With his Predatory Tactix project garnering great acclaim; I caught up with Optometri$t to get some insight on one of the stand out records on the tape” Rep The Tru “as well as pick his brain about the accompanying visual. Read below as he shares the science behind his creativity, and overall craftsmanship as well as his love for Hip Hop.
Jason Bourne: Your new video, Rep The tru is very gritty and Hip Hop – Talk to us about the treatment writing process.
Optometri$t: Thanks fam I appreciate it. I wanted to make a mini movie. Didn’t want to have just a performance “squaded” up on the block or in the crib type of video. I also wanted to focus on the Predator theme but at the same time connect with my boom bap peeps and not just movie geeks. Also, I had to connect with the streets without shooting any street scenes. I didn’t want to shoot any more jungle scene videos either since I already have two for this album (On The Move and Havmesumfun). I visualized myself being on a mission but I get captured and of course I’m trying to escape. I believed that this concept can resonate with my movie buffs and my boom bap street heads. I didn’t have a step by step treatment per say but I did re-write my rhymes and in certain parts would put in parenthesis (getting beat up and tied while rapping this line) or (camera will zoom in on the shirt that says “CLOWN RAPPERS” when I rap this line) for example. I already had the location on deck which was the laundry room of my apartment complex. The characters in the black face masks were my brother and one of my day one peeps. Couldn’t have no strangers yoking and choking me up with hedge cutters in my face nah mean?! I got the black masks idea from watching that movie with 50 Cent called Escape Plan with the prison guards wearing that type of attire. That idea almost got scratched out though. I’m from the cloth where “biting” is prohibited. So as soon as I thought of the black masks, my memory went to the Hussle & Motivate video by the late Nipsey Hussle. Once I realized the heist characters had black hockey masks on, I was all goodie. I’ll take concepts from movies but I’m not taking from another hip hop artist word up. My mom dukes helped me with making the shirts on some grass roots arts and crafts status. We had the shirt rings, stencils and fabric markers getting it in and wrote all the phrases that I wanted on each shirt. Hand made for real for real. So anyway, I linked up with my director, sat him down in the wip and bumped the track. I got animated with him and explained the concept to him while we listened to the track on high level volume. He felt the energy and was excited about it before we even shot it. He came to my lab and everything was shot in 45 mins to an hour tops.
Jason Bourne: Who was the director on the project ?
Optometri$t: The Last American B-Boy. He’s official with his work and is a stapled OG on the Island of Stat. A lot of heads don’t know that he was my first producer when I was in the group called The Surgeons back in 96. He’s an emcee as well, shoots for himself and other artists. We go back. Real good peeps.
Jason Bourne: What’s some of the feedback you have been getting ?
Optometri$t: Nothing but positive feedback. Not only has my streams and record sales increased, but the sales of my merchandise have too. That hat I’m rockin while getting smacked up and assaulted is moving. Those are the TROPICAL III (Blue on Tropix) biker hats that heads can cop from my website or directly from me on some pump from the trunk status.
Jason Bourne: In a broad Hip Hop sense What does “Rep The Tru” mean to you, what is the message you wanted to get across ?
Optometri$t: Rep The Tru means to be authentic with yourself and never compromise your integrity. That’s the message that I wanted to get across. You see, the black face masked characters with the special phrased shirts represent the voices of doubt and confusion in my head (and some outside entities) telling me that I should dumb it down, do foolish antics for content like some of these clowns do. I maintain through struggle to stay true with my boom bap lyrical core. Fake it til you make it has been the narrative for way to long. Heads don’t care if you pen your own raps, if you paid your way to be gang affiliated, or if you are a cop/correction officer turned rapper. It’s a “free for all” mentality nowadays. Hey, so and so makes good music, is what some heads say and have no regards to the hip hop craftsmanship of being official word up.
Jason Bourne: You are very calculated with your art in terms of the promotional process and the distribution as well. You are diligent in hosting all of the releases on your site, as well you do your own artwork, your beats. What’s the science behind that ?
Optometri$t: The science behind my calculated promotional process and distribution is my diligence / focus on professionalism and awareness. I aim to impress my elite hip hop peers and inspire up and coming artists. You have to tell yourself that you’re playing to compete in the big league and you also must know that your work inspires other heads on this planet. You can’t take none of this stuff with you when your expiration date is here, so what legacy will you leave behind? I still have a lot to learn and always have room for improvement. The only way I know how to push is to keep pushing. Each album I say my plan of attack has to be better then the last yet at the same time have the understanding that it’s a new beginning for each project. Now I don’t do my own artwork. I either have my wife do the do like she did for Boom Box Material or outsource it to another graphics artist. The artwork for Predatory Tactix was done by Larry Legend. The good folks over at EOW: End of the Weak connected me with that contact. Production wise, yes I engineer and make my own beats but I also outsource when it comes down to getting everything mastered. The beats on this entire album is made by yours truly word up. I’m just a firm believer of being self driven and self made. Why wait for someone else when you can do it yourself. Don’t get it twisted now, I definitely have other producers on deck that can email me a track in God’s speed nah mean. I have albums that are done sitting on my desktop from other producers. Heads gotta just stay tuned to hear those albums but in the meantime keep that Predatory Tactix in heavy rotation ya heard?!
Jason Bourne: Any recent performances ?
Optometri$t: I haven’t done too many performances other then the album release party that I had where I performed every track off the album. I had a few performances at EOW for the MC Challenge but that’s really about it. I’m having my third child on the way so I’m getting some “life” necessities in order. As soon as my baby is born though, I’m hitting the radio promo and street promo tour as one should do. You know the saying…the show must go on!!!
Jason Bourne: What’s next for you as we slide into a new quarter in the industry?
Optometri$t: What’s next is more performances and music fam. I’m dropping two albums two weeks apart from each other in November. It’s a Volume I Volume II type of situation. They say today’s fan doesn’t have a long attention span so I’m testing the waters and gonna make sure that my wave stays fresh in their mind. Trust me heads will be thankful. Stay tuned on the name and the official release date but like I said earlier, marinate and keep that Predatory Tactix in heavy rotation. Peace!!!
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