Posts Tagged ‘rap’

Interview w/rapper, Nerd

January 10, 2009



nerd What makes a nerd, a nerd?
nerd: Focus. A nerd is someone who just focuses on something so much that you would’ve thought they invented it. Nerds are just focused people. What’s the best thing about being a nerd?
nerd: Being able to outsmart people. What are common nerd misconceptions?
nerd: They we don’t know what it means to be cool or interesting. Nowadays its way more accepted to be a self-proclaimed nerd…but it wasn’t always that way. What are things you think contributed to this gradual acceptance/tolerance?
nerd: Well the “nerd” has always been the tragic hero, someone who saves the day when you thought they would have been the first to die. You got rebelious nerds like N.E.R.D, Phyarcyde, Del the funky Homosapien, that are just creative and artistic. . . people pick up on that. You’re a rapping nerd…I guess the oppostie would be a rapping jock. What do you think would be characteristics of a rapping jock?
nerd: What you hear now on the radio (laughs), hell there is even a dude named Young Joc. Rappers out now often compare themselves to sports figures so I would call those people rapping jocks. I think it’s safe to say nerds like to learn. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from pursuing music?
nerd: My favorite rapper once said, “Nobody belived, until I belived me.” Believe in yourself. What’s it like being both a writer (URB, right?) who happens to do some music-related work, and a musician? Do you believe you gain a different perspective on both things?
nerd: It’s a humbling and complex experience because I’m someone who can make or break artist careers and at the same time I am out networking in the same field as that artist. I have to carefully use my words and make sure stick to them. So if I think an artist is wack, I have to tell them to they face “yo, you are wack”. At the same time, I make my music to the same standard that I judge other peoples music so really I am making or breaking my career as well. And people will flip on you, It’s cool if I’m interviewing The Cool Kids for the mag but the moment I wanna do a song with them they look the other way. You can only get so far until you step out of that position where you make people look good to you are their competition. What are your interests outside of making music and writing?
nerd: I love to party and meet new people. I enjoy recreational stuff like swimming, bowling, minature golf – things that put me at ease. The Cali rap scene has a diverse group of talent and subject matter. What do you think are causes of that?
nerd: The elements man, the air, the water, and to some extent the earth (weed). We are just in touch with natural things. Plus, this is the film capital so you have a lot of people with a lot of ideas who come here from all across the globe. How would you describe life in Cali?
nerd: It really depends where you go. North Cali is family, close knit and people have the chance to take things slow. South Cal is fast paced, people will rush to go nowhere all at the same time and try to be the first one to do it. Then there is the Valley, I really dont know what goes on over there (laughs). What’s the worst thing about being a nerd?
nerd: The worst think about being a nerd is having to “work” toward being noticed. Usually a nerd would just hide himself from the public anyway, so thats what everyone expects. For those who want to break away from that stereotype they have a difficult time. Are you in college? If so, what’s your major?
nerd: Yes I go to California State Long Beach and I am an English Major with a focus in Creative Writing. So, I peeped your blog about the Dis-ember mixtape, which is coming at the end of this month. Can you go into detail about it’s premise?
nerd: I just feel that there are too many people who feel that they can do what I do. I recent read an interview that Hip Hop DX did with Big Daddy Kane in which he talked about how the emcee got his respect off of the battles. It was real dog eat dog then because everyone wanted to be the best. Now everyone is just SAYING they are the best but don’t prove it. So I’m here to ruffle a few feathers. I have nothing to lose, and I’m not on no killing nonsence either. Hm, the writer/musician standpoint does seem like a double-edged sword. Do you believe the critic/artist standard of your own work offers you an advantage in comparison to someone who is just an artist?
nerd: Besides the fact I get to run my big mouth? Ha ha, well I get more respect as a critic because I am supposed to “get it” when it comes to an artists message, but I am a fan first so that side comes out when I am doing my reviews or editorials. If you had to describe your music as a formula, how would you do it?
nerd: rhyme skills(beats x performance)- lies + business(marketing,money,networking)/music consumers + record labels.

= X

Solve. Ha ha ha.



So…it was NAS who killed hip-hop.

December 31, 2008

Interview w/UK rapper, Kidd Neer

December 30, 2008

Kidd Neer

– What’s the meaning of your rapping name?

Haha, well I’m not gonna lie and try to think up of an extremely complex meaning to my name but I guess i can divulge into the story behind it! Before I finally got some recording equipment, I decided to put some videos on the internet of me just rapping over a few beats using my mobile phone. But I was really embarrassed about it man. People saw me as the person who does nothing except homework, so me rapping was something I kept secret. It was almost my secret identity…I even had the mask on in the videos as if I was Spiderman whilst the others know me as Peter Parker haha. Just to make sure no-one would know it was me, I just had the name Whizz Kidd. But as I got my equipment and I started making tracks, I cared less about other people I know listening to my music and then in the end, I dropped the Whizz which is real corny and added my real name at the end of it to make Kidd Neer. I think it sounds like a superhero’s name….something you would’ve read in the marvel comics.

