Rhyme Report

Published on October 28th, 2016 | by Miss Jayyiah


Skyzoo’s ‘The Easy Truth’ Deposits Balance Into Hip Hop!

If we could literally put our ear to the chest of Hip Hop, close our eyes, and listen to it’s heartbeat, it would sound like Skyzoo & Apollo Brown’s new album “The Easy Truth”. We have come very far as a culture, and many sub-genres of Hip Hop have been birthed since the creation of it, but we cannot let these new school rap styles blind us, and allow us to continue to under-appreciate the value and importance of masterpieces such as this one.

Apollo Brown’s production on this project is quite refreshing; as he switched up his beat-making recipe for this collaborative piece. The edge he brought in conjunction with Skyzoo’s added ingredients which are: skillful wordplay, & fascinating story-telling is easily one of the best concoctions, or shall I say albums of the decade.  

I had a divulging conversation with Skyzoo about the behind-the-scenes making of this masterpiece. We also discussed ghostwriting, production, and legacy. Check it out, and be sure to listen to “The Easy Truth” available everywhere, now!

Miss Jayy: The Easy Truth is by far one of the best albums this year. You said this album came about from a conversation you and Apollo had about the state of hip hop. We’re so happy that conversation took place, because look at the results! This project really brings balance to the game!

Skyzoo: That’s our job as artist and producers, to level it out and make it all make sense. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, it’s about making it all make sense. Apollo and I have been rocking out for years. We would make a song here and there, but with this album… it started all on Twitter. The fans were going crazy asking “when are ya’ll doing a whole joint?” It was so many tweets and fan love. One day he reached out and was like “I know you see what I see, I think we need to set some time aside”! I was like you’re right, let’s do it! So, we went to Detroit, I wrote the whole album in a week, then boom we knocked it out!

Miss Jayy: Tell me the effect Detroit had on the outcome of the album if any?

Skyzoo: Detroit is a real blue collar city. It’s super gritty. It’s one of the only cities, if not the only city that never really bounced back from The Great Depression. When you go to Detroit, certain areas are beautiful, but certain areas look like a bulldozer ran through it and they just never fixed it. It’s like if you’re cutting hair and you cut a gumby (laughs)!  There are houses that look like a gumby all over.. and that’s normal. I say that to say, the grit and the authenticity of the people really resonated and came through the album.

Miss Jayy: Let’s talk about the album’s message.  You’re lyricism is unreal on this one, your story telling is so vivid, what message were you trying to send?  What  were you thinking about mainly when your songs were developed?

Skyzoo: At the time, it was a lot of what was going on in the news: black lives matter, police brutality, as well as things that are going on in our neighborhoods, specifically things going on in my neighborhood. I still live in Bedstuy and not a day goes by that there’s not police activity.  

There was just so much going on in the news and the media, and I’m like well this has been going on but now you’re seeing more light shined on it. I felt like the light has been shining on it for a while but it still wasn’t showing everything that it really is. They’re giving you the easy truth and that’s where the title came from, so the title is a play on words. They’re giving you the easy truth and this right here is the exact opposite of it… I got a joint on there called ‘Spoils To The Victor’ where I said…

Do believe, easy as the truth can be,

Mookie from the jersey to the J’s, all beautifully,

40 and a mule or whatever if we do agree,

Easy as a stop & frisk turning to a shooting spree

DT’s jumping out the back is nothing new to me,

Truthfully, I be more surprised when they ain’t moving me!

Things that were going on inspired lines like that .. it’s not an album, solely about police brutality and black lives matter.. It’s about me, how I grew up and my neighborhood. I just added more of what’s going on out here than I ever did before.

Miss Jayy: Artist & Producer collaborative albums bring a different level of cohesiveness in comparison to albums with multiple producers.. You partook in this method before, I know you and !llmind did a similar project . Is it that you prefer the one producer theme?

Skyzoo: For me, it’s either or. I’m torn in the middle. When you’re working with one producer, it becomes both of y’all’s album. It’s no longer your album, y’all have to meet in the middle with everything. The concepts, the sequencing, the artwork, the presentation, everything has to be agreed upon for both of ya’ll.

When you’re alone, it’s all you. When I’m alone I may have a vision but when you’re with someone you have to hope that they’re in sync with that. Luckily, all of the producers I’ve worked with, we had synergy. With Apollo, we pulled each other in different directions. He always said my production was all dirty drums, and straight Hip Hop stuff mixed with trumpets and string sections, and that’s always how I designed my music. He said he wanted to scale it back for this one…however, I  was able to sneak drums on a few records, it worked and he loved it!

