I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Dana Coppafeel is one of the hardest working people in Milwaukee Hip-Hop.
All you have to do is look at the resume of the man with the suggestive name and you will have proof of the previous statement. He’s released numerous projects, featured on numerous tracks, performed hundreds of shows, hosted tons of parties and events, brought lots of quality Hip-Hop to Milwaukee, and often goes beyond the music by designing art for other rappers, as well as custom hats, etc.
Coppa has been very busy so far this year so I thought half way through 2010 would be a good time to catch up with Dana to discuss what’s already been done and what’s to come.
So far, as a solo artist, you’ve released a well received album in Coppa’s Welfare Foods and you just dropped The Feature, a mixtape that has strung together a lot of tracks that you have been a part of over the past few years. What else do you have on tap solo wise for this year?
I’m hoping to drop a few more solo things, so to speak, this year. Maybe two EPs, possibly. I’ve been working on a project with my homie Josue (aka Da Ricanstruckta) out in Madison…we’ve been good friends for a long time. We used to be roommates and had a group together when i was living out there. So, I’ve been taking trips out there lately to record an EP with him. We are getting real close to finishing it, just a few more tracks to record, but we are taking our time with this project just to make sure everything sounds right. Hopefully we can drop it this year.
The other EP I’m working on is with Reason from 4AR. He has produced a lot of stuff for KingHell lately, and, well I’ve been talking about doing something with him since he hit me with the “Money Off The Tilt” beat. I’ve been going out to his studio to work on that and it has been real cool. We have a few tracks recorded with a few solid ideas ready to go and I hope this will be ready by the end of the year too.
We don’t really have any names ready for the projects yet. We’ll just see what we come up with as we are wrapping them up.
Last year you had a super busy group year between the KingHellBastard EP that yielded “Danger” and the House of M’s first album. This year you have both a KHB vinyl EP and an album coming out. With so any different interests, and constantly being busy with music or designing posters/promo stuff/hats/etc., how do you keep everything straight?
Honestly I don’t know. I just try to channel the person I want to be at the end of my goals and focus on that. I just do what I need to do when it’s time to do it. It’s really nothing more than that, outside of the fact I love doing all this stuff so it makes it easy.
Tell me about the KHB EP. The release is right around the corner and there are some fantastic features on the project. How did you pull all of those features together as well as decide to only release it on vinyl?
The name of the EP is Remember The Name which kind of speaks for itself. There are 8 tracks on it, which one of the songs is a remix, so actually 7 songs. Feature wise we have Sadat X of the legendary Brand Nubian, Raasahan Ahmad of Oakland’s Crown City Rockers, Stricklin of EMC, Akrobatik of the Perceptionists, and White Shadow of Norway.
Our homie Coolzey hooked us up with both Sadat X and Raasahan Ahmad. Coolzey is good friends with both of them and has toured quite often with both of them. A lot of the time, we hook up the Milwaukee shows for those tours, so through Coolzey, we were able to build relationships with both of them.
Shemp from KHB has ties to both White Shadow and Stricklin. He was in a group with White Shadow called Pizdamen and he knows Strick from the old Top Floor days before Stricklin signed to Tommy Boy. Our DJ 1L has been good friends with Akrobatik for many years now so it just seemed like the right time to utilize the connects we made over the years to throw all onto one project.
The vinyl idea was kind of my idea. Over the years I’ve dropped a few vinyl projects and always got back some great feedback about them…what I mean by that is feedback from other countries that my cd would never get touched in. I felt like with the big names on this project that we could generate some decent noise in other places that were still open to vinyl and the underground aspect of Hip-Hop. A lot of the artists that we have on this vinyl have a bigger crowd outside of the U.S. and maybe we can use that to our advantage. Nobody around here really puts out vinyl except a small group of people, and all of those people who have, have received great opportunities because of their dropping vinyl.
We are going to put out a digital copy on iTunes so that we can still get it to the people who don’t have turntables. One of the songs off the project, “Ma’waukee” is being used right now as the opening song for the Grind Time Now BrewCity BarFights series, which two of battles that are out right now from that series have about 20,000 views together. There has been some good feedback from that as well, people wondering and asking about that song, so to not get to those people on a digital format would be stupid on our part.
