An Interview with The Homies
An Interview with The Homies
An Interview with The Homies
Success is truly best shared with those closest to you, those you love, and those who have been with you as you’ve built from the ground up. For Louisville, Kentucky’s The Homies, it’s all about maintaining the relationships that existed prior to getting into the industry and how the strength of those bonds shines through their work and personalities. Speaking with the group was an enjoyable experience because they all love talking about each other. They’re humble and give a lot of credit to one another.
2forwOyNE, Ace Pro, Shloob, Ronnie Lucciano and Quiiso were energetic, congenial and very insightful. I admire their work ethic, hunger, approach to music, and understanding that it takes to be musicians.
What’s the experience been like since dropping Umbrellas?
We got a lot of responses from the local fans, then a few people we've known from the music business have been reaching out to us about the album and how they enjoyed it. It was cool to test the waters. We’re always looking for the home run, but it’s been positive feedback to say the least.
I have to ask, what’s the story surrounding the name “The Homies?”
There was a bigger group of friends who went to college together and played sports together who had a GroupMe called “The Homies” because we’re bestfriends and pretty much family. Five of us happened to be seriously involved in music, so we came together off catching a vibe and just being friends of course. We just ended up naming ourselves The Homies because it felt right.
What’s that like when you tell people that’s your name?
It’s really cool. Before we get a chance to tell people who we are or explain ourselves, they kinda already have an idea of us. They come up to us, look at us, hear the name, and they say “it fits”. People who hear our music or see the videos also say the same. To hear people say “it’s fitting, I feel like you’re my homie” is a cool thing and we’re glad people vibe with us.
I saw the video for “On Gawd” and it was super dope. What inspired that song and visual?
The song itself, I was making a beat for Jack. Quiiso came downstairs to the studio, and he immediately caught the writer bug. Came out and said “On Gawd…” and it fit the song well. The second beat though was in that pocket and I think that same night I made the beat for “Wasted Youth.” So yeah, both songs came together very naturally. The video was very run and gun. We knew we wanted to shoot that day but we had a lot going on. We really just packed up, decided to go shoot where we found space available at Shloob and 2ForWoyne’s middle school parking lot, the gas station nearby, and then we threw a house party. It all came together, and we were able to show how we’re homies and people should come kick it with us.
How did the connection start between you all and Jack Harlow?
The Homies have been making music as early as 2012, so we’ve been a collection and I came across Jack at the end of 2014. I invited him out to the place I was staying at the time and we caught a vibe and just started talking. We were on the same wavelength as far as what we want to do and how we can push each other. So I brought him in and he met the rest of The Homies. It all came together organically and it’s been great ever since.
This is probably a stupid question, but would you all be looking to work with him again beyond Leaf Wraps?
Oh yeah, everything we do is as a collective. Everything he does and everything we do, it’s all heads in. We try to make each other better, critique, and keep each other up to par because we represent where we’re from and we’re trying to represent good music.
As a collective of 6 and all being friends, you all obviously share some similarities. But naturally in groups, everyone seems to kind of take on a certain role. What role do you all feel you play in the group as individuals?
Woyne is our lead creator, he produced a majority of the beats on Umbrellas and he produces Jack’s songs. He’s definitely one of our creative forces. Shloob offers a different perspective, as he always tries to challenge himself by trying different schemes and pockets. He presents it to us, it blossoms onto us and we make tracks. Quiiso loves to play with and manipulate his voice a lot. Ryan is our DJ and he’s also a producer as well. Me, I try to catch anything after the fact. Graphics, videos, administrative stuff. Songwriting, we all write our own stuff and also try to inspire others. We always bring our work together to the table and people catch a vibe off of that.
It’s dope to hear you all have that in-house, as so many people have to outsource for various things. Was that done by design? Or did you pick up these skills over time when you realized you would need it to get ahead?
It’s by design but also happened over time. We knew coming from where we’re coming from, not too many have those necessary resources available to the extent we’d like them to be. Now it’s better, but we created our own beats and we didn’t want to wait on someone else for studio time or going to someone else to get the sound right. We can learn it ourselves and attack it.
If you all had to describe your music in one word, what would it be?
