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The Hoodies Interview: NY’s Top Duo

Meet The Hoodies. Rap duo made of two brothers from Ellenville, NY. Young Poppa, who is only 15 years old, and his older brother E Class. Their fame began when they started releasing freestyle videos called In The Whip. When their In The Whip series went viral, word of their talent quickly spread. Accordingly, the viral freestyles landed them on Ellen, which then lead to freestyles on ShowOff Radio with Statik Selektah and Hot 97 with Funk Flex which has generated 2.5 million views on youtube. Recently, The Hoodies dropped their album titled Where Should We Land? I got to chop it up with them a few weeks back. We spoke about the new album, the meaning behind their name, their Jim Jones collab and more. Read our interview below!

Growing Up

What was it like growing up in Ellenville, New York?

E Class: It’s a very diverse area. You have all different types of people, all different types of backgrounds. Ofcourse you got your drama, but it’s all love for the most part. Everybody knows everybody. It’s like any other small town but with a little bit more diversity to it.

Does Ellenville have a good rap scene, or are you guys paving the way for your town?

E Class: I definitely think that we paved the way for the area. There’s a lot of great talent out here. As far as Ellenville, you know, ofcourse there’s people that came before us and shout out to them, but we put our scene on the map, most definitely.

Have you guys always been close? What was it like for you guys growing up?

Young Poppa: With our father not really being around, E was more of a role model and a father figure to me. We’ve always had that special bond that not a lot of brothers have. We’re always together. You see him, you probably going to see me. You see me probably going to see him. And we always together playing the game, writing, out with E. We just always bond and always connect.

E Class: Don’t get it twisted, we do be fighting. We was just fighting today! This is my little man though, I love him to death, you know what I mean? He’s very mature for his age, so it’s easy to mesh with him, vibe with him, and kick it with him all the time. Truly I have a dope little brother man for real.

Meaning behind the name

What does The Hoodies mean to you?

E: The Hoodies stems from Trayvon Martin, rest in peace. His story was so inspiring to us and definitely made us aware of the target that’s on the youths back. Especially in urban communities. So we wanted to take that name on, and speak from our perspective and show the world what we face, what we go through on a daily basis and tell our story. If you listen to our [Funk] Flex Freestyle, I touched on it in my verse. The hoodies just stems from having a target on our backs for wearing a hoodie.

When did you start freestyling?

Poppa: Probably around nine years old is when I started getting serious. Prior to that I used to freestyle when I was like four just playing around. I really started taking rap serious and really started like perfecting my craft when I was nine years old. Was mostly freestyling, but I’ve always known how to put words together and i’ve always been a good rhymer, so it wasn’t that hard. Later, around 11 or 12 was when I started writing everything down, and that was harder for me than freestyling. I can freestyle easier than I can write. When you’re freestyling you’ll say something fire and be like, “oh, I can’t believe I said that” But when you’re writing, it could be wack and I’m like, “God, I can’t believe I wrote that down”.

E: It’s opposite for me. I’m an amazing writer but if you tell me to freestyle off the top, I’ll be like, “uhhhhhh”. Like I got to really sit down and put that together, you know what I mean? But his freestyles are crazy.

Collaborations

I saw you guys have a Jim Jones remix coming out, tell me about that!

E: Big shout outs to capo. Jim Jones, he’s on the Where Should We Land remix. We Reached out to Jimmy and he got that verse back in like a day, he showed massive love. Big shout out to the big bro, Jim Jones. He’s a veteran that we respect so much in this game. A legend for real.

And do you guys think you’ll ever collab with anyone or anyone else from from Dipset?

E: We’ve met Juelz Santana, I’ve met him twice, pop has met him before too. Welcome home to Juelz too. I think that you’ll see a Hoodies-Dipset track in the near future.

Games You Play with Mac Wild’s, how did that collab come to be?

E: Shout out to Jimi Hendrix. He’s the one who put that all into play. Jimi Hendrix is a legend in the game. He produced for Jay-Z, Tupac, 50. He’s the mastermind behind that record. He had the Mac Wilds hook, we came in, did the verses and we got games to play. Michael from The Wire. That’s one of my favorite characters. I love that show. It all came together perfectly.

Meanings

What’s the meaning behind Where Should We Land?

