Following in the vast footsteps of Brooklyn, New York’s Hip Hop greats, CurT@!n$, is also attempting to leave his footprints embedded in the game. At an early age he was surrounded by a conglomerate of skilled and polished Hip Hop artists, having interned for Roc a Fella Records his senior year in high school. This type of opportunity doesn’t approach itself everyday, so skills were definitely acquired while being encompassed by the Roc. CurT@!n$ transformed those skills into his own mic aspirations, and after a start and pause in NYC, he relocated to L.A. where he has since signed on Tyrese’s record label and is growing a name and a brand through his music and videos that tackle issues such as race and prostitution.
RubyHornet caught up with CurT@!n$ to put him on the hot seat for our First Look Column. Here CurT@!n$ speaks about the Hip Hop internet avenue and a rapper’s standard of lyrical content.Read the full interview below.
Rubyhornet: So, can you tell our readers a little about where the name CurT@!n$ derived from?
CurT@!n$: CurT@!n$ simply means “show stopper”. Like my whole energy, my whole vibe, the music, the style, everything is just “all eyes on me”. When the curtains open or close, your attention is on the stage, that’s just a little metaphor I felt fit my whole vibe.
RubyHornet: So you’re hailing from Brooklyn, New York. How strong were the influences of some of the greatest rappers of all time like Biggie, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Big Daddy Kane the list could go on, in your life. Besides ways shown directly in your music?
CurT@!n$: The influence of Jay-Z I would say would prove to be the strongest on me out of any rapper hailing from Brooklyn. Dude just personified everything every young black kid wanted to be where I was from. I’m a 90’s kid, so I came into the Hip Hop realm at the end of Kane’s reign. B.I.G was larger than life by the time I got to junior high, Jay-Z was the most identifiable for me in my generation, aside from him being the best lyricist ever and coming in the game not compromising his vision, he felt like someone I could actually know. So for him to become this iconic being, gave me all the hope in the world.
RubyHornet: In high school you interned for Roc-a-Fella Records. What type of learning experince was that at such a young age and what were some of the productive or useful skills that were aquired?
CurT@!n$: To me that was like being a water boy for the Bulls in ’96. When I was at Roc-a-Fella in that short period of time, we were the real champions of Hip Hop. The best team in the game. Flawless season. The Blueprint was deemed a classic, Cam’ron had just come over, State Property had the streets on fire, Kanye and Just Blaze were the “It” producers, and Jay became a tabloid favorite when he started dating Beyonce’. I learned everything there is to learn about the business while working there. From dealing with budgets, marketing plans, dealing with artists, and the little things that make the biggest differences in the success of an album. I learned my sense of business and branding from watching Dame Dash everyday. He took that logo all the way to the top echelon of popular culture.
Rubyhornet: You said that you are not the typical rapper and that you don’t fit the typical rappers mold. Do you feel that there is a difference between a music artist and a person who just considers themselves a rapper?
CurT@!n$: Yes there is a big difference. A “rapper” only cares about fitting in with the times and making hot songs. An “artist” cares about creating a time and making a legacy. I’m more of an “artist”.
RubyHornet: And what do you feel the typical rapper is and what is their mold?
CurT@!n$: A typical rapper sounds like the moment and looks like the moment. Whatever the “in” thing is right then and there, typical rapper guy fits right in with the scene.
RubyHornet: You have a song called “Black Folks” that really caught my attention by its concept and substance. As an African American yourself, how important do you feel that it is for artists to uphold a certain standard in their lyrical content and lifestyle for the younger generations who are pratically sponges to new and interesting information?
CurT@!n$: Me personally I feel artists should be very cautious and very particular about the images we portray and glorify in our music. There’s nothing wrong with talking about what’s going on in the hood. Nothing wrong with talking about negative s**t, it’s all about how you talk about it that’s important. Young dudes look to rappers for some sort of guidance and inspiration so you gotta consider them when making musical choices.
RubyHornet: So you made a move to Los Angeles from NYC? How do you feel that move cultivated a change in your career. And do you feel that a move like yours is a plus for a young artist. If so in what ways?
CurT@!n$: I don’t think it changed anything much. Honestly, at the end of the day you are who you are. Only thing with me moving to L.A. was I had to establish myself as a force out here. Coming from the east coast there’s always that coastal pride, but real gonna always recognize real. I don’t know if it was a plus or a minus, I mean my sound never changed, my outlook never changed, only my zip code.
RubyHornet: You said that you bypassed the oridinary industry protocol with your first record deal and used the internet to market yourself? At that time that didn’t work out for you. Now, how important do you feel it is for an artist to broadcast their work on the internet and allowing certain music to be leaked?
CurT@!n$: The internet is the new hot-97, it’s the new BET, it’s the new way to promote music. Everything starts on the internet now-a-days, you gotta go and deal directly with the people. They matter, the fans are not stupid anymore, they been hit with the smoke and mirrors trick for too long now and this is their payback. The internet forces you to come better. Those people on those sites are harsh. If your s**t is wack, it’s just wack. We never had that platform before, where the people actually dictated what was hot. Before it was radio programmers and DJ’s and VJ’s telling you what you should like, I see a slight shift in power happening now. Look at Soulja Boy! Them kids DEMANDED Soulja Boy and he started his campaign on the internet, took it straight into the hands of the kids, cut out the middle man and now look at him! And I see nothing wrong with leaks. Leaks actually help artists sometimes. Look at The Carter 3. Album leaks weeks before the album drops and people think it’s AMAZING! 1 million plus in sales 1st week out. I’m a firm believer in, if something is necessary in your life, you’re gonna buy it. Lotta people don’t make music that people feel they NEED, so therefore they ain’t buying it.
RubyHornet: This will be a first in depth look at you as an artist for some of our readers. Can you tell them 3 reasons why they should continue on from this interview and follow you as an artist?
CurT@!n$: Like homeboy in the movie Fresh said “I be busting the stupid dope moves homes” and thats good enough reason.