If you live and play around Chapel Hill, North Carolina, you probably know or have seen Aaron "Fluent" Russell in some of the popular hangouts. I watched Fluent get major props and exposure for both his "Supreme Victory" and most recently dropped "Supreme Victory 2" Albums, but wanted to offer a little more about the man, the artist, Fluent.
So, let's talk...
Where does Fluent call home?
I'm originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but I moved to North Carolina in 1999/2000. I went back to Ohio for a year when I was 19, and returned to North Carolina. I consider Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham my home now.
At what age did you start showing an interest in music? And what drew you to HipHop?
I was interested in music from as early as I can remember. Back in Cincy, I was in a school band and could play three different instruments. My biological father was a vocalist in a big band called "Midnight Star". He wasn't around much when I was growing up, but I believe that music is in my veins, genetically. When my mother remarried, her husband Elijah was a musician. We had guitars, a piano, and all sorts of instruments around the house. Even though my stepdad wasn't doing music professionally, I would get to jam with him and his friends. My mom bought me a Rakim tape when I was like 9 or 10 years old. That's when I realized I wanted to rap.
When I moved to NC I discovered an emerging HipHop scene. Seeing all the local venues supporting artists and letting them express themselves inspired me to want to pursue my career as a Hip Hop artist.
Who are some of your mentors, influences and role models when it comes to your music?
The Golden Era of HipHop was my teacher. It taught me the structure of writing songs, building choruses, etc... Nas' ability to tell stories with his records has always been influential, and Fab's versatility is definitely something that's been a model for my own music. His records are consistently laced with songs for the club, the streets and women...they appeal to everyone, and that's what I want my music to do too.
When I was in high school a friend of mine was doing an internship at Zoom Culture and through him I was introduced to Kaze, Ak Slaughter & Ray Bucks. I was a wild kid in the streets getting into all sorts of trouble. Those guys saw the potential in the raw talent I had. They recruited me for a new label they were starting and together we formed the Soul Dojo. This was one of the first Independent movements in the RDU area making noise. Other members included K Slack and K Hill.
You've released 2 great projects in the past year, laced with some Major features, and entirely produced by J.Cardim. What motivated you to go "all out" on these two projects?
I think I started to go all out once I got back from touring Europe, Spain, and France in 2008. The things I saw over there changed my perspective of the music. I knew at that point my craft could take me to the majors. I just had to come up with a plan of attack. I knew that if I invested everything I had into my music, that there was no way I could lose. With my own money combined with investors, I was able to have huge marketing campaigns. Fortunately, I was able to collaborate with some of the biggest artists in the game. Shouts out to Nipsey Hussle and Action Bronson too. We did those records for "SV" right here in NC, organically. Nip brought me right on the tour bus to record "Hustle Till I'm Ballin". That was love. Me and Action knocked out the "Medallion" record right after his show at the cradle. Salute to those guys. With beats from J. Cardim, It was a no brainer. I've been working with him for years. And people are just now seeing the fruits of that hard work. We started working on the Supreme Victory series in Los Angeles back in 2012. We've been making noise every since. A lot of artists don't understand that you have to go all in. Even if that means you go broke doing it. If you believe in yourself. Invest in yourself. That's what I live by. And that's why success is certain.
Tell us what drives you...Fluent, the Rapper?
My love for the music drives me. It's in my veins. Also my will to succeed. To overcome adversity and show NC that anything is possible with calculated moves. I want people to see that you can make an impact from here and make big records while being an Independent Artist. All you have to do is believe in yourself. Sometimes when people see you doing these huge things it's hard for them to grasp it because they feel like they know you. Or came up with you or whatever. Questions like, how is this possible? How is he doing it? Etc... The answer is that that very drive I possess, is what has me in the position that I'm in today. Look at how Nipsey Hussle, Troy Ave and other Major Indy artists, including me, are doing it. This is possible with hard work and I want that top spot. I'm always in competition with myself. In my eyes, I'm only as hot as my last record. That pushes me to be great.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In Life and with your music?
In five years I see myself being one of the biggest artists in the game. And through my imprint, Supreme Regime, Independently I'll be one of the most successful in the circuit. Like I said, I'm pushing myself to be better daily, so it's just a matter of making sure I spend every day making decisions that will get me to where I want to be both in life and music.
What is "SOTC" and what does it mean to you?
SOTC (Sound Of The Culture) is a collective that consists of Kaze and myself. I would say it is the continuation of what Soul Dojo was. SOTC is family. It is also a platform for new up and coming artists who have the same goals of success and unity within the state. SOTC is HipHop. It's R&B. It's Pop. It's Rock. It's House. The culture is about diversity. That's what this movement is about. The whole spectrum.
I want to thank Fluent for letting me share a little more about who he is to the fans, and introduce him to those that may not know him, yet...Check out both "Supreme Victory" and "Supreme Victory 2" today!
Supreme Victory 2