All posts by Ambush Vin

About Ambush Vin

Ambush Vin is the Staff and Publishing Director for AltWire.net, as well as owner of AmbushVin.com. He is also an independent Hip-Hop Artist, creating a sound that he has dubbed Sci-Fi Music. Based in Northwest Indiana (Chicagoland), Vin's mission for AltWire is to, "bring recognition to each and every Independent Artist who is trying to amplify their voice. It's not about stats for AltWire. It's about the love of music!"

AltWire Interview with Charlie Fettah

Charlie Fettah is The Bridge of Winnipeg Hip-Hop

Legend of the Lyricist - Canadian Edition #1: Charlie Fettah

Charlie Fettah is all about securing the bag for his family. The former Winnipeg’s Most lyricist took the time out of his day to sit for a video interview with me, although his tour began the next day.

Here’s the video interview, but stick around to read the story behind it all…

Winnipeg, Manitoba

I’m pretty modest about my achievements.

That being said, this is one achievement that I am going to pat myself on the shoulder for.

For the record, I am not talking about this two-part interview. Don’t get me wrong, this interview was nothing short of dope! But, before I even talk about Charlie Fettah, I seriously have to question the sanity of people who drive regularly to Canada via I-94 West after September 30th.

Yes, this includes myself.

Minnesota-I-94

I-94 West is not the place to be in the Winter!

Being from Chicagoland, I thought I knew the definition of lake-effect snow. I mean, we are on the southern edge of Lake Michigan, only the fifth-largest lake in the frickin world. I thought that our lake-effect blizzards were legendary. I hear the stories about the blizzards of ’67 and ’78 all the time from the old-timers. I also have my own stories from my own young-old lifetime.

Little did I know that we all are only in basic training…not for a military division, but potty training. I sure could have used a diaper, as I crept down I-94 in my rental car at 35 mph down an almost pitch-black highway through Wisconsin and Minnesota at 3 AM. When I left home, it was almost 60 degrees with clear skies. Who knew that just 5 hours north, I was entering Dante’s Third Circle of Hell?

I could’ve gotten through Minnesota faster if I had worn ice skates. The entire highway was one long sheet of ice.

Oh, and pocket blizzards. I will eternally view semi-trucks in a different light, as they were the only reason my trip wasn’t delayed by another 8 hours. They created lanes in the snow-covered highway, and I just followed their lights. I’m a vampire by nature, but I prayed for the daylight to come!

I finally made it to the Canadian Border at 12 pm…fifteen hours after I left home. According to Waze, the drive from Northwest Indiana to Winnipeg was only eleven hours and 30 minutes. Needless to say, I am switching back to Google Maps as my navigation tool of choice.

After being held up another grueling 2 hours at customs, I was finally in Canada! But, I still had another 90 minutes to get to Winnipeg. I was so far behind schedule, there was no way that I was going to get any sleep. This was my only window to get this interview, because Charlie was starting a tour the next day. I didn’t just drive 17 ½ hours straight for nothing!

I was also there to shoot a music video for my song, Sub-Polar Rain, which meant that I wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon!

Note to Charlie Fettah: “Fam, thanks for the interview. But, I really have to thank you for the Road Warrior patch that I earned for driving to Winnipeg this time of year!”

(In my Denzel voice): “Ice Road Truckers ain’t got s*** on me!”|

Right. Now that my rant is out of the way…

Charlie Fettah is an authentic dude. He welcomed me to his coffee shop on Garry Street with open arms. I honestly felt like Fam, with a capital ‘F’. As we shook hands when I walked into the shop, I could already tell that this was going to be a trill interview. This was my first time meeting Fettah, although I had heard his music, both solo and with Winnipeg’s Most.

Winnipeg's-Most (charlie Fettah, Jon C, & Brooklyn

In case you haven’t heard of Winnipeg’s Most (Jon-C, Brooklyn, and Charlie Fettah), they were true pioneers in not only Winnpeg’s hip-hop scene, but also repped hard for the Aboriginal community too. As you will hear in the video interview, they were aptly named too…because they literally did the most. However, regardless of the stereotypes associated with the Aboriginal community, and hip-hop as a whole, they found success. That’s the main thing that I would like to stress in this article.

In America, it’s urban Blacks and Hispanics that are stereotyped. In Winnipeg, the struggle belongs to Aboriginal, or Indigenous, people. Instead of celebrating the persistence and strength that it takes to survive our concrete jungles, we are demonized and harassed for being products of the environments that we were born in. For the most part, all we want is a seat at the table.

I’m not talking about the boardroom table. I mean the dinner table. We want to eat too. “Minority” culture and art has been exploited for centuries, with the majority of our labor and profit benefiting families and households that are outside of our communities.

