Pro Dillinger: «The Umbrella it’s “The Thing” right now and for years to come»
We interviewed Pro Dillinger, rapper and founder of the hottest crew at the moment among the American underground Hip-Hop scene, the Umbrella Collective. He told us about his past, how the Umbrella collective was born, what we can expect from his next moves and much more…
Photo Credits @geemedia_
Salute Pro, we’re really honored to share our platform with you as we are great fans of your shit…for real! Firstly, we would like to know your story better: Where exactly did you grow up and How? You know, listening to your music, voice and rhymes you can smell the pungent taste of the streets…
I was born in the Bronx originally but my father lived in Far Rockaway Queens so I spent a lot of time there too. Around 93′ my mother moved us to Rockland County NY (Haverstraw to be specific) about 40 minutes upstate from the Bronx, on weekends and school breaks I’d stay with my father in Queens.
I grew up predominantly with my mother,Grandmother and Aunts but my Dad was around when he could be because he was a paramedic and worked extremely long hours. Both my parents worked a lot, so most of the time my brothers and I were outside just attempting to stay out of my parents’ way.
Eventually I took a different route than my brothers and spent many of my younger years making bad decisions and hanging with the wrong people
Let’s take for example the song “Hope & Pray” from your latest project Forever Foul: Today, How do you look at your past life in the streets and what pushed you more than anything else to leave certain bad choices behind and overcome others?
My inspiration is simple,I aspire to be the best version of myself everyday so I can put myself in position to keep my wife and children comfortable for the rest of their lives, If i’m in the streets that isn’t possible at all.
It’s impossible to balance a family while being actively involved in street politics…money and blood don’t mix!
The time I spent in the streets was an absolute waste honestly. I wasted lots of time doing things that didn’t hold any weight in my adult life with anyone important. The thing that pushed me to focus on music and leave everything else alone was my kids,I know it sounds generic but it’s the truth. I’m the primary guardian for 2 out of 3 of them and I take that role seriously, I don’t ever want my son or daughter to see any of that stuff anymore, I’d rather them know this version of me.
How did you fall in love with this Culture? And at what point in your life did you decide to make music seriously?
I’m originally from the birthplace of hip hop so I was constantly surrounded by it without even knowing, graffiti everywhere I looked, heavy beats with lots of bass bumping out of peoples cars, Block parties and the traditional violence that came with it as well.
I was completely enamored with music in general since birth… my uncle was a salsero so I used to attend his rehearsals and sometimes my mother would let me go with him to his gigs and I’d carry his equipment.
I had another uncle that was a DJ, I’d sit with him for hours and watch him make blend tapes out of house music…he’d have me help him dub and label the tapes, when we had enough done he’d ride around jersey city playing the tape and selling them, this was my introduction to selling music as a real stream of income because my uncle was making drug dealer money off cassette tapes.
I knew I wanted to be a rapper the first time I held a microphone at my uncles house, at the time i really looked up to MC Hammer because he was the biggest out at the time, so my mom bought me a karaoke machine and a tape came with it, the tape was Hammer 2 Legit 2 Quit and the B Side was Have you seen her, both songs had the instrumental so id rehearse those two songs over and over and over.
At one point one of my older brothers came to visit us. When he left he forgot 2 tapes at my house, Method Man Tical and Onyx Bacdafuqup. I lost my mind after I heard those 2 tapes.
What are your first rap projects and the ones that you consider most important for your career and put you on the “underground map”?
The project that put everyone on notice was definitely “MosFoul” produced by my brother MosBeats,I had prior releases but this one was definitely my coming out party as far as people paying attention to me in the underground. The next one that really caught people’s attention was My LP with Finn “Pray For My Prey”…that project was truly a game changer for me
In our opinion, the collective you belong to, the Umbrella “thing” is taking by the storm the underground scene… How did you meet Mickey Diamond, Snotty and the other guys from the Umbrella Collective?
The Umbrella isn’t “a thing” my brother, it’s “THE THING” right now and for years to come. This conglomerate that my brother and I put together is the most important thing in this world besides our families to all of us involved down to the person with the smallest role.
We all learned how to become our own bosses and the masters of our own destinies, we learned from one another through mistakes, trial and error, the more senior members showed the newer guys how to earn money in this shit when many of us had been rapping for free for lots of years.
It seems to everyone outside of our circle that this is some out of nowhere movement taking the underground by storm when in fact everything that’s happening now has been in the works for 4 or 5 years now, everything meticulously planned, every relationship earned, every dollar appreciated.
How was this Rap “cartel” born? Did you join it after its foundation, or did you contribute to it and why did you decide to be part of it?
Snotty and myself started everything, we are the first 2 Umbrellas or the Big Umbrellas…we both been here since the inception and created the concept/infrastructure of the crew along with a few other senior or OG members including Josiah The Gift, John Creasy, Rob Deniro, Bishop, Fruitless and Ficlopsis, everyone else was added to the roster over the years.
The roster evolved several different times but this is the strongest we have ever been since the beginning. We made the Umbrella so we could have all our resources in house and we didn’t have to be cool with anybody else, we just wanted to do our own thing
What makes the Umbrella so special and dope right now among the underground scene? What are you all bringing to the game?
We are different because we dont dickride, we are not at events trying to “network”,we are not making fake friendships to get ahead of everyone else….everything we do is organic and authentic, we never wanna be the guys doing shit for looks, that’s corny to us.
Was your rap name always Pro Dillinger or did you also use other names before? And why did you choose this name?
Originally my rap name was Protege’,after a few years I changed it to Big Pro,a few years later I added the Dillinger and just been running with that ever since.
What are your Rap projects that you think represents you most accurately or the most personally and why?
The project that represents me the most accurately is P4MP (Pray For My Prey), Finn’s production brought the honesty and artistic value out of me really easy, he’s dope to work with.
Forever Foul and Soul Foul are the most personal and honest projects I’ve ever done, I never really put out music like that but I’m starting to try to be a little more personal with my audience lately”
Who are the artists or the rap albums that inspired you the most in your life and why? And what about the ones you listen to the most today?
Tical, 36 Chambers, Ready To Die, Illmatic, The Infamous, DoggyStyle and The Chronic really molded me as a rapper, I had never heard anything like that before…those were very important drops for me and I still listen to all those albums to this very day when I need inspiration
What do you think are the steps that will take you to the next level in the near future? Do you have any collaboration in the store that you can tell us about?
I just need to make sure I keep doing what I’m doing, quality music, quality visuals, quality moves, quality business… I can’t speak too much on the stuff I got coming out but just know by this time next year i’ll be your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper!