BILLIONZ

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VALIDATED: WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR RAP NAME?

BILLIONZ: I GREW UP IN BROOKLYN, JACKIE ROBINSON APARTMENTS. SOME PEOPLE CALL THEM PROJECTS BECAUSE IT WAS BAD LIKE THE PROJECTS BUT IT WAS AN APARTMENT BUILDING. 4 BUILDINGS ON ONE BLOCK ALL CONNECTED. ONE OF THE WORST BLOCKS IN BEDFORD STUYVESANT, BROOKLYN. MY BLOCK WAS A RED ZONE. MY NAME BILLIONZ CAME FROM ME JUST SETTING MY DREAMS ON A HIGH BAR. WHEN I FIRST STARTED RAPPING MY FIRST RAP NAME WAS BILLY STICKUM AND BILLY BADASS. AS I GREW DEEPER INTO MUSIC I THOUGHT TO MYSELF THESE NAMES ARE NOT MARKETABLE ENOUGH FOR WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO IN HIP HOP. SO THEN I STARTED CALLING MYSELF BILLIONZ. THE BAR EVERY BLACK MAN WAS TRYING TO GET TO... BILLIONZ. THATS HOW I GOT MY NAME. NOT CAUSE I WAS RICH OR SELLING MILLIONS OF DOLLORS WORTH OF DRUGS. ITS THE BAR I SET FOR MYSELF.

 

VALIDATED: GROWING UP, WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WAS PLAYED IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD AND HOW HAS IT INFLUENCED THE MUSIC YOU CREATE?

BILLIONZ: WELL I GREW UP IN THE PROJECTS. JUST A LOT OF R&B MUSIC. AND THEN MY MOMS STARTED GOING TO CHURCH HEAVY BUT MY POPS WAS IN THE STREETS. GOSPEL MUSIC AND A LOT OF ERIC B AND RAHKIM, THAT WAS MY FATHERS FAVORITE. I ALWAYS LOVED RAP BUT DIDN'T REALLY GET INTO IT 'TIL JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL.

 

VALIDATED: TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD GROWING UP AND HOW IT INFLUENCE YOU?

BILLIONZ: MY NEIGHBOURHOOD WAS REALLY ROUGH GROWING UP. BUT I WOULDN'T CHANGE WHERE I COME FROM FOR ANYTHING. IT MADE ME THE MAN I AM TODAY. MORALS AND PRICIPALS I LEARNED. STREET CODES AND WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO. THIS KNOWLEDGE WILL TAKE YOU VERY FAR IN LIFE. I ALWAYS WAS A LEADER AND DID MY OWN THING AND ALWAYS VOICED MY OPINION ON THINGS WHETHER PEOPLE LIKED IT OR NOT. AS I GOT OLDER I GAINED A LOT OF RESPECT AND A LOT OF PEOPLE FEARED US. JUST 'CAUSE OF WHERE WE WAS FROM AND THINGS THEY HERD US INVOLVED IN. WE WERE LITTLE ENFORCERS. WE BULLIED THE BULLIES. BUT I HAD MORE RESPECT THEN FEAR. FROM THE STREET SIDE AND FROM MAKING MUSIC. I WAS THE BEST IN MY HOOD. ME AND FABOLOUS. WHO GREW UP ONLY A BLOCK AWAY. SHOUT OUT TO FAB AND THE STREET FAM.

 

VALIDATED: NAME THE HIP-HOP ARTISTS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR FLOW AND WHAT, IF ANYTHING DID YOU BORROW FROM THEM?

BILLIONZ: I NEVER REALLY WAS INFLUENCED BY ANY ARTIST. I LIKED A FEW; JAY Z, BIG, NAS, JEEZY, ENINEM, BUT I KIND OF WAS A MIXTURE OF ALL OF THEM. FROM PUNCHLINES, TO STORIES, TO PAIN AND HEARTFELT MUSIC, I TRIED TO TOUCH IT ALL. I DID AND WAS GREAT AT IT.

 

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

BILLONZ: MY GREATEST MEMORY OF HIP HOP CULTURE WAS WHEN PUBLIC ENEMY DID THE "FIGHT THE POWER" VIDEO ON MY BLOCK. I WAS A SMALL KID. I REMEMBER ALL THE PEOPLE THAT FOLLOWED THE VIDEO AND MOVEMENT. LIKE A MILLION MAN MARCH RIGHT IN BROOKLYN. IT WAS CRAZY!

 

VALIDATED: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON LYRICS REMERGING AS THE FOCUS IN HIP HOP AGAIN?

BILLIONZ: I STRESS THAT LYRICS SHOULD ALWAYS BE PRAISED IN HIP HOP BECAUSE THATS WHERE IT ALL STARTED FROM. I DON'T HATE ON NONE OF THE NEW MUSIC THATS OUT BECAUSE EVERYTHING CHANGES WITH TIME BUT I WILL SAY FOR EVERY NEW ARTIST THEY MAKE BIG THERE SHOULD BE A LYRICAL ARTIST THAT THEY MAKE BIG ALSO. THERE IS NOT ENOUGHT REAL RAP ARTIST BEING PUSHED OUT AND DISPLAYED TO THE PEOPLE. LYRICS ARE APART OF HIP HOP CULTURE AND IT SHOULD NEVER DIE. HOW THE GAME IS GOING ITS SEEMS THAT WAY.

