Seth Narley hails from the South Bronx and is quickly rising in the rankings as part of the New York Rap renaissance. Narley just released Chanel Rap which outlines his lavish lifestyle that he claims is everyday life for him. He has been rapping since high school and has connected with some of the hottest rappers in New York City including Troy Ave and A$AP Rocky. Listening to Chanel Rap you can sense that Narley takes just as much pride in his wardrobe as he does in music. Read below as I talk to the Bronx spitter about life, corny fashion brands, the mixtape, and other New York artists.
For those who don’t know, explain when and why you started rapping and how you established that ”Designer Rap” rap aesthetic that you’ve become famous for.
Well I started rapping in high school during my last two years, but I didn’t take it serious until after I graduated. I was on the verge of not graduating due to missing school and not having enough credits. The reason I started rapping was because I always loved music and was always around it my whole life. The way I came up with “Chanel Rap” was pretty easy. I am “Chanel Rap”, I embody what it means. It was deeper than just a title, it displays my lifestyle for the last four to five years.
How has your Puerto Rican heritage and South Bronx background influenced your fashion choices and outlook on the fashion industry? Did you pay attention to the classic brands that late-90’s, early-2000’s New York rappers wore? For ex: Versace, Carhartt, Iceberg, etc.
My fashion choices and outlook come solely from me. It usually depends on how I’m feeling at that time. Puerto Rico influenced it, because out there motherfuckers don’t really care about shit, it’s more about doing what you want and looking how you want. People don’t care like that out there. In the South Bronx, it’s the total opposite, so that just showed me to do what I want , and dress how I want and not worry about what people think. Most people in my hood use to laugh at my fitted clothes and shit but they bitches would love it [laughs]. As for 90’s fashion, I really use to pay attention to it, like Karl Kani and what they did along with Avirex leathers, Iceberg, and Coogi.
Coming up, what artists or music scenes did you really pay attention to and why? In terms of fashion, who did you look to for inspiration in the rap game?
Coming up, in the beginning I was listening to a lot of R&B because I was raised by my grandmother and older female cousin. She use to drown me out with Monica, Aaliyah, R. Kelly, and 112. As I got a bit older, and I was able to hit the streets, I started listening to Jay Z and the whole Roc-A-Fella family. I also listened to Fabolous and the whole Dipset movement, but because of the internet I was able to listen to 8-Ball & MJG, because New York wasn’t playing that at the time. Man, Fab had it on lock with that fly shit from the jerseys to the ill Akademiks sweat suits he was wearing, but when Kanye hit the scene everything changed [laughs] it was a new day.
You have some pretty major collaborations on the tape. How did you link with A$AP Rocky and Troy Ave? Were they familiar with your music from prior years? Were you surprised when the collaborations went down?
I actually already knew A$AP Rocky so that was just more or less two friends going in there [studio] to just kick it and come out with dope music, but he knew I was rapping before we linked. As for Troy Ave, that was through my homie, a mutual friend, where I sent the record over to him and his camp, and they dug the track. He blessed the young God with a verse but both collaborations worked out great. Both songs came out how I wanted.
What artists are you looking to work with in New York City and worldwide? What’s your impression of the New New York wave (Bodega BAMZ, A$AP Mob, Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, etc)?
I think Dom Kennedy and I would make some dope shit. Tell the homie lets work [laughs]. As for New York City, I’m fuckin’ with all the new cats. Shout-out to them! Everybody coming up, it’s good for the city as a whole. I don’t really care for the “New New York” title. I just feel it’s a new day in age with New York Rap and I’m in it. I’m fuckin’ wit it. Again shout-out to my whole city and everybody doing it.
You just released Chanel Rap which insinuates your “Designer Rap” aesthetic, what direction did you want to take the mixtape and did the final result come out the way you originally envisioned?
Yeah, I just dropped that. I worked hard on that shit man. And the direction I wanted to take was basically different then what was “in” or “poppin'” at the time we dropped. The music soundscape had shifted, everything was trap beats or singing hooks, I wanted to bring interludes, struggle, and fly shit back. All packaged in one, to give it balance. And I think I executed that shit. Precisely.
How would you respond to those people want to typecast you as just a “swag rapper” who doesn’t have substantial bars? What message would you send to them?
Shit, I just laugh at people like that. Their brain must really be small because if you listen to my music you can understand where I’m coming from, and why I am the way that I am. I drop jewels and messages on a lot of the songs on Chanel Rap especially on “Vices”. I mention how my mom was a ex-drug addict and fell threw the cracks of life. Nothing “swag” about that, at all. But people will always try to find something negative to say or try and put you in a box so I ain’t tripping. Yeah, I am a “swagged-out” music artist. However, you can hear the pain and agony embodied in my music so it’s all balanced perfectly.
You’re obviously deep in your fashion shit as it pretty much controls your whole brand. What brands have you been riding since “Day 1”? What brands have become corny (i.e. Givenchy)? What brands should people look to next?
Honestly, I use fashion as a way to relate to people and to give shit a different twist. My whole brand represents better living, wanting more for yourself, and not letting no one stop that. As far as for brands I been riding with since “Day 1”, I would have to say Marc Jacobs‘ denim and A Bathing Ape (BAPE) tops. Corny brands [laughs], damn, I just hate all that “inspired by” something else kind of brands people been dropping lately. It just takes the art out of the original OG shit. They’re copying brands people sleep on. Also, people should look forward to Americano Made by my homie. Shit’s super fucking dope. And of course my favorite denim brand Ksubi aka “I am the Double Cross Boss” [laughs].
What can we expect from Seth Narley in the upcoming months? More mixtapes and singles, right? Any clothing lines or collaborations in the works or no?
In the coming months you can expect a lot of videos off Chanel Rap, and more “Chanel Rap”. That’s all I’m promoting for the next few months. #ChanelRap
Lastly, explain your vision for the cover art of Chanel Rap which is pretty fucking hilarious. It’s classic.
[Laughs] Man, the cover was me just wanting to fuck with people’s heads and shit, I knew people would find a kick out of it. In a nutshell, the cover represents me. I love women, I love the color white and I love gold.