Maryland rapper Phil Ade, has been hard at work making a name for himself among the crowd of up and coming artist. He gained his buzz with his debut mixtape, by way of 368 Music Group, Starting on JV, and is now looking to make some real noise with his next project, The Letterman. With his raw talent and lyrical ability, there’s no doubt that he will find some level of success among his industry peers. This is what he had to tell Parlé about his roots and how it all got started.
Parlé: Where are you from and how has your hometown and its personality influenced your music?
Phil Ade: Well, I’m from the Maryland area. That’s the area I represent, and I rep to the fullest, but I’ve also lived in Florida, in Alabama, and in California. I guess Maryland you could say, is where I found my home. All those different places I lived influenced my music, and I think my music is diversified since I come from all those places. So, each plays a big part in influencing my music.
Parlé: Why music? What made you decide on music?
Phil Ade: I wouldn’t say it’s something I decided on, it just kind of fell in place. [Music] is just something that felt right for me to do. My family, my mother’s side of the family had deep roots in music. My grandfather was in a singing group, both my uncles sing, my mother would sing around the house, my brother he sings also. He stays out in Cali, he performs here and there. Music is definitely in my family, more so singing. I was a singer first, until my high school junior year, when I picked up rapping. I’ve always been a fan of Hip-Hop though.
Parlé: At what point in your life did you say, “I’m going to make my name known in the music business and nothing’s going to stop me”?
Phil Ade: It was when I went to college. Like I said, I started my junior year of high school and I was doing it for fun, but I think it clicked for me when I went to this college in Alabama called Oakwood University. I stayed there for one semester and while I was down there I linked up with this go-go band and I rapped and sang with them. We performed at this place called Home Port, I believe it was every Tuesday, and just that experience of being onstage, performing and interacting with the crowd, and creating music like that took most of my energy while I was out there. I realized, ‘Man, this is what I have a passion for, this is what I enjoy.’ So, when I came back after school was out, I went all in and decided I wanted to do music.
Parlé: There are a lot of different rap styles. You got your conscious rappers, your gangster rappers, your lyricists, more commercial artist, etc. What category do you feel like you fall into as a rapper?
Phil Ade: What category? I wouldn’t categorize my raps. I’m not a gangster rapper because I’m not your typical hood dude, I’m just a regular dude from the burbs, know what I’m saying? Umm, I wouldn’t categorize myself as anything, I just try to do me. I create the best possible music that I can, just from life experiences and the things I encounter. I’m not sure what box you’d put me in, but I don’t like to put myself in a box.
Parlé: What old school artist, group, or past rappers would you say most influence the sound and texture of your music?
Phil Ade: I would say, definitely Nas, Tribe Called Quest, I listen to them a lot. Kanye, I’m a big fan of Kanye and how he puts music together. Lupe, his lyricism is undeniable. Umm, of course Jay-Z, definitely how he never keeps the same flow when he raps, like every song he does, he always puts a twist to the sound of his voice and I like his creativity as far as that. Yea I would say those cats.
Parlé: I know you’re working with Raheem DeVaughn, are you signed with him?
Phil Ade: I officially signed in April to his label that he started up out here in DC, its called 368 Music Group. Umm it’s a grass roots movement, you know what I’m saying, starting from the ground up and I’m blessed to be the first artist on that label.
Parlé: Definitely a blessing. Now, Raheem is from Maryland himself. Does that have anything to do with how you two came across each other?
Phil Ade: Oh yea definitely, that college I went to, Oakwood, I met a dude that stayed in the suite next to mine and I use to go in there because a lot of my friends from back home stayed in that suite also. But, when I use to go into his suite I use to freestyle rap with the dudes in there and he kind of just noticed and told his brother. His brother happened to be best friends with Raheem.
Phil Ade: Yeah, so that’s how I got linked into that situation. And what’s funny about that is that the dude I met at the college, he hadn’t seen his brother in ten years, like he had just linked with his brother and told his brother about me, so its just seemed like everything was just aligning for the path to take off.
Parlé: Wow. Yeah, that’s what you call a blessing right there.
Phil Ade: Yea definitely.
Parlé: It’s said that the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area itself, has an old soul. So when you’re writing, rapping, and performing, what generation are you looking or aiming to touch as far as age groups or even genres?
Phil Ade: Wow... (laugh)That’s a good question. That’s something, I never really think about making music. I just make what I like to hear, and I like to hear all sort of music. I like jazz, I like R & B, I’m a big R & B fan. Like I said my family sings a lot and I’m a Hip-Hop fan so my music touches on all those different genres. Like for real for real, I’m hoping that my music can touch all ages and all different cultures. I make music for everybody.
Parlé: What are you currently working on?
Phil Ade: Well the next big thing I got coming up, my next major thing is my next project. When we released the first one last year in July, it was called Starting on JV that’s up there on 368MusicGroup.com. That’s my first project, that kind of like broke me in and got me a little bit of a buzz. Now we are working on the next track, and we trying to take it to another level. I’m calling this joint The Letterman, umm I’m going to give you some background on the whole concept of my mix tapes.
Parlé: Please do.
Phil Ade: Like I said, the first joint is Starting on JV and its an idea that Dre came to me with, Dre is a co-owner at 368. He was sitting brainstorming about what I wanted to do with my project and he was like, ‘Man you should compare the game with high school basketball and so basically my first mix tape, Starting on JV, would make the statement that I’m one of the best upcoming cats, like I’m starting out on JV. It’s like your varsity cats would be the established artists like Jay-Z and Lupe and Diddy and all them big cats. JV would be like dudes coming out like J-Cole, Wale and Kid Cudi. Basically just making the statement like I’m one of the best coming out.
This next joint we’re calling The Letterman, and basically that’s when you get your varsity jacket and get your varsity letter on your jacket, and that’s making the statement that I’m ready to be an established artist in the game and to be respected and to get mine. So that’s the next joint I got coming. Also Raheem, you know he is releasing his album in March, Love and War Masterpiece, that’s going to be real big for the whole company and for him and also for me, so he is going to be taking me on his tour. They’re going around the world, so that’s going to be big, that’s going to be my first major tour I’m going to be on.
Parlé: What artist in the game right now would you say is someone that you have to collaborate with someday? Somebody you’re looking forward to working with eventually in your career?
Phil Ade: I’d say, despite all the hype about him and not just because he is a hot artist right now but, Drake. He is definitely what’s hot right now and it’s because he does so well putting music together and writing songs. Like his writing abilities are phenomenal, so it would be dope to be able to do something with him.