Grateful Web Interview with Tropidelic - 2024

Article Contributed by Nick Gumas | Published on Saturday, June 1, 2024

Cleveland locals turned national touring sensation, Tropidelic has prioritized their art and ambition above all else. An amalgamation of Reggae, Funk, Hip-Hop, and the onstage energy every artist should strive to embody, the project has become an undeniable force in the community. Grateful Web got the chance to sit down with the project’s frontmen Matthew Roads and James Begin at this year’s Cali Roots Festival to talk about their process, their evolution as artists, and even their venture into the music promotion sphere.

Tropidelic | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

Grateful Web: Your music has really taken flight stylistically and evolved since your earlier albums like “Police State.” What do you think has led to these changes and where do you see this project going from here?

Matthew Roads: Just natural growth, and definitely an intent and an intention involved in progressing the sound and pushing everything forward. It's a fun process.

GW: Your project has always blended Hip-Hop and reggae, but why do you feel that type of music plays so well to reggae fans?

James Begin: I don't know, maybe at its root it's the West Coast connection there with bands like Sublime getting everything started with the style of reggae and then the hip hop scene that was going on out there. And I think the groove just kind of allows for it as well. But it's so fun watching everybody do it. I mean, I enjoy it, I think everybody really enjoys it, and it's cool watching those fans cross over as well. We've been watching people like Wu-Tang and Atmosphere and Living Legends come and play this same Reggae festival. That's been really cool.

Matthew Roads | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

GW: In spearheading the Everwild festival, what have been your biggest priorities, financial motivations aside, and what have been your biggest learning curves in taking on the business side of the industry?

MR: For us, it's been very little about finances, It's just kind of like we're doing what we're doing. We started the festival eight years ago as essentially a backyard pool party and now it's this massive thing in the midwest. There's been a lot of challenges for sure with that being said. When you go up to scale, the problems become that much bigger. We have a great team though, so they assist with most of it and we play our part in the promotion side.

GW: What's your dream legacy act to headline the festival one day?

JB: I'd love to have Atmosphere there. That'd be pretty, pretty amazing.

MR: It'd be great to have Sublime there. Like, this, you know, this reincarnated version with Jakob singing. It would be awesome.

James Begin | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

GW: Who’s the next band you’re really hoping to bring up with the festival?

MR: A band called The Quasi Kings out of Columbus, Ohio. We come from a part of the country where there's very little sort of anything reggae tangent, and they, and they're a true and thorough reggae band out of Columbus Ohio that we love.

GW: The last few years more than ever, we've seen a lot more collaborations in the reggae sphere. What do you think that says about the genre? And why do you think reggae has really taken off in the mainstream in the last couple of years?

JB: I guess I don't know why, but I think collaborations are a big thing in Hip-Hop. So it's cool, like watching more bands take on the style of jumping on each other's songs and doing things like that. It's cool just getting to work with different people in the studio and stuff and, you know, everybody does things differently. So learning about other people's processes and stuff is just interesting and helpful.

Tropidelic | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

GW: Best local spot in Cleveland?

JB: Cordelia. It's a restaurant on East Fourth Street. It's the best in town.

GW: You've been in Monterey for Cali Roots three times so far, have you had the chance to check out the aquarium here?

MR: I didn't know there was an aquarium, no.

JB: We've gone to the Fisherman's Wharf and it's about all we got in this time. But I heard they had a great aquarium.

MR: Got to see the sea lions.

Tropidelic | Cali Roots | Monterey, Ca

GW: Anything you want to plug?

JB: Everwild Music Festival. It's the first weekend of August, Legend Valley

MR: Our new Album Drops on July 19th called Royal Grove.

GW: What’s one thing you’ve never been asked about in an interview?

JB: We do the adopt a highway program. It's like a litter cleanup thing. We're pretty stoked on that. We take people out four times a year and clean up the highway in Cleveland. So, yeah, we like doing stuff like that.

Tropidelic | California Roots | Monterey, Ca