5 ON IT
Wester's Dictionary defines 'Vision' as: 1) The ability to see; sight or eyesight. 2) Something that you imagine; a picture that you see in your mind; 3) Something that you see or dream especially as part of a religious or supernatural experience. And for anyone who has listened to 'Visions From the Tisdale' will agree that all three of these definitions are the essence of the of what makes this album so great. It started with a VISION one that Steph Simon not only spoke about, but to put it into his words, 'Speak it into existence'.
When did you start rapping? When did I start rapping bro....I started rappin' when I was a Junior in high school. It was I wanna say 2...when I first started rappins. I was introduced to being a rapper when I was a Junior just fuckin around wit the homies. I was in this group called the O'boys. And then playing football, I quit football, and I was hanging around a lot of rappers. And um.. They left a verse open for me, and I use to rap like Ludacris and DSR, who I mimicked myself after. Of course I was rappin about a bunch of nonsense, about a bunch of shit that wasn't me. But it was all for the fun, for the hoes, and people at school were loving it. But I want to say after my mom passed when I was 20 years old I stopped rapping for a while, to find out what I want to do type shit. And it started coming back to me as far as the aspect of music, so it was like 2.. an introduction and a rebirth.
When did you know that you wanted to be a rapper? The Black Album bro. The Black Album, and watching the BOK Center get built. The Black album uh.. I wanted that moment.. I want a retirement... I don't wanna retire but uh..but I want like ah grand finale at the BOK. Well I really don't want it to be a finale. But I wanna headline that bitch tho. But I'm not gonna fuck wit it til its time. But when I saw the 'Fade to Black' the movie, is when I was like man. Madison Square Garden, all these people, I want to do that for the BOK. And I man.. I met a fan really early that was like, 'U the next tight (rapper)'. I was signing autographs and I was like man, I don't wanna stop now, I'm signing autographs. I don't wanna... I don't wanna let those people down. Even though I don't owe anybody anything, but at the same time, I want them people to find me when it do happen., and be like man. U was the first person, and that would means something to me.
So who are your musical influences? Biggie and Outkast. I...Put them in a blender. To inspire my art that I like to create. I use a lot of their lyrics, as like to pay homage to their approaches. So you might some of there lines in my work just because...They the niggas. Jazy-Z, 2Pac..the story of 2Pac... is a story I wanna leave on earth, as my own tho.
Who are your Top 5 rappers? Top 5 rappers... My top 5 rappers right now are St. Dominick, DialTone, Hakeem Eli'juwon, Young DV, and Keeng Cut. Are my top 5 rappers right now.
So who do you want to work with that you haven't? Who I wanna work with... For some reason I wanna work with Lil Boat (aka Lil Yachty), I don't even know why bro, I just feel like I can make,.. just because I like to break the eh, barrier down. Just because everybody is complainin' about that style of music, but I feel like I can bring him into my world, and just make a song that fits my style, because its music.
So what's your writing process? My writing process.... honestly I'm (always)thinking of songs and of lyrics in the back of my mind, right now. U know what I'm saying? Because my energy is constantly thinking...rap. U know what I'm sayin'. Even when I'm doing nuthin bro.. I'm thinking of a song. It really like triggers... Bro I could be sleep and wake up at 4 o'clock in the mornin out of no where.. and that shits crazy bro .. Granted I keep my backpack close to me because it has my pad in it. I can wake up, reach over and jot everything down real quick, then go to sleep. Cause sometimes I can't go to sleep til I get this song out of my head bro. When I'm riding in the car, I'll ride the bus bro, while I'm ridin my long board, like all that shit give me creative energy bro. So.. I get it from different places.
