From the Caribbean Island of Dominica to Miami, Klass Money is no foreigner to palm trees and tropical weather. With flows that are raw and true to his tribulations it’s apparent that he’s seen some rainy days.
Therefore, Klass Money is no stranger to hustle or grind that comes with the rap game. Klass is motivated by haters and critics yet his inspiration comes from the backing of his team and the Dade streets.
Klass Money is here and not taking “No” for an answer!
Coming into the rap game full steam with a Warrior Mind Frame, Klass is eager to deliver his, “harsh reality rap,” but he also has a softer side, the side that credits his mother for being one of his greatest supporters.
Yo! Raps gets into the mind of Klass Money as he shares how he made it thus far in the music business, what to look out for as a new artist, and the importance of having a solid team.
How did you come up with the name Klass Money?
When I first started rapping I didn't really have a rap name I just went by what dudes called me in the streets and back then and that was Jae, I even got it tatted on me [laughs] but the first record label I started working with actually named me Klassic.
That was a long time ago, like back in 2004. I stuck with the name for about a year, released one project called Get Rolled Ova, which was hosted by Noreaga's Official DJ, DJ EFN, but I felt like Klassic meant old and I wanted something that would represent my character as an artist and at the time I was dating this girl and she would always call me Klass Money so that's actually how I got the name and that was back in 2005.
In your video Can’t Nobody Do It Better there is a picture of your mother, how influential is she to the decisions you’ve made regarding your career?
Awe man, very influential! I got a great mother, she's always been involved in my life and even if my mom isn't actually a huge fan of hip hop music she's always supported me and helped guide me with my music and career, and every decision I make, whether in music or life period. I always consider her thoughts because I know she just really wants what's best for me and at the end of the day that's one person I really want to make proud, that's my heart.
Where does your strong sense of hustle/perseverance come from?
Hunger I guess [laughs]. I have a very competitive nature and when I'm after something I'll do almost anything to get it! My fans inspire me and haters motivate me so it gives me the energy I need to wake up every morning and work towards that goal. Music is my passion! Like Juvenile said on his first album, “You see me, I eat, sleep, shit and talk rap!” That’s exactly how I am!
What types of obstacles have you come up against trying to break into the rap game?
Dealing with politics, DJs, promoters, camps, haters, phony record labels… tons!
The music industry is like a sport, a race where you’re up against tons of people and no one wants to see you succeed before them, so there are a lot of people that try to hold you back or would do anything to stop you. Also, it’s full a lot of politics and relationships go such a long way; you can lose an opportunity just because someone had a better relationship with the person at the top.
Then you got DJs, a lot of DJs are now artist or got their own artist so their focus is themselves not your record or your career so it's like a conflict of interest. Then you got the camps, when I say camps I mean teams, every artist with a movement has a team and that team is for that artist so they’re against you a lot of times. I love the competition!
Then you got haters, the people who know your good but hope no one finds out [laughs] and the phony record label that offer you contracts but really have no budget, you have to be careful who you sign with! But at the end of the day the bigger the risk the better the reward and nothing can stop hard work so we continue to work and move smart!
We all know it’s a rappers dream to be recognized by The Source Magazine, tell me what this has done for your motivation?
A lot! I’ve been a fan of The Source since I was a kid; I even remember watching the Hip Hop Source Awards every year! One of my greatest accomplishments to this day was seeing The Source recognize my work. I'm thankful for the opportunity and it's definitely fuel for my fire!
You’ve mentioned one of your goals is to be more than the stereotypical rapper, describe the stereotypical rapper?
When I say stereotypical rapper I just mean like a rapper who just comes in but brings nothing new to the table, just follows the current trend and tries to fit into the game to make money.
How do you plan to be different than the stereotypical rapper and why is this important for you?
I plan to be different by bringing my personal views and flavor to the game, creating a unique sound and refreshing flow and content for the people. This is important to me because I want to be remembered, I want my music to help people if they're going through something, I want to leave a mark and a legacy when it's all said and done.
Your music shines a spotlight on a world that some may want to keep secret but you suggest it’s necessary to bring the truth to the light. What can your listeners gain from your truth?
They can gain knowledge, I believe in order to solve a problem we must first address it and that's what I do. I address the current issues and bring it to light so that we can see it, acknowledge it and be able to find resolution instead of acting like it doesn't exist or only dealing with the issue when it directly affects us.
An obvious fan of hats or taupe’s as you might call them, how critical is style to your image?
I got swag [laughs]! Style is important and I think the younger generation likes me because when they look at me they see themselves and I think that's important for your fans to really be able to relate to you. My style comes from where I was raised and that's how we always dressed, you got to have those fresh new kicks but before you leave the mall you better grab the matching hat!
You use the word "Nigga" often in your music, a word that historically carries decades of pain. In what ways do you personally identify with the word?
I believe we give words power and when I use the word “Nigga” it's never in a negative way, that’s like saying brother or homie to me. That word has been around forever and has become a very common term in urban communities. Even my homeboys that aren't black use that term and its cool because they use it to show love and that's all that matters.
What is your vision for your label Route Change Music Group?
To be an empire one day! I'm more of a "doer" than a talker and we're going to work Route Change to make it as big as possible and good as possible by making our actions speak, continuing to work hard and put out great music. Also I hope to expand our roster in the future.
You seem to have a rather tight squad; your team hasn’t changed much. What makes your team work so well?
I work with the people that are working! If you on the team you got to bring something to the table, no one is here to dictate or suggest or recommend everyone on the team works hard. We have a very good relationships and great communication with each other, which helps us all get better in what we do and continue to rise!
As you watched the downloads on DatPiff rise to 50,000, earning you a "Silver" badge for your mixtape Warrior Mind Frame, what did that mean for you and your team?
That was actually our biggest release and it really inspired all of us. I hear Ulrich’s (executive producer) beats grow and just get better every day and I'm inspired to write more and get more things accomplished knowing that the people appreciate and want the music. Warrior Mind Frame really inspired the team!
In one of your appearances you say, "You can’t be on the Internet all day, you gotta be in these streets", what do you mean by that considering today’s Hip-Hop game?
I see a lot of artist get caught up on all the Internet hype and the internet is great, it's the fastest way to reach the masses but at the same time you have to work the streets because, everyone isn't online and you want to cover all areas so everyone can be aware of what you are doing.
"Self-Made" is a title you’ve given yourself, how does someone earn that title? What does it take to be self-made?
It takes hard work! I earned that title because I was out grinding every day before I even had a team, being out networking with DJs, putting out flyers. Recording song after song led me to meeting the people I work with today. I didn't have a team I made myself!
In the end, let the people know where they can find you online.
The people can check us out on our official site www.klassmoney.com ortwitter.com/klassmoney, facebook.com/klassmoneymusic, youtube.com/klassmoney and we also just got on Instagram, you can find me @klassmoney on there as well but if your too lazy to punch in URLs just google “Klass Money” because we're all over the Internet!