Exclusive: Trademark Da Skydiver points to his growth on "Flamingo Barnes 2" and lessons learned while watching Curren$y's monthly mixtape run.
On November 19, 2013 Trademark Da Skydiver digitally released Flamingo Barnes 2: Mingo Royale. The New Orleans product spent extensive time as a member of Curren$y’s Jets collective, but by the fall of 2013, fellow Jets member Young Roddy was on a solo tour while Trademark found himself partnering with iHipHop distribution for an iTunes release of his latest product.
“It’s kind of like you have a blueprint for what you need to do in this game in order to be successful,” Trademark said of witnessing Spitta’s monthly mixtape run. “It happened right in front of our faces. It’s just taking that on top of your own knowledge, your own niche and creativity and just doing what you need to do in order to be successful.”
“The Super Villain” says he’s sure the Jets will reconnect when they’re done building up their individual brands to make music again. In the meantime, Trademark his handling his business. He’s signed Blizz to his own imprint, looking to tour and hoping to showcase his versatility behind the microphone now that he has an expanded platform.
Trademark Da Skydiver Says Flamingo Barnes Shows His Versatility
HipHopDX: Let’s start off with something familiar. On “Rite Nah,” you said, “On the come up, getting my funds up, bitch my time is now, right now…” Can you talk about that line and the general idea of “Flamingo Barnes?”
Trademark Da Skydiver: I’m always doing some come up shit. I believe everybody should be working towards whatever goal they trying to achieve. Do it now. You’ve been planning all your life, and too many people take too much time off planning and putting shit together when it just needs to be action. That’s what that line is about…just action. It’s time for action. Flamingo Barnes—just the project as a whole—is showing versatility. It’s showing I can do multiple things, and I can come from multiple angles. I have multiple ideas. It’s just me putting my ideas into reality.
DX: How much do Trademark and Flamingo Barnes go hand in hand? Or this is a new persona much more true to yourself?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Nah, it’s a persona that’s me now. Me being with the Jets for so long, we kept up a particular persona. We had a particular style that we created, and we was true to that. In everybody’s career there comes a time to try different things, trials and ideas that you’ve been sitting on that you weren’t able to try, because everything was such a group effort. You never wanna push the team aside for your own personal things, but it just comes a time to when it’s time to do that. It’s time to give it a shot and see what you can do on your own.
DX: With this new solo persona, where does that leave Trademark Da Skydiver in terms of Jet Life?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Everything is cool. Jet Life is fam, and it’ll always be fam. I’m there whenever needed, when it’s time for us to do Jets, we’ll do Jets. In the meantime, I’m just focused on Trademark and what I need to do. I have a label that I need to get off the ground. I’ve been having this label, sitting on it. So it’s time for me to just run my business.
DX: So are you representing other artists on this label?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Yeah, I have an artist featured on the project right now named Blizz. I have a song with him, the “Million $ Man” joint. He was on the Above The Clouds compilation, and he doing numbers, so everything’s good. He’s making noise right now with little or no promotion, ‘cause we were focused on the Flamingo Barnes joint. He’s promising. I gotta take care of my business. I have business out there that just lingering, and I can’t have that.
DX: Tracks on the album, “Doin’ Me” and “Best Believe” address haters and fake people. How much of this album was a reaction to real life situations?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Everything in art is a reaction to real life situations as it pertains to me. I mean, we all go through things in life, and we may touch on it immediately, or we may touch on it later on in life. Whenever the time is right. It wasn’t said to be guided to anybody directly. It wasn’t no shit like that. It was just me speaking on general situations. Everybody encounters haters, and everybody encounters people telling ‘em what they can and what they can’t do. I was pretty much just speaking on that, and everybody can relate to that. I’m more than sure everybody has dealt with that once or twice in they lifetime.
How Trademark Used Features To Boost His Brand As A Soloist
DX: You talked about your artist being featured, but you’ve also got some other major features, Smoke DZA, Spitta, but also a lot of new artists like Dizzy Wright, Bodega Bamz and Domo Genesis. How were those experiences?
