The latest artist making noise for New York is yet to become a household name. But with Highbridge, The Bronx behind him, Westside Parlé is the next star to come out of the city. Remember where you heard it first.
You’re from New York which has a great history but I feel like your sound isn’t New York New York, you have a unique sound; very Westside Parlé, How did you find your voice in rap?
I think it was more wanting to be unique, it was just natural. I’m from New York, we grew up where everyone was rapping, we would see the battle raps. We grew up on lyrics and bars but at the same time, I always liked music that kind of gave you a melody. It gave you a vibe, not just a lyric. Sometimes it’s not even what you’re saying, it’s the sound. It just so happens that I’m always going to be saying something.
The fact that you mix rapping and singing, you do it in a style very unique to you, it doesn’t remind me of anyone else. Did you start singing on tracks straight away or were you rapping, what came first?
I’m not gonna lie, one of the first influences was when I heard T Pain and what he used to do, I was like “Damn, is that possible?” I felt like I had a type of voice where I could make some type of melodic sound, but I’m not a singer. So when I heard T Pain do it, simultaneously I would make songs where I would rap but I would make melodies. Now its full fledged, it’s something I’m stamping on my style.
Not too many people can switch between rapping and singing without it sounding weird, you do it with such an effortless style. Do you ever feel the need to prove that you can really rap?
I’m just putting out stuff. I know some people would try and box you in, like “There’s too much rapping.” Some people try to box you in, “There’s too much singing.” So I kinda just mix both. But when you mix both, you gotta’ prove to them like, “Look, I’m one of the last few spitters left.” There’s not too many, I’m one of the last few left. I gotta prove to them that. Maybe it’s just something in my head, the competitiveness in me wants to.
You’ve released a string of great singles and dropped all the visuals for them as well. Are you keen on dropping the projects soon?
Yeah, I’ma tell you the real deal too. I have a little surprise tape that’s about to drop this year. It has nothing to do with ‘Heart of The Hallways’, it’s some heat on there, it’s like 14 songs. I didn’t just want to give away too much music. You always gotta have the fanbase, a lot of people still don’t know. I believe that if I drop good songs, in a good time span and just let it kinda do the groundwork. Now I can give ya’ll a hard project, some real fire, that’s something to really vibe too. This project’s gonna set it off.
This is an extract from Viper’s AW17 NOMAD issue. Buy physical and digital copies via Viper World.
Words by Lily Mercer
Photos by Sammy Ian