Skunkz
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Skunkz

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Hip Hop

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"Illanoize: Bail Or Mail EP"

Boston rapper SkunkZ tells his story on his newly released EP Bail or Mail.
As hip hop has grown through out the years, it seems like it's a lot more of the fun, high energy rapping that I've been hearing a lot more of lately. Even though there is nothing wrong with that, it's refreshing to hear some music with a story or a message to tell. SkunkZ is a rapper coming out of Boston that has had my attention for a minute now. When I first heard of him, it was like a breath of fresh air. SkunkZ sound really reminds me of that grimy street rap and his sound could be compared to the likes of rappers such as Willie The Kid and Conway. The rapper has now released a short 4-track EP titled Bail Or Mail.

The EP contains no features with just bars from the Boston based rapper and production from the likes of Park Ave, VDon, and Tedd Boyd. Bail Or Mail is an EP that is a great introduction to who and what SkunkZ is about. I promise you won't be disappointed. - Illanoize


"Casa De Lowrey: Q + A With Skunkz"

“I wrote my verse after Skunkz and it took me a long ass time. How the fuck do you follow a Cappadonna “Winter Warz” verse?” That was Flashius Clayton’s response when I reached out to him about the hows and whys of “Takin’ Ya Cookies” from his Wolf Moon project that he released on the first day of January this year.

After Flash set the stage with a top notch verse of his own, he gave way to Skunkz. For an uninterrupted two minutes and eighteen seconds, Skunkz delivered the kind of verse that makes you immediately go do your due diligence; searching for bodies of work on Apple Music and DatPiff and SoundCloud or searching for visuals on YouTube or checking Twitter for links to articles.

After doing all of that, I landed at Bail or Mail, a brief but strong introduction that did two things: made clear that his performance on “Takin Ya Cookies” was no fluke thing and created excitement for what’s to come.

I reached out and we talked about how he and Flash connected, his relationship with his business partner and friend Finn and their plans for No Stable Label and his affinity for Polo.

Tyron de Harlem: I first got hip to you; Flashius Clayton, Wolf Moon, “Takin Ya Cookies”, top of the year, produced by Sally Ghost. Talk to me about your mindset as you prepped to put that verse together for the record.

Skunkz: Flash had sent me the beat. Right off rip when he sent me the beat I just got to writing to it. It probably took me 25–30 minutes. I sent Flash a voice recording because I was so amped when I wrote it, I just wanted to get somebody to hear it. So I recorded it through one of my phones and I sent it to him and it was real rough but he was like, “Yo! That shit is crazy!” That’s how that whole thing came about. I’ve been knowing Flash for a little while now. He told me he was trying to get me on his EP and whatnot.

TdH: And did you connect over rap or a mutual love and admiration for Polo?

S: Me and Flash we connected kinda through a mutual friend. His twitter name is Kharlesti. In Flash’s earlier days I don’t know if he was managing him but I fuck with Kharlesti heavy and he was like you and Flash gotta get on a track and we had been talking about it for awhile so that’s how me and Flash ended up meeting. But the Polo that’s a deal breaker right there, anybody who fucks with the Polo really.

TdH: Your first official body of work, Bail or Mail, talk to me about the reasons you thought now, or at the point when you put it out why’d you think it was appropriate and just your mindset while you were piecing it together.

Skunkz: That was like a sum of a lot of stuff we — when I say we I mean and my crew — a lot of shit we been through. My mindset for Bail or Mail was basically just to give people the real raw raw raw aspect of the shit some niggas go through. The title comes from like my homies. I got some people that are locked up and some that aren’t so regardless of the situation it’s gonna be bail or we’re sending mail. That’s really like the story behind the name. And shout out to everyone who was on that shit like V. Don, of course Park, Ted Boyd, they laced me with something crazy but basically it was me getting my story out even though I still got a lot more story to give. But I felt like that was the first piece to the puzzle.

TdH: And were those the only records that you had for it? Were there some that you had that you thought you would just stash for later or that you thought wouldn’t fit perfectly with what you were trying to say?

