A Convo About Hip Hop, Business And Media With The Conduit: Q&A With Baba
Hip Hop culture has developed many elements besides the core 4 of MCing, Deejaying, Break-dancing and Graffiti. The art of street entrepreneurship, street fashion and Hip Hop media in today’s cultural climate also play a vital role in how we help grow this amazing culture. Baba, who hails from DC by way of Ghana, is someone who has delved into pushing forward these elements through building relationships via his passion and integral love for Hip Hop. A member of team Roc Marci, marketing expert and DC promoter with years of experience under his belt, he has taken advantage of the pandemic this year by expanding into podcasting with “Choppin’ It Up With The Conduit,” featuring many up and coming underground rap sensations as well as behind the scene play-makers and bonafide legends who he has built with along the way. We at UGHHBLOG got the chance to chop it up with Baba and write up this dope Q&A.
Peace fam! People should get familiar with the many roles you have in this rap game. What sort of work were you doing up until the pandemic and how has the shutdown altered your approach to working in Hip Hop?
Peace Fam & thank you for having me first & foremost. The work I was involved with before the pandemic consisted of marketing/promoting live events at The Howard Theatre & The Kennedy Center along with some artists management. The shutdown altered my approach differently now whereas the presence is online instead of in a live setting.
I’m sure that foundational work has connected to a lot of legends and heavy hitters in the underground. Can you give us some background on how you got into the game?
I was brought into the game by my brother & good friend AG Da Coroner, formally of The Outdoorsmen (Meyhem Lauren & Action Bronson). He literally snatched me off of Twitter back in the summer of 2013. He was just signed to Man Bites Dog Records by Roc Marciano at that time. I was brought on to be “street team.”
Sounds like MCs who take their craft seriously gravitate towards you. Didn’t MC/Actor Tray Chaney who starred in “The Wire” bring you on stage and ask you to be on his team as well? That’s love right there. What were you able to accomplish with him and how did that lead to more opportunities for you personally?
That was a special night all together when that happened because at that time we were just mutual friends online. Once we connected it turned into him opening for mostly legends & Grammy nominated artists which lead him to ATL where he is now on his 5th season on “Saints & Sinners”, a #1 Drama on Bounce TV.
I heard you were also close with Combat Jack, did that inspire you to pursue your “Choppin It Up With The Conduit” podcast?
I was introduced to Ossé (that’s what I affectionately call him) by my dear brother Jaislayer & we developed a super dope friendship/brotherhood where the support was just genuine & his mentoring about the culture and life in general was simply significant. As for “Choppin It Up w/ The Conduit” Podcast, that was done due to the pandemic shutting down the live events space. I was first pushed by my brother John Forte who happened to be my first guest. Then where it really took off was the pushing & encouraging from MiKa Sunga, who happens to executive produce the podcast & who happened to be apart of the legendary “Combat Jack Show”. So being as though she saw the vision I just followed & now I’m starting my second season!
You’re also a core member of team Roc Marci, what can you tell us about working with Roc and his team?
Peace to my brothers Roc Marci & JazzUNGang. The whole Pimpstead Family. The blessing of being able to work with these gentlemen are life lessons. I learn that it’s about Legacy & we hold each other up. Jazz has been very instrumental in my growth in this music game & life. Steel sharpen Steel. As for Roc thats big Bro who is one of the most genuine artists out here. I watch how he moves so with that being said, we just work hard & move silently.
I think its dope that you can tie working for a label as an A&R, managing artists such as Ankhlejohn and putting on shows with Howard Theatre together to sort of become a jack of all trades. How has each position you’ve played complimented one another?
I’m fortunate to be in such positions because of hard work but also forging genuine relationships & how it all ties in is all energy based to me. You move with the right energy & intent, things tend to work out organically even though it may look a little chaotic from the outside. Working with Roc/Jazz helped me with ANKH & Tray in the form of artist Mgmnt relations. Jazz is hands off, so am I. Obviously Roc is a self starter, so is ANKH & Tray. When it’s time to build on things we form like Voltron.
What are some of your favorite hip hop moments/memories?
I have so many moments & memories. One was stage managing Wu-Tang Clan 25 Year Anniversary, Bumpy Knuckles Pop Duke Family Reunion, Ankh opening for Cam’ron, Tray opening for Snoop Dogg twice, all Roc shows lol.
Any advice to younger heads looking to get more into the business side of the hip hop industry/culture?
The advice I would give to younger heads in the game is there’s nothing wrong with starting from scratch because eventually people will acknowledge the work you do because of your energy & passion behind it.
Can you elaborate on the importance of Hip Hoppas on the business/management/promotion side of the culture?
The importance on the business, management & promotion side is that you are to be thorough in all aspects of it. Always ask questions, take mental notes, share ideas & most important is to hold each other accountable.
Season 1 of “Choppin It Up With The Conduit” is a wrap, you have some dope guests such as DJack from Griselda Records, Pete Rock, Ankhlejohn, Roc Marciano, Crimeapple and Knowledge the Pirate. Which episodes were your favorite this season?
First let me thank each & every single artist who shared their time with me. As for my favorite it’s hard because they were all my first timers. Probably Pete Rock & Bumpy Knuckles because he wanted to double up too.
What can we look forward to from you in the 4th quarter of 2020 and into 2021?
Well for the rest of the fourth quarter we will be dropping the rest of our episodes of “Choppin It Up w/ The Conduit” on all DSP’s & season 2 will also be on Twitch. Plus anything Roc related I’ll be on deck too.
Lastly, we at UGHHBLOG always ask our interviewees for their own definition of underground hip hop. What does the underground mean to you personally?
Underground to me means Organic. That’s what we are drawn to, that raw & the real. That simple.