Gig Seeker Pro


Cleveland, OH | Established. Jan 01, 2007

Cleveland, OH
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Hip Hop Soul




"10 Must See Bands At Brite Winter 2016"

Archie Green wants to resurrect old school class through rap. Modern rap, fixated on drugs, violence and sex, is not representative of the lives many of its fans lead, he says. Although the music would say otherwise, growing up in a nurturing family with the tools for success provided to you is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, it’s what Green calls “blessed” in the song “40 Acres” from 2013’s The Greatest Pretender. He challenges listeners to embrace the blessed lives they lead as testament to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who fought for equality. Raised in Chagrin Falls, Green started rapping at 13. He debuted as SoulKlap before owning his given name. Back in Cleveland after time away for school and music, Green has developed an entire brand around the idea of class built on respect, humility, education, self-confidence and, of course, dapper dress. His next project, The Black Pharaoh EP, drops on March 7. Archie Green brings the positivity that Cleveland needs. And did I mention that the beats beneath his pep talks are jam-worthy? - Scene Magazine

"Rappers Talk About Their Struggles With Depression"

Depression in African American culture is not really talked about enough, especially in African American male culture. It's because the African American male is portrayed as very alpha-male, and [depression] is a sign of weakness. A lot of rappers or MCs don't really speak on depression because they feel like it's emasculating.

I feel like, for me, it was most therapeutic when I wrote about it. It's not saying that praying through it or meditating through it wouldn't help at all, but at the same time, as an artist, it's kind of our duty to be on the transparent side. To really tell our story, you have to tell everything.

I was officially diagnosed with depression within the last year or so. For me, it stemmed from a bad life experience: Three years ago, after I just moved back to Cleveland from New York, I got a DUI. So, for a year, my license was suspended. The only thing the judge granted me as far as driving privileges was to-and-from work and to-and-from church. A lot of it was self-imposed isolation; I felt like I didn't want to be a burden to friends, who basically any time I wanted to go out with them, someone would have to come pick me up. After a while, I just started accepting that as this is how my life is, at least for now. And it got lonely. There were some dark days, days where I wasn't necessarily feeling suicidal, but I would question God, "Why are you putting me through this?"

A fraternity brother reached out to me, and he recommended that I talk to someone about it. Up to that point, I never really thought about going to therapy or talking about what was going on with my head. But I started getting to a point where I wanted to know. I'm so thankful and grateful that I started seeing a therapist, because it's healthy. Even if you don't feel like you're going through depression, I would recommend it. Especially if you're a creative, it's good to talk it out. - VICE

"Local Rapper Archie Green Uses His Music as a Way to Combat Depression"

Local rapper/producer Archie Green has asked himself why he felt suicidal more than a few times over the past couple of years. On a recent evening at the Tavern Company on Lee Road, Green appears to ride a different kind of wave. Earlier in the week, Green appeared with a handful of other rappers in a roundtable discussion on the Vice website about depression and its place in hip-hop, and the song he created tackling the subject, "Layers," piled up streams on SoundCloud.

"I kind of hit a breakthrough point in terms of getting back to normal, so to speak or getting to a point where I was basically over my depression," Green says. "I had gotten to a point where I was feeling a lot better and at the same time I was compelled to write about it. That in itself was a therapeutic experience for me. So, as far as putting it out, as an artist it's our job to be transparent and tell our story in hopes of there being someone else wholesale can also relate."

Over a hearty platter of food and refreshing drinks, Green looks back on a darker period in his life. Green, who in his earlier days went by the moniker SoulKlap, had come back to Ohio after earning his Master's in music business at NYU. He got a DUI and lost his license for a year in the process of it all.

"The DUI was a traumatic experience," Green says. "That's what my therapist told me. But what I hadn't realized was that I had been depressed for a period of time leading up to that. It was truly manifested after this traumatic event but I had been depressed primarily from times where I might not gave gotten the support that I felt like I wanted. Not just from fans and peers, but also my parents — not to say that they didn't support me, but they were afraid."

Green says he was also worried that if he "put all my eggs into this one basket of music," there's no guarantee that I'll be able to make a decent living off of it."

"They wanted me to do something a little more safe, reliable and whatever the case may be," he says. "At the same time, there were periods when I felt like I was alone. After my DUI and my license being suspended, I was basically isolated. It was self-imposed isolation because at the time I lived with my parents in Aurora, which is out in the middle of fuckin' nowhere. It took at least 20 to 30 minutes to get anywhere near civilization in my book. So I felt like I would've been a burden calling on friends [to hang out or for rides]."