Poppa: The meaning behind Where Should We Land, it kind of goes with the whole speculation around us. Are we signing, we not signing, are we being independent or not? It’s like where should we land? Should we land over here and go straight independent or should we land on a record deal.

E: There are so many layers to that title. With the current state of everything, and the pandemic, and opinions, you know what I’m saying? Like, where should we land? Nothing is promised right now, nothing is guaranteed. Where Should We land leaves the question on everything and then the people can see for themselves as we go forward.

Tell me about the song Graduation Day? I think it’s probably one of my favorite songs on the album.

E: The Graduation Day is dope. Big shout out on Sanjay Sanders. He produced that record, it’s crazy. I come in with a verse, quick 16 bars, then I pass it off to Pop. It’s as if pop used to be under me but he’s graduated now. I’m leveling up (Pop). The first transitions into Pops verse, it’s like he graduated. He’s up from under class, you know what I mean.

Labels

I know a lot of labels have been knocking on your door. How is that going for you guys?

E: With the labels, they’ve been on us since the beginning. Our mom is our manager, she’s a beast. She plays no games about her babies, she’s not playing no games at all. You know you’ve got to come correct when it comes to us. And she’s not letting nobody infiltrate the situation if it’s not going to benefit us in any way. We’ve been getting approached by labels even before we even had music on streaming platforms, just off of our freestyles in the whips alone. It’s been an amazing journey. I’m just glad that the world is seeing our talent and our potential and we’re super grateful and humble.

Production

I was looking at the production credits and seems like you guys work with a bunch of different producers. Is there anyone, maybe even locally or well known, that you would like to do a collab project with?

Poppa: Definitely Pharrell. If I wanted to do a collab project with one producer, it would definitely be Pharrell. The Neptunes, their stuff is crazy.

E: For me definitely 9th Wonder. His beats they make me feel something in my soul. Kanye.Shout out everybody who produced a joint on the project. I look for anyone working with them, you know? Big shout outs to all of them for real.

What are you guys looking for in a beat? Are you guys just looking for general sound or are you guys looking for some boom bap or you need to hear that 808, Like what are you looking for?

Poppa: When I hear a beat and I’m able to pull a topic from the beat, that’s when I know. When I’m able to pull something from it, not just hearing the sounds and the guitars and the instruments and stuff like that. I’m hearing words without hearing words.

E: I like soul, I like whether it be like a fast paced soul beat or low paced. I just the soul to be in it. I’m a sample guy and I like samples in other. That’s just my speed right there that’s my language

And do you guys do you guys feel like the funk flex freestyle? Is that what you think? That’s what changed everything.

Poppa: I think the first in the whip is what basically changed everything. The first in the whip, we got on Ellen off of that. We got on Funk Flex from the In The Whip series in its entirety. I think that really gave us our name(The Hoodies).

E: I would agree to that. I think In The Whip itself put us in position to get on flex, and for Flex to be able to do what it did for us.

Top 5 Dead or Alive

If you guys could pick three rappers to be in a freestyle cypher with you guys, dead or alive, who would it be?

Poppa: Jay-z, 50 cent, and Biggie

E: I’m a Kanye, Beanie Siegel, and I gotta throw 2pac in there. That kind of that backpack, lyrical rap, and the 2pac is just my favorite of all time. Balance of both.

The Future

Obviously, like everything’s kind of weird right now with quarantine, but would you guys do you guys see yourself in the future doing another freestyle series like that?

E: Oh definitely! We’re about to take In The Whip to Tik Tok. We just set up our Tik Tok page and we’re going to start a new series on there, the 60 second freestyle. So be on the lookout.

Do you guys(The Hoodies) see yourself doing any, Instagram live performances or any virtual performances of Where Should We Land?

E: Yeah, definitely, we’re going to do some some performances for the people. I want to stay close in touch with the fans as possible during this time, since we can’t physically. Definitely want to set up something to treat the fans.

What can we expect from The Hoodies in the future?

Poppa: I’m doing these virtual auditions. Nickelodeon, Disney, voiceovers. You’ll see me on the screen again soon. I was in a couple movies, The Joker, It’s Bruno, and I was in The Last OG with Tracy Morgan. Big screen again soon.

E: You know, more projects, merchandise, expect more freestyles, just a bunch of more content. We’re going to flood the internet with everyone. Best believe The Hoodies ain’t going nowhere no time soon.

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