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Legacy of the Lyricist Vol. II – Wally West

Legacy-1
This
is exactly why I started blogging.

This  is exactly why I sold my soul to the demons of online journalism and jumped into the abyss.

This is why I finally allowed myself to be assimilated into this cesspool of Oz dwellers, where nothing is what it appears to be.

As an indie hip-hop artist myself, I understand the frustration of sending hundreds of e-mails to bloggers who either: don’t respond, tell you about how they were “too busy” to watch a 4-minute YouTube video, or want you to be a participant in their modern-day payola scheme.

As a writer, my mission is to build a platform for these artists. I want to awaken the sleeping masses with their music as a universal alarm clock ringtone! To me, it is an honor to introduce the world to these lyricists.

A world that believes the art of lyricism in hip-hop is dying. However, lyricism is alive and thriving. This column was created to assure you of that.

This column was created to ensure that you would meet lyricists like the legacy I’m interviewing today, Wally West.

This is not a coincidence.

These are real lyricists…who deserve to be known as legacies.

Wally West

 

Bandcamp: whotfiswalter.bandcamp.com

Wally West what’s good bro! How are you today?

Wally West: Not bad bro how about yourself?

Bro, I’m stoked to do this interview! So, the first question that is on my mind is, is Walter West ACTUALLY your name or are you a big fan of DC Comics and the Flash?

Haha I’m just a big comic book fan! I think The Flash is the greatest to ever do it!

How long have you been rapping and what got you started?

I’ve been rapping for about 5-6 years now. I’ve been writing since I was very young but I started creating verses during the Cassidy era! I think he influenced a lot of us.

What is the biggest issue that plagues independent/underground rappers today?

There are quite a few issues I have with rap as it stands today. One of the biggest problems faced by artists who are actually unique are rappers just looking for a quick come up by biting the next man’s style. That troubles me daily.

If you went head to head against today’s popular rappers, do you think you would be left standing at the end of the melee?

Most definitely! I’m actually pretty anxious to prove that the vast majority of them are overrated. That’s something I look forward to.

Who is your favorite rapper of all time?

Lupe Fiasco, Hands down. Big L & Big Pun are the other two. I think they are truly legendary.

Do you think hip-hop is evolving or devolving?

Lyricism has certainly evolved, but, the process to becoming known for creating music has devolved to a state where most fans assume the game is in peril because of the corny sounds they hear on the radio.

Which Presidential candidate do you think would be more supportive of a new hip-hop generation? Who would you like to see at the helm of a Midwest Hip-Hop movement?

I think Bernie Sanders would probably be the most supportive. Trump is probably a fan too, but I can’t co-sign his presidency, haha!

What new projects do you have in store for this year?

I have a joint project with my brother Billy East called, “East Meets West 2” as well as my own album, “Heathen” which drops sometime this summer.

Thank You for the interview fam! Here’s a video from Wally West featuring fellow emcee Billy East: On and On!

Beast Behind the Beats Week VI – Supreme Trackz

Updated correction: Website is www.supremetrackz.com not supremetracks.com

Wow.
That’s what I thought when this interview ended. Ahead of me was the arduous task of transcribing a whopping fifty minute phone interview into a condensed article. However, I didn’t mind.
I wanted to listen to this interview again…and again…and again!
You guys thought Ambush Vin made SciFiMusic? Wait until you read this interview.
I almost rushed to the basement to find my old Daniel-san costume to wear during this interview. I felt like the grasshopper.
I was the pupil. However, this time…I didn’t mind being schooled!
(Gong Crash)

Supreme Trackz

Website: www.supremetrackz.com SoundCloudsoundcloud.com/supreme-musik

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What’s good Fam?
Supreme:  What’s up Man?
Man, I didn’t even realize that you were a producer for Psychodrama. I [email protected]$# with Psychodrama hard fam.
Oh yeah man, I produce for all of the stuff for Buk, Psyde, and Newsense. I’m also going to be on the Psychodrama reunion album coming out at the end of this year. I’ve  produced for them, Face Mob and a lot of cats from Texas.

