Check out the new song from B. “Streets” Riley – Wing Span
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I’m originally from Raleigh, NC. I got my start back in 2002 at Sanderson High School with a group called T.P. (Truth Productions) with two other members, that group lasted about a year. Then I linked up with Lazurus, S. Gold and Rsonist who are all also from Raleigh and we formed the group Lazrso. From there we did a lot of shows around the city and put out a few mixtapes and gained the attention of a local college hip hop group called H20, of which all four of us became members. From this point, we linked up with Kooley High, Rapsody and a bunch of other Justus league members including 9th wonder. For whatever reason, we kept crossing paths with 9th but it just wasn’t in the cards for us to get down with his movement at that time.
I joined the Navy in 2005 and moved to Japan where I got a lot of my beats out and worked with numerous Japanese artists, including Kojoe (Rawkus 50), Ish One and more. I also opened up for the likes of Flo Rida, T-pain, Lloyd Banks etc. During my time traveling I focused heavily on networking and joined forces with Foreign Affairs Promotion group. Since I’ve been back to the states (2009) movement has been a little slow, but I’m back to the beats and rhymes and dropping mixtapes once again.
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
“Wing Span” is the first song off of my upcoming album “The Skywriter.” It’s just a really fun record, shouts out to the homie Bravestarr for producing this one. I think it took all of about an hour or so once I heard the beat to jump into lyrical mode and knock this one out. I originally wasn’t going to put it out, but one of my artists William Supernova and a producer friend of mine who was there when I recorded it felt that people should hear that side of me. It’s definitely grown on me. I like it because it’s raw lyricism and word play, and that’s what really started me on rap in the first place. I hope people like this joint as much as I do.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
I’d have to say getting heard. One of the things I think people who are looking to invest in a music career don’t realize is exactly how saturated the game is. I usually like to stick to a more hip-hop rooted soulful sound because that’s just how I vibe, but the fact of the matter is most of what’s out right now in the mainstream is not heavily focused on lyricism and soul music like that. So at times it can be tough to find that median between the two worlds.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
I never want to say that joining the service is a set back, I’ve enjoyed my time in the service. I try to use every experience as an opportunity to network with people from different parts of the world. But in a sense, it’s a setback because every couple of years I ended up restarting in a new location, or being gone for months and months at a time. It’s like a big inevitable reset button every so often. It’s a double edged sword. But the internet is key in being able to maximize on utilizing that as a networking experience. I never would have imagined back in 2005 that I would have connects in some of the places that I have them. Network equals net worth, so you have to literally body all opportunities to gain new connects, whatever it takes. Shouts out to Steve Newland (@iamstevenewland) for teaching me that one.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
For starters, you have to be careful of your attitude. I have learned this one the hard way a couple times. Though you may feel you are being humble in your ways, others might look at something you do and think you’re being cocky or arrogant, which can also translate into your music. Learn from others’ mistakes (i.e. people already in the industry). Second, be careful of your pride and don’t to burn bridges because people out here these days feel like they have something to prove, and you might miss opportunities due to your ego.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Keep your grind 100. If you really have your heart in this you have to put value in your craft, meaning you have to do whatever it takes to get your music out through the proper channels and you have to get heard by more than just your “homeboys.” Open mic nights no matter how big or small are a wonderful venue to get heard and also hone your skills. Find one in your local area, go there and drop a track once a week or so, pass out a few CDs and get feedback from the people. It’s an intimate setting, so it’s a great way to get your name out via word of mouth and grow yourself a diverse fan base.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
As I mentioned earlier, open mics are near and dear to me because I really do every time that reset button comes around again. It’s how I re-build that buzz. I also direct my own music videos and vlogs. I produce a lot of my own tracks, record and master them, do my own album art. But really I think in this technologically savvy day and age we live in, the visuals help a great deal. They really help to bring the vision of a song to fruition.