interviews.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Sango


I spoke on the above album on Monday. If you haven’t, I urge you to press play. It’s full of great sounds and shows off some stellar moments by young producer Sango. He hails from our area originally, although did depart a decade ago. I doubt the six ever really leaves you though. And if his music is any demonstration he picked up something from the NW.

Having found him via his Tumblr and then realizing he had a connection to the Sea I hit him up and to my surprise he was familiar with the site and was more than down for an interview. If you hadn’t noticed, the bandcamp features have ceased to be weekly as I’ve been trying to let them get a little more flushed out both in my thoughts and curiosities about the featured artist. Things have to evolve.

Enough about the blog, this is about a dope producer who now calls Michigan home. LIsten to his music, check out his online spots and read up on the journey he’s living.

Introduce yourself…
My name is Kai Wright and I make music with the love from God.

You are a south end rep? Where abouts? Where did you go to high school?
South End born and raised man. Right off of M.L.K. and S Juneau. I moved to Michigan back in 2001 so, I didn’t attend high school in the Seattle Public Schools district, but I did graduate in 2010 from East Kentwood High School in Grand Rapids, MI.

How old are you?
I’m 19 years old.

What are you majoring in at university?
I go to Western Michigan University, and there, I’m majoring in Graphic design.

How often are you getting back to Seattle?
I haven’t been back to Seattle for a while, but next May, I’ll be making my way back to catch up. The visit is highly needed!

How closely do you follow the happenings of the Seattle hiphop scene?
I do a bit of research for myself just because I’m curious on what happens back home. I also have some old friends that keep me in the loop of the Seattle hiphop scene. My guy at lo.end.radio, Victor “6S” Garmiles is mainly my go-to guy for anything that is going on in Seattle as far as music that happens back home. So I would say I closely follow the scene.

At what point in growin up here did you start to discover local hiphop music?
Man, since I was about 3 or 4 years old we would have Kid Sensation and of course Sir-Mix-a-Lot tapes around, but later on I found out those guys were actually from Seattle. So, rather young I’ve been on my Seattle hiphop.

How long have you been making beats?
I’ve been making music music for about 8 years now. I started out pretty young. I started out playing around with FL Studio and this program called eJay.

Influences?
My influences include Pharrell Williams, DJ Quik, DJ Battlecat, Fela Kuti, Daft Punk, J Dilla (of course), Nujabes, Q-Tip, Rusko, Noah “40″ Shebib, Empire of The Sun, FlyLo…man the list goes on, but you get the idea.

Equipment?
-MacBook Pro
-Reason 5
-FL Studio 9 & Sony Acid 6.0 [on a virtual machine for Mac OSX]
-Akai MPK mini

I keep it simple because I like to move with my music. I hate solitary set-ups…and it’s what work for you.

What do you think it is about the NW that is breeding so much fresh and diverse hiphop these days?
The fact that the North West has such a diverse environment, it exposes its people to so much culture…making it almost impossible to be out of ideas. Plus we just have that certain swag about us. Just being from such an isolated place that generates it’s own sound pretty much.

Are you meeting fellow musicians in school?
I am meeting loads of people out here at WMU that do the same style of music I do. It’s exciting and I’m able to get new ideas from them.

Is the production work more for fun or something you are interested in actively pursuing/pushing as a career?
Man…I’m in school for visual art, but I wouldn’t mind having music production as a career. It’s never been a chore or some sort of thing I found boring at all. I just let time tell.

Are there some vocalists you’ve already worked with or made plans to work with?
Yeah man I have small & solid circle of people I do music with. At one point in time, I wished to have just anyone lay vocals on my music. Just let’s us know things do work out.

Dream list of emcees or singers you’d like to see bless your beats?
J.Cole, Kanye, Sade, Lupe, Drake, Chris Martin, Sufjan Stevens, Norah Jones…the list goes on again.

What’s in your ears today?
I listen to a lot of Little Dragon, SBTRKT, Mount Kimbie, Toro y Moi, Jamie Woon, James Blake, Drake, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Washed Out, Buraka Som Sistema…mostly hiphop, R&B, Dubstep and Ambient music.

Is vinyl something you collect? You get out into record stores much while at school?
I really don’t spend much time in record stores. I really want to spend more time in those though, but my substitute tends to be hours on YouTube listening to anything and everything!

Last words? Shout outs? Words of wisdom? Rants?
Shout out to Waldo Da Don, Seventh DJ R@C2…the whole AGO. My family & support system. Everyone who is making a difference in my life.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Mondre M.A.N.


Mondre M.A.N. is the other half of this Main Attrakionz thing, and if his personality on wax hasn’t grabbed you this read might just convince you that these dudes are living in their own world. Listen to some of their music and walk with them.

Mondre, who is Squadda B?
Squadda, dats my brother.

Tell us about Green Ova, the philosophy, the movement, the music?
G.O.P (Green Ova Pink), Green Ova 5chapts includes me, Squadda & 3 of My Otha Brothas I’m sure u kno shadyblaze den u got DopeG & LoLo.

How long have you two been down with each other?
12 yrs old middle sku shyt

Both born and raised in Oakland?
yessir Kaiser Hospital, Oakland Mantality Northside reality I love da Town

The Bay area has always been known for a diverse and lively hiphop scene. Where do you guys see yourselves in the tradition of rap music from your region?
It’s hella folks out here chasin dey dream startin dey own lanes comin wit da shyt keepin it ill bt shyt we js Dope B.A.R.S (Bay Area Rappers) out hea in our region tryn let da world hear us feel me.

What is the earliest memory of music you have?
Shyt growin up nda last era of casset tapes, to buyin my 1rst Cd, ta recordin da 1rst time, my 1rst talent show ummm its hella shyt I kno I ain gon say em all dis js a few tho.

I’ve heard some people calling you guys “based” – is this a title you embrace or would rather stay away from?
Haha it’s all love, idk if I’m embracing it tho I’m js doin me bt fasho fasho we linked up wat up keyboard kid & da whole based world, I b ona CLOUD tho haha.

What’s a Main Attrakionz show like?
Cant kal it, its pretty much wat da people are lyk at our show i feed off dey energy, bt fasho fasho we gon rock lyk its our last show. im lookin 4ward ta more cuz we really js gettin into dis shyt.

Who is Friendzone? How did you connect with him?
Friendzone is sme talented producers we fuk wit, fasho fasho had ta b da twitter thang how we connected.

Where did you shoot the “Perfect Skies” video?
At a big ass house in da Bay Area I’ll lyk to purchase 1 day haha we recorded dat sng ova dere too.

How did the connection with Mishka come about?
Fasho fasho had ta b da twitter thang, we here now tho 808s&Darkgrapes 2, get it if its out alredy.

What can you tell us about Dark Grapes & 808s Vol. 2?
Dis project wasn’t Lo-Fi haha.

You two have thoughts on Watch the Throne?
Da video hella funny haha, idk wat throne dey tryn watch tho dey prolly got hell of em dem niggas fukin rich I’m just tryn git lyk dem so I can Yoke a Maybach imagine dat haha.

What is in your ears today?
As of rii now at dis present time Ghostface Killah is playin rii nw.

Do you two approach making solo projects differently than when you are combined like voltron for this Main Attrakionz sound?
I kant kal it I dnt really be peepin it lyk dat eythangs a MainAttrakionz/GreenOva project ta me solo or as a group. Jus dont stop da music iz all I kno.

