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Q&A with West Philly’s King Shampz

We at UGHHBLOG got the chance to tap in with one of the dopest spitters out of Philly, King Shampz and catch up on his roots and inspirations in hip-hop, as well as his plans for 2021.

Peace fam, so can you tell us how being from West Philly inspired you to building a career in Hip Hop?

Well being from West Philly definitely had an impact on my upbringing in more ways than one. When it comes to Hip Hop though, outside of my love for the art form, I would have to say the yearning for a better existence. Growing up in the ghetto, there are not many ways out so Hip Hop is for better or for worse, one of the avenues many youths consider an escape. I, for one believe Hip Hop has definitely been an outlet for many to remain positive and on the right side of the tracks and has also presented many rags to riches stories that give youth hope. These success stories tell you that your dreams can one day can become reality.

How did your family’s background in music affect you and your brothers approach?

Coming from a musical family, we heard any genre of music you can think of. Both our parents played instruments. Our dad listens to almost everything so we were always exposed to different types of music. So along with me and my brother being trained musicians as children, our exposure to eclectic sounds and music growing up dictates a great deal of our creativity. We love all types of music despite our focus being the genre Hip Hop so we will always implement various sounds into our music. So yes, our approach is definitely influenced by our family’s musical background/present.

What was your earliest inspiration to start taking Hip Hop seriously as a career?

Probably listening to the greats.  Artists like Jay-Z, Nas, Tupac and Biggie were always large influences. Listening to guys like that made me fall in love with the art form. Those guys inspired me to hone my craft and start taking rapping serious. Even to this day guys like them and Wu-Tang influence my writing and creative process.

What is it like working with your brother?

It’s really easy. Because we are brothers, our working relationship is natural. For instance, If he comes up with a beat, we’ll collaborate on the the hook together and I’ll write the lyrics. We critique each other, but it’s all for the greater good. Whatever makes the song better, we’re both open to ideas to improve it.

What were some of your earliest inspirations in hip hop?

Jay, Nas, Pac, BIG, Scarface, Outkast, Cam’ron, Beanie Sigel, Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep are just some that come to mind. All legends.

You guys were mad young when you created your first label, what was it like being at that age and having such a vision? How has that helped you build to this day?

Looking up to guys like Suge Knight, Master P, Diddy, L.A Reid and of course the GOAT Berry Gordy. They changed black music forever. Since I had a entrepreneur mentality since a young age, it would only make sense that I would gravitate to these type of moguls and their stories. Having a label has been a dream of ours since we were young because we always wanted to have our own and to work for ourselves. The only thing we wanted then and now was distribution from a major label. Our learning from those who came before us successes and failures has been monumental. We have got a great game plan going forward.

What was your first project and how did its release affect you and your brothers careers?

We released “Kings of Kings Vol.1” almost 9 years ago. It was dope but very raw. We have learned alot since then. My brother has grown as a producer and I have grown as an artist. I think it taught us how to properly promote and market our music. We learned how to properly release music also. It was a great learning experience.

What is your approach to releasing music today?

We use different tactics. Soundcloud has been a platform that we have definitely utilized when it came to single releases. With “Dawn of The Dead” we released it on all streaming platforms. We decide before we release the music when and where it will be available. It all depends on how we want to package it. We try to be innovative in the ways we release our music.

Speaking of “Dawn Of The Dead,” that project showed you and your brothers range as an MC and your brother as a producer. What mindset did y’all have when crafting this album? How did its concept come about?

We wanted to showcase artists on our label and give out alot of shine. Of course we wanted to show off our skills but it was more so a mission statement. The East coast has got something to say. Word to Andre 3000. Point blank period. On the mainstream side of hip hop we don’t get many looks. Only on the underground. And if you do pop off, you sound like you are from another region. All the artists on the project are from the Philly area and NY. We are putting on for the east coast. We want to break through on radio with our sound. Perform all around the world. We have bigger aspirations than to sell out bars and small venues. That’s why our sound has expanded. We want it all.

Word! So that being said, what’s your plans for 2021? What can we look forward to next?

My EP will be out in a few months. After that, a label compilation will follow in the summer. Alot of surprises on the horizon. Stay on the lookout.

Most def! Lastly, we at UGHHBLOG always like to ask what’s your personal definition of underground hip hop?

Underground Hip Hop is where a lot of the good Hip Hop still resides. It’s underground because it’s not heard by the masses, but a lot of the music is truly amazing. Underground Hip Hop is untouched by commercial sheen. It is Hip Hop at its most natural and organic form. In other words, it is the heartbeat of the culture. And that’s how I’ll leave it. Salute to all of the artists out there doing their thing.

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About Matt Ocon

Griselda by Fashion Rebels collector, underground head. Hip Hop enthusiast. Fly Family + Lord Mobb!!