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UNSTOPPABLE: ALBEE AL



After a three year incarceration stint, Jersey City's own Albee Al would finally touch back down - not to mention cleared of all charges - on August 15th. Released from Passaic County Jail, the self professed Gladiator, whose first national hit, “Ten Toes Down,” was unleashed in 2016, immediately went to work on what the 34 year old street poet knew best; crafting his latest magnum opus, the appropriately titled, FREE THE REAL

TD: Welcome home!

TD: What was the first thing you did upon release?

ALBEE AL: The first thing I did upon my release was I went…I went to see my kids and my family. They wasn’t outside the jail when I came home, so I just went to see all my kids my family and chilled with them and enjoyed their grace.

TD: What did you miss most during your time incarcerated?

ALBEE AL: What I missed most was my family; was my kids. I just felt like they life was shattered when I went to jail because when I was home it was so much fun. We was doing so much, having so much fun…then when I went to jail everything stopped, so I just knew when I got back home it was back to ballin’, back to having fun…so I missed that more than anything because that’s who I do it for, they my engine.

TD: What did your day to day routine entail?

ALBEE AL: Man, I just popped shit all day in jail. I popped shit all day, talked shit all day, played cards or played basketball. Like I was in there jailing, you know what I mean? That’s how it is in jail, like I’m just poppin’ shit; whether I’m poppin’ shit about street shit, whether I’m poppin’ shit about sports, whether it’s like I was just in there trying to make the best out of my situation, you know what I mean? It was aiight…it wasn’t aiight, but I made the best of that shit.

TD: Were you able to work and / or focus on your music while away?

ALBEE AL: Not as much as I wanted to. I wasn’t really working in there and, you know, I was locked up during Covid and it was like life just froze and I didn’t know what the fuck was going on, so it was times like, “am I gonna get the fuck out of here? Or are they going to keep me forever?” I used to lose focus. I wrote a lot of music in jail, but I didn’t write as much as I should have because I felt like it’s a waste of time, like that I might not make it home; shit took a toll on me…or I’ll write some fire shit, then be like, “nah, what if nobody ever hear this shit.”

TD: Now let’s hop right into this lead single / video, “Thottie” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?

ALBEE AL: It was actually like me just in the studio just being happy that I’m back in; the beat came on, and I was just vibin’, instead of…shit…and I was just talking about my lifestyle, and I didn’t even think that was gonna be my first single or nothing. I was just like, “let me just give them this right here.” I just tossed it out there when I came home because they wanted new music, so I was like, “here, take this shit” because I have a whole project that’s about to go crazy! They loving that shit; they loving everything I got, but “Thottie” going crazy right now; like in the clubs and everything. I tried to give them a hit before the summer closed out.




TD: You also collaborated with both Rowdy Rebel [“She F**k With A Gangsta“] and Mozzy [“Cash Rules“] — Talk to me about these…

ALBEE AL: Me and Rowdy was on some shit; like when I first came home, Rowdy embraced me and reached out to me because they just came home, too, and he was trying to let me know like what to do and what not to do as far as like dropping music and how to go about it because he already experienced it. He was like, “Bruh, you ‘bout to make the most money you ever made this time right here coming home.” So he was like, “you got to go crazy!” As far as us getting in the studio, that was just a give in because we was already fucking with each other; real recognize real, and he was like, “whenever you in the studio, hit me and I’ll pull up.” So I hit him like, “I’m in the stu!” And we just started playing beats, and we just started creating music. We got hella music together, and we ‘bout to shoot a video…and Mozzy, Mozzy that’s bro! That been gang before I went to jail; me and Mozzy got some underground music from probably before probably like 2016. Me and Mozzy been rocking with each other…that’s bro, and he reached out to me when I was in jail. He was one of the few rappers reaching out to me while I was locked up. If I hit him like, “Mozzy, I need a verse,” because I was still dropping music locked up; he would be like, “yo, just send it over.” So when I came home and he was locked up unfortunately, I’m like if you was trying to keep my music alive while I was gone it’s only right I keep his music in the air while I’m home.

TD: Of course all three songs come courtesy of your new LP FREE THE REAL — Although self-explanatory, still tell me conceptually what this title represents both to and for you?

