Villiami, tell us a little more about your newest album "Early Bird"
Well, I named it Early Bird because this specific project is a compilation of some new joints, and also some old songs I have had sitting in the vault for awhile.
The title represents my focus and realizing time is of the essence.
It represents me taking myself seriously and separating myself as an artist from the habit of sitting on too many songs and content and letting it collect dust.
That mentality in itself I believe continues to set me apart from a lot of artists.
I like to think of it as an inspiring piece of work; the kick in the ass we all need from time to time.
Another aspect this project focuses on is the " Underdog " mentality.
This is me acknowledging that I am one out of a few underrated artists coming out of Orange County but not complaining about it; more embracing it and using it to drive me instead of slow me down.
This project also serves as motivation for artists and showing them the process of how to promote themselves through a tape.
All the behind the scenes work and money spent investing in yourself can prove to be harder than any regular day to day job.
However if your hustle is just as relentless as mine is, you should be just fine.
Most of these songs are either cuts that did not make my recent EP " The Heights " or songs that I had for the follow up " The Heights " Part 2 but ended up not making the cut.
Truthfully speaking, I believe Early Bird also captures that energy of when you would hear an upcoming artist on a random mixtape killing a bunch of beats and covers/ features etc.
The energy and the hunger is the vibe.
This is my best tape since SouthPaw in 2014.
What are some of your favorite tracks on Early Bird and why (backstory)?
I wish I could pick one or two but really all these songs mean something special to me.
Each song represents a different time where I maybe felt or witnessed all odds stacked against me.
These are stories of when a man finds the hardest fight he has to fight is against his own thoughts.
They represent the aftermath of me going through all that and being happy with the final result.
Early bird is all about the Growth.
1. EARLY BIRD
The intro EARLY BIRD is me taking a lot of my different experiences and literally using music to vent them out and communicate them in a way that I can only describe as " Triumph."
I have been through all of this and music is my outlet.
I'm basically thanking music for giving me some wise up.
Music has allowed me to shine as well as allowed me to approach a lot of things in my life differently.
If someone were to ask my advice on this path I have chosen?
Early Bird would be the gem I drop on them.
2. MIDNIGHT SHIFT
On MIDNIGHT SHIFT, I am reminiscing on the 3 to 4 years I was working graveyard shift at Angel Stadium plus two more shifts at different gas stations while sleeping and selling weed out the trunk of my car between it all.
This was a time where I felt music was so far away, and that I was working so hard and had nothing to show for it.
My days would pretty much start at Midnight and end at Midnight again.
Having hustles on both sides of the law really tainted my focus and I found myself daily wishing that I didn't have to go through any of these struggles.
Hence why the hook goes "ALL I WANT TO FOCUS ON IS MONEY, LOVE, MORE MONEY AND MUSIC."
Also that I don't knock any artist working a 9 to 5 to invest in their dreams.
I wanna kill this stigma that "REAL ONES" have to take penitentiary chances to make something happen.
That shit is dead.
No one cares cause half your audience are customers now.
Hustlers are rare.
Rich is the new gangster.
Taking care of your family is how you keep it G to the fullest.
3. BAG OF WEED
BAG OF WEED is a favorite amongst my homies that I surround myself with on a regular basis.
It's a cover of Wiz Khalifa and DJ Mustard's "Bammer Weed."
This sort of represents a climax from Midnight Shift.
It takes the listener through the early routine of me pulling up to the studio in the area we know as "The Heights" in Anaheim, CA.
Smoking and making music.
What could be better right?
Shout outs the homies Woody and Jorge for motivating me to hop on that beat!
WESTSIIIDE is a little farewell to summer time.
A little something my female audience can rock to as well.
I noticed that I didn't really hone in on my love song vibe so i wanted to balance it out on this tape.
It's something that I have noticed my listeners really do admire, and I am a man of the people after all.
5. FREE JAYMACC
FREE JAYMACC is a whole barred out ode to one of my most solid friends JayMacc who is currently serving time.
This freestyle I dropped early before the tape.
This was at a time where a lot of people I was surrounded by started falling off due to their own bad habits & jealousy.
It was the realization that some of the realest people you got in your corner are not even by your side.
The realization that a friend locked away in a cage was more loyal to me than more than half the dudes around me at the time.
Shit really messes with your head.
RESPECT is one of my favorites because I just completely let loose on it.
It reiterates the fact that RESPECT is and has ALWAYS been the line that I press.
