Exclusive Interview - Hustle Gang X Digital Native Culture Artist Translee

Devon 'Ace' Watson


Ace:  We Live and Direct with my man Translee, Grand Hustle Gang. We go way back. I’ve been rocking with this dude since the mixtapes. So what are you working on now? How’s the tour going?

Translee: Dope. I actually appreciate y'all pulling up to the venue early. As you know, in this rap game, as rappers, to make our money we gone have to tour. So for TI being the good dude that he is, to let me come on tour with him and learn and soak up game, and learn what the road life is really like, its been amazing. I just gotta really just thank God, thank my team, and thank everybody that’s been around me helping me get to this point. We just trying to take off!


Ace: How did you get into music, where did it all start?

Translee: Just a quick overview, ‘cuz y'all can definitely look up all my stuff. From Alabama, move to Atlanta with a dream. Got the team, Chris Hunter of course. Todd Marshall my producer. Digital Native Culture is our company. We partnering with Grand Hustle. TI basically heard my last project last year and said “Yo how can I help? I want to be apart of what y'all got going on.” We merged teams and now he got me out on tour with him and the whole Hustle Gang, repin' with the team. We’re just having a merging of the minds and putting it out there for the people to digest. It’s just been dope. That’s the point I'm at. I got M.A.O.T.P., Pt 1 out right now, Part 2 is on the way, probably in the next couple months. Hustle Gang album coming out soon. BOB album just came out. I did some work on that.

Ace: Shoutout to B.O.B.

Translee: Shoutout to the whole team man. Everybody's here performing Tokyo Jetz, London, Yung Booke, RaRa, Young Dro, London Jae, Trae the Truth, everybody. It’s been amazing. It’s been a wild tour. Its been some wild stuff happening. Im just living and learning.


Ace: You’ve been on Sway and a couple talk shows, what’s that like? How is that different, being in the spotlight on that national stage?

Translee: THE LIGHTS GET BRIGHT! The lights definitely get bright bruh. I come from Huntsville, Alabama where people don't really make it even as far as I’ve gotten. When I walked into Sway I never seen lights brighter than that. The studio ain’t that bright, but it’s bright when you walk in there. You know that you on this platform. Same with hearing people like Charlamagne Tha God giving me shoutouts, even when he don't have to. That right there just lets me know I'm on the right path. To be honest, it feels good, but it feels like I want more. That makes me even hungrier to get to the next step.


Ace: From the first mixtape to where you’re at now, how do you feel like you’ve grown? What do you feel like is next for you to push the envelope even further? Lyrically you’ve always been insane with it, but it’s definitely maturing.

Translee: It’s definitely working on being more vivid. I'm a big fan of Andre 3000, and he’s one of those rappers that puts you right in the seat. Right where he wants you to be. You’re sitting there. You can visualize everything. Thats how his raps are. So that’s how I'm focused on making my records. I want my visuals to get better. I just want to really put you in that place. Put you in my mindset, just for that little when you listening to my music. I do feel like it’s getting better. I don't feel like I’ll ever be happy with where I'm at. I feel like I’ll always be trying to get better.

Ace: You always said “ you don't ever want to touch that shelf” right? {chuckle}

Translee: NEVER WANT TO TOUCH THAT SHELF! Cuz that shelf is definitely out here. Trust me. Its waiting on em. They want you on that shelf.


Ace: Getting a chance to work with TI, what would you say is the biggest gain you’ve gotten from getting to interact and work with TIP on such a close level? Not only TIP, but also Dro, who is definitely a legend and vet in the game?

Translee: Dro is hilarious, dog. That’s a funny dude. They need to keep a camera on him at all times.

