Clear Soul Forces Interview

July 11, 2011

When I first met Clear Soul Forces, they already had something going for them: the cosign of one of Michigan’s best emcees. Detroit mainstay Finale introduced me them at a show in Lansing, Mich., after being so impressed with the group—Wimpy, J-Roc, E-Fav, and producer/emcee Ilajade—from a recent performance. Since that introduction in 2008, the group hasn’t disappointed: their undeniable work ethic and natural group chemistry has garnered cosigns from or collaborations with the likes of Justus League producer Khrysis, multiplatinum producer/D12 member Mr. Porter, Frank William Miller Junior of RappersIKnow, and many more. After successful performances at A3C and South By Southwest, they perform today (Monday, July 11) at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. With the growth shown between 2008’s Clear Soul Radio and last year’s The Departure EP, their music grind is just as official as their hustle. Read below for their tips on how to hold down the D nationwide, worst video game experiences, and highlights from their The Departure EP.

MiHH: What is it like to go to different cities and rep the D—not just at regular shows, but at events like SXSW and A3C?

Wimpy: It’s a good feeling. It validates everything that you’re doing. It lets you know you’re on the right path. You’re on the road, and being recognized. People see us and think, “These niggas are somebody.” You don’t really get that at home.

MiHH: What kind of advice would you give to artists who want to get on festivals like that? What goals do you guys have now that you have done those?

Wimpy: I tell people to do their homework. It’s not hard to find out about things, you just have to be educated. A lot of people don’t take the time to educate themselves. After you do that, you have to make it a priority to actually get out and do shit. The big difference between us and other groups is that they try and do stuff before they invest in their music. It’s not a shot at anybody, but if I got my last $20, I’m not gonna spend that on a shirt at Revive. I’m gonna put that toward the tank, so I can go down to Atlanta and network. You can never take for granted, the worth of physical contact. You can be on the internet and tweet all day, but once you meet them and build with them, that’s how you solidify contacts.

Ilajede: Our goal now is to get on more shows. We’re definitely gonna try and go back to SXSW and A3C. Shoot more videos, that’s priority number one. Make sure everybody is on the look out for that. We definitely want to put out more stuff before we leave the state again. We’re gonna try and travel as much as we can. And show people that we can definitely move out as long as we all pull together. We’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing to keep getting what we’re getting, results.

E-Fav: The other thing I want to add to what they said, we’re gonna keep our web site content up. I want to get that up so we can start getting traffic. Just try to build our brand. That’s another thing that sets us apart, is that we have emphasized from day one that we need to build a brand. Something we can utilize later down the line.

MiHH: It seems like throughout Michigan, a lot of people are really favoring the group dynamic and around the country the group has died down. So what makes you guys prefer the group as opposed to just being solo artists.

E-Fav: The reason I really like being in this group is because I don’t have to be everything at one time. I know that J Roc will bring something to the table, that will more than likely relate to me. All of the guys do that all the time. We get so much done. We have so much work ethic. We have so much drive. That’s why it seems like we are always moving, because we’re always working on something.

Wimpy: On some simple economic shit, it’s more fun and less work. I can write one verse, and that’s my part. You feed off each others’ energy. At this point, I can’t even fathom how I would motivate myself at this point without a group. I feed of of their energy so much.

MiHH: Another thing I noticed is that you’re one of the only groups that has a producer as a member of the group, but the producer doesn’t do all of the beats. So is there a reason why you guys have that approach?

J-Roc: I think we save a lot of these beats for bigger things. When we talk about having an album, we want to use his beats for that.

Wimpy: That shit is about to change though. The leaps and bounds Ilajede has taken from Clear Soul Radio to now is amazing. … He is the producer I knew he could be when I first met him. Back when I first met him, niggas were like, “Why are you fuckin with him? Why are you always chillin with him. That niggas beats ain’t even that good.” That nigga started making beats on a Wednesday, and I heard them on Saturday. I was like “When you start making beats?” He’s like, “Four days ago.” So that nigga is there, and the time is right. I know in my heart that people are going to rock with what he puts out. That nigga got some heat. I’m not saying that because I’m in the group; I’m saying it because it’s the truth.

MiHH: Clear Soul Radio is a mixtape and The Departure is an EP. What made you change the approach from a mixtape to an EP?