That period of time was rough for Green, but at the behest of one of his fraternity brothers, he began to seriously consider seeking professional help.

"There was a lot of asking God 'Why?' and a lot of talking to myself," Green recalls. "A lot of prayer. Talking to my family, talking to my friends. But honestly, I think what helped me through the dark times was going to a therapist. I was nudged by one of my friends, who's also a therapist. He said, 'Hey it might not be a bad idea to reach out to somebody and talk to them about what's going on. Not saying that there's anything wrong with you, but you might want to talk to someone.' I had flirted with the idea of meeting with a therapist and finally decided to do it."

Green stopped flirting with the idea and made it official following an episode while Green and the rest of his family were celebrating Thanksgiving.

"I was renting a house with my sister," Green says. "This was two years ago. After dinner, I needed to go to my room to be alone. It was almost like I had gotten claustrophobic or some shit. I didn't know what it was, but it was weird because I've been around these people for all of my entire life and all of a sudden I needed to be alone. That's when I knew I needed to see what's really going on. After going to a therapist, that's when I was clinically diagnosed with depression. "

Green swears by his therapist and recommends that anyone who feels as if they need someone to talk to should look into it as well if possible, but he's well aware of the stigma that comes along with mental health care — especially in the black community.

"There's definitely a stigma and it has to be talked about," Green insists. "The other thing I wanted to break down was the belief that depression is this rare disease. Depression is a lot more common than people think. It's very common — especially right now as an African American male in the 21st century in America. I can look at my timeline on Facebook or Instagram, I can look at the Cleveland Police Department and hear about certain injustices and be depressed about that."

He thinks that stereotypes about black men contribute to the problem.

"Black men are looked upon by some to be very manly, very masculine and being depressed or being a crybaby or whatever you want to call it, is emasculating," he says. "Because of that when there's something mentally wrong we think 'Well, I'll talk myself out of it' or 'I'll go see my pastor about it' but we'll definitely keep it in house. We won't share that with the world. My mother's a 21-year breast cancer survivor and when she was first diagnosed, her mother, my grandmother said, 'You aren't going to tell anybody, are you?' That generation, they took those problems head-on without really talking to somebody about it. The thing with depression is that depression could be genetic, it could be a chemical imbalance in the brain. There's nothing at all wrong with you, it's just that some tools need to be rearranged."

Although he's much better, Green still sees his therapist. And he's happy to share his experience through his music with anyone who will listen.

"I'm in a very happy place," he says. "I have bad days just like anyone else but they're just regular bad days, nothing that would send me over the edge. It's not nearly as bad as it was because I've been able to talk through it. I had a lot of breakthroughs during the last two years that I've been going to therapy. I've got good people around me and honestly, now that it's out there and my music is out there as well, the response has been golden. I had no idea that it was going to resonate that much and also the fact that there's so much going on now with mental health. It's a super duper important subject that many people haven't touched on. If I can help usher in this new discussion, let's do it."

Green's contribution to the conversation, "Layers," garnered 25,000 streams in its first two weeks and is closing in on 30,000 now.

""Layers" is the song where I tell about what I went through over the past two years — from my DUI, to living at my parents house, to moving in with my sister," Green says. "We were renting the house from our cousin and for the first six months, I didn't even have enough to pay my portion of the rent. That also contributed to the depression, like 'My younger sister is paying my rent.' Like I said before, I wasn't suicidal but I was asking why this was happening to me. I was still doing music at the time and it wasn't hittin' the way I wanted it to like 'I just got this degree from NYU and I'm back at home doing the shit I was doing before.' I tell that story, but I also tell about how I never gave up on myself and how I still believed in myself. The way it came out, I have to credit the engineer/co-producer Perry Wolfman, who's a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He brought in the live musicians. Thanks to Kynan, Kiarra, Kyle and Linda. That really elevated it to the next level sonically. When I made the original beat, it invoked something that felt more introspective and vulnerable and up to that point I had never been that vulnerable ever."

The song comes from Green's upcoming Black Pharoah project, which he plans to release in the coming months.

"No, thank you," Green says to a bartender who offers him another beer as the night at The Tavern Company begins to wind down. "As a matter of fact, can I have a glass of water?"

