Monday, March 26, 2012
My Interview with Battle America's Seneca Cayson
Now, for a more in depth interview the way only we know how to do it here at MetaphorsAndRealRap.com. My co-writer Ahmadou put in the work and spoke to Seneca. Here it is. - M. PHOENIXXX
Arguably the most mysterious man in battle rap, Seneca Cayson took 30 minutes out of his life to speak to me about his company, his visions, and goals.
When did you come up with the idea of battle America, when did you decide you were going to start a league?
Like I said before I never started a league, I started a Battle Agency which is the first of its kind to exist in the battle world. My goal was to represent some of my favorite battle rappers and take them to another level, that’s what I sought out to do.
Who are some of the people that you represent as of right now?
As of right now K Shine and T Rex
Do you set up their battle with these other leagues?Yes, basically I get them battles in other leagues. I’m building a brand with my two clients; I wheel and deal with any league out there.
Why is it that you only do 1 round battles? Will you ever change and do 3 rounders?
Nah, it never was a 1 round format for me. My first event was a 3 on 3 tournament; unfortunately impatientness caused the battles to come out 1 at a time. It was originally 3 battle mc’s vs. 3 battle mc’s with 1 unlimited round for each artist. The way it was supposed to read out was the best 2/3 won the event
Where do you see Battle America a year from now?
Battle America’s gonna be Battle America no matter what transpires within the next year, but my overall goal was to use my corporate side of things to take battle rap to another level and at the end of the day benefit from it. Not only take battle rap to another level but also my clients to another level, my guarantee to them is that they will make more money than they did last year and the year before. Some people might call it “commercialized battle rap” but I say take it to where people can make more money, not only the artists or the promoters but both.
You came in and the fans really took to your camera and audio quality, was that a goal of yours to have the top of the line equipment?
Yes definitely I do these battles like I do everything else. It’s definitely quality over quantity, I feel the battle industry has sacrificed quality for quantity a lot of the times; it’s certain leagues that actually do better, but at the same time it just needs to be consistent not only for myself but it makes the artists look better. If we’re gonna take this to a million dollar corporation the quality definitely needs to take a step up, this not only was coming from my mind but was coming from the corporate eagle eye’s minds as well, they said the production value was poor and I knew I could raise the production value.
Do you ever see battle rap on television where a mass audience would be able to see it rather than the small amount that’s seeing it on YouTube?
I’ve been dealing with that side that was my first approach, if Battle America’s goal’s accomplished you will see it. Not only that but I have some huge things in the making , before this year’s out Battle America will definitely have made a move that’s never been made in battle rap. At this point we’re in litigations as we speak, I had connections on certain things and I’m doing what I could do. I’m not showing my hand right now and people are mad at that. I definitely see it getting on a larger format.
Do you manage your client’s music as well or is it just their battles?
Both, battle rap is bigger than just battles; in the past 98.9% of battle rappers are unable to reap the benefits of their work. If there’s someone out there that bought a car and a house off of battle rap, I would like them to speak up, as far as all the information I’ve gotten you can’t support your family off of battle rap in the past.
So you’re trying to make it where your clients can feed their families off of battling?
Of course, if you come to Battle America I’m gonna make it to where your life is a little bit better in a lot of different ways, it’s not about me throwing around any money it’s way deeper than that, you’d only know if you were deep inside Battle America and had that stamp on you.
How did your first event with Goodz, T Rex, K Shine, Hitman Holla, and Yung Ill come about?
It all started with a situation between Smack and Hitman; before that it was music I was dealing with Aye Verb Hitman and some negotiations with Arsonal as well as the owners of the St Louis Cardinals who was doing a joint venture with me to put their music out. Unfortunately we all went our separate ways but I took Hitman with me and produced his whole Ballgame 1.5 project. From there he wasn’t really getting the support from URL he felt he deserved from all the work he put in, so from there I told him I’ve got the money and we can do this on our own
There was a point where almost every day you were tweeting that you signed such and such artist to deals, was there any truth to this?
I signed the people I signed, now in terms of negotiations and things of that matter I’ve spoken to a lot of mc’s but I’m looking for a certain breed of mc, I’m not just looking to sign anybody. You have to be willing to take on the challenges that come; my thing is if you want to be the best you have to prove it. As far as mean being a fan and looking at battle rap I’ve seen the same people battle the same people, how can you be the best doing that? How can the Lakers win all their championships with never playing the Clippers? They had to play against everybody; you could lose on any given night, that’s how you become a champ. So that’s one of the things I wanted to change immediately and I’m happy I have 2 clients that see the same thing I’m seeing.
