First off, I got to start off this interview by saying you are by far the hardest working artist I ever met, now with that being put out there, Wassup Ceaser Live Soul? I really appreciate that, thanks. I'm doing great fam, just working hard to make 2012 a very successful year.
1. When did you first start rapping and how did you come up with your stage name? I first started rappin' in my junior year of high school. It was around the time that the "Grindin" beat was real popular and every lunch period had at least two tables of 5 kids each with cyphas goin' on with that familiar beat pattern. I was in Miami at the time and the cyphas were big, I mean you could get hood famous from killin the cypha which was really like battle raps mixed with dope 16's. I remember my first rhyme was directed the the most popular kid in my lunch period, 'cause I figured if I'm gonna get noticed I might as well take out the reigning champ. So I go in and push my way through the crowd to go at "Rockwell's" neck. I spit my 16's and had people lookin' at me like "yo, who is this kid?" I caught homeboy off guard cause nobody had directly challenged him for a few weeks and so his responses wasn't as lethal as mine. He was a good sport though cause he gave me my props and then that's when the other rappers jumped in to get at the new guy. . . me. At this time my pen name was only "Ceaser", I was paying homage to my favorite character in history, Caesar Augustus, one of the last great Roman Emperors. I always felt the urge to dominate, plan, and conquer. Whether it was my bicycle repair hustle as a kid or workin' my way up the social ladder in high school bein' the "Brooklyn kid" in Miami. The "Live Soul" in my name came in 'bout three years later as I was reflecting on my first few live shows and writing. People would say how my presence on stage was so "live" as if I was coming up with the rhymes on the spot instead of just reciting something I wrote. The "Soul" in my name comes from me feeling and knowing that everything I write does come from my soul. So with a firm conviction my name is Ceaser Live Soul, forever.
2. I see you are from Brooklyn, NY, with so many talented artists that came out of Brooklyn, do feel under pressure to become successful? Yes, I certainly do. Brooklyn has a spirit of hustle like no other place I have been to or city I've lived in. Brooklyn does not reward mediocrity or weakness. In Brooklyn if you are wack or just not that good, you will get boo'ed and the whole block will know about you bein' wack. Now if that makes you go back and write some better material then great, but if it makes you put the pen down then in Brooklyn's eyes that's even better. So that is the pressure I feel to be great and I think that is the same pressure that push rappers like Fabolous, Maino, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, and many more to be the best.
3. When I hear your music, I hear so many different styles, who are your biggest music influences and why? My biggest influences in music are Michael Jackson, James Brown, Nasir Jones, Tupac, and Wyclef Jean. Each of those men for a different reason and yet there are two things they all have in common and those things are, real music with true emotions and a tireless work ethic. What I get from the late great Michael Jackson is a hunger for perfection and a desire to make my live show absolutely captivating. Same with the late great James Brown, he put his all into his music and let it all hang out every night. With Nas, I really embraced the power of the pen to make the world move. With my homie Wyclef, I see a man who cares more about making a difference in the world than just putting out songs about flossing and nonsense.
4. I seen you perform several times, I remember when you used to perform without a band, how did you link up with your band? I actually linked up with my band at an open mic in Philly about two years ago. I was about to go up and do my set of three songs when I asked these young white guys who had come to play if they would like to back me up. They said yea and so we went up there basically free-styling the set. It was horrible for the first two songs because my drummer wasn't on time with the the beat I had playing and the guy with the guitar couldn't get his guitar to work. So for the third song I told the sound guy to drop the beat and just let me rock with the live drums and my vocals, it was a hit, the place went nuts for the live, fresh hip hop and from then on we've built it up to the pieces we have today.
5. You put out a single called "Love Letter" that gave you a nice buzz, what gave you inspiration to make a song like that? "Love Letter" is definitely a successful song in my eyes. I have gotten FM radio play, digital distribution worldwide on iTunes with Island Def Jam, paid college gigs, and more female fans on account of the story and the production by my homie Kickin J. That song right there is the true story of a relationship I was in that really pulled at my heart strings. It was a beautiful long distance relationship that ended with some bruised feelings and me wishing through it all, that she and I had stayed together. Honestly, I think the song really speaks for it self, I don't want to break it down any further for privacy reasons.
