Vado Interview – New York’s Last Line of Defense

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Just last year Cam’ron was making his return to the industry in an effort to recreate the magic he once had with the Diplomats. In just a few short months he has already opened the door for one of the bright spots in Hip-Hop. Already a member of Jae Millz’ Most Hated camp, and now part of Cam’s new movement titled The U.N., Vado is New York’s last line of defense. Not to worry, he’s strong enough to hold New York on his shoulders.

How’d you get in Hip-Hop, what made you want to do music?
Vado: Well my grandmother did Jazz, so I grew up around music. And Jae Millz is like my brother, so I was always around Hip-Hop and music period so it just grew on me. And then there was something that happened that made me find out that I had talent. It wasn’t something where I said I want to rap, but being around music so much and being so close to Millz, I started picking up a pen and niggas was feeling it, so I continued to do it.

Parlé: So when did you first start writing rhymes?
Vado: I was about 16, 17. I was in math class, I wasn’t doing nothing I ain’t even gonna lie.

Parlé: Okay what school were you going to?
Vado: I went to a few high schools, I went to Brandeis, I went to Christopher Columbus and I went to Stevenson, that’s how I met Remy Martin and Mickey Facts. Shout out to them, met them in Stevenson.

Parlé: You remember what your early rhymes were like?
Vado: I kinda remember some shit I said about overseas. Some bar I said, something, something… overseas, something, something… kill your ovaries. It was aight though.

Parlé: Who was the first person that told you that you had a real talent for this?
Vado: Millz! He was the first person that said, ‘my nigga, you need to take that shit serious.

Parlé: How many years has it been since you first started writing and rhyming?
Vado: Over ten I know that. Niggas was young. To keep it 100, I never used to take it serious. I ran with Millz and no matter how much he would try to make me take it serious, I never took it serious. It was always something that was a plan B to me-don’t get it twisted I didn’t have no plan A, but that was always a plan B. I was too much of a street nigga honestly. When shit started getting shaky as far as his label and he started just grinding on his own, that’s what kind of woke me up to just take it up there.

Parlé: Were there ever any plans to go to college and go that professional route?
Vado: Yeah there was plans to go to college. Hell yeah! I wanted to go to Clark. But I didn’t want to go to college for the right reasons. I wanted to go to Clark Atlanta cause there’s bitches– and Mase there, or he was there. I never took nothing serious til now. As far as getting money, this my prime cause I go hard.

Parlé: How’d you end up linking up with Cam’ron and developing The U.N.?
Vado: He’s from my hood. He’s from 140th, i’m from 144th, I be on 142nd-all the 140’s really. It don’t matter, everybody know each other. Neutral friends. I heard him say, ‘you know what i’ma do it all over again. I did Dip set, i’ma make another one’ so me just being hungry I reached out to him. Everybody that was close to him, I reached out and told them ‘yo, if you see Cam, tell him holla at me, tell him I got music. They gave it to him and it was what it was.

Parlé: Where do you hope to see yourself in the next few years in this game?
Vado: Millionaire…Successful millionaire. Hopefully. Just successful. It ain’t about the money with me in this game. I always been around money, I’m from Harlem. We already had money in the shoe box or under the mattress so it ain’t about the money. I love this shit. This is what I want to do. Where I’m from Dame Dash used to come over here and chill. I used to see Cam bring Baby and them to the block; Kevin Garnett and shit. I seen Mase do the same thing. I done seen everybody on my block, everybody on my block. This is history. Gruff, Big L, God bless the dead. Mase Cam. God bless the dead, Bloodshed, this is history up here. Jae Millz, Max B, 40 Cal. Nothing but history up here. I’m just trying to keep tradition strong. Who am I to fuck tradition up?

