For those who are not familiar with underground hip-hop giant An0maly, this interview is sure to provide a solid base of knowledge. Starting from a West Virginia University dorm room, An0maly was always different. Over the course of four mixtapes and two albums, An0maly has evolved into a new kind of rapper and lyricist, and no one knows what the future holds for the young rapper poised for huge successes.
Please introduce yourself, and give a short statement about your music!
My name is An0maly. I’ve been making independent hip-hop music for a while. I’d like to think my style is unique, but I don’t really like to describe my music myself. I’d rather let the listener decide
Recently you dropped your new album, Acid Nightmares, for free. This was a follow up to 2012’s Acid Dreams, which was your first real album. You already had quite the following for your mixtapes (The Unknown Lyricist, Deal or No Deal, Hell Loose in Nation, Underrated); what is different about writing and recording an album as opposed to a mixtape?
The biggest difference is that all the instrumentals are originals (some are sampled), both albums include 0 remixes. When I write, I always listen to the beat and get a feel for the emotion of it. From there I try to flow and write the content. The production keeps me inspired and enables me not to run out of things to write. Each beat is different, and I approach it a different way.
Your sound, and your appearance, has changed quite a bit from that longhaired kid rapping remixes in his West Virginia dorm room to the downright trippy music you’ve been putting out recently; what factors can you attribute to your evolution? On that same token, how do you react to the people who say you ‘sold out’ or ‘fell off’ since you started out?
I think as a person and an artist I’m always evolving. Once something is done, it’s old to me. I don’t want to have the same sound forever. Once I rap a certain way and a bunch of other people start rapping that way, it makes me want to grow and create a different sound. It’s funny to me when people say “I sold out”. I turned down every record deal that was ever put in front of me and I continue to make the music I want to make. I just don’t think any artist wants to make the same thing forever. Also, because I’ve stayed independent, that effects what I can make and when I can make it. After I dropped out of school, I’ve been on the move with no budget trying to find a place I can be efficient. I am still working towards the day when I have all the resources I need to make music comfortably. What people don’t see is the struggle I go through to put out every album and every video.
You’ve collaborated with quite a few people over the course of your releases, including City, Sinclair, Hyperaptive, Septembers1st, A/Slash, DPG, and too many others to name; many of them, you work with to this day. In your opinion, what is the most important factor that leads to a great collaborative track?
I think just working with great artists is a huge factor. All the people you mentioned and everyone I’ve worked with is really talented and dope, so I think we feed off eachother’s energy and try to make a good song
You almost never feature another rapper on your albums (Acid Dreams, Acid Nightmares). Why is that?
When I had a meeting with a major label, the people I met with liked me, but I had mostly remixes. They thought I couldn’t make original music. They threw some beats at me, but the whole situation didn’t make sense to me. I wanted to make my first original album on my own terms. I hit up some dope producers I knew, and got in the lab with TD. No features, on some “this is me, I can do this” type shit.
You’ve made no secret of the fact that you’ve never found a record label that you’d be interested in signing to; why is that?
Now a days, you are better off investing in yourself. They will give you wack deals until you build it all yourself. At that point, you don’t even really need them. If the situation was right, I would sign with a label. But I’m not concerned with being famous, I’m more concerned with being able to make music for the rest of my life comfortably. Major Labels want to make money. They don’t want to make creative music, they don’t care about you as a person. My priorities are different. It might be the death of me, but I’m sticking to it.
Much of your music has often been very political and very conscious of the social situation that many people are trapped in these days. What inspired you to be more than just a “pussy, money, weed” rapper?
I was inspired by Eminem, Jedi Mind Tricks, Nujabes, people like that. I was always rebellious, I didn’t just believe what people told me from the jump. When I started rapping, it wasn’t like it is today either. Not every white kid thought he was a rapper for no reason. If you didn’t come correct, people wouldn’t take you seriously. Now a days kids throw on a snapback and talk about swag and it’s completely acceptable. I wrote poetry and songs since the 3rd grade, so I feel like it was something I was meant to do. In 2013, the rapper market is way to over-saturated with kids who just want girls and attention.
You moved out to Los Angeles to help your music career advance. What was the motive behind that, and has your career been helped?
When I moved out, It was on a management situation. They paid for my flight and for 3 weeks of studio time. I recorded 20 songs in those 21 days, so that definitely helped. I parted ways with the management recently, but I would definitely say it’s helped. Nothing has ever went smooth for me, I just learn from life experiences and stay positive.
Do you have any plans to tour in the near future?
I would love to tour, and I think it is extremely possible with the amount of support I’ve been getting. Between a few management situations not working out and having to move several times, it’s been delayed. It will definitely happen when the time is right.
You’ve given so much to your fans; all of your music has been free, and all you have asked for is support. What makes you want to do it like that, instead of charging for every song and album?
I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not trying to nickel and dime all the people who like my music. It has definitely made it hard for me to fund my music, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I also think that if you sell music, not as many people will hear it. I’d rather have 1,000,000 people hear it and have 0 dollars, than have 1,000 people hear it and have 1,000 dollars. I just want my message to be heard by the most amount of people.
You hinted the other day on your Facebook page that we would be seeing another new release from you sometime this year; can you tell us anything about that project?
“Hidden Stash” is completely done. I recorded 20 songs at the studio, I have 9 left. They aren’t leftovers or weak tracks either. I broke them up so I could release 2 projects this year. There are some really epic songs on there I’m excited to release. I want to get a few more videos for “Acid Nightmares” before I drop the new album so it will be a few months.
Thanks for talking to Rise Above the Anchor, An0maly! It’s been a pleasure hearing from you, and we all are very highly anticipating your next move! It’s been real having this conversation, and we’re all thrilled to have had you as the first hip-hop artist to be featured on Rise Above the Anchor!
Thanks, Vince. I appreciate your support over the years!
(All of An0maly’s mixtapes and albums are available for free on extremelyfaded.com)