Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 7: WindchILL

by: Micah Jacobs
November 1, 2017

The seventh installation of Hip-Hop in Harrisburg features Universal Language Entertainment recording artist, WindchILL.

hip-hop in harrisburg windchill

WindchILL is rapper who has been doing it for 20 years and has worked non-stop to create the music he loves while reppin’ the city he loves — Harrisburg.

MJ: When did you first get into hip-hop?

WindchILL: I would say around 1990, when I was 10 years old. The first hip hop song I ever heard was “It Takes Two” by Rob Base. I remember when heard it feeling complete joy and seeing the people listening to it — they were dancing and it was fun! I knew hip-hop would be with me forever.

When did you finally decide that you wanted to start making music yourself?

I started creating in 1996 when I was 16 years old. I was in love with hip-hop. We would take a 4-track recorder, myself and my friend that went to East Pennsboro with me that had the beats on it, and we would perform at school, at parties, anywhere we could. We would hook our recorder up to any house stereo there was and started rockin out. People started liking it so, we kept doing it. Our first show was at a pizza shop on a Friday night. After that, we started booking fire hall shows and eventually we did our cd release show at The Midtown Tavern back in 2003.

Who were some of your influences in the area coming up?

There was a lot of Harrisburg artists — The Ambush, Agony, Penhead. I remember being at the Capital City Mall and the guys from The Ambush were out there selling their CDs. That was the first time I realized that I need to be doing the same thing. I got involved with a group called Artists Over Industry back in the early 00s and we were involved with putting a lot of local shows on. If anyone remembers back in the Dragonfly days we had KRS-ONE, The Pharcyde and even Method Man and Redman come through. It was a great experience to be a part of that. It’s very similar to what I am doing now being involved with Grind Mode and Universal Language. I just came back from Denver shooing a Grind Mode Cypher with the legendary Masta Ace. So from doing fire hall shows to sharing a cypher with someone like Masta Ace, its just been crazy to reflect on the progression.

What about hip-hop in our city, you’ve been around for it for awhile, what’s your take?

I remember when there were hip-hop venues popping up all over the city, and now we struggle to have a few. I’ve seen the underground scene united and flourish in Harrisburg, but I have also seen it have its problems. Right now, it feels good. There are a lot of different types of hip-hop artists coming together and working together. I think that is what hip-hop struggles with now more than anything. Because there are so many different forms of it a lot of people, myself included, are distancing themselves from newer styles. When I first heard some of the new stuff it was almost appalling to me, but I realized I need to be open to it and appreciate it. It’s nothing I can create because my soul is in a certain place when I create however, we need to be more accepting of it. Ultimately, us old heads, we have to grin and bear it. Last thing I want to do is sound like my grandparents when rock n’ roll first came out.

You’d agree that hip-hop is united in Harrisburg right now?

Absolutely. I booked a show coming up called PennsylMania Music Fest at HMAC on Nov. 11. What you’re going to see with this show is the diverse hip-hop and r&b scene in our city put on display. I want Harrisburg to be put on the map, I want this area to succeed and kept that state of mind when I was booking this show. We need the party style hip-hop to get us pumped up, we need the boom-bap lyricists to make us think. We get to learn about one another through our music, strengthen ourselves, and strengthen our music scene in Harrisburg.

hip-hop in harrisburg windchill

You’ve been doing it for 20 years, what is the key to staying relevant as an artist?

I have to be able to evolve and to change. I can’t stay doing 90’s boom-bap with scratches over a chorus forever. Even with my last album, there are different sounding tracks because you have to keep it fresh and keep people guessing.

After that last question we just started talking about Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and how we both really miss hip-hop groups and there aren’t any new groups coming out anymore. We decided it’s hard to really think of any new hip-hop groups (not crews) that are coming out and wondered why the shift? Does Run The Jewels count?

Check out WindchILL and many more artists from Harrisburg at PennsylMania Music Fest on Saturday, Nov. 11 at The Capital Room at HMAC.

For more music from WindchILL check out his latest release “2nd Wind” on his Bandcamp page and follow him on Facebook to keep up with his live performances and newest releases.

Until next time, follow my adventures in local hip-hop using the hashtag #HipHopinHBG.

Categories: Harrisburg, Music, Nightlife

4 thoughts on “Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 7: WindchILL

  1. Small Hands on said:

    Great interview. WindchILL is an incredibly talented and dedicated MC. 💥

  2. Shane Steele on said:

    I’m so excited about everything this dude is doing right now! Straight killing it!!

  3. Buddhakai on said:

    Super dope! Shout out to Windchill and the Universal Language Family. Keep doing your thing bro!!!

  4. Geoff Grey on said:

    WindchILL is the man! He isn’t such an amazing story teller and always comes fresh with every new project he creates. SALUTE!

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