S: My way of recording, my way of making music in general, I always write like some bullshit. People will send me beats and I’ll write some shit and l’ll be like, “Yo Finn, this shit is fire!” I’ll be smoked out and shit and be like this shit is fire. It is fire but like when I read it to Finn or spit it to Finn we’ll go through and be like, “Ehhh. It’s aight.” Anything that didn’t go on Bail or Mail, was because we didn’t think it was up to par. Nobody is missing out by not hearing the cuts that didn’t make Bail or Mail. I’m not gonna even lie. Nobody’s missing out on nothing. But, I write a lot a lot, a lot so there’s just so much content coming. I know I’m kinda reserved with it but that’s part of the plan.

TdH: After I heard “Takin Ya Cookies” I’m like, Who’s this cat?” and so I’m looking and I see Bail or Mail which I could barely even find initially because it’s not under your name, it’s under NSL.

S: I was thinking about that the other day. That’s a part of it too. NOSTABLELABEL is so much bigger than Skunkz. That’s what I want people to really understand. Skunkz is a part of NOSTABLELABEL but NOSTABLELABEL is just so much bigger than Skunkz. Me and Finn — who’s my manager as well as co-owner of NOSTABLELABEL — I’ve always been so adamant in trying to tell him that I don’t want nobody to get it confused and think that Skunkz is the top dog or I run everything. NOSTABLELABEL is way bigger than me. I kinda wanted to start it out with that. It’s Skunkz who’s a part of NOSTABLELABEL and not vice versa.

TdH: I wanted to get into it a little more later but since we’re talking about it now, talk to me about what NOSTABLELABEL is comprised of. Like is a group of producers, a stable of rappers? What all does it encompass?

S: No funny shit man, NOSTABLELABEL is me and Finn and Crank. Crank as well too. Let me not forget about Crank. Crank’s a producer. He’s one of the first producers we have. He’s our in-house producer.

On the business aspect, it’s me and Finn. On the funding aspect, it’s me and Finn. That’s who really started the shit since day one.

TdH: Do you guys have an agenda about the way you want to proceed? Are we gonna see consistent Skunkz releases? Or is it a different approach you guys are gonna take at some point?

S: Most definitely. You’ll get a bunch of consistent Skunkz releases. One thing we wanted to do was be comfortable before we made 100 different moves. Because I see a lot of guys out here who, they make 100 different moves but they’re not always in a comfortable situation or a comfortable setting. That’s the thing me and Finn thrives off. I can’t be the best artist if I’m not comfortable. That’s why we’re kinda super reserved with things because if things aren’t the way we envisioned, we’re not gonna go gung ho about it. But when they are, everybody is gonna be like, “We see y’all. We see y’all for real.”

TdH: If you look at the current landscape or even if you think about labels of the past, is there any one label that you guys have been studying as a blueprint for what you want to establish?

S: Finn, that boy right there studies everybody. Me, I only know the game from the rapper side so I never really followed any record labels. But I would say an influence that really made Finn step up to the plate though was Cutthroat Records. Cutthroat Records, that’s Joey Fatts and Aston Matthews and of course ASAP Yams movement. That really spun Finn. I’m talking like 2013, 2012 or maybe 2014. That really spun us into like a spiral.

TdH: As of right now it’s just you as the main focus artist wise?

S: Artist wise, yeah being that we don’t have much to offer another artist. We not tryna rob nobody. We’re not trying to take nobody’s talents. We’re not trying to deceive or make people feel like anything other than good artists or superstars. Until we can me people superstars and feel like stars, we’re not gonna really devote everything to that. As soon as we’re able to get everything right, you best believe there’s gonna be artists, hopefully bigger than Skunkz on NOSTABLELABEL. That’s the goal right there.

TdH: Of course you’re from Boston but when I look at your visuals, “Intro to Dime” and “Road to Riches” they were shot in New York. What’s your relationship with New York?

S: My best friend models. His agency is in New York so he’s always in the right spots in New York and whatnot. Me and Finn we always hop our asses over there sometimes and we had got to plan a little video thing and so we just made that shit happen. My man got the camera out there. He knows how to work the editing shit so we made that happen.

