Chopper From Da Band Is Back With New Music & An Explanation For Where He’s Been
It’s been a few years since we’ve seen the name Chopper name in the lights. But that takes nothing away from how bright his light shined when we first saw him on Making The Band. Every time he opened his mouth to rap we were treated with something special. It wasn’t hard to see his talent and clearly Puff saw it too, signing him to the group we came to know as Da Band. After the break-up, we knew it wasn’t over for him. He proved it with the release of several mixtapes under the name Young City. Cash Money took notice and a partnership developed between the New Orleans native and the label. But things didn’t pan out and the frequency of music continued to decline. Personally things got dark and depression wasn’t far behind. Chopper even admits to shedding tears at his lowest point, drowning in the stress that his personal decisions had landed him in.
Fast forward to present day and Chopper is happy to be at the end of a journey that he says was filled with required change for the better. After taking inventory of his life, one that had him out in the streets and even getting shot, Chopper decided to move out West to make a new life for himself in California and Las Vegas. He changed the direction of his music and his career, redesigned his wardrobe and even put on a few pounds. Now, the January 22nd born, Kevin Barnes is seeing things clearly and he’s ready to share his new and improved self with the masses via his new project, Woodstock. We talked to him about the new music, the hiatus and the changes he had to implement in order to be a better person and a better artist. Check out the honest interview here.
Parlé Magazine: It’s been a minute since people have seen you in the spotlight. Where you been and what have you been up to?
Chopper: Just getting myself together. A lot of people just come out and release stuff sporadically and don’t really have direction with their stuff. I sat back and did my research. I knew I had to get myself together, not just musically but personally. I was just ripping and running, fucking women, popping bottles with no direction. I didn’t even know what I was celebrating. I didn’t have an album out, all I was doing was putting out mixtapes. That made me a little money, but I was making more money in the streets doing other things. So I wanted to get myself together. I was in hibernation so I could give the people the real person that I am.
Parlé: What sparked the need for the change? What made you decide to change?
Chopper: I had to. The way I was going I was either going to be dead or in jail. I had to change my life bruh. And I had to change it in a positive way. I had to get more knowledge. I started reading and liking books. I cut off my religion. I just see life in a different perspective now. My life is all good now. If its bad, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Parlé: You done gained some weight, looks like you eating good…
Chopper: Yeah. I’m like 245 lbs now. I used to be like 180.
Parlé: You living out in Vegas now too. Another one of your changes. How’s that treating you?
Chopper: Yeah, its like a different civilization. I just love seeing the mountains! When I walk out my house going to do something important and I see the mountains I just know everything is going to be alright. I love the West Coast. I’m going to live there for the rest of my life. I love the East Coast, I lived down South, but the West Coast just give me a free spirit feel. I see what Tupac seen. I know why he loved the West.
Parlé: I’m sitting here looking at you and you got soooooo many tattoos. Way more than you used to, even got some face tats…
Chopper: Yeah, I’m not trying to be President. (Laughs). All the business that I do, I’m not at the forefront of it anyway. I got people who handle my business for me.
Parlé: You a lot older than when we last saw you and I take it a lot wiser. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned that influence the man you are now and will likely continue to guide the man you will continue to be?
Chopper: Biggest lesson I learned is that the game is to be sold and not told. A lot of people end up in situations that go bad and they get all emotional, spilling the beans. I think its best to keep things to yourself and its best to keep things private. So I would never do a reality tv show again. That’s just not for people if you trying to take your career serious. You gotta rejuvenate yourself. Be the better you.
Parlé: New project is called Woodstock. Tell me how that title came about and what people should expect from it.
Chopper: I called the album Woodstock because in the process of changing myself I realized I don’t want to perform in clubs no more. I want to perform in arenas. I called it Woodstock because I’m giving you arena music, I’m giving you worldly music. Its definitely special and unexpected.
Parlé: You went out to Vegas and that is reminiscent of Flo Rida who went out to Vegas before he blew up. Tell me about the impact Vegas had on this Woodstock project.
Chopper: Vegas is not really a music city. When you in those clubs its no rap music. So you have to blend in to what they want to listen to. Even the way you dress, if you not dressed to kill they not letting you in. I seen them turn down a lot of celebrities, a lot of rappers! Vegas will change your swag too.
Parlé: I see, you definitely looking fresh.
Chopper: Yeah I never used to dress like this. But I threw all my clothes away and now its Versace everything. I threw away my True Religion, all that stuff. I only wear Versace now. I gotta look good. And I like to go to functions and I like to be respected at those functions. Vegas influenced me to change my music too. I know about the Flo Rida’s, but Flo Rida’s a street nigga. So is Pitbull. I see what they see now. And I want to make that my own lane.
Parlé: You got the obvious New Orleans, down South feel on the album and then on the flip side you got the obvious Vegas sound. Do you feel like people from back home are going to be like, ‘Chopper changed and not mess with the music?’
Chopper: I feel like everybody going to say I’ve changed. But at the end of the day I feel like it don’t matter what other people think as long as at the end of the day you feel like you doing what you supposed to do. People are followers anyway. If you doing your thing in your own lane for long enough people bound to come over and mess with it. At this point I’m a race horse. I don’t see my left, I don’t see my right, I just see ahead.
Parlé: So no concerns…
Chopper: Music is my life. If you really mess with me you gonna feel me. If I didn’t think it was gonna work out I wouldn’t do it. Plus I’m tired of hearing the same ol’ shit!
Parlé: You’ve were around him for a while so I have to ask. What was the best advice Puff’s ever gave you?
Chopper: Don’t sleep! Everybody who’s working on their dream ain’t sleeping.
Parlé: New single, “One Thing”…
Chopper: Yeah, we shot the video January 20th in Los Angeles. We shot a video for another song, “Disco Ball” too.
Parlé: The entire track you’re basically reintroducing listeners to you. At one point in the song you say, “3 things about me,” real quick tell me three things about Chopper that you don’t mention in the song…
Chopper: I’ve changed, I fo’ sho got more money, and I’m self made.
Check out Chopper’s new single, “One Thing” here:
From everything we heard during a listening session with Chopper, the new project Woodstock is a pleasant surprise. It’s definitely Hip-Hop with a twist, but its something the industry needs at this point. Hopefully it garners a decent amount of attention and gets to the listeners and the fans.
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