Hezekiah Lays Plans to Conquer Hollywood


Hezekiah is an emcee and producer from Delaware who in 1997 released a legendary mix tape, "Exit Womb Status," which featured a handful of talented personalities from New Castle County.

Since then he has toured the world, doing shows in London, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, the Czech Republic and beyond. On top of rapping, Hez has made beats for pop superstars like Common, Nas, Musiq Soulchild, Bilal and for John Legend's forthcoming album. His latest release, "I Predict a Riot," dropped on Rawkus Records a few months back to critical acclaim. Still, this driven artist has not settled for his current level of success.

Pushing forward with acting and filmmaking aspirations, Hezekiah's next move is to the West Coast to conquer Hollywood.

How is the composition of "I Predict a Riot" different from your previous effort?

It's more musical than "Hurry Up and Wait." The songs are more thought out. It's more of a concept album.

Why do you say you're a geek on the new record?

Anyone who puts aside being cool to study their craft inside and out to do anything is a geek. It's being a diligent worker and craving knowledge that makes me a geek.

Do you set up your touring schedule yourself?

Yeah, I'm my own manager at the time, that's a whole 'nother job, but someone has to do it.

I see your name associated with Philly a lot in the press. Do you think people realize that you are from Delaware?

Yeah, I say it all the time in songs. I think the only people that don't know are people from Delaware, 'cause I think when they hear me say Philly, Delaware cats start talking over the parts when I say Delaware. Maybe, I don't know. My family lives in New Castle.

Who are the folks in your crew?

Richard Raw, Wry Penmen, Mike Lowe with his crew, Nadeer and everyone that was on "Exit Womb Status," which was a demo/mix tape I put out.

What do you know about the Pagan Babies?

(Laughs) I love that band! I love seeing them around in Philly and saying to them cats, "I used to skateboard to your tunes hard like a nut." They are a big part of my childhood attitude. I was young and hardcore, a black hip-hop skater. Hip-hop, but before it was cool.

Why did you want to get into music?

Nothing made me feel like music did. Happy or sad, it spoke to me. And I had a voice, too. I wanted to speak, too.

How did you meet Scott Storch?

I met Scott in Delaware a long time ago, then I moved to Philly. We met through a friend named Nue. She was The Roots' manager in 1994, and he was with them. We did production together. People have no idea how much he added to hip-hop, from the backpack, pop, to neo-soul. Crazy.

Out of all the talented artists you have worked with, what lessons have you taken from the brightest of them?

"The word 'music' is smaller than the word 'business.'" -- ?uestlove of the Roots.

That's when it clicked: I gotta do it all, be on my own -- self-promoter, marketer and artist -- mix and mingle with the world to create opportunity and open every door I can for myself and never look back. I'm moving out to Los Angeles soon. I gotta keep it moving. Music to acting, just getting bigger and better.

Is that a plan that bloomed from making your own videos?

I gotta do it all. I'm a control freak. Plus, I never wait for no one. I get that from my mother and father.

Can people see your stuff you filmed online?

Yeah. Okayplayer.com, Myspace.com/hezekiah3 crateofporn, soulspazm.com.

Who is Johnny Popcorn?

That's my side project -- it's my alter ego. It's more me being 100 percent free with no rules.

Do you feel more comfortable writing in the studio or on your own?

I used to feel confined by the studio. Now I run stuff. I don't care if you are P. Diddy. When I'm in 'go mode,' you can't stop me. Once my brain moves, get out the way.

I remember maybe 10 years ago freestyling on Lt. Dan's 91.3 FM show, and you would hold up your fingers or do certain things to make sure we were all really coming off the top. Do you still try to challenge your peers in a similar manner?

Yeah, but in different ways. It's all about making songs now, so I may say, "OK, that hook is cool. Record it." Then say, "I don't like it. Let's make another one." And then another one. Now we have choices: We have an A or B hook and maybe a bridge. I know it's mean, but everyone is happy in the end.

How has your album been doing?

It's been good, the numbers are 'aaaaaeee!' But I'm paying bills with it, so I'm cool. But I'm not content with cool. Big things popping, little things stopping. I'm working on a few albums, tours and the big return of the Beat Society showcase this year. Next Thursday I'll be hosting a video premiere party for my new single at the Pale Dog in Newark and performing with Dave Ghetto and Richard Raw. Since I've been travelling, it's like a coming home party.


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