East NY, BK-based artist and CEO (Certified Nation Entertainment) City The Great tells all about his new single "Day One", his forthcoming album titled 'The Wordsmith', being mentored by Hip Hop legend Special Ed, and more. Listen to the single and check out the full interview below.
MJ: Before we jump into "Day One" let everyone know who you are and where you're from.
City the Great: Thanks for having me. I am City the Great from East NY, Brooklyn.
MJ: You're an artist under Hip Hop legend Special Ed. How did that come to fruition? Are there any challenges regarding age and mindset? Or is this a step towards bridging the generational gap in Hip Hop?
City the Great: Actually, my homeboy is Ed's 1st cousin and he told me for the longest that he would connect us. Of course, at the time I didn't believe he was Ed's cousin. One day he came to the studio with me and took the song I wrote and recorded that day and said he was going to play it for Ed while at Funkmaster Flex's birthday bash at BB Kings in Manhattan. Long story short he did and gave me Ed's number…he wanted to speak with me, and the rest is history. There are really no challenges in age and mindset in working with Ed. He’s been a great mentor and I have learned a lot about the game from him. He stays up to date on the business and the culture. He also has great faith in my grind and creations. I would say without a doubt, we are in the works of bridging the generational gap in Hip Hop.
MJ: Let's get to "Day One" which is taken from your upcoming album 'The Wordsmith.' The track has a cinematic anthem vibe with a hook catchy enough for the clubs and streets. It’s evident you have a knack for drawing audiences in. Talk about "Day One" from the motivation behind it to your expectation of the track.
City The Great: The story about the creation of this one is an interesting one…I was sitting on this beat for a while by Molly The Kid. I was conversating with my Certified Nation Entertainment comrade Itsonlywrite just talking about all the people that we worked with and knew throughout this journey that were kind of in and out. We laughed about how funny it is that when things weren't going upward, they split or didn't support, and now that we are moving, they all want to claim they're day ones. That sparked my mind on expressing that on wax. I think what really made the song pop was my engineer King Bash jumping in and harmonizing on the hook. My expectation for Day One is to appeal to all audiences giving them that commercial feel yet true to the cultural vibe.
MJ: What can you tell us about your upcoming album and what can listeners anticipate from it?
City The Great: People are going to get a rollercoaster ride. I have been working on this project for the past 2 years piece by piece to ensure I capture the best feel in my testimony of being a wordsmith. This project will be very balanced with the right number of features and it's going to display something for everyone that will be nostalgic.
MJ: Besides having the backing, support, and genius of Special Ed, what is your signature move, if you will, that differentiates you from other artists in the industry?
City The Great: I think what differentiates me and other artists in the industry is the soul that I pour into my craft which identifies my true being…A person being themself is the perfect form of originality. There’s a certain energy I give listeners and audiences and I have my own sound where you know it's me and that element is never lost no matter what type of song it is that I am on. Not only that but I keep that element alive with versatility, you just never know which angle I am going to come on a track but you will always know it's me.
MJ: Aside from the new album release prep, what other endeavors are you working on?
City The Great: I am currently working on growing my company Certified Nation Entertainment, educating, and assisting artists with their careers. I’m also working on multiple collaborative projects including a mixtape coming soon with my DJ, DJ Bad Tha Problem (proceeding the album release). I am working on a Certified Nation Entertainment collab project with the team of artists Jae Law aka Hindrix, Pengame Classic, Chambs Taylor, Jacqui Grace, and of course Itsonlywrite. There’s also a collaborative project with Chambs Taylor titled ‘CD’ (Collateral Damage). You can catch freestyle videos I will be releasing weekly as well as working with my management team Samantha Leavell of Certified Nation and legendary Kool Rock Ski on an event, For The Culture By The Culture. I can’t leave out 2022’s Annual Hip Hop & R&B Cookout in East BK…The list goes on and on.
MJ: Wrapping up, let everyone know how they can connect with you.
City The Great: Thank you I can be found on any platform as City the Great but one of the easiest ways to link with me all in one place is on my website CertifiedNationEntertainment.com.
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