Y’all stay putting out music, do you do anything else but record and write?
Music iz my life so eventualy its gon be writtin an recorded, I dnt record/write eyday tho.

What’s your favorite chronic strain?
Haha… my signature iz prolly Grapes dats wat i started on as a yungin, dnt think I’ll neva hav a favorite I wish I can smoke all da strains in da world, as lng as it burn ya chest lyk ross sed haha I feel em on dat line, make u cough up a lung & git da low peperment eyes da red kind & off top a CLOUDY ass brain dat hav u zonin an I’m gud.

When in the Bay, where is one place a person must visit?
Of course I’ma say Oakland but all depends on wat chu n2 tho I can’t kal it I ain ben all thru da bay my dam self.

Last words? Shout outs? Rants? Words of Wisdom?
“Complete your personal legend, bt dnt 4get da Marvels around da world”.. GreenOva & keep ya eyes open.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Squadda B


I wrote about Main Attrakionz most recent release on Monday, by now they could have three more projects out. 808s & Dark Grapes II is an awesome record about hopes and dreams, Oakland, youth and drugs. Squadda B and Mondre M.A.N. make up the group and today you can read a little bit from the guys themselves. First up is Squadda, come back around later today for Mondre’s thoughts.

Squadda, who is Mondre?
Mondre my nig the inspiration to keep the buisness going green ova chapter 2

Tell us about Green Ova, the philosophy, the movement, the music?
Make a long story short Oakland’s youngest doing it right now man, just keeping legacies going and growing. We all come from the same background so the music expresses that to the fullest, you should know alot about our life just from listening to the past music released.

How long have you two been down with each other?
Middle school seventh grade to be exact.

Both born and raised in Oakland?
Might as well been, I was born In LA moved out here at age 1 or 2 North Oakland all I know.

The Bay area has always been known for a diverse and lively hiphop scene. Where do you guys see yourselves in the tradition of rap music from your region?
I see us keeping the tradition alive of staying true to the truth. From what I’ve experianced it’s always been cashing off your struggle & putting out quality at the same time. Hyphy came and threw people for a loop as far as niggas havin “gimmicks” out here, but shit thats over energy still here tho we keeping that alive. Elevating what people think of our region I’m blessed to be apart of the reason…

What is the earliest memory of music you have?
I’m cheating it’s a memory only cause my mom always reminds me of when ONYX “SLAM” was out I used to always sing it and jump up and down going crazy so I’d have to answer with that.

I’ve heard some people calling you guys “based” – is this a title you embrace or would rather stay away from?
Man to be 100 I stray away, I got all love for Lil B he know that I had my little involvement in his movement but it’s to a point where I never told no one I knew him. Titles don’t do us justice, even as far as “Cloud Rap” we’re better than cloud rap so it’d be selling ourself short to embrace anything really. I’m one deep.

What’s a Main Attrakionz show like?
Shit man wild energy from us. Different responses from the crowd, we only did about 4 shows as Main Attrakionz so far; fight broke out at one, others been shut down but any show that we got to be on stage the whole time turned out real good. We usually bring Green Ova with us so you get to see all of us feel me.

Who is Friendzone? How did you connect with him?
Yeah they’re a production group, future best duo ever with the beats don’t really remember to be honest but I do know once we physically met we just kept rockin. Rather not do the internet relationship thing because alot of times I don’t wanna be on the internet.

Where did you shoot the “Perfect Skies” video?
Somebodies home..

How did the connection with Mishka come about?
Man once again I don’t remember, I just know as soon as we reached back out it was love, they embraced us with super love so you know, it’s good timing. A year from now this might not had been possible.

What can you tell us about Dark Grapes & 808s Vol. 2?
Another level of raps, every song sounds different, I say its a little better than Blackberry Ku$h which is my favorite from us so far.

You two have thoughts on Watch the Throne?
We was just talkin about everyones opinion on it, I havent heard it he hasn’t either but I personally feel its good timing. We need all the inspiration we can get, rap is boring to me man. If they wanna try being the best duo ever so be it man, give us something to shut down. Interesting combo.

What is in your ears today?
As I’m answering this I got Ghostface playing with 106 & Park on TV. But it’s reall diverse, Wiz Khalifa is not in my ears. Wale is not in my ears, Juelz is not in my ears, Jay-Z is not in my ears. Niggas like Ray Dolla, Papoose, YG Hootie, myself, really just Papoose for this week. King of rap for the week man. It’s too many rappers all different qualities. Haven’t listen to non-rap shit for a while, I need that bass I can’t listen to that rock shit

Do you two approach making solo projects differently than when you are combined like voltron for this Main Attrakionz sound?
Who knows.

Y’all stay putting out music, do you do anything else but record and write?
Of course, otherwise we’d have WAY more releases. We dropped 100 songs in June of 2009 we could be doing shit like that. Nowadays I’m just staying in shape, studying new topics, being with my people while I’m in town. We been travelling lately with these shows & collabs, I hate doing it so I spend off-days in the streets or in the house!

What’s your favorite chronic strain?
As of right now I can’t answer I stopped smoking two days ago.

When in the Bay, where is one place a person must visit?
Come to the 6 Ice City fuck with Squadda i’ma call up everybody we gone throw a party.

Last words? Shout outs? Rants? Words of Wisdom?
Don’t be stupid, don’t judge what you not around that’ll get you nowhere fast. Stay tuned don’t forget about us.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Krts


I spoke rather highly on Monday about Krts latest EP Hold On out on Project Mooncircle next week. The guy makes ill productions that will take you on a journey, utilizing many styles and sounds but always keeping the vibe at ease. Listen and learn as you read on.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up all around from Pittsburgh, PA to spending a small amount of time in Augusta, GA. Mainly, my time was spent in a grimy little hood called Beltzhoover which sits behind the Southside of Pittsburgh.

Your bio points to The Art of Noise as your introduction to music, give us your audio biography from there on…
Art of Noise was more or less my introduction to electronic music with hiphop, jazz, and classic all fused together. My father and mother filled my ears with Weather Report, Pat Matheny, Chic Corea, Van Halen, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, Level 42, Genesis, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Tomita and that was around the time of me still using training wheels on my bike. I had to feed myself with the help of my older brother with Hiphop and current R&B. I guess MTV when it actually played music helped a lot with that. My first cassettes I bought on my own were Kurtis Blow Party Time?, Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill and Jon Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet.

Between the ages 9 and 11 I lived in the south where I started listening to Miami and Orlando bass music. My older brother and I used to sneak and turn up our father’s Technic stereo system while he was at work and would bang out DJ Magic Mike, Tech Master PEB, Furious Bass, 2 Live Crew and tons of others. We still maintained our love and constant play of Tribe’s first album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, Gang Starr’s first hit No More Mr. Nice Guy, Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader and really couldn’t get enough of Too Short’s Life Is…Too Short album.

I moved into Beltzhoover, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was 11 or 12 and it was all about the entire Southwest crew Suave House, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, early Outkast Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, MC Eiht, Spice1, Ice Cube, Geto Boys, 5th Ward Boys, and UGK to name a few. Plus a mixture of, Grand Puba’s “I Like It”, The B.U.M.s, “Elevation”, The Nonce’s “Mix Tapes”, The Roots Do You Want More? and tons of others. Still though, Gangsta Rap had the most play for sometime.