Parlé: I feel that, but being around artists like Jae Millz and Cam’ron and watching what they’ve had to go through throughout their careers with labels and such, what has that taught you about this business.
Vado: Morals, Values and Principles will take you a long way when you live by them. Loyalty. I wasn’t jumping out the window trying to fuck with everybody. I felt Cam was the best person, the right person cause we come from the same- we cut from the same cloth. And i’m trying to do what he did so I felt he was the right person to guide me. M.V.P. man, Morals, Values and Principles. If you live by those three things, you’ll be aight

Parlé: I know you’re part of Millz’ Most Hated crew and of course you’re part of The U.N., are there ever any conflicts of interest or anything?
Vado: That’s my crew! You tell Millz, that’s my crew. (laughs) Yo, Millz is family. We came up literally 2 bunk beds, no homo. He Biggie, I’m Tu Pac. He Hulk Hogan, I’m Ultimate Warrior. We came from recording on the [playskool toy] joint, with the mic on the side. To me, he was perfecting his talent then. He was putting me on then.


Stressin’ The Current State of New York Hip-Hop

Parlé: What’s next for Vado?
Vado: Slime Flu, my mixtape, most anticipated. Gangsta Grillz 2.5 that’ll be out this month. Another most anticipated. Right now i’m killing them on the mixtape circuit. Don’t get it twisted, album on deck, songs done, but i’m so busy with the mixtape I can’t. I do songs here and there and say ‘that’s hot, save it for the album’ but we going hard with the mixtapes. Checks cut, deals done. I’ma be going hard with the mixtapes for a while. They about to start having barcodes on em. I’m thankful though.

Parlé: In addition to all the mixtapes you also got The U.N. album coming out on E1 as well?
Vado: U.N. album, Gunz N’ Butta, coming out on E1. Another U.N. album coming out on Asylum. Cam solo, that’s Killa Season 2, the movie and the album. It’s gonna be a busy summer. I’m just getting the build-up for the album. I want them to be like, ‘I can’t wait for the album’. Right now that’s how they acting for the mixtape, they can’t wait for the mixtape to come. I appreciate everything. I just want to keep giving people good music and that raw talent.

Parlé: I know you got crazy moves, but do you even have a solo deal right now?
Vado: I got 2 group deals, no solo deals. The bidding is on. I’m not rushing into it. It would put a lot of pressure on me if I was to take a solo album deal now. I ain’t doing that. I make ’em anti up more, make ’em want it more.

Parlé: Being an artist from N.Y., what do you think prevents New York artists from getting out there and making it to where they need to be in the industry?
Vado: By making a movement. Its more than one person. Don’t get it twisted I seen one person go far, but to me they not officially stamped until its a movement. When its a movement, there’s more money, more music, more everything cause there are more people with you. That’s where those big tours come and all that. Where you can eat cause its your whole camp. That’s how you get the Dipset tours, Roc-a-fella tours, Bad Boy tours, Cash Money tours, Ruff Ryders. That’s how you do it. You start off dolo, but then you end up with a family. That’s why its Most Hated for real. I’m taking it all the way. I got artists already, on deck, but right now they can only just grind and make music and wait til I could really kick that shit off the hinges. Right now I just slipped through it. I’m all rubbing on the door, and my arm still out there cause the door got tighter, but once that shit open i’ma be like ‘yo slime!’ Its gonna be over!


Parlé: What have you done differently to get where you are and will continue to do differently to stay here?
Vado: I had to go hard to get my buzz. The reason NY cats don’t blow up is cause niggas don’t be looking out for them. Let me tell you something, niggas don’t look out for nobody on this side. That’s why an artist come out every day in the South. New artists, with a single and a video and they loving him. A new artist everyday in the South! A new artist you never seen before doing a song with Soulja Boy or Lil’ Jon or somebody, big Homies, A-listers. That’s just love. If niggas would’ve been doing that over here it would be crazy. I’m just thankful that I get love. It’s a blessing

Parlé: Final question, what advice do you have for new artists trying to get close to where you are now?
Vado: Don’t stop. Keep going. Don’t listen to nobody but yourself. If you know you really want to do it and you got the talent than just go. No matter how hard it is. Trust me, everybody get a shot, it’s all about what you do with it.


images by Peter Garcia


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Kevin Benoit
Kevin Benoit graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in Legal Studies. Empowering the urban community has been a goal for Kevin Benoit for the past 8 years. As a freshman in college, in May of 2004, Benoit created Parlé Magazine, an urban entertainment magazine that focused on literacy through entertainment. The publication has since provided a stepping-stone for many individuals throughout the country, from teens to adults and continues to provide inspiration for inspiring entrepreneurs, writers, photographers and graphic designers. Read more articles by Kevin.