Chicago has always been labeled as an interesting city. You have the creative side of the city which showcases the new innovators and influencers of today’s society and then you have the vast amount of violence that has overcome and still continues to dawn on Chicaogeons. Living deep in the city and experiencing everything that Chi-town has to offer is the young rapper and DePaul University Bio major, Femdot.
Balancing a school life as well as a flourishing rap career, Femdot has proven himself to be one of the best rising rappers coming out of the midwest. Using his hometown influences such as Twista, Common, Crucial Conflict, Kanye West and more, the young rapper creates stories talking about his everyday life and the lives of others around him. He uses his Chicago surroundings and the nonstop violence as a way to vent but more so a way to shed light on what others seem to sweep under the rug. “The music is just a reflection of the times,” Femdot says. “The violence is told from all perspectives out here.”
The Chicago MC dropped his highly anticipated 20/20 hour project earlier this year and that has put his name on a pedestal tremendously. There were four parts to the 20/20 hour EP which were fo(u)r, thr(we), to(u) and (u)no. Each part of the EP told a different story and drove different emotions. ” It was like dropping a bunch of memoirs just to find out they all form one larger story,” Femdot said. With the release of that project, the rising rapper gained notoriety from some of the biggest music platforms in the business and although he’s still continuing his education as a Bio student, he consistently puts his name on anything he can musically.
We had the opportunity to set down with Femdot to discuss his music, his influences, the violence in Chicago and his big plans for 2017 and beyond. Read it below. Also, be sure to check out his video for “Soul” as well as streaming his 20/20 hour project.
What you got you into rapping?
Femdot: Two things: My older brother and Jay-Z. My oldest brother was a rapper when he was younger and pretty much introduced the whole family to hip-hop. I wanted to be like him. Rap was our connection so he got me appreciating and listening to the game early. And Jay-Z was the first rapper I gravitated to. “Dead Presidents” was the first music video I have the memory of watching and Reasonable Doubt was the first album (besides the Space Jam soundtrack) that I owned.
Who or what do you use as influences for your music.
Femdot: My influences come really specifically from surroundings, my own personal life and the lives of those around me. My music is super personal and I feel it’s pretty apparent. It keeps things authentic. But in terms of other rap influences my friends, my older brother, Hov, Nas, Tribe, Kendrick, Big L, B.I.G., Big Pun, Mobb Deep, Bump J, Crucial Conflict, Cole, DMX, Ye, Fela Kuti. I mean the list is hella long. I study rap like it’s homework so every week I switch out about 4-5 rappers that I analyze.
There seems to a lot of rising talent coming out of Chicago. Aside from your lyrical ability, how do you manage to differentiate yourself?
Femdot: I tell my story. It’s really hard to sound like someone else when you are talking about you. The emotion is different. The delivery is different. The connection is different. I focus on trying to be as me as possible.
Can you briefly explain how the violence in Chicago has changed the city as far as the music is concerned?
Femdot: I mean the music has always been a reflection of the situation in the city. Common talked about it on Resurrection, Crucial Conflict, Twista, Bump and etc. There’s always been the connection. I mean like once drill started booming it was really because niggas was dying. Like Pappy, Jo Jo, LA Capone. (Rest in Peace) Like these niggas was really still in the life they were rapping about, man. Like the music is just a reflection of the times. But with that being said, the violence also affects different people differently. Some speak on the good that’s in Chicago and they paint a different narrative and we also have people who can reflect on the pain they feel due to it. With music, the violence is told from all perspectives out here. The shooter, the one shot at, the bystander, the family of the victim etc. Now with the internet, the music has put a bright light on Chicago’s violence which brings awareness kind of but also brings glorification.
Explain what it was like working with the Red Bull Sound Select program.
Femdot: Red Bull Sound Select are really good people, man. They are so for the artist. They want to help you succeed and to have a corporation that will be willing to grow with you is wonderful. They helped break so many artists and I am just happy to be a part. The show they curate is always super crazy and full of great opportunities. All I have to do is hold up my end and continue to progress as an artist.
How do you manage to be a full-time Bio major as well as a rising rapper? What type of sacrifices do you have to make to make sure things get done on both ends?
Femdot: It’s definitely a constant give and take. I do homework in green rooms. I finish labs before shows. I type papers on the road. It’s a lot but it’s smooth you know? Like it keeps me on my toes. Time management is super critical because I have to make the most of every minute I have because I know I have so much to juggle. So when I finish school, having that skill, and being able to fill it up with tasks besides biostatistics and anatomy, will definitely help with me mapping out the rest of career.
Why did you decide to drop “The 20/20 hour” the way you did with the separate EPs?
Femdot: It’s a super deep, hella long process. But in a nutshell, I wanted to release things in a way that you experience the music differently. For each separate EP there are different feelings and overall themes I wanted to get across, but when all compiled together you hear it a different way. It was more than just dropping random projects for relevance. It was like dropping a bunch of memoirs just to find out they all form one larger story.
What’s next for Femdot? Any new music or visuals dropping soon?
Femdot: We have a short story for the EP to(u). coming super soon. A bunch of new videos from the rest of “20/20” and some new music too. But really we preparing for my next project “Delacreme II”. So yeah, stay tuned for that.