Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Maffew Ragazino ("Rhyme Pays")
Maffew Ragazino: Where I'm From! I'm Brownsville. Shout Out to Texas! I love Texas too, but I'm from Brooklyn, New York. Brownsville!
Boom Bap Renaissance: No Doubt! B-ville.Never Ran, Never Will!
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah. Never Ran, Never Will! You know the slogan.
Boom Bap Renaissance: So how was it growing up in Brownsville? I've watched a lot of your videos and you don't seem like the stereotypical grimy dude.
You seem like a real cool dude.
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah, I’m just me, man. I get it from my pops. There's goonies in the bloodline, definitely! But I keep it cool. I'm just me. Just leave me alone. Give me my sneakers and I'm good man! Don't step my sneakers, don't step on my fresh sneakers and that's it.
Boom Bap Renaissance: So how long you been rhymin'?
Maffew Ragazino: Maybe like 19 years already. Yeah I'm up there in the years about how long I've taking the craft serious. I've been recording since I was like 12.
Boom Bap Renaissance: What inspired you to want to rhyme?
Maffew Ragazino: My uncle. My uncle's name is Poppa Dop. That was my deceased Grandmother's youngest son, and I was like the tag along. They use to send me with him.
They would have him doing the babysitting duties when I was at my Grandmother's crib. So I had to be cool about it and get left home all the time. Yeah cuz he would be like "you like 7-8 years younger than me. I'm not hangin out with you! Get the Fuck outta here man"! So in order to be cool, that's what kept me out the house with him, and he was always heavy into music. I would go vinyl shopping wit 'em, sneaker shoppin' wit 'em. Go to girls houses wit 'em. That's the life he was living. When I got of age to do my own thing, I kinda led the same path. I had the same passion for music. He kinda gave it up. But it was so crazy for me in my beginning years, I couldn't shake it. I couldn't shake it. Watching him writing rhymes and he was an aspiring DJ as well. So he was always making blend tapes and all kinds of stuff like that. You know, the cliché typical stuff. Music ran deep in my household. We use to have parties in the hood at my grandmother's house...with all her friends come over and they listen to music, and all the kids in the backroom playing NES, Nintendo and shit like that. Ya know the basics, but with me, the music stuck. I couldn't shake it at all.
Boom Bap Renaissance: How many rhymes do you write a day?
Maffew Ragazino: It varies, but for the most part, I can't really say the particular amount I average a day. Some days I let it flow and write 3, 4, 5 songs, and some days I'm just living. I'm just ...ya know, collecting those experiences. Whether it be a conversation or me hanging out with some friends, whatever the case may be, or wit my son. Ya know, just collecting experiences. I write...I write in my mind, but I might not sit down and write 3 or 4 songs, but you know, they both go hand in hand.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Break down the name Maffew Ragazino. Because when I first heard the name, I thought you was an Italian dude.
Maffew Ragazino: (Laughs) I got that a lot. Man, I got one of the most controversial crazy names, but..um, my name started out as Mathematics. One of the older Gods in my neighborhood would call me Math because the stuff that I was spitting was like Mathematics. Anybody who knows anything about The Five Percenters, their whole thought process is based on Science and Mathematics, and I ain’t ever spell that the correct way. To make a long story short, I would always spell MAFMATX. So for short, people would always call me Maf. Girls in school thought my name was Matthew. So I ran with that. So since I already had the spelling M-a-f-m-a-t-x, I just kept the M-A-F and added the F-E-W. Cuz that's exactly how it sounds. You could say Maffew not Matthew, and I turned it into an acronym and it already was an acronym.....in the beginning it was Money And Fame Fuels Everyone's World just made it a statement. Meaning a true statement. The word Ragazino is actually an Italian surname. If you take the n-o off of it, Ragazi, means young boy. So essentially, I'm a young prophet because if you look at the Matthew name, it's a biblical name. If you spell it the correct it means the same. It means a prophet. So I'm a young prophet.
Boom Bap Renaissance: How did you hook up with DJ Clark Kent?
Maffew Ragazino: I met DJ Clark Kent through a real good friend of mine who ran a record pool in Canarsie in Brooklyn, and from that one experience we always kept in contact. And he would always gave me little pointers on what he thought I needed at that particular time. Basically, to help cultivate my art and help me develop as an artist. When I came back home...because I use to live in Richmond, Virginia for a couple of years, with that friend and his family. I came back home...still needed some work. A few years later, he heard a couple of records and was impressed. He then said "Ok here's where I step in at, I want to help now cuz I feel like you there. You at that point".
Boom Bap Renaissance: So is it true that Sean P is your uncle?
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah, he's not blood family, but he knew me before I was me. He was around one of my older uncles, he's a Decept too and they were heavy...you know, they were like brothers. They were rollin’ tough. Sleeping at my grandmother's crib. So I use to be around them a whole lot from when I was a baby. So essentially that's like my uncle.
Boom Bap Renaissance: What types of beats bring out the best in what you do?