Speaking of riding thru the city. Visions From the Tisdale for new comers was a tour thru the city, and for people who live here, it was a trip down memory lane. How do you feel about the impact of this album? Man... I don't know what the impact is bro.. I'm not tryna get caught up in it. U know what I'm sayin'. But... I think it accomplished everything I wanted it to do. And thats what I wanted it to do. I wanted outsiders to be like... man.. I was just talkin to a dude from Cali who live here and like.. And he was like.. "I be tellin everybody to live out here. Man its a treasure." And I want people to know how good we are livin. We living good bro.. I mean we ain't rich, but as far as having the ease about us bro.. We livin' good, and you can't get that nowhere else. And I wanted out of towners to know how rich the city is and the culture. And I wanted the people that live here that complain that it ain't nuthin here, and it ain't nuthin to do.. I wanted to them to um.. just shut up. U know what I'm sayin' and just look around bro. And accept and understand, and learn... what you livin' in everyday. And people just waitin for other people to rebuild. We the creators.. That what I taught myself and all this shit is wide open for me. And I want people to understand that.
In the video 'Visions' you show the aftermath of the tornado on the northside. What impact do you think the tornado had on the northside now and going forward? Mannn, That was crazy.. Cause we was suppose to shoot the video that day. And the tornado happened, and I was like damn.. what the fuck. But umm like I said it was cool, the only tornado we have ever had.. It was cool that I caught the footage on.. I got to solidify a moment, thats always gonna be on my video. So thats cool. The capturing in a bottle.. But umm. What it did... the togetherness that it bought is tite. Cause it made it more family. Since the last interview I checked the crime rate, and it ain't as bad as its been in past summers. And I ain't even livin' out north. So I really don't no.. being out in it. U know what I'm sayin but.. But even to the scale of hearing about it. It hasn't been crazy..and I haven't heard any crazy shit. Its been some fucked up..going down still... but it aint been like crazy, And I think the tornado had something to do with that.
How did the idea of projecting the video 'Visions' on the side of a building come about? Man.. bro. shit that video.. took soo much to do, to shoot. It was so uhh.., We worked soo hard bro, on that video. Shoutout to Silent Pilot Productions, and Mobile United Productions, and everybody that was in that video....It just took soo much to do. I was like this video deserves to be presented in a better way than just posting a link to a video on Facebook. It deserved...a grand premiere. U know what I'm sayin. I wanted to keep it hip-hop, and hip-hop is kind of raw. So whats better than..a parking garage downtown.. and letting the world see it. The universe just came thru. The homies was like, I got a projector, I got a generator bro. The pieces just started flowing together and it happened. Shoutout to everybody who came and seen that.
You have a chill, layed back flow. Do you ever worry that some of your lines goes over peoples heads because of this? I don't. I don't at all bro. I actually want people to uhh. I want people to find out what I mean. Not only what I say, but how I say it, the tone, if I'm being sarcastic, or if I'm being serious.. You know what I'm sayin? If I'm mad.. I want people to break all of that shit down. And that way they will understand my personality, and kind of understand where I'm coming from. Because I can say a rap..and.. in 3 different tones. And it can mean 3 different things. But it kind of helps you understand me more. The way I rap. Because its so detailed, and I learned that from Jay-Z bro. That's why umm. Every time you listen to me, I want you to get something new out of it.
What line do you feel goes over peoples head the most? What line did I say... We were talkin about 'We On' bro. When I said 'Out the ashes, from the soil, grew a black wall seed offspring, coming back like karma, stay connected like a harness, til we grow like farmers, but I want it all brand new socks and draws. That line I think... But who knows.. Maybe someone gets it. But thats one my favorite lines on the album because of Black Wall Street. breaking it down of what we are, and where we goin, and how we should move. Can you break that down some more? Yea man uhh.. "Out the ashes, from the soil, grew a black wall seed offspring", Of course Black Wall Street was burning down, and ashes, and stuff that is still deteriorating til this day. that burned down. Ashes is still out here. Thats why its a different feel out south then when your out north. The air is a little thicker out north than it is out south, or any other side of town. Also "Out the ashes, from the soil", we are the era of ah.. New Black Wall Street. We're the beginning of it. We're enlightening, we're woke, we understand it, we're knowledgeable of it. And we are seeking knowledge on it. And we are not going to be the era that reaps the benefits of it. Of the new black enterprise. But we are going to start it. We're going to be the farmers that pour the water on the seeds. We're not going to be the actual farmers that pick the apples and the fruit from the tree. "Coming back like karma," We coming back with a vengeance, cause u fucked us over. So in order to make it work like they did, we all got get connected like they did, in the sense that it can't only be you. That's what I meant by that uhh. By that one little part.
