Haastattelussa Ohion Akronista kotoisin oleva räppäri Maffii. Hän on julkaissut useita albumeita, jotka ovat keränneet laajaa huomiota eri puolilla Yhdysvaltoja. Maffii on tehnyt urallaan yhteistyötä muun muassa The Jackan (RIP), Nipsey Husslen (RIP), Ampichinon, Rydah J. Klyden, Mozzyn, Messy Marvin ja Yukmouthin kanssa. Maffii on monipuolinen artisti, joka on tottunut tekemään musiikkia omaehtoisesti.
- Welcome to our interview! Let’s start at the beginning! How would you describe your music career journey, starting from your roots in Akron, Ohio, and leading up to where you are now?
In my city, I was always the person from my section whose name got brought up on the music side, whether it was from battle rap or being the highlighted verse on a feature. But I never wanted to just be local. I worked my ass off and got a few co-signs, and my name started spreading out to other cities. I ain’t satisfied with shit yet; there’s still work to do.
- Growing up in Akron, Ohio, what were some of the notable experiences or challenges that shaped you as an artist? How did your upbringing influence your music?
My older homies used to have me battle folks from all sides of town. Even in school, I would have the hallways and lunchroom crowded around me. I just always had that gift. I come from a musical family; my dad and uncles are a part of legendary R&B groups, so I was raised around the studio.
- Akron, Ohio, may not be widely recognized for its hip-hop scene. Can you shed some light on the unique aspects of the local hip-hop community and how it has influenced your artistic style?
We got our own unique style of mob music that is noticeable as soon as the beat comes on. Whether it be the basslines or the slow samples in the background, they know that’s us. For a long time, there’s been a bridge built between Akron and the Bay Area, and that was the music we fucked with.
- As an artist, do you believe it’s important to address social and political issues through your music? If so, are there any specific issues that you feel strongly about and aim to highlight?
I would say it’s important because people aren’t going to read and research certain topics, and the only way they hear about it is through the music. But the thing is, if it’s not affecting that person’s personal life, they don’t want to hear it. So, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I have touched on certain things musically because I’m a black man, and most of the issues affect me and mine. But I’m far from a conscious rapper. I just give you the uncut truth about out here. I don’t do the marching thing; I’m more of an eye for an eye type person on certain shit.
- You released your newest album, “Make It Out The Summer Alive,” last year. Can you share some of the key themes and creative inspirations behind this project?
Just like any other city, the violence and the bullshit start to peak in the summer. So I wanted to give the listener an inside look on how to make it out alive. You know, when the weather breaks, everybody’s gotta come outside, and you see the ones you have a problem with more often. I lost a lot of people over dumb shit; it was my reality of what was going on at the moment.
- With the rise of streaming platforms and the internet, how do you navigate the challenges and opportunities of being an independent artist in today’s music industry?
I think it forces you to create more content. The listeners these days have very short attention spans because there’s so much music being put out here. So, you have to keep up. Waiting to drop albums and singles is a thing of the past. You just have to adjust how to get to the bag.
- Looking ahead, what are some of the goals or aspirations you have for your music career? Is there anything specific that you hope to achieve?
I’m looking more into building my brand, Big Gas, and getting that and my music on a wider platform. I do it for the love, but I also don’t do it for free. I came a long way from my free days, and now I’m turning this talent into profit. Before it’s all said and done, I want to be financially comfortable enough that my kids benefit from it and be mentioned with the greats.
- Can you share any memorable fan interactions or moments that have touched you deeply as an artist?
When I performed out in Seattle for the inmates and all the love they showed me, telling me how my music gets them through certain shit, was a dope experience for me. I’ll never forget that. Shout-out to everybody locked down fucking with my music in there. I appreciate that shit.
- Throughout your career, which artists or producers have you had the opportunity to collaborate with? Can you share any standout moments or experiences from these collaborations?
My first studio album was presented by Ampichino. When he gave me that stamp, it drew in listeners from the West Coast. I got a verse from The Jacka, Yukmouth, Dubb-20, then Stevie Joe put me on his album along with Shill Macc, Rydah J Klyde, Chris Lockett, and the collab album with King Locust. But the collab that stands out the most is the album I put together with my brother Pun, who’s no longer with us. L.L.P.
- If you could choose one artist, living or deceased, to collaborate with on a future project, who would it be and why?
I’m gonna be different with this answer, and I’m gonna go with Roger Troutman. I heard a lot of Zapp & Roger in my house as a kid, and he seems like a cool nigga.
- Who are some of your personal favorite rappers or hip-hop artists that have had a significant impact on your own musical style and approach?
Biggie, just the way he can walk you through a story on a song and flow pattern. E-40, his longevity goes without saying. The Jacka, how he added melodies to the street shit. Jadakiss for the wordplay, and Jay-Z just off classic material.
- When it comes to hip-hop albums, which ones do you consider to be your all-time favorites or the most influential to you personally?
Notorious B.I.G – Life After Death, Yukmouth – Godzilla, Nas – Stillmatic, Juvenile – 400 Degreez, Guce – Bully’s wit Fully’s, Jay-Z – The Blueprint, Chino Nino – Get Wet, 2Pac – All Eyez on Me, J. Stalin – Prenuptial Agreement, The Jacka & Ampichino – Devilz Rejects, King Locust – Bermuda Triangle, E-40 – In a Major Way!
- What can your fans expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?
I got a lot of shit on the way. I have collab albums in the works with Dubb 20, Stevie Joe, Chris Lockett, and my Learoc family. I’m also starting to work with a few Detroit artists. I’m just trying to expand my brand to the people who ain’t hip yet to my shit.
- Apart from making music, how do you typically spend your free time? Are there any hobbies or interests that you enjoy pursuing outside of your musical endeavors?
Sports betting. It’s kicking my ass right now, but I can’t stay off the shit. I’m addicted to it. But other than that, I enjoy doing what makes my kids happy, for real.
- Any last words to our readers?
I appreciate you for the interview, and if you ain’t hip to my shit, tap into my catalog. It’s Big Gas.
Haastattelu: J-P / Fileerausveitsi