Sorry, but not sorry. That’s the reality of it. It’s hypocritical to profit from our cultures, but then villify the people that created it.

So, how does Charlie Fettah, who is white, fit into all of this? As he states in the interview, he really didn’t need to be in the streets. He came from a working-class background, and wasn’t born into poverty. Yet, he found himself in the streets and eventually prison. He even keeps it a hundred about his race being a factor in his early release from prison. We chopped it up for a good minute about everything Charlie Fettah, the history of Winnipeg’s Most, and yes, streetlife.

Unfortunately, after winning numerous awards and accolades in the Hip-Hop industry, Brooklyn passed away.. After meeting Charlie, and hearing all of the wild stories, I wish that I would have had the opportunity to chop it up with him too!

I loved this interview, because for the most part, I just sat and listened as Charlie talked. The only thing that was missing was an old oil barrel, a fire, and some old man singing. I left the coffee shop feeling as if I was the one who got interviewed, and not the other way around. But, I prefer to interview rappers who have actually lived the struggle and lived in the grime. Those are the real stories that we need to tell, the ones where readers can feel and understand the struggle and hard work that it took to find success.

Tune in next Tuesday to see the second part of this interview. You don’t want to miss it!

You can see Charlie Fettah’s latest video, Rats and Snakes, by clicking the link below!Charlie Fettah x NSTY - Rats & Snakes

Follow/Subscribe Charlie Fettah

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1ikDBtKqe0jj0CqwLFGups?si=9KNuPk7dQkyv9EN9cQfHRw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/officialcharliefettah

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charliefettah/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXLzEc_oBsGhsUGvLUJzaiA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliefettah

Blitz Vega

BLITZ VEGA Releases New Single – “Lost and Found” [Press Release]

Blitz Vega

Andy Rourke and KAV of BLITZ VEGA  Photo credit: Lexi Bonin

After a triumphant debut live performance at The House of Machines in Los Angeles last month, BLITZ VEGA (featuring Andy Rourke of The Smiths and KAV, formerly of Happy Mondays), have released their newest single “Lost & Found.” The song premiered on FLOOD MAGAZINE who called it “a bold blast of classic Brit-pop rock… built for the fields of Glastonbury and late nights down at the pub.”

Mixed by Jagz Kooner (Primal Scream, Kasabian, Massive Attack), “Lost & Found” is a blend of The Stooges and Oasis, with a backbone of the Chemical Brothers & The Prodigy. There’s a distinct breakbeat driving the track, which presents a Wall Of Noise with everything turned to to the max; the perfect indie rock concoction.

Lost & Found” is out now via This Feeling / distributed via CEN, The Orchard, a division of Sony Music. Check it out on Spotify HERE.

“There’s no other song we’ve written that describes the journey we’ve been on creating this project. Little did we know when we started out what we had ahead of us,” says Andy.

“Ironically, this is the first song we recorded and it’s relevant for so many different reasons. From a personal point of view it definitely resonates. But it also relates to the world today & the issues many people are struggling with. When we started recording this record three years ago the world was a very different place politically. These past few years have really been a journey on all fronts.”

Blitz Vega Lost and Found

Despite only having one previously released song (“Hey Christo,” released earlier this year) Blitz Vega have already begun to earn acclaim from critics. The Journal Gazette noted that ,”[Blitz Vega] delivers big driving tracks, guitar hooks, heavy beats, loops and live drums, much in the vein of bands like Kasabian and Primal Scream,” while Spill Magazine simply stated, “Get ready for some damn fine music.”

“A couple of years ago we talked about recording some songs together and Andy came over to LA and things just naturally progressed from there. It felt good & we surprised ourselves a little. The vibe just clicked for us instantly.” KAV said regarding the formation of the band. 

“Kav and I have bumped into each other on a more than regular basis over many years,” agrees Andy. “We always had a mutual respect for each other and always talked about ‘sometime in the future working on a project together’. It seemed we were always busy on other projects. Well, this year we finally got it together! The stars were aligned or something! We are so happy with the results and excited for all to hear.”

Blitz Vega will be playing more shows and releasing more music throughout 2019 and announcing album plans 2020. The band is currently available for interviews.

The Epitome - Still Trill

The Epitome – Still Trill [AltWire Review]

The Epitome obviously has beef with all of us. 

The Kansas City native and frequent Ish1da collaborator, just dropped a Super Spirit Bomb onto the favorite platforms of every music streamer.

I challenge you to listen to Still Trill and disagree. 

Disclaimer: Neither myself, nor AltWire, condone the events that took place in Universe 7 during the Kid Buu saga. The destruction that took place, with effects that still linger to this day, is nothing short of a catastrophe…

…just like the remnants of recording studio that The Epitome recorded Still Trill at. 

