DRIP DROPS of HIP-HOP from CHATTANOOGA
By Ben Banks
SouthSide Uzulane is definitely one artist that I’ve been excited to get for an interview. I haven’t actually met him yet, but I’ve been a fan of his since I heard one of his early features with FromSpace. He was very open and honest about some of his struggles but also how he’s moving to become a better artist and person.
Where are you from and what area do you feel like you rep?
SouthSide: I’m from Chatt. I can’t choose a specific spot cuz I’ve lived all over Chatt and try to have love for all areas of the city regardless of good or bad experiences.
What/who first got you into music?
SouthSide: I can’t say it was anyone specific but if I do I’ll say it all starts with my dad, Rest In Peace, to him and aside from him my older brother who was always watching BET growing up back when I didn’t care to make music at all.
Which artists are really inspiring you right now?
SouthSide: Just like with me keeping love for all areas of Chatt I gain inspiration from all areas of life. It’s too crazy for me to ignore what happens and real people connect with real shit, so if I been through it why would I not speak on it everything is an inspiration or an influence that gets me thinking about what a song needs and how I should approach it. Kendrick was the one that grabbed my ears but years later so did Ski Mask, COMETHAZINE, and lots more.
Which artist is really slept on in the area?
SouthSide: Aside from me, CJ FromSpace, IHateheartless, and Brandon Castello the list could go on locally but I pay more attention to them than anyone else in Chatt no shade to anyone I didn’t mention.
Tell me about your creative process
SouthSide: I overthink the moment I wake up from sleep so when I make music that state of mind doesn’t leave until I acknowledge that it’s there. A lot of times it helps a lot of times it gets in the way so usually I’ll smoke before I hop on FL and I’ll be in the mood to play around with whatever idea I get until I craft it in my mind enough and then I’ll put it together on FL or I’ll write it out and when I record if I don’t like it I don’t rush it save the project come back to it if it has potential unless it was trash. Overall can’t be afraid to acknowledge something bad because you can’t grow like that.
Do you feel like you’ve gone through phases in your music
SouthSide: Yep, everyday of my life feels like a different chapter but to put it simple I went from not caring about music to making music too fast and now I’m just chilling and enjoying the ride so that when I get back on my laptop or someone else shit I’ll have all the resources I need to express how I feel based on what I been through can’t have shame when you go through something real because most people been through it too and I’m not giving up my chance for me and those people to connect and understand we all the same at heart.
How would you say that you’re different now rather than past phases?
SouthSide: Back then, I let my mind and feelings get the best of me I was weak fast forward to today I’m that same person but I stopped ignoring my flaws and started working on them at one point I didn’t believe in myself at all then I started taking production serious and got good at that which is what proved to me that it all starts with you as a person and how far your willing to push so that you achieve what your after.
Explain how you balance music with everything else in your life
SouthSide: I don’t if I don’t feel like doing music I won’t force it And regardless im always listening to music at work and I’m always thinking about music when I’m at work or not i look at life like stars and planets I need somewhere to put all this shit and it’s in my music with my music being space itself.
You’re very protective of your energy and who’s in your circle; why’s that important to you?
SouthSide: Because I’ve been the bad and the good guy and I made a choice being a bad person not worth it so if you choose to be bad and you push that fucked up energy on the people that care for you and choose to put up with you it’s a hell naw for me I grew up being picked on so I refuse to let people that can’t mature be around me. I’ll break somebody neck if it’ll get they hoe ass away from me I try to remain peaceful and civilized regardless though but people today don’t care about you or your loved ones so after you show me you intend on harming me or them you done we never knew you niggas too fake for me to keep trusting everybody we all did fake shit before but I’ll admit it before most the niggas I know do and the niggas that don’t keep it that real don’t need to be around me.
Talk about some trends you see in the music scene right now
SouthSide: Same shit as every year; one rapper says a word and all rappers start using that word and people on social media start using that word because everybody sheep in denial aside from that a lot of producers in rap been doing a lot of melodic stuff with trap music which is dope to me melodies are where it’s at even if you got the best drums melodies are like marshmallows in lucky charms lol.
Is there anything you’re trying to change in the music scene?
