Rapper Small Eyez has returned with the first song "Get Involved" from upcoming EP, NWords. Emerging from his short hiatus more energized and focused, the MC releases some aggression on the Abnormal-produced track, while the video (directed by Ryan Lifto) relishes in some of Atlanta's more grimy scenery. Eyez talks briefly about the video and his upcoming project, which drops on July 5.
You sound more aggressive than usual. What's the inspiration for "Get Involved"?
Small Eyez: Really the griminess of the beat. It sounded really ultra grimy. It was like a Dilla-esque type beat and those beats always make me feel like I want to slap somebody. I just felt like spitting something aggressive, just stating like my presence. Like, I'm not easily controlled and that I'm not really one to be messed with. And then it's cool how the visuals coincided with it, even though it wasn't planned. [Ryan Lifto] didn't even tell me that he was going to put any of the excerpts of Fred Hampton and the cartoons in there. At first we were going to just put crazy weird violent cartoon stuff, but he went home and started working on it and he said he had another idea and he said he would just show it to me when it was finished and it was dope. He finished editing the video in like 6 hours. He's a genius.
Where did you shoot it?
Near the old Lenny's. Off of Decatur St. where the [Krog St. tunnel] is. That was cool because that's where I shot my first album cover [Vipassana]. It was all spontaneous. He's super-talented.
What's your intent with Nwords?
I just wanted to make good music again, I wanted to make good songs and make stuff that people would vibe with. Every time I do something I want it to sound better and I wanted it to sound different than stuff that I've done before and that's the case with a lot of songs that I did on Nwords, but I'm still kind of staying close to home. I wanted to symbolize where I am right now. Most of my records have a double-meaning. Nwords is like going "inwards" and I wanted to do that on this EP and just display myself. It's fully expressing yourself and you can only do that when you're in tune with yourself.
You had a period of frustration between the last project and this one, right?
Yeah, just you know, creatively, I was in a rut really. I think every artist goes through that. But you have to ask if it's something that's really worth pursuing just from a life angle. You want to see it progress and sometimes you feel it's not going that way. But that goes back to the title — what is it that drives you? I was talking to somebody and they were like as long as you're putting out great music it only takes a few choice people to discover it. It took me several months to figure that out. And now I'm back in the creative zone and I plan on staying in it.
You weren't really able to push your last project the way you wanted to due some legal, licensing issues with some of the beats. What did you learn from that?
I learned a lot about the game with that one. You just have to have your shit in order. It's really all about communication. If there's not communication there's always gonna be some kind of mishap, and that's something I had to learn the hard way. That's what happened on the last one, that's why I wasn't able to give it the push that I wanted to.
So what's up with the Radiant Kids? Spree Wilson's career is obviously really taking off.
The Radiant Kids are still going down, we're trying to set up some shows for this summer, with myself Tendaberry, L-Marr and we're trying to get Spree involved. We're all working on music together. Like even when everyone is trying to do their thing individually — like Spree and even Alien — we're still coming together to do stuff collaboratively, too.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?