Earlier on in a rapper’s career it’s easy to get caught up trying to be the “hardest” in their region. It can be difficult for some artists to stay true to their artistry amidst physical and social media pressure to imitate already established artists or rely on pure street appeal.

In Colorado, the African-American community makes up less that 4 percent of the total population, therefore the urban music scene lacks general support and numbers. Like most local scenes, rappers often are at the will of the local DJs and promoters’ tastes indirectly influence artists to make more club records. Alex “A Meazy” Jiles has employed a different approach—instead of trying the “hard” route or making straight club joints, he’s practical and approachable in his music.

There is balance in “The Real Ned Flanders” music. You find insightful, yet poignant bars sparking the critical mind but also find relaxed not so serious rhymes just living life “okily-dokily.” Another interesting balance you find in his flow, content and album are the equally inundated with both new and old school influences. While maintaining his own sound, Meazy has a great mixture of new age sound with old school realism. He defines it as “disrespectful and intellectual” on his latest project The Real Ned Flanders 2.

A Meazy is a breath of fresh air for those boom bap lovers who want lyrics to dominate the content with new school production. Meazy includes new Colorado stars like Top Flite Empire, Ray Reed and Trev Rich while bridging back to the city roots with an artist like Kingdom. Meazy seems to have found his voice and sense of himself with his latest drop in TNRF2, staying true to his own style.

How did you get started rapping?

Oh man, I first started making music in elementary school but didn’t really start taking it seriously until high school. Ever since then it’s been on.

When did you realize it was more than just a hobby or a passion?

I really started to take it serious when I started making music in high school and I had a couple people come up to me and say, “this is really, really, really, good.” And I just thought maybe this is for me, maybe this is what I’m supposed to do.

How do you describe your sound to people that haven’t heard it before?

I really feel like I was influenced by West Coast music. Dom Kennedy, I think he would be one of them for sure. I think maybe J.Cole. Like a mix between them two.

That’s funny because when I heard the album the first thing I thought was Nipsey Hussle and J Cole mix.

Yeah, I get the Nipsey Hussle comparison sometimes. [laughs]

Who are your influences?

Growing up I was influenced by 2Pac; my mom bumped him heavy, heavy. So I think at first it was ‘Pac but nowadays to be honest with you a lot rappers influence me. I’m influenced by anything that is good. A lot of rappers make it seem like they only listen to rap; I want to listen to all of it. I listen to Adele, I listen to Jhene Aiko as well, I love her voice. Right now those are the two that I listen that are not rap.

What is some advice somebody gave you that stuck with you?

My grandmother told me, “You will be judged by the effort you put in. Not about the skill level that you have, how much work you actually put in.”

She told me that a long time ago, she said this is what you want your career to be, you have to put your all into it and you have to make people believe you’re really serious about this. So that’s what I’ll do, I’ll try to work harder than everyone else.

What do you hope people will take away from listening to your music?

They will realize that number one, music these days doesn’t necessarily touch on the real. But I’m a real person, you know? I’m very, very slow to act like something I’m not. I’m a humble guy. I don’t put my chest out but I’m always working and going to talk about things that are relatable. And I’m here to stay.

Tell us a little bit about what concepts or themes that reoccur in your new project?

It’s kind of like a movie. There were a bunch of things that occurred in my life at that time, you know it just felt like it was a lot of stuff I needed to put on wax in order to express myself.  Then it became a full project. I never meant to do it that way, but that’s how the songs ended up working out. And so to listen to it the way I put it together, it’s really just an album that flows together.

What was the creative process for this project?

There’s a bunch of times where I was unmotivated because I was going through a lot of legal things and problems with the relationship that I was in. So my creative process got stalled for a second but to be honest that actually helped me create better music. There was a lot of sleepless nights and I would stay up to get things together, and I did. I’d get to Conway Studios out here in Denver and [guys like] Trev would be there killing it. I would be chopping it up and I’ll get inspired musically. Then I’d just knock out songs right there on the spot.

So what do you want to accomplish next in your career?

I want to go on tour. I want to get my name up to the point where I could go do it. I don’t want to work no more, I don’t want to have to do this nine-to-five gig. I’m trying to take this all the way so that I can really accomplish what I want to accomplish.