Cleveland-bred producer and MC Archie Green reminds us of a young Yeezy—he's got sing-song flows, a penchant for soul samples, and the ability to brag about ballin' and rail against the system in the same breath. For the past few months, the rapper has been putting together his magnum opus, anEP calledThe Greatest Pretender. To transform the music in his head into an album in your iTunes, Archie has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Because we are so stoked on the prospect of copping an official copy of The Greatest Pretender, we caught up with him to have a brief chat about his upbringing and the source of his inspiration.
VICE: You say, "CLASS" a lot in your music. What does that mean?
Archie Green: CLASS is an acronym for Creatively Learning to Achieve Sustainable Success. The term's inspiration comes from prominent African American males who have impacted me. It’s about having respect for yourself, your elders, and their legacy.
Who inspires you?
Classic people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Quincy Jones, and Miles Davis. Newer guys like J. Kissi, Travis Gumbs, and Ouigi Theodore also inspire me.
Taking the crowdsourcing approach is a double-edged sword because although it offers you a platform to get funding, this same platform chips away at some of the mystique. Why’d you decide to use this method?
I finally decided to do it because I wasn't going to let money stop me from achieving my goal of giving my music to the world. I played with the idea of crowdsourcing, and although I didn’t like the idea of it at first, I was getting to a point where I needed to put out this record. It also helped me to promote CLASS as a movement.
It seems like you put a great deal of importance on authenticity. Why is that?
I put my main focus on creativity, authenticity, and diligence. That’s what I’m all about.
This diligence applies in the face of adversity, not only socially, but geographically. Trying to make something happen in a city that’s not on the map, per se, seems pretty daunting. Why’d you decide to stay in Cleveland?
Cleveland is and will always be important to my fabric. It's the city that made me and there are a lot of underdogs that come from here. In this case, I'm an underdog trying to do what may not have been done in hip-hop before.
And what's that?
Being honest about myself. I want to tell the story of what it was like being the "token black guy" growing up. And coming from a different upbringing than most rappers we listened to as kids. I want to make it a story that can be accepted in hip-hop.
Best of luck, Archie.
Support Archie's mission at his Indiegogo campaign page.
Check out more from Archie on his . Follow Archie Green on Twitter.