Earlier this week I had the pleasure of speaking with Grand Hustle artist Translee as part of his first UK tour. Hailing from Alabama, the rapper used music as an outlet after the passing of his mother, this led him to meet Chris Hunter who would go onto becoming Translee’s manager and the music evolved from there. Speaking on making music in Alabama “It’s hard to make it out of there and get your music heard to people, especially in the states you have to go to the areas that are popping, but it’s getting easier with the internet but you still need to go out to Atlanta, New York, LA and really sit down with the people who are making the big moves”. This self-starter attitude to build a network led him to meet the Hip-Hop legend that is Mr Collipark, who is known for his work with likes of Soulja Boy and Ying Yang Twins.
Atlanta for Hip-Hop is an area that has produced so many great names, Ludacris, Migos with list going on forever, there is one name however that jumps to your mind straight away. That is the founder of Grand Hustle T.I. also known as Tip, “It was crazy, because the first time I recorded with Chris, I was a bit wacker back then, but I said ‘I was grand hustle like T.I’ just dreaming and then it felt like we manifested that situation. I remember the first time I got in the studio with him, and the reason I was even there was because he liked my music, but you’re still unsure as to whether he’ll actually like it, so I’m there playing him records and he’s there bobbing his head and he like I’m finna put a verse so on this, It’s good because it feels like growth and elevation”.
Being signed to a label like Grand Hustle can often come with its own pressures to conform and make a certain sound given that fellow stable mates include B.O.B and Travis Scott however Translee insists that is not the case “No not at all, and that’s one lovely thing, Tip likes our music he brought us on board and we did our partnership but he has never come to me and been like yo we need to make a song that sounds like this, he’s always let us have our creative control over what we want to do. Now it’s almost like, looking at the music you need someone looking over you and pushing you take music like this, but as an artist I’m always going to stay in my creative space and do what makes me feel good. So, I don’t think it’s always bad a label telling you what to do, but if they stifle your creativity then that’s bad. But as a label Grand Hustle is good at letting you do you”.
When I stepped into the room and met Translee along with his camp, the first feeling I received was positive vibes from the get-go and was made to feel as if you were part of his family, which matches up to the music that he makes. “I think that’s what my whole brand is, trying to touch people and for it mean something, I can’t even write to a song if it doesn’t move me, I can’t just write about anything. Whenever you hear any music you are going to feel something so that’s the goal”. On his new single ‘Make Me Better’ that is very much evident, “making the record started off with my producer half-time slim the officials. He sends me beats that normally make me stand up out my seat and when I hear beats like that, I sometimes can’t sleep until I write something to it. It had that bounce that made it easy for me to write on”.
On his plans for the future “I’m trying to wrap up my next project to drop at the start of the year, the project I have out right now is Freedom Summer but the one before that was M.A.O.T.P part 1, so I’m trying to put out part 2 at the top of the year. I want part 2 to be so good that people go back to part 1. Me and Grey who is another signed to Chris Hunter, we are trying to put out a tour and hit the road and really try to hit everywhere”.
Check out his new single “Make Me Better” below and his special freestyle message to his fans.