August 4, 2019

Interview: Cuban Pete

Cuban Pete Interview

Cuban Pete Interview

AirdriftSignals: Hey Cuban Pete, how are you doing today?

Busy as usual. Always got something to do whether its artwork or rhymes. Or maybe even 5 minutes with the family if they’re lucky haha.

AirSig: I know how that is... I know you just released a new mixtape that is stacked with guests. How does it feel to release an album full of so many great artists?

Well for The Standout mixtape I am the guest, apart from a couple of tracks I put together. I’ve been using this past year to build up my features on other peoples projects and The Standout is a collection of some of the dopest ones I’ve done.

I’m blessed to be able to work with a lot of great artists from legends to up and coming. It’s been a very well received project.

AirSig: For listeners hearing your voice for the first time, it seems apparent for the title of your album to be what it is. You have a cool and unique style when you rap. How does it feel representing hip-hop from across the pond?

I’ve worked with a lot of US artists and I like standing out on the track. Not just for the voice but subject matter, words and phrasing. Some people don’t venture outside America music wise cos they can’t understand the accent or don’t like the way it sounds. Each to their own obviously but if I can open up just a few heads to the UK sound then I’ve achieved something. There’s a whole scene and history that a lot don’t know about. Especially thanks to waveriders like Westwood pretending Hip Hop in the UK started with grime so he can try and stay relevant.

AirSig: As far as your supporting single (No Wannabeez Allowed) is concerned, you have been involved and worked with some Wu-Tang affiliates in the past and recently. Were there some specific instances that you recall that made you want to make this track?

Definitely. Theres a lot of fakers on the internet claiming the W for clout or monetary gain. As someone who isn’t a Wu affiliate but works with a lot of official heads I just wanted to put forward where I stand on the whole situation.

I’m a member of Ghetto Government Officialz (G.G.O.), which is a collective put together by Hell Razah from the Wu Tang offshoot group Sunz Of Man. I’d be classed as Wu family at most but I try not to push that angle cos I’m not a dickrider. I represent my team C75 Live first and foremost as well as being a member of G.G.O., T.E.S.T. Squad, and Official Gorilla Army. I'm also signed as an artist to F.N.B.G. Records (Fear Nothing But God) and have an excellent manager in the shape of Surraya Hafeez who always gives me valuable advice.

AirSig: How did you get involved some of the Wu affiliates? Did you work for or with Protect Ya Neck Records?

I didn’t work for them directly, more for artists signed to or distributed by them when I was asked by Ol Dirty’s godbrother Menace O.B.E.Z to join his Team O.B.E.Z. collective. I was introduced to a lot of connections through that and although I’m no longer officially part of that team I still have friends I met through it that I still work with and meet new connects all the time.

I did artwork for Zu Ninjaz which led to me doing all the artwork for the supergroup East Coast Killa Beez. I do artwork and merch designs for Krumbsnatcha and his Mind Power Entertaintment label. Done a lot of work with Solomon Childs. Hell Razah of course, or Heaven Razah as he’s now known. As well as many others.

AirSig: Your release is found on the Bandcamp site for C75 Live. As far as I can tell, that is your creation. Is there anything you can tell me about how C75 Live came to be, and the idea behind it?

Yes the bandcamp I use for the music as part of the main site

When I started out it was originally just doing custom clothing. Mainly graffiti style art on caps, jackets, sneakers, etc. I called it C75 Designs. C for Cuban and 75 for the year I was born.

I did a lot of work for rappers that led to collabs and me finally taking the music side more seriously when I realized I had made some great connects that could help me push it. I named the music side C75 Live, cos it rhymed mainly.

Both sides of C75 helped push each other but due to me not having time to constantly update two sites I combined them both under the C75 Live name.

Art + Music = C75 Live

AirSig: Speaking of working with rappers' designs and getting into the game itself, who were your musical inspirations growing up?

I started in Hip Hop looking up to Eric B & Rakim, KRS-1, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, moving to Brand Nubian, NWA, Redman, De La Soul, Wu Tang, Boot Camp Clik, Biggie, Pac, etc. UK heads like Blade, London Posse, Son Of Noise, Gunshot, Silver Bullet, Katch 22, moving to TaskForce, Moorish Delta, and too many to name. I've always listened to a wide variety of Hip Hop from UK to US to Aus, East coast to West coast to down south, breakbeat to funk to bass.

And of course graffiti visually captured me. I grew up with comic book art which meshed well with what I saw in the Spraycan Art and Subway Art books. That also influenced my own work when I studied fine art and fell in love with pop art and artists like Basquiat.

I started customizing my own clothes when I started drawing on my own sneakers in a quiet period at my job at the time. Over time I honed my skills and ended up having my work in the hands of Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna.

AirSig: Even though The Standout is your latest release, is there any other work that is hot off the heels of this album that you are excited about, or any announcements you would like to make for your fans?

I’ve always got projects in the works. About 5 I’m working on at the moment that I need to order so I actually get one finished this year.

I’m working on a solo album ‘Camouflage Karma’ entirely produced by Spion Liape, a collab album with my T.E.S.T. Squad brother OneMike who’s based in Nashville right now, a collab album with my Gorilla Army brother D.Original Mr.Blue, and ‘There’s A War Goin’ On Outside’ which will have a very Wu feel to it both musically and guest wise. Also I have an album with C75 Live producer B.Dvine on beat duties and me on the rhymes which is only in the beginning stages.

Another project I have in the works is ‘West Mids 2 North Beast’. Because I work with so many artists from overseas I wanted to do something strictly UK. I moved from the West Midlands to the North East in 1995 and this album represents both of those sides of my life from the features to subject matter.

The Standout is available now on C75 Live's Bandcamp page. You can read my full review of the album. Support Cuban Pete's music and stay tuned for more related news on C75 Live.