FSG Rell Talks Tri-State Hip-Hop, New Music + Album On The Way
Today, we at Lizzy Brodie sit down with new artist, FSG Rell, to discuss his new arrival in hip-hop, newfound stardom and what’s next. Check out the complete interview below.
What is coming from FSG Rell in the next year? Any projects? Singles?
[FSG Rell:] You can expect to see a few collaborations with Spanish artists even this year. I want to try my hand at doing songs with people from different walks of life. So I started hitting people and we started to get to work. This process in particular was unique because neither one of us could understand each other. We needed a translator to communicate at all times or if the translator left I would bring up google translate so we could communicate.
It was the coolest process I’ve been through as far as collaborating with another artist. Next I wanna do a couple of songs with a female artist singing Spanish. Next year there will be a bunch of singles released, an EP and an album coming out. Next year I will be experimenting a lot more trying to establish different relationships. Expect a change of scenery as well.
Is FSG just you, or is there a team behind you? More artists in FSG?
FSG is a team; more like a family. There are 25 of us. A couple of us do music, I’m the full-time serious artist but by next year I fully expect more of us to take that route. A lot of us are into other things such as fashion, real estate and doing what we can to help everybody. We as a whole preach not trying to be the man but to play your part because we’re all “the man” so to speak. Nobody is the boss. We are the boss collectively.
Do you come to the studio prepared to record or do you like to catch a vibe and freestyle in the studio?
I come to the studio prepared every time. I have my lyrics ready, all the beats are loaded on my flash drive, also available via airdrop if there’s a problem. I usually book 12-hour sessions, I account for every hour. If we finish early and there’s time left to play with then we just vibe out sometimes. Most of the time I just like talking to my engineer so we both have a better understanding of one another. Whether it’s talking about music or anything in life.
Do you remember your first rap? If so, what was it?
Yeah, I remember my first rap. It was my first single, I called it Checklist. It was a song about all the females I dated and/or females that I wanted to date. It was pretty popular. My first single ever did over 100 thousand streams on SoundCloud and counting. I was 16 at the time, I don’t remember knowing about Spotify or Apple Music at the time. All I knew was SoundCloud.
Do we have the fully evolved FSG Rell yet? Or are you still finding your sound and developing?
No, we don’t have the fully evolved FSG Rell yet. I don’t know myself fully yet to be honest. So to say I figured out my music sound fully developed would just be inaccurate to say at least for right now. I’m always trying new things, I always find inspiration in weird places and I love to put myself out there.
Any current artists you would like to work with?
A current artist I would like to work with right now is Becky G. I respect what she’s doing, her movement and how her momentum is gaining. She’s very inspirational, and also from what I can see is that she’s a good person. I would also like to work with Summer Walker, Ann Marie or Kehlani. I value love records with a side of nasty in them a lot. I feel like one of those records would do a lot for my catalog.
Any current producers you would like to work with?
I would like to work with Tay Keith. I like how up-tempo and club catering his beats are. I could use more beats that are “bangers”.
What is your favorite decade of music?
My favorite decade of music is the 00’s. In the 2000’s we had 50 cent, Wayne, early Drake, Beyoncé, Neyo, OutKast, Nelly, Mariah, Kanye, Trey Songs, Chris Brown and a bunch of others. The decade of the 10’s was pretty good too, but the 00’s was better in my opinion.
How would you describe your music?
My music varies, but one consistent theme is all of them have some soul in them or a couple gems you can steal from it. I always spread the love between the streets, love and actual rap records.
You just dropped “Catfish” in October, talk to us about this record?
Catfish is a record I’ve had for a while, the record I had to postpone. It’s one of those things where I made this song then a bunch of things happened around me so I had to wait until things died down. The actual record itself is untraditional, it has two hooks. The record is some I’m proud of because of the fact that it’s a local producer I bought the beat from. Catfish is about how I thought I had a bad bitch and when I showed up, it was reality. Then I also work the angle the other way. In terms of when you think you’re surrounded by a street dude and then in reality it was never like that.
What separates you from the field? Your bars? Vision? Music?
What separates me from the field is my diversity, my willingness to adapt, my best selection and also how good I can make some things sound. The diversity of never sending out the same thing to people that support me is really important. Although sometimes I think I’d make faster progress doing the same thing over and over. Ultimately I think doing it this way will have my career last longer while keeping things fresh.
Anyone else famous come from Pottstown, PA?
There are some famous people from Pottstown, PA when I think about it. A few are football players, there is a director who’s catching steam, a famous pop singer and a model who is my blood cousin. As far as a famous person from Pottstown in the Hip Hop culture/process? There isn’t one.
How has COVID affected you?
