Curtis Williams is a rapper/producer who has been taking the music industry by storm with the help of his fellow members of the collective Two-9. Spitting hard raps, making beats and creating ideas is what he does best. His latest project “Half-Forgotten Day Dreams” was one of 2013’s top mixtapes in the hip hop world. Getting co-signed by Wiz Khalifa along with having his team put Atlanta on the map with remarkable records, Curtis Williams is definitely one of the next up and comers that’s in the game to stay.
Curtis lives freely with an imagination that’s limitless and remains focused on the vision. His flow is aggressive, in your face and makes you want to turn up. Earlier this month we got to talk about his favorite cities, hobbies and what Two-9 is all about. Here’s what the Young Genius had to say.
Words by: Roger Kimbeni
Mechanical Dummy: What’s going on Curtis?
Curtis Williams: I’m good.
MD: What are you up to?
CW: I’m just over here chilling you know? Taking a little medicine if you know what I mean haha. Hangin out with the homies. Regular day, bout to hit the studio.
MD: That’s what’s good, Friday going on to Saturday.
CW: Yeah, it’s the weekend.
MD: Speaking of the weekend, I saw the “Saturday Night” video.
CW: Did you like it?
MD: Yeah it was dope, I like the Grand Theft Auto scene you had in there , that was pretty funny.
CW: That was funny the way we did that. That scene was the most random scene too because I remember we did it right before we started shooting at my homeboy Alkebulan house; who’s featured on the song and he’s like my engineer and best friend. So when we were getting ready to shoot the video, cause I mean we shot the video at the house, like our place, that’s my home. He was in the shower getting ready so I remember we knocked at the door getting him to rush. Cause if you notice he’s the only one with a performance scene, I don’t really perform at all in it. So we’re like “Yo Alkebulan we gotta shoot this scene before all these people come” So he came out like fully dressed immediately and mind you he had just hopped in the shower, so niggas was like “bro, how the fuck did you get dressed that fast?” he was like a Grand Theft Auto character, he just went in there and clothes started appearing. He was laughing and I said “Dude, we should do that for a video” and we did it, I don’t know, high nigga shit hahaha.
MD: It’s funny because you guys (Two-9) just do whatever you want. What I took from the video too was that it was just a normal day in Atlanta. When I think of Atlanta I’m thinking everybody out there is about that trap life, I don’t really see people wearing Thrasher t-shirts and getting into what your collective is into. So what is Two-9 really about and what do you bring to the table?
We’re not saying we the creators of exactly what we’re doing, we’re just trying to show people exactly what you just said, that there’s more than just trap out here. We like stuff like that, the trap, the strip club all of that. We love everything about Atlanta that the next man loves about Atlanta but at the same time we’re into a bunch of other cultures and that kind of rubs off and plays into how we create music and how we live life know what I’m saying? We’re just trying to show people that we have a whole other scene and there’s niggas that’s in the scene in Atlanta that say “it is cool to do this”. Cause we’ve been doing this for a minute but I’ll see some of my peers, they’ll stop and decide to try to go the radio route and we’re just trying to show people that there’s another piece of Atlanta, we’re not just Atlanta, it’s a pretty big city to us and everybody isn’t seeing everything. That brings more confidence to the people that’s doing this, like the niggas with boutiques and stuff, it’s like we put on for that. You don’t have to switch your stuff up, we’re going to make a lane and now everyone will start looking for Two 9 and people like that because there’s more of us that I don’t even know. So that’s pretty much what we’re trying to do.
MD: That’s great, bringing the local music scene and local businesses together and making your own money, What’s your favorite city outside of Atlanta?
CW: Mmmmmmmmm right now, I really like Miami a lot, big Miami fan.
MD: Oh yeah?
CW: I like LA too, LA is pretty dope. I want to go to Toronto, I’ve never been to Toronto, I feel like somewhere in Canada is going to turn into my favorite city. I haven’t been up there yet so I can’t really pick.
MD: We have the baddest jawns (girls) up here man.
CW: That’s what I’m saying man, that’s what I’m saying, I ain’t been out there yet, so I can’t really pick yet, cause I fucks with LA, Miami and shit but I ain’t never been there (Canada).
MD: I’m telling you, I know in Atlanta you have those Georgia peaches, that’s what I’m craving. But when you come out here all the white girls up here got the black booties man.
CW: I know man, I know, that’s what I’m saying. I got a few girls I used to talk to from up there that I still haven’t kicked it with cause I ain’t been up there yet.
MD: Your time will come soon. So you dropped your project “Half Forgotten Day Dreams” which was a real quality record. What was different from you making that compared to your previous work?
CW: The main difference was that, that was the first time that I really just started to try to find stuff that I like specifically for myself. Because when we started Two -9, I always played different roles. First I played the producer and I would help produce everybody’s records then I would rap on songs and all that. But with HFDD I had to figure out all the different sounds and what I like about music and what I want to try to create, how I want artwork to look. It was really just me doing that by myself with the help from people in Two 9 and other people that I wanted to bring in. It was more of just me directing it; instead of doing it for somebody else, so it was more personal.