Green knows his limits. He knows where he's been and he certainly knows that he doesn't want to go back there anytime soon. He'll keep telling his story and working to erase the stigma of mental healthcare one stream at a time. - Scene Magazine

"Interview with Archie Green"

Archie Green is a Hip Hop artist, producer, and songwriter featured on VICE for his mental advocacy. We discussed the importance of self-belief and his victory over depression. - Quote UnQuote w/ JD Caminero

"Brite Winter Featured Artist Spotlight: Archie Green"

“Whoever wants to be great, stand up right now. Now repeat after me, If you want to be great and successful, you must walk hand and hand, side by side with great and successful people.”

This is the opening line of independent Cleveland rapper/producer Archie Green’s song titled “C.O.S.” The song pays tribute to author and scholar, Dr. Dennis Kimbro through a soundbite of him instructing a classroom.

“Repeating it is a way of subconsciously getting yourself to get to believe it,” said Green, with natural self awareness and calmness to his demeanor, as an eclectic mix-up of songs murmured in the periphery at JUKEBOX bar.

His first official release, “The Greatest Pretender” is a diverse and thoughtful glimpse into the mind and inspirations of a rapper who isn’t rhyming about coming from rags to riches. Instead, he writes about his authentic reality — breaking through the glass ceiling to follow your dreams and doing it with dignity.

“In rap until recently, you always had to have street cred. You either had to come from the street or talk about the street to have the credibility in hip hop. For me, most of the people who buy or listen to rap music grew up in the suburbs just like me,” said Green, who grew up in Chagrin Falls.

He aims to bring CLASS back to hip hop. “The major underlying theme in all of my music is CLASS, which stand for Creatively Learning to Achieve Sustainable Success,” Green said. If you listen carefully, he has an affinity for paying tribute to his inspirations through his choice of soundbites.

Green is a complex multi-faceted dude with a ton of influences coexisting in his art. He’s inspired by the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” He also cites jazz & soul classics including Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye and a tons of modern artists — Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and of course, Kanye West, just to name a few.

“I’m currently working on an EP called “The Black Pharaoh.” It’s inspired by paying homage to pioneers of African American culture and to my grandfather,” he said.

During visits to his grandfather’s home, Green frequently records their long conversations. His father also recorded conversations with his grandfather as a way to commemorate him permanently. In “The Greatest Pretender,” Archie uses a sample from a skit with his grandfather about chasing dreams.

“I feel like my grandfather is one of my heroes, and I talk to him all the time. He came from a third grade education, moved to Cleveland as a teenager, ran away from home and built the house he lives in now. In the skit he talks about his third Mercedes Benz,” he laughed. “This is a guy who was once sweeping the floors but when he retired he was one of the highest paid in the building.”

Green started rapping at 13 and used to spit rhymes at school talent shows. By 18, he began producing, when he got to college he became serious and decided to take hip hop to the next level. “I thought rap was the coolest sh*t out of everything I did as a kid,” he said. “I used to write stories and I used to record radio shows on my Dad’s old tape recorder. Rap just seemed to be the coolest and it was something I was the best at.”

He lived in Atlanta and New York City before returning to Cleveland’s East Side. In Atlanta, he completed his undergrad at Morehouse College — an all-male historically black college that is the alma mater of Martin Luther King, Jr. He recently earned his Masters’ Degree in Music Business at New York University’s esteemed Steinhardt School.

“One of the reasons why education is so important to me is to look out for all my brothers and sisters. It’s sad to say that as an African American male that you’re a target. I try to lead by example when I wear suits and hard-bottomed shoes and by how I treat my elders and women,” he said. “How you carry yourself is how you combat.”

After college, Green had no intention of returning to Cleveland. “Originally I was planning on staying in New York but I couldn’t find a job and I was broke,” he said. “I came back home and the vibe that I got that was that Cleveland was different from when I left,” he said. He was pleasantly surprised to return to a city with Uber drivers, Lebron James and a new attitude. He is proud to call the city his home.

He will hit the stage with a full band and plans to perform a few new unreleased songs from his upcoming EP, “The Black Pharaoh” during his set at Brite Winter.