You have been nominated for multiple Oklahoma Music Awards, including; Best Male Rap Artist, Album of the Year, Video of the Year, as well as many other nominations. Which would you want to win the most? Yeeeeeaaaa.. (Yelling)I want to win all 6 of them. Cause they got best group in there, and Bezzle..they got Best Battle Rap. I want to win everything that we got nominated for. I'm gonna always want the most while I'm here, whether its an Oklahoma award or a Grammy Award. Because I'm not the only one who got to do with this. Cause if I win then the engineer win, the homie that played guitar wins, If I win the features win, If I win the production wins, If I win the videographer wins. It's a whole group of people.. that there contributions helped make this 8..6 nominations. U know what I'm sayin. Read a CD booklet.. It's not just the artist. its 50 people collaboration on the album.
Speaking of WE win. What is Tul$a World? Tul$a World is us. Its u bro. Its everyone. I'm Tul$a World. Everything is us bro. If you around me..If you helping me. And I'm helping u, then we Tul$a World, we Harlem World, It's Black Wall Street, its the Renaissance. Its more than me DV, Tone, and Bezzle. Its more of ahh, We got it from Harlem World. But we wasn't even thinking of the newspaper. The homie Squeek said it on a rap, and I was like this is it, Tul$a World is what I'm shoutin everytime, it's a revolution. So everybody at the show is apart of Tul$a World. U know what I'm sayin. So thats just what it is. Its just a unit.
How did the Tul$a World Music Festival come about? How did Tul$a World World Culture Music Festival come about? Um.. submittin' to festivals and constantly gettin' denied, denied, denied. For what ever reason. But lately I been gettin' on a lot of festivals, and I want that to keep going, cause I love festivals. And I was like mann. Since I'm not getting on these SXSWs, man I actually got on SXSW this year but, but before I got on I was gettin' denied, so I was like why can't I throw my own festival. So I threw my own festival. And when it manifested..it was a success. And I can't wait for next year.
What is the difference between "So Far So Good" and "Visions"? "So Far So Good" is my baby. Its my first album. Its like your first child. Its your first love. It was this one producer that I always wanted to work with, Shamarius Marzett of Ape House...Just one producer.. Just me. I don't even count.. It was like 2 features on there.. It was like Tone (DialTone) and Studda. And that don't even count. Them is just my people. It was all me. It was all introduction, It was all how I was feeling at the time. Just thoughts.. and uh. It was like my first real album. I got many other projects, but uh,.. that was the first introduction to Step Simon. "Visions" is like Life and Times, and ummm, kind of where I'm from. "So Far So Good" is me saying umm.. I'm takin' rap serious. But "Visions" is like.. OK..I kind of told people who I am. U know what I sayin. And "Visions" is like me tellin' people where I'm from. So um.. thats the difference, who I am, and where I'm from. And.. still got more stories. Still got more music to make.
The saying goes that Rome was not created in a day. Rome was built on tireless hours, man power, and most importantly a VISION that grew to and what it once was. Similar, to the former lost but not forgotten Black Wall Street that use to be one of the most prominent thriving places in Tulsa. Both cities still show the scars of past and the devastation that occurred. But one thing that Steph Simon is proving is that he has a his ability to see, has the power to rebuild, and is helping to createthe experiences to help lift a part of the city once left for ashes. As the video ends. I HAD A VISION....
Thanks to Steph Simon for the interview 1 & 2.. Check him out on SoundCloud, FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram
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