Albee Al: Standing On Principles

By: Todd “DG” Davis



Following on the heels of last year’s mega-popular I’m From Marion LP,  Jersey City’s own prodigal son, Albee Al returns with his latest tour-de-force, titled appropriately enough, Albee For President

The fifteen track opus, which perfectly meshes Al’s vivid storytelling over a cinematic soundscape, and also contains high profile appearances from Mozzy [“Who Ya Big Homie”], Money Man [“El Presidente”], Rowdy Rebel [“A Pain Story”] and 2Official [“Memories”], is only further proof that Albee Al is by far the best candidate in this run for office! #FreeAR-AB. We recently caught up with the Jersey City kid to talk shop.

Let’s hop right into this single, “Albee For President” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?   

Albee: I wrote the song in jail. I was playing with the flow and writing music in the cell. I was trying to manifest what I would do when I got out, and it became alive. When I found the right beat, I just flowed on it.   

Of course, “Albee For President” comes courtesy of your new album of the same name — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?   

Albee: One of my close friends who got killed, I had this mixtape out at the time, he said, “Albee for President, man. We need you as president. It got a ring to it.” It stuck with me for the song and the album. I feel like I’m the president and the voice of the streets on how to move in the streets. Especially with what I’ve been through and overcome while I’m here. Who doesn’t want to talk to someone about how to move forward with life?   

How, then does Albee For President either differ and/or compare to previous Albee Al efforts?  

Albee: Every album I’ve ever done was a mood. This right here is self-explanatory on how I was carrying myself. I’m really moving presidential, you know? Black bulletproof trucks, security, presidential suites, everything is like that with me right now. Coming from where I came from and where I’m at today, that’s the mood right now. The people and the street around me are treating me like that in the world right now where music is being populated by dance songs and TikTok, but my music is still relevant for the streets.   

As a lyricist, when you sit down to pen your rhymes, where do you draw inspiration from?   

Albee: My life experiences. It sounds cliché, but it’s really the truth. It’s either what I’ve been through or what I’m capable of.   

Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Albee Al?    

Albee: Coming up in poverty looking through your window, everything was Hip Hop. Down to from how you dress to how you carry yourself. It’s genetic; my pops was an artist, too. What made me get into it was knowing that it would get better (by) seeing people who made it where I came from be on TV because of the music…coming from where I came from.   

Now you hail from Jersey City, correct? So growing up in ‘Chilltown,’ who all did/do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?  

Albee: My strongest musical influence was my brother who pushed me all the time. Even when I was coming up as a battle rapper, he would bet on me to battle people and win money from it. He turned me into a workhorse in the studio. He’d say, “If I make it, we all make it!”    

In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and/or style?    

Albee: My overall sound of style is very unique. I come from the era where we stood in front of the camera and rapped like the DVD days. It comes from the grittiness and the gutter of the pain. You got the good and bad sides, but I’m a product of my environment with this music shit.  

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?  

Albee: I hope they don’t take the violence from it, but they take the values of respect and standing on principles. That’s what my music is for. If you’re in the streets, find a way out. I’m talking about street shit, but I also talk about making a way out of it. Granted, it’s about representing where you came from but it’s about making a way out, too.    

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?          

Albee: I’d love to do a song with Ed Sheeran or Adele. I really listen to their music and like it. I love how they paint a picture of heartbreak and their situations, and I do that in a Hip Hop way.  

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?     

Albee: I really want to do the MetLife Stadium. That’s home-base. That’s Jersey. They moved Summer Jam from there, and I was like, “damn, they need to bring that back!”     

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?   

Albee: No, I’m not. I like the growth. I feel like they’re trying to make rappers like me extinct. They’re trying to push us out the door, and now it’s about being flashy and dancing. It’s cool to be happy and all that, but I don’t think the average person is listening to that on the way to work. There’s a time and place for that sound in the clubs or parties. I can’t name too many new rappers making the type of music I make.   

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?  

Albee: My longevity is already in progress. I think my music will live forever. I’ll get new fans no matter what. 

…Longevity is unstoppable for me. In the physical, it’s staying out of jail and staying alive.     

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?  

Albee:  I think I want to get into acting. I got some things lined up where they’ll see me in some shows and movies. That’s what I’m aiming for right now.  

To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?  

Albee: One of my biggest accomplishments that I’m proud of is paying for friends’ appeals who are fighting to get their cases heard and reversed. That’s who I do it for. I do it for them. Everything else comes with the image. I’m all about taking care of my people and making sure my people are straight. I sold out shows, big concerts, you know? I love my fans, but that doesn’t compare to the people I’m doing it for. And my fans love me because they know why I’m doing music.           

What’s an average day like for you?  

Albee: The studio. I’m in the studio even after my album drops. I come to work because the job is never done. It’s kind of wrong in a way because the people who love me, like my significant other, would remind me to rest, but I’ll find myself back in the studio even after I finished an album. It’s so therapeutic for me as it puts me in a great space.  

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…   

Albee:  When I see fans, it’s all love. I have different types of fans, though. I’ll see street fans, they look at me crazy, I’ll think they might take it there, but then they say they fuck with my shit and it’s all love. I’ll always take time to show love and take pictures with people. Y’all my distribution before the label. Y’all the reason why the label even picked me up, so I’ll always show love.   

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And why?   

Albee: My favorite part is a gift and a curse. The money is my favorite part because I can take care of my people, but it’s also the fucked up part. So many people change on you and try to get around you or expect so much from you that they feel like you owe them something. It’s so much jealousy and envy. I’ve seen friends try to tear me down because of it. I’ve lost a lot of people because of it. But the money is helping me do what I said earlier with my friends.   

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?  

Albee: Learn from my mistakes. If you see me fall in a certain situation, you gotta be able to jump over that shit. I’ll look at my feet at times and be like, “damn, how am I still standing here?” Don’t follow my footsteps though, do it your way.   

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?       

Albee: I don’t see myself five or ten years from now. My lifestyle and the things I’m up against…I’m more in the moment right now. I’m taking everything in, but I can’t see that far. It’s so blurry to me right now, I don’t know.   

As for the immediate, what’s next for Albee Al?   

Albee: More albums and more music. Getting the world used to my face. Applying nonstop pressure and forcing my sound everywhere like, “You gotta hear this work! You need this shit in your life right now.”    

Lastly, any “parting” words for our readers?   

Albee: I want y’all to know that anything can happen if you believe it. Manifestation is real. I didn’t live in yesterday. Today counts the most.