Souls Of Liberty is up-and-coming rap duo from St. Louis and I recently got the great chance to interview them! The duo consists of rappers Ryan and Tenelle who have been best friends for basically their entire life. They been putting in work over the years and even opened for Wale at one of his shows last year. In the interview, Ryan and Tenelle talk about the beginning of Souls Of Liberty, their favorite rap duos of all time, their upcoming project 10,000 Hours, and more. Check out the interview below and enjoy!
One Throne: What’s up guys?! First of all, thanks for doing the interview with us. To start it off, tell the people a little bit about yourself!
Ryan: We are Souls of Liberty, two young rappers trying to make their dreams come true from Saint Louis. I’m just here to be an influence to the people that influenced us as children.
Tenelle: I’m from north St. Louis. I love music and basketball. I would like to be me for a living. Overall I’m pretty laid back. I be chilling trying to get this bread. Appreciate you taking the time to interview us.
One Throne: What was it like growing up together in grade school and throughout high school? Were you two rapping in high school?
Ryan: It was pretty simple. I mean our overall all we did was go to school, hoop and talk about music. We just wanted to impact people and naturally we floated to music. I guess it was always in our face but during my senior year in high school we finally took a step with the music.
Tenelle: Yeah we started Souls of Liberty in 09 which was my Junior year of high school. We always been rapping though since elementary school we have been listening to music and rapping together. Growing up with Ryan was cool we stayed out the way and did us. Hooped together and enjoyed hip hop culture. I think that’s how we bonded at an early age. We were both hip to stuff a lot of kids our age weren’t up on.
One Throne: Has being so close to each other ever hindered your music making ability? For example, have conflicts ever come up that stopped you guys from making music together for a couple weeks?
Ryan: Being close has only helped our music. Even when we were separated at time we made songs. So if anything, not being around each other has hurt at times.
Tenelle: We have only got into it once and I think it was over a sucker or something in like 2nd or 3rd grade lol. We have pretty similar taste in music being that we always liked the same stuff. The conflicts we face making music are usually our circumstances around us. If we didn’t work together financially and stay on the same page it would probably be impossible to have come this far. So if anything being this close is the only way this could happen. We are selfless and have the same goal. We have been teammates before so it’s real similar we just trying to win.
One Throne: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a duo? I bet it’s nice being able to bounce ideas off of each other!
Ryan: The advantage is knowing that whatever I decide to do I don’t have to do it alone. I never feel like I’m going to have go through something alone when it comes to music, or life really. The disadvantage is realizing that we are the only two that take this as serious as we do at times, so we can be hard on other people and ourselves. But, we always go through everything together. So, I guess the disadvantage goes to people who probably think we are overwhelming, but it’s just passion.
Tenelle: I can’t really think of any disadvantages. We have always rapped together. Bouncing ideas is great. We like Lebron and Dwade. We try to compete with each other and make each other better. I always wanna kill my verse and make him rewrite. The competition is the advantage. I feel like it has helped me grow constantly because we are always exposing each other to new music and ideas. When we get the chance to really do this for a living instead of our spare time it will be scary.
One Throne: Did you two ever think of going the solo route early in your careers or did you always know you were going to be a duo?
Ryan: Even when we didn’t know it we were Souls of Liberty. I don’t want to rap alone.
Tenelle: I always wanted to rap since we was real little. I kind of made Ryan do it cuz I always felt he was tight. I actually cared more but it was effortless for Ryan. He could freestyle all day and just kill instrumentals. One day we watched “Fade to Black” and I was just like man we gotta do this bro. I don’t ever wanna rap solo to be honest.
One Throne: Who are some of your favorite hip-hop duos of all time? Black Star? OutKast?
Ryan: Clipse is my favorite group, but I have to show love to Eric B. and Rakim and EPMD. Mobb Deep had a run for a good minute.
Tenelle: OutKast, UGK, Clipse, Cool Kids, Tribe if they count, (no particular order just a few off the top of my head)
One Throne: So you guys opened for Wale last year. What was the experience like and what did you two learn from it?
Ryan: The biggest thing I learned is that we can perform on the highest level of rap. I wasn’t really surprised by anything. I was super comfortable and I just learned I could do that for the rest of my life. It was fun, humbling and easy.
Tenelle: I learned that we can do this on the highest level and we have something people genuinely can feel. Being able to rap in NYC with one of the most lyrical rappers in the game from the east coast was special. The people really responded to us well and we got a lot of words of encouragement from the fans to people within the industry we were able to meet. It was motivation for us to keep going and take that next step so we can have that feeling back. One of the best days of my life thus far.
One Throne: Focusing more on your music. You guys just dropped off the video for “Future Millionaries”. What was it like shooting the video? I saw you two looking fresh in a suit and tie!
Ryan: Yeah, I take the videos super serious. I feel like it’s my role to take the lead in our videos. That video took a lot of planning because our “Family” video got so much attention. It’s our time to take the next step and “Future Millionaires” was nothing but a documentation of where we are now.
Tenelle: It was cool to have a vision for something and make it happen. People are giving us great feedback and it means a lot because this is our art. This is our imagination coming to life. I’m proud of the vid.
One Throne: You two are releasing your free album “10,000 Hours” soon. What was it like creating the project? Can you give us details about what kind of effort went into making the album?
Ryan: We put our everything into this project. It is a great piece of music. Klevah! bought out the best in us and it was fun. We pushed ourselves and this is our introduction to the world. If you get it a chance it’s great music.
Tenelle: We wanted to make a classic album something that is undeniable. We really put the most effort we have ever put into music forth this time around. It was fun creating it. I listen to it and it’s amazing how everything came together with our producer Klevah!. The album is a capsule of time. Our mindset and hunger can be heard clearly.
One Throne: When can we expect the album to be released?
Tenelle: March 20th, 2014
One Throne: Time for One Throne’s random interview question…who is going to win the NBA championship this year?
Tenelle: Lebron…the clippers are looking real good too if blake keep getting better. But I have to roll with the King.
One Throne: Thanks for doing the interview guys! Anything else you’d like to add?
Ryan: Thanks for messing with us for so long man. Everybody please check us out on SoundCloud and YouTube. Continue to share our music and thanks for taking the time to learn our story.
Tenelle: Thank you for the opportunity bro.