[ BayUndaground.com ] : Let's start off from the very beginning. Tell us about your roots, where you are from, where you grew up and where you live right now.
[ Renz Julian ] : East Bay. Oakland & Antioch is where I spent the most of my youth although I moved around a lot, living with friends & relatives. My upbringing lacked stability yet I was able to push thru it.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Are you feeling more of a San Jose or Oakland representative?
[ Renz Julian ] : Definitely Oakland & the East Bay is where I spent my most pivotal years growing up. I moved to San Jose later on in my 20's.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Tell us about your early life. Did it impact your personality as a rapper and your lyrics?
[ Renz Julian ] : I was a rebellious, troubled but gifted youth. I used football and music to channel my energy into a positive direction, although I was kind of a hot head and got into many fights growing up. Lyrically I was mostly influenced by great storytellers such as 2Pac, Nas and Biggie. I used to write rhymes in class while the teacher thought I was taking notes.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Coming back to your Filipino origins, what can you tell us about the Filipino contribution to the Bay Area rap? Would you name yourself next to such artists as Nump, Mike-Dash-E or Charizma?
[ Renz Julian ] : Being half black & half Filipino I kind of felt like I was in my own lane at times, but I acknowledge both sides, take pride in, and respect the history of both cultures.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What happened to Playa Renz and Street People Entertainment? Why did you decide to change your rap name and transform your label?
[ Renz Julian ] : I felt like the name represented the younger version of myself. As I've grown I've changed with the times and rebranded myself as an artist and as a record label owner.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How did you meet Salim The Uneek? Tell us something more about your debut release "Fingaz Of Gold" that you've recorded along with Salim in 1999.
[ Renz Julian ] : We met in school. He was a producer and rapper as was I, and we would freestyle battle at lunch daily. We eventually formed a group and started the label Street People Ent. As of now Salim is not doing music anymore.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Let's focus on Field Of Dreamz Ent. What are the label's main goals? Who's on it? What's the story behind its name?
[ Renz Julian ] : Field Of Dreamz is the area I named between Sycamore St./Telegraph/Broadway/West Grand in Oakland. That area is where we used to hit the clubs "Sweet Jimmies", "Geoffreys" and "Seventeens" and mob like 10 deep getting at ho's like we were stars. We felt like that neighborhood had given us high hopes to make it big, yet so many people never made it. It started to feel like the field of broken dreams. I wanted to keep that feeling alive and keep that ambitious feeling I had as a teen trying to come up. As far as the label roster it is Myself and my group Goldfingaz MOB and management team of Mia Amanda & Kaz aka Kaazim The Dream.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Since late 90s you've released a couple of solo albums and mixtape projects, yet major part of them dropped after 2006. What happened in those "lost years"?
[ Renz Julian ] : Life. I was pursuing pro football for a few years while also battling drug & alcohol addiction. I was hustling and trying to make a living during that time and music wasn't important to me then.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You've released quite a number of smashing hits that were played around United States on many different stations. Which of your singles would you call the biggest success and why?
[ Renz Julian ] : I would say "Pop N Lock" ft. Twista & E-40 got the most spins and broke me into the south where the game has been focused for some time now it seems. But I'm a West Coast cat and West Coast DJ's wouldn't even play Bay Area sounding records a few years ago when that track was on. I think my heart is more behind my newer records like "Yowda" ft. The Jacka, because they possess that signature Bay sound that I grew up on.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Shed some light on your sports achievements. Why did you choose to live a rapper's life instead of a sportsman life?
[ Renz Julian ] : I went to a few pro combines and ran 4.3 at 5'11 230 pounds and benched like 225 lbs 30 times. From that I was invited to NFL camps with the Atlanta Falcons and CFL Calgary Stampeders. My highlight tape from St. Mary's College was brief since I was injured and had dropped out for a while, but it was enough to get me a contract to play arena football in the Midwest for a year. I had issues with the coaching staff and got into a few fights with players. I was kicked off the team for that incident and I felt like that path wasn't meant for me, even though I had the ability. I felt like with music I could change more lives and be a voice of the people, not just another number running around on a field.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Tell us about your latest project called "Thug Scholarship". It's a documentary and a music album - give us some details on both of them.
[ Renz Julian ] : The album is a more personal album. It takes a look at my youth and how I grew up and paints a picture of where my attitude and personality comes from. The movie is like a musical documentary showing my growth and progression not just as an artist or athlete, but as a man. It's not just about myself as there are other artists on the film like Mistah FAB and Big Drawz of 211 that speak on how it is trying to make thru hardship while chasing that million dollar dream of success. T.H.U.G. (Thru tribulation and Hardship Uncover Greatness) Scholarship program is something I started to help give back to the hood and for those that are striving to succeed against harsh circumstances.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What are your plans for 2015?
[ Renz Julian ] : I have a few more movie scripts I'm working on as well as "Thug Scholarship" part 2 album thats already in the works. Also working on re-launching renzjulian.com with a clothing line and Internet radio station, and securing film distribution outlets for the Thug Scholarship movie. Most importantly taking care my fam.