Seth Robertson (stage name: Degenerate) is a rapper and musician from Memphis, Tennessee and founder of the rap/rock/metal one-man band No*Class Inc. We had a chance to sit down with Seth and talk about his career in music and love of all things JNCO.
How did you get into music?
Well, I grew up on so many different genres of music. Classic, tribal, classic rock, old school punk, hardcore, rap, metal, hip hop and so on. I was always a good creative writer. I was in all these different writing classes all throughout my school years. It taught me about audience and how to engage, relate and connect.
I found my favorite music in the underground and heard all the rags-to-riches stories which, all of sudden, made it seem possible for me to do it. I started out just writing rap. Where I worked, a lot of my co-workers were in the rap game so we would step cipher all through our shifts. After that, I got into the local scene as kind of a stage crew person.
I was always busting out these hyper flows hoping to catch a crumb. That never happened, but I did learn a great deal of the business and marketing side. Me and a couple guys had a band for about a week and recorded one song. I sent it out to SRH and they actually liked it, but we ended up splitting because one had a family and the other was in way over his head selling dope.
A few years passed along with a lot of crazy shit happening in my life. I was able to hustle up enough for a multi-track digital studio console and a keyboard. I just stared blankly at this equipment for the longest, but I watched a few tutorials on YouTube then went to work. Three days later I had produced my first complete song. I ended up getting a guitar down the road and taught myself to play because I loved the rap/rock mixture.
My mom bumped into one of her childhood friends at the casino one night and invited him and his wife over for dinner. Her friend ended up being B.B. Cunningham Jr. He was the bass player for The Hombres in the late 60s with multiple Gold and Silver songs and albums. He wrote “Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out),” and played with Ronny and the Daytonas. After that he had been playing bass for Jerry Lee Lewis for the last 15 years. My mom played my stuff for him and he just cracked a huge smile and said, “you definitely got it, now the question is how bad do you want it?” After that, I hit the ground running.
What’s your go-to equipment?
I’m still new to all the digital stuff, but quickly learning. I play both lead and rhythm guitar, bass, piano, turntables and drums a little. I employ a lot of tools. I have three laptops (one for MPC Studio Pro, native instruments and a few samplers, one for all my image-line plug-ins and VSTs and one for my DJ software). Then I have five tables (one dedicated to G-Stompher, SPC, FL Mobile and oscillators, one for Caustic, Oscillab and Audio Pro and the others and just miscellaneous sounds and samples). I also use touchscreen apps like Drum Loops 24, Drum Pads 24, sequencers and sound processing.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I don’t listen to too much outside music anymore because it can creep into your subconscious and then into your sound, but I have a few I listen to: Dead Celebrity Status, Hatebreed, Throwdown, Blue Felix, Swollen Members, Yo Gotti, 1AD7, Crown of Thornz, Danny Diablo, Mower, Potluck, Necro, Non Phixion, Killswitch Engage, Dirty Wormz, Hed PE, T.S.O.L., Corporate Avengers, Dirtfedd, Twiztid – basically whatever sounds good.
If you had one piece of advice for a young person looking to break into the music business, what would it be?
YOU TRYING TO CALL ME OLD???? Actually there are a few things: those million-dollar record deals do not exist anymore. LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!!! Don’t be reliant on just one thing. Be as self-sufficient as possible. Not everyone is going to like your music, but that is just the opinion of a few out of the billions of people on the planet. Don’t let a negative comment decide your fate. And the biggest one: STAY HUMBLE!! No one likes an egotistical dickhead.
What are your goals for 2016?
To keep learning, exploring, experimenting, cranking out music, to be heard by anyone who is willing to listen and to let people know that the only things that are truly impossible are the things you don’t try because of the obstacles.
Tell us about your band. Any exciting upcoming shows, new material in the works?
At the moment, I’m a one-man band (not by choice), so I started a few projects. I have finished my self-titled debut for No*Class Inc. All that is left is to acquire the funds to get it mixed and mastered. I am halfway into my Degenerate solo EP called The Successful Failure. It is about five tracks of personal stuff that I’ve done and gone through in this crazy life.
Me and my homie Krazy A started a side project called Kollision Kourse that we are on the verge of finishing. He has already released a few albums that can be found on any site that sells music.
As far as shows, I get overlooked so I acquired my own PA system and can now put myself on stage. If someone called me right now and said “we need you to fill a slot,” I can be there within thirty minutes and be set up. 2015 was a rough year for me. A lot of aggravation and disappointment, but I stuck it out and now things are starting to look up. I’m always experimenting (sometimes for three or four days straight with no sleep). With my newly acquired knowledge of the digital world and software, you’ll never know what to expect.
My music is easy to find and free to download:
What do you like best about JNCO?
The biggest one is that they came back. I love the Half Pipes and Smoke Stacks because they are a little more on the urban side and HELLA comfortable. They have the best customer service I have ever seen in my life. They actually listen and response super quick whereas with other companies it may take a month before you hear back. To put it simply, they actually give a shit about their customers. My third order will be here Saturday!
How does JNCO align with your lifestyle?
In every way possible. It’s all about individuality and originality. They aren’t a fad or a gimmick. Hell, they revolutionized the whole 90s culture. The style is making a comeback just like the rock/rap genre and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Why does JNCO work so well for on-stage clothing?
That depends on the genre. Now, to me, it’s because JNCO has that gritty street vibe. Just that super raw DGAF look.
Why do you think there’s a demand for 90s fashion again?
Many people say otherwise, but I think deep down there is. I look around today and can’t help but think “what the hell are y’all smoking?” sagging tight ass jeans, rappers just mumbling shit and everyone loving it, the list goes on. But yes, I think there is a demand most definitely.
What’s your favorite JNCO product?
Another tough one to answer. I love the plain Crown tees and I REALLY love the Smoke Stacks and Half Pipes. I like the super dope designs they come up with.
Would you recommend JNCO to others?
HELL YES!! As a matter of fact, I have been blasting JNCO ads all over the internet. I do it just like my music, I push it any and everywhere I can.
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