“Sometimes things happen on stage and you have to be a comedian — you have to always keep things going. You have to have a lot of passion. You want the artist to actually look you in the eyes and tell you something,” he said. “When I’m on stage people can tell I love what I do,”

Keep up with him on Twitter and Instagram by following @ArchieGreen. - Brite Winter

"The Greatest Pretender"

We've been bigging-up Cleveland-born rapper/producer Archie Green for the past few months, impatiently waiting for the drop of his first proper release, The Greatest Pretender. You can finally give the entire album a listen below and bask in all of its splendor. It delivers exactly what we expected—an introspective look into the mind of a black dude who's not a gangster or a pimp or a drug dealer. Instead, the struggle presented in Archie's music is that of trying to break through the glass ceiling and realize his dreams. The whole thing feels like a mixture between the lyrical content and beats of Kanye West's College Dropout and the rapping gymnastics of Jay Z's Reasonable Doubt. Through Archie's combination of disparate styles and influences, it ultimately arrives at a sound that is different and sincerely dope. Check it out for yourself. - VICE

"Archie Green: The Greatest Pretender"

Cleveland, Ohio producer/emcee Archie Green in many ways is unconventional in today’s era of rap. Green refuses to put on a “rapper suit” instead opting to be himself – what a novel idea.

Having earned a Master’s degree from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Green is an educated man and he raps like it. His rhymes are eloquent and his beats are soulful in the tradition of other Midwest like emcees Common, Elzhi, Rhymefest, and Kanye West.

In 2013 Archie Green released The Greatest Pretender, a free album that showcases Green’s skill as a songwriter behind the boards and in the booth.

Archie Green spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about why Kanye West is his favorite emcee, the importance of having “CLASS”, and his latest album, The Greatest Pretender.

TRHH: Why’d you title your new album The Greatest Pretender?

Archie Green: The main reason behind the title was where I am with my life and a lot of my peers and people around me, right now we haven’t made it to that goal or that dream that we all wish to accomplish. Through mediums like Twitter and Instagram we fake it ‘till we make it. It’s like, “Aw man, I got all my shit together,” but in reality I’m still trying to figure shit out. For me, pretty much everybody that knows me when they meet me think, “This guy went to Morehouse College, he graduated with honors, he grew up in the suburbs, he grew up with two parents, his parents took care of him, he has a job, he has his shit together.” In reality I have a lot of inner demons that I fight with. I’m able to shield those from the outside world and that’s what the greatest pretender means to me. In this game, especially in Hip-Hop you gotta put on like you got shit going on – that’s just what we do. I feel like with a title like ‘The Greatest Pretender’ I’m one of the greatest ones out to tell that story. I’m faking it until I make it. I’m telling myself I’m the greatest until I really am the greatest, period.

TRHH: You ever read The Secret?

Archie Green: Yeah, I’m definitely a huge advocate for that. The book that I read that changed my life was ‘Manifest Your Destiny’ by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It really preaches the importance of meditation, having daily affirmations telling yourself that whatever it is you think you are you will be, period. I’m a firm believer in that. Again, that’s what The Greatest Pretender is about. You keep telling yourself these things until you become them. I interweave so many hidden messages of believing in yourself in the album as well.

TRHH: How is this album different from Klapisms?

Archie Green: I would say any project, not just Klapisms, that I did before this project I feel like I really didn’t go through as much. This was the first project that I was actually in a recording studio working on. For the other projects I did everything on my own. I didn’t get anything professionally mixed and mastered. With this one my fans helped me with the indiegogo campaign. My fans helped to put me in an actual studio. It was a lot more that went into this album, and I went through a lot more in terms of I broke up with my fiancé, I was broke, I couldn’t find a job, I had to move back home. There was a lot of things that went on with this project that people don’t really know. With my other projects I didn’t struggle as much. I was just putting out music to put out music. With this one the messages that I delivered was everything that I was going through at that time, not just stories of other people and other situations. These were first-person stories of everything that I was going through at that time unfiltered and unadulterated. Unlike the other projects where I was putting out what I felt to be good music but I was still kind of biting my tongue, with this one I totally let loose and I just said what was on my mind.

TRHH: Did you find that to be therapeutic at all?

Archie Green: Oh yeah. More so now than ever my art is very therapeutic, especially the situation I’m in now, moving back home. There are times when I listen to songs myself for inspiration to keep going. On ‘Sea of Fish’ I talk about a friend of mine who had quit working on music and was doing the 9-to-5 thing but that wasn’t really him, because he stopped believing. I’ve gone through that myself. I listen to it now and it’s reaffirming that I’m doing the right thing. I need to keep doing this music and not give up on this dream that I’ve had since I was 13-years old. Its songs like ’40 Acres’ where I tell the story of being this token black kid growing up in the suburbs and that not stopping me from being a great rapper. It’s the ten-year anniversary of one of my idols first albums, The College Dropout, he was the one that opened the door for somebody like me to get into Hip-Hop and be myself. I don’t have to worry about talking about drugs, talking about guns, or degrading women, I can just be myself and be one of the greats in this art. Writing this project was very therapeutic. The music kind of speaks for itself in what I went through when I was making it.