Trademark Da Skydiver: It was dope. Shout out to everybody that participated in the project, because it was all love. It was kosher. I’ve been rockin’ with Domo, and we got a mutual homie through Smoke DZA and shit. That’s how I made that part with him. Ben T brought out the homie Dizzy Wright; he had a connection through him…through a label. It’s just about getting out and making that connection. Real recognize real.
DX: This is the second installment to the series, are you already planning a part three?
Trademark Da Skydiver: We’ll see where it goes. Like I said, I’m always working on new things, and I always have ideas. If the timing is right, we’ll go ahead and put it out, and if not, we’ll try a new thing. It just never stops, because your brain is always working. We always coming out with new things. I think it’s just really about putting things out there and not really trying to hone in on one particular thing. Just show your range, and give people a wide variety of music to choose from.
DX: Are you thinking about venturing into any other styles or fusions of genres?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Not really. I wouldn’t even consider Flamingo Barnes to be any type of particular genre. It’s just what I created; it’s just what I was feeling at the time. A lot of people like to say it have a trap sound because of the particular types of beats. They don’t really know how to classify the beats. So whenever you hear something with an 808 in it and some snares, you just automatically call it trap music, which is crazy, ‘cause trap music is music about the trap. So I don’t understand how people can even compare it to trap music. But I listen to trap music. I listen to all different types of music, so it’s all good with me. Whatever people feel comfortable listening to it, whatever genre they need to put it in, that’s fine with me. I just call it the Flamingo Barnes genre.
DX: That’s what’s up. You seem to know a lot about production; have you ever dabbled in that or thought about going down that road?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Actually, maybe like a couple months ago, I probably took two or three weeks to try dip and dabble into it. And it’s not as easy as you think.
DX: Yeah, I definitely don’t think it’s easy.
Trademark Da Skydiver: It’s not easy, you be like, “Yo, I’m about to download this, make this beat and make what I hear in my head,” and it don’t work like that. It really made me appreciate people who go hard in production every day and actually create the foundation for me to lay down my work.
Trademark Points To Lessons Learned Working With Curren$y
DX: “No Sleep” was another big single for you featuring the Jet Life members. Can we expect another full joint project soon?
Trademark Da Skydiver: I mean everybody’s kinda doing they thing, trying to find they way and trying to put they self on the map. But when the timing is right, I’m more than sure of it. Definitely be on the lookout for that. But I just think that right now everybody’s trying to big themselves up and to make the Jet brand and the Jet Life family even more. We’ll see. I’m more than sure it’ll happen if it makes sense and the timing is right. We’ll just have to see what everybody’s doing. It’s so many moving parts and so many artists. So to kind of get everybody together on the same page and focus on that, we’ll see what’s good.
DX: How does it feel to have been a member of the Jets since Curren$y first did his monthly mixtape run up until to now, when the crew is seeing more success?
Trademark Da Skydiver: It’s a great feeling to be a part of that, to see it happen, to witness it. It’s tight. It’s kind of like you have a blueprint for what you need to do in this game in order to be successful. It happened right in front of our faces. It’s just taking that on top of your own knowledge, your own niche and creativity and just doing what you need to do in order to be successful. You firsthand seen the do’s and don’ts. You seen what work and what doesn’t work on a much bigger scale, on a level that you trying to be on. I think it’s great, and it’s a hell of a start.
DX: Were there any groundbreaking records for you or projects or studio sessions, where you were like, “This rapping thing is about to happen, or this music is really inspiring?”
Trademark Da Skydiver: I’m the type of individual where I like to keep my head down and stay working. I like to stay busy, and I don’t like to get ahead of myself, because everything I do, I feel like is the shit. That’s just how I feel, but at the end of the day, it’s not up to you. It’s up to the audience you’re trying to appeal to. It’s up to the fans to decide what’s hot and what’s not. I never get into the zone to where I’m like, “This is the shit that’s gonna win everybody over.” I stay away from that and just focus on what I do—what I’m good at—keep my head down, and just keep moving forward. I stay busy and stay working.