 

Face Mob? Wow, so you’ve been in this game for a minute huh?
Man, I’ve been making beats since like ’94.
We’re from the same school of hip-hop then! I can tell that by the soulful melodies of your music. What is your inspiration?
The inspiration I got was growing up and my parents played a lot of Isleys and Al Green and stuff like that. I grew up on that stuff. As I got older, I just wanted to utilize what I listened to. That music stuck with me. I just felt like soul music had a certain type of feel. You don’t get that feel now with the Electronic music. It’s a completely different frequency.
Yeah, you know what you’re right man. It is a different type of vibe.
It is man but everything changes. It’s at a point now…rap music is at a point now where everything is going back to the ’80s. This is where we are at right now. If you remember, the mid-80’s with Kurtis Blow, the beats he made were similar to the beats now. His beats were mostly drum machine too, but it was party music. So it’s really no different. Everything goes around in a full circle. So now we’re back to the mid-80’s. Now, the next craze that comes up, I don’t know what it will be. Maybe it will be gangsta rap, maybe pure hip-hop, but it’ll cycle again.
I didn’t even look at it that way but you’re making a valid point here.
Yeah man think about it. All of Run DMC’s beats up until the late 80’s, take My Adidas for example. That beat was all drums. Similar to the beats now, but it was uptempo.
Speaking of the new school, are there any artists that stand out to you right now?
I really only like a few songs. I bang Jeezy because Jeezy has that hardcore, gangsta, Geto Boys sound I grew up on. The problem is, nobody is making classic songs anymore. Everybody’s making songs for right now. When you think about it, the old school songs, they put their heart and soul into it. The problem is now, everyone thinks their a producer. They think anybody can do it now if you have a computer. However, when you listen, the vocals aren’t up to par. The quality isn’t there. The bad part is, a lot of younger people have gotten used to that sound. You couldn’t do that in the 90’s. You had to have good quality. You had to actually be able to rap. You HAD to be on point with your lyrics.  Or else, nobody would listen to you.
Man, that’s real! Reminds me of my 17 year old daughter and some of the music she listens to. I can’t even enjoy it because the quality is horrible.
Yup, that’s how my daughter is. She’s 19 and she listens to the same, watered down music. That’s what they’re used to. So when they hear a good track with great quality, their minds can’t even accept that!
You know I’ve been thinking about how, in the 90’s, we watched hip-hop explode in the East, the West Coast, the South just dominated for like 15 years, but when it seemed like it was our time in the Midwest, nothing happened on a national stage.
Nope.
Out of that era, in our world of Chicagoland, who would say you felt the most?
Man…Psychodrama, Crucial Conflict, Triple Darkness, all of the Westside (Chicago) groups. Back then, it was a split between the Westside and the Southside. The Westside rappers brought that gangsta shit. Either that, or some laidback pimp shit. You knew a Westside rapper when you heard one. Then you look to the Southside and you had… Common. Back then, a lot of the Southside rappers sounded like they were from New York. When you heard a Westside rapper, you knew they were from Chicago. I believe the labels were confused when they came here because on one hand you have Common, and then on the other hand you have Do or Die. They probably thought, “This is too different…I don’t understand”. (laugh)
So, fast-forward to today, how can our generation contribute to the movement the younger generation has going today in Chicago? What separates us from them?
Two things. The media and the generation gap. As far as the generation gap, it goes back to what I was saying earlier. How we identified with hip-hop and what they have today. Our parents were from the Motown era. When disco got thrown into the mix it was like, “What the fuck?”. They tolerated it though until 1980 or ’81 when rap started getting popular. Then they were like, thats it, we’re done. However, there are a couple of artists who are trying to connect that bridge. For example, Psyde from Psychodrama is one of them. He does a lot of work with the yoinger artists. We need to be able to mingle with this generation. Especially with how the media portrays us. Hip-Hop has so much power, they are going to do as much as they can to destroy the movement. What they can’t destroy, they will try to capitalize off of.
Speaking of movements, I think there is another movement happening in hip-hop right now. We had a more race-based movement with Public Enemy and X-Clan. Their movement seems to be more urbanized or community based.
Man! I’m glad you said that. My daughter thinks the same way. We were talking about that and to me it’s like these Millennials are just saying, “We just want to be heard!”. I understand that. Our movement was not long after the Civil Rights Movement. It was race-based. Our parents lived through that so thats what they bred into us. That faded out. Now their movement is gonna be different from ours.
Man that’s some deep stuff.
Oh man I can get deeper than that and talk about how I make beats.I could get way deeper and really blow your mind.
Let’s talk about it! You have a different type of process?
Yeah. It all boils down to science. You have to hear me out because it’s gonna make a lot of sense, aiight?
I’m listening, go ahead.
I study and read a lot. I’m going to try not to get too deep. Everything around us vibrates, right? Everything moves. Molecules in the air vibrate at a certain speed. So it’s like I’m looking at my couch, and it’s vibrating so fast that you can’t tell it’s vibrating. However, air vibrates so slow, that’s how we’re able to move our arms and legs through the air  So, it’s the same way with music. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, when they were playing live instruments, they were playing those at a certain frequency. That’s when you had hippies and people were smoking weed, feeling good when that Motown sound came on. Everything, that vibe, was from those live instruments, depending on what frequency they were playing at. All live instruments play at a certain frequency. Now, think about it. That’s why Hip-Hop was so good in the late 80’s and early 90’s because they started sampling from that frequency. We started nodding our heads to it. We don’t even know why we were nodding our heads! Now, we get to the 2000’s and the electronic sounds. The electronic sounds don’t have the same frequency as those live instruments. That sound, the electronic sound, is a lower frequency. It’s not natural. Lower frequencies cause depression. They cause anger. Look at the youth today with all the violence, the shooting, and the killing. You know what I’m saying? Those lower frequency sounds contribute. Man, people don’t realize that.  If you had a spectrometer you could measure say, an electric piano. Get a pair of headphones and put them on a monkey and play that electric piano. You’re going to see it’s movement and behavior change. Now, if you play a real piano, the monkey would be good. That real piano is a part of nature. It’d a natural frequency. The electric sound frequencies are outside of nature.
Man, that is deep!
I told you. I can go deeper than that.
I believe you can! Let’s switch gears and talk about the album you have coming out. Tell me about it.