TRHH: I found out about you from the ‘40 Acres‘ video. Why was it important to you to put out that particular song?

Archie Green: I think for me one of the biggest stigmas I’ve always looked at in Hip-Hop is you have to have some type of street cred or be from some type of financial struggle to make it as an artist. Or you have to pretend that you came from some type of struggle in order to be an artist. You’ve got artists like Drake and Tyga that came from a well-to-do upbringing that don’t talk about it. I grew up in the suburbs. I won’t say I was spoiled or anything. My parents are the most humble people I know. I grew up blessed. That’s the American dream, right? We as people want to be able to give and provide for our families to give them a great life. I feel like in rap you can’t be respected if you came from a well-to-do family. I wanted to break that down. I wanted to say look, Just because I didn’t come from the hood doesn’t mean that I’m not a true Hip-Hop head, or I’m not a true artist, or my music would suffer from that. I’m not going to pretend that I came from the hood.

I’m proud of the way I was raised. I’m proud that my parents preached the importance of an education. I’m proud that I got the chance to be in a cotillion as a kid. I’m proud of the fact that my pops let me drive his Beamer to prom. As a black man in America I shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about that. There are other minorities in this country that grew up the same way I did but because of their surroundings or the way that America puts this norm on things like, “If you’re black” or “If you’re a minority” and you achieve something great you can’t talk about the fact that you grew up blessed and able to do wonderful things with your family. People won’t really respect that because you didn’t have any real struggles. My struggles weren’t financial struggles, my struggles were prejudice struggles. Being the only black kid in school, being called “nigger” on a daily basis. Most of these so-called hard rappers that talk about street raps, gangsta, and bitches and hoes couldn’t walk a day in my shoes. I know what it’s like to be the only one in an environment where I’m the only person of color. What I wanna do is break down the barrier that there is supposed to be some kind of struggle. Everybody has struggles and at the end of the day my struggle was more so from a standpoint of being an outcast, being the only black, or being well-to-do and not being able to relate to other black kids.

TRHH: How old are you, man?

Archie Green: I’m 28-years old.

TRHH: OK, I’m ten years older than you. I grew up before Hip-Hop had all this posturing and stuff. Kool Moe Dee didn’t come from the streets and he didn’t rap like that. Fresh Prince was like a suburban Philly kid and he was respected. Something changed in the 90s where your image became bigger than the music. You had to be negative or a thug or whatever to be a rapper. What do you think changed that Kid N’ Play were regular guys, they were dope, and even had a movie, but today if somebody came out that way they wouldn’t be as accepted?

Archie Green: There’s a story, some might call it a conspiracy theory but you can take it with a grain of salt. There’s a story that there was a group of people who owned parts of some of the most powerful record companies in the 90s that also had ownership of the prisons. As the story goes, they basically were saying we need to increase our population. One of the main mediums we can use to increase our population is through music. There was basically this motivation at this meeting where they were trying to tell these labels that they need to pump out more gangsta music, and negative music within the black community which would perpetuate violence, drug use, and more prisoners. When Kanye says, “That privately owned prison,” what the everyday average person might not know is these prisons are businesses. They make their money off of the population. How do we get the population? We set the system up for them to be fucked up in the system. For them to be arrested, add to the population, and add more money to our pockets. Like you said, most of the music in Hip-Hop was positive and that’s what was selling. At some point, whether you believe it or not these record labels started supporting artists that were putting out a negative message or a quote, unquote “real message”.