Versatile. It’s really all I can say. Very refreshing, but versatile. I don’t really put myself in a box. If I hear something and a certain sound depending on songs or playlists I listen to, house music, R&B, rock, and of course Hip-Hop. It’s just about certain sounds. I don’t consider us in a certain pocket because we can hit all cylinders. Everybody comes from a different background as far as taste. For example, Marquis comes from Chicago so he’s in the Chance The Rapper field meaning he can go anywhere. Shloob, he does his research as far as listening to artists before they blow up. Like Smino, I caught on to Smino before he actually blew up. Watching him progress and his rhyme schemes. Kendrick Lamar when he dropped “Look Out For Detox”. I’m like “Wow, their rhyme schemes are crazy. And the production.” That goes for the whole TDE camp. They’re all over the place and so is the engineering, so that’s kind of what we base our stuff off. The sound, sonically, the beats and our rhyme schemes have to be up to par very time. We want to keep varying ourselves, and it’s only a matter of time before we figure it out. It pops. But yeah there’s really no pocket for us.
It’s definitely a good thing to have that friendship to fall back on, but do you guys find any challenges mixing friendship and business? Whether it’s having a hard conversation about a verse, do you find it hard to balance the friendship and critique?
We definitely have those conversations whether it be verses or decision-making. We have those but it’s never in a toxic place because we all understand at the end of the day we’re family. It’s only gonna work if we’re all satisfied, and when it comes to compromise as long as the compromise is for the best. It’s never anything where “this decision may not go my way but the next one will” because either way we’re still trending upward. Plus, if it wasn’t music, we’d still be friends.
What’s something that you all as a collective need to see happen in order to say “I made it?”
Pretty much just putting our families up. That’s about it, I know it’s a generic answer. We’re still inspired to this day. We don’t follow trends, we make music the way we want to and once people start to realize, we might be further along than we expected. That’s pretty much our ultimate goal though, to make ourselves and our families comfortable.
What’s an album that came out last year that you all really liked?
Of course Gazebo if we’re talking last year *laughs.* Smino’s album, Kodak Black snuck in there. Astroworld - I love the sonics, Mike Dean did his thing. Swimming by Mac Miller.
Louisville definitely has had some big names to come out of there, but in terms of super regions we have Atlanta, New York, and Cali. Do you put any thought or value into your music not only benefitting you but also your fans and putting Louisville on the map?
Definitely. Like you said, there are some names coming out of the area and it makes Louisville look a lot better. For a long time, we had no one. We had Static Major and a lot of people didn’t get to see his stardom before he passed. You got Bryson, Jack, us and a few other guys I could mention. Time will tell that they can go as far as anyone, whether from Atlanta or Florida. We’re making a name for the city, even if we don’t have a certain sound that represents it.
What are your thoughts on music and streaming today? You all dropped on 4/20, the same day as Cole and April was literally almost a year ago. Is there pressure on you to put something out soon? Do you prefer to let the fans sit with something?
We’re always creating, so it’s never an issue of feeling pressured to drop. It’s always about the right time to drop because we do feel like we make good enough music for people to digest for over a year. It has a lot of shelf-life, where you could put it on the aux in 2017 all the way to 2020-something. Our music lasts and we try to keep in mind how long people would like something.
Who has the best aux game out of all of you?
Shit, gotta be Shloob. I get all my new songs from Shloob, he does his research. He always brings something new to the table that makes us go “who is this?” The most recent one was Baby King and Cardo. Cardo actually reached out to us to congratulate us on our project.
As artists, you said you’re constantly creating and hearing your own stuff as its being made. In terms of finished stuff or old songs, how often do you find yourself listening to your own music?
I’ll speak for myself. I really only listen to our music or older music from before 2012. I just think that music is too easily digested today. There’s a lot of artists but also so much music coming out. I’m really only interested in certain artists because it’s almost impossible to really sit with something and enjoy it. I listen to our drafts a lot, like every other day and then older music because I can truly appreciate it or it defined my life.
What would you guys say is the most personal song you’ve ever created?
Mine is unreleased, it’s on my solo project.
What’s the challenge like of putting yourself into your music in a therapeutic way but also making a sound that fans will like?