Truth be told the story behind RESPECT involves a few situations that could have gotten out of hand but music was there yet again to help me maneuver like a BOSS through them instead of a mindless foot soldier.
If you believe in the saying "CHESS NOT CHECKERS," respect is gonna be your joint as well.
7. WU TANG WEDNESDAY
WU TANG WEDNESDAY was a real organic collaboration brought together by my producer and brother Savi Waves.
Me and my G Young OC are of Polynesian descent and I feel that when it comes to polys in Hip Hop there are two big stigmas.
One is that we aren't accepted in the industry for reasons outside of skill, talent, or work ethic when truthfully speaking we are some of the most talented AND hardworking people on the planet.
Second stigma is that we always try to sound like somebody else which forces poly artists to only be heard in our own community.
Even then, the stigma reaches as far as if it ain't street it ain't heat which forces a lot of poly artists to not support each other.
Me and Young OC chose to stand out on both sides of the spectrum and display that music is forever changing.
It's our turn to run the game whether they are ready for it or not.
Shoutouts to my dawg Young OC for totally obliterating that beat and verse.
The West Coast needs a new sound anyway.
Save the gangsta raps for throwback Thursday; you see the title of the song.
8. KICK IN THE DOOR
KICK IN THE DOOR was a collaboration / cover put together by myself with Stupid Bars who in my expert opinion, is in the TOP TEN spitters of Orange County no question.
This song displays the true essence of Hip Hop while reminding people that despite the times, music is still one of the most powerful and influential forces on earth.
It also reminds artists that no matter what you say, without the golden era of LYRICISM, none of today's music would even be possible.
It also touches lightly on the current pandemic climate everyone has been forced to adhere too.
One of my favorite collabs of 2020 no doubt.
Shout outs my g SB and Maserati Shellz for engineering the track.
QUESTIONS I have to say is a team favorite.
I love it because none of it was written down; all straight from the heart.
Dealing with the political climate and recent power abuse of the police officers involved in countless murders of the African American community.
I feel QUESTIONS was a brief pause in time as far as the tape is concerned.
A moment to sit and think about everything and really process what is going on today.
Every time I hear it I just feel like this song was supposed to happen.
CONCRETE is the turning point of the tape.
Taking all my experiences and each one of the previous tracks and painting the picture that all of these different struggles contributed to the solidarity I have not only displayed in the music, but in my everyday life as well.
This is truly the track I want people to hear whenever they feel down on their luck.
You are stronger than you think and sometimes that is the scariest thing to a person.
YOU are your only obstacle.
SAVAGE was a joint I had in the vault just sitting there and would play for my immediate circle on occasion.
I honestly got tired of everyone asking me "WHEN ARE YOU GONNA DROP THIS ?"
So in light of that, once the Early Bird track list was finalized to 10 tracks I felt I needed a powerful outro.
I feel Savage represents the acknowledgement of oneself.
Realizing your potential and never dimming down your light or "SAVAGE" to please others.
Again, I do not make music people want to hear. I make music I want to hear.
Since the start of the pandemic, popular artists like you who thrive on stage have not been able to perform. What has it been like without live performances?
I am going to be completely honest with you fam...it sucks haha.
I miss going crazy on stage and interacting with the people.
That is a type of energy that technology can never duplicate.
However this time has also provided me with the mental space to focus and be more strategic with music / business and other ventures I have on the outside.
It's a catch 22 for me to be real.
All I know is that once this is over I am going HAM once I hit that stage again.
Do you have anything new or upcoming we can expect to see from you?
Well first off, make sure ya'll go grab that EARLY BIRD tape!
I promise it's Fuego!
I am looking into doing some collaboration projects with some of my previous features as well as wrapping up the 2nd part of my EP series "The Heights" set to drop in early 2021.
Also, the first "The Heights " EP is still making good runs as I am completing a 5 part music video series on my YouTube with Savi Waves and Big Seek from Ghosthouse FX.
Very excited for that.
Other than that I have been working on community outreach and linking up with City Officials and Councilmen behind the scenes.
Also preparing the launch of my clothing brand "STAY BLESSED."
I am also working with two new artists under my brand SBM (Success Balance Music)
by the names of REBEL and FERNY NEBULA.
I plan on putting them out real soon!
Expect to see me again on DARK Magazine when any of these things pop up haha.
Y'all the real deal !
Follow Kenny Villiami:
YouTube: Kenny Villiami
Website: Stay Blessed Official
Management IG: @stayblessedfam
Management Email: stayblessedoffical.bigcartel.com