Photo Credit: @reggiewout
At the Taste of Sounds 2nd Annual Music Festival, Talk of The Town Host and Writer, Enrique, got the opportunity to talk with Headliner, HDBeenDope. The following conversation has been transcribed from an audio recording and has been formatted with as little editing as possible, to help preserve the integrity and sincerity of the conversation.
Enrique: So, HD, how are you doing tonight?
HD: I'm feeling good, man! You know, show days for me are always exciting.
That's my favorite time in this music shit, so I feel really good about today.
So, you dropped two new projects, right?
Yeah, so we did we did “What Can They Say?” in October last year, and then we did the extended version just a couple months ago in June. So, you know, two projects *laughing* but technically one, yeah.
What's the reception been like to the re-release technically deluxe edition?
Yeah, so the reception has been really dope. That record, “Locked In,” that was like kind of what kicked it off. We put that out just on TikTok, like a little snippet, and people started gravitating towards it. So it was like - okay, this is - the same way the first project had “Mamba,” that was kind of leading it, “Locked In” was kind of leading it. It was like, okay, this is just building bigger and bigger, so the response to that second iteration has been lovely, and especially that “Go” record. That's my favorite.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your track with Fergie baby can't get rid of me
That's new to this second to the release, right?
100%. Me and Fergie Baby got on that record I feel like - for me - when I send out records for features, you just always want the artist to approach it like ‘Alright, it’s time to go,’ and the fact that Fergie like came through and just murdered it, I appreciate that. I feel like everybody on this project - you got Dizzy Banko, Tracy Dashh, Fergie Baby, Connie Diiamond - and all of them came through on their guest verses and killed it. Like, I appreciate that just as an artist, when you send that out, I appreciate getting fire back.
Will you be performing anything from the deluxe edition tonight?
Of course. We got a little bit of everything on there, y’know what I'm saying? It's going to be good. The energy is going to be high the whole way through.
You have a tour coming up, right? Tell us a little bit about that.
So this is the first stop, you know what I'm saying? We’re in Brooklyn tonight, but we got a couple of dates. It's probably like six or seven dates, but we have one in Toronto - first time ever performing out there - couple dates in Massachusetts, doing Los Angeles, Philly, it's gonna be a little vibe.
Okay, is this your first time - like - really going across the country with it?
Nah, so I opened up from Portugal to Man in 2017. We did like 29 dates, so that was like my introduction to really like touring the US for real, for real. But, like, what they told me from that point is like, ‘Yo, you go to Utah, it's gonna be 30 people in the crowd. Cool, three months, go back. You're gonna keep building.’ So like, I just stuck to that and that's what we're doing right now. We're implementing that rule.
Is this like your first time back on tour since the pandemic?
Yeah. Well, I mean, we did a college tour. This was like 2021, that was a little cool, you know what I mean? Just kind of going around, getting into schools, but this is like, you know, just hitting venues, actually driving across the country and shit like that, you know.
That's amazing. How excited are you for this next real step in your career?
Honestly, I feel like everything is priming for the next step. And what I mean by that is, like mentally, I feel like I'm in that place of like, okay, I'm accepting of what's next you know what I mean? I think you can have an idea of what's next, and you'll be hell-bent on this is what it looks like. But I think you got to be accepting to the changes of it all, you know, I'm saying shit is gonna look different you won't get what you want, but it's not gonna look the way you want it, so you got to be open to that and I feel like I'm in that mental space. We're open to what's next. I say worldwide is, you know, where we’re going and you'll see it.
Yeah, wow worldwide. Now that's really gotta be like - you really need some endurance and stamina to go the whole way, so how are you preparing for it in that way?
Honestly, it's all about why you do it, cuz at the end of the day, whatever the fuck you do in life is going to test you it's going to be like ‘Hey, are you doing this for you? Do you really give a fuck about this shit?’ And when that question comes up, when when whatever thing that you love does that to you? Yeah, you got to be able to be like, ‘I love it here’. And if you're not willing to do that, then you're gonna be burnt out for real, you know? So for me, it's all about the love. That's the core of this shit.