MD: Something that makes you different from a lot of artists that I listen to is you say a lot of your sh*t with confidence. “Think of money, you think of us!” what made you so confident on this project?
CW: I mean I rap and I love art. I love the way you can do it in so many different ways. There’s things that make certain artist tight so when I first started rapping with everybody in Two 9, I’ll come clean, those niggas are lyricist… Like them niggas can get in ciphers and shit like that. Me? I’m probably not really gonna do that hahahaha. But I realized that there’s ways that I could still get my message off in a artistic way, like a more blunt way. That’s how a lot of my raps are, it’s not really super crazy punch lines or metaphors, it’s just something that I want to say. I want to say it and I want people to feel it like “ok, this line wasn’t crazy over the head but I feel like this might be how this kid really feels”. I feel like that’s artistic in a way too.
MD: You’re starting to get paid now, more exposed, things are still normal but things are picking up and you’re catching a lot of heat. How was life before rap? What was your day to day like?
CW: I feel like just me personally even before I started making music I always felt that I was strong minded and real open. I always wanted to make an impact in some way. That’s how people in the city remember me. I used to go to parties and I would always try to impact people in some type of way. So then I started making music and realized people liked it. So I felt like this is the way we can impact these people. That’s the only reason we go so hard with the music because before we were just chilling and we really wanted to do the same thing we were always doing. Before the music we were showing people like “ yeah bro, we dress like this, we kick it like that” but at the same time I like going to the club and popping bottles and kicking it with my niggas, smoking big blunts and looking at fat asses too. We realized we wanted to do both so we felt like we can do both lifestyles with music. We do whatever the fuck we want. We were doing the same thing pretty much, except less money, less recording, less focus but we were still doing our thing. We had brands, I was working at boutiques, and I skated a little bit. Shit like that.
MD: Can we look forward to anything from you or the collective?
CW: Right now we’re about to start “Winter in Tokyo” that’s Retro Sushi’s mixtape, which is pretty amazing not gonna lie. I think that’ll be one of the tightest Two -9 projects, I think people will need it because I dropped a mixtape, FatKidsBrotha dropped a tape and now niggas about to hear Sushi. So after that people will get a better understanding of what we’re doing. Then right after “Winter in Tokyo” we’re working on a Two-9 album, we have a couple names, we don’t know exactly what we’re gonna call it but it’s coming together. It’s a lot of good ass music. We’re Just gonna keep putting out good ass music, people don’t have to worry about us not putting out music. There will be more videos and all of that.
MD: Since you’ve been involved with pop up shops, designing and everything I have to ask this. I’m 22, and every time I think about life when I’m 30, my brain overloads because there’s so much I could do. With you being a rapper, its like time goes on and you’re thinking “Am I going to keep rapping?” “I might have to cut my hair” “I’m turning 30” I mean do you ever think about life at 30?
CW: Yeah man of course. I’m into a whole bunch of random stuff that people don’t even know, Some random stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with business that I want to do. That’s part of the reason why I’m going hard with rap so I could be able to get this money and be able to fund what I want. I like travelling, I want to be able to travel and go wherever the fuck I want. Then I’ve been getting into film, not even acting but like directing and writing little short films and shit. I want to take money from what I’m doing and put it into that type of stuff. I’m like a pothead bro, I want to be able to just have a bunch of money and do whatever I want to do at any moment. Cause I feel like that’s how Snoop Dogg and them is, that’s why his name is Snoop Lion right now. He’s at the point where he could do whatever you know what I’m saying? Think about it, we smoke weed, think about if we got high and had an idea but had the money to really go do it. That’s what I’m trying to do. When it’s time for me to stop rapping and stuff and I have my cool albums, I’m not going to be one of those niggas trying my hardest to get back on. Imma be like “ok cool, I did what I did, now I’m about to go do this” I just want to be able to do whatever, make a film, make a shoe, make a brand , make a cartoon, make a line of pencils, who gives a fuck? Who knows what I’m going to want to do, I’m only 23 right now. But I know music is going to open the door for me and my homies to chase some of our dreams and I got homies with brands and I want to start putting money into them. I don’t know anything about designing clothes perfectly so I’ll let them go do it. Let them be all they can be you know what I’m saying? Shit like that is what I want to do. That’s what Two -9 is. Its more than rap, we have bloggers, designers etc.
MD: I feel like that’s what a lot of young people are on now, nobody these days really trying to wear a suit and tie, we just saying “nah”
CW: Yeah man, just keep being creative forever man, till you die. I ain’t wore a suit in prolly 5-6 years but I done been around this muthafuckin country a bunch of times and made money doing this. Why not just keep being creative, and live my life.
Listen to the Audio below. Curtis starts talking at the 30 min mark. This was recorded at CJUM 101.5FM for The College Draft Radio show based in Winnipeg, Canada. Hosted by Roger Kimbeni.