Now T Rex was originally supposed to battle Caustic, that fell through and Caustic took some shots at your company, how do you feel about that?
It doesn’t matter it is what it is. The other day I went to McDonalds and got my kid a kid’s meal and they didn’t give her enough nuggets, everyone complains, does McDonalds just shut down cuz 1 person complained, absolutely not they give you a new one and keep it moving. Not knocking Caustic or these guys as mc’s I love them for their talent, but you’re pissing in the rain you can’t tell what’s piss and what’s water.
You give a lot of lesser known mc’s shots at the big mc’s such as T Rex and K Shine is that what your thing is giving lesser known people shots?
No you’ve got to realize, the more corporate thinkers aren’t thinking that they’re thinking these guys are building their brand up more and more by the second. Not only are they battling people you wouldn’t expect them to battle but those people got fans too and that’s what it’s about. The side of entertainment I come from you gain one fan at a time we’re not trying to get 2/3 million at once that’s not how it works, what I’m doing is putting them on a path to have real fans not a bunch of twitter people, these are real fans they’re shaking hands with people all over the country, signing autographs, people lining up for everything that’s real. Now as far as inside this box we call a computer you don’t know what’s real and what’s not. You gotta look at it like in sports you travel and sometimes you’re greeted by boo’s and sometimes you hit a market where you didn’t think you had fans but you do, that’s what Battle America is about gaining fans and expanding the sport.
You speak of traveling would you work with KOTD or in Europe with Don’t Flop?
I think about all that, the thing is a lot of people are waiting to see the fall of Battle America so they don’t want it to happen just like myself and URL working together. I personally reached out to KOTD; I would love to take a few people over to Canada. At the end of the day there’s no excuses for things not happening over at Battle America. If someone says we aren’t have enough money they’re lying, if they say an event didn’t go down because of this and this they’re lying, so if they say it’s about the business they’re lying, there’s no excuses over here. Like I would like to see Hollow and Rex Battle, I offered Hollow a substantial amount to battle, so if he ever says it’s a money thing he’s lying. If anything it would be I offered him too much money and he ain’t feel comfortable taking that. I’m not just throwing around money, but at the end of the day I’m offering them what I feel they deserve, I know what I’m trying to get out of it. At the end of the day when you look up and say “Rex and K Shine were the first to get a 50k check from battle rap” it’s gonna happen, and if I had it my way it would happen this year.
A big thing I feel battle rap is missing is sponsorships, are you looking into that?
I'm more corporate based, street but corporate I got both sides. Whatever I want to do I can make it happen corporately. That’s what makes us so dangerous at this point; people that know me and deal with me know that I can make anything happen. The thing with sponsorships is that there are certain things you have to be able to carry out. I’ll make it simple for the simple minded people out there; look at Tiger Woods as soon as he got in trouble he lost sponsors, so there are certain things you have to maintain to keep sponsors, so it’s kind of hard for sponsorships to be fluent in battle rap. That’s a thing I’ve been discussing with my clients is ways to get more money, there’s certain things that you have to do. I’ve had huge sums of money thrown my way but they were certain things that would have to be done as far as battle rap and some things made sense and some didn’t. It’ll water battle rap down and you’d lose the culture, so are you ready to jeopardize the culture chasing the dollar? There’s a thin line between the sponsorship world and keeping the essence of this.
A while ago Clips said him vs. Big T was going down on Battle America but URL picked it up and it recently fell through, are you in talks to pick it up again?
I don’t know, I’m not a fan of jumping ship. At the end of the day I never went after a battle so URL or KOTD couldn’t get them. Business wise they felt that was a better move for them, but I will say this if it was with me that battle would’ve went down by now.
Are you serious about giving 8 unknown mc’s the shot of battling 8 big name mc’s?
Does a bear crap on a windshield? Of course I’m serious. 8 mc’s get a chance of a lifetime, if you got what it take email me. I’m setting it up right now, I already got the big names lined up ready to go, it’s definitely gonna happen. If you’re a mc and think you got what it takes send me your footage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last question, do you feel you gave battle rap a shot in the arm to whereas other leagues have to now step there whole game up?
Yes definitely I feel that, people might not wanna admit it but I know I did. Imma need scientific proof that I didn’t, if someone can prove that I’ll walk away from battle rap tomorrow.
You can follow seneca @senecadaproduct and follow me @abayo__ (2 underscore)