God Division takes a closer look in an interview with SLC rapper Ruthless.
When it comes to the Hip Hop MC, there are many different styles an artist might choose or in some cases, even be capable of achieving to set themselves apart. Whether it is the clever approach of wit through lyrics and bars or a rhythmic style as well as cadence a rapper could use to rhyme over the beat, the combinations of creative possibilities are endless. One style, not so commonly chose by rappers due to its extremely fast paced, tongue twisting, and syllable dense output is the art of chopping. Rappers that choose this form of rhyming, have to balance style and wit at incredible speed, all while enunciating clear enough for the audience listening to follow along. This is not an easy task even for the most skilled rappers, but for the upcoming SLC rapper Ruthless, it's a lite stroll through the park.
As one third of the Salt Lake City group "The Three Wisemen", Ruthless has been growing his name and gaining big recognition through effortless chopping over tracks with true finesse. Paired with his dangerous delivery is street context and clarity which sets him apart from even the most skilled choppers in the Hip Hop industry. As listener, I truly cannot stress enough, the impeccable clarity of Ruthless when he raps at amazing speeds is something that will make your jaw drop. We had the pleasure of picking the brain of this monster and getting to know what makes him so, dare I say, ruthless.
How long have you been a hip hop artist and how would you describe your style to those that haven't heard of you?
I have been a hip hop artist since I was 16, so 24 years now. My style I would say would be a that of a chop-spitter with heavy bar content incorporated.
You're currently an SLC hip hop artist, Have you always been based out of SLC and what is your origin story?
It all began, I would say after I heard Warren G's "I Want It All" track. I couldn't wait to get on the mic and tell my story. Though I was given my name while doing a 6 year bid in Utah State prison, I have and always will be a Salt Lake artist. While locked up, my older homies used to say my style was Ruthless, so the name just fit.
"Though I was given my name while doing a 6 year bid in Utah State prison, I have and always will be a Salt Lake artist."
Tell us about other artists you work with? Do you prefer working with others or solo more? Why?
I have always enjoyed working with other artists. Its amazing to see a dope project come together with a bunch of different styles. While I am currently in the group "The Three Wisemen" with SLC veterans; BFranks the Microphone Strangla and Fitch Head; both are amazing artists, I am just now starting my first Solo project.
I do enjoying working solo at the moment. More than likely because I am enjoying the freedom of being able to do whatever I want on a track and be completely honest and vulnerable with my audience. It's an awesome feeling.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I have always been a huge fan of west coast gangster music and with out a doubt Hip Hop with that chopper bounce. Scarface was also a very big influence on me as well. Twista, 3-6 Mafia, Tech N9ne, Project Pat, Bone Thugs, Z-Ro, just to name a few. [Ruthless laughs] I could name a hundred artists.
What are some of the challenges you face in connecting with your audience currently? Why
I would say I'm old school. A lot of the morals and values (street life and code) are not what they used to be. My style and content are based on those old values. Times have changed and so have the said experiences of the listeners.
Where do you find the most success in promoting yourself? Why?
I would say hands down promoting myself is my biggest challenge. [Ruthless laughs]
I have no idea what I'm doing. I have always just spit because I loved to do so. So actually putting "boots to pavement" and promoting myself just hasn't really been my primary focus. Without a doubt Grind Mode Cypher as helped promote my ability on the microphone to a broader audience, but I could use some mentorship and guidance with promotion.
"Without a doubt Grind Mode Cypher as helped promote my ability on the microphone to a broader audience"
Being that you can mold your style to rap faster or chop on beats, what type of beats do you predominantly look for? Why?
The beats I choose for are always picked off emotion. So I would say that there is not really a style of beat. When making instrumental choices, I ask myself if it resonates with something I am going through or feeling. Whether that beat is fast or slow does not matter in the moment. I can build a verse off of any beat.
What are your thoughts on European EDM type beats like Drill and Grime being used in some of the US hits currently, and is that something you want to get more involved with in the future?
I look at it like this, I know everything, Hip Hop included, will grow, change, and adapt. The change is inevitable. As far as me being involved in that aspect, at this current point in time, I do not see myself following suit in this trend. I have nothing against the shift, just not something I see myself involved with currently.
What are your current goals and where do you want to be in 1 year and in 5 years?
At the moment one of my main goals is to get my own private studio up and running. I would love to be able to rec and work on my own music whenever. My goal right now is to get my first 12 track album finished and placed on all platforms, then promote and perform tough over the next year. Then over the next 5 years, I intend to build up my catalogue and become household name in Utah and surrounding states. This and establishing a solid crew to destroy everything we touch.
I am also enrolling in the Berkley School of Music. Finishing the course will help to facilitate my goals.
What are you currently working on? And what should fans look out for?
I just finished up our first 3 Wisemen EP. It is in the process of being mixed and mastered by the talented Mike Booth. He is an amazing producer. 7 tracks of awesome Hip Hop. Like I stated before I am in the midst of putting together a 12 track solo project. There will be some features from artists that are amazing talented people. Be on lookout for Grind Mode Cypher appearances as well.
Any final thoughts you would like to share?
Just want to give a big shout out to the God Division for involving me in the upcoming Monster Barz. Respect