I really hope that it wasn’t a home studio. 

All proceeds from the sales of this album will go towards The Epitome Build-A-Home fund.

Meanwhile, as we sleep, and The Epitome starts his home-hunting quest, Still Trill begins by urging us to “Wake Up”.

Wake Up features Ish1da and Canadian emcee Ekaj. It serves as a much-needed wake-up call to those of us who are still 9 to 5’ing it. 

Ish1da sums up the feeling of that struggle and his coping method on the hook:

Wake up, wake up can’t take another pay cut/

Lookin like I’m motherf—ing Brock when I be blazed up/

Lookin like the third division captain when I’m paid up/

Wake up, wake up can’t take another paycut

Still Trill has a combination of great lyrics, melodies, and yes, Nerd Bars & references that is rarely found in today’s independent Hip-Hop. It’s as if this album was designed to be a lean manufacturing technique, designed by Six-Signa Black Belt The Epitome, to automate the psychic industry.
It knows when you want to be energetic, it knows when you want to be laidback, and Still Trill knows when you are ready to turn up.
My favorite tracks on this album are:
  • Old Me featuring Kadesh Flow & VInyl Richie – On this track, The Epitome finds himself  reminiscing  about his former self, while recognizing how far he has evolved. In the end, he decides that he is a better person and says, “F— the old me!” I also love the jazzy accompaniment at the end of the song.
  • and Scott Summersa lit anthem that lights up the atmospshere, just like its namesake’s optic blasts. Hopefully, this one gets a video!

Still Trill is Shakespearean, in the fact that it is a Midsummer Night’s Dream for everyone who is looking for a soundtrack to play, while bending blocks or skirting the main street on the hottest day in recent memory in their hometown.

Still Trill is definitely The Epitome of that classic heat.

Listen to Still Trill here:

NTMF Cube Stage 2019

NTMF 2019: Northern Touch Music Festival is the Real Deal

Northern Touch Music Festival is a Godsend for Indie Artists

NTMF 2019 was held in the historic Exchange District of Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

NTMF 2019

Photo by Kris Regacho

Winnipeg is known for a lot of things. It is known for it’s diversity, it boasts the largest percentage of Filipino population in North America, among an array of other cultures from Aboriginal to Scottish. 

But, there is a new culture emerging in Winnipeg, that not many people outside of “Peg City” are aware of.

This culture is called Hip-Hop.

However, I have to mention that Winnipeg did have one of the dopest Hip-Hop groups in independent hip-hop in Winnipeg’s Most, who repped Aboriginals and the streets hard as hell. 

Winnipeg's Most

Winnipeg’s Most

Unfortunately, tragedy befell the group in 2013 when one of its members, Jon-C was arrested after a police raid yielded drugs. One of Winnipeg Most’s other members, Brooklyn, passed in 2015. The third member, Charlie Fettah, is still active as a solo act. 

Fast-forward to 2017, and Hip-Hop is alive and prospering in Canada. In the U.S., the first name we think of when associating Hip-Hop in Canada is Drake. 

However, Canada is a huge country outside of Toronto, and its population’s have the same urban and life experiences as we have here in the States. Those experiences are what define Hip-Hop, and make it music’s most diverse genre. 

The amount of Hip-Hop activity happening in Canada is impossible to measure using the Richter scale. There is a large-magnitude quake looming in the near future, Canadians. It will be felt from Nova Scotia to Ontario. It will rattle car trunks and graffiti murals painted on brick walls in Alberta and Manitoba. 

When seismologists are finally able to pinpoint its source, they will find it’s epicenter in Winnipeg.

In the Exchange District.

NTMF 2019

Northern Touch Music Festival (NTMF) was founded in 2017, by Shea Malcolmson. Shea himself is a Hip-Hop artist and visionary, who goes above and beyond to ensure that Hip-Hop becomes a staple of Winnipeg culture.

Shea Malcolmson

Shea Malcolmson  Photo by Ambush Vin

This is how their website describes the Festival: 

NTMF was created with the same DIY spirit, drive & resilience that helped shape Canadian hip-hop into what it has become today. 

We pay homage to the pioneers of Canadian hip-hop and guide ourselves using the same principles of our past artists and cultural trailblazers, to grow the Canadian industry and create tangible opportunities for artists seeking self-development. 

We put artist education first, we break down barriers to accessibility and we empower artists.

I can sum up my NTMF experience with three words:

Dope As F—.

There was a smorgasbord of artists and bands performing at the Festival. It was mostly Hip-Hop, but the best aspect of NTMF was the amount of positive and loving vibes in the air between artists of different genres and cultures! 

