Today’s Feature, July 14-15: InF-1

January 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm (Today's Feature)


I remember one Saturday morning I was just flipping through the channels when I came across this guy rapping about Britney and KFed’s embarrassing parenthood as well as Lindsey Lohan vomiting somewhere outside a LA nightclub. That guy was InF-1 and I couldn’t help but be completely fascinated to watch InF-1 make pop culture sound like something you would hear in a club, not on a gossip show…I was hooked. Granted these are all in good fun, but week after week, whether goofing about celebrities or talking about the hottest plays on Fox’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period, InF-1 finds a way to entertain an array of crowds. InF-1 is an artist, first and foremost. However, these on the spot rhymes don’t even touch his ability to create great music. As an artist, InF-1 is making his mark on the hip-hop world. He kids that he is still “an up and comer” but I don’t know how many “up and comers” have been featured at the NBA All Star game and regular air time on two major cable programs; The Best Damn Sports Show Period and The E! Daily Ten…just to start. And when Kanye West, his old college buddy, decided to add spots on his latest album, even InF-1 has to admit that he is on to something. Check out his XXQs to find out more…

PEV: How and when did you first get started in hip-hop?

InF-1: I’ve been writing since right before High School. That’s when I really started getting good at it.

PEV: Who were your early inspirations? Maybe someone your fans would be shocked to know you listened to or really drew from?

InF-1:I would say the first rapper that really grabbed me when I was young, and that was like 7th grade, was DJ Quik. That was the first tape I had taken from me for being to explicit when I was young.

PEV: You grew up in Chicago. What was the hip hip scene like when you were growing up?

InF-1: The same as it is now. It was weak then and it is weak now! It’s never been easy if you are a talented artist coming from Chicago.

PEV: How did the first time you performed on stage go?

InF-1: I really started by doing a lot of battle rapping at first. I wouldn’t call it a performance, but it was good on-stage experience. That was back when I was around 17…a few years later, like around 19, that is when I first started really performing with my own, real songs. And that was just hole-in-the-wall clubs around the city.

PEV: What can people expect from a live, Infinite-1 (Inf-1) performance?

InF-1: A lot of confidence and a lot of energy when they see me do my thing on stage. I always throw a little something different in there to keep the crowd involved and on their toes!

PEV: How would you describe your style? And how is it different from any of the other emcees out there today?

InF-1: My style is very unique and original. You know, when I first started college, I quit rap. I had enough. But during my freshman year I had a class with Kayne West. Back then he was just like he is now. Full of confidence. He convinced me to keep going, finish what I started. So I got back in the game and started listening to every rapper out there. To get better, I started writing raps in the style of these artists. For instance I would pick a Run DMC type song and then write a song just like. Once I perfected the different styles, I was able to formulate my own, unique style. It was like I had a mainstream style as an underground artist.

PEV: Your mixed tape, “I Got This,” which was put out in 2003, turned out to be a huge street classic. Did you think that would turn out to be as big as it did?

InF-1: “I Got This” went big because I put it out there. A lot of emcees around here just want to be the king of Chicago, the king of the city. I want to go bigger than that. Also, I gave a lot of tapes out for free. I want people to hear my stuff and start to respect me. People will remember when you give them something for free. They will remember that when the big album comes out.

PEV: You said Chicago might not have the best hip hop scene. What city to you think offers the best scene for hip hop?

InF-1: I would say anything from down in the South, especially Atlanta. See, those dudes stick together. They want to put the next person on. They want to help out the next person behind them. Like T.I. He came out and did his thing now he is helping out. Some people get addicted to the fame and they don’t want to help the ones behind them. That’s why the South has been running hip hop for years now. They all want to help out and see each other do well.

PEV: You mentioned the South, but back to the classic debate. What is really the main difference between East Coast and West Coast sounds?

InF-1: The East coast has a lot of underground. They don’t really care about record sales or Grammy’s, none of that. They just want people to know that they are nice. That they have sharpened their craft as emcees. The West coast is more Hollywood. They want to make the songs that will be in the clubs and people will listen to while they are in their car. The East coast mixed tape scene is like no other. Artists will sell thousands of mixed tapes and be happy with that. They don’t have to change their style just to get mainstream. The West coast guys want that big deal. And being out in California, you are gonna bump into somebody. Whether it’s at the club or the gas station, there is always the chance of meeting someone that will help you out. That’s one reason why the West coast guys get the big deals.

PEV: You have become nationally known from your appearances on Fox’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period and E!’s Daily Ten. How did you get involved with these shows?

InF-1: The Best Damn Sports Show was like a lucky break for me. That was the year the Piston’s won the Championship and they wanted to put together a song for the NBA playoffs. They originally wanted Method Man and Red Man to do it. But they were busy with their sitcom for Fox and the details couldn’t be worked out to do both. Well, my best friend since kindergarten was just hired with Best Damn Sports show. He heard they were looking for a rapper and dropped my tape off to the producers. They gave it a listen and thought I had a lot of great songs and a good style. So they flew me out there and I did a song for the playoffs. I started doing other work for them until there was some changes with management and the deal fell through. Well, the old executive producers with Best Damn was now working at E!. He called me and let me know about the Daily Ten and said he wanted me to do the same thing, just with celebrities. He wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but when everyone heard what I came up with, they just flipped. Loved it!