TdH: Is there anything specific about the areas that you were in? I saw a little bit of lower east side and saw a little bit of east village.

S: It’s funny because I’m from Boston. My mom is from the Bronx and my pops is from VA and shit so nobody in my family is really from Boston besides me and my little brother really. So when I’m in New York, I don’t know nothing about New York. I only know we were in Manhattan for one of them and Brooklyn for the other joint. I still get the names confused and shit. That shit is crazy. I be in New York not knowing where I’m at. I be all frustrated in the subway like, “Damn, this shit is confusing.”

TdH: In Mass there are a lot more MCs getting recognition as of late, do you have a relationship or crew of people that you build with out there besides Finn and NOSTABLELABEL?

S: To keep it a buck, nah not even like that. Like even before Crank it was just me and Finn. The only person who was really down to go half on this music shit with me was Finn and that’s it.

TdH: And what’s the origin of you guys’ relationship?

S: Me and Finn don’t even go back crazy far. Me and Finn go back like maybe 8, 9 years. And Finn is a couple years younger than me but he was always like a fly on the wall type kid; really observant and watching what his peers did and whatnot. I’m the same way with my all my OGs and all my older guys. Me and him really clicked when I realized he was a young cat but he was really different from all the other young cats up here. This is years before the music shit. Me and Finn was just always on some get money, get fly shit. I used to be surprised that he was so young, he used to be dipped like, “Who is this?” Like a couple of years later, me and him was always in the same friend circle but people just started falling off from the friend circle. The high school we went to it was a little far out of the city area but the high school we went to a lot of our friends just fell off and me and Finn just kept staying up, staying up, doing our thing, doing our thing, staying in contact. One summer, like 5 years ago I was just thinking about names and shit and niggas finally came up with the name. When we finally came up with NOSTABLELABEL man like how it rolls off the tongue and shit, we sat back like, “This is it. This is everything we wanted.” Like nothing’s stable. That was the saying before any label, like nothing’s stable.

TdH: Back to the visuals for a second. In both “Intro to Dime” and “Road to Riches”, we don’t see you in the visuals without Polo pieces on. Would you fancy yourself an avid collector or you just have a few pieces here and there?

S: Real talk, I wasn’t even big on Polo. I used to be on my fucking Bape shit and Ice Cream shit back in the day. My Nike SB shit. I was really into shit like that and Blvck Scvle. As we got older and we started getting a little more money or whatever, we started listening to Retch a lot and that’s where Retch comes into play. Yeah, I used to always have the fly Polo button down joint. I used to always want the fucking crew necks and shit, like them shits was cool or whatever. Never did I even like wanna cop real, real, real Polo pieces until I had seen Retch doing the shit though. And this is maybe 2013, 2014 when he was dropping some shit. When I saw that Polo even had some crazy shit like that, I was already gone off it. Like I was on some eBay everyday type shit. I was on some boxes to the crib everyday. You can ask Finn. Like we fucking tore up the Polo store. I had robes, all that shit, socks, underwear, long johns. All that shit.

And then we were still doing like the bubble coat, the duffel bags and the vests. Once I found out about Polo, I was like word, I saw Retch doing the shit and whatnot. I was like oh they got the crazy joints? Because that’s what I like to do. Niggas is doing it this way and I find out I can do it that way but then there’s a more rare exclusive joint then I’m on it. And that’s exactly what it was for the Polo. Because I’m from Boston and there’s a few Lo heads in Boston but there ain’t many. Before they did the 2013 teddy bear release, the only bears you could really get was some back in the day type shit. So when you would come through with a bear niggas’ll be like, “What the fuck?!” I’ve just always tried to be on next level shit, always. Always, always, always, always.

TdH: And you said you and Finn. Who has the better collection, you or Finn?

S: Finn got the better collection at this point. Yo! I’m not even gonna front, you can put this one on paper, put this on everything, that boy Finn right there is the freshest. This fool is fresh. I don’t even know what the fuck to say. Polo out the fucking ass he don’t even wear. He’ll pull up in a fucking Nike sweatsuit even though he got shit from ‘93. Finn got a better collection than me. I think Finn got a better collection than a lot of these cats out here.