So what moment was that for you of recognizing that you can be burnt out in the middle of this?
Early on in my career, I was touring Europe. You know what I'm saying? That's kind of where I like did my chitlin' circuit, like just getting my feet wet. And a lot of that experience kind of came quick because it was like, all right, I'm here, I'm by myself, I'm trying to figure it out.
But I was so focused on like, all right, what's next? What does it look like when it's next? And a lot of that time was just spent kind of like not experiencing like, ‘Oh this shit is happening.’ I think that's the balance in any pursuit. You still got to make sure this is real life.
Can you talk a bit about the Puma mixtape you just did?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah now for sure So we got the Puma mixtape ‘Humble Souls' that dropped today actually, and the event yesterday at the Puma flagship store - it was beautiful. Like it's just a bunch of people inside of hip-hop, Celebrating hip-hop music, you know what I mean? The core of that project is all about the music for real. You get what I'm saying? So to have all these players inside of hip hop just here specifically off the music, you know what I mean? Emory Jones is behind this. Like, this is the first project that he's putting his feet behind. Like he'd been in the music business for so long or around it, you know what I mean? But now he's actually like, yo, no, I'm making a project. So I think the air around this one, it just feels different. Everything about it just feels like this is a resurgence almost, you know? So it's cool.
Do you think that's because it's Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary?
Honestly, it might be a part of that. Like that energy just being in the air for, you know, through the whole year. I think that could be a part of it. I think it's beautiful, the fact that hip hop is turning 50 years. Like, bro, what? That's kind of crazy
Here we are in the Mecca, you know, like New York City, the birthplace. We got a dope event like this happening, events happening all over the city this weekend. What was it like being a part of a project of this magnitude considering what's going on right now, you know, in the air, rather, the energy in the air?
It was fire because of the process of that project. I record a lot of the music in the crib, that's how I work mainly. So to be out in LA, we’re all just in the studio, alright. I'm in a room, Reuben [Vincent] in a room, Tyre [Hakim] in another room, you know what I mean, and you just go room to room. ‘Oh, this is what you’re working on? Oh shit, let me put a verse on that. Oh, let me go back and work on something. Yo, let me play you this-.’ Like that energy, it was just infectious. So, that felt really good, and then to see where the project is now, like, being able to listen to it top to bottom - this is special.
Can you talk about a little bit about your process?
So for me, especially with these songs on the Puma project, it was in the moment. I wasn't trying to dig too much. Let the beat play, ‘What is it saying? Okay,’ and go from there. My usual process with projects is, I'll sit down and I'll write everything that I'm going through in that time frame, and then I'll take that list and build out a track list. I’ll be like, ‘Okay these songs, you can make stories out of these,’ and then I'll take that, make the track list, write the whole thing out, and then now I'm starting to make music based off of these records. Before anything is even made I have the track list out so that's not my normal project process with this project.
So now that you're a Roc-Nation signee, what's it like creating music and collaborating with people as part of a label, as opposed to doing it independently?
Interesting. So for me, the difference is in situations where it might be like, the label's like, ‘Yo, this will be dope. We're sending this through.’ I think those are like the differences, because as an independent, it's just strictly off of who is next to me, who's my people? So that's a little different, but even so with this project, ‘What Can They Say?’ All of them, you know, these are my people, these are my peers, these are people I’m cool with. I think that part of is also because Roc [Nation] said like, ‘What you're doing is why you got here. We are just here to enhance it. Keep doing what you're doing.’ I think that's the best part about it. There's not a lot of handholding, they let you do it, they let you rock.
Do you think, because you signed with them, do you think your connections have
100%, 100%. I think it just even the rooms I'm able to be in. The type of respect that comes with it. But I think the most important thing is making sure that the product is something that people can actually want to hold on to. I know a lot of people are going to see me, they might click my name, whatever it may be, simply because of Roc, but I'm always focused on the product and making sure that they're going to stay.