New Orleans is a city that has never lacked emerging, talented hip-hop artists. From the success of Cash Money and No Limit Soldiers, Jay Electronica and Curren$y, to the now national buzz surrounding Sissy Bounce, New Orleans has always found itself setting trends under hip-hop’s microscope. Though many natives still proudly cruise around town listening to their early 2000’s heroes, most Americans have moved on. The booty-popping sounds that once dominated mainstream culture are now a mere throwback for others. But for every star that has faded another has emerged.
This is precisely why listeners should shift their focus to Stefan; a lively energetic talent whose passion for both life and hip hop resonates through his music. The 23-year-old Crescent City native has been writing and producing much of his own music since his teenage days. A self-claimed battle-champion, Stefan has only seriously been focusing on a career in hip-hop for about two years. His recently released debut mixtape: Informal Introduction caught the ear of Where Ya’t and sparked our interest in the up-and-coming MC. The lively, confident, and silly Stefan was generous enough to sit down with me and tell us more about his past, his music and his plans for the future.
Where Y’At: When did hip hop transition from a fun hobby to a career move?
Stefan: I would honestly say I didn’t get consistent with music until the beginning of 2011. That was when I started getting more in tune with the underground hip-hop scene in New Orleans. I was linked with a couple of the hottest up-and-coming MC’s who really helped me get off the ground and be heard.
WYAT: Where do you see your career in five years?
Stefan: In 5 years I could see my new label (Oddly Epic Music Group LLc.) with a major distribution deal. I plan on being involved in the film industry as well. Also starting some youth sports clinic around the city. Giving back to the community that has shown me a lot of love.
WYAT: Who’s on your play list right now?
Stefan: Who’s on my play list? haha...I’ve lately been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar. He’s a new MC and I like his music. Definitely some Tupac, Kanye West, Common, Black Star, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Eminem. Also Mos Def who I have been more in tune with. I heard he is in New Orleans. I hope he reads this and comes to a show. And as for underground, I’m jamming to Deep n Space, Plane Jane, The Greedy Zombie, and Saumatic Coop. All artists from the NOLA area who are mad dope.
WYAT: What has been your most exciting concert/performance to date?
Stefan: I would like to say my performance at the Republic at the Eros Winter Festival. I was on the line up with Dee- One and Rantz Davis. It was a real good look for me being an up-and-coming artist getting that type of exposure in front of an intense crowd. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun.
WYAT: One word to describe your style of hip-hop.
WYAT: If you could do a collaboration with any artist, who would it be?
Stefan: My list of collabs that I would like to happen would have to be with: Jill Scott, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, Kendrick Lamar, Corinne Bailey, Eminem, and Andre 3000 off top. Salute to them all.
WYAT: Tell us about your writing process.
Stefan: When it comes to writing it varies. Sometimes I have a rush of thoughts where I can write about two-three songs in a day. Other days are different. Mainly because I write from either something I experienced or a certain situation/scenario in the form of some type of story. I like to take my listeners into my mind. I want to paint the picture that I saw as it was happening before my very eyes. I also sometimes just jot down a few lines here and there that I think might go good with a song. Then when I find the right track I come back and add it.
WYAT: If you end up steering away from a career in music, what would be your next career choice?
Stefan: It would probably be in graphic design. Or possibly being a computer engineer.
WYAT: How has New Orleans influenced your style?
Stefan: New Orleans has influenced my style in many ways. That jazz and that pure soul has been a part of my music since I first grabbed a mic. The laid back but fun elements of the city definitely come out in my music. As well as some of the down sides such as the crime and corruption we see as well. It’s not perfect but I love my city to death. I want the music to be a voice for the people of New Orleans.
WYAT: Tell us about your label.
Stefan: The label is not just a label. It’s a MOVEMENT. Oddly Epic is Innovative. It’s something fresh. We bring a new sound to the hip-hop world that I feel many people believe the game has been missing. It’s becoming more common for new artists to go with the flow of what everyone else is doing instead of doing their own thing. My label strives to let you know that you should do YOUR THING. Follow your passion. Strive to be the best. Think outside the box. Most importantly, appreciate the grind and the tough times. We all have to go through the storm before we see the light.
WYAT: You built a reputation with the artist name Feezy, but prior to releasing your latest mix tape, Informal Introduction, you’ve gone with your given name, Stefan. Where did Feezy come from and what made you change your name?
Stefan: The Feezy era was more something from my childhood. It was a nickname derived from my actual name, Stefan. It went from Stefan, to Stefeezy, to just Feezy. Its how the city knows me. However, I’m just getting older. I have a business. My views on life have changed substantially over the years. Stefan is who I am. Me choosing to keep my actual government name is just a representation of how real the music is. The message delivered is what makes the name monumental. Not the name.
WYAT: If you had to be your own critic, what would you say about Stefan?
Stefan: That I could expand on song content. Being more clear with word pronunciation. My style is laid back and chill. However at times I get lost in the music and I’m in my own world from there. I have to remember that people are listening. It’s important that they comprehend every single word. That they relate to the message in the best way possible.