Words and Photo by W. H. Ferrell, Jr.
Rude Boi is a rap artist in the vein of the Insane Clown Posse, yet he’s not a painted Juggalo himself. He hails from Wilmington but has built a large following in Allentown, PA with regular bus trips to perform in that area at the renowned Crocodile Rock venue. He’s recently dropped his first solo album “Legendary Nobody” and plans to make inroads with Delaware venues as he works toward completing his next album “The Making of a Legend” with his crew of downstate producers.
Where did you grow up?
Port Penn, Delaware. Born and raised. Below the canal. It's a small town, consisting of one block. I have to say, it’s a total 180 from Wilmington and the surrounding areas. It’s a nice place to visit. But I'd hate to live there now, it’s so far away from everything, you’re stuck in your own world. I'd compare it to the Twilight Zone.
What do you like best about Delaware?
I would have to say, the best thing I like about Delaware is the fact that it’s slept on, music wise. A lot of big time companies don’t realize how much talent is actually out here, and most of the people with the talent don't understand you don’t necessarily need a big company to back you. There’s money to be made independently, you just have to take the initiative to go out there and make it happen. But, besides music, I would have to say the thing I like best about Delaware, is it’s where I call home. There’s no tax, my friends and family are here, and it’s in the middle of everything. 25 minutes away from Philly, 1 Hour away From Baltimore, and 3 Hours away from New York, as well as my personal favorite, 10 Hours away from Detroit.
I think Delaware has a lot of good talent. When I say a lot, I mean ALOT! There’s definitely more positive then negative. But there are certain things I don’t understand. A lot of emcees try to appeal to everyone by paying a lot of money for guest appearances from established emcees to help with record sales. I don’t see the point in that, to be honest. Another thing is there’s a lot of the same sound. Everyone needs to find a niche, and stick to what they know. Not what they think can sell. There’s front runners out there though, that are doing big things, such as The 49ers, and Illson (to name a couple). Anyone that gets their music across seas is making moves in my eyes, and anyone who has an album in FYE or any major retail chain such as Best Buy has something going on for them. I know people are going to give me a tough time about what I just said, but for anyone that doesn’t think I don’t represent where I'm from is dead wrong. I'm just saying, there’s a lot of people talking about making moves, but only few, such as myself are playing sold out shows for thousands, out of the state, repping Delaware to the fullest.
So tell us how you got started rapping?
I've always had an interest in rapping in general, and I've always been good with words. I was probably one of the only 4 year olds who knew the words to every Geto Boys song. Flash forward into high school.... When I got into William Penn in 1999, I was the crazy boy with crazy colored hair that sat at the lunch table all the kids would rap at. I'd sit and watch and think to myself "I can do this" so I started freestyling with them, spitting the most off the wall lyrics I could think of, to match my style at the time.. Kind of making myself my own gimmick. I knew people were digging it when I used to get kicked out of lunch for making the whole table go nuts. ..Needless to say, I spent a lot of time eating lunch in the office. In all honesty, besides driving, it was the only thing that stuck with me throughout high school, so I started making my own album entitled "Eye + Am = Horrorcore", low budget of course and put it out in school for $5 a piece. I made $55 my 1st day. You would have thought I went platinum, because that was the wildest thing to me. People buying my music, and suddenly... the kid with the crazy hair had an album out. Shortly after that, I ended up with a group, Medula who had a little buzz in Delaware, but split with them due to creative differences. I finally decided to take it to the next level and record an actual LP in late 05, and recorded most of it though 2006, and finally released my first major solo release, The Legendary Nobody, On May 25th, 2007. Thus, Nobody Rides 4 Free Records Was Born.
How did you hook up with the Crocodile rock venue in Allentown?
I kept calling them... and calling them.... and calling them, and telling them "I'm an undiscovered talent, I need a break, let me play there." After months of that, they finally had an opening on a show with Tech N9ne & Potluck last November, and said, "Okay, put your money where your mouth is. A lot of artists say they can do things, but never come thru with it. Prove us wrong." I outsold everyone that show, including Tech N9ne and Potluck. 149 tickets total (most opening acts sell roughly 25 - 50). Believe me when I say it blew their minds. Since then, we've been one of they’re main opening acts. Top sellers at every show we play, even selling every ticket to one show in particular, and picking up King Gordy (honorary D-12 member, was 'Big C' in the movie 8 Mile) from the airport and making sure he got to the show we did together. We have a great business relationship with them. They do things for us they don’t do for other artists, like for instance, we were the only artist chosen to perform with Wu Tang on the 8 Diagram tour, sadly enough, however, the show was cancelled, but its still awesome to have your name on a ticket with such a legendary group as Wu Tang. They've been our main venue for over 6 months now.