The release party is going to be August 21st at Mad Planet. Raashan Ahmad will be there along with a few surprises. Also, we’ll be shooting a video that weekend, teaming up with Alphabang’s own D Wood again for “I Believe”, featuring Raasahan, while he is in town just to give our project a little more push. A video for that song just seems right because 88.9 Radio Milwaukee has put that song in to regular rotation now. Everything is really coming together for this project nicely.
Earlier this year you did an interview with the Milwaukee branch of The Onion’s AV Club that caused some controversy. You took the Milwaukee media to task saying that they weren’t doing what needed to be done to seek out and support Milwaukee Hip-Hop and it really ruffled the feathers of Steve Hyden, the Editor of AV Club Milwaukee, to the point that he even wrote a blog post responding to your comments. Now that there has been a few months for all that to breathe, and the AV Club made sure to cover the release of your new mixtape, what are your thoughts on how all that went down?
The thing is I never really felt that I wasn’t getting any cover in the media and I wasn’t crying for more. I do just fine. The problem I was trying to state was that these media outlets here do a lot of recycling of names and the questions when covering local Hip-Hop in general. The funny thing is I got a lot of love from people who work at these publications, who sent me private emails, who agreed with me. Even Steve Hyden said he likes a person who is bold and honest, and that he respects me for speaking out. I think that article is part of the reason why Milwaukee UP is up and running now, am i wrong? I just didn’t want to use my time to talk about me blowing up.
I know that you and your fellow KHB’ers are playing a tour for the late summer/early fall. How is all that coming along? Do you have any details you can tell us about yet?
Everything is starting to come together. We’ll be on the road for about 3 weeks more or less. I think we are going down south and over to the east coast within that time frame. I can’t really give more than that because a lot of the dates are still up in the air.
Dana Coppafeel is known as a guy who brings quality Hip-Hop artists to Milwaukee as well as putting together interesting and unique events for the Hip-Hop community. Recently you were able to bring a Grind Time Now event to Milwaukee. How did you manage that and how did it go?
Actually, they contacted me about doing a Milwaukee event. The person who contacted me was the Midwest league’s President, Sonny Bamboo, which was super fresh. My homies from Covert Empire; Rye Bread, Fresco, and Avyee; are the ones who put me on to Grind Time and all 3 of them have been featured in many battles that Grind Time hosted. They definitely put a good word in Sonny’s ear about Milwaukee wanting to do an event. Flow Clothing was all about using their store as a venue and everything else just fell together. It has been a good connect for me as well and we hope to have some more Grind Time events here in the future. Sonny must have had a good time to because he just invited me to be a judge at the next event in Chicago on August 25th. I just see it as another way of getting Milwaukee out there to a whole different audience.
On the side, you occasionally design stuff, most notably the Think Tank 59/50 New Era hats you did. Are you working on any designs right now?
Yes I am. I just submitted my new designs to New Era about a week ago. I’m just playing the waiting game now to get my proofs back from New Era before they go into production. Last year I designed 7 hats which is just crazy to me. I designed the 2 Think Tanks and 5 Brewer hats for Flow Clothing. I think that has been my biggest accomplishment. I always dreamed of designing hats. I’m an artist, I graduated from an art school, I did graffiti in high school…my whole life I was drawing. I used to draw my own Jordan designs and team hats. With these new Think Tank 59/FIFTIES I’m going to team up with my homie Rick from illwaukee custom sneaker (http://www.illwalkees.blogspot.com/) to do some exclusive releases of limited skateboard decks, custom Think Tank shoes, and t-shirts for the launch party. I’m truly amped for this next batch. This is all exclusive with only 36 of each style of hat ever going to get made and you can only get them from me…THINK TANK.
You have seen Milwaukee Hip-Hop grow and shrink, ebb and flow, in your years of experience with it. How do you feel about the scene as a whole right now?
Milwaukee is growing and the talent is only getting better. Out of all the years that I’ve been here, this is like the best I’ve seen the scene to be honest. As a whole, I can say that I’m proud of our little scene.
Any shout outs?
To everybody who has supported me in one way or another, thanks.
HOUSE OF M
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