NTMF Cube Stage 2019

Photo by David Marcus

Globally, Hip-Hop is associated with violence and bad manners in general. 

The world looks for a reason to justify violence and disregard for the rule of law in impoverished communities. Hip-Hop was found in those communities, and is the vehicle that we use to tell the stories of those communities. 

People who demonize Hip-Hop music choose to “drink the Kool-Aid” and ignore the many injustices that are exposed via an Artist’s lyrics. These same injustices end in long prison sentences or tragedy in urban communities. Although Hip-Hop has evolved to become inclusive of all cultures, it is still considered to be a characteristic of bad behavior and criminal activity.   

NTMF proved the last three paragraphs to be an overused stereotype. 

Shea and the NTMF Staff managed to get Artists and Attendees of different cultures, from different environments and lifestyles together for a fun-filled weekend, even in the presence of plenty of alcohol and yes…marijuana (which is 100% legal in Canada!).

I was very impressed that NTMF was actually about Artist Empowerment, Growth, and Showcase. 

A lot of festivals that I attend are obvious cash grabs: poorly organized, a couple of artists with recognizable names to draw people in and justify their outrageous ticket prices. In some cases, they even charge the Artist a performance fee to perform one song. They offer nothing that contributes to Artist growth or knowledge.

NTMF hosted an array of seminars that were designed to empower and arm artists with knowledge that would further their careers. The best part of these seminars is that they offered first-hand knowledge, given by NTMF 2019 Delegates who have all found success in the music industry. 

NTMF 2019 Seminar

Photo by Ambush Vin

These seminars taught everything from Sync/Licensing to Social Media Management. The delegates also took time to speak to all of the hungry artists and answer questions. As an artist myself, I can say that I left with a lot of knowledge that I did not have!

The seminars were only the tip of the platter. There were so many Artist and Resource networking opportunities at NTMF, that two weeks later, I am still sorting through business cards, pluggers, and CDs. 

Meanwhile, at the Cube Stage, the lit performances continued peacefully, and the Beer Garden was overflowing. The food trucks were on deck, and Smoke’s Poutinerie was only a few steps away from the Cube Stage, ready to serve Canada’s best poutine to anyone who was hungry (and they had vegetarian options. A plus for me!).

NTMF Beer Garden

Photo by Ambush Vin

 

Another aspect of the live performances I was impressed by was the excellent, crisp sound. We’ve all been to THOSE concerts before right? When I say those, I mean THOSE shows where you hear the background music, but not the artist.

Dave and Jonathon, the A/V guys, did an excellent job ensuring that wasn’t the case with any of the performances at the Cube Stage or the aftersets. Speaking of sound, the DJs: Benz, Disspare, Henny, P.O.W., Kilma, and NTMF President DJ Bunny did a hell of a job cueing everyone’s music and keeping the party turned up in between performances. 

Winnipeg DJ Benz

DJ Disspare

DJ Disspare    Photo by David Marcus

DJ Kilma

DJ Kilma   Photo by Ambush Vin

It was extremely hard for my associate photographers, David Marcus and Kris, to focus on shooting photos for this article, because we were vibing to this huge array of artists that we hadn’t heard before. 

I vibed to artists like Gatson, whose lyrics painted such a vivid picture of The Struggle – caps intended – that I found myself reminiscing about my existence as a “Food Stamp” kid, tempted by the false sense of glamour that the drug game offered. 

Gatson

Gatson    Photo by Ambush Vin

Another artist, Dr. Duru, almost made me drop my camera, because I was so turnt! His performance was so lit, I forgot that I really can’t dance, and found myself bouncing in the field everywhere. 

Dr Duru

Dr Duru    Photo by Ambush Vin

Hip-Hop wordsmith Wordburglar came from Nova Scotia to give an energetic performance about his friend’s older brother, a bully who did strange things like watch Blade Runner and play Altered Beast.

Wordburglar

Wordburglar    Photo by Ambush Vin

Cypha Diaz murdered his performance, even accepting a random audience member’s challenge to a freestyle battle after his set.

EPDMC and Jeffrey slayed the audience with some of the best bars Nova Scotia has to offer, prompting Shea to call the Fire Department to put the flames out on the Cube Stage when their performance was over. 

EPDMC

EPDMC    Photo by Ambush Vin

Jeffrey

Jeffrey    Photo by Ambush Vin

Just Kidding. 

I was captivated by Boog Brown’s performance. A Detroit native, she proved that she could stand toe-to-toe with the best names with the bars that she spit.

