Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview/ talk with Philly Hip Hop recording artist Chase Allen. He’s real, down to earth, and has a message for Philly and the rest of the world through his passion, which is music. Check out our conversation and learn more about the artist, what he’s up to, and how he stays focused to achieve his goals.
JanetsJournee: What project is “Tunnel Vision?”
Chase Allen: Tunnel Vision is like basically, my mix tape…my second real mixtape. Just as far as me being….becoming who I am…I think that like put me in front of people. That made people realize who I was. I have so many records coming out it’s ridiculous. I have like D.A.R.K. is gonna be phenomenal.
I have a song on Dark that’s coming out, it’s called Getaway, it’s about a female who escapes and goes on a vacation through drugs….she’s here but she but she’s not here, she’s on a vacation. I’m basically just telling her that you can get away without doing that, you can just get away with me right now. I like putting messages in songs because it just makes people aware even if they already are.
I’m a do a video for it. I’m doing a lot, I just have a lot more free time now. Cause um…I was working at a job…I had a great job, but I just quit just to follow my dream and do my music.
JJ:How has that worked out for you?
CA: It’s a struggle. I’m not gonna lie, but I have a great support system. My manager just came in, he’s the one encouraged me and said “yo quit, don’t worry ‘bout nothing we gonna be good.” I have an incredible support system. It’s a struggle tho. My mom she doesn’t understand.
JJ: So do you stay at home with her?
CA: No I have my own place. But you know my mom she just wants security. She wants her sons to have security, that’s what all mothers want, parents. They want they child to be secure in the world. Me having a job, benefits, making real good money at a young age. It’s like my son, okay this one’s set, let me move onto the next one. ‘All my kids got jobs and work and got benefits.’
JJ: Yeah I heard you on your cd…talkin bout ‘mom don’t understand why I quit or whatever…’
JJ: I mean I can understand. First of all, how old are you?
JJ: Do you have family, or is it just you?
CA: No, it’s just me. See that’s the thing as far as me following my dreams, it’s like a complete thing. I wouldn’t have quit my job if I had a child.
JJ: Well it’s a good thing it’s just you.
CA: I just don’t want my kids to grow up like I did. Not to say that I grew up bad. Growing up I just always had this vision of having the “quote on quote” American Dream. I don’t think I’m gonna stop until I reach that. Until then that’s when I’ll have kids. But yeah it’s just me for now.
JJ: I mean it’s good it’s just you, and that’s what I respect about a lot of Philly entrepreneurs.
JJ: But um BAM…Bank Account Mafia, what inspired you to come up with that whole thing?
CA: Um I actually I came up with that concept when I did security at Wachovia.
JJ: Oh was that the job that you quit?
CA: No I was at Pennsylvania hospital, I was security.
JJ: Are they hiring? Naw I’m playing with you.
CA: Yeah I quit tho! You know what I’m saying? My mom was like “You crazy?!” Like mom this ain’t what I love.
JJ: Was that a good sale? (B.ank A.ccount M.afia t-shirts)?
CA: Yeah I had shirts, my shirts they kinda sell themselves.
JJ: Yeah because the image, it really is cute.
CA: Yeah it’s nice so, it’s just God. I really stopped with the shirts because I didn’t want it…the thing is I don’t like being like…when I want people to think of Chase Allen…I want them to think of something that’s different. I don’t want them to think like…I’ve been performing with a band for forever. I don’t make party music, I make real music. So you know I just feel as though I had to have that authenticity for everything. For clothing, for whatever. I didn’t wanna have shirts cause everybody has shirts.
JJ: But you’re shirts are cool though.
CA: Yeah they are, but I just didn’t want to get narrowed down to just that being a shirt.
JJ: So you don’t want people to define you for fashion, you want them to define you for your music?
CA: Not even for fashion but just for it like being a shirt. Everybody has shirts. I want the music to stand for what it is. And I want my brand to be something that you see and say ‘I respect that.’ I kind of just discontinued the shirts.
I was sitting down with JP and was discussing coming out with shirts. But I think when I do come out with shirts they’ll be….exclusive…I want it to mean something. I want it to have an effect on people as my music does. You listen to my music, however you feel great, if I present a shirt to you that makes you feel the same exact way, already have the logo, great.
JJ: But how do you plan on doing that? I mean you don’t have to be like “RocaWear”, just across the shirt…you got actual images that define in a way, artistically, your music. Like Bank Account Mafia, that’s your band, that’s your brand. You don’t see money bags with suits on often. You know?
CA: I still think that’s crazy.
We was in South Carolina and we stopped at Chic Fil A on our way to Atlanta, I had a festival in Atlanta. We met like these…we were in North Carolina, Charlotte, and we met like these two older ladies like one was probably about fifty and another was about sixties. The thing about me is I always tend to like connect with older people. I never had my grandparents and I always connect with like older people.
JJ: So are you more mature then? I guess?
CA: Ummm kinda, you can say that, in certain things. You know I’m still me at the end of the day. They just was like ‘oh my god, them shirts are like…can I have one? Can I buy one?’ You know they kinda sell themselves. That’s the amazing thing about art.
JJ: Do you play any music yourself?
CA: I produce, I make beats. I love sampling, but as far as playing naw. I have a guitar and don’t use it, I need to.
JJ: I noticed how you had Chill Moody on your cd, and you featured other local Philly artists as well.
CA: Yeah Lee Mazin, AL 1 Thing, I’m just all about supporting my cd and my people. At the end of the day, when I take these 20,000 cd’s to Detroit and hand them out and to Chicago, not only are they hearing about Chase Allen, but they hearing about Lee Mazin, Chill Moody, Al 1 Thing, Dosage, Tyler James, Latif, you know….whomever. I’m just puttin on for my city man and I’m not gonna let nothing change me from supporting what I think is dope.