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Visit the artist athttp://www.myspace.com/ineedprogress
Make Room For Progress By P. S. Jones
Progress is a man that loves women, or at least that the vibe I get off him during our phone interview. Women like his mother and grandmother have played an important part in his journey in the music business. When I ask him the clichéd question, “When did you first fall in love with Hip Hop?” the twenty-seven year old, Massachusets native comes back with a surprising answer. “I’ve always loved music but when I was like seven, my Nana bought me this old throwback typewriter. I started writing poetry on it and that evolved into writing rhymes.” As a child, he was always getting together little music groups, writing lyrics and raps and trying to improve on the poetry he heard in school. “Like I’d take ‘Roses are red, violets are blue’ and make up a new ending to it. Then I would take give it to some girl to impress her.” But the girl that he impressed the most was his mother. Progress credits his mother with inspiring him and giving him the drive to pursue a music career. Before her passing, she kept pushing him to finish school and to make the most of his musical dreams. “I feel like my success, even if it’s a one hit wonder, is a tribute to her memory.”
Progress is not shy about promoting himself or his talent, Kanye West-style. “I call myself ‘Progress’ because that’s what I’m about and every time somebody says my name I want them to be reminded of that.” He describes his musical style as “something for everybody”. He says that he tries to stay balanced with what he puts out there. Everything from L.L. Cool J type ballads to club bangers to “dig in your booty” type songs. You can hear in his voice how hungry he is to reach people. “I’m real. I’ll look a man straight in his eyes. I’ve been through the stuff I’m talking about in my songs. I’m not one of those artists out there playing a role. I try to express myself on the mic and inspire other people to get through their own stuff.”
Like so many other artists, Progress’s music and life have been inspired by the late Tupac Shakur. “He just touched on areas other people don’t. And he didn’t just make music for the hood. You can’t just make music for the hood. The hood’s gonna be there. They’ll play your music, but they’re not the ones who buy all your cds. They barely got cable to watch your videos. I want to make music for the world. The hood. The suburbs. Your daughter. Your grandma. Your cousins. Everybody.” I ask him what artists he like to make this music with and he laughs again. “A couple. Whoever’s real and is having the most impact on the game. Kanye. NAS. Jay-Z. Keyshia Cole. I mean, she looks like she’s real. She looks like she might be on somebody’s corner somewhere going through the same struggle that the rest of us are. You can hear it in her voice that’s she real.” He pauses for a moment and then blurts out, “Really, I wanna get to the point where other artists are calling me up, saying that they wanna work with me.”
“Hip Hop is constantly changing and evolving,” Progress says when we start talking about the future of Hip Hop. “For a while there it was all gansta rap coming out of the East Coast and now all you hear is the South taking over.” It’s obvious that he’s not afraid of the ever changing element of Hip Hop. “That’s what I’m what I’m about. That’s what Hip Hop is about. Constantly making progress. We need to let Hip Hop grow and we can only do that if we continue to grow, as artists.” Still, he makes it clear that he knows who his and that he isn’t moved by trends and “what’s hot”. “Like my producers sometime say ‘Oh you gotta do this. You need to do that. This is hot.’ I’m like ‘No. I’m what’s hot. I’m what’s new’.” Progress is the type of artist that wants to always be expanding his music and his brand. He talks about “not having any shame” in working with artists outside his genre. Country. Pop. Rock. As long as the music is good, he’s willing to try it. It’s only natural for Hip Hop artists to branch out into other things, like clothing lines, perfume and movie projects. “That’s one of the reasons I love Master P. ‘Cause he had a phone company and everything else. If you can take your money and expand into other areas, why wouldn’t you? Take over the world if you can.”
Progress’s definition of himself is simple. “Blessed,” he says. “God first and everything else comes after.” He’s grateful what he has and what he’s been able to do so far. But he knows that there is so much more out there for him. “I was born with this spark in me. People can see my spirit. It’s automatic. They can tell that I’m real. Genuine. I do this because I love this. I have fun with my music. I have passion for it and I’m not gonna stop until I get there.”