DX: In the “No Sleep” interview, you talked about missing a lot of opportunities growing up. Can you elaborate on that?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Well, growing up in New Orleans is tough no matter what part of New Orleans you’re from. I mean just anywhere growing up is tough as a youngin’. You kinda get caught up in shit that don’t matter. But you think it matter right there in that moment. I could have been rapping and pursuing my dreams, but I was caught up in doing other things. I wasn’t no d-boy, and I wasn’t on the block slingin’ bricks. But I was mischievous, and I was into other shit like pilling up cars…just take your whole car and would try to sell it type shit. That was many, many, many moons ago…a long time ago. I been off that for a minute, and ain’t no need for us to speak on that. I don’t even need to glorify that. But just growing up, you miss out on so many things because you think what you doing at the time is what you need to be doing. If I could just go back and work on my craft [at the ages of] 11, 12, 13, it would just been a different thing. But I don’t regret anything I went through in life, because it made me the man I am today. So I’m not even trippin’ off that. It’s all good.
How Trademark Was Influenced By His Cousin & Method Man’s “Tical 2000”
DX: How did you get out of that and into rapping?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Just being a fan of it. Since like eight or nine-years-old. I had a cousin that was in the navy, ‘cause growing up in New Orleans—especially back then—all you’re exposed to was New Orleans music. Maybe outside of New Orleans music, I mean we knew about 8Ball and UGK. But all that was rockin’ in people’s cars was No Limit and Cash Money when everybody was still local and on they come up. My cousin put me on to Wu-Tang Clan early, as a youngin’. Just listening to that, getting older and peepin’ shit out, I was like, “Yo, let me try my hand at that.” Ever since the first song I wrote, I just knew this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
DX: It just felt right.
Trademark Da Skydiver: It just felt right. So I was just like, “Word. This what it is.”
DX: At what age did you start writing?
Trademark Da Skydiver: I would say around like 15.
DX: You talked about Wu-Tang, but did mostly New Orleans rappers really influence your sound?
Trademark Da Skydiver: During the time it was more of a New York influence, because at a point in time, that was all I was listening to. I mean, you can’t escape the sound of your city, because it’s everywhere you go. I’m not saying I was trying to escape it, but kind of a mixture of everything that I was on the time. It was really when Method Man dropped that Tical 2000: Judgment Day. That shit really inspired me to pick up the pencil, try to write something and put something together. That was the particular project that did it for me.
DX: That’s dope that you remember that. Getting back to Flamingo Barnes, is there a Flamingo Barnes tour in your future?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Yeah for sure. We trying to put it together at the beginning of this year. We trying to get out around like March and we’ll see what’s good. We’re trying to hit every city and Canada too. Everything is in the works right now, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.
DX: Issue #1 was your debut mixtape, and since then you’ve released music under several guises. Do you still connect with your Super Villain and Trademark Da Skydiver music?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Yeah, for sure. It’s a part of me. It’s not gonna ever leave, but you also have to make room for new things to blossom. You kinda have to just mix it all up, take the best parts from everything and put that together with the new sound you’re trying to do. You put it out there and see what it does. That’s what I like to do, personally.
DX: In the Rap world, where most claim kings, why use the alias “The Super Villian?”
Trademark Da Skydiver: Just because of my persona, the way I come off and my past as well. That’s just the way that I feel. It’s kinda like a “me against the world” type feeling. You just go through so much—people telling you what you can and can’t do—and they want you to do this and that. But you wind up doing what you wanna do. So it kind of makes you feel like the villain out of everybody who’s trying to get you to do one thing, and you doing another thing. It’s just that rebellious spirit that’s in everybody…just letting it come out, and let people know I don’t really care about how you feel about this or that. I’m gonna do me and that’s that.