Recently GWHH caught up with Chicago’s own Renaissance Man Hustle Simmons at his annual event Hustlepalooza that was held at Reggie’s Rock Club. The event had included many of Chicago’s best artists such as YP and Parkay. The event also had FFOE artist SayItAintTone to highlight some of the few out of state artists at the event. Hustle Simmons has been doing this event for years to create a platform for many of Chicago artists to receive some of the notoriety on a big stage with big name acts.
Hustle Simmons has helped brand many artists that are now sign to major label deals also playing host at all of Chicago’s biggest and best events. Known for his many connections in the industry Hustle has brought some of the nation’s biggest stars to Chicago. Stars such as LeBron James and Jay-Z for his Black Out Party at The Shrine. Chicago has had the reputation of not helping its own artists receive national shine yet instead bringing in big names major label artists to pack out a venue. Hustle’s main reason for Hustlepalooza was to help his friends (artists) perform at big shows held in the city. Recently, he has helped Chicago artist Rockie Fresh in his journey to get signed to Rick Ross’s label MMG (Maybach Music Group) also an artist that performed at a previous Hustlepalooza shows. Also, Hustle has brought to the stage at his shows Meek Mill, Mos Def, Iggy Azalea, and many more. This gives the local artist a chance to perform with a headliner which most of them do not receive the chance too.
Hustle Simmons is not stopping here in just throwing Hustlepalooza shows but also managing artist to the likes of Lili K and Parkay. Also, being a brand ambassador for the reemerging Reebok. The journey is only started for Chicago’s own Hustle Simmons as he helps doing his part in building the hip hop brand bigger than ever in Chicago and nationwide. Listen to the brief interview with Hustle Simmons below.
GWHH got the chance to talk to SH about 'Dub City III', his hood, and Starz & Cloudz.
GWHH: Now this is the third installment in the ‘Dub City’ series what does this one consist of?
SH: “Real motivation street music.” Covering all of the bases from grinding on the streets or working a 9 to 5 I made sure everyone could relate to the music. On this one I just really wanted to make timeless music that would speak for itself at the end of the day. I’m representing my hood and this mixtape shows that all the way.
GWHH: Favorite joint from ‘Dub City III’?
SH: “Man it a have to be that Hennessy.” Represent one of those nights in the studios (Laughs). Ladies around then the next thing you know it’s one of those nights to remember. “One of those nights that have you thankful for the Hennessy (Laughs).”
GWHH: How did your neighborhood Lowell, Massachusetts influence your music?
SH: “It keeps my music real no fake areas just real.” Growing up in a city with readily no jobs people really having to do other things to get money like take to the streets. A young brother just trying to survive the streets and that reflects in my music today.
GWHH: I hear you have a partnership with Giant Vintage how did that come about?
SH: One of my homie put it together for me. We were wearing the Different World glass if you remember the show (Laughs). They contacted me and was really diggin’ the style. One thing leads to another and now we have a partnership with one of the hottest glasses companies out.
GWHH: You have a company Starz & Cloudz what’s the meaning behind it?
SH: “Reaching for the starz and the cloudz in everything you do.” Life itself has a ying and a yang, negative and positive. “Sometimes you gone get Starz then sometimes Cloudz but that’s life just keep moving.” It’s also a lifestyle brand clothing, films, and of course music.
GWHH: Next move for SH?
SH: Keeping pushing the Dub City series. Hit the net with this Dub City III well getting some visuals together for a few of the songs. Plus, working on the next installment which is Dub City IV.
Recently GWHH caught up with Topic and talked music, incarceration, and the future of Topic music.
GWHH: Just recently you dropped a four part documentary to go along with your mixtape ‘Freedom Ain’t Free’ tell us about the meaning behind the series?
Topic: “It represents the trials of my real life.” Me doing music and having a deal previously, along with the legal issues I faced we decided to put it into a four part series titled after the mixtape ‘Freedom Ain’t Free’. Basically, showing the people what I have been going through the last year or so being released from jail and placed on house arrest. “With the series we want to give the people an organic and real insight into the daily life of Topic.”
GWHH: What makes you say 'Freedom Ain’t Free' ?
Topic: “Anything you wanna achieve in this life comes with a price.” Even if it’s financial success that comes with a certain sense of freedom but it comes at a price. For me more so it was like being in jail, getting out of jail and being on house arrest. I’m free I’m outside but I still have to pay to be on house arrest.
GWHH: When you were incarcerated did you focus on writing songs or something else?
Topic: I was mostly taking that time to more strategize on the music I had already. “I did write a few songs but actually I caught the case well recording the album, so I had thought of what I had recorded right before I had gone to jail.” Then I was thinking on how to pretty much finish up the project strong.
GWHH: How was your experience being signed to SRC/ Universal and who did you get the chance to work with while you were signed to Universal?
Topic: It was an experience that allowed me to understand the music industry in a more depth style. I was actually signed to a production company that was signed to Universal. I signed to the label in 2006. When I signed I had the opportunity to work with some great talent over there. I worked with Akon were we actually had a single on the game Fight Night for PS3 and Xbox 360. I also worked with Trey Songz and Jagged Edge just to name a few. “Working with Akon at a time when no one at the label believed in him.” At the time he just dropped ‘Trouble’ and it only sold like 15,000 thousand or something units at the time. Eventually, you know went some many times platinum off of the album (laughs). That situation showed me to never give up on your music and always believe in your product.
GWHH: With the story you have coming from being signed to a major label then to prison and now back on your way back on the rise young teenagers and adults might see you as a role model how does that make you feel?
Topic: Aw man I wouldn’t say all that now (laughs). I think I’m personally more of an example more than a role model. “A lot of my life issues are being displayed daily with others around the country.” I feel as that I am that example for everyone going through what I’m facing that there is always a chance to change your fortunes around with hard work, belief, and will. So think of me more of an example not a role model (laughs).
GWHH: Any new projects dropping from Topic in the coming months?
Topic: Actually you guys at Gowhere dropped a visual of mine’s ‘Can I Live’ which is just an unreleased joint which will be the tempo for the project I have. The next joint will be in titled ‘Closed Session’ and you can look for it around mid December. “A lot of people didn’t know I was signed so I’m having fun with people kind of seeing me as a new artist, and this next project will show them who Topic is.”
T3 Radio one of the hottest internet radio show in the streets with host and Gowhere's own Ronnie Roscoe. Ronnie interviews Cali rapper Topic as he informs Ronnie of his recent mixtape plus the time he spent incarcerated. To hear click here.