skyzoo_phixrThere’s really not too much left to say when the borough of Brooklyn comes into the discussion Hip-Hop-wise.

There’s a guy from there named Jay-Z, (maybe most of you heard of him), and there’s this other guy from there named The Notorious B.I.G.; and from what history has shown, it seems like B.I.G. was fairly decent with a microphone, (that’s sarcasm if you didn’t catch it).

With those two basically laying down the foundation for BK, it’s ultimately up to newcomers like Gregory “Skyzoo” Skyler Taylor to put on his hardhat, and keep the construction going—a transplant from the Crown Heights section, who now calls Bedford-Stuyvesant home.

Building up his name the old fashion way, (with actual talent, and not gimmicks) the 24-year-old got his Internet buzz up with a collection of mixtapes and collaborations with producer 9th Wonder, which all culminated into his debut album, The Salvation.

So if you’re not too familiar with this MC who’s soon be to amongst the ranks of ‘Brooklyn’s Finest, then here’s your chance to catch up…

iHipHop.com: What part of Brooklyn are you originally from?

Skyzoo: I was born in the Crown Heights area, and then I moved to Bed-Stuy later on… So pretty much everything I know, and everything I talk about came from me growing up in Bed-Stuy…

iHipHop.com: How was it like growing up in an area like that during the late 90’s, with so many powerful Hip-Hop influences also calling Bed-Stuy home?

Skyzoo: Around that time, the music really reflected what was going on…

Everything that was going on, and everything that was dope and authentic was really going on in our neighborhood(s), especially with B.I.G.

With Biggie, I literally lived a block away from B.I.G., so we saw everything that Ready To Die was about… When Ready To Die came out, that’s what the neighborhood was… It changed a lot now with gentrification, and things like that, but we saw Ready To Die as it was being written…

iHipHop.com: Even though you put out a ton of mixtapes, many people consider The Salvation to be your FIRST official project. So with that said, did you approach it any differently than you would one of your mixtapes?

Skyzoo: Yeah absolutely… This is my debut; this is my firstborn… This is the album I always wanted to make, and it takes your whole life to make your first album…

All the mixtapes before this were really just to get me to this point, and to get people excited about what I do… So [this] is that album… This is my Ready To Die, my Reasonable Doubt, my Illmatic; this is my first joint…

iHipHop.com: Whom did you work with production-wise?

Skyzoo: Production-wise I got 9th Wonder who executive produced the album, along with myself… So 9th Wonder is on the album, Nottz is on the album, Just Blaze is on the album, Needlz, Black Milk, Illmind, and I got a couple of others as well…

I got a kid named Eric G, I got this kid Cyrus Tha Great, and I got this production team named Best Kept Secret out of [Washington] D.C. So I have the big names, and the up-and-comers to help round out the sound…

iHipHop.com: As I was listening to your album, I noticed that you don’t have any features… Is that exactly how you wanted it? You didn’t want to reach out to a few other MC’s to team up with?

Skyzoo: Yeah, absolutely… I wanted this album to really be about me… At first, I did look for a few people, there were a few people that I wanted to holler at, but it wasn’t that many, just like 2-3 people…

It was just a situation with scheduling, timing, and things like that… People were saying to give them a month until they got off tour, and I was with it, but I sat back and said I would just hold that for the second album…

skyzoocheeksdineroiHipHop.com: As the release date nears, what are your emotions? Are you nervous, or anxious?

Skyzoo: I’m not really nervous, but I’m definitely excited and anxious… I put so much into it, and I want people to hear it… It’s one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and I’m not just saying that to pat myself on the back…

It’s something to where I’m in the street, and people are talking about it… I know what I did, and I know what I brought to the table, and I know that every record on there is going to grab somebody…

iHipHop.com: Obviously with you being part of the next generation of MC’s who is going to hold this thing together, it seems like the spotlight is more on artists like the “Asher Roth’s,” [Click for Asher Roth interview] the “Drake’s,” and the “Charles Hamilton’s.” Do you feel as if people are overlooking you versus those other artists?

Skyzoo: It’s definitely something that you have to notice, and you have to pay attention to it… This is a competition, so you have to be aware of what’s what…

But I’m good, I get the light that I want, but there’s always room for more… But like you said, it is a machine thing, and I have the Duck Down machine behind me, and they’re probably the biggest indie powerhouses in Hip-Hop…

But at the same time it’s an indie; they’re not a “Def Jam, and they’re not an “Interscope. That doesn’t mean they can’t get the job done, but it’s just going to be that much harder because they don’t have those million dollar budgets…

So when you’re dealing with a lot of the artists you just named, they all do their thing, and they’re dope in their own right, but that machine is there, and it’s going to push them through the roof, and make you know who they are… On an indie, it’s more groundwork, but I don’t have a problem with that, because I’ve been grinding my whole life… All I know how to do is get my hands dirty, so I’m with it…

iHipHop.com: Any memorable experiences from making the record?

Skyzoo: The Nottz experience was real dope, just because I never met him before, and we linked up on the strength of him liking my music… So I went to VA for the first time with him, and we knocked out two of the biggest records on the album in a weekend…

He literally has 3,000 beats in his computer, and he tells you to go through them… And for some reason, if you can’t find anything in the 3,000 beats, he’ll make something…

But there’s no way you’re not going to find something when you have 3,000 beats, and everyone of them is hot in their own right… Mixing the ‘Return Of The Real’ record with Just Blaze was dope too… I recorded on my own, but I mixed it with him and his engineer Andy, so that was dope…

skyzoo-pic-1_phgrayhamner2iHipHop.com: How did the situation at Duck Down first come up?

Skyzoo: With Duck Down, they reached out to us, and at the time we had a couple of other indies and majors on the table… But Duck Down was in a strong lead, and it seemed like the right team to run with…

At that time the album was only half done, and 9th [Wonder] only had two songs on it… So I called him and said, “The album was coming out on a label, and I need a budget, so how much are you going to charge me for these joints?

9th [Wonder] and I are family, and I never paid for a beat from 9th in my life… So I told him I was going to be on a label, and how much was I supposed to give him?

Then he was like, “Man, I don’t even know.” Then he said he had a label deal through Duck Down, and I told him Duck Down was hollering at me for my deal too… So that’s how it pretty much went down…

iHipHop.com: How did you and 9th Wonder first cross paths?

Skyzoo: I met 9th [Wonder] back in ’05 I want to say through my man Chaundon of The Justus League… I hooked up with him, and things have been cool ever since… We clicked and started doing records, and all that turned into other stuff…

iHipHop.com: I just wanted to go back to how you just said you had majors and indies interested in you. Most artists would IMMEDIATLEY take the major route, why didn’t you?

Skyzoo: I’m not saying that I want to be indie my whole career, but at this point I did want to go indie just on the strength of having creative control…

I know how I want to set up my career, and I know how I want everything to be in the long run… I can get a nice check right now from a major, then be sitting on the shelf for two years, and never come out… I want to be able to call the shots, and that’s pretty much what it came down to…

iHipHop.com: I just want to get your quick opinion on something: I read this article where Fabolous said New York Hip-Hop has suffered because too many artists concerning themselves with beefs. What’s your thought on that?

Skyzoo: I think that’s a part of it… I think it used to be more relevant a few years ago… If you remember, every time you looked, someone was beefing with someone… I think that kind of died down a little bit, but I do understand what he’s saying…

If you go back 3-4 years ago, that was heavy… EVERYBODY was beefing with everybody, and it was the way people were selling records… I don’t really see it as much anymore, I think the game has changed as far as the type of music people are making… I don’t really see it anymore, but it is a valid point…