naldge-1Just like everything else in life, Hip-Hop is a game of “torch passing.”

The performers from yester-year still have their original fan base that grew up on them, but now that older fan base has kids of their own, who probably yearn for someone closer to their age that they can relate to.

Enter Kidz In The Hall: A new-aged throwback to the Hip-Hop duos of the past, bringing a fresh sound to the present.

Under the guidance of Jay-Z hitman Just Blaze, producer/DJ Double-O and mouthpiece Naldege have managed to make a name for themselves with projects like 2006’s School Was My Hustle, and 2008’s The In Crowd.

Now in 2009, Naledge steps out (don’t worry, they’re still a group) on his own with his mix CD project, Chicago Picasso.

So before you can gear up for Kidz In The Hall’s next lesson plan, Naldege steps in to run you through a quick pop quiz in the meantime…

iHipHop.com: Now you have the Chicago Picasso mix CD on deck. Any reason why you choose to release it as a mix CD versus making it an album release?

Naledge: I mean—it is what it is… I didn’t want to fool people and tell them that I approached it as an album… If I approached it as an album, I probably would have used a couple of more months on it…

It’s really just a collection of material that I made from 2005 to now… It’s stuff that basically probably wouldn’t have made my solo project, Naldge Is Power if it ever came out…

A lot of it is just collaborations with different producers and different artists… It really didn’t fit into the theme of what Kidz In The Hall do, but I still felt like some of this music needed to be heard…

I definitely think that it’s better than a lot of albums that are coming out now… [Laughing]

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]… Was it difficult making the transition from having all that chemistry with Double-O, to working with other producers?

Naledge: You’d be surprised… Honestly I had been working with a lot of producers anyways, I’m always working, and we’re actually from two different cities… A lot of the producers I’m working with on this project, I knew before I even knew Double-O

I can only work with people who inspire me on certain levels, and even though it’s a mixtape, I still didn’t work with a lot of producers…

I worked with some producers from Chicago that I’m inspired by, and that’s really the only people I brought into my circle…

iHipHop.com: When can people expect the next Kidz In The Hall record?

Naledge: In October, and it’s going to be called, The Land Of Make Believe

iHipHop.com: You also have a solo project in the works too right?

Naledge: Yeah, I plan on putting that out myself… I plan on putting that out myself through my company Brainiac Society… I’ll put that out probably after we do the next Kidz In The Hall album… There’s still tons of material that people haven’t heard, even though I’m releasing this mixtape, I’m sitting on like 50-60 songs that nobody has heard…

I’m always working, and I’m always trying to find new sounds, Double-O and me… I’m in the studio al the time, this isn’t recreation, this in an occupation… So there’s always music being creating, and there’s always projects being formulated…

justblaze1iHipHop.com: Is Just Blaze going to be a part of that project?

Naledge: Yeah, he’s always in the circle… Double-O deals with him more than me, because Double-O lives in New York… We’re always in touch with him, and he’s in the new video, ‘I Got It Made,which we did for Reebok and was a recreation of Special Ed’s ‘I Got It Made.

He’s definitely around, but we just work a little more independently than we used to… We just create, and then let him hear it to get his opinion on things…

If he says it needs to be tweaked, then we definitely tweak it… He’s just a good advocate, and not everybody has advocates in this industry… He’s a good source to have to lean on…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of the Reebok project, how did it first come about?

Naledge: Their whole intention was to take what was classic before, and bring it into the now… So I feel like that what we are as a group, “Kidz In The Hall.We embody the same spirit of Tribe [Called Quest]; we embody the same spirit of De La [Soul], Pharcyde, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, 8Ball & MJG, UGK, and Outkast

We have that same spirit, but at the same time, it’s new, more futuristic, and updated… So with them seeing that, they felt like we fit what the campaign was trying to be… I felt honored that we were on the short list of people that they thought of…

kidz1iHipHop.com: Plus you guys did the Rock The Bells Tour last year, how was that experience for you?

Naledge: That sh*t was crazy! I can’t even lie! [Laughing] That sh*t was like dreamland… I don’t really go to concerts anymore, but every show, I turned into a fan… To be backstage and see Raekown [Click for Raekwon interview], Nas, and Q-Tip; basically my whole childhood of watching Rap City was backstage… [Laughing]

My whole childhood of reading The Source back in 7th-8th grade was backstage; my tape deck was backstage… Just to be around that atmosphere was humbling, and it also allows you to learn… It really allows you to study, so you can be that artist that does 200 shows a year…

It put us on a different stratosphere as far as people accepting who we are, and getting a chance to really see us on a bigger stage… It was just a great experience all together just to be on the same bill as all of those legends…

iHipHop.com: But don’t you ever feel wore out from touring and living on a bus and things like that?

Naledge: I guess we’re not those types of artists… We love performing, and as long as we are in front of the crowd, that’s where we feel most comfortable… We want to get to that 200 shows a year level, right now we’re still hovering around 100… [Laughs]

But we feel like we’re the type of act that can be on the road all the time… We see artists like MURS, who just continues to tour, and tour, and tour, and the same with Gym Class Heroes… They do shows all over the world, and continually sell them out… So that’s a great model to follow…

nalddge-21iHipHop.com: So how would you describe the Chicago scene? Is it like a “crabs in a bucket” mentality?

Naledge: I feel like a lot of stuff that’s happening now should’ve happened years ago… Now that we have blogs like RubyHornet.com and just those types of sites that are Chicago-centered, they’re outlets for those artists to be heard…

You have cats like Sly Polaroid who are probably more gangster, and then you have someone like Mikkey Halsted [Click for Mikkey Halsted video interview] who’s more like a philosopher, and you have someone like Mic Terror [Click for Mic Terror video interview] who makes party records, and you’ll have me who’s like a jack-of-all-trades…

Then you have Kanye [West], Lupe [Fiasco], and GLC, and we all work together, so that’s a beautiful thing… No one looks down on anyone, and I think we all co-exist…

iHipHop.com: With so much music coming out on a steady basis, have you found it difficult keeping your name in circulation?

Naledge: It’s always a problem to hold people’s attention, because there’s so much clutter… There’s so much clutter and filler being released on a regular basis, and not in the stores, but on the net…

There’s so much people giving out free stuff that’s not worth listening to… Then that confuses the listener, because they’re left to make decisions on what they want to listen to… So to maintain relevance, I just try to make people remember that I’m dope, or that we’re [Kidz In The Hall] are dope…

All these blogs and stuff allow us to stay connected with fans, and we’ve been blessed enough to do tours and stuff like that… So I think when people give my music a chance, they realize that they like it…