Translee: Really, just the hard work. TIP is a guy who will be the last one up, in the studio. We’ve had writing camps out in LA. We’re doing all this writing during the daytime, and interviews, and doing stuff into the night. It gets to two or three o’clock, people start going home. Four or Five o’clock people start going home. Seven / Eight o’clock you look up, and TIP is the only one still up. Still working on songs. He ain’t gotta ever do another song ever again the rest of his life and he good — but to still have that drive and hunger. Who am I to be talking about I'm ‘finna go to bed; because I ain’t even got half of what you done accomplished. So really, if you learn anything, you learn about example. Out of conversations, taking opportunities when they come to you. Don't miss out on opportunities. Take advantage of every opportunity.


Ace: Through all of this, you remain humble. For anyone that's looking at the lifestyle, but don't understand the grind, what advice would you give them?

Translee: Man…don’t do this! Go do something else. [chuckles] Don't do this. And the ones that still do it, you’ll figure it out. [laughter]


Ace: What advice do you have for that young up and comer who is ambitious, who is driven? That really has the heart for music. That’s not doing it for the show, but for the craft.

Translee: Keep 100 percent of yourself in your art. Never lose who you are as a person. If you’re having a bad day, talk about that in a song. No matter how good or bad something gets, as long as you can make a song about it, its good. You're still being yourself. Be you and stay you. I feel like, I'm not like anybody else who’s on Grand Hustle. Personally, I didn’t think TIP would even like my music. I think he felt me in my music. Anybody that does that, you can’t lose — from an artist standpoint. From anybody in this business, just grind everyday. Me and my homie Remo back at the crib got this thing called “5 Power Moves A Day.” Get up everyday and try to bust 5 power moves a day. No matter what they are. Even if its going to the gym. Working out is a power move. Just hit 5 of them a day and watch your life change!


Ace: How important is creative craft to you and to our culture? Shoutout to the “Culture Junky” movement.

Translee: It’s the most important. I think visually, that's what attracts people first. Before people even hear my music. Before they even hear anything, they’re looking at the artwork. Whether looking at what outfit I have on, and they’re judging based off that first, and then they're looking to get the music. That's a natural thing. We like to look at visually pleasing things. You definitely have to have your clothing game up to date. You have to have your esthetics. Even on your social media. A lot of times people try to downplay Instagram and stuff like that, but if a major label hears about you, or somebody that can change your life hears about you, the first thing that they’re going to do is go look at your Instagram. As an artist, make sure you’re keeping up all levels, and make sure that you’re conveying one message. Make sure you’re not all over the place. If you got somebody that do your flyers, make sure that one person does your flyers every time. Certain things you gotta keep going so they can know you, for that.


Ace: Ending it on a fun note, what is the craziest, wildest thing that’s happened since you guys have been on tour? I know it’s done went down! Dro has had something going on. Its been something crazy on the bus!

My craziest thing happened in D.C. One of my fans hit me and was like I'm trying to come to the show. So we got her backstage, and we’re all kicking it. I’m sure she may of had some drinks or whatever. This girl is standing up against the wall and all of a sudden drops her drink, and just starts shaking and convulsing. I’m literally thinking, she’s about to die bruh. My homie picks her up, caries her into the room and sits her down. She opens her eyes and starts laughing like its funny. She wasn’t playing, but she like temporarily blacked out or something. We had to go ahead and get her out of there. We couldn’t play them games. Other than that it’s been really great. We don't really stay in cities long. After the show we be out of there.


Ace: I definitely appreciate you sitting down with me Translee. This is family. Shoutout to Chris Hunter and the Digital Native Culture Team. Where can they find all the music? What’s your social media handles?

Translee: Chris Hunter @ChrisHunterDNC. @Translee on everything. Project already out M.A.O.T.P. Pt 1, it’s everywhere. Anywhere you can find music— iTunes, Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud. Part 2 is on the way, coming soon. The video for the song Writer, produced by Todd Marshall, with me, TIP, and B.o.B. The video is dropping soon. It’s coming out with the 2Pac movie, so stay tuned for that. Just stay tuned to everything Translee. Everything FMC. If you ain't rocking with us, where you at with it!