Boog Brown

Boog Brown    Photo by Ambush Vin

And that guy, Ambush Vin was, well…

Ambush Vin

Ambush Vin     Photo by Kris Regacho

One of my most memorable moments was being introduced to the music of singers Courtney Devon (Amadians) and Kenzie Jane. These ladies combined to give a Woodstock-worthy performance on stage that would later on have me and my “tour guide” Harvey walking from the Cube Stage to see them perform at Canada Day at the Forks. 

Courtney Devon Kenzie Jane

Courtney Devon and Kenzie Jane    Photo by Ambush Vin

(For those of us who don’t live in Winnipeg, think walking from the Mandalay Bay to Freemont…twice.) 

There were so many great artists, that I would have to dedicate more space than AltWire would give me to name them all! 

Winnipeg’s mayor, Brian Bowman, even stopped by to show his support for the festival, and Hip-Hop, telling and showing people that Hip-Hop is an important part of Winnipeg’s diverse culture. I was impressed!

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Shea, & Wordburglar     Photo by Ambush Vin

But, the show didn’t stop at the Cube stage, because, in the famous words of Jay-Z, after the show it’s the afterparty!

NTMF’s afterpartys were at Footw3rk Dance Club and The Royal Albert. There, I was introduced to more flame artists like Flamenco Sketch, Sir Louie, The Filthy Animals, Nappy, and Xplycit, who all gave phenomenal performances. 

Flamenco Sketch

Flamenco Sketch      Photo by Ambush Vin

As a special wrap-up performance, Shea gave an impressive, and unexpected, performance of his lit new content at The Royal Albert. It is worth mentioning that, Shea has a policy that he didn’t want to perform at his own event, that this was all about the artists. This was more of a thank you performance to the last few people who stayed until the final second. 

Shea

Photo by Ambush Vin

Although NTMF is really Shea’s creation, it felt more like it was all of our festival. In fact, NTMF didn’t just feel like a mere festival, it felt like I walked out of my front door, and entered the house through the back. 

Although I was over 900 miles away, Northern Touch Music Festival made me feel like I had never left home.

Check-Out our NTMF 2019 Wrap-Up Video on YouTube! Altwire NTMF Wrap-Up Video

Hear our interview with Shea and Pauline below!

Here are more pictures from NTMF 2019!

Amadians at The Forks - Canada Day

Amadians – Young Hearts Fail [AltWire Review]

It’s so refreshing to hear a feel good song about young love in 2019. 

Too often, we hear about the woes of young love, and how we should all avoid it at all costs. We associate young love with puppies, which in my opinion is unfair to all of the adorable puppies being compared with pre-evolved humans, who shy away from natural emotions. 

Jilted lovers utter the word ‘love’ as if they time-traveled from 14th century Europe, to warn us about this imminent plague called Young Love that would befall modern-day Earth.

I hate to tell our time-weary friends, Black Death didn’t win. But, young love does.

Amadians’ Young Heart Fails should be mandatory on every doubtful lover’s playlist. The vibe of this song screams positive vibes. It is literally impossible to have a negative thought while this song is playing.

Believe me, I tried.

I thought of everything from my ex-wife to U.S. politics, all I could see were the positive aspects of both! Amadians lead vocalist Courtney Devon has such an amazing, soulful, & powerful voice that somehow manages to be mellow and soothing at the same time.  Her voice goes perfectly with the positive vibe of this song, as she sings:

You may never know what you’ve given me

But I can’t show you what’s impossible to see

They say young hearts fail, well, we prove them wrong

They’re on the sidelines just singing along

Amadians band members James Roth (guitars), Ian Powell (bass), and Kyle Fox (drums), give a hell of a performance during the bridge span of the song. While James’ lead guitar solo slightly stands out in front, it’s not so commanding that it drowns out Ian or Kyle’s equally impressive performances. 

Young Hearts Fail manages to have the lyrics of a ballad, while being an upbeat song. The lyrics that Courtney sing on the hook proves this:

Here’s to our nights never wasted

Days filled with memories created

Here’s to the one person who never let me down

Who tells me I’m beautiful without making a sound

On a side note, I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney, as well as singer Kenzie Jane, in Winnipeg at Northern Touch Music Festand watching her perform on Canada Day at the Forks. I can tell you from experience that the positive energy that she displays on Young Hearts Fail is not just a showcase. Watching her performance at the Forks, you could tell that she was really into her performance, as she danced all around the stage and spread all of her positive vibes into the audience.