PEV: How fun is it making up raps about different celebrities week after week? You must get tons of material from just the crazy stuff they do.

InF-1: The E! Thing is always fun. At Best Damn, a lot of people thought I would watch highlights, then make up a rap. But what really happened was I would make up a rap, do a rhyme about what happened during the playoffs and then they would cut the highlights reel around my song. On E!, they would send me a small paragraph about whatever celebrities, maybe 2-3 paragraphs, I’d take it and formulate it into a song. It’s fun for me. It can be a challenge and it helps keep me sharp as a writer.

PEV: What is your opinion on the issue of downloading music for free from the internet?

InF-1: I’ve done it! I’m not going to lie! But I think one should only download something they know they would never buy. I’m a big mixed tape fan and a lot of these artist, the only place I can get it is online. As far as downloading a Jay-Zee album or a Nas album, I don’t think it’s fair because these are great artists that put a lot of hard work into their craft. I think the record companies need to do something. It’s not right that some of these artists aren’t getting big record sales. That’s why everyone wants to be an independent now. It’s kind of like, “What’s the point?”

PEV: What is in your IPOD or your CD player right now?

InF-1: Right now I’m listening to Big L. Big L is like my favorite rapper. A lot of people don’t know Big L because be was killed at a young age. He was one of the most phenomenal I’ve ever heard. And every Nas song you know, Jay-Zee, Biggie, Eminem, Outcast. A lot of early 90’s stuff.

PEV: Who is an up-and-coming rapper or emcee you think people should take note of right now?

InF-1: You mean some people might not know about…you mean besides myself! I’m not there yet you know. But as far as other artists, I would say Royce Da 5’9″. He was one of Eminem’s, but they had some differences, but he is going to be a super star.

PEV: You do some producing as well. What’s it like being behind the scenes as opposed to out in front, performing?

InF-1: I like being a producer and doing tracks because I like bringing out something from an artist that they didn’t know they had. At the same time, I’m an artist first. I love being on the mic. Being an artist, that’s what is in my heart, that’s my first love. Being a producer, that is something I would like to do long term. I would love to be like Dr. Dre. To be 39-40 years old and make the illest beats on the planet…and not ever have to do a show.

PEV: Who would you like to collaborate with most?

InF-1: I would like to work with Kayne {West}. A lot of people here are real mad at Kayne, but I think we need another movement in this city. We need something to let people know that artist here can stick together and we can get some good work done. I think Kayne is a phenomenal producer and I think if we got together we would produce something special.

PEV: What’s one thing your fans would be surprised to hear about you?

InF-1: When I’m not working, I’ll still go to some of the most ridiculously bad areas of Chicago to hang out. I don’t care. I still have fun just going out to certain parks and see people hanging out, having car shows. A lot of people, when the get to certain parts of their careers they don’t like to go to certain parts of there cities. They don’t want to get robbed or messed with. I don’t want to live that life where I feel like I can’t enjoy myself in my own cities. Some artists even have deals where they can’t walking around certain places. I just like having fun where ever I go. Also, another thing people would be surprised to know, I’m the king of NBA 2K7 on the XBOX. If anybody wants some, they come get it. Nobody gets over me on that game. I’ll take on all comers when it comes to that.

PEV18:What’s next for you and your career? What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

InF-1: Hopefully in the next year I’ll have some kind of label situation. Right now I’m working on an independent album entitled “Formula.” I’ll still be doing my thing with E!. I hope to be doing that for a long time because I really like what I do with that. They’ve given me a lot of exposure and they have opened a lot of doors for me. I could never turn my back on them. I’m also trying to get involved with the movie industry. Anything outside the norm, we’re working on.

PEV: Is it wrong to have a ridiculous crush on Debbie Matenopoulos?

InF-1: Everybody says that! Debbie is very attractive and we hung out a few days ago while doing some work on E!. We had a few drinks and Debbie is like the coolest girl on earth! Some people think she is super Hollywood, but Debbie is down to earth. She is like one of the fellas. She is also some one who wants to help someone out. She and Cat (Sadler) are very cool

For more information on InF-1, check out: http://www.Infinite-1.com

Back To Top -^

Debbie Matenopoulos?

InF-1: Everybody says that! Debbie is very attractive and we hung out a few days ago while doing some work on E!. We had a few drinks and Debbie is like the coolest girl on earth! Some people think she is super Hollywood, but Debbie is down to earth. She is like one of the fellas. She is also some one who wants to help someone out. She and Cat (Sadler) are very cool

For more information on InF-1, check out: http://www.Infinite-1.com

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