– When did you decide you wanted to rap?

To be honest, I don’t remember an exact moment in which I said to myself, “You know what, I wanna’ begin making my own songs.” I guess it was just a natural progression from being a huge fan of rap and other forms of music, to then just deciding to take it on myself. I’ve always thought of myself to be an artistic person but just didn’t know the medium to express myself through. I’ve never been a good painter, but when I started dabbling with music, it felt right for me to pursue it. I was passionate about it, I enjoyed it, and at least in my mind, I was good at it haha.

– How did people you know react, when they found out you rapped?

There’s a wide spectrum to how people reacted haha. I expected a lot of my close friends to show some interest and support me but that didn’t really happen which was disappointing to an extent, but also pretty cool because it keeps me grounded. Other people who I hadn’t really spoken to really showed an interest though, listening to all the songs and staying on the ball for when new songs drop which feels real good. It feels good to be recognized for something you create. Like every song I make I feel as though I’m giving out emotions which I wouldn’t necessarily reveal to you in a normal conversation. Other people didn’t like it. I’d think a lot of it had to do with it being me making it rather than someone else, so they had it clear in their mind that they were never gonna like it. And then there’s people I have never spoken to liking my music which is pretty cool. Like when I hear back from a few of my friends that so and so listened to your music and wants to hear more, I feel as though I’ve achieved something. Things like that just make my day. Whenever I hear one of my friends making music, I always try and make it a point to congratulate them and give them a word of encouragement because I know the difference it can make. Sometimes you just need that little push; especially in times when you begin to doubt yourself.

Were you surprised at first that the initial support was somewhat juxtaposed concerning close friends and people that you weren’t as close to?

Well a few of my close friends I’m working with musically so that’s all good. But to be honest, I wasn’t surprised with the juxtaposition. You know, whether I rap or not doesn’t make a difference to a close friend who likes you whatever reason. To other people who don’t really talk to you as such, through the music they are allowed to get to know me in someway. So in that respect it isn’t surprising. But you’d still expect your friends to just be there to boost your confidence when you begin to doubt yourself. Self-doubt is like a prison. As soon as the thought creeps in, you’re sent spiraling downwards. Sometimes you just need that mentor so to speak to bring you back up. Luckily I’ve made lots of contacts through music who are there to just give me any advice I need.

So, who do you think has been you musical mentor?

Ah man, I have so many haha. Firstly, my dude Ears has been supporting me for a while now, helping me with the mixing down of tracks, the creative direction of my music and the business side of things. He’s working with Adam Tensta who is getting huge in Europe and branching off to the U.S, and hearing his stories of touring and stuff is just such an inspiration. I then got dudes like Fat Tony, the good people from Supreeme and ADD-2 who I see developing at such a fast rate that I can’t help but be inspired. Whenever I talk to these guys, I learn something new about the industry and the way it works which is priceless.

– What was your first hip-hop memory?

Oh I remember this vividly. I was 9 years old and in Holland with my family, staying with some family friends. My brother was listening to the Marshall Mathers LP and I managed to sneak a listen. The track I heard was “Kill you.” At the time I remember just being amazed by the vulgar language. As a 9 year old, I was just like “Woah! Did he really say that?” The thing which had me even more interested in the music was the melody and the catchy hook. God bless Eminem! If he wasn’t around, I’d never have come around to writing my own songs.

– How would you say hip-hop in the UK differs from hip-hop in other areas around the globe?

UK hip-hop is basically built up of grime. Usually simple beats with high energy vocals laced on top of it. In the UK, it’s quite big but I’m not the biggest fan of the genre. In my opinion, there are a lot of garbage artists in the UK. Luckily, most of the artists who do transcend the UK-US gap are the talented artists. So in essence, we kinda weed out all the crap artists for you haha. In essence though, there isn’t a great deal of difference between the hiphop in the UK and the US. Aside from the obvious accent difference, at the end of the day, hiphop is hiphop and music is music.

– Who’s your favorite hip-hop artist from the US, and who’s your favorite hip-hop artist from the UK? In what ways would you say they are similar, and how would you say they differ?

Well man at the moment, my favourite hip-hop artist from the US is Kanye West (that’s if you wanna’ call it hip-hop!) whilst from the UK it is probably Kano. Aside from the obvious difference of one of them singing and the other not, they are both similar in the way that they write from their own past/current experiences. Kano often reflects on his life in the streets but the way in which he delivers it is so fresh and Kanye is…well Kanye is Kanye. 808 and Heartbreaks was amazing. The way in which he turned tragedy with his girlfriend breaking up and the death of his mother through singing is something which couldn’t have been achieved through rap. The problem is with rap is that it is often difficult for artists to convey true pain being felt other than through the selection of words.

– The internet has allowed for more of a global connection on between people on many levels.
How do you think it has helped the music industry, and how do you think it has hurt?

I think that the internet has affected the business side of the industry. Before, there was big money involved in rap music but that’s kinda gone downhill due to the ease of listening and downloading music online. However, I believe that in the near future the industry will return to normal. The labels have gotta somehow incentivise the music listener into wanting to legally download the music legally as opposed to doing it illegally. Conflicts such as the one between Kanye and 50 worked great in getting listeners to actually buy the cd. The sad thing is though that artists have to almost cook up these schemes in order to get their music sold. The music doesn’t sell for itself these days. But the internet has helped in so many ways. I believe that it’s helping push the wave of new talent coming into the industry. For a new artist like me, the internet has been priceless in terms of promotion and also helping to make contacts with other musicians. Overall, I think that the internet has been good for the quality of music being produced (aside from the crap musicians who spam add you on myspace…not good) but not quite for those artists who wanna see the 8 digit cheques.

How do you think music would be different if the internet didn’t exist?

If the internet didn’t exist, music would be spiraling downhill drastically. Like to be honest with you, a lot of the music I listen to these days are indie artists, save a few acts. It’s not even a conscious decision to go against the mainstream. It’s just I feel as though a lot of fresh artists are coming out of nowhere on the internet, and when you do come across them you have no choice but to follow them. There’s a lot of talent out there man, bringing a new, fresh sound. It’s just people have to begin to tap into it a bit more and support the talent.

If you could think up an acronym meaning for the word rap, what would it be?

Reciting actual poetry? That’s a bit crap but it was the best I could think of. It was either that or retards attempting poetry haha.

– How would you describe living life in the UK?

One word: rain.

lol, how would you say rain affects living in the UK?

Makes it depressing man. Waking up in the morning to the rain, going to school, and then coming back and it’s dark. I saw Dom Kennedy’s video to Watermelon Sundae and I was literally in a state of disbelief. The palm trees, the deep blue skies, the sun, everyone in the swimming pool chilling and a Barbeque to top it off. Seemed like heaven to me. I plan on moving out to the US after I’ve completed my education in the UK. I guess I’m kinda attracted to the flashing lights and the American dream.

To you, what is the American Dream?

The American Dream to me is the good life we all aim to achieve. This is in regards to both materialistic and spiritual. The idea that regardless of where you or your family come from, regardless of the class or status you were born into, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Finally, it’s the idea that the impossible is possible. I’ve been reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ which is so perfect in portraying the American Dream and also the corruption of it. Nonetheless, the American Dream is an ideology of some sort which I strongly believe in and I hope to live out.

If you could describe rap music in one word, what would it be?

Reincarnating! It’ll come back to life soon.

Pic of the day

December 30, 2008
Creepy-looking ceramic owl.

Creepy-looking ceramic owl.


I happened to snap a pic of a weird-looking ceramic owl on the set of a Fat Tony/B L A C K I E/Female Demand show the other night, at the Warhouse in Houston, Tx.

Hollywood Floss Interview

December 9, 2008


Hollywood Floss Why do you rap?

Hollywood Floss: First off, thanks for taking the time to even interview me…Second, no disrespect to any MC or rapper, but I don’t rap…I make all types of music and rap just happens to be one of them, i’m focusing on for the present. Which type of music would you say you enjoy making the most?

Hollywood Floss: Lately, its been a whole bunch of genre’s mixed together, like rock mixed with rap and techno (no lie). I’ve been trying to just make better songs as far as instrumentation goes, instead of a sample and drums (not that there’s anything wrong with that *Jerry Seinfeld voice*). Why do you believe most rappers, rap?

Hollywood Floss:
1. To get out of their current situation or,
2. They really love it and want to become good sooner or later.
3. Naturally gifted with poetry or spoken word, but need music behind it. Since you rap, would it be safe to say MC’ing is your favorite of the four pillars of hip-hop?

Hollywood Floss: Its actually a tie between MC’ing and Production, but since Production is not a pillar, yeah we can say that lol. What are your aspirations as a rapper? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Hollywood Floss: I want to put the best music out as possible, if that leads to me getting signed, cool- if not I’ll fall back on my production and help the next artist out. A lot of people think the state of rap music has been in a constant decline for a number of years. What thing(s) do you think could be done to improve it?

Hollywood Floss:
1. I think it has to start with creativity and starting your own lane…Let me tell you, most artists want to be like their fav artist, but forget that you still have to be you…It makes no sense to be NAS or EMINEM, because the people or fans can go listen to them. The music game doesn’t need clones, but originality…Don’t be afraid to be yourself and start your own genre.

2. Don’t do it for the money, but for the love and the money will come. Do you often listen to your own music?

Hollywood Floss: Hell yeah- that’s the only way to get better, and hopefully you’ll see yourself grow as an artist.

myspace. com/hwflossss – Hopefully people reading this will want to see me grow! Which people (not just rappers) have had the biggest influence on your music?

Hollywood Floss: Its really not music besides the list below, its more growing up and seeing life for myself, wanting to travel and experience. Realizing I don’t care what others think about my art- if you have a problem make your own.

