By Armon Hayes
Pressure225 offers refreshing perspective and a distinctive voice. Emerging thru the rubble of battle rap, the sound of no regrets, leaving it all on every track.
The Bronx native’s career is growing with the momentum of his victory as HOT97’s Top shelf freestyle winner. Pressure spits his way to the top of rap battles and music charts with the wit and cadences of a budding force in Hip Hop. My first encounter with Pressure225 was at SOBS where I worked closely with the new artist as he prepared for his performance. Today, I caught up with the lyricist for a Q&A for 360 Magazine and learned how his charm translates from the stage and into real life.
What new projects are you working?
I’m currently finishing my new EP titled “To Die For.” Every time I say the title it feels off, to be real. But it’s a story. You would have to tune in to understand the concept behind it.
I try to make all my projects based on a theme and this one made me dig deeper than any of the other projects I worked on. To try and summarize, it’s about letting go of what you love. In my eyes, that is music. “Is this something I love where the sacrifice is worth the reward?” I’ve been working on this so long, the stress of the independent grind I just had to ask myself, is it to die for? Listen in and it will translate deeper.
What inspired your new music and video for “I give you everything?”
“I give you everything” goes back to the theme in the music. It’s a revolving door behind the questions I have for my passion. It’s almost like my insecurities speaking. I also felt like many people can relate. How much of myself can I give to the craft before I fall down? I wrote the song in 20 minutes and it was the first song I recorded with the homie @madamixes. I’ve always recorded my own projects but this time I felt that I needed to give that responsibility to another ear. It worked out and by taking the opportunity I learned so much about recording in the new streaming era.
The video was shot by @ezrugonalez, and, to be honest we had no big plan. It was like a run and gun video that he made work. His vision behind the camera is crazy. We shot it in Dumbo, Brooklyn and Ezru gave the direction and I gave the performance.
How do you respond to critics who treat battle rap not as a mainstream vehicle?
I love battle rap. Battle rap is the purest form of rap. It’s raw and performed in one shot as a 9-minute performance done in three rounds. It doesn’t get more real than that. There are big time battlers who make $70-80k a battle. I wouldn’t say battle rap is not mainstream but big leagues like @urltv, who are backed by the likes of Drake, are definitely taking it there. If you come up in battle rap it can open gates to new opportunities for sure.
Describe your music in one word?
As the winner of episode 4 of Hot 97’s Top shelf, what are your biggest takeaways?
Networking is key. Listen and learn from the people you meet, take advantage of the rooms you are in. I met some good people behind the scenes who handed me game that I hold on to till this day. When I get my shot for @funkflex freestyle, I will show out for sure lol.
Artist you hope to collaborate with?
My dream list is very New York. Jadakiss, Fab, Nas, but if we are talking more active I’d say J. Cole, Kendrick. I also really like Griselda Records, Westside Gunn, Conway, and Benny for bringing rap back to New York.
How has quarantine life been for you as a new independent artist?
As for independent artists, all we ask for is free time to work on the craft. We as a whole have never been in this predicament. For myself, I can say I took advantage of that time. I am more aware of the steps I need to take on my journey. I made some investments and now I am looking to drop the projects I worked on during quarantine.
What are your thoughts on rap culture seemly more inclusive?
Its a love-hate thing. I love the fact that rap culture has come this far. I hate the moments I step back and know when it’s being patronized. I’m a guest in Hip Hop and it saved me; I will always be on the front lines to keep this culture growing.
Who are your top five rappers?
I don’t have a top five. It’s the age old question and I’m so deep into rap that my mood changes too much to pick five. But, I do have three that will always remain, that’s Jay Z, Big, and Nas. But, I may change that later.