B LEAFS

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INTERVIEW: TERRELL “REALIFE” BLACK [@REALIFEVMG]

VALIDATED: BEING FROM BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP, THE CULTURE?

B LEAFS: SNEAKING INTO MY BROTHERS ROOM AND STEALING HIS BIGGIE CD AND PUTTING IT BACK BEFORE HE GOT HOME FROM SCHOOL. MY FIRST TIME REALLY EXPERIENCING HIP HOP IN PERSON WAS SEEING WIZ KHALIFA ON THE WAKEN BAKEN TOUR IN HIGH SCHOOL. I PERFORMED SOME OPEN MICS WITH MY CREW "THE BRAIN COLLECTIVE" AS WELL AS SOME PRODUCER SHOWCASES WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE. THAT'S WHEN I GOT INTO THE SCENE AND MET SOME INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, INCLUDING A LOT OF ARTISTS ON THE ALBUM.

VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL BOSTON HAS INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND AND OUTLOOK ON HIP-HOP?

B LEAFS: IT’S COOL THAT BOSTON DOESN’T HAVE IT’S OWN "SOUND" THAT PEOPLE TRY TO EMULATE, SO YOU'RE ABLE TO REALLY EXPERIMENT WITH WHATEVER STYLE YOU SEE FIT. I WAS ABLE TO TAKE BITS AND PIECES OF ALL THE DIFFERENT MUSIC I WAS VIBING WITH YET ALSO CREATE SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT I HAD HEARD BEFORE.

VALIDATED: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BOSTON HIP-HOP SCENE RIGHT NOW?

B LEAFS: IT’S REALLY AN UNDER-APPRECIATED SCENE. WAS DOPE TO SEE STATIK, TERM AND REKS ALWAYS PROVIDING THE HEAT WHEN I WAS GROWING UP AND STILL TO THIS DAY. THERE’S SOME CATS STARTING TO MAKE SOME NOISE LATELY LIKE LATRELL JAMES, COUSIN STIZZ AND MILLYZ. I THINK THERE’S BEEN MORE UNITY AND SUPPORT FOR ONE ANOTHER OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS OR SO. HOPEFULLY IT CAN CONTINUE!

VALIDATED: YOUR LATEST SINGLE, "REAGANOMICS" FEATURING ELZHI, RAS KASS, M-DOT, AND LARGE PROFESSOR, WHAT'S THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THE RECORD?

B LEAFS: ELZHI WAS THE FIRST VERSE I GOT BACK FOR THE SONG. HE WAS THE ONE WHO REALLY MOULDED THAT SONG. I LOVED WHAT HE CAME UP WITH AND THOUGHT THAT IT COULD REALLY BE SOMETHING SPECIAL SO I MADE SURE TO GET SOME MEANINGFUL FEATURES WHO COULD GIVE THEIR UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE. EVERYONE CAME THROUGH IN A MAJOR WAY!

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THE RESPONSE TO THE RECORD?

B LEAFS: IT’S BEEN UNREAL! FROM XXL AND OKAYPLAYER TO HOTNEWHIPHOP AND AMBROSIAFORHEADS. THE RADIO LOVE FROM PREEMO AND SHADE45. NEVER THOUGHT THIS WAS POSSIBLE. IT DEFINITELY MAKES ME WANT TO WORK EVEN HARDER ON THE NEXT ALBUM. I'M GLAD PEOPLE HAVE RESONATED WITH THIS TRACK ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT HAS A DEEPER MEANING BEHIND IT THAT PEOPLE DON’T USUALLY TOUCH ON.

VALIDATED: YOUR DEBUT ALBUM "THE HORIZON", WHAT OTHER ARTIST DID YOU WORK WITH ON THE PROJECT?

B LEAFS: I WAS FORTUNATE TO COLLABORATE WITH A LOT OF MY IDOLS; CORMEGA, RAEKWON, SKYZOO, MASTA ACE, PLANET ASIA AND A BUNCH OF OTHER CATS.

IT WAS COOL TO BE ABLE TO BRING TOGETHER SOME OG'S WITH SOME UP AND COMING ARTISTS.

VALIDATED: THE ALBUM PROCESS, HOW LONG WAS IT?

B LEAFS: ABOUT 4 YEARS OR SO FROM WHEN I STARTED MAKING THE BEATS. IT TOOK ABOUT 3 YEARS TO ORGANIZE ALL THE FEATURES AND GET VERSES BACK AS WELL AS HAVE THEM ENGINEERED.

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TRACK OFF THE PROJECT AND WHY?

B LEAFS: TOSS UP BETWEEN "GO FOR BROKE", "REAGANOMICS" AND "THE CLOTH". PROBABLY "THE CLOTH" BECAUSE CORMEGA’S VERSE WAS ONE OF THE BEST VERSES I'VE EVER HEARD BEFORE. TO HAVE ONE OF YOUR IDOLS GIVE YOU A MEANINGFUL AND POWERFUL VERSE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL. I’VE PROBABLY RE-PLAYED THAT SONG A THOUSAND TIMES.

VALIDATED: WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING MUSIC, WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?

B LEAFS: SEEING PRODUCERS LIKE 9TH WONDER, DJ PREMIER AND J DILLA CHEF UP SUCH UNIQUE RHYTHMS. THEY REALLY MADE ME WANT TO EXPERIMENT WITH BEATS. THEY MADE ME FEEL SOMETHING THAT I HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE. A VIBE YOU COULDN’T FIND ANYWHERE.

VALIDATED: YOU'VE GOT A COUPLE OF ESTABLISHED AND UP AND COMING ARTIST FROM THE BOSTON AREA ON THE ALBUM, WHO ARE THEY AND WHY DID YOU SELECT THEM FOR THIS PROJECT?

B LEAFS: GOT QUITE A FEW BOSTON CATS ON THE ALBUM. ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS LATRELL JAMES. HE’S NOT ONLY A SPECIAL SONGWRITER BUT ALSO AN AMAZING PRODUCER. IT WAS AWESOME TO SEE HIM GET THE INVITE TO THE DREAMVILLE SESSIONS! ONE CAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IS SURIEL. HE MIGHT BE MY FAVORITE LOCAL ARTIST. HE HAS AN EXTREMELY UNIQUE VOICE TO GO ALONG WITH THE ABILITY TO WRITE SUPER COHESIVE VERSES. I’M HAPPY TO BRING TOGETHER A TON OF BOSTON ARTISTS WITH ESTABLISHED ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

VALIDATED: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2019 FROM B LEAFS?

B LEAFS: I'M WORKING ON A SHORT ALBUM TO HOPEFULLY DROP THIS SUMMER/FALL. MORE OF A MODERN STYLE. ALSO COOKING UP A BOOM BAP ALBUM WITH A TON OF OG'S BUT I WANT TO REALLY TAKE MY TIME WITH THAT ONE. EXPECT THAT ONE IN 2020.

VALIDATED: WHERE CAN THE READERS SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR MUSIC ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA?

B LEAFS: TWITTER @BLEAFSMUSIC AND INSTAGRAM @B_LEAFS.