Datarock, Kanye West, Andre 3k , Coldplay, Jay-Z (Volume 1), Common (Electric Circus), N.E.R.D, Lupe Fiasco, Blu, The Beatles, and Lamont Dozier. Who are some local rappers you’d like to work with? Why?

Hollywood Floss:
Kidd The Great – Great vocal talent.
Preso! – Straight up musicmaker, dope music.
Hero & Rad – Lyricists.
Nosaprise – Dope content.
Smash Bro – Very humble, and appreciates creativity.
Solange – She is a very good writer on the low.
Fat Tony – We’ve actually worked together Love Life and Invasion- I produced both, but is always fun to work with ’cause of the energy. Who is the best rapper that’s under-the-radar right now, iyo?

Hollywood Floss: I truly believe i’m the best under-the-radar myself- people rather get one of my beats, but I feel my overall song input and creativity is under the radar if the people want someone other than me…i’m going to go with KiDD The Great. Who’s your favorite non-rapping musician?

Hollywood Floss: Prince. Why is prince your favorite non-rapping musician (not saying he’s not supposed to be or anything, just posing the question as a follow-up)?

Hollywood Floss: Just a genius artist, and I admire anyone who can play 1 instrument well- but to be able to play 20 or more instruments is just in another league and he can sing…He does what he feels is music and I want to take on that challenge as well. Who’s the last artist you listened to?

Hollywood Floss: As I surfed the internet, I was jamming 808s and Heartbreaks. What’s your opinion of the new Kanye album?

Hollywood Floss: It has its moments like heartless, paranoid and robocop…it isn’t his best, but I understand where he is in life and I appreciate him for pushing the envelope…If you listen to the actual words in some of the songs, they arent the most lyrical, but they’re true and easy to relate to. And i’ll take a song I can relate to over some musician trying too hard. What do you like the most about rap music? What do you dislike the most about it?

Hollywood Floss: I actually like when people use compound syllables to rhyme, I think that’s dope…I hate all the rules it has “you cant do this,” “That aint hiphop!” Blah blah blah, just make music. How would you convey to people that don’t believe rapping is a respectable form of music, that it is?

Hollywood Floss: Why try to convince them? I don’t need someone to tell me what’s respectable when it comes to an artform…If I bow down to them i’m admitting to them their opinion on music is more important than mine, and its not. You like what you like and we all have our own set of ears, so to each his own. It’s a trick question…like you stated, you don’t need to convince them. Concerning taste in music (and opinions of art in general), do you think there is a line to be drawn between opinion and fact?

Hollywood Floss: Only when its the truth. Other than that, NO. Here’s an example of truth: Kanye has 4 studio albums, so that’s fact, but opinion is gonna be which one you like the best or how you rank them and in what order. How do you think your taste in music has evolved over time?

Hollywood Floss: What’s funny is, as a kid I went to a 90% white school, and loved alternative music. But when I was coming home there was soul and r&b in the house, and it wasn’t until I was a teen that I discovered rap…So I would have to say my taste has always been open, but a couple of years ago I went through a rap or hip-hop only phase which hid those other sides…but now its grime, rock, crunk, dub, reggae or whatever’s good, i’m jamming.. What would you say was your best body of work?

Hollywood Floss: I hate to sound cliche and I will, but it truly hasn’t been made yet…that’s a question for retiring cats lol or people with insane catalogs like Madonna or Jay-z or something haha. What do you have planned in the near future concerning shows, releases, etc.?

Hollywood Floss: SHOWS – I have Secret Awesome Fest 9000 coming up Nov.28, go to armfar. com for more info. Dec. 6th at the Cellar Bar 3140 Richmond Ave…But i’m always searching for NEW SHOWS and A MANAGER- so if you’re out there hit me up if interested, REPEAT I NEED SHOWS AND A MANAGER or BOOKING AGAENT- I don’t mind splitting the cash!

Releases – Out now, I have Art or Fiscal Intelligence and the Ari Gold Tendencies EP. I will have one more album called Big Fish, Small Pond- then I have an idea that will change the game (imo).

I plan on making 50 to 100 songs and let fans decide there own album to order…so if fan #1 likes 33, 50 , 10 and 2…they order that and i ship it to them, but fan #2 might order 99, 80,15 and 7. So remember where you heard it first on that idea!

Sy Asaad Interview

December 8, 2008
One of the better MCs nowadays, Sy Asaad is more concerned with the craft than more trivial aspects of hip-hop culture...

One of the better MCs nowadays, Sy Asaad is more concerned with the craft than more trivial aspects of hip-hop culture...

Sy Asaad, ladies and gentlemen…hailing from Illadelph, has a wealth of music and words to offer. Any takers? Nice catching up with you again man…so, what’s been on the agenda with your music? How has life been treating you besides music?

Asaad: Glad to be back at it man. Welp, I have been recording on the weekends mostly, just puttin’ mad craft down. As far as life….its pretty live. Been meetin’ all the right people, I now have a new production duo/ famlily. That’s working out VERY well. Its called f5…like the keybaord key i never use.. You have a new set of songs on your myspace. Will those be deposited into an EP or mixtape of sorts in the future?

