Pretty Boy Reda: Philly's New Young Gunner

Getting a co-sign by The Roots is one thing, but performing at their annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia is another. For Pretty Boy Reda, he has both of these notches secured tightly on his belt, and he’s looking for ways to gain the support he needs from the listeners to take his career from one […]

Getting a co-sign by The Roots is one thing, but performing at their annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia is another. For Pretty Boy Reda, he has both of these notches secured tightly on his belt, and he’s looking for ways to gain the support he needs from the listeners to take his career from one level to the next. Case in point, he performed on one of the same stages as Yelawolf, Mac Miller, and The Roots this past summer at the Picnic, and has his sights set on both meeting and exceeding his goals for the upcoming year. spoke to the Philadelphia spitter briefly before the New Year to talk about his city’s Hip-Hop scene, his most recent project, Shoot 4 Da Starz, and how he plans to expand his career and success to new heights in 2012: First off, I want to ask you about Philly. An artist like Meek Mill has had great success in the past year, and on an even larger scale, The Roots are some of the most consistent guys in the industry. Being that you are from Philadelphia, I’m curious what your thoughts are on your city’s current Hip-Hop scene.

Pretty Boy Reda: I think it’s coming back, I definitely do. Everybody should understand that this city has one of the best rappers ever in the game, Black Thought, and my man Meek is holding it down for sure. He’s been opening up doors for a lot of us younger artists and has inspired us to keep our eyes open and know that anything is possible. So I definitely think that the eyes are back on Philly again. I don’t want people to say that I sound like Peedi Crakk, or Beanie Sigel, or Black Thought. I want people to see the influences in my music, but not every artist from here sounds the same, and I think that a lot of eyes are back on us right now. So you released Shoot 4 Da Starz in October. How has the response been to, what you call, one of your most personal projects?

Pretty Boy Reda: It’s been good, very good. We put out the CD in October and have been getting good results and good feedback from it. We’ve actually been talking to Julius Garcia at Sony/RCA, and since then I’ve been performing all over. I’m also in the studio currently working on my new mixtape. I’ve just been developing man, trying to develop some new music, and further develop my style. Was there an overall concept for Shoot 4 Da Starz, or was it just a collection of some of your best work up to the point of its release?

Pretty Boy Reda: Yeah, it was. It was a very inspirational thing. Shoot 4 Da Starz is not just a title; it’s the way that I live life. Every song tells my story a little bit differently. It’s all about my story and my experiences. Is there a personal favorite on there that you would want people to listen to as a good introduction to you?

Pretty Boy Reda: Well, of course I want people to hear the entire thing, but I’d have to say “Glory” is one of my favorite joints. That’s the first song on there, and it has my Mom on it telling me to “wake up.” I also got my uncle on the tape who gave me a real inspirational drop on the CD. That was very special to me because it came from his heart. I was 100 percent hands-on with the project even when I was doing shows and going through my own personal stuff, too, so that’s why I love it so much. Let me ask you about a couple of other tracks on there. What can you tell me about “The Ghost of Rasheed”?

Pretty Boy Reda: Rasheed is a good friend of mine who passed a couple of years ago. We used to be partners in this rap group called The Under Doggz, and when I heard Jay Electronica’s “Ghost of Christopher Wallace,” I took that as, since Rasheed isn’t here right now, I wanted a way for him to further live through my music. I just wanted to give that feeling that he’s still in the building with us and he’s still with us in spirit. That’s where “Ghost” came from. The next song is actually my favorite from the mixtape. Tell me about “Moment of Honesty.”

Pretty Boy Reda: That’s just real rap from the first line to the last. It’s me Reda, this is my moment of honesty, and it’s what everybody has been waiting to see and hear from me. A lot of people just heard “Levi’s” wanted something more lyrical from me and that’s what is perfect about “Moment of Honesty.” It’s a moment for me and my career, where I’ve been, and where I’m trying to take things in the future. I also noticed that about 90 percent of Shoot 4 Da Starz features original production, so tell me about your process for choosing what beat to use and when.

Pretty Boy Reda: Well, I was dealing with a couple of my guys, Manny Wit Da Beat, Sam Greenberg, Kid Genius, and I knew that I wanted to make my own songs and not rap over anybody else’s beat. I wanted to show you why I am should be a top artist, so when I picked the production, I tried to stay away from Southern beats and wanted to find something that matched with exactly the kind of music that I make. What else do you want people to know about the project?

Pretty Boy Reda: It’s the perfect way to see who I am and what I’m about. It’s a great project, and it’s very mature lyrically. You’ve ultimately ended 2011 on a high note with the release of Shoot 4 Da Starz, but what do you have planned to continue the buzz and growth in 2012?

Pretty Boy Reda: A ton of live performances in a city near you soon. Definitely going to be putting in even more work next year; heading back to the studio. I’m working on The Leadership right now, which is the next project. The weekly video blogs have been a big hit, so [I’m] going to keep that going so people can still get to see the day-to-day of what I’m doing. We’re going to be dropping more videos, and you’re definitely going to be hearing more songs. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be around bringing you more heat. That sounds good to me. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have coming up next, and congratulations on the success of Starz.

Pretty Boy Reda: I appreciate that. Thank you.

Download “Pretty Boy Reda – Shoot 4 Da Starz” Now HERE!

Follow Pretty Boy Reda On Twitter: @PrettyBoyReda