Maffew Ragazino: Um, I can't really say. Trying to describe it in just one word... I would say progressive. Whether its sample based or a production that's original and sounds like a sample. Whether the case may be. Just something progressive. Something that speaks volumes so when its heard in instrumental form without vocals on it, it would wanna make people rap to it or hear some one rap on it. I really don't care to make any beats. I need something to push my art. It's not one particular style that I like. It depends on the mood. You know, you get a record like "Decepts on the L Train" record which is like a cool laid back typical Al Green sample. I just took it somewhere because the beat drove me to go down memory lane. Then you get the Harry Fraud "Black Sheep" joint that sounds like let's go to party. I'm real versatile so I a real difficult person to satisfy on the production side.
Boom Bap Renaissance: What's your favorite Clark Kent beat?
Maffew Ragazino: Brooklyn's Finest because it's associated with one of the most epic collaborations ever in history. What is there not to like about it?! I don’t care if you didn’t like the two artist on it. It's a crazy beat.
Boom Bap Renaissance: How can beatmakers go about submitting beats to you?
Maffew Ragazino: They can holler at me on Twitter @RagazinoSr. They can holler at me on Facebook, and at firstname.lastname@example.org Only MP3's and only send your best 3 or 4. Don't send 30-40 emails because my partners are not going to check that.
Boom Bap Renaissance: What producers would you like to work with?
Maffew Ragazino: Other than the guys that I've been working it...that receive production credits on my blogs, mixtapes and album. Definitely a Kanye West.
Also don't forget to tell the people that I'm in the Unsigned Hype, so they need to get The Source with Drake on the cover.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Congratulations! We've been watching you for awhile now.
Maffew Ragazino: What was the turning point that made you want to reach out?
Boom Bap Renaissance: When I heard that joint with Meyhem Lauren. You said something about "Restoring Prosperity to the Black man's pride". That's when I was like dude can spit.
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah. Combined with a message. You know, you got to put some medicine in the candy and the junk food every now and then. That's crazy you caught that. That line inspired a lot of people. It's not a lot said but it's powerful. That shit speaks volumes and says a lot about my character.
Boom Bap Renaissance: That's why I said you don't have that stereotypical Brownsville grimyness. You seem like an intelligent cool dude.
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah, well my neighborhood raised me. I love it to death, but the only way to rise above and show the people different is to be different. You know,
just being me. I love my hood, though.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Let's talk about NYC real quick. Name your top five favorite artist from NYC real quick.
Maffew Ragazino: The God Rakim Allah....damn! I'ma have to tell you six then. Nas, BIG of course, Jay Z, Kool G Rap and Kane.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Who are you feeling nowadays that comin up through the ranks with you?
Maffew Ragazino: Anybody I ever did a track with. Whether it's my shit or their shit. Anyone you seen me do a track wit. I definitely routing for the city. Right now they're to tryin to kill New York hip hop.
Boom Bap Renaissance: How do you feel about the New York Hip Hop scene today?
Maffew Ragazino: I'm getting recognition so I can't say too much bad about it. All I have to say is we need to start celebrating our people that's doing their thing and deserve it. And we as New York artist need to focus on doing us. There's nothing wrong with showing love to people from other regions but fans here need to make sure they support their fellow New Yorkers. Show some love, so we could get back on the radio in our own town, but I really can't say too much bad about it because there's a lane open for Ragazino Sr. I ain’t got no complaints. I'm fighting a good fight. It's either going to kill you or make you stronger.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Word! So, that Butter joint you did with Meyhem Lauren is fire. How did you link up with him?
Maffew Ragazino: I ran into Meyhem in my hood. He was with Thirstin Howl. We chopped it up and he was a cool dude. One day he told he had a record for me and he sent me a couple of tracks and we just collaborated.
Boom Bap Renaissance: I knew you were official when you did a song with Masta Ace.
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah my partner Sha Banga and Steady Pace who was Ace's DJ at one time knew each other. One summer Sha Banga went to a video shoot for Masta Ace and had a long four hour conversation with him. Ace got introduced to my music. We sent the record to him and he sent it back along with his contact for me to chop it up with him, and from there he's been like my big brother. Ace is a really cool dude. He not the typical industry type. Master Ace is a good dude.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Do you still live in Brownsville?
Maffew Ragazino: I live in East New York now but I'm always in Brownsville.
Boom Bap Renaissance: When you collaborate with other artists, do you have to pay them or do they have to pay you?
Maffew Ragazino: Everything really depends. I can't call out a solid answer. It really depends. Certain people might try to charge but I haven't had to pay to get any features.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Maffew Ragazino: On the production side, probably Kanye, but really, I would like to keep workin with the people I been working wit and just build with them. We trying to be legends also so we keep the spotlight in house.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Now I got your new joint Rhyme Pays and it's fire. But didn't you release it for free though? What was up wit that?
Maffew Ragazino: Just trying to get new fans. Didn't want create any obstacles for the people who were trying to get the new material. People catch on to things at different times and I didn't want to create any hurdles for anyone trying get my music.
Boom Bap Renaissance: Does Rhyme really pay or are you still working a job?
Maffew Ragazino: Rhyme Pays,man. The album is the truth. If you grind enough, the way will find you.
Boom Bap Renaissance: What's in the future for 2012?
Maffew Ragazino: More material, more videos, more of everything that's been going on. Rare Gems 2 the mixtape. Expect some crazy collaborations that you really wouldn’t think of in a million years. Just Growth as an artist.