I won’t sit here and say groups like N.W.A. were doing that just to sell records, no, they were telling the truth about what was going on in L.A. during the Rodney King era and there was racial profiling and things like that. But there were definitely artists our there perpetrating. There were artists putting out a negative message because that’s what the record label wanted them to put out. These record labels were being told by certain entities that this is what we need in order for us to make more money. You can look at it like that or you can look at it as a sign of the times. Around the time Barack got elected to the time he got reelected the type of music that we were listening to, this ratchet movement, was because it was a sign of the times. The economy was in the shitter, people weren’t really finding jobs and because of that people didn’t really want thought-provoking positive music. They wanted to let loose, they wanted to laugh, and they wanted to go somewhere. They wanted to get to the club as soon as possible to drink away the pain of either having to look for a job or working at a job that they hated but they needed a job. There are a lot of different ways that you can look at it. you can look at it as these artists were being forced to put out this message or you can look at it as this is what the fans wanted at this point because people weren’t looking for their minds to be stimulated, they were just looking to escape.

TRHH: What’s the Cleveland rap scene like? It seemed like there wasn’t any noise coming out of Cleveland after Bone Thugs and then came Kid Cudi, Chip, and Machine Gun Kelly. Is the scene rejuvenated?

Archie Green: I did this show at a popular venue in Cleveland Heights called the Grog Shop and I was talking to this promoter about it. Right now I feel like there is starting to be a resurgence of the Cleveland music scene. I feel like there is a lot of great talent here, but I think we all need to work together. There is a little bit too much of a divide within the city. Cliques on this side, cliques on that side, and there is not enough unity within the community to bring visibility to Cleveland as a whole. That’s one of the reasons why I was drawn back here. Me bringing some of the energy that I got from New York back here to Cleveland, I wanna be part of this resurgence of the scene. I wanna bring visibility back. Cudi is one of the guys that did it, but he had to leave to do it. I think that Cleveland has the potential to develop a wave like Chicago, Detroit, and L.A. We can be another major Hip-Hop city, we just need to work together to do it.

TRHH: Earlier you mentioned Kanye West as an inspiration. What about him inspired you? He’s like a lightning rod; you either love him or hate him. A lot of people have turned on him recently. What’s your take on him today?

Archie Green: What first inspired me from Kanye is our upbringings are kind of alike. We came from middle-class upbringings. Both of his parents are educated, he’s kind of a loner like me, but his message is what initially connected with me — the positive messages in his music about his faith, being in school, being at a dead-end job, and everyday life. He put it in a witty way that was catchy, cool, and funny, but emotional at the same time. As far as how he’s evolved, I’m still a huge Kanye fan. I really think that at the core he’s still the same dude, he just has a larger platform. He’s learned a lot over the time that he’s had in the game. It’s been ten years since he’s been mainstream. A lot of people haven’t experienced what he’s experienced and a lot of people aren’t in his shoes and can’t relate to it as much as they could when he initially started. He’s trying his best to continue to project an image that people can understand. It’s hard for him because he’s in different circles now.

In terms of the type of things that he’s putting in his music now with Yeezus, it kind of touches on this whole spirituality thing that I’m on and a lot of people in my generation are on as far as millennials – being more spiritual, liberal, and open to things. I’m right there with him in terms of understanding what he’s talking about as far as everything he’s dealing with in the fashion world. Ten years ago it was the rap world when people didn’t really believe what he can do. Every time Kanye says he’s going to do something in five years and people are going to love it, people look at him crazy but ten years later here we are talking about him. I feel like he’s going to continue to do that with everything that he touches. I can’t wait to see what he does with Adidas. I’m really excited about that. I would say what inspired me about Kanye is his fearlessness and his relate-ability. It was the first time I could listen to a rap album and really relate to it.

TRHH: I always tell people my favorite rapper is Common. I relate to him. He’s about 3-4 years older than me but his stories are very Chicago. I went through a lot of the same things he rapped about early on. I find that in Hip-Hop you either love Common or are indifferent about him like, “Eh, he’s OK,” but I love the guy. If he’s doing a show I’ll be there. For my money I think Rakim is the greatest rapper of all-time but Common is my favorite…

Archie Green: Yeah, yeah I was talking to somebody the other day and they were trying to ask me what kind of music I do and although Kanye is my favorite rapper of all-time, my message is more along the lines of what Common puts in his music. His most recent album The Dreamer/The Believer is like what you would expect from a 40-year old rapper. He’s grown with every project but his message stays the same in terms of real life stories, believing in yourself, and also paying homage to some of the great pioneers of the past. He put his pops on the albums and of course having No. I.D. As far as producers, No I.D. is my biggest inspiration right now.

