KillerHipHop Exclusive: Elite Interview
When your around talented like minded people, sometimes just basic conversation can do a lot. We [DreamVille artist] are always learning from each other.
The talent that J. Cole‘s Dreamville is able to bring to the table is remarkable. The ability to have artists in that camp who can do multiple things, not just rap, is truly inspiring to anyone with the dreams of making it big in the music industry. For one Dreamville artist who goes by the name of Elite, he is surely on the right path for esteemed success as an artist and producer.
Growing up in Connecticut as Anthony Parrino, Elite knew at a very young age that his future was bright. With his love for music, Elite made moves that led him to who he is today. With a new and amazing mixtape under his belt, entitled Awaken, Elite is going to cause a stir in the hip-hop world as people are catching on to his talents as a lyricist and producer.
KillerHipHop was given a humbled opportunity to interview the great ‘produ-lyricist’ Elite as we get to know him a little more and what he is really about. Elite talks about Ruff Ryders, J. Cole, Dreamville, NYC, Producing and so much more.
KillerHipHop: For those who don’t know you, who is Elite?
Elite: I’m an artist / producer from Byram, CT… I was an artist first when I was young.. then I was an in-house producer for Ruff Ryders and more recently for J. Cole. Now I’m rediscovering that artist side and combining it with what I’ve learned as a producer. Just trying to make great music!
KillerHipHop: When and how did your rapping/producing career started?
Elite: I started rapping when I was 16 or 17 for fun, then took it more seriously as I began to feel like I actually might be pretty good. I started making beats out of necessity. I’m a bit of a control freak creatively so I wanted to be able to make my own songs from scratch.. even back then.
KillerHipHop: Where did you orginially grew up and what influences did your town
have on your music?
Elite: I grew up in Byram, CT which is literally right on the border of NY. I could walk to Port Chester NY. I lived there for a while too. Basically its a suburban community but it’s so close to NYC that a lot of that influence trickles into it. The bronx is like 3 train stops away and we used to always take the train down to Fordham and go to the record shops to get the newest sh-t. Being that close to the city allowed me to get a variety of cultural influences and experiences too which definitely helped me as an artist.
KillerHipHop: What type of style of music do you like to sample in your production?
Elite: I used to be all about Classic rock. Foreigner, Super Tramp. That type of sh-t. I loved Just Blaze style of production when I was coming up, so I paid attention to the type of records he would sample and try to find similar sh-t. That big dramatic sound, I always loved that. Now it’s totally different; it could be anything. I even like to sample current artists from different genres cause then you get a fresh sound that you can really take somewhere else. I did that twice on “Awaken” with Lykke Li on the song “Everybody But Me” and Jose Gonzales on the song “Down The Line“. Both are newer artists, and those songs that I sampled are incredible on their own. I just tried to add my own flavor to it. It’s all about the mood when choosing a sample.
KillerHipHop: What makes you believe “Awaken” is the best work you’ve done so far?
And could you have done better in your opinion?
Elite: It’s definitely my best work so far, by far. I put so much time and effort into it. It’s really an obsessive amount. People around me started thinking I was a little nuts. I remixed songs, so many times. The track “One Night” I think was the winner with like 23 different mixes before I finalized it. Could I have done better? I think as far as effort, no [laughs]. But I know for a fact the next project I do will be way better. I believe that doing this project taught me so much about making songs, and it will allow me to be a much better artist going forward. It’s my best work so far but nowhere near what my best work will be when it’s all said and done!
KillerHipHop: Are planning to create any more visuals from songs off “Awaken”?
Elite: Absolutely, that is the main goal right now. I want to do videos for Imagination Day, Ellis Island, Lonely Lady, Everybody But Me, Crabs In a Bucket, One Night… Seriously, I know that’s a lot [chuckle] but hopefully I can pull it off!
KillerHipHop: I read on your bio that you was an in-house producer for Ruff Ryders,
how did that come about?
Elite: Well like I said before I started rapping when I was like 16 or 17, my father convinced me to apply to go to college for music cause it seemed to be my only interest. I took a summer course that involved live performance. My first time performing, the CEO of Ruff Ryder’s little sister Alimah Deen spotted me and wanted to manage me. At first it was as an artist, and she got me an internship at Ruff Ryders studio. This lead to my production career because while I was making beats for myself, I would play them for the artists at RR during my internship. I put the rapping on the backburner for a while because the production was going so well.
KillerHipHop: And are you still affiliated with people from Ruff Ryders?
Elite: Sure, I still talk to Styles [P] and Sheek [Louch] once in a while. Drag too. I’ll always consider RR family because they gave me my start and taught me a lot about the industry.
KillerHipHop: A twitter fan, who goes by the name of @C_Sutton32, asked a question,
“What is your relationship like with J. Cole and how has his influence
contributed to your music and vice versa?”
Elite: Well Cole and I were friends before anything, i’ve had the privilege of seeing him come up from the very beginning and I think just witnessing his process has helped me a great deal. When your around talented like minded people, sometimes just basic conversation can do a lot. We are always learning from each other.
KillerHipHop: Do you have work with any big name artists coming out soon?
Elite: The last few years it’s really just been an in-house focus. I have been keeping it close lately but that’s not to say I am against working with other artists, it just has to be the right situation. Of course there will be more work with Cole, Omen and Voli though!
KillerHipHop: Who are your biggest musical influence?
Elite: Michael Jackson by far is #1.. I am a super mega fan.. He is the GOAT in my mind hands down. As far as hip-hop goes, I’d say Kanye and Outkast are top of the list.
KillerHipHop: Whose a better producer, J. Cole, Omen or You? [laughs]
Elite: Me duh. Nah I’m playin’! I think the illest sh-t is that we are all good at different things. It’s not even a matter of better just different. That might sound cliche or whatever but I honestly believe that.
KillerHipHop: Are you planning to go on tour soon?
Elite: I would love to if the opportunity presents it self, thats a major goal.
KillerHipHop: What’s next for Elite?
Elite: Right now I am going to just try and drop consistent content for a little while, keep my name out there. Drop songs, videos, collaborations etc. Then in a few months start my next mixtape.
KillerHipHop: What makes Dreamville so different then other music camps (i.e. Young
Money, Finally Famous, MMG, OVO, etc.)?
Elite: First and foremost probably that we were all friends before any of the music shit got serious. So we have a different kind of relationship. But also we are all artists AND produce our own music!
KillerHipHop: Being known as a rapper/producer to the public must be a great dream
that is finally accomplished, but what else is on your goal list?
Elite: I definitely don’t feel its accomplished yet, not to the level I want. This is just the first step. Maybe step 2, if you count my production career [laughs]. But there is so much more to go. A main goal for me has always been to inspire people with my music. I do a lot of self reflection and talk a lot about self confidence in my music. As well as relationships and etc, I just hope that my music can somehow help people get through the things I’ve already been through.
Elite is sure to bring surprises. We all recognize him for his work with J. Cole and the great production he has delivered to Jermaine. Now just imagine his own production with his flow and lyricism. Elite is another rapper that you KillerHipHop readers should not sleep on. We are all infatuated with the big-time rappers and the superstars but ya’ll need to wake up and realize the talent that is coming up, especially with Dreamville.
If you want to get to known Elite a bit better and see his amazing talents, you can find him here:
Photo Credit: BrilliantlyBlunt
Article by @DJEricKidd