Ilajede: It wasn’t even on purpose really. We all just said it was time to put something out. And we were going down to A3C. It was the first major move we were making outside the city, so we had to put something together to take down there. We wanted something small that would pack a punch. So we said, “Let’s create songs together that people won’t be able to skip over. Let’s not put fillers and bullshit on here, let’s keep it tight. Once everyone agreed on the tracklist, we started recording and putting it together, it turned out pretty good.

Wimpy: Just to add to that. In this day and age, you get the same shelf life no matter what you put out. Whether we put out Clear Soul Radio, which is 15 songs, or The Departure, which is six songs, you’re get the same question: “What’s next?” Why put out 20 plus songs on anything, if all you gonna do is give it to someone and have them say “What else do you have?”

J-Roc: I didn’t want to do that shit at first, but I think when it’s an EP it’s an experience for the listener. Instead of a long ass mixtape where they will wait til the shit comes back up on their iPod, with an EP, they’ll listen to the whole thing.

E-Fav: We literally almost had a falling out with J Roc. Tooth and nail, he was about to quit the group. He didn’t want to do an EP.

J-Roc: I was so mad. We had been working on so much shit, and I thought we were going to throw all that shit out. I was mad, because there were a couple of songs that I really liked.

MiHH: What are you guys’ favorite songs from Departure, and why?

Wimpy: My favorite songs are “The Greatest,” “Push iI To The Max” and “Red Light.”

Ilajede: Nigga, that’s three! My favorite song is “Red Light.” That is a song that puts me somewhere. And there is nothing better than a song that puts you somewhere. I be at red lights ready to speed off, that’s just the type of shit that I do.It puts me in that environment. I just be wanting to drive when I hear that, even when I’m not in the car.

MiHH: One of my favorite songs on it is “Pick up the sticks”.

E-Fav: Why is that?

MiHH: Because I just like the way you guys flip the video game references all throughout it. Y’all don’t take a bar off on it. But I wanted to ask what are some of you guys’ worst video game experiences?

Ilajede: That’s a good question. “Marvel vs Capcom 3.”

Wimpy: I think that’s unanimous. I tried so hard to like it. And I stole it from Cortez and played it for about three hours.

Ilajede: I thought you liked it man. What happened?

Wimpy: I did like it, because I didn’t have it. But now that I’ve played it…

Ilajede: Worst video game experience as a whole is actually Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Those niggas is slippin. Microsoft made Xbox 360 six years ago. I’m tired of playing that shit. Give me a new system! Apple gives me a new product every year. I’m playing with something that uses the same hardware and software as 2005. Suck my dick, nigga.

Wimpy: My worst video game experience is from way back in the day. My cousin, I tell everybody about this shit. I can’t find this nigga. I need to find him. But we used to play “Sonic the Hedgehog.” I used to always go over his house when I was little. And he would draw Sonic comic books and play Sonic, so we thought he knew everything. I went over there and he tried to tell me about the Chous [sic] Emeralds. I’m like “Nigga, they’re not the chouse [sic] emeralds the Chaos Emeralds,”. And we would get into it. Then I called him stupid and got a whooping. That’s my worst video game experience.

E-Fav: My worst video game experience, me and my brother were playing “Street Fighter 2: Turbo” on Sega Genesis. He whooped my ass so bad, like perfect, for three straight rounds. I couldn’t touch that nigga. Not a punch. I cried, I was so upset. I still have a grudge against that nigga. I was ten.

J-Roc: Mine was when “NBA Jam Tournament Edition” came out, and Tim Hardaway wasn’t in it. I’m dead fucking serious.

Wimpy: You know what’s worse? They do got Hardaway. I got roasted by that nigga, on the old Golden State Warriors.

J-Roc: No, that was NBA Jam. He wasn’t on the tournament edition. The Tournament Edition came out, and they had more niggas on there, and he was not on that bitch. I remember that shit perfectly. I was a kid and had it on Super Nintendo. He was not on that shit. That shit killed me, and I didn’t even play it. I kept playing the old one. Wasted birthday gift.


  1. J. Pikk says:

    I’m so proud of u guys man, ya’ll are def on the way 2 greatness, and I’m excited 2 see/hear wats next. And ur def a constant inspiration 4 me when I write and how my work ethic has grown. CSF WADDUP!?

    July 11th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  2. MurdaMittnPimpn says:

    Uh Let It KNOCK Like!!!

    July 11th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

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