TRHH: He’s incredible and he’s had a resurgence which I’m happy about. It’s funny, I was just playing The Dreamer/The Believer the other day and for me it was sad. I was thinking, “People really slept on this.” I think a lot of it had to do with the Drake thing. It was like, come on man, you’re dissing Drake? But it was a very good album. Every year I rank the top 10 albums of the year and it was number one for 2011. I saw him perform twice since that album came out and he doesn’t do songs from that album.

Archie Green: That’s crazy.

TRHH: But people don’t know it. I guess he’s thinking people don’t know the songs so why should he do them? To me that album was almost flawless. Every song was in sync with the next. I really enjoyed it.

Archie Green: I feel the same way. I love that album and I was really a big fan of Nas’ album too. I feel like No I.D. was the main ingredient. He knows how to bring out that right sound from both Nas and Common. He was able to not only tap into their artistry in a newer way but their message and what they talked about. Nas put out Life is Good and for the first time he was sounding more grown as far as the subject matter and the things that he talked about. But it was over dope production. No I.D. brings out the best in artists. It’s totally clear with Big Sean in that situation [laughs]. On Big Sean’s first album No I.D. was all up in it and his latest one he put sprinkles on it but he wasn’t really there.

TRHH: You mentioned No I.D. and his production, but you produce as well. Do you prefer producing or emceeing?

Archie Green: I started out being an emcee first writing raps when I was 13. I started doing beats when I was 18. As one of my boys from back in the day would call my earth, what I started with, rapping is what I started with but I do love making beats, man. Sampling is obviously my bread and butter. I don’t know what it is about certain samples but it’s something that strikes me in my heart and soul. Me wanting to put my own twist on it is something I really enjoy. In terms of what I prefer it’s a hard question because I love ‘em both. I think out of the two I probably prefer writing songs more. Coming up with something that people can sing along to, it strikes them more than something that people can dance to.

TRHH: What beat-making equipment do you use?

Archie Green: Since day one I’ve been using FL Studio. I’ve been trying to convert and get into Logic and all these other programs but FL Studio hasn’t done me wrong. I’ve been using it for ten years now. I use an M-Audio controller to play out some tracks, but I use FL Studio as far as chopping my samples. I load everything through there.

TRHH: It got a bad rap back when 9th Wonder came out saying he was using it but I think everybody is using it now — especially in dance music.

Archie Green: Hit-Boy, that’s all he uses is FL Studio. He’s got Grammy’s so it’s like, hey, I’m gonna stick with it [laughs].

TRHH: Explain to me what ‘CLASS’ is.

Archie Green: CLASS is an acronym. It stands for “creatively learning to achieve sustainable success”. I’m a firm believer in learning something new every day — learning something new that you can apply to your life in order to not only succeed but to sustain that success. Whether you’re reading about history, or how to do something, I believe that we all should be learning something new every day. What CLASS originated from was an homage to different icons in black history – Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Maya Angelou, the list could go on for days. CLASS you can put as style, demeanor, confidence, and so many different things, but it also goes into what my brand is, which is learning and education. What I’m trying to do with CLASS is exude this image of an articulate, confident, stylish black male, that never sags his pants, can wear hard bottom shoes and a suit and make that shit look cool, just like the guys back in the 60s did it. It was kids walking around in hard bottom shoes and a button up shirt and making that cool. To me that’s what class is. I feel like it’s also black excellence.

I was also inspired by being in New York and roaming in some of the same circles as Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs of Street Etiquette and Mr. Ouigi Theodore of Brooklyn Circus. In a day and age where all these guys are wearing Jordan’s these guys are wearing PF Flyers, bandanas on their necks, hard bottom shoes, and tailored clothes. They’re also exuding confidence and paying homage to how the styles were in black America in the 50s, 60s, 20s, and 30s. I think one other element of class is jazz music – Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. If you look at my album’s artwork for The Greatest Pretender there is a picture of me sitting at a table playing chess by myself, there is a microphone there, and I’m wearing a jacket and a tie. I got the inspiration from an image of Dizzy Gillespie sitting at a table playing chess by himself with a jacket, bow tie, and his trumpet. That’s what CLASS is to me. Putting a modern twist on what black excellence was in the past.

TRHH: What’s next up for Archie Green?