COVID has affected me by limiting the times that I go out or even when I do go out I’m careful of where I go. That really affects me because that’s where I draw a lot of my inspiration from in my music. As I’m no longer in the streets I seek more inspiration from places that I’ve never been to and things that I’ve never done. COVID has stopped a lot of that.
Are you itching to get back out on the road and entertain? Do you enjoy performing?
I’m salivating at the mouth thinking about performing in front of a big crowd, watching people’s reactions and hearing cheers. Performing is a test, even if you have the same soundtrack that you have from the previous city it’s still different. Every crowd takes some songs and energy differently.
Any specific creative process behind your music or is it at random?
I usually start out freestyling to the beat then I start jotting things down. It’s been this way for a couple of years. I never like to force beats, I have to really vibe with a beat to work on it in the studio.
Any studio essentials?
Studio essentials for me are two things: 3 Naked Juice and halal food. If I have those I’m good.
Where do you think you get your rapping abilities from?
I’m not sure to be honest, I know everybody has parents that play music around them so I can’t say it’s that. I’m really not sure, neither of my parents did or do music so I think it’s one of them things that just came about as I got older.
When you sign your first major label deal, what do you do first?
I’m buying my mom a house. We never been in a house before so that’s number one, to make sure she has that in her name, paid off.
Your rise in streams and growth is clear, can we expect an even crazier 2021?
I believe so, we’ll get it done. My team and I have some plans for 2021. Even so, I have plans personally that I’m going to make sure I get done. I think moving to a new space will also help a lot with that. It’s different up and personal than seeing a post sponsored in your city. Actually living there and getting accommodated to the people and culture goes a long way. Show that you’re one of them and genuine support will follow.
How do you operate as an artist? Do you do everything? Do you have a supporting cast?
As far as production and writing I do everything. I have my engineer but as far as the beats, lyrics, song names, tracklists and album names I do on my own. I rarely seek guidance on these types of things because when it feels right it feels right.
When you first started rapping, did people take you seriously? Did your family take you seriously?
My peers definitely took me seriously, some of my family didn’t at first. Always pressuring me to go to school, school can help certain people and is good in some instances but it’s not for me.
Before rapping, what was your dream job or passion?
Come to think of it I don’t remember having a clear-cut dream, it was probably to become a football player.
Not everyone makes it in the music industry but you seem to be making some big moves and beginning to see the seeds that you planted grow. What advice can you give to other aspiring artists?
The advice I can give to other artists is to don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and take leaps of faith. If something isn’t working don’t give up, try something else. Carry a good attitude, it’s never people sleeping on you. Look at it the other way around, you just haven’t done enough to get their attention and support; go harder. All that applies to me too as well.
My biggest fear is to die without having a child. I want to wait until I find a female I’m comfortable with and that I’m emotionally involved with. I know life doesn’t always work out that way though that’s cool. Life is so unpredictable so you never know what could happen, death could be here so fast and I would hate to not have given a child life.
TuPac or Biggie?
I would go with Tupac because TuPac helped Biggie out a lot with his mindset from the information I know. Tupac also has more bodies of work to go on even though both of their lives were cut short. I think both of them were great. I would give it to TuPac though.
Jay Z or Nas?
I would go with Jay Z because I can connect more with him. Not to say Nas isn’t a hustler but I think Jay Z is more of a hustler, I like to think of myself in the same way. I’m always trying to get better, always trying to make more money.
Top 3 favorite PA rappers (Present)?
Top 3 PA rappers: Leaf Ward, Don Gunna, Meek Mill.
Top 3 favorite PA rappers of the past (Past)?
Top 3 favorite PA rappers of past: Freeway, AR-AB, and Beanz.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself trying to help artists from my specific city come up. Being in that position would mean a lot for not only me but for the city I’m from. It’s nothing like giving the underdog, the ones from the small city a chance to prove themselves to the world
Biggest obstacle you’ve hurdled so far in the music industry?
The biggest obstacle I’ve hurdled so far is knowing who to trust. Sometimes you can never tell how thurl somebody is or how sturdy a connection is. You can lose a lot of money and time trusting the wrong people with your career.
You’re from Pottstown, PA. Talk to us about it. Is rapping something that people take seriously? What is a normal job or life like in Pottstown?
In Pottstown, a select few people take it seriously. I’m surprised one of us hasn’t taken it to the next level yet because there’s a lot of unique talent here.
East Coast or West Coast?
I’m pretty biased here but I’ll take the East Coast. The vibes here are unmatched. I’ve been to the West Coast a couple times and it’s still good vibes out there.
Do you enjoy performing or recording the most?
I enjoy performing the most, I love anything that has to do with sharing happiness with others. That type of happiness I hold higher than most.
Talk to us about “Gucci, Prada, Fendi”, where and when did you create this record? What was the mind state? The record has nearly 200k streams on Spotify?
