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Name: Adam Bernard
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Artist Of The Week – Pradigy
Monday, June 15, 2009

There are numerous rappers with bands right now, but Charlotte, North Carolina’s Pradigy is a little bit different from the majority of those acts. He doesn’t just have a band; strapped with his electric guitar, he’s also part of the band. Pradigy describes his sound as “Jimi Hendrix mixed with Kanye West” and after I recently had a listen to a few of his songs I wanted to know more. This week I caught up with Pradigy and asked him about his music, what inspired him to combine his guitar playing with his emceeing, and if venues react differently to him when he has a guitar in his hand.

Adam Bernard: I think before we even get to your music everyone’s going to want to know about the spelling of your name. Why Pradigy and not Prodigy?
Pradigy: The name Pradigy comes from when I was young, making beats in middle school. I was around 13 when I first started and was called a child prodigy by my brother’s friends. I liked it, dropped the “o” for the “a” and there you have it.

Adam Bernard: What’s the difference between Pradigy and Pradigy GT?
Pradigy: Pradigy is me solo, Pradigy GT is me with a live band. It’s like the Grand Touring version of my music as the live band sound is just a wonderful experience. So compare it to a Mustang vs. a Mustang GT. It’s just more dynamic.

Adam Bernard: OK, let’s talk about those dynamic live shows which involve you playing the electric guitar while rapping. What inspired that move?
Pradigy: Playing guitar and rapping was the first time I really felt I found myself. It was me! It’s my personality. I’m not faking it at all. There is no gimmick here. It started while I was working on my debut album The Odessey. I noticed that I was creating a lot of music that had me playing electric guitar in the studio. As I was mixing down the album I started thinking about how I was going to perform this live, especially around here in such a conservative place. Hip-Hop isn’t really embraced here by venues, it’s more so feared because of ignorant people messing it up for the majority. On the flipside, I don’t rap about the same things most rappers do. It was a struggle at first because my lyrical delivery and timing jumps all over the beat. Rapping one of my songs and playing guitar is more difficult than singing most rock songs. After practicing I decided to put a band together. We did our first show and people were really amazed. Looking back at the tape I can’t even find words to describe what the musical genre was. It was probably about as middle ground as you can get between Hip-Hop and rock. This was the vision I’d had in my head when I was working on my album. I wanted it to be something new, something that hadn’t been done before. More than anything, I wanted to push Hip-Hop to its next evolution. We hear the complaints daily about how Hip-Hop music, mostly the mainstream, is boring and is always the same. Well, now I’m giving you something unique. I want to help usher in a new style of music for the youth and expose guitar playing to kids that never had it in their mind to do it.

Adam Bernard: A lot of rappers who do something other than rap use it as a crutch, as a way to get people to not listen to their lyrics, so I gotta ask, lyrically what can people expect from you?
Pradigy: I pride myself on my lyrics. I am an emcee as much as anything else. I can’t stand wack lyrics! I started rapping and producing when I was 13. I didn’t really learn how to play guitar until 18. I am a student of Hip-Hop, from the lyrics down to the beats. I know the power of lyrics. I also know there are a lot of people who don’t listen to lyrics. That’s why I’ve spent so much time working on my delivery and wordplay. Just like a preacher giving a sermon, you have to learn how to express what you say. I don’t believe in dumbing down lyrics, I believe in improving my delivery!

Adam Bernard: Have you found nightclubs and event spaces have been more receptive to booking you as a “band” versus as a “rap act?”
Pradigy: We have to change the words “Hip-Hop,” or “Rap,” to “Funk,” or “Rock” just to get in the door at most places. Hip-Hop and rap have a negative image here among business owners. They see it as a security risk. It’s hypocritical because rock concerts allow moshing here, but if that were to break out at a rap show it would be cancelled on the spot. It’s not right to be told “we don’t allow rap here,” or “you can play here if you just take the Hip-Hop out of it.” We usually get bookings from people that see us play who are also artists. I hate to call my music just “Funk Rock” but if that means we can get $500 versus $0 then I’ll do it.

Adam Bernard: Can't blame ya there. Finally, knowing that your local venues don't embrace Hip-Hop, what kind of music scene do you have in Charlotte? Is there a big potential fan base for your work?
Pradigy: North Carolina is an interesting place. We have the Raleigh sound, notably 9th Wonder and Little Brother, which dominates the majority of the state. In Charlotte it’s a different world, it’s a lot more mainstream based, so you have the majority following the radio trends, and that goes for all genres of music. It’s a tough market for local music, but the plus side is people here want something different. There is a huge potential fan base here, but I need the help of media outlets along with grassroots marketing to reach people. In Charlotte there is no local music played on the radio and no local music segments on any major TV networks, only public access. There is one local paper that talks about local music and that’s not even our major newspaper here. So the question is - how do you create a buzz here? The answer is you have to have an amazing live show, amazing music, play frequently and play for the right types of people. Those people have to talk about you to their friends. The media will pick up on it when you get hot. It needs to happen at least once to set this market up for local music, but it hasn’t happened yet. I love Charlotte, but local artists know nobody blows up here, not Jodeci, or Anthony Hamilton. Music fans want something amazing to call their own. They just need to know you exist.

Related Links

Website: pradigy.net
MySpace: myspace.com/pradigy2k
YouTube: youtube.com/pradigy2k


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:40 AM  
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