finale02_phixr21The city of Detroit has long been a staple for the working-class; no excuses and no frills, just a “get up and go” kind of mentality.

That state of mind also trickles down to the people who don’t punch clock, but rather use a pen and pad to make sure their bills get paid on time—and one person who has lived on both sides of the spectrum is Motor City newcomer Finale.

Engaging in the city’s most lucrative trade, (the automotive business) the one-time automotive engineer decided to exchange car parts for the opportunity to pursue his dreams of being an MC full time, and what transpired was his debut album A Pipe Dream And A Promise. [Click to read review]

With the help of beat technician on the rise Black Milk, and J Dilla posthumously, his dream soon turned into a reality.

So as “The D” continues to show the world why there’s nothing wrong with actually rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty for what you believe in, you can always take a look at Finale and see that he’s  living proof…

iHipHop.com: First off, are you glad that Rip Hamilton is no longer coming off the bench for the [Detroit] Pistons?

Finale: [Laughing]… I’m ecstatic about that man… That’s a good introduction… [Laughs]…

iHipHop.com: I thought you’d like that one… [Laughing]… I read that you were a former automotive engineer, so what was the deciding factor that made to switch to music full time?

Finale: Somebody asked me if I would recommend what I did to anybody else, and I would not do it…

At the time that I was working as an engineer, I was also going to school full time, and I was also rapping…

I would get up at 6 O’clock in the morning, get ready for work, and rush to work by seven.

Then I would leave around three, and go to the lab to work on some sh*t, and go to the open mic after that…

When I was doing that over-and-over-and-over again, it was running me ragged… Hip-Hop was really going good for me, and I had already put out a few singles overseas… So I decided that I had to pick one: I could always go back to school, or I could go back to working as an engineer. I have four years of experience as an engineer, so I could go back whenever I wanted to…

I gave myself six months with this Hip-Hop thing to do it 100 percent… So I quit, cashed-out the 401K, and pressed up some CD’s… If it didn’t work out, I could’ve still went back to school, and I can do that till this day…

iHipHop.com: During the time, when you made that move, did you have a lot of worries going into it?

Finale: I was worried, but knew that I still had that cushion to take what I flipped and go back to school… I know a lot of people in my same position, and if it doesn’t work out for them, they don’t have anything to fall back on; and school isn’t an option for them…

So I always kept that in the back of my mind if it didn’t pop off… I’m still going to always do music, but I can always go back to school… I just figured that if I was going to make it, I have to put my all into it; I couldn’t half-ass it…

finale07iHipHop.com: When you began putting your all into it, how did you first get your start? Was it through open mics and battle circuit?

Finale: Yeah, I was hitting EVERY open mic in the city… After I came back from Atlanta, I got adjusted to working a 9 to 5… After that, I started rapping again little by little and started hitting open mics. I used to hit an open mic over in Pontiac, [Michigan] with One Be Lo and Decompoze; and Decompoze was the first real producer I messed with in Michigan…

I worked every open mic on every corner, and the problem with Michigan is that we have circles. I went to all the open mics and met people like Guilty [Simpson], Hex [Murda], Black [Milk] and everybody…

So I figured if I was going to make it, I had to get in good, and get close to every artist, and not to just pick a circle… I just wanted to be cool with everybody, because we were all trying to do the same thing, I didn’t want to put any walls up between me and other up and coming artists…

iHipHop.com: With A Pipe Dream And  Promise [Click to read review] being your first official album, did you find any parts of the creative process to be difficult? Or was it smooth sailing throughout?

Finale: Everything was pretty much smooth sailing, because I got to meet everybody I worked with… I either worked with them face-to-face, or I already knew them, and we worked together as friends… I knew everybody that was a part of this record, so it wasn’t like I had to deal with someone’s ego, or them having to deal with me…

The record did take a minute to put together because of the direction I wanted to go with it, so a few of the tracks I did a while ago… Like the ‘Heat’ joint, I did that with [J] Dilla before he passed away… A lot of the tracks are a little older, but I felt like they needed to come out…

iHipHop.com: That goes into my next question about the ‘Heat’ joint. So you did that way before his passing?

Finale: Yeah, I did it a while ago for a different situation, but that situation didn’t quite work out, but I was still able to walk out with that beat… I didn’t want anyone to get the impression that I did it with him… He was in LA at the time and I was in Detroit. So we were going back and forth over the phone, and I did the joint here, and that’s how that happened…

iHipHop.com: How was it like working with Black Milk for the two joints he did on your record?

Finale: Black [Milk] is fam, and we all came up together so the ‘Motor Music’ joint, I had that beat for a minute… I heard it a few years ago on a beat CD, and I wanted it, and he said go ahead… I didn’t write to that beat until six months before I wrapped up the album…

I think the ‘One Man Show’ joint was supposed to be for his Tronic album, but I ended up getting that beat. So when I got it, people were like, “Wow, you got one of the joints that was supposed to be on Tronic.” So it’s always dope to work with Black [Milk].

finale-article-2iHipHop.com: Right now it seems like Detroit is becoming one of the premiere Hip-Hop scenes. Is there a lot of space out there for breathing room? Is it a little cluttered?

Finale: Nah, it’s not cluttered at all, and that’s the problem, it’s not cluttered… But we treat it like it’s cluttered…

It’s good that the circle is as tight, and it’s full with enough quality that it is, and I’m happy for everybody that’s making moves right now, and that’s because we all came up from nothing…

There are so many artists that people don’t hear from Detroit, but I’m sure they will be able to soon set their own stage too… It’s not cluttered here, and it’s a good time to be an artist from Detroit…

iHipHop.com: So you would describe the scene as a very close-nit community? Or a little bit of the “Crabs in a barrel” syndrome like the one that frequents or should I say plagues New York?

Finale: Every city has crabs in a barrel, and New York is no exception… I’m not going to name anything but I went to a show in New York and I ran up on stage and did a joint, and after, I sat back… I did that because I like to see how artists interact with other artists…

It was weird because one artist would be on stage performing, and the other artists would walk away from the stage, and it would just be empty until it was their turn to rap… I stood up front for mostly ever artist to support them…

But with Detroit, we definitely have crabs in a barrel… The problem is; a lot of us don’t take the initiative. So when you’re chilling in your homeboy’s studio, or your mother basement, you might open up a magazine and see me. Then you’ll be like, “Okay, that’s cool.”

But someone else in the background might say something like, “That should be you.” And that’s when all the hate and all that sh*t starts… But on the other hand, the circle that I’m in is close-nit… If I need something, I can make a couple of calls, Detroit is loyal to Detroit more than any other city I’ve seen, but we definitely do have crabs in a barrel…

dsc_1724iHipHop.com: When people think of Detroit Hip-Hop, they usually just categorize it as underground scene. Do you think that’s an unfair judgment to make?

Finale: Yeah… For a minute, I kind of banned that word… I don’t like underground, because underground is basically a label…

Underground is underground until you blow up; is Blu still underground? Be honest about it… Underground is kind of like demeaning what you do, or pushing it down a level…

The Hip-Hop backpack purists want to label it underground to keep it away from the mainstream, but I just make music…

We’ve been the backbone of the mainstream industry, and we’ve influenced the mainstream industry; from major labels to indie labels…

iHipHop.com: How would you describe your music to someone if they were unfamiliar with it?

Finale: It’s unpredictable… The patterns… I pay attention to lyrics, and I pay attention to patterns… I’m not going to sound like the typical Detroit artist…

So whatever you think Detroit sounds like, or whatever box you want to put in me—just remember I got one foot in that box, and one foot out of it… So you really never know what you’re going to get from me…