Following his singles "Thank You", "The Man", & "How I Know", Portland rapper TOPE recently dropped his EP 'Some Things Gotta Change' after suffering a few setbacks in the process of recording the project. He also recently reached out to The DigiSpot to chop it up with us about said EP plus more. You can find out about 'Some Things Gotta Change' & other topics that were discussed below...
VannDigital: So tell us about your EP 'Some Things Gotta Change'.
TOPE: My EP, 'Some Things Gotta Change', chronicles my move from Portland and relocating to California. It's a mixture of 7 very different songs, but to me, I think they flow together pretty well. 'STGC' was originally meant to be a full-length project but after a lot of ups and downs, I decided to cut the album short and make it an EP. Most of the EP is produced by Stewart Villain with contributions from myself, Zach Strair, Farnell Newton, DJ Flip Flip, Cash Campain, and Erikka J. I feel like there's something for everyone on this project if you don't like "The Man", you'll probably like "Thank You", and so on.
I'm noticing the Portland Hip-Hop scene is starting to gain traction. As a Portland native yourself, what more do you feel can be done to help put Portland on the map???
Yeah man, Portland has been killing it. I think it's going to take the people that are doing it on a larger scale to reach back and put the scene on. Down in Oakland, you hear Nef The Pharoah's album, Caleborate's album, and half of the town is on it, but I didn't see one Portland artist on Amine's album. I think everyone is still so thirsty to make it there that a lot people will overstep you if they have the chance. Everyone wants to be the man there lol.
So, how did you get the name TOPE???
TOPE was actually my best friend's first rap name when were like 14 and when he was done with it I asked him if I could have it lol. It was actually a longer name but it's too embarrassing to explain lol. I'll just say it was when wordplay and spelling stuff "hip hop style" was really cool lol.
I remember you mentioning acting to us a while back. Would that be something you'd like to pursue professionally at some point??? Also, would there be any other profession/s you would like to pursue knowing that you already wear many hats???
Acting is something I've never even thought about doing mainly because I'm still pretty uncomfortable in front of the camera but people always tell me I should act or model, it's funny. Last year, I got an audition for this movie "Patti Cake$" which is just now coming out in theaters and I have no idea how they even found me. That would have been really cool but I was super under-qualified and I didn't really take my audition seriously. I think I read the script for an hour then gave it a shot. Looking back I wish I would have tried a little bit harder with that because that would have been a huge opportunity, but at the time I didn't know. I really want to get into photography. I need to just buy a dope camera and start shooting. I've also wanted to work behind the lens when it comes to video and film.
If you could pick any artist/s to collab with, who would they be???
That's a tough one man, there are so many really lol. Off the top of my head: Erykah Badu, BJ The Chicago Kid, SZA, Ty Dolla Sign, Terrace Martin, Pharrell, & Kanye West.
How do you feel about the current direction of Hip-Hop???
Hip-Hop is beautiful man. I love that people are saying something, I love seeing production mature, and become so musical. I think there is an artist revolution bubbling up with everything happening in the U.S. right now, a lot of people have a heavy heart and music will also be an escape and a release. There is also a lot of trash, but that's always the case. I think a lot of artists are afraid to be original. Rappers are just scared in general but people are scared to be themselves. I don't think there's ever been a time where there were so many clones out.
What plans do you have after 'Some Things Gotta Change'???
Plans for after the EP are get on the road and play some really dope shows and do some of this music live. Possibly hop over to Europe for a short tour, more details soon hopefully. And then, the plan is to get to work on another full-length project possibly produced by myself. We'll see.