My whole style changed in high school around my junior year. I was done with the gangsta rap styles. Plus, no man listening to E.L.P. (Emerson Lake and Palmer) can really be “Gangsta” can he? So, my style went from thugged out to Boom Bap underground Hiphop. My braids and blue flannels turned to more skater/underground hiphop gear. I began finding record shops, punk stores, and graffiti spots that sold mixtapes. Especially, any new DJ Clue mixtapes!

Thanks to a late night TV show randomly shown on MTV called AMP-TV, I heard for the very first time, Roni Size, Autechre, Sqaurepusher and others. I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I heard those same styles again on a college radio station randomly and got to hear what they sounded like on big speakers. That was my first entry to hearing bass really being experimented with on a different level.

In College, it was all about Undeground Hiphop, Jungle, and especially Indie-rock. My best friend Matthew Doran got me into the early sounds of Sunny Day Real Estate, Juno, Blonde Redhead, Modest Mouse, Morrissey, June of 44, and Karate. All while I was constantly going to Jungle and DnB parties in whatever dirty location they could fit a bunch of kids into. I was so into Dillinja, Bad Company, John B., LTJ Bukem, Congo Natty, Tech Itch, Ram Trilogy, Andy C., Teebee, Ed Rush and Optical, Calyx, Source Direct, Konflict, the list just keeps going.

From there, we get to here.

Does your father enjoy your work?
He does. He gets upset if I send some music to my little brothers and not him. I always hear, “So, Bradley and Cedric are telling me about this new track and I haven’t heard it yet…” I usually laugh and quickly send him an mp3. He and my Mom both keep up with my music and are highly supportive. Actually, my entire family is.

What direction did you take musically upon your arrival in BK in 2003?
Around that time I was really into DJ Shadow, Prefuse 73, and Four Tet. Prefuse 73 I found on Napster way back when Napster was the place to discover new music around the world and for free. So I ended up on the glitch-hop side. Prefuse just gave me everything I wanted. Hard kicks, crisp snares, a theatrical sound and that raw East Coast Boom Bap feel with a mixture of a commercial Hiphop sound. He could make his music sound like I needed to uprock and then within that same beat make me need to close my eyes and just drift away from reality. Both artists were inspirations to making my music like a soundtrack.

How has that transformed and evolved?
I think music today, especially in the underground sounds, we’re allowed to go further, experiment more. It’s a great time for music so, I’m allowing myself to do go where I haven’t gone before with less fear of, “will they like this?”

Really, I have to give a lot of what transformed me to listening to Jay Scarlett, Front2blaq, DFRNT, and DJ Jamad mixes. I put a lot of my love for the emotional side of indie-rock and fusion jazz into my music now which is what I was doing before anyways. I left that side of music around the time of Remixes for Beards and Flannels and really missed it.

For your remix project last year you choose a pretty eclectic group of songs. What was the inspiration behind those selections?
Oh man, Remixes for Beards and Flannels? That was inspired by my neighborhood and at the time living closer to the ground zero of hipster-hood Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was just looking to make catchy music for people to dance to. I think I quickly got bored though with some of the cheesier 80’s songs to remix and had to keep myself entertained by putting in music that I thoroughly enjoyed such as Gang Starr’s “Dwyck” and the Crooklyn Dodger’s “Crooklyn”. I made the Michael Jackson, “Rock with You” remix the same week of his death actually. A tribute more or less. Side note – I actually saw Michael Jackson live when I was a kid in his original “Bad Tour”. Best live show ever.

To your knowledge has Q-Tip, or any of the tribe guys, heard your take on “Once Again”?
Nope. Not to my knowledge. If they have, I’d like them to hit me up with a “Yo this song sucks” or “Yo this track is dope. Thanks!” Preferably, the second statement would be great.

Did you check out the Tribe Documentary that was recently in theatres? Thoughts?
I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve had at least 20 people yell at me for not seeing it. I know I will though and really want to. Just with all the new things happening, I’ve needed every bit of spare time I get to work on music.

How did you connect with Project Mooncircle?
It’s a really cool thing actually. I did a Youtube video of myself playing a track on the Hold On EP, “Rooftop” live and Gordon of PMC posted it on their Finest Ego facebook page. It was a great surprise especially since I was going to perform in a few weeks in Berlin with Comfort Fit (Project Mooncircle) and DJ Day for Suff Daddy and LeBob’s Beat Freaks night. It was a lively show and I was heading outside to get a breath of fresh air and before I got outside Gordon stopped me, introduced himself and some of the PMC crew in the staircase to me. They were all very cordial and complimentary of my set and projects I’ve been working on. Gordon asked if I was on a label and I replied, “No but, I am looking for one”. When I got back home to Brooklyn him and I chatted on Skype about projects and I wanted him to hear the Hold On EP. He really enjoyed it and discussions started from there about releasing it.

Have you been overseas since signing with them?
I have not but I am looking to get right back into action over there again. Like, right now! Every time I think about it I think I get a twitch of some sort as if performing across seas is like crack. I’m addicted to performing period and outside of my element is a major rush.

Tour plans?
I’m looking to perform on the west coast of the U.S. before this year is out and especially head back to Europe. If I’m lucky somehow squeeze in Japan but, I need some booking agents or something. I put together the mini Euro-tour myself on the grind and had to work out all the logistics. It’s a lot of work and trying to fit in time to work on my set is exhausting. I’m glad I did it and learned a lot about booking across seas but I’d love to have a booking agent combined with my own hustle.

How long were the songs on the Hold On EP in the works?
Well, the first song I actually worked on was “Whatever” just about a year ago. I sent that track to just a few people including Front2blaq, Jay Scarlett, DJ Jamad, and a few friends. The response was unlike anything I thought I’d get. Especially after doing Remixes for Beards and Flannels. I started to feel that I needed to stay right there on that page of music styles. I was really tired of making semi-poppy and catchy remixes and really needed to make something meaningful and personal. Best way to put it – Its like, if you eat too many sweets or junk food and you start to feel like you need some real food in your stomach. Some real nutrition. If you collect all the time together, it would probably be 6 months or so.

Will you be following it up with a full length?
I will be following up with a full length and it’s already in the works. I’m hoping the full length will show some growth from the EP while still maintaining the vibe I carried in Hold On. My life has had new experiences since then so, the music can only grow or change.

Are you looking to collaborate with vocalists?
I love working with vocals. It’s actually one of my all time favorite projects. Especially when I get to rearrange the vocals. I’m hoping to collaborate with my mother Stephanie Wellons and other family members. My mother is an “oldies” singer in Pittsburgh and is how she’s always made a living. She’s toured around and still gigs around 4 times a week, every week. My entire family is musically talented so, I’m hoping to get my niece, father, sister, brothers, and whomever else on my next project. I also want to experiment with Grime. I love Grime and feel I could put a new swing on it. American Grime? Could work? Could not too.

Project Mooncircle has quite the stable of talent, would you be open to collaborating with anyone in the camp?
Anyone? YES! They’re all incredible and I feel completely honored to see my name in the mix of all of them.

Have you had an opportunity to experience much of your label mates work?
I have experienced Robot Koch’s work a couple of years ago. I actually performed with him a long time ago in Brooklyn. A crew I used to run with that no longer exists called Powerstrip Circus brought him in for one of our nights. The crowd was nice all night and Robot Koch sparked it off and just tore it up.

I then learned about Comfort Fit through my friend Hazeem who is a dope musician of the beat scene in Berlin. I watched Comfort Fit’s interview on Finest Ego and they showed a small clip of him performing his set live and it was so dope I said to myself, “What the fuck is he doing with the mic and looping this vocoder’ish sound with it? I gotta hear more.” So, I found more of his work on youtube, bandcamp, soundcloud, etc.