Courtney Devon
Courtney Devon at Canada Day at The Forks in Winnipeg
Courtney Devon and Kenzie Jane at NTMF 2019
 Courtney Devon and Kenzie Jane at NTMF 2019
Sometimes, couples tend to lose their way and find themselves in dark places and wo

nder, “How did we get here?” This song will also remind its listeners of the reason they fell in love with each other in the first place, and that love is all that matters. I also recommend Young Hearts Fail as an addition to every loving couple’s playlists, including older couples, because real love makes us all feel young again right?  Visit Amadians on their site at: https://amadians.com to follow them on social media! Follow Kenzie Jane at: https://instagram.com/kenziejanemusic and click here to hear her music on YouTube 

Shea - Perrier featuring Postwar

Shea feat Postwar – Perrier (produced by Uthoria)

Perrier ACTUALLY challenges toxic masculinity...on a Hip-Hop song!

Perrier reminded me that I have a confession to make…

…when I hear any music that is super lit, I temporarily (remember that word) become enslaved by the beat. I transform into my alter-ego – we’ll call him Benson – and find myself at the mercy of the track’s 808s and hypnotizing hooks.

The keyword here is (remember that earlier reference!), temporarily. Melodies without substance is like an ocean without water, you may find value in the treasures hidden deep beneath the surface, but an ocean’s most valuable commodity is sitting lazily, in plain view…

…water. As in Perrier.

Produced by Uthoria, Perrier has a hypnotic beat that will swiftly lift the listeners out of their seats. However, this track is far from being merely a dope melody without substance. Maybe it’s the “true head” in me, but I listen for the hidden meaning behind every lyric, including the hook. So when I first heard Shea spittin the hook on this track –

That’s that Perrier, That’s that Perrier

– the first thing I thought was, “Why Perrier? Not just any water, but PERRIER, top of the line sparkiling water.” Right then I knew this would be an arrogant track.

And I love every second of it.

Maybe I’m over analyzing Shea’s intentions with this track, but Perrier seems unabashedly flamboyant. This is a direct challenge to society’s idea of what masculinity is. Shea even spits about his “nails being fresh like he just came out the shop.”

Even the artwork for Perrier defies the traditional image of masculinity.

Shea - Perrier featuring Postwar

Shea continues to flash, as he begins the first verse:

Pull up drip need that water on my neck/
Shine is niagra that VS with the mink/
She don’t even know what she do to the kid/
I’m just Perrier when I step up in the bih

Postwar’s contribution to Perrier also drips hard. On some gangsta ish, he spits:

Im a lit rich bi–h/
Never everrollin up without my clique/
My clique got killas sh– been illa /
Ask for a collab I don’t fuck wit em

However, his next bars prove that supports Perrier’s main theme:

I can’t get it babe/
Know I mean it in the best of ways/
I’m too good for you broke ones/
Pass a sparkling cold one I’m on one

Perrier has all of the elements that make it a great song: a catchy hook, great lyrics, lit production, and replay value. This one will definitely go on my playlist. I’m thirsty for good music, and Perrier is just what I need to quench that thirst.

Hear more music and follow all of Shea’s social links from: https://musicbyshea.com

Hear more of Postwar’s music at: https://soundcloud.com/postwartunes

LEX the Lexicon Artist – “Raging Ego” Review

At some point in its short history, Hip-Hop became extremely diverse.

Back in the day, that means the late 80’s and 90’s for our readers who call Wiz Khalifa a throwback artist, Hip-Hop success was largely limited to artists who had “street-credibility.” Sure, there were artists who slipped through the cracks. Fresh Prince was probably one of the most notable artists who found success in Hip-Hop without compromising who he truly was.

Perhaps Will Smith held a crystal ball that could peer into the future. Or, maybe artists like himself and Shock G were actually Dungeon Masters from the 2010’s who traveled back in time, utilizing quantum mechanics to build a time machine to travel through dimensions to the late 1980’s to plant the seed of diversity in Hip-Hop. A place, which still exists because time is actually a dimension, and space is relative to time, meaning we’ve been bamboozled into thinking that time is a measurement.

Which brings me to the topic at hand…

LEX the Lexicon Artist

LEX is originally from Taiwan, but lives in Oakland, California. She considers herself to be a Nerdcore Hip-Hop Artist, but after listening to her new album, Raging Ego, it’s hard for me to place a label on the high-energy femcee.

This album does a great job of blending multiple genres together. If there was an alternative title for this album, it would be: Raging Gumbo – “a mix of styles, lyrics, and production that no one would expect to sound so great together, until you hear it and your ears craving for more of this delicious flavor.”

