Meet Madhattan (Interview)

2019 has been an impressive year for this downtown NYC born & bred emcee.  These include the release of the EP length projects San Gennaro (Produced by Rob Deniro),  Repercussions (Produced by NV) and a joint EP with Harlem emcee G4Jag, The 6th Man (Produced by Big French).

He just topped it up for the fourth quarter though with a newly released full-length with Producer IceRocks (Meyhem Lauren, Benny The Butcher) entitled Brown Water Bible.  With a title reference to his in-studio drink of choice, (Cognac) and guest appearances from Benny The Butcher, Rome Streetz, FastlifeNYC, ElCamino, Supreme Cerebral and XP The Marxman it definitely feels like a product of the city he grew up in during the 90’s.

However what many don’t know is that this emcee didn’t just materialize in 2019 but has been putting in that work for well over a decade.  Details on that below as well as the fact that he actually put music to the back for a number of years before coming back and leveling up. Meet Madhattan…

Madhattan press shot 2019

INTERVIEW

Not a lot of emcees are claiming Manhattan nowadays, can you tell us what neighborhood you grew up in? Did you come across any other known emcees who lived in NYC while growing up?

Thats a fact. Thats why my name is “Madhattan.” Pretty much other than Harlem you don’t have that many “known” emcees repping for the borough. I’m specifically from Lower Manhattan (Chelsea), but I went to high school in the Lower East Side, and pretty much grew up running around the whole island of Manhattan.  I was always around rappers but I started running into more “known” rappers in my 20’s as I started doing more shows, and taking the craft more serious.

How did you start emceeing? Did you get any early collabos/co-signs that most people may not know about? How hard was it to establish yourself/build contacts in NYC?  Obviously there’s prospective emcees all over the place vying for attention.

I started rapping in High School, there was a kid who was nice at battling, who was challenging anyone in the lunch room. I stepped up to the plate, got destroyed (lmao), but came back the next week and got my revenge. From that point on I’ve been immersed in it. Spent 1000’s of hours in studio’s done a lot of shows, pretty much anything that would help me perfect my craft.

I actually didn’t get too many collabs or co-signs early and I still feel like I haven’t gotten too many co-signs up to today, but I do have 2 songs over Harry Fraud production that haven’t seen the light of day. They were dope songs, but I had them slated for a project that I ended up never releasing. I wouldn’t drop them now because I feel they are a little dated and I feel that I’ve grown a lot as an artist since then.

I feel like establishing yourself as an artist is going to be difficult no matter where you’re from and the amount of artists trying to make it in New York makes it more difficult to get the attention you need in order to succeed. Still, being in New York also makes it easier cause you could dead-run into someone who could help jump start your career getting a bacon egg & cheese from the corner store. If you put yourself in the right places here and people see you at events on a regular basis and you put in the work you are supposed to in the studio, its definitely gonna separate you from the pack.

You’ve had a wealth of well-received projects over the last few years but I understood that you first took a hiatus from emceeing for a while.  What prompted you to take a break and what prompted you to take it up again?

Appreciate you saying so. Yea, I took about 3 years off from pursuing a career in music. My daughter had just been born, and I was more focused on being a great Dad, rather than being a great rapper. Also along with that, I really didn’t have the same focus or drive that I do now so the results weren’t really there as far as rap was going. I got back into music because I figured that I couldn’t tell my daughter to follow her dreams if I gave up on mine. Since then Ive had more drive and focus than I ever had in the past.

This Brown Water Bible project is serious! Did you approach the recording/writing any different from your other projects or was it just vibing out and writing in the studio?

Thanks, thanks, Im glad you’re fuckin wit’ the project. I approached this project differently, because this project was me proving to IceRocks that I was serious about pursuing a career in music.

Ive known him for almost 20yrs but this was the first time we’d ever really gotten any music done. Funny shit is the whole project came about because after my “hiatus” I had hit IceRocks up asking him if we could do a project together and he curved the idea at first (and rightfully so, Id gotten beats from him in the past and never really did anything with them).

He told me to come to the studio and pick out one beat. I showed up to his studio and out of the beats he played me my favorite one was a joint that he told me was for Benny.

I made it up in my mind right then and there (without telling Ice) that I would get Benny on that track, and I did. The end result was the track on the album “Friday The 13th.” From then on me and Ice started linking up in the studio on a regular basis and pretty soon we had almost the whole tape done. So yea, the process for this project was pretty much proving to Ice, and really myself that I was serious about pursuing a career in music.

Did any of the featured artists on the project record their verse in the studio with you?

I was in studio with all of the featured artists on Brown Water Bible, except for the bros from Cali (Supreme Cerebral & XP). Everyone else pulled up to Ice’s lab and we did the songs on the spot. I feel like you’re always gonna get better energy and chemistry on a song from a featured artist when you are both in the room working together.

You also released a joint project with G4Jag this year, how did that come about? Is there any more work together coming?

Facts The 6th Man, shouts to Jag, thats the bro. That came about cause Flee Lord pulled up on me at my studio session in BK just to kick it, and Jag was with him. Me and Jag started building, Jag invited me to the studio in Harlem. We recorded a couple joints, we linked up in the lab a couple more times and next thing you know we had a project. Very organic, Jag is an authentic person, and elite when he picks up that pen, so it was just a good vibe for that project. Plus we sat there and picked out all the samples for that with Big French, and pretty much had our verses written before French was laying the drums down. It was a dope experience.

What’s the next projects / move that fans/our readers should be on the look-out from you?

Got a lot of work coming up. Next up is more than likely the collab tape with FastLife called No Politics. We don’t have a concrete date for that release but it is recorded, just needs to be mixed & mastered. I also have a collab tape with Skrewtape from Philly, thats about 90% done. Definitely expect a Madhattan full length album in 2020 and possibly follow up’s to Brown Water Bible & Repercussions. Im out here working non stop, so who knows what else is gonna drop in the future….

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Stream/Purchase Madhattan’s Projects Here: https://madhattan.bandcamp.com

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