Since then, I just went down the PMC roster finding everyone’s work. A big roster filled with a lot of talent and everyone on there is incredible, original, and really going at it strong.

What is in your ears today?
No joke, since this interview I’ve been listening to Comfort Fit . On my morning commute I was listening to Robot Koch’s mixtape for the Solid Steel Radio Show and a mix that just came out by Gordon of PMC called “Re-Entry To Earth | Fear Not The Dark.” Now I’m on some Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Soul Position 8 Millions Stories, and just a shuffle of good Hiphop today. It’s a Hiphop and all influenced from it kind of day. Tomorrow may be nothing but Joy Division and Sunny Day Real Estate all day.

Last words? Shout outs? Rants? Words of wisdom?
Yo, big thank you for this interview. I love talking music and my experiences with it. I truly hope you enjoy the EP and my future projects. Big respect to the whole PMC crew!

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Divine Seven


I spoke on this album on Monday, if you gave it a listen you caught the lessons of a serious emcee who has a message to convey. If it was too much for you, read up on the man’s story and learn something about why he presents himself as he does. Music for the soul, not to be taken lightly. Press play and read up.

Who is Divine Seven?
Divine Seven is an emcee, husband, father and all around music enthusiast. My name digs a little deeper to reflect what type of artist I am. I took on the name in 2004. ‘Divine’ stands for Delving Inside Very Introspective Notes Eternally and Seven has various significance. Largely, I use ‘Seven’ as an ode to my grandmother who passed a few years back at 77. She passed on my oldest daughter’s birthday on 6/1. There you have 3 sevens. I use it as a way to keep her spirit alive as she greatly influenced me and was in many ways my motivation to do music. Seven has many other meanings and implications, as well, spiritual completion being one of them.

You’ve grown up in Pittsburgh your whole life? How has that informed your music?
Tremendously. Firstly, I have musical roots in Pittsburgh. I share bloodlines with several past and current staples in the Pittsburgh music scene. Anywhere from (renowned Jazz artist) Stanley Turrentine to Charon Don and Joe Beast (local hiphop artists). But Pittsburgh is an interesting place in the way that it is largely segregated in most settings, but one thing I’ve seen bridge the gap is music, hiphop specifically. My music reflects the struggle, the strain, and overcoming those things to manifest God’s will. I aim to inspire people who lack inspiration. Those things I would say permeate through our culture. I am a person who loves to travel, as well, so I do soak up the energy of the places I visit and kinda mesh it into my experiences.

How deep is hiphop culture in Pittsburgh?
Hiphop culture is quite deep in Pittsburgh. There have been several groups who helped pave the way for and inspire artists like myself. You have acts like Strict Flow, Tuffy Tuff, Sam Sneed and Mel-Man that have opened some doors for the city. You have more current faces like Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa doing their thing in the mainstream. But overall, Pittsburgh is a special place for the hiphop connoisseur. We have various styles and flavors coming outta here with plenty of talent! It makes me think of places like Chicago and Detroit as far as the raw, gritty soulful pulse running through it.

What was the first local hiphop you were introduced too?
I got my first taste of local hiphop when I was a youth coming up in the historically and musically rich, Hill District of Pittsburgh. The first artist I was exposed to was a guy from the neighborhood named Mel Man (who later went on to produce for Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label). The album was The Mel Man. He had cuts on there like “MelFUNKtion,” “The Mel Man” and “Hard To Say Goodbye” that took me in another zone. I remember hearing it for the first time and was blown away especially knowing he was a local cat and friend of the family. It was raw, but fresh. I was inspired.

What’s the scene like today?
The scene is all the way live! We have a diverse array of artists with skill really kickin it out here. We got you covered all the way from battle rappers, to boom-bappers, techno fused hiphoppers, street messiahs, lyrical titans, etc. We have a lot of artists who really spit from the heart here, myself included. Not to mention a bevy of INCREDIBLE producers!

How did you start writing rhymes?
I began writing rhymes as a poet in 1997. I woke from my sleep one late night and just felt compelled to write. I didn’t know what I was going to write, I was just moved to. Prior to that, I never wrote a rhyme in an artistic format. I feel like that moment was a blessing of the gift from the Creator. Call it divine intervention, if you will. I wrote two poems that night, ‘Words’ and ‘I Thank Thee’. It all started there. I eventually learned spoken word format in 2004, freestyle and production in 2005, then began emceeing in 2006.

How did you and Shade Cobain connect?
Shade and I ran in a few of the same circles but had not met until, I say 2008. He was good friends with my man BusCrates 16-Bit Ensemble, who let him hear the Seven Wonders EP project we released in May of that year. We met at the Shadow Lounge. He showed love for the project and we just kinda built from there. The first time we’ve worked together was on a track entitled “Happiness” from the Black Connection joint project with local emcee and good friend Ayatollah Jaxx. From there, I approached Shade about doing a collaborative project with just his production reminiscent of the golden era of hiphop. I thought it would be fresh, especially since no one else was doing that at the time. He was game, and we just took it from there… LISTEN!!! was released in June 2010.

What was it in his production that inspired a whole album together? Will this be a regular thing between you to?
It’s kinda hard to explain. He just has that sound that had makes ya neck ache with spasms! (lol) He calls it ‘Cobainish’ haha… Shade is a unique dude. His sound is full of ill kicks, dope melodies and everything else that moves me at the time I hear it. He paves his own lane and rides it out and I respect that. I’m the same way.

We do have plans for more projects, namely The Life And Times Of Dat TurnerLISTEN!!! was designed to be just a precursor for the Dat Turner project. It’s a crashing jab before the knockout blow, so to speak. We got some really special stuff in store for y’all.

Do you have plans for a solo record with multiple producers?
Indeed! My very first album The Native Son had various producers, myself included. My next project slated for release in weeks Introspect, The LP, also has various ill local producers contributing to it.

Do you have a day job?
I do. My field of work is IT.

Did you go to college?
Definitely did. I have an Associates Degree in Network Management and Bachelors Degree in Information Systems Management.

What’s the origins of the Dat Turner alias?
The Dat Turner alias is a play off of the soul rebel Nat Turner’s name. I remember reading about Nat Turner as a kid and admired his bravery and faithfulness to attaining freedom. He was a by any means necessary type of dude with strong spiritual sense. Coming up in some of the situations I came up in enabled me to relate to that heavy. My last name is Turner, as well. So it’s kinda like a fresh lil way of saying he’s ‘Dat Turner’, like he’s ‘dat dude.’ I have quite a few aliases (lol).

As of late Wiz Khalifa has done a lot to put Pittsburgh on, my own listening to him led me to look for music from the town which led me to The Stilltown blog. I’m curious what his presence was like around the town, in the scene? He has mixtapes going back about 5 years, it appears like he built there and then took it national. But no one has really gone to Pittsburgh and started to talk to other emcees, heard other voices. Thoughts? Opinions?
Wiz definitely had a heavy presence in the city with his mixtapes, his movement and just having the right people in the right places doing the right things. There are other artists here who have really been grinding this music thing out, as well. They may not have had the same opportunities and exposure as Wiz though. I think that the industry is starting to pay attention though. One thing about Pittsburgh is that we don’t have a lot of the labels, A&Rs, etc. here. So the majority of us take on that blue collar, grind it out approach until we make them pay attention, which Wiz and his team did similarly. We go hard. Shoutout to Stilltown blog too.

