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