INTERVIEW: CGuk catch up with NYC recording artist Balfred
23 Year Old NYC rapper has started to pave his own unique way into the rap game with his wavy sound, he stands out from most upcoming rappers this year. You can listen to his latest single 'Recruited' featuring OG CHE$$ here via SoundCloud. Our team heard his sound and instantly gravitated to it, we wanted to give ourselves and the audience a greater insight into Belfred and his musical story and inspirations.
(Q) Luis James: Firstly, I always think it is good to share your journey so the listeners can understand your music a bit more, how did you start getting involved in the music scene?
Balfred: "My music journey started when I was about 12. I taught myself guitar because I fell in love with rock and roll music at an early age. I used to watch slash play solos for hours on end. I never taught myself chords I only would teach myself how to play the solos because chords used to bore the hell out of me. I played for about a year until football and school took over and I went to high school. I got into rap music and found Mixtapes when I was about 14. Weezy became my favourite artist immediately. I listen to him everyday pretty much. My own rap journey started when I was about 18-19. I started rapping for a while and released some songs under a different name but once I went to college and started playing ball I really didn't have the time or money to pay for beats and studio time, so I picked up photoshop. I taught myself how to use photoshop to make mixtape covers, logos, flyers and everything. I first did graphics under ver$ache van Goh ( to this day I don't know where I got that name from ) but I had some success, I did graphics for Jacquees, Cash Money Records, YFN Lucci, Yo Gotti, Iman shumpert, and a bunch of other people. It gave me the opportunity to talk with artists and get a feel for the industry. In the meantime, I was teaching myself FL Studio from time to time trying to learn how the program worked. I knew I wanted to learn how to make beats at some point. About a year ago, I decided I had a good enough grasp on graphics, so I started to make some beats. They were absolute trash but I kept working here and there. Around November or December of 2016 I started taking it more seriously because my girlfriend was telling me I was good (because she was the only person I would let hear anything) so I finally started releasing some beats and got a traktrain account. My man Throwed Tobin has been teaching me stuff and I watch a bunch of tutorials constantly trying to up my production game. I made that "recruited" beat almost two months before its release during some random cook up session I was having and stumbled across it a week before I sent it to Che$$. I released my first track on may 5th with OG Che$$ off my upcoming mixtape and that's how we got to where we are now."
(Q) Luis James: How old were you when you started to take your music career more serious?
Balfred: "I really started taking my music career seriously this year. I never really had the confidence to take it seriously till recently and I started using all my connections from graphics over the years to get placements and network with artists and Dj's.
(Q) Luis James: When did you release your first single?
Balfred: "My first single ever was in 2013 and it was on an old DJ Wats mixtape but my first mixtape as Balfred was May 5th"
(Q) Luis James: What is your favourite record that you have put out and why?
Balfred: "My favorite (and only) track I've release is Recruited because I played college football so I remember being in all recruiting websites and all that. I might have a new favorite though once my man rocky banks sends back his verse."
(Q) Luis James: Who has influenced your music and why?
Balfred: "no particular order but Lil Wayne (he is first) , Bun B, Andre 3K, Z-Ro, Big Boi, MGK, DubXX, partynextdoor, KEY!, Ye', Tyler the Creator, Uzi, thouxanbandfani, Carti, Warhol.SS, Keith Ape, XXX, DMX, Big KRIT, Project Pat, Juicy j, The Hotboyz, Guns N Roses, Van Halen , Roy Woods, 24HRS, Danny Seth and I'm sure I'm missing some others.
"Producing wise: ( in no particular order) Metro Boomin, Throwed Tobin, Internet Money, Manny Fresh, Juicy J, Mexiko Dro, Sizzle, TM88, Cardo, Murda, OG Parker, Tyler the Creator, Ye', Zach Nahome, MD$ Zaytoven, Nard & B, XL, Jazzy Phae, Timbaland, Cassius Jay, Apex Martin, Ducko Mcfli, and again I'm sure I'm missing some people I listen to a lot of music to get a lot of vibes."
(Q) Luis James: Is there anyone you have would like to collaborate with that you haven't already worked with?
Balfred: "There are a lot of artists I wanna work with : Pollarri, Danny Seth, KEY!, Uzi, Carti, Maxo Kream, Nessly, Project Pat, Tyler the Creator but the biggest one for me would Lil Wayne."
(Q) Luis James: Do you have any future projects in mind?
Balfred: "I have a track I'm releasing with my man Rocky Banks produced by me and hosted by the OG himself, DJ Hustlenomics coming out within the next week. I have a tape coming out this summer hosted by Hustlenomics, DJ Fly Guy, and DJ OK da General and I'm always trying to get new placements and work with as many artists as possible."
(Q) Luis James: Where do you see your music taking you in the next five years?
Balfred: "I know I'm going to make a name for myself with producing and rapping and I don't mean that to sound arrogant I just believe you become what you think about. You can't leave stuff up to chance, it's all in your mind. I see myself creating a solid fan base, releasing albums, and doing tours. I also see myself producing mixtapes, singles, and albums for other artists. I see myself running my independent label Public Capital, because I want to keep everything in house and have full creative control of my music, merchandise, touring, and artwork. I also see myself being a creative director. A lot to do in the next few years."