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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Proper
Monday, April 12, 2010

A lot of emcees feel the fact that they recorded their music gives them some sort of right to everyone’s time. Proper sees things a bit differently, saying “the process and challenge of proving I’m worth being heard is what I’m dead set and focused on.” Proper’s latest offering is the song “Mirror Mirror,” which is off of the Know You Got SOLE soundtrack, and in a continuation of my Season of Sole series of Artists Of The Week, I sat down with him to find out more about his music, the step by step process he’s taking to reach his goals, and why he feels Nike needs to put him on speed dial.

Adam Bernard: Start me off with a little bit of the Proper story. Where are you from and what was life like growing up?
Proper: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights during the height of the 90’s crack epidemic, so I witnessed the carnage and mayhem first hand. In fact, I had a front row seat being that both my mom and dad were drug and alcohol abusers. I was fortunate and blessed to have had a positive support system in my aunts and grandmother who are responsible for raising me. I got the name Proper from the fact that I carry myself with a certain style, pride, and dignity often not found on the rugged streets of Brooklyn, NY. Young Proper displays the demeanor of an Ivy League college scholar, but also posses the genetics and makings of a corporate crook {laughs}. But seriously, my upbringing during that pressing era shaped my perception of the world around me. I never wanted to become a product of the hood, or ghetto. I always dreamed of being a representative for the people living in these harsh environments who didn’t succumb to hustling, jail, death, and all the other unsaid underworld poisons that are alive and well in the ghettos across this country. Although I got into trouble, my grandmother had been through enough grief watching her own daughter succumb that, I couldn’t bear to put her through another round of heartache.

Adam Bernard: When did you first become interested in music?
Proper: My affection for rhythm began in the Jackie Robinson after-school program marching band. I played one year and quit because I was hard headed and didn’t possess the discipline need to participate on the level they wanted me to. I had the concept of rhythm down pat at an early age, so beats became my second voice. If I wasn’t talking I was creating beats on anything I could. During my troubled days as a kid my favorite pastime while on punishment was to make beats on the windowsill and window guard in my room. I would sit on my radiator for hours and just make beats. It was so crazy that people would stand there and listen and then ask me to make more when I was done. I should have been charging them {laughs}. I would say my music career modestly began on the windowsill of the projects.

Adam Bernard: OK, so you found yourself on punishment a few times as a kid, but is there anything about Proper now, in 2010, that’s improper?
Proper: At this point, I try to live my life in the most positive light I can. I have a son who adores and looks up to me, so I have to be careful of what I get myself into. There are more than enough negative images coming out of Brooklyn already, why add to them?

Adam Bernard: One thing you added to recently is the Know You Got SOLE soundtrack. How did you initially become involved with the project?
Proper: When Sean (Williams) approached me and pitched the concept I didn’t quite see his vision at the time, but as the project unfolded I gained a deeper respect for his hustle. I was on my way home from recording one day and Sean popped out of the woodwork and was like “you’re going to want to get on this. NO, matter of fact, you’re going to be on this!” When it came time for beat selection I heard that track and it was on. “Mirror Mirror” was born the next night.

Adam Bernard: Would you say “Mirror Mirror” is a good mirror into your style? What do listeners usually get from a Proper song?
Proper: My music is all based on my truths. I feel like the truth of a Proper track is the soundtrack for many people’s lives. I know we share the same pain, experiences, and dreams, they just can’t express them through rap songs, or at least as well. “Mirror Mirror” is a good look into my attitude, and it’s a chance for me to flex a side seldom seen from me, which is cockiness and reckless bragging {laughs}.

Adam Bernard: What else do you have in the works?
Proper: I’m co-owner and founder of Icon Society Global, which is the parent company for several other ventures I’m currently building. Icon Society Music Group is my label imprint, which will be the launching pad for all my independent music related business. Another successful venture under the I.S.G umbrella is our fashion house, Social Club NYC, which is an upscale luxury urban powerhouse. I’m currently in the process of wrapping up my first official album, Audacity to Dream, which will drop late spring, or early summer, and last, but not least, my film company, By Any Means Film Works, will debut this year with our first music video projects shot and directed by me based on the Audacity to Dream album. We definitely have a full plate moving forward.

Adam Bernard: You are certainly a busy man. When it comes to your music, are you looking to change the world, change your block, or simply change what’s coming out of people’s speakers?
Proper: I want to eventually get to one day making that Bono type world music {laughs}, but in rap, especially NY rap, it’s very hard to capture people long enough to have those types of effects take place. That being said, I would love to be that kid from Brooklyn that changes the world with his music. I would settle for changing what comes out of people’s speakers first, that’s a start. I’ll murder the speakers, the block will then catch on, and then the world will take notice. That’s the true break down and it will all happen quickly, quietly, and humbly; a smooth stick up.

Adam Bernard: Since this interview is part of the Season of Sole series, tell me about your favorite pair of kicks. What are they, where did you get them, and why do you love em?
Proper: I’ll give you my top three; the Jordan 7 Dream Team edition, Jordan 6 Carmine, and royal blue Penny Foamposites. And mind you, this was before they all were a retro. I loved the era each shoe represented during the 1990’s, they just embodied that time period so well. There was a time when each one of these shoes were a rare treat before the good folks over in Oregon decided to let the LAMES, I mean public, have access to such greatness. I don’t really have favorites with Nike these days, I just buy shit to match the clothing I create for myself. And another thing, I don’t buy basketball sneakers. I think the era of rocking ball shoes fashion is long gone. I do a lot of lifestyle kicks like Y-3, upscale New Balance, shell toes, stuff like that. You know, a little more mature and laid back. But as a side note - once a junkie, always a junkie, cuz when money really start flowing I just might relapse and show the world what a true sneaker junkie really looks like {laughs}.

Adam Bernard: Just in case a sneaker manufacturer is reading this, why don’t you close this interview by hitting everyone with the one pair of kicks you’re still dying to get your hands on and your feet into.
Proper: Truth is I need to get that Kanye action popping. I want my own shoe. My marketability will soon be unmatched so you might want to holler now, Nike. I know I helped to boost your quarterly numbers just by rocking certain joints and making them hot on these cold streets of Brooklyn. Holla at ya boy!

Related Links

Website: phplayground.com
Reverbnation: reverbnation.com/kingkeem
YouTube: youtube.com/ISMUSICGROUP
Twitter: twitter.com/sclubfresh
Facebook: Ahkim Shorter
Amazon: Know You Got SOLE


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:35 AM  
  • At 9:38 PM, Blogger Talia said…

    Sir ,Adam! Thank you for sharing a wonderful interview of such a well rounded artist. Kudos!!!

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