It seems you have a reputation for energetic live presence… how would you capture your stage show in words?
Haha… Yeah, I must say I do… I’m still trying to find those words to describe it. To know me, you’d know one of the most laid back, coolest, smoothest dudes in life. But that’s just my alter ego. Once I get on that stage I’m all about grabbing that listener and taking them on a ride. To quote one my lyrics, ‘My style can’t be defined, gotta box him out / I’m outside the pine one, that means I be a live one…’

Are you touring at all?
Currently, I am not touring. I have done shows in other cities as far as Detroit. I wouldn’t call it a tour though. I would love to tour, however. To take my show on the road, expanding into other markets.

One restaurant peeps have to visit when in Pittsburgh?
Hmmm… For breakfast, Drew’s Family Restaurant. For pizza, Mineo’s pizza. You would have to try a Primanti Brothers sandwich as well… There are a lot of good ethnic eateries in Pittsburgh as well.

Who do you listen to for yourself?
I listen to a lot of different stuff. Some joints I’m knockin right now are Skyzoo’s The Great Debator, Elzhi’s Elmatic and Raekwon’s Shaolin Vs. Wu Tang… My favorite emcee is Nas.

I’m defly a Bob Marley head and all around hiphop and music dude though. I enjoy Soul, Jazz and all types of stuff. Good music is good music no matter the genre. Locally, I could be here all day, but Idasa Tariq, APEX, Vaig, and Kid A to name a few. Much love to the whole city and everyone out here doing their thing too.

Last words? Shout outs? Rants? Words of wisdom?
Big ups to yourself for the interview fam. Super shoutout to everyone who took the time to read it. Massive love to every fan, supporter, associate and non-believer alike who helped me along the way. You are are my motivation and thus very significant.
Be on the lookout for INTROSPECT, THE LP coming to a soundwave near you.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Will

If you couldn’t tell, I can’t get enough of the Thumps Up Crew hailing from Atlanta. Will hit us with his latest project Stoned In A Stang just about a month ago and it’s been in steady rotation for me since. Peep my thoughts here.

Over auditory backings that paint pictures and will have you lost in a time warp, Will raps about the usual, but in an strong manner you won’t want to ignore, nor will you easily forget his steez with the words. If you haven’t rode with his music, press play. Then read up.

Have you ever been to Seattle? What do you think of when you hear the city mentioned?
Actually I haven’t. Most definitely on my list of places to visit though. The thought of Seattle brings visions of the Space Needle, and memories of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton back in, what I see as, the Golden Days of the NBA.

Introduce yourself the fine folks to the Sea…
Aight aight whatup Seattle. I go by the name of Will aka Young Bigfoot aka Check Me Out aka Spliff King better known as The Dutch Master, author and voice behind Stoned On Marta and Stoned In A Stang. I run with a group of domestic terrorists with nuclear capabilities known as Thumbs Up and you can check me out at justwill.bandcamp.com.

Tell us about Atlanta in the summer? Winter?
Atlanta has the thing with extreme temperatures so we lose ALL YEAR ROUND in the climate aspect. Summers be hell hot, and recently real humid, and in winter it’s on polar bear. Rain in the winter causes “black ice” and highway pileups and all type of shit, and the summer time heat is always enough to boost the crime rate. It has it’s pluses though. The women out here dress…. appropriately, according to the season nah mean.

Are you born and raised ATL? Where abouts?
Na I was actually born in Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to Atlanta when I was three I believe. Been all around the city, lived and went to school on every side…my heart is in the South West though…I’m a SWAT nigga to my marrow.

How was the making of Stoned In A Stang different from the making of Stoned On Marta?
Not much different my focus in the beginning was to make a shorter, more fun version of Stoned On Marta. The first time around though, I was more set on letting people know I could rap… I was just trying to throw bars. Recording Stoned In A Stang was more about the JAM. Make whoever listened to the first one bob they heads a little more, but still not slack lyrically. I feel like I succeeded.

Who is responsible for the beats on Stoned In A Stang?
Introspective Minds and Dexter Dukarus. Them niggas snapped on every beat on the album, and I’m not saying that because I made it.

Tell us about the first time you met KeithCharles and Ethereal?
Hahaaaa I went to school with Ethereal. We played in the band at North Springs. He was one of the kids that came in wanting to play drums, but too many people wanted to play drums, and so he got stuck with saxophone. You can hear he got the soul of a drummer when you play them tracks though. I met young Beef Chuck (Keith Charles) through Ethereal. We did some work on Stoned On Marta around this time last year and we to this day can’t say whose verse on “Mass Hysstairriah” goes harder… those my brothers man.

What’s the dopest thing about an Introspective Minds beat?
The spontaneity. Them niggas made “Almost Famous,” and them niggas made “Match It Up,” and them niggas made “Twisted On The Highway,” and them niggas made “Thumbs Up/Theme Song 1 & 2.” Thats a RIDICULOUS resume o tracks that don’t sound SHIT alike. But they ALL sound like Atlanta. You can see the SWATS if you close your eyes with they productions on.

How did Thumps Up form? Where are y’all going?
Me and my nigga Scooby was in the Buick coolin it when we randomly hit the grocery store to get some juice and shit. The homie Josh Charleston was with us, and the term Thumbs Up came up in random conversation. Scooby and I took it and ran with it, and decided to make music and throw event under the moniker. And it’s not even a matter of where we are going, it’s where we already are. In some alternate universe the Thumbs Up World Tour is in full affect RIGHT NOW, it’s just a matter of making that world and this one parallel…

Do you got a day job? Student?
Went to school, couldn’t stomach it enough to make it past a sophomore… And I’m unemployed at the moment… I can’t keep a job longer than six months and the only reason I can say is because I question anything that doesn’t make sense to me…

What’s in your ears today?
Watch The Couch by The SuperBuddah, Savage Life 1 & 2 by Webbie, American Gangster by Jay-Z and random Cam, Gucci, and Supreme INK.


Sweets, papes or glass?
Ah, there’s a time and a place for everything my friend (crosses legs Indian Style). Naa, but me + 1 I’m definitely packing the piece, or maybe rolling a spliff. Me + 2 or more I need a vanilla dutch

I saw DJ Burn One repping some of your stuff, was that just him supporting or have you two connected over some music?
Yea man shoutout to BLVD St. I appreciate the hell out of the blog love. I figure it’s just support though the homie Max holds me down over there too. Haven’t connected with Burn One over any music but hopefully in the near future we could make something happen, if he read this or sumthin haha…

How do you keep yourself up on new music?
Ahhh dead ass just laughed, simply because nowadays, I don’t…the newest music I’m on is the newest Thumbs Up shit…that Watch The Couch… and besides Thumbs Up music (spacebar.bandcamp.com, superbuddah.bandcamp.com, supremeink.net, freesupernatural.com, J-Coop, AbibJAHleel, micahfreeman.bandcamp.com, callmekit.bandcamp.com) I’m really not up on anything new. I’m stuck between 97 and 07 musically, with a few exceptions. I’m a old ass man haha…

Favorite book?
Haven’t read many books out of leisure to be honest…read a lot of plays, read some Kurt Warner biography a while ago…and the philosophy book I got my freshman year of college at UAB. Thats the only one I didnt sell back…

Have you already started working on the next project?
Somewhat…I have rhymes written and ideas…I may renege on some things I said on the album about See More coming in November. I may do some concept albums and joint projects between now and the end of the year.

