used to be when you had to sell records. You had to go on tour. You had to tour like 100 to 150 days out of the year. You got to hustle as much as your label’s going to hustle, and right now that’s the only way you’re going to get a deal. A label is only going to mess with you if they have the idea, or they know, that you are going to do just as much work as they’re going to do…That’s why you have artists like Immortal Technique moving like crazy amounts of records or like MF Doom selling just as much or more than artists like Jadakiss. It’s a wide open game for us right now.
Rubyhornet: How do you feel about the usage of the Internet being an apparatus for selling records and just to get exposure, like you had a video game out there where you had to complete and beat the game in order to download the album for free. What are some positive and negative notes about it?
Finale: Well, the negative note is that it’s something I put my hard work into, and in some cases, things that I’ve paid for, which means I loose money when they are given away for free. Somebody hit me up and I had to police my own record because it leaked early. So I hit up blogs and was real honest with them, ‘I like that you like the record…I’m happy that you like the album enough to steal it, I’m honored.’ Some s**t is just whack, and you don’t want it, but on the other end look at Lupe. When lupe was bootlegged he was on a major label so he had a quick rebound after that. So if you bootleg me, 9 times out of 10, they won’t be anymore Finale albums. So I had to reason with them like that. A lot of them took the record down and that was that. But the Internet is like a catch 22. If you don’t use it to your advantage it will work you. Like the whole Internet game I understand that you have to give some to get some in the future. I got lots of music over here so giving away a little won’t hurt me to do big things in the end, or should I say, reap some benefits in the end.
Rubyhornet: What can our readers be expecting from Finale in the near future like upcoming mixtapes, unreleased tracks etc…
Finale: I’m working on a joint right now that I’m probably going to leak. It’s with this dope singer from New York named Jessie Boykins and a Detroit legend called QD called “Everybody Needs to Know”. I got a couple joints I’m going to leak. I got a few Dilla joints, but I want to hold on to them…The pre ablum mixtape called Time should be out real soon.
Rubyhornet: Can you give our readers 3 reasons why they should go out and cop the album and continue to follow your music?
Finale: The first reason is growth. I drop a record per year, and each record I drop will be different . The next record is a straight up Detroit record. Then right after that I got an album for everybody that likes more of an intellectual Hip Hop album. So the first reason is growth, and I want you to grow along with me. Second reason is if you want to hear some real Detroit music from somebody who actually lives here and experienced what the streets really sound like, that’s just my perspective. The third reason is I’m not going to box myself in. That should be a reason for you to want to listen. I appreciate the box that was laid out for us. I appreciated certain peoples legacy’s that were laid out for us to do what we are doing, but I don’t mind keeping one foot in the box, and one foot outside of the box as well. Hopefully people will understand me because I won’t sound like everyone else.