Asaad: That’s the new shit…that new shit!!! Its dope man…its mainly for my mixtape called, “The Plastic Tape”. Its working out and coming along well. ALSO, I do have a special EP with a producer named Ta-ku from Perth, Austrailia in the works… What can listeners expect from The Plastic Tape?

Asaad: Aww man. The Plastic Tape is gonna hit first thing 09′. It will set the globe off the axis. Its basically me, not being basic & touching on the stuff I won’t be touching (plastic chicks), as well as showing how fun emceeing can be. It will be a long list of songs, maybe 30, freestlyes of the finest beats, and my original hits to showcase my skills. Of those songs I just inquired about, one of them is called “Plastic.” It’s on some other stuff. What was your inspiration?

Asaad: I am Plastic. That’s where the idea for alot of my new music started. One of my brother/producers Tracknique gave me beats and I recorded a song called All Natural. Then he posts a beat on myspace called All Natural, but he hadn’t heard my version or knew I had a song even called that. So his beat was the I am Plastic beat you hear. No samples…all natural (unlike the All Natural that is sampled), so I flipped the title to the opposite of All Natural..Plastic.

My 2nd idea was to make a song about my toy collection. Then it sparked a whole epidemic on people who rely on superficial stimuli such as make-up, botox…so on. Then I tricked it. The reason people think its left-field is because I organized and rhymed it to show how stiff I was, to put an emphasis on a plastic feel. So my real inspiration was 400% Bearbricks, and the Angelina Jolie’s…haha. You seem to have a solid stance on certain aspects of rap, and consequently some aspects of life…are you the type of person that would change his mind concerning a certain philosophy if you thought it was necessary? What are somethings you will never change you mind about?

Asaad: Welp. Time will show if I change up…i’m just gonna say i’m open to lots of new things and won’t try and predict the future. I let time do its job. Although, I will never date a chick who relys on make-up. Haha! lol! What do you think causes people to get fake nails/hair/eyes/body parts added to their own?

Asaad: The fake ‘lashes, contacts, nails and hair are somewhat overlooked. That shit is to me, the epitome of not knowing yourself. It shows how numb people can be of their physicality because its still an artificial substance for superficial purposes. Whether its forever or temporary. So, I believe people rely on those things because they are either scared of themselves or so numb by social standards. Some people would rather break than bend. Would you consider yourself a bender, or a breaker?

Asaad: I can’t quit. or break. People are gonna need me. I cannot…so I guess that makes me a bender. Pause. What do you think would be the hardest thing for you to change musically at this point?

Assad: Musically, to turn my back on all that I fight for. Individuality and love. Do people around often ask questions concerning your rapping endeavor? Does it ever get annoying?

Asaad: I’m down for ANYONE who cares enough to question my music. Shit I may even tell my debit code if it pops up. But what vexes me is when people think i’m some facade, that i’m trying and im like, “I’m doing.” I am no trend. I dont have a shirt on that says, “Look at me, i’m different.” I’m myself, and most super-superfical people never get that… Speaking of people being trends, do you think that the recent surge of up-and-upcoming rappers will subside? If so, when do you think that will be?

Asaad: Well as I have said before, I gave up on mainstream hip-hop a couple years ago…so the wackness could continue forever for all I care. But the “hipster” thing was blown-out and blocked all the people who been doing what they do, rhyming, dressing, etc. before ’08 on out. And the people who banwagoned it, will continue to banwgaon other things. So in other words- there are those who ride the bandwagon, and those who drive it?

Asaad: Those who “drive” it per say…are more than likely molded in it so much that its a lifestyle, not a trend. Take streetwear brands like BAPE…the owner Nigo..he is molded in it. That’s his life- but does Lil’ Wayne wear it in 2008?

So yeah, there are “drivers,” and they drive. But they don’t drive to get leeched by superficial trends…but rather to gather alike minds in the pursuit of hopefully individuality. A lot of rappers talk about real & fake…even the Republicans during the recent presidential election referred to a ‘Real America’. What do you think defines real? What defines fake?

Asaad: This is another aspect of the Plastic theme. Rappers only shed light on how real they are, and only touch on the fake when comparing how real they are. So I decided to make a testiment to fake, not saying because i’m real.

I define everything as being real. Everything! Because its in existince somewhere, whether in reality, minds, maybe dreams. Fake is a term I use on people who are extremely forgetful of who they are and assimilate to fit whatever the popular norm of society is.

p.s. wtf is real america??!! I don’t wanna’ get into that. That vexes me. Many rappers say the person they depict themselves to be in their rhymes is an alter-ego. Would you consider that to be fake, or simply artistic expression?

Asaad: That whole alter ego thing with rappers is okay…I wouldn’t say its fake, but its mildly annoying. Its like mick foley to cactus jack, dude love- whoever he is. It can be entertaining SOMEtimes, and other times I realize that they are being artists…but hey, artists take risks. And I respect that. Can a fake person turn real, and vice-versa?