Archie Green: Honestly what’s next up for me is I want to continue to do more shows. I want to pump this project out as much as I can so reputable people like yourself kind of take me serious as an artist. The thing for me is I feel like I’ve been spending so much time trying to chase after A&R’s to give me a shot, my thing now is to focus on the people and putting out a positive message. I’m not sure what new projects I’m going to put out this year. I know I’m always working on new music. My goal by the end of the year is to tour, do shows in Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and D.C. to get this message of CLASS out as best I can. That’s pretty much it, man. I don’t want to put out too many new songs or too many projects until people really grasp this project. I’m just spreading the message of CLASS. - The Real Hip-Hop

"Help Archie Green Put Some CLASS Back Into Hip-Hop"

Cleveland-bred producer and MC Archie Green reminds us of a young Yeezy—he's got sing-song flows, a penchant for soul samples, and the ability to brag about ballin' and rail against the system in the same breath. For the past few months, the rapper has been putting together his magnum opus, an EP called The Greatest Pretender. To transform the music in his head into an album in your iTunes, Archie has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Because we are so stoked on the prospect of copping an official copy of The Greatest Pretender, we caught up with him to have a brief chat about his upbringing and the source of his inspiration.

VICE: You say, "CLASS" a lot in your music. What does that mean?
Archie Green: CLASS is an acronym for Creatively Learning to Achieve Sustainable Success. The term's inspiration comes from prominent African American males who have impacted me. It’s about having respect for yourself, your elders, and their legacy.

Who inspires you?
Classic people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Quincy Jones, and Miles Davis. Newer guys like J. Kissi, Travis Gumbs, and Ouigi Theodore also inspire me.

Taking the crowdsourcing approach is a double-edged sword because although it offers you a platform to get funding, this same platform chips away at some of the mystique. Why’d you decide to use this method?
I finally decided to do it because I wasn't going to let money stop me from achieving my goal of giving my music to the world. I played with the idea of crowdsourcing, and although I didn’t like the idea of it at first, I was getting to a point where I needed to put out this record. It also helped me to promote CLASS as a movement.

It seems like you put a great deal of importance on authenticity. Why is that?
I put my main focus on creativity, authenticity, and diligence. That’s what I’m all about.

This diligence applies in the face of adversity, not only socially, but geographically. Trying to make something happen in a city that’s not on the map, per se, seems pretty daunting. Why’d you decide to stay in Cleveland?
Cleveland is and will always be important to my fabric. It's the city that made me and there are a lot of underdogs that come from here. In this case, I'm an underdog trying to do what may not have been done in hip-hop before.

And what's that?
Being honest about myself. I want to tell the story of what it was like being the "token black guy" growing up. And coming from a different upbringing than most rappers we listened to as kids. I want to make it a story that can be accepted in hip-hop.

Best of luck, Archie. - VICE


Still working on that hot first release.



"We've been bigging-up Cleveland-born rapper/producer Archie Green...[Listening to Archie]
feels like a mixture between the lyrical content
and beats of Kanye West's College Dropout and the rapping gymnastics of Jay Z's
Reasonable Doubt. " - VICE

Cleveland, Ohio producer/emcee Archie Green in many ways is
unconventional in today’s era of rap. Green refuses to put on a "rapper suit"
instead opting to be himself – what a novel idea.

Having earned a Master’s degree [in Music Business] from NYU’s Steinhardt
School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Green is an educated man
and he raps like it. His rhymes are eloquent and his beats are soulful in the
tradition of other Midwest emcees like Common, Elzhi, Rhymefest, and Kanye West.


Green is also an advocate for mental health, having himself been a
victim of clinical depression.  His introspective single on overcoming his
personal demons, "Layers," which was premiered at, garnered over 25,000 streams in 2 weeks.
 The 31 year old artist hopes to encourage more dialogue on this common mental
disorder, and believes that lives can be changed and even saved by 'talking it


Archie's brand is CLASS.  CLASS is an acronym which stands for
Creatively Learning to Achieve Sustainable Success.  He is just as passionate
about learning and education as he is about music.  CLASS is a lifestyle that
encourages one to learn and acquire new skills everyday to become successful.
 CLASS is also a way of life touching on etiquette, appearance and honoring
one's roots.


With almost 20 years under his belt, Green moonlights as a Music
Business Consultant to young, aspiring artists looking to take control of their
respective music careers.  In Fall 2016 Archie plans on launching his consulting
firm, ARCHIE GREEN Music Consulting (AGMC) in efforts to give back and to help
develop raw talent in the hip-hop world.  With the hats of emcee, songwriter,
producer, consultant and mental health advocate ARCHIE GREEN plans to keep things CLASSY
in the music world.

Band Members