Although rapper Privaledge hails from Philadelphia, he’s made Oklahoma his base of operations since striking friendships with Oklahoma City Thunder players James Harden and Kevin Durant.
Raised mostly by his mother in a rough area of Philly, he’s been rapping since he was 10 years old, but only in the past few years has he taken it seriously. At first, he didn’t receive much support from his family, because they wanted him to focus on school.
“I just kept on doing it, man. I didn’t really listen,” said Privaledge, aka Priv Anderson. “Because it was something I just loved to do, and I just always felt like I had a chance.”
With the help of a friend, he began recording during college in Arizona, where he became friends with Harden.
After Harden was drafted by the Thunder and developed a bond with Durant, they moved Privaledge to Oklahoma and introduced him to local hip-hop producer C.L. McCoy. Privaledge, who currently lives with Harden and records in the guard’s home studio, said he’s developed tight bonds with both Thunder superstars.
I make music that’s fun to listen to, but has a point.
He said he realizes they carry a certain brand name, and that being able to use that has helped his career develop.
“I really hate using their name that much, because I want people to know me for Privaledge,” he said. “But sometimes you got to do that, until eventually, I can break off and do my own thing.”
Since meeting, Privaledge and McCoy have been working together extensively, developing quite a friendship of their own.
“Me and Priv, we became real good friends,” McCoy said. “You know, hanging out in the studio every day, all day, all night, just kind of grinding together.”
Both described Privaledge’s music as out of the ordinary, with much of it combining lyricism with somewhat poppy instrumentals.
“I make music that’s fun and fun to listen to, but has a point to get across,” Privaledge said.
He said the bulk of his writing comes from things he knows and sees, which he believes contributes to his creativity.
“Everything I write about is real life,” he said. “I don’t really come up with stuff that’s not true.”
McCoy spoke highly of Privaledge as a rapper, citing his tenacity especially.
“He’s dedicated to this. He’s seri-ous about this industry, and he’s showing it right now,” McCoy said. “His work ethic is crazy right now.”
His first project, “Itz a Privaledge,” came out early last year. He mentioned that he wasn’t too satisfied with that effort, a mixtape hosted by Harden and Durant, and believes he has matured as an artist since.
“I was just making music, and I wasn’t really putting a thought process into it and talking about things that I’m really going through to be able to help other people,” he said.
much more proud of his new project, “The Playbook,” which became
available for free download last month. He and McCoy toiled on it for
months until they felt it was solid.
Listen to Privaledge for free at his Facebook fan page.
“We wanted to make sure that everything was perfect, so we did a lot of songs from scratch,” McCoy said. “I want to say about 90 percent of the CD, we pretty much created together and made it our own.”
He was able to get assistance from more big names, including DJ Skee, Waka Flocka Flame and Kendrick Lamar.
Despite his sudden move to the Sooner State, Privaledge said he enjoys living here, and spoke highly of how receptive people have been to him.
“The main thing I like in OKC is the people,” he said. “Everybody out there is just nice, man. I guess it’s like that Southern hospitality. I love it out there.”
Although Oklahoma is not yet known for its hip-hop scene, Privaledge aims to change that.
“I see Oklahoma itself getting bigger, so I just feel like the hiphop scene will grow with the state,” he said.
McCoy sees big things for Privaledge in the future — hopefully, right at the top.
“He’s going to be definitely dynamic. He’s going to be big in this game,” he said. “He’s openminded, he loves to work, he listens to people, so he’s going to go far.”
Said Privaledge of his own goals for the future, “I want to be remembered as someone that made a change in people’s lives."