KillerHipHop Exclusive | An0maly Interview
An0maly has been grinding on YouTube for a few years. He has independently built a solid online following of 15,000 subscribers with over 3 million video views. He’s known for his cold freestyles and his participation in cyphers alongside YouTube stars like D-Pryde and Traphik. Recently, An0m’ dropped the camera and hit the studio for a 9 track project titled Acid Dreams.
We caught up with An0maly, and we talked about his rap beginnings, crafting the perfect freestyle, the negative aspects of YouTube, 2012′s MC Showcase, Acid Dreams, Revolution Rap and more. Hit the jump for the full interview.
QuezKHH: Who’s An0maly?
An0maly: I’m a hip-hop artist, and a poet. I grew up in central New Jersey. I moved around a lot but I stayed in central New Jersey ’til I went to college. I went out to West Virginia University for a few years. I dropped out to pursue music, but I still come down there frequently. I’m actually down there right now. So it’s like my other home.
KHH: So when did you start rapping?
An0maly: I started taking it seriously, probably a few years ago. But I used to rap like in 7th grade, and even in 3rd grade. I used to write poems and stuff. I was kind of into the whole rhyming. Once I heard about hip-hop in Middle School I started messing around. But I started taking it seriously a few years ago, and I realized it was what I wanted to be.
KHH: What’s one of your biggest goals?
An0maly: I just want to make a living. A comfortable living. I don’t have to be a huge star. I don’t want anything too crazy as long as I can make a living off it where I can live comfortably [to] help my family, survive, and make music that people listen to and get inspired by. That’ll be cool.
KHH: Why did you start uploading videos to YouTube?
An0maly: I guess when I was in High School. Towards the end I made a [video] with this Japanese producer. I wrote that, and I uploaded it, and it got some good feedback. I was kind of just messing around. At that time I thought I was good, but now looking back I wasn’t. I just kept with it, and entered this contest. I won freshmen year, so [that was] like 3 or 4 years ago. I won it and it got me some exposure. So I was like oh shit, keep with it while I have some eyes on me. I just got better over time. Even before I was good, for whatever reason I thought I was good [laughs]. It was always something I wanted to do. So I just put my mind to it, and never looked back.
KHH: There’s millions of freestyle videos on YouTube. Most aren’t successful, but yours are. What’s the key to a successful YouTube freestyle?
An0maly: There’s a few things that go into it. I think titling is important. Timing is very important as far as getting eyes on you. When you do it, if you get on a hot beat real early you can get the views, but at the same time it’s got to be dope. A lot of people upload it and if it’s wack, it might get a decent amount of views, but it won’t really catch on because nobody is sharing it. You got to figure out what people are trying to search for, and then if they get their eyes on you, it’s all about what people think about you. Just try to get the right beat that people are looking for and make [it] memorable.
KHH: There are many advantages to presenting your music on YouTube, but what’s one disadvantage that you’ve found?
An0maly: If there’s anything, it’s people’s perception of you. They label you a YouTube rapper, and they think that means that you’re not a real rapper, that you just upload videos. I have a lot of people in my music fam, that’s part of the YouTube community. We’re all spread out but it’s never like we’re not real rappers or real musicians. It just seems like that’s the proper [brand]. YouTube is one of the biggest music outlets. So it just makes sense that if you wanted to go on a big scale, and not just have people from your hometown know about you, to go onto YouTube. I would say the only disadvantage is people over-looking you. Like, oh he’s not a real rapper. He’s a YouTube rapper. I don’t really think that’s the case. I think everyone on YouTube are good rappers. [We're] just misunderstood. [YouTube] is an outlet that a lot of people use so we try to take advantage of it.
KHH: I also noticed that your YouTube account name is “Suburban Invasion.” Is there any meaning behind that?
An0maly: I wish I could honestly change that. That was a joke I had in High School. There was a battle of the bands and to joke around me and my friends didn’t even rap; we just made a group called Suburban Invasion as a joke, and just had girls shaking their asses and stuff like that [laughs]. That was some bullshit. There’s not really a big meaning. I made that even before I started uploading videos. An0maly is completely unrelated, but it’s too late to change it because I have all those subscribers. That’s also the funny thing about YouTube. Everyone kind of has funny YouTube channel names that no one really wants [laughs]. They didn’t think I don’t know. I guess when you put your [YouTube channel] name as that and then you start coming out with your brand and what not, then your like ah man. It just kind of happened so fast. Like I wish I could’ve changed. But there’s not really any meaning behind it.