What are your bus rides to Allentown like?
Wow. What to say about the bus rides to Allentown. Okay, picture it like this. Remember the biggest party you ever been too? Remember how fresh it was, and how there were so many people there, and there’s no possible way it could get any better? Cram all that into 2 School Buses (Each holding 44 people) and take it 100 miles away. By the time the doors open and everyone gets off the bus, you'd think you’re done. Right? Nope! Then you have an entire concert to see and a 2 hour bus ride back. That’s roughly 8 - 10 hours of the biggest party you can think of.
You recently did a show with Bone Thugs and another with Paul Wall, how was that gig?
The Bone Thugs show on April 4th was amazing. As usual, we were top sellers for every opening act, and one of their crew members had a chance to see what we could do with a crowd of over 300 people, so they had us talk with them, and they invited us to play with them at the TLA two days later, and were going to be doing more stuff with them in the future. By the time this article is out, we will already have had another show with them in Lancaster. As for the Tech N9ne, Paul Wall & Ill Bill show, wow! It was sold out. People packed to the roof rocking out. We had one of the best responses for the night. When I go off stage, my hype man, Wrecking Ball, always does the "When I say Rude, you say Boi" chant, and every person in the venue was screaming my name at the top of their lungs. So when I finally walked out the back door to get my breath of fresh air and cool down from my performance, Paul Wall stopped me and said "you guys rocked the place. I was even like damn, those guys hold it down." Those two shows were probably two of the best we have ever done. Not to mention, we sold a lot of merch those shows, and aside from rocking the venue, we made a lot of connections and got a lot more respect from established artists, which always makes you feel like your doing your job.
Are you recording currently?
Right now I'm working on my sophomore release, "The Making of a Legend", which should be out this year. I record, mix, and master everything myself at my home studio in Wilmington. For the beats, I use our in house producer Wyzman, who is starting a sub label of Nobody Rides 4 Free Records, entitled Mind Bent Music (MBM). Also, I used outside producers such as Double E productions out of Allentown, PA and other local talent such as DJ Kevon, from down state, and Ed Skitz Productions, from downstate as well. My 1st LP "The Legendary Nobody" was recorded the same way, and turned out great, so I added more to my studio, and began work on "The Making of a Legend". It’s going to be roughly 17 tracks and so far we have guest appearances by King Gordy, Captain Spaulding (House of 1000 corpses, The Devils Rejects) and are waiting for our guest spot from Paul Wall. This album is going to be more diverse then the 1st release. More musically inclined with live instruments and a more mature sound for myself. I'm trying to break out of the stereotype people have about my music, and show that I'm more then just brutal rhymes, I'm an artist that paints pictures with words. I have to say, from what is done of the album so far, it’s my best work to date.
Have you done any shows in Delaware recently?
The only show I've ever done in Delaware has been at Mojo 13, in February. As for other venues, in all honesty, I'm a rap act with a very loyal fan base and every show I bring a very brutal mosh pit with me. Not too many venues understand what I do, and if they do understand, they don’t want us to play there, because of how rowdy it can get sometimes. And if you've ever been in a Rude Boi mosh pit, you know it’s worth the wait.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as an independent artist?
The biggest challenge I face as an independent artist is getting exposure/gaining fans. There’s so much that goes into putting yourself out there, that in itself is like a 15 person job, mixed with the word of mouth from other people. With so many musicians out there it’s hard to get yourself seen and heard when there are 100 other people wanting to take your spot and get themselves known and seen as well. As far as being an independent company goes, the hardest part is getting respect and making connections. When your up and coming, people think of you as here today, gone tomorrow. It’s a long process and you’re always having to prove yourself to everyone at every time. You always have to out do yourself over and over, because if you don’t, you’re just like the rest and have nothing special to offer. I think I can sum it up best with what Layzie Bone Told me. "There’s Music, there’s Business, and there’s Music Business. What one are you in?"