Wool Street Journal talks with NC.State.Of.Mind about “The Hill”, Real Life Experiences, American Artistry in Italy and Evolution.
Meeting Wool is like meeting humility. You get the feeling that Wool is what 50cent could have been if he wasn’t trying to out sing JaRule and paint himself upon the pop charts. Yeah the tatoo’s and the muscles are there and definitely Wool’s catalog of songs include the gangsta metaphors we associate with rap. Yet there remains the quiet intensity. Reaffirming what I always thought about him and what alot of people from VA to Naples may already know. Vernon Woolridge, 27 years old, from the East End of Richmond Virgina is the definition of Ambition. Real men do not need to brag. In fact, real men often find the bragging man distasteful. According to this poll, Woolridge grew up in the 10th most dangerous neighborhood in the United States. I guess that's why I found doing my first interview with Wool was so satisfying.
NC.State.Of.Mind: So to begin our interview, How long have you been living in Naples?
Vernon Woolridge: I been in Naples since 13 October 2008.
NC.State.Of.Mind: How long have you been pursuing music and when did you start?
Vernon Woolridge: I've been a hard core fan of hip hop since 5th grade (1994). That's when I did my first talent show at Fairfield Elementary School.
NC.State.Of.Mind: Who is your inspiration?
Vernon Woolridge: My best friend Nygel Jones aka "GoHard" has had the most major impact on my music. He motivated me and gave me the courage to chase my dream. My inspirations are my 2 kids, Zaria & Zion Woolridge.
NC.State.Of.Mind: Are the things you’ve seen growing up in Church Hill reflected in your music, and has your music evolved since your move to Europe?
Vernon Woolridge: Growing up in Church Hill made me the man that I am today. I have seen it all, and been through it all... There's nothing, no man can tell me about struggling. Church Hill has taught me the value of a dollar, because me and my family grew up poor. I sometimes feel like the chosen one, because I survived it.. Ninety percent of my music is based on real life experiences from "Da HILL". If it aint something I actually went through, it's something that i witnessed first hand. One thing about my music, EVERYTHING IS REAL... By me being disconnected from home, my musical range has evolved because im seeing things that my people back at home only dream about. By me seeing these new things and living in these new environments/cultures, I’m able to rap about different topics, which is taking me outside the box of being a typical rapper from the hood.
My musical range is unlimited. I'm in the process of working on a mix-tape with an West African/Italian based artist named "G Hot". We're trying to blend the American lifestyle with Napoli swag to see how Italians react to the merge. The project is untitled at the moment...
NC.State.Of.Mind: Do you see yourself doing the euro-crossover-dance sound of artist such as Pitbull, Usher, Flo Rida?
Vernon Woolridge: On my latest mix-tape "Confessions Of A Sinner", I experimented with the Flo Rida type crossover/dance sound on the song "Are You Coming Tonight". I made that radio friendly song with the Italian club scene in mind. I performed the track at "Kilimandjaro Disco Club" (Downtown Naples) and the Italians received it well.
NC.State.Of.Mind: The hip hop scene in Naples has its up and downs. How does that affect you the artist, trying to remain sharp?
Vernon Woolridge: Honestly, being an artist in Naples can stagnate your growth. When performing, I cant get an accurate reading/feedback, because I don't know if the Italians are really feeling the music (lyrics), or if they are just feeling the beat. As for stateside, the audience will tell you if you have a hit or not... I find myself getting lyrical analysis from Americans because I know they understand how the Hip Hop scene really is. Not saying that Italians don't, but since all of my songs are inspired by the American culture, I'm more likely to take American criticism over Italians.
NC.State.Of.Mind: So what does the American artist need to survive the Italian Hip Hop scene?
Vernon Woolridge: Instead of just feeding off their energy in the club, the american artist need to interact with the Italians in a different environment. Survey them on what can be done to make the music more relatable to them.
NC.State.Of.Mind: Tell me about your video “Whats Jumping Brah” and how I can sample some of your music.
Vernon Woolridge: "Whats Jumpin Brah" was my first official music video. It was filmed by ALASKO. I came up with the treatment myself. As previously mentioned, I have been disconnected from home. So I wanted to show them (Church Hill) that I didnt forget where i came from.
My current project is the "Confessions Of A Sinner" Mix-tape. To download my mix-tapes for FREE, go to www.datpiff.com/profile/gbfinest13. To listen to my music, view videos, and interact with me, go to www.reverbnation.com/woolstreetjournal
NC.State.Of.Mind: So are you enjoying your stay in Naples?
Vernon Woolridge: Yes, I have enjoyed my stay and experience in Naples. Being here has given the opportunity to take my brand to the next level.