If the eccentric styles of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller aren’t enough from you, Joel Kellem is a 21-year old Pittsburgh emcee, with an incredibly laid back aesthetic. The self proclaimed “Chill God” and I chopped it up about the music scene in his city, first-hand witnessing the rise of Taylor Gang and Most Dope, and the producers who Joel Kellem is dying to spit over beats from.

Joel Kellem

 

DF: How did you get started rapping?

JK: I’ve been rapping for a while now, it’s just been recently we’ve been taking it seriously. I mean when I was younger, I was 14 or 15 I was in a rap group with my boy PK.

DF: Nice, but at what point did it get serious though?

JK: Probably about a year and a half ago. I dropped my first solo project called Paper Center and put real promotion behind it and made networking decisions and all types of business moves that I thought would benefit me at a young age, because I was like 18. I ran into a couple people who were making moves around the city. They liked my style because I was different. Once that started rolling with Paper Center, then I dropped Chill God. That’s what really started making waves because I had that name.

DF: Growing up, tell me who were your influences.

JK: It always changes. Growing up, the first rappers I was really fuckin with was G-Unit. Like back in the day when they had that beef and all that going. But now I’m feeling more like the Curren$y type. I’m listening to Max B a lot too.

DF: When you come from Pittsburgh, I mean Wiz didn’t blow up until I was coming out of high school, but when you really have no authority in your city, who was your hero?

JK: I didn’t really have a hero. I just looking up to myself, trying to build myself up. Do what I wanted to do. I had nothing to look to or even get influenced by. It was just me and my homies and I saw what it was like to be a rapper. I saw the type of music and the feeling it gave people. If you can make a certain type of song, that makes people feel a certain type of way, that made me just want to keep creating music.

DF: When you talk about creating music, who right now is hot to you?

JK: Right now artist wise, I’ve been listening to my homies a lot. They have  a lot of jams. PK, Fat Corey, Dame. There are other artists I listen to, like Kodak Black is hot right now, and I like Playboy Carti too.

DF: Fill in the blank- The music scene in Pittsburgh is _______.

JK: Crazy.

DF: Why crazy?

JK: It’s crazy because it’s just so fun. But it’s a bitter-sweet feeling because the music scene is hard because it’s like crabs in a bucket. It’s a good scene to be in, but everybody wants that next spot. It’s fun though because you learn a lot and you see a lot of things. It’s a whole experience in itself. It’s bitter sweet though, definitely crazy!

DF: Now how was it being in The Burgh during the rise of Taylor Gang and Most Dope?

JK: Around that time I was still in high school. That’s when Wiz was dropping shit heavy. I was listening to that shit all the time. There was Wiz and Chevy. Chevy had that Chevy hustle and that was taking off heavy too. It was cool to see, and I saw how kids reacted to it.

DF: A good friend of mine from college and I were talking and he said Mac Miller and the  KIDS movement came out and the right time, because we were just coming out of high school and he had just graduated himself.

JK: Yea, that movement was definitely perfect.

DF: You have that whole Adult Swim vibe going, especially what you did on your Chill God mixtape. Explain what that means for the people who don’t know.

JK: Aight well, when I dropped Chill God I was thinking of ways to brand it the right way to come up with songs that will make it. My favorite shows are on adult swim.

DF: And then the segments in between with just the white letters.

JK (interrupting): Oh yeah! I tried to put that in my music videos so you can get the right aspect at the right time.

DF: With the music that’s kinda like the interludes in between there, are you into Madvillain or Flying Lotus.

JK: Flying Lotus is crazy! Madvillain’s hard but I love Flying Lotus.

DF: Man that dude makes amazing music, some of the best production I’ve ever heard. I mean he has new stuff with Kendrick but I love what he’s done with Hodgy Beats.

JK: Yeah that’s all the hard shit!

DF: Who do you wanna work with? Artists and producers.

JK: I wanna work with Curren$y, I wanna work with Ski-Beatz, I wanna work with Wiz of course. He’s in my city. I wanna work with Mac but I don’t reach out to him too much.

DF: Are they still out there by you or are do they live out here?
JK: Wiz comes back and forth, Mac be here a lot. Producer wise, I wanna get beats from Sledren. There’s an upcoming producer named Icey Twat who I wanna work with a lot. It’s a funny name but his beats are dope. Also Lord FUBU, these are all underground producers who are dope to me that make a lot of cool songs. There’s a lot of Atlanta rappers too who I like.

DF: Have you ever been to ID Labs to work with them?

JK: Yeah, I just dropped a song called Carrot Cake, and I did that down at ID Labs with DJ Afterthought.

DF: Do you have any projects on the way?

JK: Yeah but I don’t wanna talk about it, I just tell people it drops 4/20/

DF: Where can people find you at?

JK: Joelkellem.com. That’s where you can find all my music, twitter, Instagram, all the contact information you want. I keep that up to date.

DF: Last but not least Joel, is there anything else you want people to know about you?

JK: You gotta know that the chill god is the cooleset rapper you can listen to.

DF: If it wasn’t hip-hop what would you be doing?
JK: Probably beating all my friends in Madden still.

DF: I mean I’m talking about in terms of working.

JK: I gotta do something behind the scenes. I’d be doing managing. I tell people I wanna manage but they don’t see the vision.

 

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