I created Gucci, Prada, & Fendi in a rush honestly. I did it in roughly 15 minutes around 2016 in the car driving home from a show. At the show I was wearing all designer and I saw a couple pointing at it so that’s how it came about. and I threw it in the stash for a special occasion. In 2018 I recorded it, put it on one of my projects than started going from city to city performing.
Another successful record of yours is “Broken Bonds”. Talk to us about this record, the creative process, meaning etc?
Broken Bonds is about a few bonds that I felt like are beyond repair. From friends that I damn near was taking care of as one of my sons turned their back on me. Lying to me, saying they have my back when in reality they didn’t. Whether it’s a couple of my homies doing me dirty with females and them not having a clue I know. At that point it’s not about the female it’s about the respect that I thought we had for each other. I wanted to tap into some of the pain that some of the personal relationships that I have caused me
Any favorite or close Tri-State artists?
There’s an artist in New York that I favor. Her name is Sam Nelly, she’s more a soulful, r&b artist. I’m in love with her literally and musically. I don’t know her at all but I enjoy her music a lot. She’s put out quite a lot of music. She has a few previews up on Instagram of her upcoming music and her talent blows me away. From the lyrics to her voice, she’s one of my favorites.
“More Than A Rapper” as a collective was a solid body of work. How long did this project take to complete? Where were you at in life while creating this project?
It took maybe about four or five months to make. Although I did take 2 or 3 older songs and put it on there. When I set my mind to it and said okay I’m doing a project, it took me a couple months to finish it up. Everything lined up perfectly with this album, the beats I found them on the first click on the site I go to. A lot of it felt like it was destiny. I was in a good space in life, most of the records I wasn’t in the streets anymore at the time. I was feeling good making money still, I was content with my personal life. I also feel like it was such a nice body of work and that I poured some of my problems into the music that it’s causing me to face them now. When you drop a project there’s a lot going on so even if you discuss your problems you’re so busy that sometimes you don’t get to face all of them right away. All in all it was my best body of work in my opinion so far.
What is your creative process like, do you usually work with a few select producers or are you constantly finding new producers and vibes?
I reach out to a few local producers to see if this season around we find common ground. If not I move on to looking for new beats from different producers. I have a connection with a few, it never lasts long with producers. My sound and ear is always adapting and wanting to do different styles so I’m always switching producers and vibes. I try to make a commitment to get at least four love records on each project.
Do you prefer to record alone or create an environment around you with good energy and people?
I like recording alone where it’s just me and the engineer. Sometimes one or two people are cool with me depending on who it is. I don’t like a joking environment in the studio, I want it to be comfortable but I don’t like to hear a lot of talking and laughing when I’m in the booth because I know that makes the engineer’s job harder to concentrate. Whether they have the ability to is different, that’s just a pet peeve of mine.
What is a day in the life of FSG Rell like?
A regular day in the life of FSG Rell is waking up early, taking care of my errands, seeing what’s up with everybody seeing if people are out. Going to work, at work is when I do a lot of my beat selection, writing and communicating with people about business. Getting off work is when the party begins. That’s when I self-medicate whether that’s a little liquor, I smoke a lot of cigars on my off time mainly, I relax, link up with people or sometimes I go home and watch interviews before bed.
Favorite records off of “More Than A Rapper”?
Some of my favorite records off of More Than A Rapper are Natalie Knight, 2021 More Than a Rapper, For You featuring Ahna Mac and Soul Food. Natalie Knight is one of my favorites because I got the inspiration from discovering a new pornstar, her alias is Natalie Knight. I fell in love instantly, I’ve talked to her a few times. She seems like a very cool person so it was easy for me to convert that inspiration into a fun song that followed the trend at that time with the beat.
2021 More Than a Rapper is one of my favorites because I think it set the tempo for the project. It set the tone with the production, the quality of the engineering and also a preview of how hard I was coming on this project. It showcased my ability to go on a beat that has a throwback 2000’s vibe. The beat originally was only about 40 seconds. That part caught my attention; I bought it, I told my engineer my vision for the best and he made it happen for me. I wanted to give people that support me a door into seeing how I think and why I think the way that I do. all they had to do was open it.
For You featuring Ahna Mac is one of my favorites because I have a thing for R&B records. I felt like her vocals behind mine went perfectly and when it was time for her hook she did it very well. I have mad love for her and her talent. For You is also one of my favorites because by me doing that song with Ahna at the studio she preferred is how I found the engineer I work with today. The song itself is amazing to listen to, it’s the right mix of love, proving loyalty to your significant other and being nasty. That was the first record of the new ones that I recorded, it was the start of the new level I tapped into.
Soul Food is one of my favorites because it spoke to my soul. The beat had the same effect on me the way eating some good soul food would. I felt the connection from the moment I heard it. I never met my grandfather but I feel like that’s a song he would like, the old school vibe with a new style flow.