The album begins with a song whose lyrics stay true to the egocentric theme of the album, “Peep Game”.LEX sets the tone for the album by spitting game in a confident tone:

Ladies and gentlemen and nonconformists/

Please, direct your attention to my performance/

Now train your line of vision on me like the eye of Horus/

And you shall find that my metaphorical dong’s enormous

However, “Peep Game” also contains a motivational message for people who are frustrated and feel neglected by the very individuals they are trying to reach. As LEX says, “Confront your enemies by telling ’em to peep game”. Don’t be fooled by LEX‘s self-label of her album as a Hip-Hop album. This album is filled with Indie, Punk, and Rock overtones. A track that stands out as such is the Mikal kHill-produced“Psych Major”

On “Psych Major”, LEX the Psychologist informs her listeners:

I know exactly what you want, I know exactly what you need/

I know exactly where you’re from, I know exactly what you mean/

What?

Cause I’m a Psych major and I’m a mind-reading machine/ 

(Remind me not to attempt to fabricate anything while talking to LEX…’cause she’s a mind-reading machine!)

Other tracks like “Sales Freak” take a fun tone, as LEX, in true Oaktown fashion, touts her skills as a hustler and saleswoman who can make you “put your wallets in the air and wave ’em around like you just don’t care.” 

My favorite track on the album is “Mistakes” produced by IncooperativeThe irony of this song is genius, considering that it’s on an album called Raging Ego. LEX admits her mistakes, while apologizing for them at the same time:

I’m sorry to all the kids that I tormented/

Who never thought their childhood bully would be repentant/

I can tell you I will never know how much it hurt/

Would it make you feel better to know I got what I deserved?

I had to replay the song three times to actually listen to the lyrics, because her flow on this song rode the melodic production by Incooperative so well. I love a track that can incorporate the structure of classic Hip-Hop, and “Mistakes”does exactly that.

LEX is in her own lane with Raging Ego. Even if you aren’t a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, this album will have replay value for listeners across all spectrums. It’s creative and diverse and the Lexicon artist shows off her skill and versatility on the project with confidence.

Do yourself a favor. Tomorrow morning when you wake up, put your ego to the side, and buy Raging Ego. WARNING: You’re going to buy it sooner or later anyways, when you go to a LEX the Lexicon Artist performance.

Don’t be surprised when your wallet is in the air.

Raging Ego releases June 6th, 2018. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp HERE.

 

[AltWire Interview] LEX The Lexicon Artist

Al and Omayra sit down with LEX The Lexicon Artist to discuss her unique brand of 'weird smart rap'!

Main Photo Credit: Anthony Bongco

AltWire [Omayra]: So what can you tell me about yourself that you want your future fans to know?

Lex the Lexicon Artist: I’m LEX The Lexicon Artist. I write weird smart rap. I’m from Taipei, Taiwan, and currently live in Oakland, California. I started this project to share my unique perspective on the world as a third-culture in-betweener navigating multiple cultural and social intersections in the US. It’s since become my primary vehicle of writing odd, funny, relatable stories of my life through song.

AltWire [Al Gibson]: Why do you consider it weird? Because its unique? Or honestly because its weird to you as well?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: I’ve been told that I have a unique voice (literally and figuratively) and that my perspective and approach isn’t one that’s very common in music. I personally think it’s weird because I look weird and do weird things on stage. There’s not exactly a way for me to look like a “real rapper” and feel like I’m being authentic, so I’m just true to myself and the things I do and say in all my weird glory. As a kid I never fit into any cliques, so now I want all the oddballs to feel like they belong.

AltWire [Omayra]: Have you dealt with any criticism because of your rap style? If so, how have you handled it?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Actually and thankfully, I haven’t. I’ve performed in front of many different types of crowds, from rock to “gangsta rap” to conscious hip-hop to even stand-up comedy fans, and I find that my style of rap actually speaks to something in each of those groups. It’s been nice to know that my music transcends genre well and is appealing to a diverse range of tastes. I know it’s coming, though. As an Asian American doing rap, there’s going to be at least one person who thinks I’m culturally appropriating. I’d like to think that I’m not – one of my rules is to never pretend to have had experiences that I’ve never had, or wear or say anything that doesn’t feel authentic. That’s why I don’t wear “hip-hop fashion” or put on an accent. I have respect for the roots of hip-hop, AND I’m using the spoken form of rap to make something that’s true to me, across a variety of sound palettes. Despite that, there will still be people who say I’m a poser, that I’m a joke, that I’m an appropriator, that I’m “not real hip hop”. People can say things. I don’t have to listen.

AltWire [Al]: That is an amazing way to think and I’d like to see more music creators think that way. Especially in these days of uniformity becoming the standard, as opposed to being viewed as ground-breaking because you’re different. Do you feel as if the music industry is taking a turn for the worse? Or are we witnessing a transition time where the best is yet to come?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Thank you! I don’t think it’s taking a turn for the worse. It never has – trend bubbles like dubstep (2013) and trap (today) always pop, and good music always stays good. As far as musical trends, I think we’re seeing a revival of organic instruments. I opted to work with Klopfenpop because his production incorporates very organic sounds and he has a solid musical background in many live instruments, often playing them for collaborators in live shows. When I do live shows, I do them with a band because it has such a bigger visual and sonic impact and presence. I think people are gradually getting tired of producers spamming 808 hi hats, and they’re turning back to the sounds of live drums and guitars again. It obviously still needs to sound modern, but I think the most successful up-and-coming musicians are the ones who are taking advantage of that trend and combining it effectively with electronic production – one example I can think of would be London’s AKA George.

