This Friday and Saturday, Kingdom will host the second annual Epic Fest, presented by Slapdash and West Coast Kix. Previously, Epic Fest was a one-day event that took place at The Camel on Broad Street, but Slapdash has ventured beyond its previous undertakings and evolved its signature indoor festival into a massive, two-day undertaking featuring over 50 acts.
This Friday and Saturday, Kingdom will host the second annual Epic Fest, presented by Slapdash and West Coast Kix. Previously, Epic Fest was a one-day event that took place at The Camel on Broad Street, but Slapdash has ventured beyond its previous undertakings and evolved its signature indoor festival into a massive, two-day undertaking featuring over 50 acts. That’s a lot of hip hop, so the event should include a broad enough spectrum to appease even the most discriminating rap palate. With names like DJ RNS, Black Liquid, Intalek, Dr. Millionaire, Marcky Goldchain, T.I.M.E., and Mr. Ivory Snow on the bill, you can expect two straight days of the best that RVA hip hop has to offer.
The cherry atop this witches brew is Conrizzle. He and Tokyo Ave. have been tasked with sending Richmond rap heads home with a bang, capping off day two of Epic Fest on Saturday June 30th. I didn’t know much about Rizzle until lately, but my studies have given me another reason to be excited for the future of rap. Conrizzle works hard to further develop an already impressive resume. It’s not easy to rap or make beats, but he does both, and does them well. I hit him up to find out more about his accomplishments, what he’s looking forward to in the rap game, and how he plans to shut it down at Epic Fest this Saturday.
How long have you been rapping?
I’ve been rapping since I first heard “Grindin'” by the Clipse on 106 And Park’s “Videos That Barely Made It” collage! That was definitely a life changer for me! [laughs]
How did you get the name Conrizzle?
My name is Conrad, so during my rap name crisis in high school I kinda fumbled upon Conrizzle and it just stuck. My fans accepted, so I ran with it.
You’re a producer and you rap. If you had to choose to do just one for the rest of your life, which would you choose, and why?
I would easily choose producing. It would be dope for me to not have to worry about the stresses of touring, and be able to just sit back and produce movie scores, award shows, etc. But if I had the opportunity to rap, record, and tour overseas, I would definitely choose rap! I’m currently campaigning to build an international fan base because I want to go overseas with my music. I really feel like they would accept what my team and I do musically, graphic, fashion, and visually. I do know that they’re loyal to good music, and from what the people tell us, that’s definitely something we have.
I’ve heard your name spread around RVA but I didn’t realize how accomplished you were. Your resume is impressive, but what’s been your proudest moment so far?
The proudest moment in my career thus far is being called to return to my old middle school to be a guest speaker. At the same time, I was reunited with the first and only music teacher that actually believed in me, and really taught me everything that I know now, especially vocally. The kids received me so well, they were very respectful. And I will say, I didn’t expect them to be familiar with me at all, so to know that I’m able to make that type of impact just off of my music alone is amazing! Also, I performed at this year’s SXSW with Nickleus F, Suburban District, Troy Ave, etc. The event actually sold out! First time for us being there. That was pretty awesome too. Many blessings upon us.
As a producer and an MC, are there any artists under the radar that your excited at the possibility of working with?
This may surprise a lot of people, but I’m listening to a lot of Riff Raff right now, and I think he would sound dope on this new Outkast/UGK-esque collaboration EP I’m working on with Nickelus F. Our group name is going to be “Soup!” and Nickelus F and I will be rapping as two fictional characters. Nickelus F is “Sweet Petey” and I will be “Loochey Lovely.” We’re really tapping into that old underground southern sound on this project, so artists like Riff Raff, Lil Ugly Mane, etc, would be the perfect balance of ignorance! [laughs]
You’re the CEO of G5 Music Group. It must be tough running your own label. What are some of the benefits of doing so?
G5 Music is more of a movement/brand than label. It’s a stable for the artists that I believe in. G5MG consists of the artists/producers Pat Preezy, Mr. Ivory Snow, MH Tha Prez, Yung Truth, and the songstress Catrice “D’Vine” Wright. We’ve joined forces with Mark Sabb and his imprint New Vintage Films, and they handle all of our graphics and visuals. In reality we’re all just a collection of good friends that challenge and inspire each other consistently. The upcoming compilation album, entitled Do You Live On Tokyo Ave?, will be the chance for the world to hear these artists on one album all together. Ultimately, I aspire to expand this movement into a community of the best artists, songwriters, visionaries, directors, designers, etc. A worldwide monopoly! [laughs] My benefit from all of this is being able to see all my people I believe in smile, live a life of doing what they love to do, and reaping the financial benefits from it all at the same damn time!
What are some positive qualities you see currently concerning the rap game?
I love this new freedom new artists/new movements have–the fact that we can bypass all of these avenues that were once a huge factor in ones success. Now, with no record deal, no radio, no TV, it’s artists out here selling out venues, becoming millionaires off of self-funded album releases and tours. That’s crazy! So that’s what my team and I are aiming for. We’re not against record deals, and we’re not against any guidance or advice, but we want to be able to successfully tour and connect with our core demographics, and introduce a new wave and sound of music.
You’re headlining Epic Fest 2012 at Kingdom on Saturday, June 30th. Do you have anything special planned for the audience?
Of course I have special things planned for the audience, but I don’t want to over hype it. The whole G5MG family will be in the building so you can expect to hear a lot of new music and expect to see a dope ass show!
How would you describe your live show to someone who loves Hip Hop, but is unaware of you as an artist?
My live show is the epitome of sophistication and ignorance. Sorta like when you write your curses in cursive.