Asaad: An epiphany is an epiphany. Someone could wake up like, “I can change my life.” For better or worse. Do you think anyone out there considers themselves fake?

Asaad: I’ve never heard anyone say they are fake. But i’m pretty sure it hits them subconciously…

p.s. – I’m out for presidents to represent me, get $, lol. And the winner is OBAMA…my man. I get where you’re coming from with the, “I’m out for presidents to represent me.” What was your take on the whole ’08 election?

Asaad: O-8. Yeah…i’m super happy and excited that he won. I’m also happy that a halfrican-american man, who seems to have a positive outlook on fixing our nation was elected. I never saw this coming, BUT a politician is a politician. Blue, purple or red…and I don’t lay my faith in them. The current state of hip-hop is quite similar to the current state of the economy…what’s your take on both at the moment?

Asaad: Meet the twins! But we can’t blame Bush on rap being sucky. Hip-Hop is healthy, though. Mainstream Rappers just suck, as always. The true heads of the underground are alive and well. Myself and f5 are set, i’m sure Speak and Pheo are set. Pac Div, South Broad, and a long list of others are set. Instead of complaining about the mainstream, we live and love the underground. It becomes moreso a culture thing as it once was. And we are all happy…somewhat. Where do you think the line between fate and free will is drawn?

Asaad: Hmmm…good one. I think fate is inevitable, so it draws a line through everything. That and time are the Geppettos for all us puppets. Plastic and Wood.

Kanye West, Nas, Mos Def, De La Soul, Will.I.Am, & Damon Albarn cypher @ G.O.O.D. Music Party

November 15, 2008

Props to

New Nas! N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave & The Master)…FREE Download!

May 20, 2008

This song is better than the other track that leaked, “Be A Nigger Too.” Looking forward to the album…

One Reason to get the new Bun-B Album:

May 14, 2008

Bun-B ft. Lupe-Fiasco – Swang on ’em

Interview w/So. Cal. Rapper, Speak

May 11, 2008

Speak Why the name Speak?

Speak: First off, let me say I was getting nervous about the interview. I am relieved that I’m being asked questions that will boast my ego as opposed to the pressing issues. Ya know? I thought I was going to be asked about the exit strategy in Iraq or my thoughts Martin Lousteau’s resignation as Argentina’s chief economic officer!

I guess the name is one that fits. My mom will tell you that I am talker, always have been, always will be. In my last life I was more then likely a middle-aged used cars salesman with a wicked comb over! I wish I could provide a more fascinating response that would build the allure of my persona. If I had my notebooks from high school, I’m pretty sure I could dig up some deep poetic origin of my name to tickle your ear with, but I just can’t find them. I am what I am; a loudmouth, very vocal, opinionated, vaudevillian esq. heckler who’s never at a loss of words. I’m the guy at the grocery store who will strike up a conversation with you in line, based on your interesting selection of frozen peas. Tell me about the Apple Bird Music Foundation.

Speak: The Apple Bird Music Foundation was kind of like a puppet record label. After being turned down by any and every indie hip hop label in the country, my lovely fiancé Jen decided to create a logo to stick on tapes (yes we still use cassettes), and promo cdrs. It was just going to be a means of putting out my own music, nothing serious. Little did I realize that Jen’s logo was so official-looking, we started getting emails from artists and demos (our mailing address was on the back of each promo tape) from people who wanted to be signed and all the wildness. It was kind of funny. We decided to run with the idea and use it as the home of my music.

Apple bird in itself has become our baby. Jen and I both work wild 9-5 jobs in order to supply the funds and start up revenue for artist that we enjoy. Being from a punk rock background (Jen use to run her own record distribution), we are taking the diy ethics and approach that punk kids have taken since the 70’s and applying it to our music. Each of our releases is home recorded, with hand made art work, and shipped by us. We do our own advertising, book our own shows, and run the operation out of our master bedroom in Orange County. We are also reaching out to kids who are interested in hiphop music, as I will begin teaching a rap class this summer at the boys and girls club. What’s the first rap song you ever heard?

Speak: The first rap song I heard was the Chicago Bear’s “Super Bowl Shuffle”…I remember thinking to myself bloody hell I can do this for a living! If your style was a food, what would it be, and why?

Speak: HAHAHAH I love it! That’s an easy one! I would definitely be Rice Pilaf! I’m sort of brown, but not really. I’m strange to look at, yet I taste delicious with a jug of Sangria. You’re an unorthodox rapper…what would you say is your most unorthodox influence concerning your music?

Speak: The most unorthodox influences in my music would be Yanni and classic pop sensibilities that today’s popular music lacks. First off, Yanni is not the most interesting musician alive, but everything the man does is done with the up most showmanship and on such a grandiose scale!! I mean, we think of superstar status here in the states and think of selling out the Staples Center like Kanye West or Jay-Z right? Well I don’t see any of these cats, selling out the lost city of Atlantis, the Roman coliseum or the Acropolis!! The pure theatrics of it all is so mind blowing.

