HotNewHipHop spoke to new face WELL$ about his official debut, "MTSYD: The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher", North Carolina, taking his time to perfect his craft and much more.
It's possible that you've come across WELL$ at this point. We first featured him with the socially aware and haunting "Lil Tommy", but since then he's delivered "Dreams Of An Insomniac" as well as a music video for "Django"-- these three records alone are enough to show you the talent lingering within the North Carolina native. We instantly gravitated towards his music, and decided it was only necessary to hit him up for an interview, in order to formally introduce him to the HNHH users. As WELL$ tells us during the conversation, he makes music for every day of your life, and for the average person. He's not on some luxury rap tip or some super gangster tip. He comes across as a regular ass dude, who happens to be really good at rapping thanks to years of practice and cultivation before finally taking it seriously.
Keep your eyes peeled for WELL$ debut project MTSYD: Revenge Of The African Booty Scratcher to drop on May 19th here. Read below to find out what exactly "MTSYD" stands for, WELL$'s influences growing up and much more.
Well$: Sup Rosie?
HotNewHipHop: How’s it goin’?
Well$: It’s going good, it’s going good. Just got some good news I was on MTV World today.
HNHH: Yeah, I saw that actually I saw you tweet that. So “Tommy” has really kinda picked up, it seems like it went across all the blogs.
Well$: Yeah, it’s doing good.
HNHH: Is that the first time that’s happened with one of your records?
Well$: Um one of my records, I had a video do the same thing, but for one of my records that’s the first time.
HNHH: Ok, so HotNewHipHop viewers don’t really know you, “Lil Tommy” was the first time we posted you, so I wanted to start from the very beginning, when was the first time..or how old were you when you first decided you wanted to rap?
Well$: Woah..Um, it’s kinda funny how I got into rap. My older cousin, who is also my labelmate on Immaculate Taste, I was young and I had a talent of just me rhyming. I never took it seriously up until my senior year in high school. I found out I wasn’t gunna be able to play basketball, my whole senior year, so I had to sit out my whole senior year, that fucked up my college eligibility, my scholarships, I wasn’t gunna ball nowhere. So I sat down like, do I really wanna go to college just to go to college? So it’s maybe been like, what, two years? Two years I decided I was really gunna rap seriously and do this.
HNHH: Okay, cause like on your Facebook page, I wrote in your write-up that you were 17 and Mike hit me back being like, no he’s 19, so that was like two years ago you made your Facebook page and was like I’ma take it seriously.
Well$: Yeah two years ago.
HNHH: So how have you grown and progressed? What were you doing when you were younger, how did you grow and evolve as a rapper?
Well$: Actually when I was younger I couldn’t rap about anything but God, it was all like Christian rap, I was a Christian rapper.
HNHH: But that’s not the focus of your music anymore.
Well$: No that’s not the focus of my music anymore. That’s not say I’m like ‘screw god’, but I’m not preaching in my song seither. But uh, as I progressed, as I get older, my cousin let me open up my subject matter a little more. I think me starting off as a Christian rapper it taught me how to use my words really well—‘cause I couldn’t curse in a rhyme you know what I mean so I had to find different ways to get my point across.
HNHH: Yeah for sure, you have to be creative with a totally different context so I can understand how that would help you develop your lyrical ability. What’s your cousin’s name?
Well$: Alec Lomami. He’s my executive producer, dog, it’s like, we’re the dream team. Every project I make he’s gunna be on it. He’s had his hands on this project that’s coming out, he’s had his hands on “Lil Tommy”, he’s as responsible for it as I am. What I was gunna say about my progression as an artist, I had a chance at like 14 or 15 to drop my first song-- at the time anybody could post a song. Like nowadays, you see a lot of one hit wonders, anybody could post a song. We just decided with me, on my end, I didn’t wanna drop anything until I could cultivate a sound. That’s why the label that me and my cousins started is called Immaculate Taste. We don’t put anything out that’s not immaculate. We don’t rush anything. A lot of people are too worried about the instant gratification as opposed to a long tenure in the music career—and that’s what I’m worried about. I plan on being here for a long time. So I took that time probably from about like 14 to 17 perfecting rap and at about 17 like, I am gunna take it seriously. And I waited longer again, to make sure I got all the kinks out.
HNHH: That’s dope, and it definitely shows. When I listen to your Soundcloud, there’s not a ton of tracks on there, but everything on there is dope. I think you’re on the right track. I wanted to know what were some of the rappers that inspired you in the first place, what was the first rap CD you bought? Like, just what you listened to growing up.
