Thursday, March 19, 2015

Artist Spotlight – Rack’d Up

Rack’d Up is comprised of five talented artists best known as Haddy Racks (born Harold Easterling); Lee Majors (born Leonel Maduro); Bangdana Red (born Maximo Mercado, Jr); Flip Hendricks (born Sha’ron Addison) and Yungie (born Naquan Smith). The group’s first project, New Rack City was released in May of 2014 featured their initial members, which created notoriety in their hometown of the Bronx.

1.) What attracted you the most to music? What elements and/or characteristics made you say to yourself that you wanted to do music for a living?

Haddy Racks: I’ve always been in love with music, my passion for it is what made me wanna do it, and then once I started seeing people appreciating my craft, it gave me the motivation to take it more seriously and actually pursue it as a career.

Lee Majors: The ability to express my artistry. I have been doing music and art all of my life. The capability to produce a piece of work and let the world see it, feel it and respond.

Bangdana Red: Well, music is a culture. Being able to touch people and motivate them through words and messages that I put together is just exciting to me. There is already somebody going through something similar or worse that can listen and feel better or different about their situation through my words and lyrics.

Flip: The sound and the energy.

2.) Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?

Lee Majors: My mother was my biggest influence in a music career. I would say that my role models would be Grand Master Caz, since the Bronx is also his home.

Bangdana Red: Yes… my childhood friend (cousin and mentor) DJ Real Deal… My influences, of course my favorite rapper Tupac as well as Wu-Tang Clan, NAS, DMX, The Lox, Beanie Siegel, Cam’Ron, Pun… In terms of a role model, coming up it was Tupac, but since he isn’t here I rock wit 50 Cent.

Flip: Big Pun, Diddy, B.I.G Style (Biggie), Jada and Styles P

3.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don’t get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?

Lee Majors: I plan to continue to be who I am, with a lot more hard work and focus.

Bangdana Red: Lol, for starters I just plan on being consistent and creative. I also have to out-perform the competition. Some artists don’t have stage presence and that plays a good part in being an artist.

Flip: Well just continue to do me and worry about Rackd Up, cause we all are different. Trust and believe we’re going to stand out

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?

Lee Majors: The model isn’t dead, it just isn’t up to date.

Bangdana Red: I just feel New York radio stations should pay more attention to New York artists or at least cater to our style. Cause believe it or not, that’s what’s keepin the bubble gum rap alive. So it’s not dead!!! It’s just not looked for right now, but Rackd Up will change that!

5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?

Lee Majors: It’s a wonderful tool to get your work out to the masses without compromising your music.

Bangdana Red: I think it’s a good outlet for underground/up and coming artists. They don’t call it networking for nothing, lol.

Flip: To keep focused and sell yourself cause they can see a lot of things so my main focus is to market myself and Rackd Up.

6.) Social media is obviously an extremely important element in today’s world, especially when it comes to business, branding, marketing, etc. With that being said, do you think an artist will be able to survive in today’s music industry if they’re not social media savvy?

Lee Majors: An artist should know how to utilize their surroundings in order to get their message out.

Bangdana Red: Not at all. You got to be in tune with what’s going on with the people. Social media is everything at this point. People wake up and go on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Worldstar Hip Hop, email, etc before they even brush their teeth, lol! People you see out here in the streets won’t stop and say a word to you, but will DEFINITELY follow you on a social site. People are online lookin for what’s new – not what’s old. They got History class for that, lol.

Flip: Yes, I believe anybody can survive just work hard and be committed and don’t stop to see a change #facts.

7.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place?

Lee Majors: I never wanted the business of music, but if you want the bull, you get the horns.

Bangdana Red: Like I said, I am Hip Hop… I am this culture… this is a lifestyle that is fit for me. Plus it is a stress reliever. Music is candy to the ear. I want to be the reason why somebody gets up and motivated. I’m tired of the streets, I need to do something positive with my life and talent.

Flip: Life! You know, the things that you go through. You see couple of articles on the artists I listened to growing up Big Pun, Styles P and Jada, Fab, Cash Money and a few other favorites.

8.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?

Lee Majors: Independent is good, but having a major label back you have more international appeal.

Bangdana Red: I don’t want to take anything away from either one, but I would say a major label is what everybody grinds for. So why wouldn’t I want to be at the best possible place? It also depends on if it’s the best deal for me, or whoever is with me.

Flip: To me it doesn’t matter. I know I’m goin to work, I just love making music, it’s not where you go it’s how you do it #facts

9.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician and if so, why?

Lee Majors: Going to jail.

Bangdana Red: In 2005, I lost my mentor/cousin DJ Read Deal to a homicide that is still unsolved. He died trying to pursue his music career to put us in a better place. He was always pushin me to grind harder. So when he passed, I promised to do it for him and keep his name alive.

Flip: Watching my mother taking care of 6 kids – me, my sisters and my little cousin Nikki.

10.) If you could compare yourself to an already established artist, who would that be and why?

Lee Majors: No one!!!

Bangdana Red: I would say Meek Mill because of his ambition, his grind, the energy he gives when he performs. He loves what he does and he takes care of his fam. Plus he represents his hood and his city.

Flip: Fab mixed with Max B, 50 Cent and why? Fab is dope, growing up listening to him, I respect his talent. Max B and 50 Cent because of the way they came in the game was so dope

11.) Since a lot of popular artists are forced to conform in order to please the general public, is this something you plan to do in order to make money or do you feel that you can be successful by just staying true to who you are?

Lee Majors: Music is pure when you are happy and free to express yourself. Indie all the way!

Bangdana Red: I’mma always be true to myself and what I believe in. Changing as an artist to become greater is always a go. But doin all kinds of out of the ordinary for attention and publicity? I ain’t with that.

Flip: I’m staying true to what I do. I don’t need to do more than what I’m doing now I know how to survive and plus I have a game plan #facts

12.) When you do music, what do you think your listeners get out of your music?

Lee Majors: I put my heart into every note so that my artist can feel me and follow my journey.

Bangdana Red: The truth!!! Inspiration!!! Motivation!!! They get to hear and feel the struggle without having to go through it. They get to witness a person trying to overcome the odds.

Flip: Life. As far as things that’s going on now in society – what I’m going through, what they going through.

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