Fresh | AMMO: Phil Ade: Starting on JV

Fresh | AMMO: Phil Ade: Starting on JV

Phil Ade 2010

Phil Ade 2010

1. What is your AMMO?

My ammo is knowing life can only get better at this point. My ammo is the people God has put in my life, my everyday experiences, knowing that I can make a major impact on this world with the many talents I’m so lucky to have. That’s my ammo.

2. Traditionally the personas of rap artists and R&B artists are different. Given that you are dually talented in both, how do you manage being a part of both worlds?

It’s not something that I really pay attention to. My head is focused on making my music as good as possible. If that means I have to rap and sing so be it. People do often say though that I look like a hip hop artist and act like an R&B singer. I guess because I’m usually smooth, calm, and collected and I wear a lot of Stussy and 10 Deep. (laughs)

3. You were quoted saying that you want to “bring good music back.” What is your definition of good music?

What I really meant to say there is that I want to bring good HIP HOP music back. Not so much bring it back but help push it back into the forefront of popular culture. A lot of the commercial hip-hop songs that we hear and get heavily backed by labels are all about Money, Sex, Violence & Drugs and that’s cool because most of us, including myself, can relate to at least one of those topics, but I just feel the spectrum could be broadened. There is power in music. I just feel like most of the time it’s being used to make us feel good about our wrongs when it can also be something that can be used as a tool to accomplish something positive.

4. According to another interview you did you mentioned that some of your influences are Lupe, Kanye, and Wayne. Style wise how do your influences shape your overall sound?

Like all 3 of them, sometimes I say things that may go over most people’s heads. I just try to make my music sound good but also make it, lyrically, fun to listen to and you get that in all 3 of those guys music.

5. Tell us about working with Raheem Devaughn and Wale.

Raheem, as you know, is co-founder of 368 Music Group, the independent label I’m signed to. So him and Andre Hopson, also co-founder of the label, are pretty much my bosses and the people I have to answer to frequently. The relationships I have with them go deeper than that though. We all understand that this is a business and we’re in this to make each of our lives better, but at the same time we’re all trying to get this machine going. So Raheem and Dre are like big brothers to me, from day one they’ve acted as mentors showing me the ropes in this game, from a business and creative stand point. I haven’t really worked with Wale. It’s understandable because he has a lot on his plate now getting fully established as a mainstream artist, but I’m pretty sure we’ll get to collab on something in the future. He will however be featured on my the remix to a first single off my project, “Hollywood” along with Raheem and Tabi Bonney.

6. You named your debut mixtape “Starting on JV” what makes that title significant?

It’s a concept Dre (Andre Hopson) came to me with I think the very day I signed to 368. I had already had been working on a project that I was planning to name “Least Likely to Succeed.” It was going to be a statement made to those who used to tell me in high school that music wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. But after a discussion with Dre, we agreed that that direction is something Kanye has already played with as far as the whole College Dropout thing. So he came with the idea “Starting On JV”…. which still was a play something high school-related but more so on high school basketball, comparing it to the rap game. The varsity team in this case would be the established mainstream artists, and the junior varsity squad would be all the artists on the come up. “Starting On JV” basically makes the statement that I’m one of the best artists on the come up. I’m a starter for the JV team.

7. Being signed to 368 Music Group you’ve come a long way from singing in church choirs. What advice do you have for other people currently “Starting on JV?”

Stay true to yourself. The artists that have a lasting legacy all follow this rule. Every person on this planet is different. So being yourself and creating what you want to create is what’s going to set you apart.

8. Because you started out singing, how did find out you had a knack for rapping?

I’ve always been a hip hop fan… I would say ’95 is when I really started paying attention to what was going on in music as far as the different hip hop artists. So it was in me, but I just never even thought of taking the step to making rap music myself until my junior year of high school when I witnessed a lot of my friends doing it. It brought the idea down to earth for me. So I finally tried it myself. I recorded my first freestyle over the Wu Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M..” It was so fun to be listening to hip hop music that I created. I got hooked and addicted to making music after that. The rest is history. (laughs)

9. On another note, what top 3 things are you most looking forward to this summer?

Hmmmm… I would say touring. After doing the Sneaker Pimps tour last year we have a good relationship with the founders. (shout out to Shae and Pete) So they invited me to be part again this year. Also releasing my next project, entitled “The Letterman,” which will continue the high school basketball concept. Atlanta heavy-weight DJ Don Cannon will be mixing it all together for me and there will be a host of special guests featured on it. Last, I’m looking forward to all the new people and artists I know I’ll be meeting and building relationships with. I just met Dom Kennedy last night. Another dope artist and up and comer from Leimert Park in Southern California.

10. Name three things we don’t know but should know about Phil Ade.

  1. People probably do know this but I staaaaaaaayyy on twitter. I have to say it. Follow me @philade301
  2. I eat nearly everything with Ranch dressing. (laughs)
  3. Every now and then I still go with my mother to church. Which sometimes gets a little awkward when people recognize me from all the stuff I’ve been doing (laughs). I know it’s only going to get worse as I progress.

Check out the track “Hollywood” from Phil Ade’s debut mixtape, Starting on JV.


For more on Phil Ade, click here.

For more from 368 Music Group, visit


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