But, on the flipside there are moments on the album, for example beats like Couple Dollars, Pay Out, & Vibes where he never would have made those beats because he feels like his fan base is not in tune with that type of sound in Hip Hop.. but with me, I’ve always been an artist that had records that can go on the radio, EA Sports, or ESPN, I always had records that could do that, but it’s never been just about keeping it boom bap it’s about elevating boom bap.

Miss Jayy: I love your slick talking ghostwriting references, in Vibes you spat:

“Wrote like half your playlist so I’m all up in your two door,  so either way you put it i’m exactly who you root  for.”

So, I have to throw a ghostwriting question in here… I know for an artist their end goal is to receive major recognition for their work, is it frustrating for you sometimes when you write hit records, and don’t receive any shine? Does it draw up any bitterness?

Skyzoo: For me, nah.. because I’ve been fortunate enough to come out as an artist first, so I feel like I do get my recognition. I have fans, I headlined tours overseas, Europe, Africa, China etc. I impacted people’s lives according to them..first and then became a ghost writer. People try to ghostwrite first and then try to come out as an artist later and when it doesn’t work, that’s when it hits them and the animosity builds up.

Miss Jayy: How did you get into the world of ghost-writing ?

Skyzoo: Ghostwriting is something I pushed for since day one. Once I started learning that everybody didn’t write all of their work. I used to hear stuff and be like damn! I could have wrote that way better for so and so.. You see, ghost-writing is actually a hard lane to jump in. Most of the people that ghostwrite had aspirations of being an artist, but maybe they didn’t have the right look, and for whatever reason it didn’t click. Maybe their look or voice was a little nutty, maybe their voice was too deep or too high pitch. All of these different things, and honestly it sucks because it’s not their fault. Because when you’re in the music business you’re selling the whole package, sounds, looks, and energy. You have to put on for the cameras. A lot of artist ghostwrite heavy.. and it’s because they didn’t make it as an artist.  

Miss Jayy:  You practice real hip hop and I love the fact that you never moved away from that, in talking about compromising your integrity as an artist, were you ever put in a position where your creativity or style was blocked or dumbed down?

Skyzoo: Well yes, with the seat I’m in, I was asked, but I never did it. I always been the type that had to be happy when I look in the mirror. Whether it’s making a record, or busting a certain move, when it’s all said and done, and the smoke clears I want to be proud of what I see. If I make a record that’s moving just for today and it could literally be done tomorrow, and I did it to get a bag, I can’t be proud of that.

Any music I ever put out I can say yeah, I’m proud of that. I may see growth, and I should. Michael Jordan’s rookie season and his fifth season is night and day, but they are all still great.. Why? Because he shot a thousand jumpers in the gym every day..

Miss Jayy: In my opinion, your frustratingly underrated. However, many people know that you are great and deserve more recognition, do you find solace or comfort in the fact that many do know, or does it still bother you how underrated you are?

Skyzoo: I’m never comfortable, I think even if you’ve got six rings you should go for seven. I notice the underrated thing, I feel like my name is Underrated because I hear it so much. To that I say, I appreciate everyone who feels like that because that means they see what it is! Second I’m super proud, humbled and honored by all of ya’ll opinions. For me, time will tell, the fact that I’m able to make the music I’m able to make and the fact that I go about it the way I do… it’s the music that will last.

‘Music For My Friends’ came out last year, ‘The Easy Truth’, just dropped and ten years from now I want people to talk about how dope these albums were for them. I just celebrated ten years of ‘Cloud Nine’ and people are like “yo that album changed everything for me”, and that was young Skyzoo… that was ten years ago..The music can impact those that don’t know now, later the same way it impacted those that do know now.

& It’s not a bad thing for someone to come to me and say “yo your underrated” so many artist that are in the game running it, and on top of the charts came to me and told me “it was you.. It was you who inspired me..  it was you that made it okay for me to write the way i write.” It’s an honor and a blessing I don’t take it for granted!



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About the Author

Miss Jayyiah is a NYC based writer, interviewer and freelance journalist. She is the Executive Producer of the documentary "Chinx: One Year Later", and is currently developing her second documentary project, as well as the completion of her first book.

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