 

VALIDATED: NOT INCLUDING YOU, NAME YOUR TOP 3 MOST SLEPT ON INDIE RAPPERS FROM YOUR BOROUGH AND WHY.

BILLIONZ: MOE CHIPPS, HIS WORD PLAY AND THE WAY HE PAINTS PICTURES WITH THE MUSIC IS CRAZY. HE IS REALLY RAPPING OFF EXPERIENCE AND U CAN FEEL IT. I DONT GET THAT FEELING FROM A LOT OF RAPPERS WHEN I HEAR THEM, THEY DONT TOUCH ME. DIOS MORENO, HE HAS CRAZY WORD PLAY AND HE JUST HAS A CRAZY CREATIVE MIND. HE IS A STUDIO JUNKIE AND DEDICATED TO THIS MUSIC ALL THE WAY. BAKEMAN GLOBAL, HE REMINDS ME OF HOW REAL LYICISTS WERE COMING UP. HE IS REALLY SAYING SOME REAL STUFF IN HIS BARS. I LIKE HOW HE IS PUTTING ON FOR OUR BOROUGH. WORD!

 

VALIDATED: AFTER DOING SOME RESEARCH, I SEE THAT THE 50/50 IMPRINT HAS A PRESENCE WITHIN WHAT WE MITE CALL ENTERTAINMENT, I'VE SEEN BOXING, MUSIC, AND JUST ALL AROUND SUPPORTERS WITH THESE NUMBERS IN THEIR NAME. WHAT'S THE MEANING BEHIND 50/50, AND HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN IN EXISTANCE?

BILLIONZ: 50/50 STANDS FOR 50% YOU, 50% ME... 100% US. 50/50 BEEN AROUND SINCE WE ALL WERE KIDS. WAY BACK SINCE WE WERE PLAYING BASKETBALL. RIP TO ONE OF MY BIG GUYS "LEGENDARY LAH" FOR SEEING THE DREAM BEFORE WE DID OURSELVES. WE'RE HERE TO MAKE OUR MARK!

 

VALIDATED: WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM YOUR LATEST PROJECT?

BILLIONZ: RIGHT NOW WE GOT OUR PROJECT OUT "A BILLION CHIPPS" AND IT HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED. WE MADE MUSIC FOR EVERYONE. NOT JUST ONE LANE. WE IN ALL THE LANES, FEEL ME? EP COMING SOON. WE JUST WANT TO SHOW GROWTH AND VERSATILITY IN ALL OUR MUSIC. THE PURPOSE IS TO GAIN MORE LISTENERS, FOLLOWERS AND DEDICATED FANS. WE APPRECIATE EVERYONES SUPPORT RIGHT NOW. THIS IS WHERE IT REALLY COUNTS. ON THE COME UP, FEEL ME?

 

VALIDATED: WHICH PRODUCERS AND ARTISTS DID YOU WORK WITH ON THIS PROJECT?

BILLIONZ: BASICALLY JUST ME AND MY PARTNER, MOE CHIPPS ON THIS PROJECT. WE HAD FEATURES ON 2 OR 3 SONGS. JAYVON, AND WE DID A BROOKLYN CIPHER JOINT FEATURING ME , CHPPS, KNICK GUNS, REVOLA ROB, MA BARKER, ILLY THE GOD, GUTTA BABY, CORTEZ, FLAWLESS AND ROASTARAPPER. WE ALSO GOT A JOINT WITH SHOOTA, G.I.B AND HADDY RACKS. WE WORKED WITH PRODUCERS STAN DA MAN, TRILOGY, FRAM AM, SHAM TRACKS, KEITH MCCRAY, MELZ TRACKS AND MACK MILLIONZ.

 

VALIDATED: HOW DIFFICULT IS IT CREATING YOUR OWN LANE WHILE TRYING TO STAY TRUE TO YOU AND YOUR BRAND OF HIP-HIP?

BILLIONZ: I FEEL IF YOU JUST CONCENTRATE ON MAKING YOUR MUSIC AND YOUR SOUND ITS NOT DIFFICULT AT ALL. ITS ONLY DIFFICULT TO THE "WANNA BE'S". WHEN IT COMES NATURAL IT JUST COMES OUT A CERTAIN WAY. TOO MANY PEOPLE TRYING TO MAKE MUSIC AND THEY MESSING IT UP FOR THE REAL FEW WITH THE TALENT. THIS IS WHAT I DO. ITS A BIG DIFFERENCE AND YOU CAN HEAR IT IN THE MUSIC.

 

VALIDATED: TELL US ABOUT OTHER VENTURES YOU'RE CURRENTLY WORKING ON.

BILLIONZ: DOING A LOT OF WORK IN MY NEIGHBORHOODS. COACHING THE YOUNG KIDS BASKETBALL. WE HAD A PERFECT SEASON LAST YEAR. ALSO OUR WEB SERIES "DA BROOKLYN WAY" IS SMASHING RIGHT NOW. WE JUST WON THE AWARD FOR "BEST COMEDY WEB SERIES". T-SHIRTS AND HATS WILL BE OUT THIS SUMMER. YOU CAN GRAB THE INFO OFF MY INSTAGRAM.

 

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

BILLIONZ: MY INSTAGRAM, TWITTER AND FACEBOOK IS 5050REALBILLIONZ. SOUNDCLOUD, YOUTUBE AND GOOGLE TYPE IN BILLIONZ OR REAL BILLIONZ.

 

Troy Hendrickson