Last words? Rants? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
ITS THUMBS UP FOREVER. They know who they are. Don’t smoke crack.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Zilla


HSV stays in my head these days. From getting down with G-Side to exploring the whole town I’ve found a wealth of music located in the region that maintains a distinct sound and direction from that of any other Southern community that pushes out rappers. Zilla’s tape, you can find my full review here, is an excellent addition to the HSV tradition and should have anyone who digs some trap rap enjoying it. Of course he doesn’t spend all his time talking about the pitfalls of a life in the streets, dedicating and equal amount of time to the dreams of a better life and discussions on how to escape the so called trap. Insightful rhymes over impressive audio tapestries. Definitely an album not to be ignored this year. Read on to learn a bit more about the man.

Introduce yourself to the readers who are unfamiliar with you and your music?
I’m Zilla, 28 year old up & coming rap/hip-hop artist representing Huntsville, Al and O’Third Ent.

How long have you been rapping? Are their projects people can hear you on prior to Zilla Shit?
I’ve been rapping since the age of 15. It’s been a couple of projects I was featured on prior to Zilla Shit including O’Third Ent’s In The Box (mixtape), O’Third Ent’s The Celebration (mixtape), G-Manes Sex, Drugs & Money (album). I was featured on Untamed Still Solid (mixtape) and numerous other mixtapes.

Born and raised in Huntsville?
Yep, born & raised. Northside of Huntsville to be exact.

How did your youth shape the music you are making today?
It shaped it a lot, as far as me having my first child while still in high school, parents divorcing when I was 10 or 11, loosing numerous family members and close friends to death or incarceration, u will hear it all in my music.

Are all the guests on Zilla Shit peers to you in the local HSV scene?
Yea for the most part, besides 2Eleven of Young Jeezy’s CTE.

Is the Huntsville rap community tight knit? Are you all supporting and helping push each other?
Yea we all try to stick together and support & help each other out as much as we can. And you have some that choose to stay to themselves, which I can’t knock’em for that.

What’s the story behind O’Third Entertainment?
Well I met DJ Cunta and BossMan at Speed Of Sound Studios, at the time they were in the studio all day & night, working!!! I respected they grind. To make a long story short, I got a phone call from Cunta one day, I think it was like the end of 2009, and he told me he wanted down with the O’Third movement and we made it happen. As far as how the label really got started you would have to ask Cunta & BossMan.

I see they are also credited with a lot of the beats on Zilla shit, who are the producers behind the name?
It’s production on the mixtape from BossMan of O’Third Ent, S.N.Y.P.A. also of O’Third Ent., R.Dot & Cees of A-Team & Ben Frank which was the producer of Yung LA’s hit single “Ain’t I” he’s also from Huntsville.

How long have you been down with this camp?
For about 2 years strong.

Southern rap has dominated the hiphop business for the better part of a decade, what kind of changes have you observed in the industry being located in the region that went from no one watching to everyone watching?
I think it’s our independent grind in the South. We on some “fuck a record deal” type of shit, we gone make it happen independently. So I feel these major labels look at us as a threat, so they come at us with the 360 deals, sign you, then shelf you. So to all my southern rap artist, be smart… if it dont make dollars, it dont make sense. Stay independent & keep grindin’.

Who were the first rappers you were listening too?
Eazy-E, N.W.A. and Ghetto Boys just to name a few.

G-Side has done a lot to show people the Huntsville scene, are the people of Huntsville behind the movement or does support from the city take more work?
Yea they have, them dudes got a hell of a grind. You got some that fuck with they music and some that don’t. I mean everybody ain’t gone like you, just simple as that. Just gotta do you. But as far as Huntsville go, it don’t take a lot of work, as long as your shit jammin they fuckin with it.

Are you getting out and rocking shows much? How would you describe a Zilla show?
Recently I haven’t, I was in a car wreck and broke my foot, so I’m recovering from that. But you can expect a Zilla show to be lots of energy, I really connect with the crowd. Basically just have fun with it.

Do you write to a beat or do you have rhymes on deck ready for the right beat?
Either or, most of the time I just let the beat run, pace back & forth for about 15 minutes. Verse done.

What’s in your ears today?
I’m mainly listening to me, trying to see what changes I need to make, really trying to perfect my craft. But I fucks with Big K.R.I.T., Don Trip, Tity Boi and a few others when I get a chance.

Any new music in the works?
O’Third Ent. Family Ties album & Zilla Shit 2.

Last words? Shout outs? Words of Wisdom? Rants?
S/O to everybody in Huntsville making moves on the music tip, the whole O’Third Ent., K-Dough, DJ Dow Jones, Miles High Music, Block Beattaz, G-Mane, Bentley, Slash, G-Side, Ziploc Moe (DGB), Steady Bloggin, J-Dirrt (Ballers Eve), 256,205,334,251. My bad if I forgot ya.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Tunk


If you caught my review on Monday, you know that this week’s artist hails from Dallas, Texas. I first heard about Tunk via MO fam Thaddeus and their collaboration “TeaBags.” After checking out The Audition I reached out to have a conversation and attempt to learn more. From him I’ve begun diving in deeper to the hiphop that is present in Dallas. While Houston may be the town everyone thinks of when they hear Texas and rap in the same conversation, I’m learning that it might just change. Read up and give Tunk some spins.

Introduce yourself to Seattle!
My name is Tunk. Im an artist coming out of Dallas, TX by way of Midlothian, TX. I’m the youngest of 7 boys. I’m not perfect but I’m in the business of perfection. My relationship with music is a serious one. Feel that music along with money, power, respect and time make the world go round. I always knew in the back of my mind that I would be a rapper. I use to give up so early in the battle with certain things. Somehow I made it to this position and I plan to stick with it. What makes me different is something the listener must decide. I make music from the soul, things I was taught, the shit I have seen, all goes into 3 to 4 min track that helps surpass most of the bullshit in life.

How long have you been rapping? Break down your recording history, work that people can find by you?
Writing since I was 9. Recording since 13 after moving to Midlothian from Fort Worth. Back then it wasn’t as good of quality nor did we (the group I was in) take it that serious. But even then I was killin niggas. My main focus then was football so I made music my #2. I got kicked off the football team as a senior in high school and I wasn’t the same. Can say I lost my way and the only thing I had then was music. Met Brown of Sore Losers and the rest is history.

Did you grow up in Dallas?
Yessir. I have lived all over the DFW region. That is what you hear in my music.

What was your introduction to rap?
MC Hammer made me want to become a rapper. I had “Please Hammer Dont Hurt Em” on video tape and I watched it faithfully for a month straight. Regardless of how goofty that nigga dressed and all the dancing, I was a fan of his music at that time and decided to start writing around that time. Grew up on Outkast, UGK, Freestyle Kings, Trick Daddy, Cash Money and other southern rappers I felt had that go. My Cousins had me on that west coast music at an early age. Tribe Called Quest, DMX man the list goes on. I’ve had my moments with different styles of rap music.

It seems like Houston get’s most of the attention as far as TX rap goes, does Dallas have just as long a history with this music?
Plenty have come but didn’t make it far. Some even made it on television but couldn’t maintain. Branching away from the typical Dallas music we aim for the sky. My team is ready and here to represent.

Do you see yourself following the “country rap tune” tradition?
Nah not at all. I don’t like to put my music in a box. Although it rides and I may make a country rap tune, I’m an artist and I like to experiment with my experiences.

