Conley P grew up in the tumultuous streets of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. As a child his parents tried to keep him sheltered from the streets, by finding a home in God’s house, keeping him under the wing of the Lord, however Conley could not completely abandon his surroundings. He was shot at the age of 13, a case of the wrong place at the wrong time that would change his life in more ways than one. From his hospital bed he wrote rhymes and after hearing Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push,” his life aspirations were finalized-he wanted to be a rapper.
Described as a BK rapper with a Midwest flow, Conley P is poetic and versatile. His ability to tell stories bridging history lessons with modernized social issues while maintaining the gritty hip-hop element is unique and almost necessary for the rap industry. As an underground rapper he is ready to break out, check out my interview with Conley P as he talks about being a victim of gun violence in Brooklyn,the need for conscious rappers, and his mixtapes F.A.L.L. and Idelwild 826.
You are from the home of Biggie and Jay, how has Brooklyn influenced your music?
Brooklyn practically raised me. It’s like a force that pushed me into this culture of hip hop. I come from a very Christian family, with strict views and non-secular morals. Just being in Brooklyn, I heard hip hop on the streets, in cars, boomboxes and stores. It was everywhere, and more importantly I seen what I’ve heard. I was shot at 13 in Brooklyn. I wouldn’t say my music screams Brooklyn, but my borough is responsible for the ignorance, pain and love in my lyrics I’ve experienced firsthand.
You were shot? What happened?
it was a wrong place, wrong time time. I spent a total of 8 months in the hospital and went thru more than 13 surgeries. It set me back in school and stunted my social life completely, I had 5 pounds of iron protruding out my right arm, holding my bone together along with screws that wil be in there for the rest of my life. At that point I just started writing rhymes. I wrote a lot in the hospital. Since I had 0 use of my right arm, I had to learn how to use my left. I wrote a lot of rhymes on my spare time.
I know from your bio you were influenced by Lupe Fiasco? Is that what inspired your “Midwest” flow?
Lupe Fiasco is the most inspirational lyricist I’ve ever heard, in my life. In first heard him when “Kick, Push” went viral. I wasn’t sure why I enjoyed the song, but the blend of hood and nerd intrigued me. Once I hunted more of his work down, I felt like I belonged. He embodied what I felt made me unique as a person and artist. Lupe Fiasco inspires me to teach. His style of music and wordplay inspired me to be more innovative with my art and express simple things in deeper words to help expand the thoughts of my audience. Listening to him taught me how to take care of my listeners, steer them right and respect the many literary terms to writing there are, keep yourself in your music.
Lets talks about your listeners and the type of rapper you are, would you consider yourself as a conscious rapper?
I would say conscious is good word to describe me as a rapper. I can’t claim I don’t like strip clubs, or haven’t sold any type of drug, but I definitely stress awareness in my craft. The messages I share are primarily based off my views, which can be something radical, sometimes typical. Maybe I’m a sub-conscious rapper?
How important is a conscious effort to remain socially inclined as a rapper?
It means everything to an artist like me. I love my supporters, and the fact they can absorb my messages excites me to the highest level. I personally try my best to stay in the faces, arms and minds of those who love rap. Money motivates a lot in this industry, but it’s the society you speak to that holds your revenue. Society- the fans are one of the most important things an artist has stay alive in this ever-changing time.
Do you think there is room in the hip-hop industry for artists such as yourself, especially with the demand of stripper music and beat heavy songs?
An ever-changing industry like this has room for things I never thought would be accepted, so it better have room for my kind of rap. Hip-hop is still a young culture, but I don’t think it’s controlled by young people anymore. You don’t hear much ‘boo’s’ at shows anymore, and dislike is widely frowned upon these days. Negativity in hip hop isn’t welcomed right now, it’s like there are no longer any gatekeepers for the game. That alone makes me feel like there’s room for me, as long as my message can generate income, there’s plenty listeners in the shadows seeking a new form of light to help shine. This positivity/unity surge in hip hop also leaves room for mediocrity though, so it’s getting crowded quick.
Your word play is awesome, on F.A.L.L (Forever And Long Live) can you talk a about the metaphorical imagery you displayed on “Crystal Waters?”
‘Crystal Waters’ was an embodiment of actual feelings, love I have for a woman that’s special to me. The poetic background of my work lets wordplay come extremely easy, so I focus a lot on the flow and message. For CW, I wanted the audience to smell the calm waves and white sand from a winter project window, like how she made me feel. There’s quadruple-entendres all over that track, sexually, mentally and passionately comparing love to a getaway trip. I’m not a lover all the time, so the imagery meant a lot to me.
You dropped your latest mixtape of freestyles ‘Idelwild 826’ May 2013, what was the concept behind that eclectic album?
Idlewild (826) is a freestyle album on industry beats. It started when I woke up one day from a dream. In the dream, it was 1960, and I saw a plane explode in the sky. After research, I learned an air disaster happened right over Brooklyn in 1960. At the time they called it “the worse air tragedy in history” but today there are no memorials in the area, or even mention of it. Most people don’t know it happened, its like a lost piece of history. That just reminded me of east coast Hip Hop, the literary terms that were used in rap made it unique, true art. I feel like only simple similes and metaphors remain now. A few personifications of liquor, weed or money still happen here and there, but all-in-all this era of 5-word bars in rap gives it an empty feeling in the game. Artists can’t even deliver their flows correctly anymore, and everyone is letting it fly. Guess I’m not open minded enough.
Check Out Idelwild 826:
You like to enlighten people with your lyrics, can you give me an example of how you do that?
I only wish to inspire people to think without fear. I feel like so many goals are left unfinished, and people are so easily manipulated because of their fears. Thus, people have artificial desires now. I say “What makes you figure that worth is what you got? Jewelry is f****ng rock & clothes are made from livestock. Cotton is a kind of crop, some n***a still dying to cop,” In this era, the path of an entrepreneur is rough, time/money consuming and not guaranteed. That’s any path really, but people have become completely petrified to chase their dreams of since times are harder.
On Black Faces you rap, “How is ignorance wrong, if it’s bliss? that would mean happiness? It’s a dream, it’s a myth…it’s obscene, don’t exist. What you mean? I progress..I’m a King” That’s deep, what were you thinking about for that freestyle?
Black Faces is a beat that spoke to me, it allowed me to really flow freely on it about the ways of the world, and how the faces of the people aren’t individual to anyone. We are trapped within mass stereotypes, oppression and ethics that make us question the things that make us truly feel good. There are lot of messages in the song. It’s free for anyone to take from, if you feel like you’re just a black face, another random person in an endless society.
If you had to sum in it up what is your message, what do you want people to take from your music?
My message in a nutshell, is to find yourself and cherish your originality. I’m a very confident person, but I think everyone has something to bring to the world. We’re in a collapsing system, and now’s the time to inspire and help others grow. I don’t want to come off as a super-positive junkie because I understand the dark in people’s hearts. As an artist I want to inspire listeners to only do things they can be proud of and never worry about what others feel.
Whats next for Conley P?
I’m currently working on another major project. Since ‘Idlewild (826)’ was strictly a freestyle mixtape on industry beats, I took the time to use the relationships I’ve gained with producers over these 2 years of pursuing a rap career. I’ve collected unique, purely original beats for an entire project (for the first time). The project shall be called ‘Infinity Era’. You’ll be able to hear it, and all previous music projects all around the web. Also, ConleyP.com should be functional for autumn. I hope everyone gives it a try, especially if you’re seeking something different.