Well$: Ah man, crazy. Growing up… I’m actually African, so my parents didn’t really listen to rap music like that. It wasn’t really inside the house, until I started hanging out with my cousins, and they would play the French rap they were listening too. So I got some French rap early on, and then about at 14, I had like, you know how everybody has like a life changing experience, that year in their life they feel like shaped them to who they are. I think mine happened at like 14. At 14 I noticed a lot of people that come up now, all they do is shout out the legends, the Tupacs, the J Dillas, all these old school—and I’m not taking anything away from that, I fuck with the old school, I love the old school to death for what it is. But as far as when you say, what did you grow up on? Anybody that’s my age or my age bracket didn’t really grow up on that—they may have appreciated it, and liked it, and listened to it, but what was playing at the time was Lil Wayne Drought 3. As far as my influences around the time, it’s not really artists, it’s albums, it’s mixtapes and albums. I was 14-years old and I was bumping Drake’s So Far Gone, Kid Cudi A Kid Named Cudi, Wiz’s Kush & OJ.
HNHH: Those were all classic mixtapes during that came out during that time.
Well$: I hate how everybody likes to like..shit on Wayne, for example. Like Wayne wasn’t that nigga for a long ass time. This generation is just like…and that’s me, people just forget things way to fast. Lil Wayne, Curren$y…At the time, I was in New Orleans when I was listening to those tapes. I got a specific love for New Orleans. Even the Hot Boys, I feel like the Hot Boys put the South on the map.
HNHH: You were in New Orleans but right now you live in North Carolina?
Well$: I was in New Orleans just visiting my cousin Alec—that’s where he was living. All my summers we’d just kick it.
HNHH: And I just wanted to talk about being from North Carolina—J. Cole is one of the first rappers to make it big out of that area. Is he a huge deal out there? I don’t know what it’s like IN North Carolina.
Well$: [Laughs] Just to make a correction—I find this funny, I think Petey Pablo was the first.
HNHH: Oh…not someone I would think of off the top of my head.
Well$: Me and my friends die on that all the time. But um, J. Cole, everybody respects him for what he does. I respect him hella from being from North Carolina and getting us some buzz. I fuck with him. I hope he reads this. Shit.
HNHH: Okay, and is there a specific sound coming out of North Carolina? Or is it a jumble?
Well$: What I like about North Carolina is it’s all different. What I’ve noticed about the industry as of late, everything needs to sound cohesive, you need to have this sound, you need to be this. But in actuality, music is never like that. Some days you wake up and you wanna be ratchet, somedays you wake up and wanna be conscious. Why not make the music for everyday of your life. That’s why I think Tupac was the greatest. As far as my city, I just like how there’s so much diversity—there’s no sound. I don’t think I have a sound, I make music for every day people, for every emotion, for every feeling that you have, I have a song for.
HNHH: There’s a lot of diversity in your tracks.
Well$: Yeah and North Carolina is like a one stop shop, if you want your conscious rap you’ve got Rapsody, if you want the new age stuff you’ve got this new guy Deniro, King Mez…
HNHH: Are there any producers you’re working with right now, or you have your own crew?
Well$: It’s both, I have my group of producers it’s THE BL∆CK HE∆RTS CLUB. We also got in-house producer PGMW. But as far as producers I really wanna work with, one is DJ Dahi.
HNHH: Oh yeah I love him.
Well$: Chuck Inglish, I wanna get a beat from J. Cole and probably like King Mez and Ryan Hemingsworth.
HNHH: So you’re working on your upcoming mixtape that has a really long title [MTSYD: Revenge Of The African Booty Scratcher]. Can you explain the title? What does MTSYD stand for?
Well$: MTSYD means ‘Make Them Suck Your Dick.’ It’s like, pretty much, I made a mixtape when I was like 17, my first mixtape and it didn’t get really received well as I wanted too. Instead of being like, oh these niggas hatin’ on me, they don’t recognize real rap, I have some shit I need to work on. I was like fuck it, I’ma come back with my next project and make it so undeniable...I dunno if you heard the term like, when somebody keeps giving props to the other person, people will be like, stop sucking that niggas dick.
HNHH: For sure.
Well$: MTSYD is like I wanna make the world suck my dick—you know what I mean, just make something the world gravitates too.
HNHH: Forsure, we get that on the site all the time. Is there a general sound to the mixtape, or songs for every day of your life like you said?
Well$: There’s a general vibe, but sound, I wouldn’t say none, ‘cause you can go from “Lil Tommy” to “Black Swan”—but they kinda have the same vibe, and the way that they’re layered, you won’t even notice the switch from hip-hop to new age stuff.
HNHH: Cool. Any last words for HNHH viewers, things you want them to know?
Well$: I mean, really like, I want them to know that I’m a part of Immaculate Taste.
HNHH: That’s a label that you started yourself?
Well$: Me, my cousin Mike and Alec.