An Interview With Rapper & Producer CEEGRAMZ On His Time In The Army, His Forthcoming Debut Album “On God” And Much More!
Posted On 20 Aug 2015
Tag: #redman, Aaron McGruder, All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Caitlin Jenner, Camden, Caraballo, CeeGram, Ceegramz, Chrisette Michelle, Gramz, Heisman Trophy, Jeezy, Jose, Lagoche Music Group, Mike Rozier, My Alright, Ne-Yo, New Jersey, On God, The Bondocks, Transexual Tender, Whitney Houston, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Yung Joc
CeeGramz is a rapper/producer from Camden, New Jersey. No stranger to the spotlight, his cousin just so happens to be the remarkable late Whitney Houston. His upcoming debut studio album “On God” features a song with Ne-Yo and many more fun surprises.
Learn more about Cee-Gramz in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? What else is on your schedule today?
Thank you for the opportunity. Every interview I do is a real blessing. I just got back to my hometown of Camden, New Jersey. I just got back from a promotional trip on the west coast. I’m just relaxing today. I’ve been in the studio recording all week so it feels kind of good to kick back for a little bit since I have a busy summer ahead of me filled with performances. Shout out to my record label, Lagoche Music Group. Jose – the CEO keeps me busy. I’m grateful.
How did you get started doing music? How did you come up with your stage name? What does it mean? What other names were you considering?
I starting doing music at a early age. My mother bought me a a little Casio keyboard and I used it to make a Hip Hop remix of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. It’s been love ever since.
I came up with CeeGramz kind of by a fluke. I used to run the streets of South Jersey so everyone called me ‘Gramz’. And when I was in the Army, no one could pronounce my last name – Caraballo, so everyone just called me ‘C’ for short. I combined both nicknames and CeeGramz was born.
You come from a very musical family. Was it sort of expected for you to become a musician eventually? What did you learn from you legendary cousin, Whitney Houston?
No, not really. I have so many famous relatives from Aaron McGruder ( creator of the TV show “The Bondocks”) to Mike Rozier ( 1983 Heisman Trophy winner ) that it didn’t matter what I did; as long as I tried my best at it.
Whitney told me to do exactly what my family preaches: “go hard”. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. I won’t stop until I’m at the top. And even then I’ll still try to reach a new plateau.
How did your experience in the Army influence the man and really artist that you are today?
It influenced me a lot. I thank God everyday that I’m still here after two tours in Iraq. That’s why I still wear my dog tags. I wear my dog tags every time I perform, have a photo shoot, or shoot a music video. They’re a reminder that whatever I go through in life, I’m still breathing. They remind me to go harder when times are rough. I’ll always be thankful for all of my fellow veterans who served, sacrificed their bodies, and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Tell me about your solo debut EP “Transexual Tender”. What does that mean exactly? What was it like to finally release that EP?
I’m really proud of “Transexual Tender”. I worked so hard on it. A lot of people hear the title and think its a gimmick – like pertaining to Caitlin Jenner; but it’s not at all. That was merely a coincidence. I named it “Transexual Tender” because of how I feel about the state of Hip Hop right now. I feel that a lot of rappers nowadays are going through an identity crisis. A lot of them are misrepresenting the culture – purposely, just to make a quick buck off of it. I don’t identify with them; they don’t even identify with themselves; yet they’re getting rich off of their lies.
I don’t have a problem with Caitlin Jenner. I love her courage. But I do have a problem with entertainers who claim to be something that they’re not – as far as their sexuality or otherwise, just to make money. Thus, the name of my EP.
On your debut album “On God”, what was it like working with the R&B artist Ne-Yo?
Having Ne-Yo on my song “My Alright” was a dream come true. I’m a big Ne-Yo fan and every time I hear our song it gives me the chills. It’s surreal. I never would’ve imagined it. But now that it’s a reality, I’m beyond excited. Now I just can’t wait to shoot the video.
As a big fan of Chrisette Michelle, I have to ask you what it was like working/performing with her?
Performing with Chrisette Michelle was definitely a blessing. She’s so talented and has such a beautiful voice. I’m looking forward to working with her again in the very near future.
Who are some of your favorite rappers? Favorite rap songs? Who would you still love to work with?
I’m a big Jeezy fan. Him and Yung Joc. I’d love to work with both of them. And I can’t forget RedMan. I’d love to get him on a track too.
It’s definitely having Ne-Yo on my upcoming album, “On God”. That, and being nominated for a few upcoming awards.
Where do you see yourself in 10 or even 20 years?
Where do I see myself in 10, 20 years? Still performing. Still going hard. And still wearing my dog tags (Laughter).