You dropped The Audtion in December, tell us about that project?
The Audition is the fight. The Audition is what I saw and chose not to speak on cause I might of been ashamed or didn’t understand it fully. I knew a lot but I also knew how to get by, and I felt that I was settling. No more!! The Audition is the just a pinch of what I am. I have a long road ahead of me but I’m ready. I can only go up from here.

Who is making the beats on it?
Got production from The Tay, Devonwho, Ra Charm, Abjo, Stupid Diggy and a few others I can’t think of their names at the moment. I’m picky with beats.

How did you connect with the Sore Losers?
Met Brown back in ’08. Was needing a studio to record at and he had a mic and protools. Developed a pretty cool relationship with him and he thought i could rap. Seemed like he believed in me on a more serious lets get to this money like level. Since then I’ve been dedicated to getting better, and making music that people can feel.

Before hearing the Helluvastate album did you have any idea of some hiphop in Seattle?
No sir. Really surprised me. I don’t listen to many. I listen to the shit I can feel. Thadwickster and the other homie showed out on Helluvastate. A couple of joints such as “Skylife Salutations” and “Brain Champagne” made the everyday playlist.

Have you been exploring more music from our town?
I’m currently listening to Jus Moni Still Standing. Her Voice is beautiful. Haven’t had the time to reach out to her yet but I’m following her on twitter and would love to collab.

What music is in your ears today?
I jam a little bit of everything bro. From Minus The Bear to the old Juvenile. Today I jammed a little bit of Ab Soul, Pretty Lights, if it is felt then it is jammed. Music from the soul.

What’s in the works for you now?
Working on my 4th solo project titled Bravo. Working hard but my people need the music so I’m going to drop a mixtape in December titled No Defeat. The Audition was a stepping stone on the path to greatness. I experiment with the knowledge I’ve gained on these beats with no direction. After listening to it you would have learned something and would have enjoyed it. No doubt about it.

What’s a day in the life of Tunk look like?
Its spent observing and understanding. I start on a song late at night, finish it in the morning. A ton of writing and rehearsing. Perfecting.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music making?
Not at the moment. Dedicated to music until further notice.

Last words? Shout outs? Rants? Words of wisdom?
I go by the name of Tunk of The Talented and Gifted Knowitalls (TTGOK). Big shoutout to Will and the Members Only team. Be on the look out for No Defeat. We can on rise from here.

Catch Tunk on WordPress.
Catch Tunk on Facebook.
Catch Tunk on Twitter.

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Jeeks

After a month long break we are back with the Bandcamp conversations. Monday, as per usual, I spoke on a favorite EP of mine from this year courtesy of Jeeks. A while back we spoke via email about his music, his life and more. If you didn’t peep the Arcade EP I highly suggest it if only for the opening tune, although you will find grooves within all five tracks that will make you nod your head, perhaps even dance.

Introduce yourself to Seattle.
Hello Seattle. My name’s Glenn, although most people refer to me as Jeeks.

How old are you?
21.

Where do you reside? Is this where you grew up?
I’m currently living in South London and I’ve been here since September 2009. I grew up just outside the city in a town called Hemel Hempstead.

Is the Arcade EP your first musical project?
It’s my debut release, yea.

How long have you been making tunes? How long was the EP in the making?
I got into making beats when I was about 16. At first, everything I was doing was on more of a hiphop tip and it wasn’t until around summertime of last year that I started experimenting with more danceable tracks. I made “Wonderfunk” in August and developed the rest from there, so I guess it took about 5 months. It seems like a long time for a 5-track EP, but the more beats I made for it the less I liked the ones I’d done previously. I was moving flats at the time too, so for a while the tracks sat in my laptop as drafts before I fixed them up at my new place.

Are you playing instruments on it? What does your studio set up look like?
I use an Alesis Micron for the majority of my synth work but otherwise any instrumentation, like the slap basses for example, is done in the sequencer. My setup consists of a Toshiba laptop, an Edirol soundcard, a pair of third-hand Tascam monitors, a Numark turntable, an Akai midi controller and the Micron… I’m looking to get a bass guitar eventually and incorporate that into my tunes. I sequence everything on Fruity Loops 8.

Is Jeeks your first musical persona?
Basically yes. It started out as Jeekay, but friends were referring to me as Jeeks so I changed it because I thought it sounded better. I never really liked Jeekay to be honest!

Are you playing out either as a DJ or performing the Jeeks stuff?
Since releasing Arcade I’ve been playing out a fair bit, yea. I’ve just been doing DJ sets of my own stuff. A friend of mine (Jon Phonics… google him) recently started using Ableton with a controller for his live shows and I’m hoping to eventually incorporate something similar into my sets. We’ve made a few tunes together and are planning on playing out as a duo as a kind of sideline to our own stuff. In the meantime though, i’m quite content using CDJs!

Are you working on new tunes?
I’ve been working on a new EP which I’m looking to release before the end of the year. Nothing’s set in stone, but I’m hoping that the next release will be available both digitally and on vinyl… But we’ll see! I’m yet to come up with a name for it, but I’m in the process of figuring out the artwork and trying to get a logo sorted out. I’ve been using samples a little more sparsely so it’s going to have a slightly different feel to it, but it’s all very much in the same vein.

Listening to your record the first few times the words that came to my mind were “future funk.” Does that vibe with your sensibilities? Prefer to ignore classification?
Well, Arcade was certainly inspired by that ‘future funk’ sound (Onra/Dam Funk/Ad Bourke/etc…) but I also drew a lot of inspiration from house and electronic stuff too (Daft Punk/Mr Flash/Justice/etc…). I never really think about how to classify my music, but the words ‘funky’ and ‘boogie’ often find their way into the picture if I’m ever trying to explain my music to anybody.

What’s in your ears today?
I’ve been listening to a playlist I put together on iTunes as I’ve been typing… There’s tracks from Azari & III, Jimmy Edgar, Paul Hardcastle, Breakbot, Bug, Jon Phonics, Budgie, Oriol, Neon Workout, Mitch Murder, Cecile & Venice…

Typical day in the life of Jeeks?
Well, last week I finished my second year of Uni, so at the moment my days consist of sleeping in until about 10.30, checking emails/twitter/facebook then fixing myself some food. I’ll watch some catch-up TV before getting on with the beats in the afternoon through to the evening. I’m looking to have the new EP finished by the end of next month so I’m trying to be as productive as I can music-wise.

Do you have a day job?
Not at the moment, no. I’ve managed to do alright just working temporary jobs and DJing since I’ve been at Uni, plus as a student I get a loan to help with living expenses and all that but I could definitely do with a more frequent job to floss out with!

Booze or weed?
Booze. Although I do enjoy a cheeky smoke here and there.

Favorite book?
Given the scale of my course’s reading material I don’t read a whole lot in my spare time, but I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. I read a lot of war literature at college which was pretty good, albeit depressing and Animal Farm by George Orwell is a good read too.

Do you see yourself working with vocalists in the future?
Definitely. I mean I certainly hope it will happen!

How do your tunes fit in with what’s hitting in your local scene?
Well most of what’s popular at the minute is very danceable and there’s a huge buzz around UK Funky and Garage-influenced stuff. A lot of new music seems to reflect a kind of ‘vintage-futuristic’ vibe and I guess in that respect the stuff I’m making is relevant to certain degree.

Hobbies outside of music?
I like to cook, but only when I can afford to make something interesting that isn’t just pasta and sauce. I watch a lot of documentaries and I go skateboarding from time to time, but I don’t take it seriously.