SouthSide: Nothing specific but I hate that about myself to be honest because it’s not a dream I’m chasing I’m not ambitious about it or anything it’s just who I am before music all I did was draw and I’m good as hell at that but after music I barely draw anything but it’s the same feeling for both it’s just who I am not who I want to be so I’m not trying to do anything huge by default because stuff like that comes when you stayed focused and true to yourself anyway.
Are there any themes that you focus on in your music?
SouthSide: I try not to rap about shit that’s too ignorant and I try to speak on what matters most but it just depends on the song and what it’s about so I just go with the flow but I don’t let the water take me I watch where it goes and where it’s coming from that’s how I come up with my shit nothing but observation.
What audience are you trying to reach?
SouthSide: Whoever wants to listen. It’s thousands of niggas out here rapping about the same shit and people flock to that but ignore someone with actual shit to say because people don’t like to acknowledge the shame that’s associated with struggle my goal is to embrace that shame so we all feel good knowing we had to walk to work in the rain or had to sell and pawn our TV just to put food on the table.
What message are you sending that audience?
SouthSide: I love you, if you love yourself and others. We all mess up but we don’t all acknowledge when we mess up but everything starts there so if you care about fixing yourself then I love you I can’t stand biased ass people that just results in an endless argument.
Who’s someone that you’d love to collab with?
SouthSide: My dad lol I don’t rely on collabs I already spend most of my time trying to outdo myself but I’m open to collab with whoever as long as you not trash don’t care how much clout somebody have if your verse make people turn the song off or skip past your part then we don’t have nothing to work on together people deserve to hear a whole song if they choose to donate their time and in most cases money too.
What struggles have you overcome working in music?
SouthSide: Yea just everyday life shit usually or my laptop trippin and I’ll spend hours trying to fix it so I can get back to a beat I was making obstacles become resources though so usually I don’t trip I just be thankful for what I still do have.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start in music?
SouthSide: If you not ready to trash a whole verse because it’s not good you shouldn’t rap everything in life is trial and error you can come up with the perfect verse and hook on one song and the next song will make you feel like you just started rapping again you gotta be willing to step back and come back in the middle of that you gotta observe go listen to something that will give you ideas for a flow and etc can’t just rely on what you already know you have to keep growing at all times as long as you willing to do that any and everything is possible for you.
What some good things that have come from being in the music scene?
SouthSide: The real friends I’ve made in it I can speak on myself and my personal growth forever but without those friends I wouldn’t even care about what I’ve achieved.
Best describe your brand/style
SouthSide: I wouldn’t. Most rappers won’t say they was just another nigga but that’s all I am just another nigga that loves good music I can be whatever to whoever but at the end of the day I’m a fan not a brand.
What other media (movies, shows, etc) influences or inspires you?
SouthSide: Before anime and manga was cool to everybody I was picked on for that shit. Anybody I went to East Lake with in middle school will tell you that but that’s who I am and anime has always been inspirational. I’ll rewatch Dragon Ball Z before I watch the next big horror movie. Most that shit all the same.
So, what’s something that if you accomplished it, you’d feel like you’ve “made it”?
SouthSide: Being able to take care of and provide for myself and family nothing else really matters to me.
Is there something that you’re really proud of?
SouthSide: My dad because it took him a while but he still got far with his music before shit happened how it did but I’m proud as fuck of him because I know he went through a lot to make it and people put him through a lot before and after he did in my eyes he the only real superhero I ever met. He stayed true to himself how can I not be proud of that.
Do yo have any other hobbies?
SouthSide: Nah, I play games and make music if I want to draw I will so only thing I could say would be getting better at painting and performing more.
Anything you want to plug or any shoutouts?
SouthSide: Shout out to Chattanooga. We all some crazy ass messed up people but we still on our feet and trying to do better. I got a music video on the way next month for my most recent song called GUAP https://soundcloud.com/homelss/guap. I know the name generic but the song hard so I don’t care lol.
Tha Milk Drop is a site focused on highlighting the hip-hop culture in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but also taps into hip-hop worldwide. Each week we drop exclusive and new content from artists. Also catch the profiles and interviews of hip-hop artists and creatives.
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