Hip Hop is life, power, and expression. Hip Hop transcends race, class and cultures. It has been the voice for those who have been marginalized and oppressed. Rap Renegade Produkt is the embodiment of true Hip Hop. People have labeled Produkt as a breath of fresh air in a era where “Copy Cat” rappers rule. Produkt delivers vivid rhymes and smooth flows while his skillful wordplay and witty metaphors paint precise pictures. It’s duly noted that his cadence and penmanship are top-notch.
The rapper shows off a complete package of artistry. Produkt’s charismatic personality exudes swagger and he has gained the respect of hard core Hip Hop fans from across the globe. Moreover, his matinee idol good looks have resulted into a growing fan base among females as well.
In recent months Produkt has made a tremendous impact with his hit singles “Come Get Me” and “Father Forgive Me.” The singles are garnering accolades and airplay on college radio stations and mix shows from around the country.
Additionally, the music videos for his songs have received over 250,000 views among various blogs including WorldstarHipHop.com, Ballerstatus.com, HipHopLead.com and YoRaps.com, to name a few. “Come Get Me” has amassed over 34,000 real views on YouTube and “Father Forgive Me” has achieved over 24,000 real views on YouTube in just a couple of months. “I am building a solid movement one fan at a time,” states Produkt. Produkt’s team puts heavy emphasis on visuals and image.
In fact, some people assume that he is already a major label artist due to the superior visual presentation that he displays. In addition, Produkt’s impressive presence on WorldstarHipHop and other blogs has led to him receiving a clothing sponsorship from L.E.S. clothing.
Equally Important, One of Produkt’s unique selling propositions is that he has actually lived the life he raps about. His music incorporates an element of realism and rawness that is authentic and seldom seen on today’s independent musical landscape. Produkt is of Puerto Rican heritage and the legendary rapper Big Pun is one of his biggest influences. “Big Pun taught me that in order to stand out as a Hispanic in the Hip Hop culture, you need to be larger than life,” raves the emcee. Produkt is backed by the renowned astute businessman, Frank Urban. Mr. Urban is molding Produkt to be a “Diamond in a rap world permeated with Cubic Zirconias.”
As the summer starts to wind down on the East Coast of the United States we had a chance to catch up with the Bronx up and comer and picked his brain on a variety of questions from his involvement with the creation of his own music videos and music, long term goals in this game and much more. At one point things got personal and Produkt refused to answer some of our questions. That is a first time occurrence for Hip Hop Lead in our interview process but still over all the interview is informative and truthful and displays the work ethic and charisma that Produkt displays.
Hip Hop Lead- Whats good Produkt? Before we dig deep lets just get into the basics. How did you come up with your name?
Produkt- Growing up on my side everybody knows me as CRACK, for obvious relation to TS and Joe that’s not something I could run with. Coming up making music I went threw a grip load of shit, but given the path I came up, PRODUKT represents me & my perspective best.
Hip Hop Lead- How old are you exactly?
Produkt- I was born in the spring of 86, I’m 27.
Hip Hop Lead- When did you start rapping?
Produkt- I’ve been writing since I was 11 -12 years old.
Hip Hop Lead- What were your main inspirations in life to start making music?
Produkt- Music was different in my era, the legends of today were making their bones when I was coming up. The power of what they represented played a huge roll in my aspirations & honestly it was the passion to be heard, to describe my life my perspective in a way that was my own, as those before did.
Hip Hop Lead- For an upcoming artist having all these major looks on the Internet is a pretty big deal. Have these major features been paying off when it comes to interest from any labels? If so, can you tell us which?
Produkt- We have definitely caught the eye of a few of the largest brands in control today. Which honestly was surprising given the limited amount of content I’ve released in a 6 month span. But it only gives value to the back bone of my work ethic, “QUALITY OVER QUANTITY”. I can’t discuss specifics.
Hip Hop Lead- Are you looking to sign to a major or go Indy?
Produkt- If the right machine offers the best outlet for my vision, and a substantial financial situation, its every artist dream to be discovered and recruited to a major, but as a business man, my ultimate decision will be in the direction of what’s best for the longevity of my career. So as of now my focus is to build my brand independently.
Hip Hop Lead- The first time we heard and saw you were on your video for “Father Forgive Me”. It had that classic NY gritty sound. Was it important for you to storm on the scene with something that really represents the City you are from?
Produkt- It really was and there was a debate about the record being my first release on a larger platform being it wasn’t just me on the song, But the energy , subject matter and essence of that body of work could not be denied that record and video represents a part of history in hip hop people didn’t think could resurface.
And I believe the impact of it was due to the effortless resurrection of a sound and energy a big part of the world has been longing to hear again. This city gave birth to hip hop and what I embody as a man and artist will always represent that.
Hip Hop Lead- With that said how you do personally feel about other NY rappers like French Montana making auto tuned down south sounding records?
Produkt- At the end of the day this is a business French is from my hood. He found a LANE and he made it work and he put in that work to get there. Personally I applaud that. Just like on the block you adjust with time and feed the demand its the only way to remain successful in any business.
Hip Hop Lead- The Bronx has a particular NY sound. Pun and the Terror Squad really set the bar high as far as lyricism, beats and commercial success. Do you think the BX, or NY at that, has lost its way when it comes to using that formula for success?
Produkt- It’s a different world out there. What worked back then won’t work now. The mind state of the consumer is different and the attention span of the audience is almost non-existent because of the overwhelming saturation of the industry due to the Mbox and social media age. Today’s only form of success is by relentless promotion and undeniable material.