What were your parents playing around the house as you grew up?
My parents used to play a lot of Rock and New-Wave when I was growing up, along with the occasional bit of Soul. I was obsessed with Michael Jackson and Jimmy Hendrix as a kid and, up until the age of about 11, all I wanted to do was play the guitar. Between the ages of about 11 and 15 I was mostly listening to Rock and hiphop, but I remember my Dad coming home from work this one time and putting on a George Benson record which kind of re-ignited my interest in the older, more groove-based music that I’d listened to when I was younger. Looking back, I guess I have Quincy Jones to thank for introducing me to the kinds of productions that influence what I do now.

Last words? Rants? Words of Wisdom? Shout outs?
Thanks to everybody who’s been downloading Arcade and/or attending my live shows. Shouts to Jimmy (Streets of Beige), Jon Phonics (Chakra Sounds), Tim Parker (You’llSoonKnow), Jimmy O’Regan (WaveyTones), JJ & Arun (WotNotMusic), Jake Shears (PrismTracks), Slugabed (for retweeting my ep and getting me a shit load of downloads), all the Louisden heads and the guys at Civil Music/Hyponik. Also, thanks to anybody with blogs who’s been spreading the word… If I’ve forgotten anybody I do apologize!

One Time @ Bandcamp With… Has-Lo


If you haven’t caught onto Has-Lo’s brand of new age throwback rap stylings cop the album and learn a thing or two.

First up introduce yourself?
I’m Has-Lo. I Make music that your mom wouldn’t disapprove of you listening to…around your sister.

For anyone that In Case I Don’t Make It is their introduction to you, explain your previous projects and what they can discover about you via them?
My previous projects were F*ck Has Day and Small Metal Objects. They are both EPs. They give you a glimpse of how I get down lyrically as well as how I process the things I experience in the world. It’s not basic. I’ve never worried about showing people who I am. I think they want to know what you think and how you feel. They want to relate to you. There’s also my remix project. It’s called “You Can Live Thru Anything If Magic Made It”. That was just me having some fun, letting it be known that I’m mean with the beats too. Not just the mic.

Do you consider ICIDMI your official debut?
Yea I think so. I didn’t plan for it to be but it panned out that way so maybe I should just go with it.

How did your deal with Mellow Music Group come about? Does being signed in the internet age change much in your day to day life?
I was introduced to the head of MMG through my guys at Bloggerhouse. after finishing the album I sent it over, and they wanted to sign me. They believed what they heard needed to be available for everyone to hear.

Philly has always seemed vast in it’s hiphop influences as well as it’s history with the genre going back as along as the culture has existed. Where do you see yourself in that tradition?
I’m not sure what my place in the tradition will be yet, I’m just starting out. Let’s hope I have a long legacy going forward.

How do you see yourself straddling a line between a classic sound with modern influences?
I don’t straddle it. Because I’m a student that came up in that time, my teachers are the rulers of the golden age. I don’t have to try to sound like it. I AM it. I’m not stuck trying to artificially recreate a sound, be it retro or futuristic. I just do what I like and want to hear.

What’s in your ears today?
Raekwon, Blueprint, Gangrene, Kanye West, Dilla’s Fuck The Police 12″, Lil B, OFWGKTA, Roc Marciano, me and my peoples…things like that.

Does the influx of electronic sounds into hiphop production disappoint you? Are we gonna see a synth heavy, glitchy, electro filled album from Has one day?
No it doesn’t disappoint me. It gets a little too crazy at times for my taste but some of it is cool. I want to do some different electro tinged stuff at some point, I want to experiment some. Not anything like glitch-hop though.

How did your surroundings where you were raised inform your style?
It influenced me some. The aesthetic mainly, being from an east coast city but all the places I’ve been influenced influenced me.

How long have you been in the lab creating ICIDMI?
I spent about a year and a half making ICIDMI.

I know you did all the production, and there are no vocal guests. Was this an entirely solo affair? Did you have fam in the lab providing commentary and or ideas? Friends act as an opportunity to hear outside input on your creations?
I was in the lab by myself. It was a solo affair for the most part. I bounced some stuff off of a few friends. My good friend Darren helped me during the final stretch with some additional mixing. He also helped sequence the album.

Who are some modern producers whose sound intrigues you?
I like a lot of producers that you might not consider new. I like guys like Madlib, Alchemist or Oddisee and Apollo Brown, Paten Locke, Willie Evans Jr., Bronze Nazareth. I know I’m missing some people…I like a lot of the veteran producers too. It’s my dream to work with Pete Rock or Primo, Q-tip or True Master. So many people to choose from…

Why does hiphop suck in 2011?
I don’t think it does.

There were a few blogs that were instrumental in first helping put your name out there, today everyone has a blog, everyone raps. Are you still interested in pushing yourself to the internet world, or is it time to focus on the physical world for you and hit the road?
I’ll still be pushing myself on the internet. That’s important. I now have access to the resources that will afford me the funds to put into physical product and hitting the road. The internet is really important though. You can reach so many people.

Do you write once you have beat? Since you produce for yourself do you start thinking of rhymes as the beat is in creation? Do you jot down lines and then pick up the paper as beats play to match the words with a sound?
I tend to write bits and pieces as I’m creating the beat. Sometimes I write after it’s finished. The inspiration to write to a beat may not strike for years. The words come when they come. I try to just let it happen as much as I can.

What’s the perfect sample?
It’s different every time. That’s part of the fun.

Are you a digger?
Not exactly. I go digging sometimes but I’m not as knowledgeable or serious as some.

You spent some early time in your career in groups that proved to be non starters. Would you today consider forming a group with some individuals?
No I don’t think so. I’d do projects with other artists (like Jaylib or what Apollo Brown does) but we don’t have to be a “group”. We can come together and put our talents in the same pot and create some great art but I’m not interested in tethering myself to someone else. Being in a group brings a different set of problems that I’m not looking to deal with again.

Tell us about your upcoming projects with Zilla Rocca and Small Professor respectively? Will those be on Mello Music?
I’m doing an EP with Zilla and probably a full length with Small Professor. Right now we’re just focusing on making ill music. After that’s accomplished we’ll get on to the business of how we’re putting the projects out.

What music was playing your house as you grew up?
A little bit of everything. Old soul, rock, hip hop, jazz, church music. All of it.

Do your parents listen to your music?
Yup. My mom likes the album, I didn’t think she would lol.

Is music a full time gig for you now? Still got a day job?
Music is a full time gig right now.

Do you shop beats to anyone or are they for yourself and friends?
I haven’t shopped yet but I plan to.

Have you got in the lab since the release of ICIDMI?
I never left the lab lol. I’m not getting a break for a while. It’s time to work.

Will Philly be where you always reside?
I would like to live in other places and see what that’s like. Hopefully live overseas for a while or something like that.

Who has the best cheese steak?
I don’t have cheesesteaks that often but I like Ishkabibble’s. The around the way spots have good cheesesteaks a lot of times.

Is Val Shively’s R&B Records store still open? Has it been mined for all the gold?
I’m not familiar with that store. If it is still open I’ll have to find it.

Last words? Rants? Words of wisdom? Shout outs?
If you’re even a little bit curious, go check out the album. In Case I Don’t Make It is out right now. Thanks to everyone who supported and purchased it. Your support isn’t being taken for granted. Peace!!

Thanks for your time and the music!
Thanks guys