Interviews

Published on September 21st, 2016 | by David Morales

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McKinley Ave Drops ‘Roosters’ and ‘100 Bands’

McKinley Ave is a rapper bringing that new and authentic California trap. He delivers a message from Watts, California, reminiscent of the classical rappers of the Death Row era. As a longtime producer, McKinley Ave displays his wisdom as a businessman in the industry, revealing to The Hype Magazine that he knows how and when to listen. “As a producer, you think you know what you want but as an artist, you have to step away from that because it might not be the main thing that is going on right now.”

Working with DJ Fu of the Ear Drummers and S-Class, McKinley Ave is under the management of Jentry Salvatore and accredits his sound to their leadership. “They have that whole new sound that’s resonating in the club right now. They know whats up!” Keeping to the west coast message while developing a new and original California sound, McKinley Ave tells The Hype Magazine his strategy to stay one step ahead and the importance of learning to trust the right players in the game.

But what can be said about McKinley Ave’s subject matter, which illustrates the consequences of life in the projects? Acknowledging that there are few political forums that address urban issues comes across strongly in his music. “I decided to keep the message in the groove. I want people to embrace it!”

Roosters is McKinley Ave’s latest video recently added to his collection. It is the third song released from his upcoming album “Did Dirt To Lay Pavement” with previously released songs, such as “100 Bands” featuring Young Dolph and Zoey Dollaz and “No Regular” featuring RJ. Roosters is dedicated to those hustlers who wake up early in the morning and get to that money. It was filmed in Miami for the Heavy Hitter DJ retreat and portrays McKinley Ave as a larger than life character on a mission to get what he has put in work for. 

So where are you from and what are you about?

I’m McKinley Ave and I’m from Watts, California. I grew up in the Jordan Downs projects and once my family was able to raise enough money to buy a house, they bought it on McKinley Ave, which is down the street from the Jordan Downs projects. I’ve been doing music for a long time!  I’ve been producing different artists so I decided to come back and do my record. I want to fulfill my dream and drop and full length project. That’s why Iam here now.

In the early 2000’s you were doing a lot of producing with your partner S-Class and then you went under the radar for a bit. Whats up with that?

Well, music took a weird change. It went into a weird direction. I say weird, you know compared to what I was used to – growing up on NWA, Ice – T and Public Enemy. When music took a shit, I just concentrated on producing music for television shows and producing music for different artists. So I kind of stepped away from that part of it because it was just too strange. People were just saying whatever came to their head. You know, it was a movement, but it was a movement that I didn’t want to be involved with.

Then when the young G’s and that street shit started to come back, there was a voice for the trap. So I said, you know what, let me go ahead and step back in. Now a hustler can speak. At first, it got really commercial. It’s just that there wasn’t a voice out there for the hood music, for the gangsters. Once the south and the east started bringing that shit back, the youngsters were able to speak their opinions. So I decided to go ahead and drop my shit.

Now you have two new singles 100 bands and Roosters with a new and authentic California sound. What can you tell me about them?

That is how I decided to arm myself. Being a producer, it’s sometimes hard getting out of your own funk. As a producer, you think you know what you want but as an artist, you have to step away from that because it might not be the main thing that is going on right now. So with 100 Bands and Roosters, I tried to arm myself with DJ Fu from the Ear drummers, Resource and S-Class. I decided to put them cats in a room and let them bang it out. They have that whole new sound that’s resonating in the club right now. They know whats up!

DJ Fu has that hard 808 sound that he represents from his clique the Ear Drummers. S-Class has that dope classical piano shit. He knows how to cut it and make it fit. So I decided to step away and not produce my own record and arm myself around young producers who know what is going on today. That’s how I got that young California sound. Mike Free who was responsible for a lot of DJ Mustard’s sounds, produced the No Regular joint with me, RJ and DJ Fu. That’s how I was able to obtain that sound.

As long as I got the right tracks and I’m not sounding like an old school rapper and not using the same patterns of the 90s and early 2000s to mask my message within that, I’d be able to adapt to the futuristic type of sounds that keep the kid’s attention. As long as I do that, I can say what I want to say. So I decided to keep the message in the groove. I want people to embrace it!  That’s why I decided to stay young with my flows but still deliver my message.

What makes your music different than anyone else? 

I’m not reinventing the wheel or any of that shit, but I think that from McKinley Ave’s perspective, from the Watt’s perspective, from the McKinley Ave street perspective, there is a lack of conversation from our side. People know whats going on in Compton, they know what going on in Englewood, and they know whats up in South Central because they have big representation from those sides. I can name big artist from those areas but Watt’s is lacking that voice. So that is what is different. I’m coming from my little piece of L.A which is Watts and what Iam representing. We have no real voice; no house hold name. What I want to do is to put Watt’s on the map like Compton, Englewood or South Central L.A. So that’s my whole thing and that is what makes my music different.

Where can I follow you? 

McKinley Ave everything except for my twitter which is McKinley_Ave. But all my social media is McKinley Ave.

Do you have any tour dates set or are you playing out in the clubs in L.A?

Yeah! Right now we have a little club run. The DJ’s in the club are getting it popping right now. Jentry my manger has been trying to put together a nice little show package so we can start getting out there and playing, but I haven’t really jumped on any tour yet. We were going to jump on a tour, but we decided to just kind of chill out and concentrate on branding. When we do hit the road, we will have a real story. I don’t want to hit the road and not have a story. I’m attacking this thing virally. I’m beefing up my social media and hitting the streets, shaking hands, kissing babies, slapping bitches on the booty and doing what I have to do.

Is there anything out there you want your fans to know?

It’s only over when you are dead. It’s over when you die. As long as you are alive you can reinvent yourself, you can do whatever you want to do! You can come back and go away and come back again. As long as you got subject matter and something to say and dope tracks, it isn’t over till you are dead! So that is what I want to tell my fans. Keep going!




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About the Author

is the Executive Editor of The Hype magazine. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, David has a background as an artist manager, writer, blogger, drummer, and in the human services industry. He is passionate about helping others, learning and has a deep empathy for the creative process. You can follow his social media @dcypherstudios


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