Plugging In is a Brief Interview Series With Local Musicians. If you’re interested in being featured, send an email to email@example.com
By Matthew Deiulis
Based north of Boston, Voltaire II is the imaginative founder of the Hip-Hop/Rap Collective ‘rEVO’. Along with fellow members CASiMiR, J. Anthony and KXNG NOIR, Voltaire II is following through on a mission he dreamt up at 14 when he began writing. This group of friends varies in style, but Voltaire II holds that this makes them a stronger group as they’re consistently able to come together and make genuine and good music.
Could you talk briefly about yourself and recent happenings in your career?
For the past few months, I have been forming a hip hop / r&b collective with artists in the Boston area. We’ll be known as “rEvo” and we have a lot of content coming out at the end of this year and all of 2022. The group right now consists of four artists and one producer. Myself, CASiMiR, J. Anthony, Kxng Noir, and EJ. As of lately I’ve been also working on a solo project and an EP I plan on dropping before the end of the year. This upcoming music will have a melodic sound and also will sound far from my last project “Ezer” back in May 2020. A lot in life has changed since then and I can’t wait to share my experience. This will finally be the music where my audience gets to know me personally.
How has music become your passion?
Ever since I was a kid music has always been my getaway but I never started writing until I was 14. I truly believe that in the first few years of me making music I was too focused on releasing on time and I would rush a lot of songs and this was part of the reason why I deleted so much. As my passion grew, it also helped me grow patience within me. I don’t do this sh*t for fun. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and especially more than ever as of right now. My inspirations come from artists like Joey Bada$$, Kendrick, & Cole.
What is it about music that makes you feel passionate? You mentioned it was a getaway from a young age, are there any specific memories you have that you wouldn’t mind sharing which led you to pursuing this seriously? Alternatively, in more detail how you have honed your patience?
Since I used to be such a shy kid I would keep a lot of things to myself but music was the only thing I felt comfortable about when it comes to expressing myself and saying how I feel. I remember being a kid blasting Lil Wayne, Eminem, etc pretending I was performing their songs with an imaginary microphone. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school where my boy put me on to Joey Bada$$ and Capital Steez music video to “Survival Tactics”. I was obsessed with music at this point. Seeing how young they were made me want to create my own music. My patience comes from not comparing myself to others who made it in the industry at a younger age before me. Everybody has a different story on how they made it and there has been so much I learned when it comes to quality, promotions etc.
You mentioned being a part of a collective and having artists like Joey, Kendrick and Cole as inspirations for how you have learned to approach your craft. Joey and Kendrick specifically really came into their own due to the people they surround themselves with. How have you all pushed each other to be better? Have you seen a change in your individual and collective approach to carving your respected paths as time has gone on? You also mentioned this being a revival of “rEvo ” and elsewhere that your goal here is to shed light on all the musicians in both Boston and the greater surrounding area. Would you ever go the path of Joey with Pro Era and Beast coast and just put on for almost everyone and anyone else moving in the same direction?
In the group what we all do is share all our drafts and ideas and we think would sound better. No sugar coding because we want the best for each other and we all want rEvo to be known for making good music. I say our group isn’t like Pro Era or anyone else because we all are different from each other when it comes to sound but at the same time we know how to collaborate with one another. CASiMiR is the lit rapper you gonna be blasting at the parties. J. Anthony is a vibe and he’s the R&B artist you are going to play when you are with your girl. KXNG NOIR is a straight up lyricist you play for bar heavy lines and still bump. For myself I mix with what Cas and Noir do but I get more personal when it comes to religion, relationships etc but at the same time my sound is very chill, melodic, and sh*t you play during a late night drive.
How do you see yourself in your community and how you might be able to inspire other young folks looking to make art?
In the Boston area you don’t see as many rap groups formed because everyone is too focused on being better than the other. That’s why with rEvo coming up, our community will support us better than anyone else in our area because we are bringing something new to the table. Us making it out will bring so much hope and recognition to the inner cities around Boston. There’s a lot of talented artists out here that need to be heard and we can help make that happen.
Have you read or seen anything recently that has had an effect on you?
I don’t watch much and don’t read as much as I should but one of my favorite shows I’m currently watching is Power. Stuff is crazy. The most important thing I get from watching this show is that everything you may want in life comes with sacrifices. Maybe not as extreme as the sacrifices happening in the show but it’s a good reminder for myself for my own life.
So what’s the meaning behind “rEvo”?
rEvo stands for Revolutionary Entrepreneurs & Visionaries Only. We are an element.
How was “rEVO” formed?
‘rEvo” was a collective I formed back in 2014 but at a young age I didn’t have much guidance on how to lead a group. What the world is going to witness is a resurrection of something I first established at the age of 14.
More on being surrounded by the right people, many songwriters, specifically rappers, have been adamant about how important it is to immerse yourself in words and repetition of freestyling and writing exercises. Kendrick Lamar was able to become so precise and razor sharp with his form from going back and forth freestyling with fellow Top Dog artist Jay Rock for hours and participating in freestyle cyphers. MF DOOM would do endless word puzzles, specifically crossword puzzles, to always keep his vocabulary sharp. Joey and Capital STEEZ had endless notebooks and would also be constantly going from cypher to cypher. Unfortunately, this takes time and consistent commitment and time is rarely a luxury. In what ways do you currently prioritize the honing of your craft/if time is an impediment what are ways you could/do make the most of your time?
For me it’s just consistency with writing and creating a vision by making the steps to turn it into reality. If you check my notes you would see I have an endless amount of songs written and to help my vocabulary I look up synonyms of words I think relates to the song I’m working on. I write everywhere, Church, at work, even at parties lol. I do want to start writing in a notebook because I just hate relying on electronics.
What are other qualities from more established artists you try to emulate?
I’m working on trying to be more consistent when it comes to social media, making visuals just as much as Trippie Redd for example. The man drops almost two projects a year and is putting out bangers in my opinion. I’m trying to get to that level with my own music. So I need to take more pics, interact more, and make more connections to help build attraction to the upcoming debut of rEvo.
If you’d like to see more of Voltaire II please check out the link tree to their socials and other streaming services!
Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/voltaireii
Matthew Deiulis (he/him/his) is a rising senior majoring in Media and Communication at Merrimack College. In addition to being a student he is a person with high hopes for all, an avid reader and writer, lifelong melophile and supporter of the importance of local art! He is also a supporting member of Merrimack’s Women’s History Departments ‘Living Out Loud Podcast’ and 2021 Summer Intern with the ‘Creative Collective’. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and found at @Matt_Deiulis on Twitter.