An Interview With Change
BigSto: First of all Change it’s an honor interview and thank you for stopping by.
Change: Thanks for having me homie, I appreciate the coverage and you helping spread the word about real hip-hop.
BigSto: So for listeners who are out of the loop with Change give them a little background on yourself, and just because I’m curious how did you come up with the name Change?
Change: Haha! I get asked that question a lot, believe it or not. But anyway, my last name is Penney, like the department store, not the coin… And growing up, cats used to call me Chump Change because of my last name. It just stuck… so when I started rhyming, I decided to just go with Change since I’d been known by that for years. As for some background on me… Well, I’ve released 2 official LP’s (Tuesday Mournings 05′, Same As It Never Was 07′) one unofficial and unavailable LP (Poetik Skripturez 03′) a couple of mixtapes, and two official EP’s (Penny for Your Thoughts 06′, The Stimulus Plan 09′).
BigSto: What motivates the music that you write (whether it’s musical, spiritual or other people in your life)?
Change: Different things inspire different songs. Nine times out of ten, it’s my own life experiences. Other times it’s experiences I’ve witnessed my friends or family go through. But 100% of what I write comes from personal observation of that topic or situation. I’m a firm believer in being real on the mic. Fans know when artists lie about who they are, their backgrounds, etc… Why try to be something you’re not? Just be real with it, and people will feel you.
BigSto: I’m gonna take a stab and say that God plays a big part in your music, how does your life with Christ and just life in general translate to what you put into your music.
Change: I grew up in church, from the time I was a few months old. So God has always been a part of my life, even when I didn’t want anything to do with Him. But over the last 10 years, I’ve done by best to be dedicated to Him, and minister to other people through my music. Not necessarily by quoting scripture or dropping Jesus 100 times per verse… but by relating to people right where they are. In their struggles, in their sin, and let em know there’s a better way.
BigSto: Now I believe the best quality that you have as an emcee is your ability to relate so closely to the listener, exactly how are you able to do this?
Change: Honestly, I don’t really know. I’d love to give you some elaborate answer on how I’ve studied human thought patterns and how certain words evoke emotions in people and it allows me to craft stories that people can relate to… But I’d be lying… haha! I just write from the heart, man. I wear my heart on my sleeve, when you listen to my music, you’ll feel what I feel. Whether it’s anger, sorrow, depression, whatever… I just try to paint my emotions with words. Sometimes it works.
BigSto: The Stimulus Plan at least in my eyes was taking the hard-hitting lyrics and dark production of “Savior” from Same As It Never Was and taking it to another level, with more hard-hitting lyrics and even darker beats. How did the idea for The Stimulus Plan come about?
Change: The idea came from me being fed up with everyone and their mom releasing mixtapes and free downloads, and 99% of what was available was garbage. B-Sides from peoples albums and lackluster production. Or people using mainstream beats and what not. Couple that with the economic strife that’s been going on in this country the last few years, and all the talk about Obama’s stimulus plan… I thought it would be a good idea to put out a project free to the fans, with my most current and best work. Have some top notch guest appearances, and give people something that was actually worth the time it took to download.
BigSto: I know I’m jumping around a bit but how did you and Anno Domini get together to handle to make most of this album and why did you choose the dark sound to accompany the lyrics that you used for this album?
Change:Anno Domini is actually a production team of 5 or 6 different producers. One of them goes by the name Anno Domini, and he’s based in the UK. We met up online a few years ago when I heard some of his beats, and decided to contact him about doing some production for my Same As It Never Was LP. He ended up doing a few tracks for the album, Real Lyricists, Savior, For the Money, and She Sings were all handled by his production team. So when I started on The Stimulus Plan, I went right back to them and copped some fresh new stuff. I’m drawn to production that’s dark as it evokes certain emotions in me, and I’m at my best when I’m telling stories, so naturally I chose beats to suit that. These dudes make serious bangers on the emotional tip, and I love what they do.
BigSto: When someone is done listening to your music what should the listener feel about Change the artist and how should they feel about life in general?
Change: I hope they feel that life, as depressing and horrible that it can be at times, is a journey that when taken in step with God, can be much better. Not necessarily easier, because being a Christian isn’t easy at all. But better knowing that God has you, and He’s promised to take care of you no matter what, if you follow Him. As for me… I hope they feel I’m real. I hope they know that I won’t lie or spit something to gain exposure or fame. That I’m that dude who lives down the block from you, and is going through the same stuff you are. Life happens to everyone, I just choose to write songs about it.
BigSto: So who were your favorite musical artists growing up? And what do you listen now?
Change: Growing up, hands down it was Bone Thugs N Harmony. I was already a huge rap fan, but when they came on the scene when I was in High School, it was like the world of rap stepped into a new realm. I was a huge Bone head. I was also really into Pac, BIG, Dre and Snoop, etc… You name em, I was probably vibing to them at some point. From backpack rap to hardcore stuff, I was into it. Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde was one of my all time favorites, and so was The Chronic. I was all over the map. Now days, I don’t listen to anything most of the time. Running a studio, and handling the mixing and mastering for so many artists, I don’t really care to listen to much stuff outside of the studio. I’m a sports radio kind of guy these days. Like, I haven’t even heard Braille’s last two albums, and I couldn’t tell you what songs were on them. It’s not that I don’t like his stuff, I think Braille’s dope… I just don’t have a lot of time to listen to music outside of the studio.
BigSto:With our economy not being the best right now, The Stimulus Plan was a very fitting name for what’s happening right now. What message are you trying to convey with this EP?
Change: It’s obviously a play off Obama’s Stimulus Plan for the economy, but it’s also more than that.
1. It’s free, so I’m helping you to stimulate the economy by spending your hard earned cash somewhere else.
2. I’m stimulating your mind with thought provoking and challenging lyrics.
3. I hope I’m stimulating your spirit man to become closer to God, or connect with Him for the first time if you haven’t yet.
BigSto: Now that The Stimulus Plan is released and finished what is next on Change’s agenda, could we see a full LP anytime soon?
Change: Another LP is in the future, but right now I’m just doing it because I love it. I don’t want to worry about budgets and sales figures, demographics and marketing, etc… So I plan on working on another EP to release later this year, maybe in the fall. In the mean time, people can cop my latest LP “Same As It Never Was” on iTunes, Sphere, Amazon, etc…
BigSto: Besides pounding mikes what else does Change like to do in his spare time?
Change: I’m a father, so I spend a ton of time with my son. But outside of that, I’m a youth leader at my church, I also help run the multimedia and sound department at my church. Plus, whenever I get the time, I love jumping on my motorcycle and taking off for a day of riding. It brings a real sense of calm and freedom.
BigSto: Okay Change thank you so much for stopping by it’s been a pleasure being able to interview you. Anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
Change: Thanks again, fam. I appreciate you taking the time. I hate to self promote, but please cop the last LP “Same As It Never Was” from my website http://www.changehiphop.com or http://www.sphereofhiphopstore.com or iTunes, or somewhere, just go cop it! And I appreciate everyone downloading “The Stimulus Plan” and I hope you all enjoy it.