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Well the album is made up of people that I’ve worked with. I produced the entire album. I got Face Mob on there, Psychodrama, K-Rino, I got a few cats from Denver, and the rest is pretty much Chicago rappers. A lot of songs people may have heard already, but I just wanted to compile them onto one album. I got a solo song on there too.
When do you plan on dropping it?
Hopefully I’m going to drop it by June or July. I’m gonna finish doing the promotion for it. I’m gonna shoot a couple of videos for it. I want to treat it like a real album. Making this album, it wasn’t so much about me producing it. I wanted to make something different with this album. All of these artists I worked with, if I could put them all together on one album, and and let’s promote the hell out of it! The people who like Buk, they are introduced to this dude named K-Rino. They’re going to be like, “Man! I like K-Rino. Let me see what else he’s got.”. Then the people who like K-Rino are going to be introduced to Psychodrama. It’s going to be more of a fan thing where people will gain more audience just by fans listening to good music.
Well, hopefully, before you drop it, you give me a heads-up and let me give the exclusive review here on AltWire!
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Well, bro, it was good talking to you man and I’m looking forward to the album and I will make sure I promote it hard as well! Appreciate the interview bro!
Alright  Take it easy!

Check out some tracks from Supreme’s SoundCloud!

Legacy of the Lyricist Vol I – Aramis

a1830553278_16“There aren’t any more lyricists…”

“Hip-Hop is dead…”

“All you need these days is a dope beat and a hook…”

“Lyrics don’t matter anymore…”

These are all actual quotes that we all hear about today’s hip-hop. I love all hip-hop honestly. I’m one of those quirky people who finds beauty in every form of music. Continue reading

Beasts Behind the Beats Week III – DJ RoboRob

DJ RoboRob’s Bandcamp: https://djroborob.bandcamp.com/

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/djroborob

This week on Beasts, I had the honor of interviewing one of the most creative producers in NCHH!

No, not the National Campaign for Hearing Health, which is an actual group!

Tip: Keep this group in mind, because you won’t be able to stop yourself from playing DJ RoboRob’s Monday mixes at Mach-shattering volumes...

