Brooklyn boy Josh Baze rapped his way out of the concrete jungle, and is now basking in the Hollywood limelight.
Becoming the talk of blogs virtually overnight, Josh boasts accomplishments like winning MTV's Freshman Five and working with legendary hip-hop director Hype Williams.
GlobalGrind caught up with the former Versace model to talk about his debut album Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes, working with Hype Williams, and collaborating with Deadmau5.
Check out our exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: Can you tell us a little bit about your forthcoming debut album, Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes?
Josh Baze: The album is coming out on March 20th. It’s basically a collection of many different styles and ‘approach’ for all listeners. I like to call it an all-purpose album.
It’s about tracks from family members passing, or to men and women, break ups, and just a lot of different things. Me coming from Brooklyn and California and basically my success. It has a very emotional range for everything. And it’s a different style, fresh new sound, and I can’t wait for the world to hear what I have to offer.
How do you like California compared to Brooklyn?
California, I would have to say, is more of a laid back, family place for me. I’m from New York, and New York is basically a rat race. If you look outside your window right now, I’m pretty sure everybody’s on the grind.
You worked with Hype Williams on your video ”We Made It." How was it working with him?
First of all, Hype is definitely a pioneer of hip-hop. Not even in hip-hop – in all music. Working with Hype has got to be one the biggest accomplishments. I grew up watching Hype videos, so meeting him and shaking his hand, I was living out my dreams. We found a way to go back to my Brooklyn roots, and have a reflection on my new beginning to more of a “going to Hollywood.”
That’s a kid’s dream, to make it out of wherever they’re at to Hollywood. Hollywood symbolizes success. And Hype Williams definitely made that happen for me. He definitely made my dreams come true throughout all these years. It was a blessing to work with Hype.
Tell us your “rags to riches” story? You grew up in Brooklyn and you have a bunch of siblings, right?
Yes (laughs). I have five sisters.
Are you the only boy?
Yeah, I’m the only boy.
You probably ended up giving them a lot of advice, and telling them to stay away from boys and stuff like that (laughs).
Yeah (laughs). Mostly they gave me advice, on how to treat women. Basically everything that’s on my album right now, is basically everything that they taught me, so I’m really thankful. They could be a headache sometimes, but I’m really thankful to have them in my life right now.
Where does your story begin? Take us back to Josh Baze way before the Hollywood hills and lights, and when you were just in Brooklyn hustling.
I remember, I think I was about 15, and I didn’t have a job and I didn’t really have family support. My mom wanted me to finish school and go to college. You know, basically the “safe” way to success, as every parent would want their kid to do. I remember just going on CraigsList, and at the time I was still rapping, still recording, so I would go on CraigsList and find little labor work.
If the lady up the street needed her shopping cart lifted up the stairs for like $10, I would keep doing that stuff. That was all to get equipment and build my home studio because I couldn’t afford studio time. I thought it was the smart way to build my studio so I could just roll over and record my thoughts.
I had gotten discovered in the modeling world, too. I remember walking in the streets in the city, and I got easily scouted to do a Versace campaign. That right there, basically put on the forefront of the world – the globe. And everybody knew who Josh was, but everyone was mistaken that I was a model. I really used that platform to get recognition.
I always wanted to work with Kanye West, and when I found out that my manager also worked with Kanye I contacted him. Next thing you know, like three months later, they flew me out to California to basically record two new singles, which are “Peroxide” and “Hollyhood” which are out right now on iTunes.
What’s been the hardest part about your journey?
The hardest part? Umm, all jokes aside (laughs). I’m used to eating and basically doing whatever I wanted to do. But maintaining weight loss, and having to be consistent with music, that was never really a problem, but just focusing on my health and stuff like that, it was the hardest part. So I would have to say weight loss, and basically my health and things of that nature was probably the hardest part of this journey.
For everybody who listens to High Heels & Low-Lifes, what do you want them to take away from that?
I want them to take away the story - a good story. A full story of just everything I’ve been through and everything they’re been through. I know I can connect with them in some sort of way. Like I said, it’s an all-purpose album, so there’s a song up there for everybody. I’m pretty sure of that.
You were the winner of MTV’s Freshman Five. How did that feel?
Aww, the fans. It was shocking to wake up and see that news. Definitely a blessing to wake up and see that achievement, or that win or trophy, or that chip on my shoulder.
You also worked with Deadmau5. How was that?
Yes. Ahh, man. The whole Deadmau5 experience was definitely a fun experience. I received the beat, and when I received the beat in the studio – this is probably like one of my last songs I ever recorded. Everything was played around with and it became a track. It became probably one of the hottest dance tracks out right now to be honest.
Can you tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you?
One thing that people don’t know about me, probably the five sisters. A lot of people don’t know about that, but overall, I think a lot of people don’t know my musical background - about how I really got started. My dad being a DJ and my cousins putting me in the studio since day one or how I really got started, like me battling.