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Getting to Know Anonymous
9/22/04 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview

 

rapper Anonymous of New Jersey

If Latin rap artists have succeeded anywhere in the music world, its undeniably in the realm of independent releases.

 

From New York to San Diego, countless Latin artists have discovered that not only can releasing albums without mainstream video or radio work with the right promotion, but that they wind up eating better than if they had signed to a major.


Such is the story of Anonymous, the New Jersey Cuban who puts his heart and mind into his music. He speaks with LatinRapper about his new release, Santa Barbara; Visit his website below to purchase his CD and earn the chance to win a Lexus ES 300.

LatinRapper.com: First thing most people probably ask you about is your name, how did Anonymous because your pseudonym?

I was headed out to the Apollo back in ‘94, and basically I didn't have a name at that time. We were on the train, my boy was like "When you come out, what do you want your name to be. When you blow up in the game, do you want to be famous?" I was like, nah, I just wanna spit lyrics, make good music but just remain anonymous. And he was like, that's it, its Anonymous.

You're from Union City, New Jersey. Any other Jersey MCs influence you?

I grew up in Union City but then I moved to Guttenberg, but I'm in Union City almost every other day. I used to spit with Joe Budden before he blew up. I used to slide over, we used to spit with a bunch of people. One of the cats I remember, coming up. Basically everyone in the Jersey circuit. Treach, he lives like 4 blocks away from me. Definitely Redman.

You've drawn comparisons to other conscious rappers, is your music more geared towards backpackers or was it not written with any audience in particular?

No, it's really versatile, and the reason why they label it for backpackers is because I have a lot of deep concepts. But there's a lot of hard stuff on the new album, something for everybody. But in the deepest vibes it compares to Kanye West and Common, but it can't be labeled as conscious.

You've pushed a decent number of CDs independently so far, tell us about your upcoming album "Santa Barbara".

Its gonna be huge, man. We're shipping 100,000 units. We just added a grand prize, that's gonna be a Lexus ES 300. The good thing about it is, besides selling these units, I get to give a car away. To, I hope, a person who truly and honestly needs it.

What made you decide to run that type of promotion?

I love how great the independent game has gotten, and honestly the independent game has been really good to me. And there are no cats around me moving 60,000 albums in my area, not saying that's huge, but its huge for a lot of MCs. I want people to have a love for my talent, but the truth of the matter is that there are certain marketing ploys you have to process. I hope 32,000 people pick up my album, because I doubled my work ethic since then, but also because of the marketing scheme.

The new album drops September 28. For people who aren't familiar with Santa Barbara, that's like Cuba's patron saint, I wanted to put all that power behind me. The first single we blast off with is called Six Assignments. First verse is about Hip Hop soldiers' six assignments, people who need to expire from this Earth so the world will be a better place. Second verse is about six points in the industry, last verse is about six life lessons. And the second single is called Millennium Rapper, people need to check that out because it's the most lyrical rap I put out, I really put it out the park. It's introducing me as a national rapper.

Supposedly you did the whole album in a week, so will fans be getting a top notch product?

It wasn't really done in a week, 7 joints were done in a week. The way I record is not pen and paper anymore, I record with a digital recorder. So this album has taken all of last year on tour, but it just so happens I knock it out in the studio in 7 days or 30 days. The thought process really took a year, between "A Day In the Life", which is my last album, and this one.

Indie artists can sell, but have you been shopping around for a deal with a major yet?

I'm not looking for a deal, I got a great distribution deal with JDC records in California. I make seven dollars a pop for every CD I sell. I make more money than most major artists just doing what I'm doing, so I'm happy where I'm at.

What other businesses are you involved in outside of dropping records?

I have an investment company which we run right now, it's called Anonymous Investments. We funnel the money that we make from rap and put it into stocks. I'm starting a car dealership next year. And each of the businesses, go one year at a time. 2006 we hope to have a sports management company. I already have artists that I'm working with, and I already have three basketball players that I'm working with. I just sent them to Croatia to work on their skills.

On your album "A Day in the Life" you drop a track called "100 bars", you don't think Canibus would mind you borrowing that?

(laughs) I don't think so. You know, there been a couple of rappers that did it before Canibus. I'm just paying respect to the people that came before me. (laughs) I never been asked that before, I like that.

You have a tribute track towards Big L and Big Pun called "Never Promised Tomorrow". How do you look back on Pun and what he contributed?

Ah, man. If there is one lyricist that I respect for what he brought to the game it was Pun. I met Pun at Angie Martinez' birthday party before he passed. Even his vibe when I met him, just a funny guy, a good guy. It was in God's plan for him to blow up, and make a name for himself and his family before he passed.

On "No One Can Stop Us" you diss Nas. What motivated you to come at one of Hip Hop's most revered MCs?

(laughs) I made the joint, sold some records. Every rapper needs to find their niche. It was a good track, don't get me wrong, but I would never diss the man publicly. I was just angry at the time, I thought there were a little contradictions and inconsistencies (with Nas). I'm actually standing in the same spot where I met him. I went up to him, I met him, told him I had a street team outside. He basically treated me like a peon, like ‘get out of here'. But as I got in the business, I realized that it's not really contradictions. He's growing as an artist and as a man, you can't call that contradictions, you gotta call that maturity.

"Uncle's Cabin", "Fatherless Son", "Destiny" are emotional tracks, did you have any difficulty putting such open tracks on wax for the world to hear?

Not at all, man. The reason why I started to rap is because its therapeutic. It's like Joe Buddens says, its therapy. I was finding that there was stuff I had to get off my chest. Same thing with Santa Barbara, stuff talking about personal relationships. People I befriended that aren't around now. People that expect stuff from me, just because you in my circle doesn't mean I can have you on my payroll for the rest of my life. Life is about chapters, at the end of each chapter, its time for a new one.

As far as Cuban rappers go, most people into underground music would be familiar with Cuban Link, Pitbull and Don Dinero. Do you want to be seen as a dope Cuban rapper, or would you rather the fans focus just on you as a rapper first.

I just want them to know that I'm a rapper first. It's great that they know I'm from Cuba, I'm partly from La Habana, other part from Santa Clara. I respect Pitbull for what he did , moved a lot of units for an independent artist with TVT [Records], much respect to Cuban Link. But I don't think we need to be placed into a category like Cuban rapper, I think there are enough niches.

Anything else you want to mention?

I want to give a shout out to all the Latinos that support me, and Uno Dos, I definitely support them. 

 

 




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