Showing growth between each project is a difficult task for any artist. Sometimes the progression leads the artist into a weird spot, where they end up losing people due to the vast difference of their approach. Sometimes the artist regresses due to laziness, or worse yet, they had already reached their peak and have essentially blown their load.
But for every crash-and-burn artist out there, there is another one waiting in the wings for the chance to shine, sharpening their skills and abilities.
NYC-by-way-of-Milwaukee emcee SigNif is a prime example of an artist who is working her tail off to improve, and the growth is immediately attention grabbing.
This is not to say that 'Nif began her career as a meager talent. The high level of talent was always there, but now there is a gigantic difference in polish and sharpness. Her flow is razor sharp and her lyrical bouquet of metaphors, similes and straight-forward lines has blossomed to a point where one can say, "yes, she's now ready for the next level."
Last week, SigNif released a new digital EP, a project that she cut with Baltimore producer Gee-Wiz. The project, called "Significant Wizdom," is a barrage of hip-hop reminiscent of the second or third golden era. The merger of their specific styles is definitely a success.
SigNif even found space for guest verses by Phil G. and Milwaukee native Haz Solo on a song that's first class.
I took some time to check in with SigNif to see how things are going with her.
OnMilwaukee.com: What led you to do this EP?
SigNif: Wiz had the idea to do an album together while I was working on "The Transition." I wanted to do an EP but I wasn't thinking of just having one producer. I was like "that's too much," but we came to a conclusion to try it. I've always been leery of doing a whole project with just one producer, so I put my preconceived notions to the side and we came out with something solid. We actually knocked out enough tracks to do a full length LP but we wanted to keep it one tone.
OMC: How did you link up with Gee Wiz?
S: Funk Worm from Indie Hip-Hop was one of the first sites to post my music, which Wiz was strolling through the site and came across a song that FW posted, so he decided to hit me up. His delivery was so sincere that I didn't know what to expect. After the introductions and talks about what I was working on, he sent over some tracks and from the original instrumentals he sent over, three of those made "The Transition."
OMC: You say that this project has a more serious tone. Why did you want to make a project that was heavier than your previous works?
S: Truthfully, those are my favorite tracks. I usually try to slide those in on the side but working on an EP is different. You have very little space to win the audience over so I wanted to stay in one lane. I felt like "The Transition" was just a sample of the different kind of things I can do, so now if I want to make an album full of tracks that sound like "Drifting," or full of tracks that sound like "Unleashed," I can do that.
OMC: You've shown growth between all of your projects. What led you to grow as an emcee between "The Transition" and "Significant Wizdom?"
S: Thanks. I feel with each project progression is a must. Wiz and I had a vision and we locked in on it. Even though Wiz is in Baltimore, we have a close working relationship, from the texts and phone calls at 3 a.m. to the e-mails, I.M.s, Gmail chats, etc. The fact that he wasn't like "I like your style here's some beats," he made a hell of an effort to get to know me and always kept the communication going which helped the process. Wiz wouldn't let me box myself in a corner by myself while I came up with the raps, and he patiently waited for me to finish. It felt like this was truly a team effort so that definitely added to the growth between those two projects.
You can check out "Significant Wizdom" on SigNif's Bandcamp page: signif.bandcamp.com.
Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.
As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.
Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.