Friday, July 10, 2009

Back Packer Weekly: Real Deal Interview

True Battle rappers in Pittsburgh are almost an oxymoron. MCs who remain true to themselves, true to their craft, and humble even in this bravado filled contact sport called Hip Hop are even more scarce. So as one would imagine, actually meeting that specific class of MC would really be extraordinary ... Meet Trevor "Real Deal" Weller.


The Ayatollah: Real Deal, my man, it’s been long over due, wha gwan?

Real Deal: Nothing much my man. Seeming to finally reap a little bit of the reward from ball busting.

Seen, I hear that. How has the mini tour you’ve been on treating you? Liking the different scenes?

Shit has been amazing man. I go out there and people recognize me and know lines of mine and big up me. Then I come back here and the Burgh is so appreciative to have an emcee that represents what their city is about, hard working, blue collar, hard nosed shit, ya know? Other cities are so diverse it’s wild, very dope though.

Trevor Weller/Real Deal. You’re a single father, a teacher, an MC, starving artist. Which facet takes precedence?

Father first, my man is my life. You can say my rhymes suck and I can’t teach but question me as a father and I will tombstone you threw concrete. Secondly I think a starving artist because I love music so much….not just hip hop MUSIC! Teaching is my plan B, I enjoy it and it pays o.k f or the time being but we all know you have a small window to break through in hip hop ya know?

Since you’re an educator, answer me this. How important is it to you to hear MCs come intelligent on and off the mic?

I cannot stress what a great question this is. I often receive test papers that look like people were texting their friends about going to the club. I know we all want to break in music but if you think people like Jay- Z, Nas, and even 50 are only as smart as they lead on record than you have another thing coming. These young people have no idea how just a salutation or a handshake can change the course of their life. Save the rapping for tracks, any other time speak as an informed intelligent human being.

Would you want your son’s friends to look up to you as a roll model, or other young fans? In the broad spectrum, are rappers good role models?

I would want my son or son's friends to look up to me for reasons other than rap. Not that my rap doesn’t produce anything positive but as I said I’m a man and father first. I display a lot of upstanding qualities in my music but admittedly I have material all be it that I would like not to be taken literal.

We are not good role models in my opinion. We too often glorify the negative aspects of what we do and shed little light on the positive. We too often make tracks about nothing and sound redundant when we could be reaching out and helping someone with our music. We too often view the almighty dollar over all else. And notice I say “We” because I have a paddle in the boat with you.

Let’s talk music. It’s 2009, every one knows white boys can rap now, but it still kind of has a novelty attached to it, how do you feel about being a Caucasian MC now days?

I think it lost pretty much all of it’s shock value ya know? Hip hop has been transforming into a melting pot and that is awesome. I just wish the generic comparisons would stop. I am not slim shady and never will be. I realize it is a compliment but it loses it’s value when you tell a million other emcees the same thing.

Looking around though, it seems you guys took over the battle thing, much like the Asian persuasion took over B-boying. It kinda became cliché to battle, you get me? Scribble Jam is completely white washed, Grind Time damn near is too, what’s your take on that?

Scribble Jam, unfortunately is no longer with us R.I.P. I agree with you in some ways but others not as much. Battle rapping has just evolved. Grindtime put forth the ideal format to cut out filler and give emcees a chance to really display what they can do lyrically. Admittedly some still suck but I think since the league is run by battle emcees they can figure it out to make it not become oversaturated, ya know? Scribble was dope because it brought people back to the good ol days. People came form across the country to network and battle. As far as our scene goes, I wish we had one. I wish people didn’t act like such premadonnas and get the fuck out and battle. Big ups for you holding that battle. We need more shit like that. It seems our city has too many emcees that are too cool to battle, shit is unfortunate because it only makes you better.

Are you worried about the Battle Rap Stigma? Not being able to make songs, being stuck in the same place pretty much forever? Some people are already saying that you’re a one trick pony. Trevor Weller says?

That theory is so wild to me because there are so many musicians in the battle circuit that make phenomenal music. I will always be a musician first. Battling for me has just been a great avenue to expand and market and network. I honestly think people just center that idea around Jin and Cannibus. Eminem was a battler and I think he did well right?

Well let's see ... Charles Hamilton got punched, Asher Roth makes white folks cringe, Eminem is so far left he’s almost irrelevant, and Jay Z is eliminating his credibility with every new song. What’s the lamest shit out right now to you?

Anything with Autotune lol…But I just think mainstream in general is horrific! We are just a year or so away where the radio will play a song on called “Suck a dick” and hint that the beat is catchy and you can dance to it and it has a solid chorus... Maybe they will edit dick and put “Prick” lol.

Hip Hop is indeed in an odd place right now. Rappers singing, singers rapping. Masculinity has taken a back seat for the first time ever in rap. Where do you see things going by the end of the year?

To be honest man, I don’t care what you wear as long as you don’t use it to draw attention to yourself. When you do that it becomes a fashion display. I do admit it is odd that super gangsters are wearing muscle shirts lol but eh, whatever floats your boat. By the end of this year I see a continuing decline in the importance of looking hard which in my opinion is a good thing.

Zoom the microscope in. Pittsburgh, PA. Home for you and I. As one of the most respected names on the scene, what do you feel is missing from your game plan? Who is your immediate competition? What is your advice for the legions of Caucasian MCs who want your spot?

I think I am missing a few things. Production being one of the first that comes to mind, time being the second, and dependable people being the third. I do everything myself, and I can dig that, but it’d be nice if once in a while someone threw you a bone ya feel. And believe me I have some cats that definitely hooked me up, but in the grand sceme of things I could use an occasional lift.

I honestly don’t feel I have competition because I am a different breed of emcee, ya know? Not to sound cocky or arrogant but, Wiz does his thing, Boaz does his, S.Money does his, I don’t make music the way they do and I’m happy for whatever success they achieve for our city. I think my sound is unique enough where I don’t really have an obvious competition. Here is my advice to those caucasion emcees, BE YOUR FUCKING SELF!!!! Stop trying to impress other people. If you were raised in Mt. Lebanon don’t act like you grew up in Homewood. Just do a style that is most comfortable to you, set your own trend. I think black people are not impressed at how well you can imitate their style without enduring their hardships….Im pissed now Jaxx lol.

Wusai, Wusai. Take a breather champ. Lets talk more about Pittsburgh. Rhyme Cal has provided an otherwise absent platform for MCs in Pittsburgh. If you could name one element missing from our scene, where would you toss the dart?

I’d have to say freestyle ability. No one freestyles it seems. Cyphers have become platforms for written verses. People release “freestyles” on their miztapes and have fucking adlibs!! We need this back. You take the pen out of a lot of our younger emcees hands and they are up the creek, ya feel me?

What’s on the plate for the Real Deal in 2009?

Definitely some more battles but I am going to ease off the gas a little bit for that. I want to direct a lot of attention to music and capitalize off any buzz I might have generated. Raising the Jr. and bigging up the 412.