AltWire [Omayra]: So your song, “artist anthem”, relates to many artists. Was this song based on your personal journey?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Yeah. It was a weird idea. It stemmed from a conversation with a friend where the conclusion was that I actually had really low self-esteem despite my artist persona saying otherwise. Being an entertainer gives me a lot of anxiety and is certainly not the easiest life to live. But at the end of the day I’d much rather have a shot at success and fulfillment than be “normal” or in a 9-5, which is reflected in the end of the music video.

Photo Credit: Jason Chew

Photo Credit: Jason Chew

 

AltWire [Omayra]: What advice would you give to up and coming artists going through this process?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Be collaborative, not competitive. People can like both Kanye and Eminem – in fact, most hip-hop fans do. Just because someone’s in your scene and similar to you doesn’t mean they’re “stealing fans from you”. In fact, their fans are even more likely to be your fans. Work with your peers and be a part of different scenes. You’ll have a much wider reach than if you limit yourself to one pool of artists/fans.

Be fun live. Energy is everything. When fans see shows, the biggest thing they’ll remember is how your performance made them feel. Have great lyrics and music, and a killer stage show, and people will be talking about you to their friends after they leave. Making sure you’re reaching new people through the live medium is one of the best ways to build a following as you move forward.

AltWire [Omayra]: That’s great advice! So what are some personal hobbies you enjoy?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: I like to joke that there’s pretty much nothing to my life other than music. It’s about half-true. I’m also a theater fan, so I like seeing plays and musicals. My not-so-secret dream is to be a lead actor in a musical. I like writing, too. That’s where I got my creativity started. I still want to write a best-selling novel and regularly come up with ideas that are very much LEX ideas, but in novel form.

AltWire [Al]: When can we expect to hear more from you? Is there an album in the works?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Yep. I’m working on my debut self titled LP, The Lexicon Artist. This is the lead single. The album will be done by the summer, probably May, maybe later. Until then, look out for more singles from the album dropping as the date approaches. I’ve also been releasing remix albums of my previous work on LEX is More, and the next one, Glasses, will be out sometime before then, too. I’m looking forward to a productive first half of the year!

AltWire [Omayra]: We all look forward to more music, but before we close do you have a message you’d like to send to your fans and our readers?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Thank you, Omayra and Al, for having me on. You can find me on every streaming platform, on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram as lextheconartist. Same for Klopfenpop! I’m stoked for everyone to hear what’s coming. And for any fans outside the San Francisco Bay Area – if you want me to come to your city, send me a message and I’d love to make it happen. Thank you again!

Gasparilla Music Festival

Gasparilla Music Festival Reveals The Roots and Father John Misty as Headliners

The Gasparilla Music Festival presented by Cigar City Brewing have unveiled the initial lineup of acts that will be performing at the 7th Annual Gasparilla Music Festival taking place March 10-11, 2018 in downtown Tampa. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Roots will be headlining Saturday, March 10th and multiple 2018 Grammy® Award nominee, Father John Misty will be headlining Sunday March 11th.

Rounding out the early line up:

Spoon

Break Science (Live Band)

Mondo Cozmo

The Cave Singers

The War & Treaty

KOLARS

Eric Tessmer Band

Imagination Movers – headlining Kids Fest

GMF’18 will feature over 40 bands across 4 stages along Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. Each year the festival has grown in size and breadth with an eclectic assortment of music hand-picked to inspire as well as entertain. In addition to diversity of sounds, the Gasparilla Music Festival offers a variety of experiences including a wellness kickoff early Saturday morning. Last year,  the fest hosted its first everDubb Tenn Yoga and Ride the Park, a stationary bike ride which served as a fundraiser for GMF’s Recycled Tunes program.

The annual festival celebrates the Tampa community and culture with local culinary delights, activities for families, performances by local artisans, aerialists, crafters, dancers, drum circles, elaborate hair-braiders, double dutch jumpers, pop-up performers, marching bands and more. Once again, the fest within a fest Kids Fest will include the Glazer Children’s Museum where in addition to the activities  award winning Imagination Movers will perform and the entire museum will be open to the public with free admission.

 

Tickets to the festival are available at www.gmftickets.com

Gasperilla Music Festival