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Interview: Rapper Una The Uno

Una The Uno is an artist from Chesterfield, VA located just outside of Richmond. He's a rapper that has been making music within the past few years and an alum of the Virginia Commonwealth University. Pre-COVID and even during the lighter half of the pandemic we're still in, Una The Uno has performed at various shows, most notably at Melodic Mondays ran by artist manager Seven. I had the chance to sit down with the artist and discuss how things have been going during the release of his EP Augury in March and upcoming works.

Jay: How did your time at VCU influence your music career?

Una: At VCU I met a lot of creatives from different fields. In the end, it was two friends, Andre Harrell & Schezwan Phelps that became my brothers in music who got me to start rapping and even gave me the name I don to this day.

Jay: What do you see as some things that can be improved within the Richmond music scene?

Una: The music scene is cool in my opinion, but like anything else, it could be better. It'd be nice if the venues and music opportunities in the area were all advertised in a single place for everyone to find. It surprises me that some folks don't know what's common knowledge for other artists and vice versa. Folks also need to be less competitive and more collaborative. We'd make it a lot further together than alone, but most just say they agree and don't move on that time.

Jay: Who are some of your influences within the Virginia music scene? This can range from artists, producers, poets, engineers, dancers, triangle players, etc.

Una: I don't have too many influences, but I do have those I respect and push me to do better. THEDONRRRM has been there for me as an amazing engineer and a friend since my first project and I couldn't imagine growing the way I did with him with anyone else around here. Schezwan Phelps and Andre Harrell, as I said before, have been with me through every drop and flop, but push me to do better with their constant support, constructive criticism, and fueling my competitive side when they record bangers... Check em out. They have played a lot of significant roles in my music.

Jay: You decided to curate a DMV Rising Playlist [CLICK HERE TO SEE IT ON SPOTIFY] which ranges from artists like Dre Person to Sneeze and the mysterious singer Vesta. What influenced you to do that and how can an artist get on the playlist?

Una: I made the playlist originally cause I was tired of looking for them. I wanted something that could and would benefit other artists as well as give incentives for them to support one another. There are a lot of local legends around here waiting to be heard and one creative to another, I think it's only right we listen to others the same way we wanna be heard. If you want to be on the playlist it's easy and free. I throw up a story poll every Friday on my Instagram @unatheuno, with exceptions. Just put the song title and artist's name in the box. More rules about submitting are in my DMV Rising highlights on my page. READ THE RULES! Can't stress that enough.

Jay: In March, you released the Augury EP, which was covered on TheMSQShop by me. How has the album been doing since its release? To look back at it, what are some things that you liked about the album, and what are some things that you could have done better with the album?

Una: Augury has definitely shown my growth as an artist a great deal, but it never really took off nor did I try to get it out there as much as I could've. That's because the project was never about clout for me. I wanted to release a project that gave more insight into who I am as a person and to what I'm not just manifesting, but working towards making happen in the near future. Had the resources been available, I would've loved to shoot some visuals to a couple of tracks. Who knows, I might come back to it in the future.

Jay: You have a visual for your song Rodeo which is out now. How was the recording experience and what should we expect from the visual?

Una: The experience was simple and fun. Andre Harrell sent me a beat that he thought I could body. I told him if he wanted me to do it he'd have to run it up with me and that's exactly what happened. We then decided to get our engineer and good friend THEDONRRRM to hop on the track to add even more pressure and you can go check it out for yourself and let me know how that turned out.

Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?

Una: If I start shouting out artists I'll write a book, but let's get it. Shout out to Dre Person, check out his new track Get Back. Shout out to JazzmennZoe and her new track Shawty. Shoutout Seven making music moves in the city and soon the world. Shout out AIA just dropping Crushin'. Shoutout to anyone that got a feature from me. You secured the bag. Shoutout TheMSQShop for this interview. Shoutout to Schezwan Phelps, he got that pressure coming soon. Shoutout Jawfox for shooting and editing the most fire music video of the summer. Shoutout to my guys Andre Harrell, THEDONRRRM, and yours truly for dropping Rodeo when the people needed it most.

A past collaboration with Dre Person and their song "This One's For You"

By the way, I have a couple of things coming soon. Be on the lookout before the year over for:

Chroma II EP, Calypso, On & On, and more. Appreciate y'all again for the interview. Already know what it is 3 Degrees ready to run it up and the only gang I rep is NotaGang. We out.

Follow Una on Instagram @unatheuno

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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