Number one, you’re never gonna get anywhere without an emotional attachment to your fans. Fans want to hear who you really are and what you’re really about, what your morals are. I think finding the right sound or right pocket to get a point across can be simple, like “I hate waking up on Sunday’s to brush my teeth.” You might not be that direct but if it’s something someone can go “oh shit bruh I felt that.” It’s weird, for me personally a lot of people reach out to me to say how much they felt the “Nightcrawla” verse. It took me a while to take that verse in. When I first heard the beat, I said “yeah let me rap this little rhyme scheme.” Once people start hearing it and taking in the lyrics, it's like “damn I’m really rapping about my life.” I peeped a little bit when we were trying to mix it down, they’re like “the verse is too long” and I’m like “nope, can’t cut it. It all has to go.” It feels good for people to recognize we can make the happy slaps, but when our music gets a point across or touches you in an emotional way, it’s good to have that feeling people appreciate it.
Do you feel like your song making process is made easier by having multiple opinions involved or has it made the process slightly more difficult?
Absolutely, but it also comes from having good production behind it. If you can feel the beat you’re writing to, it’s easier. Having an in-house engineer to make sure you have a specific sound for what you’re going to say also helps. Then of course, with having multiple artists in the group, you only have to write one verse most of the time. Then of course, Quiss can write a hook and Shloob can come in. It’s less workflow, but like having a quad core processor.
What do you guys like to do in your free time when you’re not making songs?
Multiple things. Jack bought us all Nintendo Switches. I been playing Smash Bros. like a mothafucka and watching people play Fortnite on Twitch. Playing basketball, gotta get the cardio. To get back to your question about feeling like we made it, we’re gonna have to have a celebrity all star game against us at Private Garden.
Anyone can get the smoke
I promise you, there’s no other artists that can hang with us.
But there’s Dave East, and technically Damian Lillard and Victor Oladipo are rappers/singers.
Oh well if you count them, damn. But we can definitely get some buckets up on them. They got strength but we can shoot well. I can definitely catch Damian Lillard lacking.
I guess I’ll have to see you guys hoop, maybe you’ll have to put it into a music video or something.
I hate to change the tone of the conversation because we’ve been having a lot of fun, but it’s very recent so I have to get into it and speak with another artist about it. This R. Kelly stuff, and everything that’s come out about Diddy, Usher, Drake and Lil Wayne; it’s just been a lot and very overwhelming for me as a journalist. People are pointing fingers at the music industry as a whole as well as rappers for perpetuating this behavior. How do you guys maintain your responsibility as artists? Do you feel like you should promote respect for women, respect for humans, and morals through your music? Is that your responsibility?
I mean, yeah hopefully. We can definitely do a better job of treating each other better, but we try to portray that. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows us that we’re respectful to women we come across. We don’t really judge anyone based off something we’re ignorant of. We definitely encourage everyone that’s a fan of us to be a fan of acceptance and respectfulness.
A lot of people forget you rappers and singers are humans, you deal with real problems and fame doesn’t make everything okay. Money doesn’t make everything okay. It might even create more issues for you. What are some ways you all maintain your sanity as a group with everything happening? With a lot of work to do and music to put out, how do you balance supporting each other?
That can only be explained in detail, but me I take everything in until I can explain it so that even those who are offended can hear it without shooting it down. It’s something you can always learn from, everything you take in you can learn from it. I encourage people to treat each other with respect and portray that that’s where my head is at. If anyone ever reaches out to me to talk about their situation, whether I’ve been in it or not I’m gonna share my sympathy with them. That’s the time they need me. They listen to my music, I can listen to their issues.
When all is said and done, career is over, you’ve achieved everything you wanted to achieve and people are looking back 30 years later - what’s the one thing you all want to be remembered for?
The name is self-explanatory. We wanna be known for being The Homies. We were respectable and were respected. Genuine people who came to you with open arms, no negative energy given. So hopefully, it gets contagious.
We want to represent an idea more than our music. People speak on Will Smith and a certain emotion comes across before you even get to the fact he was a rapper before he started acting. Queen Latifah or anyone who when you hear their name, before you even think about what they’ve done you think about how you feel. We want to inspire others. We do a lot of stuff in-house for The Homies and it’ll be dope to see other artists say “y’all came up, did this” and now they’re inspired to take their music to another level beyond where it is now.
Well, much success to you guys. What’s coming in 2019?
Multiple things. “Leaf Wraps” video just dropped, and I believe we have two more singles lined up.
I’m pretty sure I will be releasing my solo project in April. Shloob will have his out later in the year, and Quiis is still working on his. So it’s just a matter of when he feels comfortable with his choices of songs. Then we mix it and it’s good to go. It’s gonna be a PG flood of music.