PHOTOGRAPHY Dp Jolly

Statik Selektah’s 7th album, Lucky 7 finished with the sonogram of his daughter Harley’s heartbeat, signaling a new beginning, and symbolic end to the album assembling aspect of his career. Lucky 7 suggested that there wouldn’t be an eighth album, yet here we are.

With a tight-roped balance of finesse and griminess, 8 asserts Statik’s signature sample driven jazz influence, DJ scratches, and traditional boom bap aesthetic. The album gives listeners the pairings of established names such as Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz on tracks while sharing a track list with burgeoning acts, venerable vets, and poignant posthumous efforts from Sean Price and Prodigy. 

I knew more than a fair amount of Statik’s professional contributions going into my interview with him. As a DJ, I knew he cut his teeth as a street team promoter, later releasing mixtapes, and maintaining a mix show on Sirius Xm’s Shade 45 channel for over 10 years. I knew of the litany of artists he’s worked with—from Q-Tip to Vic Mensa; Chance The Rapper to Joey Bada$$; Action Bronson to Eminem.

Though Statik has always been among the constellation of hip-hop’s biggest stars, I always wondered why more people haven’t taken notice to Statik. Shouldn’t the work of 30 plus projects, 20-plus years of radio, and breaking countless artists before bigger platforms all be enough? 

Whether you’re listening to his music or talking to him, the answers are there. We just need to pay attention to what is actually being said instead of what we want to hear. I linked with Statik at the Williamsburg location of Sweet Chick to talk about his latest album, his new experiences as a dad, and the borough that he calls home.

You have a mural out back for your album 8. What is your relationship to Sweet Chick?
I’ve been coming here since they were discovering what to put on the menu. I was coming here before I even met the owner. Then I met John Seymour, and we got real cool. It’s to the point now where his kids come to my daughter’s birthday parties. It’s a family thing. I’ve been to all his parties.

I know Lucky 7 was supposed to be your last album. Can you tell me why you decided to come back?
I’m just on a new wave man. Being a dad, dealing with new aspects of life, gave me a new inspiration that I didn’t have before. So I just felt it was time that I put out an album.

How has the reception been so far to 8?
It has been mind-blowing. Just seeing certain outlets and certain people that never really put a spotlight on my music, and to really acknowledge feels good. Every album’s a new adventure and journey.

With over 10 years in this industry and with everything changing, where do you find this inspiration? Is it in people, is it just in creating the music?A lot of it’s from traveling. New experiences, dealing with new artists. Every year there’s a group of new artists that I really mesh with so with that comes new energy.

You’re fairly young and you’ve worked for the opportunity to call legends friends. I’ve read you used to carry crates for Kid Capri, who are some other legends that you’ve come up under?
Back in the day, I came up carrying crates for a lot of people—Chubb E. Chub, Clinton Sparks, G Spin and then through them, I met cats like Kid Capri, and Flex. As a kid, I wanted to pay dues at the time to show my respect. Obviously carrying crates ain’t a thing no more, but there’s other things that people can do now to show their respect.

You’ve spoken of a new chapter in life as a father and as a partner. What does it mean to root yourself in Brooklyn?
Being a dad in Brooklyn is dope because I’ve been living here for over ten years now. But the neighborhood I live in specifically in Williamsburg is so mixed—every kind of food, all kinds of different people. And my daughter is growing up around all this. I feel like she’s real loved. I’m blessed to be able to raise her in an area like that.

Last year, Billboard announced your new management situation with Roc Nation. What is the situation at Roc Nation and how have the last couple of months been?I’ve just been connecting the dots and making everything bigger; and really having a team to handle stuff that I had been handling by myself all these years. Now I can just focus on the music.

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