TdH: You mentioned Retch was your introduction to it but was there a specific piece that made you be like this is the way to go, later for the Bape, later for the Ice Cream?

S: Let me think. They might have to change it from NOSTABLELABEL to ‘93 Trench Coat Boys because them trench coats bro with RPL on the back, the ‘93 joints, those are really like what I fiend for. Niggas could have all of the bears. Niggas could have everything bro. Keep all the Snow Beach bro but I need them long coats. All them shits. All the trench coats. I need them. That’s what got me. I remember, what’s that Retch song? I wanna say “Block Work”. It might be the video, “City Lights/Block Work” and another video but he had that shit on. He had the mostly green with the red joint and when I seen that coat, I was like, “Aight. Polo does shit like this?” I look like I’m out here in a fucking swamp hunting ducks my nigga on some fucking Elmer Fudd shit. Oh yeah, I need this.

TdH: This is the last thing I’ll mention about Polo. You just mentioned the Snow Beach. Were you able to cop any of the drop they just put out a few weeks ago? Or were you not even interested because it wasn’t the original?

S: I don’t even wanna say I’m salty like, “Oh it ain’t the original one, I don’t even want it no more.” But lets just put it like this, I’m not wolfing about that shit because eventually Imma buy it all. I’m not tripping about none of that shit. Imma have it all. These niggas could buy it all right now. I don’t give a fuck what it cost, I’m just gonna buy it all.

TdH: We’ll end it on this. On “Road to Riches”, you have this line that goes, “A lot of us don’t even plan on seeing tomorrow.” At what point did that change for you?

S: I mean, I always been a real positive cat growing up. Even throughout all the bad shit that was going on and whatnot, I always just fucking mustered through it, through the worst times. So that line is really because I know how niggas be out here feeling. I’m already hip. I know how niggas feel. Some niggas don’t wanna get up. Some niggas gotta go to work everyday to pay for some stupid ass car note or just a predicament where they gotta do some shit they don’t wanna do.

It changed for me probably when I was 18. I was like you know what? I’m a man now. I make my own decisions. Once I learned I make my own decisions and I was the one who represented myself, I made sure that was handled accordingly. I just always made sure it was how you wanted to be; a gentleman.

TdH: I wanted that to be the last thing but I forgot to ask this earlier. So now that we have Bail or Mail as your introduction, what happens next?

S: A lot of writing is going down right now. That’s all I can say. A lot of writing. A lot of inspiration floating around. A lot of that shit going down. I’m acting like I’m asleep because that’s just what it is at the time but I got some shit that I’m writing on and I got some shit that I’m about to drop too as well. I don’t really wanna drop the spoiler yet or drop the name to it yet. I might as well because I’m not gonna talk for a moment but the next project I’m dropping, the title is Bloomfield. That shit is basically like, it’s a memoir but it also is on some like new shit. That’s all I can say. It’s a memoir but it’s on some new shit: Bloomfield. Niggas is in the field but niggas is blooming type.

TdH: Are we thinking something short form like Bail or Mail or is it going to be a longer form situation?

S: I don’t know man. I don’t know. Shit, if enough good producers fuck with me I’ll make the shit 30 songs. It’ll be longer than Bail or Mail for sure but it ain’t gonna be that long. I know niggas ain’t got the attention span. Niggas ain’t tryna listen to me for that long. - Casa De Lowrey


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Bio

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard; what happens when a musician has both talent and work ethic in spades? The possibilities are limitless for the unstoppable Dorchester lyricist Skunkz. Believing in authenticity and skill Skunkz has no issues with what he's crafting on wax, the only question is will the industry be prepared for an artist who brings a solid foundation of grit, determination, and vivid pen work. With a dedication to legacy and integrity usually only found in artists with a decade more experience, Skunkz is dedicated to providing quality as opposed to quantity to create an experience listeners can find comfort and inspiration from for years to come.

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