ALBEE AL: It means everything to me. I’m giving a voice to the unheard, as you can see, my mixtape doing so good. I got billboards all over the tri-state. I got a billboard in Times Square, and if you see the cover of my mixtape it’s not just me on it; it’s everybody I’m cool with…all my bros that’s locked up doing hard time. And even my bro that passed away, so I’m just like sharing my platform with them so when you see my face…you seen a face, it’s like, “oh, shit, Albee Al got a billboard in Times Square!” It’s not just me up there, it’s my friends, too. I’m just trying to show love and give a voice to the people that feel unheard. That’s what the Free The Real campaign is all about; it’s about giving back and letting people know it’s possible…you can really come home and change your life. I really came home and doing some shit. I’m just trying to give motivation because there’s a lot of motherfuckers that ain’t coming home, and I’m just living proof that this is possible.

TD: How then does this new material(s) either differ and / or compare to previous Albee Al entries?

ALBEE AL: I actually believe that I’m better; I always get better. Like I really got a mixtape called Super Saiyan, and the reason I called it Super Saiyan is because I felt like I was going to another level…so every time I drop music I’m going to another level, but this music right here is like me tapping in with the roots of where I began, what got people listening to me in the first place. So I wouldn’t say it’s a difference, I just feel like I tapped back into it what they missed and love about me; this Free The Real tape is Albee Al music. It ain’t no he trying to sound like somebody else, he trying to be like somebody else, he trying to follow a trend…none of that shit. This shit right here is Albee Al music.

TD: FREE THE REAL is a EMPIRE release — What particular string of events actually led up to your initial linking with Ghazi and later inking to the imprint?

ALBEE AL: Wattenberg introduced me to Ghazi back in the ending of 2018. He pitched me to Ghazi, and was just telling Ghazi like, “fuck with Albee Al, man, he’s next!” So me and Ghazi met up 2018, early 2019, and we discussed my mixtape Koba. So we worked out a deal with Koba, and Koba was such a success we worked out a way bigger deal for King Opp, but unfortunately I went to jail while King Opp was being released…and the whole time while I was in jail, me and Ghazi was like in contact; he was there for me. Ghazi, he was even sending me money personally and checking on my family, so when I came home it was just like written in stone. He always told me just get home…when you get home, it’s up.

TD: As an emcee, when you sit down to pen your rhymes where do you draw your inspiration from?

ALBEE AL: I draw it from experience actually. I can’t really rap unless I’m going through some shit. Like I could rap rap, but the music you gonna feel; I really gotta be feeling some shit. I can’t make these emotions up. I really got to be going through some shit, and I really gotta speak on that shit. I’m trying to get in soon, like people love when I produce music to females and express my emotions, but I haven’t been in that bag lately ‘cause I just been (not) giving a fuck lately and I just showed you right there like Free The Real don’t got no songs for the females. The female still banging that shit, they like that “Fuck with a Gangsta” shit but it wasn’t no emotional song because I just don’t have that feeling no-more like nobody can hurt me no more. Maybe if I get hurt I could do another female song, so that’s living proof I really write what I’m going through.

TD: Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music -- When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Albee Al?

ALBEE AL: I was raised off music like from me growing up as a young’n and my mother cleaning the house playing music; like I always loved music, and I always been around music. From watching videos, and I always liked the videos that showcased the ‘hood; like growing up. I liked the videos from the Hot Boys ‘cause it’s like yo these niggas really in the hood and I’m looking out the window like we really In the hood. So I was always influenced by that, and then my father was a rapper so it was already genetic in me to be a rapper…so I’ve been rapping since. I wrote my first rap when I think I was nine years old. The crazy shit, my cousin was a rapper, my older cousin, and he wrote me a rap and he was like, “I want you to say this,” and I read it and I’m like, “no, I can write my own rap,” and I gave the shit to my older brother, he’s not a rapper, but I never let nobody write no music for me since I was nine years old. I’d be in school getting in trouble by teachers, “what you doing?” I’m writing music instead of homework.

TD: Now you’re a native of Jersey City, correct? So growing up in ‘The Garden State,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?

ALBEE AL: As far as a rapper, I’ll say like Treach. I like Treach…like I said coming up, often videos and watching the street ‘hood videos and, you know, you live in like that…like Treach, like he got “Ghetto Bastard”. He shot that shit in EO, East Orange, in New Jersey, and that shit was the trenches; that’s the ‘hood and I can relate to that shit. But as far as me really wanting to be like an inspiration, I would say the regular inspiration for me was like seeing dope boys in my ‘hood and shit…and it’s sad to say, but it’s like, “oh, I want this car,” and I see that dope boy with that car and this chain. The dope boys with this jewelry on and the clothes, so It really wasn’t a rapper that influenced me; it was always what I seen out my window or walking to school or just walking around in my projects.

TD: In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?