BK Brasco Talks ’18th Floor’ EP, Working With Timbaland & Resurrecting New York Rap [Exclusive Interview]
BK Brasco is sick of New York City rappers latching on to what’s “hot.” The Brooklyn-born MC is very clear on that point.
“Out of the new guys, I feel like they’re so trapped in trying to bring something back,” he tells The Boombox. “No, let’s just take it forward and make the new sound. Let’s just make it feel good again. Let’s dance again. Let’s have fun.”
With his forthcoming EP, ‘18th Floor: Thompson Hotel Edition,’ slated for release this year, Timbaland’s protege believes he may have the solution to New York’s perceived originality issues. “There are some mediocre people that get on some general trap beats and just rap,” he says, frustrated. “That’s not moving forward because at one point, it was Jay Z, DMX, Mase, OutKast, Busta Rhymes, and they all had different sounds. So how can everybody [now] sound the same? It’s like a domino effect. We all gonna fall on each other.”
The rapper is no newbie to the music industry. He was a member of Brooklyn, a rap group signed to Arista, and a solo artist on Interscope Records in 2006. It’s safe to say that Brasco has made his rounds within the right circles.
At the close of 2013, he held a listening session for the ‘18th Floor’ project. According to reports, the event was packed to capacity. “I knew a lot of people would come,” Brasco admits. “But I didn’t think it would be so many where we would have to turn people away.”
“People know what kind of music I make,” he adds. “We make really good music but we just have to wait our time. But I feel like now is the time that the world needs and wants to hear it.”
Watch BK Brasco Perform ‘Every Bag’
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Since signing with Timbaland in 2010, as a part of his production team, BK Brasco, who reps Brownsville, Brooklyn, has penned quite a few tracks that have been uber-successful across the globe — Ian Carey & Rosette’s pop smash ‘Amnesia’ went platinum in 23 countries.
Three years ago, he was introduced to a whole other side of life. Not only are Timbo and Braaco compatible musically, but one gets the impression that the two really are good friends. In fact, when asked about the standout moments he had within the past year, Brasco notes recording sessions with the producer in Australia and sitdowns with Missy Elliott, Magoo and Timbaland, in which they penned songs in 10 minutes or less.
His past dealings with reputable labels has left the rhymer wary of leaving his career up to the suits in the building. Biggest lesson learned? “Don’t wait for nobody and do it all yourself,” he shares. “Back in the day, you had to wait for the label. The label had to do this or that, but I feel like this is needed. The people in New York need it. The music is wack.”
“When 50 Cent came out and sold 10 million, everybody wanted a 50 Cent hook,” Brasco explains. “Everybody wanted to do what 50 Cent was doing because its a world of followers and New York has become a place for followers. We used to dictate, now we’re following. I respect what the South is doing, they’re supposed to do that. They’re making music that makes them feel good. Why are we following them? I can’t understand. I can’t allow New York music to die like that. It hurts me.”
When ‘18th Floor’ arrives this year, Brasco hopes to inspire those native to his beloved five boroughs to set new standards. The EP, featuring the Timbaland and B. Howard-produced ‘6 Figures,’ is a cohesive blend of his life experiences — from selling drugs in Brooklyn staircases to noshing on dinners with billionaires. He says that the title is meant to signify a bridge between his past and his present.
“The 18th Floor is where I come from in Brownsville [housing projects], where there’s nothing,” he reveals. “My pops died by the time I was 13. When I was over there, I had started selling drugs in the building. ‘18th Floor’ is just the equivalent to the floors in that building. There were so many different cultures, it was like a gumbo. So the album is gonna be like that where every song is different. Different emotions.”
The negative stories don’t outweigh the more positive life he’s living these days. “When I got with Timbaland and went around the world, we were touring 23 countries and performing for $160,000 every night, I started staying at all these different Thompson Hotels all over the world,” he continues. “I was seeing different things. I’m flying in private jets and riding in Maybachs, I’m on the water in Italy, at Cipriani’s with billionaires who just bought a team for $600 million.
“I’m seeing all this and it’s like, my mind is changing. I wanted to make a bridge between where my mind was at then and where it is now because this is the beginning, but I’m so far ahead.”
A bridge he surely won’t burn.
Listen to BK Brasco’s ‘6 Figures’