6. Is there anybody in the industry right now you would like to a do collaboration with?My dream collaboration would be with DJ Premier. His production and his views on true Hip Hop really resonate with me. I caught up with him via twitter and he basically told me to get my weight up and if I was that nice we would cross paths one day, so you know I'm grinding extra hard to make that happen. As far as other artists, I would want to work with all of my influences of course but I'll let the universe dictate what happens, all I can do it be the best at what I do.
7. Being as though you reside in Philly now, what do you think about the Philly music scene? The Philly music scene in general is alive and well as far as neo-soul, R&B, and punk rock go. Philly Hip Hop however has been painted into this corner by less than talented rappers who give the art form a bad name. If 95% of all the rappers you meet in Philly are talking about guns, drugs, fuckin' your bitch, and gettin' wasted, its no wonder none of them are making it on the radio, none of them are doing positive things like high school tours, and none of them are embraced by the masses. People unfamiliar with Hip Hop can only see the wanna-be Rick Ross', wanna-be Wacka Flockas, and wanna-be Roscoe Dash's. I hate the fact that Philly and even New York in some cases has let the Southern sound infiltrate the way it has. I can't feel a rapper who is on a "Rick Ross sounding beat" but you grew up in Philly, or New Jersey, or New York. The worst and most popular excuse I hear from Philly rappers and DJs is that this kind of music "is what is selling right now". I thought Hip Hop was about being different and fresh, not blending in. My advice is to drop the tough guy act, be yourself, and create your own sound.
8. So how did you link up with the Grammy Award winning artist/producer Wyclef Jean and his Warrior Movement? I attended a meet and greet back in 2010 while Wyclef was unveiling his new Timberland Boot. I wanted to ask him if he would be willing to let me open up his next tour. He asked me if I had any songs on iTunes, I said no and he said "why not? Its not that hard to do" He was actually putting me on to game, by showing me holes in my plan. He then went on to explain to me that he had just created the Warrior Movement and that the movement was not just about music and if I truly wanted to be down it couldn't be to just get my music out riding anyone's coat tails. The Warrior Movement represents the struggle of people of all walks of life who are striving for a better life. You are a warrior if you are putting yourself through school, providing for your family, fighting for your rights, and standing up for those who are too weak to fight for themselves. Ever since then the Warrior Movement has grown to over 2.2 million followers online and I have a strong unit I can call family no matter what part of the world I'm in.
9. Do have any offers on the table from record labels? Haha, I laugh at this question because I'm such an anti-establishment type of artist as far as "wanting to get signed". I feel like there won't be any offers from any U.S. labels until its too late and I won't want or need them anymore. I have just recently been signed to an independent record label based in France, Les Disque D'en Face, which loosely translated means, In Your Face Records. For my first international release my debut EP will be titled "So Sick" executive produced by Tony Zeta. The project will come out this Summer worldwide and I have plans for a European tour this Fall. Things are looking good.
10. Let the people out there know what projects and performances you have coming up and where they can find you on social media sites. Shout out all your peoples also!!! Right now I am working on my as yet untitled debut EP for the U.S. released through my own imprint, Live Soul Nation. I've got a new studio home at Double S Studios at 1122 Spring Garden St. we charge $35 an hour and have full mixing and mastering services, follow our chief engineer on twitter @conroy808walker. Look out for my first promo single of the year, "Hustle Hard", video coming soon. My next show will be February 15th in Brooklyn at The Trash Bar - 256 Grand St. - $7 cover - Open bar from 8p to 9p. Big shout out to Kickin J, all my Live Soul Angels, all my Warriors, and everyone else who is adding on to this journey! Peace and thanks for having me Mr. OneHundred!