A new artist today can have an entire catalog with limitless star capability but to be noticed standing alone is a near impossible battle. The fight to get him seen is going to take serious co-sign, big records, and bigger affiliations like Drake with Wayne, French with Ross and Puff, etc.
Hip Hop Lead- To build on that… Pun made a strong debut with the commercially successful, “Not A Player”, single. It was a huge club record, and even the biggest Hip Hop heads couldn’t deny the word play. Being you noted Pun as your main inspiration are going to try to bridge both elements, like he did, in your records?
Produkt- As an artist you draw inspiration from every influential person in your upbringing. But Pun was Pun and I am me. My way of doing this is exactly that. My way.
Hip Hop Lead- We noticed the Mafia theme in both of your videos. The 2nd video for “Come And Get Me” was just as action packed as the first but showed the more “organized crime” side of the character you played. Who came up with the ideas and treatment for these videos to make them so movie like?
Produkt- Everything I’ve released has been my treatments, location choice and character castings. Getting back to what I was saying earlier, I’m an artist. I’m here to challenge not only myself but the business as well. Everyone is standing in traps and in front of whips rhyming which is cool for where they come from.
But we operate differently on this side. This is NEW YORK. What I represent is the bottom in a classy manner. You don’t have to dress like a hoodlum and act ignorant to be capable of laying somebody down and getting to the money. Society has a very specific generalization on “gangster” or “mafia” what I intend to represent is success.
Hip Hop Lead- But let’s keep it real how often do you see Mobsters really getting clipped in the hood (laughs)?
Produkt- Niggas get hit in the hood everyday b, you never know the affiliation or back-story, but just cause you don’t see it, don’t mean it aint happening.
Hip Hop Lead- Speaking of Mafia ..give me the top 5 Mob flicks or tv shows in Produkt’s opinion.
Produkt- Godfather 1
Hip Hop Lead- Where were you and how did you feel when you heard James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) passed away?
Produkt- It was a great loss to the film industry and his family. Death is never easy to deal with. You can only be grateful for the accomplishments and impact his legacy leaves.
Hip Hop Lead- A lot of the fans have a visual of you through your music and videos but lets dig a little deeper. What were Produkt’s high school days like?
Produkt- High school was the shit (laughs). I went to a few different schools Lehman was dope because there was a lot of talented kids there. I was always battling everyday on the square, fucking with the girls, I knew everybody.
Hip Hop Lead- Any College?
Produkt- Institute of Audio Research (IAR) class of 06.
Hip Hop Lead- First “legit” job Produkt ever had?
Produkt- First job, I was a bus boy.
Hip Hop Lead- Any hidden talents you care to share with us?
Hip Hop Lead- What are your long-term goals for hip hop?
Produkt- To personally make a contribution to help extend and carry the life of an industry the defines the world and my culture.
Hip Hop Lead- Counting yourself name me 4 other strong artists from the Bronx that can bring New York hip hop back to the throne.
Hip Hop Lead- Your mixtape “New York Is Killing Me” is showing a lot of prominent New York public figures taking aim at you, literally (laughs). What was the idea, or concept behind the artwork?
Hip Hop Lead- Now when we saw your video for “New York Is Killing Me” it really didn’t seem to match up with the theme of the mixtape cover. Is there a reason for that?
Produkt- PASS. I don’t care to talk about that project.
Hip Hop Lead- In that song we heard you make a reference to Molly and Cocaine. I think it said something a long the lines of “Molly in her Body, and her friends is on that booger sugar”. We know in your bio it states that “you actually live the life you rap about” and that “you have a growing fan base among females”. So is it safe to say Produkt condones drug use from females?
Produkt- LOOK MAN, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT SHIT.
Hip Hop Lead- Moving on. What are your personal thoughts on Kendrick Lamar dissing Molly and stating that fellow artists should stop glamourizing it?
Produkt- I think its always dope when a public figure stands apart and for there opinion. And I respect him for it.
Hip Hop Lead- Do you think that music artists, specially ones with younger fans, have a personal responsibility in what they say in their music, being it’s being marketed to a younger demographic?
Produkt- Art is expression the only responsibility and artist carries is to be true to themselves, people relating to the music only shows the artist is doing his job correctly.
Hip Hop Lead- Other then being an emcee..what do you do in your spare time?
Produkt- I’m a father of two. I have no spare time. I eat, breathe, live and shit this music. If it’s not music, I’m with my kids.
Hip Hop Lead- We heard you are the new face of “L.E.S. Clothing Line”. Congratulations on that. How did that deal come about?
Produkt- I appreciate that. L.E.S., like me, is a rising brand out of my city. For our movements to combine is just good business.
Hip Hop Lead- In your video for “Evil” you stated, “since Pun you are the first flow-er”. How do you think Cory Gunz would feel about that (laughs)?
Produkt- THIS IS HIP HOP. THIS BUSINESS IS COMPETITIVE BY NATURE! Every emcee should feel he is the best or doesn’t deserve a seat at the table period. Cory is the homie, we chopped it up a few times. He fucks with my bro Vinny Idol.
Hip Hop Lead- We also noticed in “Evil” your world play was pretty in tact. The cadence and formulation of your bars shows you put in work. How long typically does it take you to craft a song?
Produkt- It really depends on the record. Some records could take a day or two, others a week or two. It depends on the vibe and my clarity on the subject matter. Sometimes you have to live an experience to inspire the completion of a work.
Hip Hop Lead- Thanks for chopping it up with us homie, we look forward to hearing and seeing more from you. Now the floor is yours. Let people know where to check you out, get your mixtape, buy your music. Give any shout outs or F.U.’s, what ever’s clever!
Produkt- I appreciate the love you and every fan continue to show on a daily basis
Much love. 100