However, the NCHH I speak of is the Nerdcore Hip-Hop Community. RoboRob is 1/5 of the well known collective, RPG-Unit, (The other 4 are: STaRF, Alpha Riff, King Pheenix, and his wife Starby), and he also produces all of their music.

Not to mention, he also is a hell of a House & EDM Producer/DJ!

Luckily, I caught him for this interview!

I must’ve have caught him in between his transformation from “Robot” back  to “Rob”.

Ouch! Stop throwing the tomatoes already! I get the point!

DJ RoboRob

 

The first question that I am dying to ask is, where did you come up with the name DJ RoboRob? The Rob part is obvious what about the Robo part?

RoboRob: I’ve always had an affinity for robots, androids, mecha anime, synthetic life, AI, etc. Data from Star Trek :The Next Generation was a huge inspiration from a young age. I wanted to bring some of that into my music with the chiptune influence (8bit music) as well. Nothing says robot like the beeps and boops of GameBoy music.

What do you think about the huge explosion of EDM?

In general I love it because it puts my type of music on the map but I hate the term EDM. This all encompassing term is too broad for the multitude of genres and sub-genres that fit into it. It’s like calling everything that has an emcee on it “Hip-Hop” I think with all genres there is about 90% that is just trash but, I feel the market is over saturated with garbage right now because of how popular electronic music has become over the past few years. Everyone wants to be a DJ, play the big stages and rise to fame quickly. A lot of people that don’t know a minor chord from their ass and think they can just pick up tables or open a production suite and make bangers. And a lot of people get away with it because they have money for high profile marketing. I don’t blame the explosion of electronic music though, just greedy people and greed is not what electronic music or any music should be about. Money is fine! Gotta find that balance. (yessh sorry kinda went off on a tangent there.)

Hey, no problem man! The people want to know your opinion! So, tell us about your vision, what motivates you? What makes DJ RoboRob tick?

Creating what I hear in my brain to come out the speakers. Connecting with others without saying a word. Also, if I’m being real, putting food on the table. Trying to find that balance ya know?

It’s interesting to someone with such love for the EDM Genre have a firm footing in Hip-Hop. Were you always a Hip-Hop fan? What was/is your inspiration to produce Hip-Hop?

Was I always a Hip-Hop fan? No. Actually, I couldn’t stand  Hip-Hop because lets face it, a lot of hip hop in the 90’s was cheese. Then I heard “Brother Ali – Champion EP.” After that it was everything I could get my hands on! Immortal Technique, Grieves, Aesop Rock, ATOP, Cunninlynguists, Atmosphere, Del, People Under The Stairs, Ces Cru. If they got something to say that isn’t money, bitches, bitches, money, I’ll listen and it influences me, in one way or another.

What is your favorite album at the moment?

I honestly don’t have one album that is a favorite. Too much good music out there to pick just one, in my honest opinion. I’m also really bad at listening to entire albums in one sitting. If I had to pick one that has been on constant repeat I’d say “Noisia & The Upbeats – Dead Limit.” Just insanely aggressive drum and bass with amazing progression, intense atmosphere, and stellar sound design.

You have a nerdcore hip-hop collective called RPG-Unit that you are a part of and also produce the music. How did this concept come about?

When I started dating my now wife, Shelby, she came to me with the idea behind a Borderlands 2-themed album with 4 emcees doing perspective raps as characters from the game. We hit up our friends (carefully picked, I might add) KPX, Starf, and EyeQ to fill the roles of the characters. I started chopping up music from the game and everything just started falling together. We’ve had a couple people in and out of the group since it started, but we’re a solid core now and it’s been a journey ever since we started.

What are your goals & plans for 2016?

DJ RoboRob & Friends – The Album (working title… bleh) is being worked on right now. Hella collabs with nerdcore emcees and some fantastic producers. Planning to drop it early summer. I am looking to tour in the spring and fall with some con dates sprinkled in the summer season. I have literally spent the last 2 years upping my production game, and I’m ready to get out on the road and make people move.

Thank You RoboRob for the insight and stellar interview! Here is the link to an EXCLUSIVE preview RoboRob gave us just for this interview called, “Vodka Penguins”!