On a musical tip however, I totally geek out on 60’s and 70’s pop-rock. There is nothing in the world like heartfelt simple lyrics and a beautiful guitar melody. Top that with a catchy hook and I’m in musical heaven. The Beatles, The Kinks, T-rex, The Zombies, Elvis Costello, and David Bowie- I mean my god! It does not get any better for me. These are the guys I want to be like! These are the guys I listen to. That’s what I think is the realness! I tend to gravitate towards the musically simple and honest. I remember you posted a blog about your mother enjoying your music. What’s it like having music that even your parents can enjoy listening to (While most other rappers cannot say the same thing)?

Speak: YES! My mom is all about it these days! It feels good knowing that my mom is completely behind me, supporting my music. It’s funny though, she wasn’t all for it while I lived at home. Both of my parents are from Mexico, so I think they really couldn’t wrap their head around the noise and music I made in my bedroom. They would always ask me “Antonio why you going to rap battles to make fun of people, por que?” I am almost driven to tears when I get a call from mom telling me how she was cleaning the house and dancing around the kitchen to “Ohh Stylish”. What are your goals for the future?

Speak: My goals are simple for the most part. I want to see the world and I feel at this point in my young life, music is my way to do it. I have a few loose ends to take care of like finishing my degree in English (I have a year left) and of course marrying Ms. Jen. The prospect of spending the rest of my life with the woman I love and making music totally illuminates the future. What the music scene like in Cali nowadays? There seems to be alot of talent…Pac Div, Blu, you, etc.

Speak: Cali is thriving! The state has, and always will be a melting pot for the most unique sounds in the country. This is the only place where you can see Murs playing a gig and walk down the street and dance your ass off to shitty electro mash ups, it’s a beautiful thing. Hip Hop-wise I know a lot of attention is being placed on Pac Div, Blu, and U-N-I and I am all for it. I feel like an outsider though. I’m nowhere near as lyrically talented as Blu and my sneaker collection is limited to a pair of vintage pony kicks, flip flops, and some pink crocs, so appealing to the same crowd that U-N-I appeals to is completely out of the question. It definitely makes my heart smile to know that some of my “peers” (I use that term loosely) are making it and finding success. Why do you use the term, “peers” loosely?

Speak: I used the term loosely because other than closeness in age, location and genre of music, we have nothing else in common artistically. I think it’s easy to say, Pac Div, Blu and U-N-I have found their sound and are working their angles. They make great music that’s finding a home amongst listeners. I on the other hand, don’t dress, act, walk, or sound anything like them. I feel like the odd man out in the whole new wave of cali hip-hop. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the facts. It has nothing to do with marketing and promotion. It’s about image, appearance, sound and direction. It’s fairly easy to group those fellows into the “next big things”. I don’t fit that mold. Perhaps if I bought some limited edition, one-of-a-kind air max 95s and upped the rest of my wardrobe I could get some gigs at the dunk exchange, I’m not really sure. I don’t think I’m going to, I’m happy being the snarky art kid. Do you think that some people write you off at times because you’re a white rapper

Speak: Do I think people write me off because I am white rapper? Heavens no! I think they write me off because I am a Mexican rapper who has a very huge nose! What a site to see, haha. Oops! Do some other people make that mistake of assuming you’re another race?

Speak: All the time, but it doesn’t bother me at all. They say never judge a book by its cover right? Well, if the book says “Karma Sutra” on the cover your safe bet is to assume there are pictures on the inside with people humping each other and putting things in holes I didn’t even know we had! I like to play the part when people ask me what my background is. When people ask if I’m Persian or Italian, I like to make up a story and watch their face light up because they guessed my ethnicity. All the while I’m laughing to myself because egging people on is really funny to me. It’s partially my fault for not making it painstakingly obvious for people. My next show, I’m going to come out in some tight wrangler jeans with paint chips on the legs, some sandals, and a Raiders jersey. That’ll show them!!! Why & When did you decide to pursue rapping? What were people’s reactions when you told them of your decision?

Speak: When I was 15, I knew I was destined to be the 34th best rapper on the planet. I was totally dedicated to my craft and focused on making music. I knew that I would also attend college in the meanwhile and work towards something non-musical, but it would definitely be secondary to what my heart was set on. My parents reaction was classic! They kicked me out of the house at 18 haha. Wow. So they kicked you out because you told them that crafting music would come first in your life? What’d you do after that?

Speak: Well Clyde, I did what any other self respecting aspiring rapper would do. I took the advice of my childhood hero Young Jeezy and hit the trap. I hit the trap hard. In these times of economic and artist struggles there are only two choices…Trap or die. However, I’m pretty sure I ended up moving to Orange County getting a full time job and going to college haha. Describe your first time in the booth.

