HipHopFriends Interview: Independent with Universal Appeal

HipHopFriends Member Photo

Day by day the independent movement in Hip-Hop keeps growing opening the doors for incredible talent from all over the country to let the world hear their music. The next faces to come through that door are Long Island’s own, HipHopFriends, a record label and branding company spawning the group E&J Brothaz. ChuckieBigBux & DirtE Dread are the founders of the label and they make up the E&J Brothaz. We got a chance to talk to the duo over lunch last week in NYC as they did some promo for the mix-album, Built From The Ground Up which was released this week. Here’s a look at what they had to say during our HipHopFriends interview.

Parlé: First off, explain the idea behind HipHopFriends for all the people that don’t know.
HipHopFriends: Basically HipHopFriends is an artist label brand consisting of me, ChuckieBigBux and my brother DirtE Dread. We formed a group, E&J Brothaz and we been touring, 100-120 days out the year. We been meeting and greeting people, I call it being a politician. We call our fans HipHopFriends. Even though we’re artists we also do stuff for other artists as part of our marketing and promoting as well.

Parlé: How’d the concept come about for you guys to create this?
HipHopFriends: Actually the concept came about a while back. We were planning to build this movement with a bunch of friends, doing it loosely, then we said, ‘look, this is a movement we have to take seriously, we can’t just take it from the artist’s aspect only.’ So we got together and formed HipHopFriends. We picked the name because it’s our friendly user name. It’s not only for Hip-Hop and music, it’s our branding. It’s not criminal records or bang bang shoot ‘em up records. We also had the HipHopFriends online radio station, we got 30-40 DJs under our belt. When we were on the road, that name seemed to stick out more than anything. So we decided to just run with that.

Parlé: You guys are based out of Long Island correct?
HipHopFriends: Yeah we from Long Island, Elmont in Long Island. That’s actually the famous town cause that’s where the Belmont Racetrack is and where everyone comes to gamble. We got people from Queens and Brooklyn that’s part of our team too.

Parlé: How is it for an artist coming out of L.I.?
HipHopFriends: Coming from Long Island, you’re not involved in all the borough battles so when you say you’re from L.I., you’re kind of neutral. It seems like every borough has family from other boroughs so with us we rep all boroughs instead of claiming just one.

Parlé: Let’s talk about the first single off this project, “Private Party,” how’d that come about?
HipHopFriends: “Private Party” basically came about after we came off tour. We were in the studio and we thought, ‘we gotta come up with a single that everybody mesh with.’ So we made a blast out there to producers to send out some beats and one of the producers we met at the Billboard Awards, Rogan GiftRap from Santa Barbara, California, he actually sent the beat with the chorus and we knew it was something we could bring our East Coast flavor on. It had a West Coast beat with a Southern style and it could mess with everybody and meet in the middle.

Parlé: I heard you shot a video for it recently that was bananas.
HipHopFriends: We just did the video and we kinda bought a pajama scene to it. A sexy lingerie scene, something we haven’t seen in videos lately. It’s been doing numbers in the South, the West Coast, the East Coast too, so it’s kind of a universal record.

Parlé: “Private Party” is off the mixtape you guys got dropping correct? Tell me about that.
HipHopFriends: The mixtape is called Built From The Ground Up. We chose that title cause that’s what we did with HipHop Friends, we built our company from the ground up, building and making sure everything was straight on the business side as well as the music. The mixtape has 14 tracks from a lot of producers from all over the country like California and Texas, so it gives that feel where people can appreciate it no matter what region they’re from. Each region has a different style and flavor so we tried to reach them. We got a couple viral videos leading up to the “Private Party” video too so look out for those.

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.