Meet Ant White, an Artist Handpicked by Pusha-T

"Oh, I can rap my ass off."
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Ant White, 2018

The 2018 music market remains woefully saturated, but Philadelphia's Ant White brings a new flavor and meaning to the hustle anthem. His forward-thinking approach is obviously working, as he was handpicked by Pusha-T for the 1800 Seconds album. Up to the challenge, White delivered a classic track about making moves and carving out your own lane. 

"I think the energy is good, clean, fun," he tells me of his track over the phone. "I think it’s a vibe more so than anything. The concept is just doin’ what you do. The song is called 'All I Know.' Handling mine, that’s how I get shit done, not worrying about other people. Stay in your lane [laughs] and get it done."

Focused as ever, Ant White was equally geeked when he heard that he had been chosen. Being flown out from Philly to LA to record and be mentored by Pusha-T? It didn't sound real, but thankfully, it was. "It’s something you could dream about, outside of it actually happening," he says. "For it to happen, it’s crazy because there are millions of artists, and to be a part of the 10… [laughs]."

White's jovial spirit inspires him to create outside the lines of 2018's music landscape. He lives with beats but does not let the production steal the show. "Oh, I can rap my ass off," he boasts. "Beats are important, but what you do overtop them is what differentiates you from another artist. Fans want what they’re familiar with, but they also want something different." Clearly, Ant White is here to deliver.

DJBooth's full interview with Ant White, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.

DJBooth: When did 1800 reach out to you initially?

Ant White: At first, I didn’t [think it was real], but when I had spoken to the 1800 team, she clarified and walked me through the program. I was very excited to be a part of something like this and get that experience as an artist.

Biggest lesson?

Just working with so many people, with so many different skill sets and having the opportunity to come together and be part of a collective like that. That was the dopest part, when you do things with other people, that’s what makes things special because they’re helping you further what you’re trying to do yourself.

Break down the process for me.

They flew me out. I’m from Philly, so they flew me out to LA and we were out there for 10 days. During the time, we were recording, going through different beats. Pusha would come and he had listened through a couple ideas I had gone through. He had picked one song that I had done, so it was pretty cool. I even got a chance to record a song with a couple of other guys in the program. Photoshoot. The whole spiel.

What does it mean to have been handpicked for this record?

It’s something you could dream about, outside of it actually happening. For it to happen, it’s crazy because there are millions of artists, and to be a part of the 10… [laughs].

How would you define the energy you bring to the album?

I think the energy is good, clean, fun. I think it’s a vibe more so than anything. The concept is just doin’ what you do. The song is called “All I Know.” Handling mine, that’s how I get shit done, not worrying about other people. Stay in your lane [laughs] and get it done.

How do you usually create?

Our sessions were blocked, so I didn’t have too many people in there. If I’m going through my process freely, I might live with a beat if it’s really good. I might record and write on the spot. I write in private, and in the studio.

In 2018, what’s the best way to hook a fan as fast as possible?

Being creatively different, but having some of those nuances or sounds of familiarity. Beats are important, but what you do overtop them is what differentiates you from another artist. Fans want what they’re familiar with, but they also want something different.

What’s the difference you bring to the table?

Oh, I can rap my ass off.

With so much music dropping from so many artists, how valuable has the first impression become?

First impressions now are probably more important than ever. That’s why it’s important for everything to be packaged the right way: music, visuals, social media. There’s so many different checkpoints that can be the foundation for launching a long-term, successful career.

Is music enough, or do you need a viral moment now?

I don’t think you need a viral moment. I think viral moments are needed for people who lack music ability, to be real.

How do you plan on using this opportunity to your advantage?

I’ma put out content following this. I probably have enough music for at least three projects, four maybe [laughs]. With that being said, this platform is just beyond… It’s a great starting point to actually grab the fans, but once people realize how much good, high-quality music I have, I think that the need can be matched by my output. I got crazy… I got A-list producers and shit ready to let go. When they want it, it’s here.

After this, what one piece of advice would you give yourself when you wanted to quit?

I would tell myself the same thing I told myself during those times: winners never quit.

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