Speak: My first time in the booth was much like my first attempt at sex. It was awkward and lasted approximately 3 minutes. I had no idea what I was doing or where to stick it! It was a rather bland an uneventful experience that resulted in me questioning my abilities and eventually crying myself to sleep. I think on both occasions my voice cracked as well. Describe your first time on stage.

Speak: My first experience on stage was in my schools 3rd grade production of “Going Buggy.” It was a play about insects marching to Washington D.C to fight for their rights. It had very overt political overtones.

My first rap experience on stage was in 5,000 dollar rap battle. I had practiced for months and didn’t take the stage until I knew I was good. I got to the semi finals and battled a cholo named M-1. He had a very in-your-face and aggressive style, and even pushed me a couple of times. In the rebuttal round I called him a latin hot head and threw a cup of ice water on him. The crowd went absolutely WILD. At the end of the battle though, he approached me and said “Eh holmes! If I catch you in da parking lot I’m straight up gonna’ kick your azz ehhhh”. It was brilliant. So…I’m guessing you won that rap battle, right?

Speak: Oh yes, and the hearts of cholos around the world. I’m kind of the new LiL Rob if you didn’t know. What’s your most difficult challenge musically?

Speak: I truly believe that my biggest challenge musically is working the boards, and the technical aspects of recording and engineering. I know the basics of 4-track recording, but I am lost in the labyrinth on some David Bowie madness when it comes to figuring out how to make the tracks sound like the music I hear in my head. I really struggle with it, and it may be the reason it takes me years to record and release anything. I mean, my God I’ve been battling, writing and on the Southern California scene since I was 15, but have nothing really to show for it. It’s hard, but it is coming along and I am proud of the progress I’ve made. I mean it’s the total anti-rapper thing to do, but I have no problem sitting here and letting you know that I hate the sound of my own voice and really don’t think that my music is any good. I’m just goofy kid who loves all sorts of music and wants to create. I don’t care if it’s any good, relevant or inspirational at this point. I just want to create. What do you think alot of rappers are afraid to admit?

Speak: First off, rappers are liars! They are afraid to admit and fess up to the fact that no matter how much they deny it, they cater to a particular audience. From the poetic, abstract, political, and hardcore underground rappers all the way down to the golden-era throwbacks, crunk club rats, over-emotional and weight-pushing emcees. It’s all about finding your place in the crowded rap universe and staying closest to shore. Well goddamn it, I have been and always will be the kid that’s out to sea! I want to take risk, make mistakes and grow. A lot of artists are not willing to do the same. They may claim they want to, but when it comes to sacrificing the love and admiration of your fan base they aren’t going to do it. Records don’t sell anymore, so anytime some bratty kid comes up to you and says “What the fuck happened to your music? Your old shit was better,” it’s going to hurt either your pride, pocket book, ego or something. What do you believe to be your best body of work so far, and why?

Speak: My best body of work probably consists of tapes that I’ve made using my childhood Fisher Price tape recorder. I just put the microphone between me and a speaker and record to stock piles and piles of Afta-1 beats. I may have about 80 songs recorded on various cassettes. I record these numbers in one take and never really share them with people. I’ve given a few away as gifts to friends but never ever really intend for anyone else to hear them. Why don’t you intend for other people to listen to them? Planning on releasing a “Lost Tapes: Fisher Price Edition,” someday?

Speak: For me, the tapes represent the emotion, idea, or being I was in at that exact moment of the day at that exact moment of my life. They are recorded at the first instance the idea sparks, where as most artist will write and re-write the idea or song to get it closest to perfection as possible. I guess they’ll never see the light of day because they aren’t conventional hiphop songs. Often times there is no structure, very seldom is their hook and they would never appeal to listeners who want all that. They are more like a spontaneous eruption of thought. They are wild outbursts from the kid who had turrets in your high school science class. Ya’ know, the one who wore a helmet and always had Hot Cheeto residue on his fingertips? What can people expect from your upcoming album, octopus luck?

Speak: Irony, humor, angst, and truth haha. It’s a collection of songs inspired by the possibility of a beautiful future. One I hope to share with my love, my friends, and my listeners. The production is divided between the brilliant Afta-1, and engineering savant DJ Nevie Nev. The sounds are not just lush, they are a story within themselves and they completely compliment and bring out the beauty in the words. People are telling me the songs are better than anything the Beatles ever recorded, but I’ll humble myself and say its definitely better than anything Kriss-Kross did with the exception of “Jump,” hahaha. Better than the Beatles, eh? When will people be able to judge for themselves (AKA release date)?

Speak: HA, I kid, I kid. I love The Beatles. To me, they will always mean more to anything rap music has put out. It may seem like a slap in the face, but I can only speak what my heart tells me to. I would take “Revolver” over “Ready to Die” any day…that’s just the way it is.

No set release date yet. Octopus Luck is done and ready to go. Jen and I are just fielding some distro offers and trying to make sure everything is right. One of my 4-track EPs has leaked and is available online to download. “The Kyte Flyr” ep is for download now and there is a link on my page . Lo-fi goodness to hold you over until the record drops.