Raheem: What does Hip Hop mean to you?
C-E-O: Hip Hop to me means the ability to be able to express oneself unapologetically but also allowing yourself to be creative along with challenging yourself and the craft.
Raheem: What did you have to overcome to create this album?
C-E-O: I had to get over what I perceived to be writers block and a lack of inspiration. I learn to challenge myself a bit more as well as being able to write on command and tap into the creative side a bit more on my own accord instead of waiting for the inspiration to find me.
Raheem: Who are your influences?
C-E-O: On this album there weren’t many influences that I pull from, I didn’t want it to dictate the direction of the album or my sound. Overall though I’m inspired by a lot if artist, Black Thought, King Los, Eminem, Nas, Kendrick, J.Cole, Pharaoh Monch and Lupe to name a few.
Raheem: How do you utilize your filmmaking and animation background in your music career?
C-E-O: I approach it the same way I would when writing a script for a film, I conceptualize the idea and put it down on paper, I then continue to work at it and iron out the details of the overall theme, the message I’m trying to get across and the best way to present it.
I’m very methodical when it comes to that, I don’t want to waste any space on my projects whether it be film or music. I want to sure I consider every option but also remain true myself at the end of the day. It’s definitely takes times but it isn’t really something that could be rushed.
Raheem: What’s your writing process like?
C-E-O: It varies honestly, somedays it just flows right out of me and I can write a whole song in about 5-10 minutes. Other times I have the chorus or the concept but not the lyrics so I just let it come to me instead of trying to force it.
Usually when I write I like to be alone to get into my zone and I’ll listen to the instrumental and recite the lyrics out loud to get the emotion out of it that I want. I also listen to other artists or genres to inspire me and I don’t mean copy but to capture the feeling.
Raheem: What songs have people gravitated towards on the album and why?
C-E-O: Surprisingly the 2 people have gravitated to the most or has the most streams is Apologies and Who Is CEO? Which through me off because “Who Is CEO?” has no chorus at all it’s just 88 bars straight and extremely personal to me and the same goes for Apologies.
Apologies is actually the last song I wrote and it was a week before the album came out. Apologies holds a special place for me, I feel I owed that song to the people who’ve been rocking with me as well as to myself through all of the hardships, it’s also a special record for me because I have my youngest singing on the record with me.
Raheem: How has it been having the opportunity to perform these songs that you’ve been working on for so long?
C-E-O: It’s been cool, especially having some of the people memorize and recite the lyrics. I personally like to perform I like that connection it creates between you and your audience.
Raheem: What’s next for you, CEO?
C-E-O: I’m currently working on another Music Video for one of the songs on the album but I want to just let people digest the project for the time being before releasing it. I’m also working on a couple of other things as well, I just released a clothing line I started with one of my closest friends called Unbrnd and I’m currently setting my sights on the next project but I don’t want to give too much away.
You can follow Chris on Instagram @therealceo and visit his website http://www.thisisceo.com
His debut album "Who is CEO?" is available now on all platforms.