Chubs: being an Italian-American MC in Long Island, New York.
We interviewed Chubs, a rapper of Italian origins from the hood of Long Island (New York), who told us about his latest album with Bub Styles, his origins, how he grew up in a multicultural environment, his connection with the N.Y.C graff scene, his friendship with Chris Rivers, his next projects and much more…
Peace Chubs. Thank you for letting us ask you some questions. We have discovered that you have Italian origins. Can you tell us more about your background and what it was like growing up on Long Island (New York City) as a kid with Italian heritage ?
CHUBS: “Being Italian is a beautiful thing and there’s a big Italian community here in Long Island. A lot of amazing Italian bakeries and Italian pork stores. Growing up in Long Island, I was one of the only Italians in my crew and neighborhood. So, I’m not your average Ginny. I grew up around mostly Spanish and black cultures and I am a product of my environment.
I will eat Sunday dinner with my family the Italian way, then eat at my local Spanish deli from Dominican or Salvadoran to Puerto Rican and Cuban, West Indian or Jamaican food. I grew up around many cultures, so I got to enjoy authentic dishes eating at my friends’ houses. I now have a taste palette for everything.
There is not much to do in Long Island besides eating good or doing something you probably shouldn’t be doing”.
How did you approach Hip-Hop as a kid and how did you initially manage to make your way into the competitive N.Y underground scene? Where does the name Chubs come from?
CHUBS: “Okay, so I got a big brother who is ten years older than me and he put me onto all the classics in the ’90s from footwear, clothes and Hip Hop. He was a big influence on me falling in love with hip hop like I did.
As far as getting into the underground scene, I had a lot of homies that did music before I ever considered it for myself. I was always more of the behind-the-scenes kind of guy. I was behind my boys but I was still very much in the creative process, whether it was giving advice on how to spit a rhyme pattern or helping with lyrics and writing, to even setting up shows and acting as a manager and creative thinker.
So, when I decided to actually become an artist myself I already had a lot of friends in the scene including my in-house producer Lord Jewish (Eitan Noyze), who I still work with until this day and was one of the first friends to reach out when he first heard my rhymes and he was like, “yo, doggy I didn’t know you can rap.” Lol.
But yeah, and the name Chubs is a funny story: I actually was really skinny as a kid and used to listen to my uncles and his friends sit around and talk about how if you did dirt in the neighborhood, you should use a tag name or nick name people wouldn’t tie you in with.
Like he said his friend who was 6’6″, 300 lbs name was Tiny and he got away with a lot of things under that alias, because when police or anybody else hear his name, they would be thinking or looking for a tiny guy. So, I went with the name Chubs as my tag, because I use to do graffiti and ironically enough I grew into my name.
In these weeks you have released your collaborative project with Bub Styles, entitled “Corner Store Carnivores”. Can you tell us about the album in question and your relationship with Bub Styles? How did you meet and how did the idea of making an album come about?
CHUBS: “So, me and Bub heard of each other through the underground and when I heard his music, I noticed we were like different branches from the same tree.
We talked about a lot of the same content, we both have tuff bars and a gritty flow, and we looked similar, lol.
So, I was like, this kid is my twin! It was only right we linked. I brought him to my brother Lord Jewish’s studio in Brooklyn and he cooked up a session for us and that was the night we recorded “Don’t Put Your Fingers In The Cold Cuts.”
That was inspired by me bringing a bunch of cold cuts and Italian bread to make sandwiches while we were locked in the studio. And since it was mid Covid time, I realized the skeeviness of sharing cold cuts out of a deli bag to make sandwiches, so I brought plastic gloves as well, hence the name and concept for the single.
In your opinion, if a listener wants to know you better, which album in your discography should he start from and why? What about the album “Silvio” where does this title come from?
CHUBS: “So, I would say start with my first album “Young Gorgeous”, because that album took me my whole life to make, and all my life experiences that molded me to that point.
There’s a big piece of me in that project and it will always be special to me because everything from the bars to the samples used are things specific to my life. So, it was very personal”.
“Silvio” is a project I did inspired by my love of one of my all time favorite TV shows The Sopranos and my favorite character on that show was Silvio Manfred Dante.
So, it was only right I named it after him. I like all my albums to have a different personality. First, it was “Young Gorgeous”, then “Silvio”, then “S.I.D.” with my Cannibal Club brother Jim Scary, and now “Corner Store Carnivores” with my twin Bubs”.
With which other artist of the New York underground scene do you have a tight connection? For example, you have also collaborated with Chris Rivers, son of the legendary Big Pun. How did you get in touch?
CHUBS: “Yes, Chris Rivers is the homie. I knew his big cousin Whispers first, who is like my brother, and who is also a fire artist. Then he linked me with Chris. Whisp said we needed to work, so as soon as we met, we realized we were a lot alike and have a similar sense of humor. Lol. So, we became good friends”.
How is the Italian community perceived today in your neighborhood and in New York today? Is there still the stigma of the mafia? Who are other rappers of Italian origin in the city that you recommend?
CHUBS: “Only Italian rapper I recommend you listen to is me. Lol. And there is no mafia”.
Have you any connection with the graff movement? Do you have any artists to suggest to us?
CHUBS: “Yes, I’m heavy with graffiti movement. There are too many dope artist to name but I will def tell you to check out my big bro Phetus (@phetus88) from Long Island. He’s a legend in the graff game and he has done a lot in hip hop from iconic logos and designs for album covers to fashion”.
What projects and collaborations are you ready to release next?
CHUBS: “So, I have a solo project produced by Lord Jewish called “Lucky Lansky” . Which is a tip to both our heritages. Him being Jewish like Meyer Lansky and me being Italian like Lucky Luciano.
Hoping to drop this year. Then I have a follow up project to my “S.I.D.” album with my bro Jim, scary that we having a single dropping for very soon. Also, a project with my big brother Danny Diablo (Lord Ezec) who is a legend in the New York hardcore scene. Myself, Diablo and Lord Jewish cut up his old hardcore songs and flipped them into a hip hop instrumentals.
The project is called “G.L.D. Casket Company” (God, Lord, Devil). God representing my self Chuby God, Lord for lord Jewish and Devil for Diablo. We got some really cool features on that project. Really looking forward to sharing it with the world. And Bubs and myself have a lot more music in the chamber ready to go. We are in the process of recording a follow up to “Corner Store Carnivores”, fully produced by Goretex of the legendary rap group Non-Phixion. Shit is going to be insane and valid on so many levels!”