Filipino rapper, Rel Princeton, talks to Jackfroot.com about his latest album, Crash Landing, that’s expected to be released by this summer; the masterminds behind its creation; and how the project has given him a different perspective on racism, life, and music.
Your music has seemed to mature a lot since you put out “Spotlight” with Ray J. How did you find your new musical direction with this album?
I found my musical direction by getting lost, by taking two steps forward only to take five steps back, by having to re route only to end up in the same place where I started. Plus, I am in a different place in my life now, a have a family so my priorities and views in life have changed.
How did you come up with your album title?
Working on Spotlight and the Aviator Vision Ep, I was pretty much caught up in all the so called “Fly s#%t.” I was young so I bought into the hype. That’s why that project was called Aviator Vision.
But as the saying goes “what goes up must come down” and that lifestyle came crashing down hard. It’s a statement saying “I am now back to reality and down to earth.” That’s what inspired the title “Crash Landing” because this is when all the “Fly s#%t” ends.
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How long have you been working on your album and when do you expect to release it?
I have been working on this album for about a year now. I’ve really been taking my time with the lyrics, concepts, the right features, and especially the live instrumentation. Slowly, but surely, I am expecting to release the album before the summer.
You bring up deeper issues like Race in your track “Twisted SoulsÂ feat. Jah Free.” Can you elaborate on this?
Just like the line states “make a joke about my race, it’s amazing.Â I make a joke about yours and now I’m a racist” I feel like there are someÂ people in other ethnic backgrounds that feel like they are entitled to the privilegeÂ of double standards. They can dish out jokes towards the Asian communityÂ and it’s found to be hilarious. But as soon as we make a joke about theirs, we becomeÂ racists. And that goes for a lot of other races as well, not just us. Another issue was theÂ floods and the earthquakes in the Philippines that got very minimal media coverage…but as soonÂ as something like that happens to Haiti or Japan (I pray for them) the media jumps right on it because you see all these celebrities who are endorsing it. It’s like most people just hop on the bandwagon.
Anyway “Twisted Souls” covers society in general. The saying is true “Rich man dies everybody cries, A million poor people die and don’t nobody cries”
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Â What was the strategy behind putting out 3 singles before releasing the album?
I wanted to familiarize the people with my new material and get to knowÂ me gradually, these first 3 records were set up to express the different viewsÂ I have about certain situations, If you noticed they are all different types of recordsÂ inspired by different genres. Anti Everything is a Rock inspired record, Twisted Souls isÂ inspired by Reggae, and Crash Landing is inspired by Rnb/Pop. And although theseÂ records have commercial appeal they are still very personal. It was designed to give you aÂ direction to where the album is going but at the same time leaving you with an expectationÂ not knowing what to expect.
Â You gave a shout out to Maribelle Anes. What part did she play inÂ Crash Landing?
Her role was as simple as sharing the record with her fanbase, and being a fellowÂ artist in an overpopulated industry that meant a lot. Special thanks again to Maribelle.
Who are the people involved with putting together the album… fromÂ the production, to the lyrics, etc?
The lyrics are all written by me with the exception of a few choruses. ProductionÂ wise the whole album was produced entirely by SpeeshBeats with helpÂ of a few talented musicians. We used a lot of live instrumentation on this projectÂ from live guitars to violins to show people we are willing to go the extra mile for the sake of quality.Â Hip-Hop is always getting criticized about having generic sounding keyboard beats so letsÂ see what they say about this one. Special thanks go out to all the people who were involved with the creation of the album: SpeeshBeats,EV, Steven Rich, Trey Beama, Motif Keith, J Drew, Trevor Lloyd,Gomez, Necee Wilson, Jen Awad, Jah Free, Impress, and Nikki Flores.
Where do you hope to take your music in this upcoming year?
I feel all I need to do now is to broaden my audience, personally I feel likeÂ my music is on a whole different level Hip Hop wise that I never imagined it being growing up and allÂ that’s left is for the masses to hear it. With that said I am hoping to take my music across state and allÂ the way overseas with constant promoting and touring.
Are you performing live or pushing your music to radio Â & DJâ€™s?
Yes, I have few shows coming up. My first single Anti Everything has actually gotten some airplay at various stations in New York most notably on Eminem’s very own Shade 45. Also the new single “Crash Landing” ft Nikki Flores is being distributedÂ to various Dj’s and radio Stations local and overseas.
Who are your current musical role models? Do you have any mentorsÂ in the music industry?
My musical role models are any artists who are not afraid to speak their minds.Â I am inspired by artists like Nas, Bob Marley, and Amy Winehouse (R.I.P) who are notÂ afraid to dig deep into their souls to share their thoughts with the world. As far as mentors I have a few I can say who I’ve learned a lot from Thanks to Fingazz, Sonny D, Chris Loos, and Dj Tony G.
What factors do you think have held you back from success?
The only factor left that I am waiting on to reach success is the grace of God.Â I remember listening to an interview with Tyler Perry where he said: “You canÂ have all the talent and hard work but in the end it’s all up to the grace of God.”Â I know I have the talent and I know I have a great work ethic so at the end ofÂ the day I am just praying for God’s grace.
Recommended Watch: Anti-Everything from Crash Landing
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