Alley Boy, who's currently crafting an EP as an Atlantic Records signee, is comfortable detailing street life in his lyrics. After all, it's what scored him a prison bid for roughly three years. During his time in the clink, the southern spitter was motivated by longtime friend Gucci Mane to focus less on drug dealing once he left a cell and more on his talents serving rhymes. As a result, the former Grand Hustle artist with a self-professed "crazy pen game" sharpened his skills, became co-CEO of Duct Tape Entertainment and began collaborating with the likes of Young Jeezy, Big K.R.I.T. and Jim Jones, to name a few.
While some may be more familiar with his strong opinion on Yung L.A.'s duck face tattoo rather than his rap catalog, he's up for the challenge of garnering new fans -- even those who are more inclined to listen to Lady Gaga. Read on as Alley Boy reveals why he wants to collaborate with the blonde pop star, defines what "f--- s---" really means and admits what his daughters want him to do when they hear his songs.
So where did the name Alley Boy originate from?
Well, I was in prison. I had went to prison when I was 19. Back then I was young-minded, so that's a way people be like, "You wild." So people be like, "You alley as hell." Like a lot of the old dudes that used to be in the same dorm with me [in jail], they used to be, "You a little alley a-- n----." So I just started writing that in my rhymes. I had wrote some s---, I forgot how it go, but it was like "I'm Alley Boy..." I just ran with it and it just started sticking natural in my lyrics, 'cause I always used to write when I was locked up.
What are some of the things you got incarcerated for?
I don't really want to go into that [laughs].
When did you actually start writing rhymes?
I been writing my own s--- since I was 10. I been in the studio since then. When I was younger, I had older dudes who would like, back me, and had money behind us, but they had other artists who they were really pushing so I was just like they little dude. They weren't too focused on me but they still let me record songs and s--- with their headliner. But I just kept going. They had they run and they kinda died out and strayed away from the music. But I always stayed with it. As I started getting older, I started hustling, being in the street, it kinda took time away from me. That's why I probably took so long but I always stayed on it. I always wrote, I always put myself in the studio. And really when I got out of prison, I knew what I wanted to do.
Your mixtape series is titled 'Definition of F--- S---.' What does that mean?
This is how it was, like how I came up with the title from the jump. There was a lot of people saying, like Plies had his album 'Definition of Real.' Everybody was on, "I'm real, I'm real," and stuff like that. It wasn't anything against him but I just seen it out there. Then I was like, well, people never be on some s---, like, "Man I'm on some real f--- s--- right now." You know what I'm saying. So with the type of music I'm doing, it's like real aggressive but it's reality music, too. I just talk about different things outside of selling dope in the hood or whatever. People do a lot of grimey s--- in the hood. So I was like, I'm gonna stamp my s--- and I'm the definition of f--- s---.
Big K.R.I.T. created your 'Rob Me a N----' beat and Freddie Gibbs raps on it as well. How did that collaboration come about?
See, really like, I had done got some beats like before from K.R.I.T. But I never recorded on them 'cause I think one of the dudes who be getting my beats for me, or whatever, he done never give it to me. But Freddie, that's my dog. He had hit me up late one night and he was like, "Boy, I'm on the road now and I was here with K.R.I.T. last night and he played a crazy beat for me." I think he laid it that same night 'cause they were at the studio or something together. And he was like, "This s--- goes so perfect with what we got going on." So he sent it to me. He had his verse already laid, K.R.I.T. did his thing with the track. So I just went in and laid my verse. And both of us were gonna drop our mixtapes but I think I was dropping mine before his. Everybody is crazy about that [track].
You've worked with Jim Jones as well. So how does a New York rapper like him link with someone like yourself from Atlanta?
Jim be down in the south a lot. Everybody be talking about street s--- but we really got street ties. So it was only right. I had the song ever since the first 'Definition of F--- S---' but I never put it out. I was like, I'm just gonna hold it as a jewel. I always knew I was gonna use the song.
What do you think of people like Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka putting out a different style of rap, sometimes very aggressive, which opens the doors for people like you to be accepted?
They family. I love everything they doing. It just really show like there all types of music in Atlanta. I love what they put out 'cause it's crunk street music, well Waka really on some crunk street music. And he go hard and he good at it. Gucci a little more lyrical and storytelling. He got a catalog. Gucci just work hard. It just open the lane up for me, with the way they look. You see the way Gucci look -- he black as hell, tatted up. That's just me. I fit that description. By them going so mainstream and people accepting them, it make it easier with me coming in. People looking at me like, "Damn he on some street s---."
In February 2011, Yung L.A. got a face tattoo. You were pretty angered by that considering it was a Duct Tape logo, yet he apparently had no affiliation with your team. For people who don't know about the company, what is Duct Tape Entertainment?
We all about unity. People misunderstand when we [say] Duct Tape Entertainment. They take it negative. But really, man, it's all about us sticking together and being strictly about us. You can do a lot of things with duct tape, everything ain't bad. People take things the wrong way and blow it up in a wrong way because we come from the streets, so they'll try to add negative stuff on to that because of how we used to be in the streets. As a company, I feel we one of the strongest companies out here in Atlanta. We are growing as a whole, we are breaking all our artists as of now. They might not be as known as me, but in Atlanta we very known. It's all about sticking together, really. The whole thing with [Yung] L.A., all that's the past. It was a misunderstanding or whatever. Things got handled.
As far as Duct Tape Entertainment we're a full-service music company, all the way. We got production, we got our own producers, we got like seven artists on the label. I'm signed with Atlantic but we negotiating my little brother Trouble. Everybody just going hard. In the south, we wrecking s---. We just spreading fast. My brother is the founder, Big Bank Black. He started the label in 2005. We just been going crazy ever since.
Speaking of face tattoos, you have one also. Why do you think face tattoos are prevalent with rappers?
I have a DT [which represents Duct Tape] on my face. I feel like some people are more into [getting them] like, for character, but me putting a tattoo on my face, for me to f--- up my face, it gotta be something that really mean something. I got a cross on my right cheek and a DT on my left [cheek], above my heart. I love Duct Tape, that's my family. That was the reason for ours, like all of us, everybody who officially [belongs to] Duct Tape, we have DTs on our left cheek above our hearts. That's what that means to me. I don't know about other people. They do it for style or fashion but that's what it was to me, 'cause that really means something. Every time you look at my face, you gonna see that so I'm showing my passion for it.
Everyone has a dream collaboration. What's yours?
Michael Jackson. I love Michael Jackson. That would've been crazy for me. But he ain't here no more. Alive? Hmm, Lady Gaga. I like Lady Gaga. She like a alley girl, she just wild. Was her meat dress real? I didn't think it was real. She can't wear no meat; that s--- gon' stink.
What music do you hear your children listening to?
I have three daughters: two of 'em 7, one of 'em 5. The [ 7 year olds] are six months apart. They crazy about Justin Bieber and 'iCarly.' My daughters love that. They really into me. Like if I be on the radio, they gon' go crazy. I'm they world, so they go crazy. When they hear me on the radio, they call me. If they hear my song on the radio, they say, "Why you didn't say my name?" So I have to tell them that's just my song. When I'm down here in Atlanta, I have to shout them out.