Elite Interview: Leonardo Chop
Over the weekend Elite Muzik boss finally had the chance speak with long-time site favorite Leonardo Chop, in the interview they speak on things such as his upcoming project, his affiliation with Cash Money, his car accident and how the situation affected his life, his opinion on the direction of hip-hop and much more.
Where are you from?
I’m from St.Louis, Missouri. Gateway to the west. This isn’t Nelly.. Shout out to Big Mo’ though.
How Did You 1st Get involved with Hip-Hop
Well, I think I was born involved in Hip Hop.. I was always around it. I was born in 89′, so I grew up in the 90′s.. You know, Pac, BIG. NWA, Tribe Called Quest, Snoop etc. I used to run around the house and shit acting like Snoop. He was the first big influence on me. I didn’t decide I wanted to really do *this* until about 14 or 15 and I saw Hov’s “Fade To Black”… I left the theater like, yo… This is was I’m supposed to do.
How do you separate yourself from other artists?
I’m just L man… I don’t try to intentionally separate myself from other artists. I don’t even pay them niggaz no mind. When you start intentionally trying to be different, that’s when you come out looking ridiculous.. If you have to intentionally TRY to be different, you really aren’t being yourself anyway.. Like, I’m not hanging on to any trends or making anything to blend in. I’m what I am.. I am everything that I’ve experienced. There are a small group of individuals that do this shit, and really mean what they say.. Like, they can sincerely say that meant that line they just said on that record they just put out.
Other than hip-hop music, are there any other genre’s of music you listen to on a daily?
I actually listen to everything more than I listen to Hip Hop believe it or not. I’ve been rocking BeyoncÃ©’s 4 album pretty tough lately.. There are like 5 records of hers I keep in rotation almost everyday. She’s one of the best to ever do it. Hands down. One of my favorite artists is “Francis and the Lights”, he’s got a new record called “ETC”.. Supper dope. Dope beyond belief. I think everyone should go check that amazing shit out. That’s been resume’ as of late. It always changes, but stays the same if that makes sense.
Surviving any type of accident is a gift straight from God, what were your thoughts and feelings after and do you feel like it effected you musically?
Yeah, it was most definitely a gift from God. I just have to be more careful when driving, because I had people in that car that I loved while I was on the way to see someone who I loved. I have to understand that my actions at this point don’t just affect me. So, it shook me up a bit. Everything about that situation effected me all the way around, not just musically. Its like.. We don’t have that much time here man. We really have to capture every single moment, cherish it, make the most of it, and make it about something.
I Saw that you have some type of affiliation with Cash Money records, please explain.
They’re just good people man. I linked with up Twist in 2010, and kind of just gradually met everyone on that side thereafter. I met Drake later that year, and was a roadie for a few shows on the “Nightmares and Light Dreams” Tour he had, and then hit the Club Paradise one the next year.. My cousin was actually working for Nicki Minaj at that time all that was happening, so everyone and everything just kind of clicked. They’re just good people. Aside from the music and everything else… They’re genuine. It’s always love.
Do You feel like hip-hop is going in a good direction
I do… I think this is the best we’ve seen her in a long time. It’s starting to get back to the music. Which is the core. I think sometimes we get away from just making good music. There’s so much real TALENT now, it’s hard to ignore. I think we’re moving away from the ringtone era and getting back to it being.. Can you make good music or not ? It’s all relative and opinionated though. She goes through her cycles. Period.
Are You currently working on any new projects?, if you so when can we expect it?
Yea G. I’m working on “Lately” right now.. It’s my second project. I’m chasing 3MUCH.. I just want it to sonically, be better. Which will be a task, because 3 was so fucking ill. Excuse me as I ride my wave for a minute. Ha ! But, just expect it to be what’s been going with me lately. It’ll have all the elements I know the people who follow me love… There are things that I need to say, there are people’s attention that need to be caught. It’s going to be a movie. It’s already sounding amazing. I’m excited about it as whole and the moves we’re gonna make with it.
Back In the 90′s i feel like artist were a lot more competitive, in this day in age it seems like artist are more concerned about collaborations instead of a little friendly competition, what’s your take on this situation ?
I think there’s room for both variables to exist… Because with me it’s like, I’m down to work with whoever.. But you’re not about to kill me on my own song, and I’m not going to let you kill me on your song. That’s what’s not going to happen. *laughs*. I think competition will always be a part of Hip Hop. It’s a sport. I’m glad we are learning to be able to co-exist though. It’s only right.
Explain the stages of your writing/recording process
Well, I don’t write. I never really have. I just go in. I call it “punch style” .. I might come up with a ill 6 bars, and then I’ll pause for a few seconds.. Think, and then go back in. I keep up with everything mentally. I think words tend to lose their validity sometimes when you’re reading off of something.. For me at least. I want to be a direct link, straight from my thoughts to the microphone. No middle man. I’m the plug. Ha !
what were thoughts on the Trayvon situation and verdict
That situation is touchy for me. It’d take another interview for me to really be able to open up and speak on and about that subject bro. It was so damning to us as a people. I don’t think justice was served, but then again I don’t believe that we have a justice system anymore… We have a legal system.. Not a justice system…
People had a lot of things to say about Jay-Z’s MCHG album and how he went platinum before the album was released, care to share you take on it?
That’s Hov man… What more is there to say. He’s still setting the game on its ear. He’s still opening doors, and doing things for young niggaz in this shit like me to be able to tread in those waters that were once inaccessible. I love it man. I think Magna Carta is one of his best bodies of work. It falls right behind The Blueprint for me.
Tell us about the 1st show you ever performed.
First show I ever performed was in January of 2010, in White Plains NY. I opened up for the Clipse with my bro’s Jae B and Patrick Toussaint.. It wasn’t the best show. Ha ! But the experience was priceless. Just to have the crowd receiving you a bit, and rocking with you is indescribable. It was cool man.
Any artist you look forward to working with in the Future?
Any and everyone who creates dope shit man. I’m always down. Doesn’t matter your situation, if it’s ill I’m with it. Because there are some artists who are known, and successful, but I wouldn’t work with them just knowing that the music wouldn’t be great.
what would you say is the biggest goal of your career?
Just to be able to reach a level where my family can solely depend on me and this music to make everything better for them. So they won’t have to get up and clock in on these dead-end jobs they have no interest in. I want to be able to invest in them, and their passions and dreams that they never had the time to make come true because they had to make ends meet. And to ultimately just expand the genre as a whole… I have a story to tell. I want to leave my mark, my footprint and my stamp in music. I’ll live forever through these moments, and songs. I just want to do that.