KHH: It sucks that you can’t change it.
An0maly: I tried to switch it. I came up with, “it’s time to invade the minds of the suburban children.” But that’s just me stretching it trying to make something out of it. Also people have a [negative] perception when they see that. I’m sure. If I seen it, and I didn’t know me I would’ve been like yo this kid is kind of corny. It looks corny on the surface but it’s really not related to anything physically that I’ve done or even my music. That’s not what I’m aiming for. I know there’s some rappers that really hold on to the suburbs and rep’ it really hard. I feel like that’s not even me. I’m trying to just make music for everybody. I don’t rep’ any specific suburb. I wasn’t trying to go hard like that. It just came out like that.
KHH: While we’re still on the YouTube subject, you started the MC Showcase in 2011. Rappers like Prince Ea, Traphik, and Dumbfoundead jumped on it. Any plans for MC Showcase 2012?
An0maly: Yea definitely. I actually did one in 2009. But then I took my video down because I didn’t really like the way I spit it. I’m trying to do another one this year. It’s a good thing for the YouTube community because there’s a lot of talented rappers out there. I like doing it every year just to get some fresh faces and keep hip-hop somewhat alive with fresh bars, and new people. I’m definitely trying to do that this year. I’m trying to have a contest as well. A lot of the contests want you to have fancy videos and stuff, but I’m going to try to make a contest where it could be any quality. I’m trying to find someone that’s dope but doesn’t really have the equipment. That’s how I came up. I had webcams and stuff. So I’m trying to find someone that’s talented, but doesn’t necessarily have the tools. I’m going to do things like that and have a few showcases to show off some dope stuff that are on the web. There’s people all over that are trying to get out there.
KHH: Those showcases are really fun to watch.
An0maly: Yeah they’re dope. It’s cool to see Prince Ea, and Traphik, everybody. There’s so many dope people on YouTube. It’s cool to have everyone go in on one beat, and just pass it around. Then everybody shares their views. It’s definitely cool.
KHH: So what’s the concept behind your latest project, Acid Dreams?
An0maly: It was what I was going through. I dropped out of school, and I really wanted to pursue music. But I got really trapped in the wrongs and money problems that everyone has to go through. While I was making it, I didn’t want to make just a bunch of party songs with a bunch of ignorant thoughts, for a lack of a better word. So I really tried to make some songs that people could listen to and be inspired, or just to know that everything is going to be okay. At the end of the day a lot of people make songs [to] brag and stuff. But everybody is vulnerable and everyone goes through bad times. That’s the stuff I really like to listen to. I try to make a good amount of fun songs but also a good amount of songs that really help people that are struggling. I’m a voice for the people that aren’t the upper-class, just normal people. The majority of people don’t have that kind of money and are struggling. So I wanted be a voice for those sorts of people.
KHH: What’s your favorite track off the project?
An0maly: I like “Last Words.” I feel like my roots are deep stuff like that. I’ve always liked poetry. That one was cool because it was just something that I wanted to get off my chest. If something happens, God forbid. If I died there’s a lot of things I’ve never said to people, to my family, and my friends. I wanted to get that down. It meant a lot to me. At least I have that track there that’s like all the stuff that I don’t get to tell people in person.
KHH: On your website you say that you’re introducing people to “Revolution Rap.” What’s “Revolution Rap?”
An0maly: It’s kind of what I was saying with the album. I want to bring a new wave to rap, just something completely different that no one else is doing. I feel that where I’ve gotten my success is on my freestyles on different sorts of beats. So I really wanted to continue coming completely out of left field, and just do stuff that no one is doing, try to make my own lane, so I’m not comparable. There’s certain people that only do club songs. But even deep people, they’re dope but they only have deep songs. I want to be a combination of everything to change the game in a way. I guess I’ll keep at it. Just something completely different that when they hear they’re like alright that’s different. Also, music that changes the world rather than just change the industry. I really want to have some meaning behind my songs. When people listen to the album they don’t just say oh that was a dope album, but they’re like wow that really made me look at the world differently. That made me look at certain things like money differently. I want to help people that are struggling and just change people’s perception on things. Music is very influential so if I can influence people through my music, I’ll try to make as much change as I can.
KHH: Is there anything else you would like to tell the people of KillerHipHop?
An0maly: To keep with me. I’ve been at it for a few years but I feel like I finally started getting my quality stuff down and I finally got my own movement. I’m really trying to keep moving forward. That’s all.