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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

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:

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

Linkin Park – Heavy feat. Kiiara Review

Heavy brings us a new Chester...

 

Chester Bennington just trolled every Linkin Park fan who was expecting to hear…

…Chester Bennington.

I mean the Chester that we’re used to. The Chester whose vocal presence was “one step closer to the edge”. But, that’s not a bad thing, as we see on the veteran band’s newest single, which is ironically titled “Heavy”.

As a long time Linkin Park fan, I know this song will take some time for the average LP fan to get used to. To be honest, Bruno Mars could have just as easily fit on “Heavy”.

However, Bruno could not have owned this song the way Chester did.

The production was masterfully crafted, it seems, to reel in younger music listeners. In today’s world where reading the news even feels like a burden, it’s inspiration to see that falling skies aren’t exclusive to little people like us:

 I don’t like my mind right now

Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary

Wish that I could slow things down

I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic

And I drive myself crazy

Thinking everything’s about me

Yeah I drive myself crazy

Cause I can’t escape the gravity

For a few seconds, I forgot this was the guy who used to fly into Stone Temples. He seemed more like the co-worker in the cafeteria at work, talking to me in confidence about his old lady.

But then the bridge came, and the slightly raspy, cracking of his voice reminded me that Linkin Park’s lead vocalist was still present inside of his current form.

Kiiara was also a great addition to this song. She does more than just complement the production. She holds her own with sultry vocals that explode into a powerful performance on the hook that was so convincing, it sent me to Google to find more of her music.

In conclusion, there are some listeners who will label this song as Pop. In my eyes, genres are just another tool of division. The love of music is one of the few things we all have in common. Music is all about expression, emotion, and beauty.

And those are the same things that make “Heavy” so sexy.

Review Score: B+

What did you think of “Heavy”? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Pre-Order ‘One More Light’

Linkin Park have announced their brand new album will be titled ‘One More Light’ and will be releasing May 19th, 2017. Their website has been updated with new information about the album with a number of preorder options. These include CD packages, vinyl packages and deluxe packages that include a 48-page hard cover album art book with photos from the album.

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509 artist Space says, “Everything is going to be “Alright”

Space Cover

You guys have heard about my streak of finding “feel good” music right?

No?! Well, I have a story to tell…like to hear it, here it goes!

I’m just kidding (sort of…)!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to send all of my positive vibes your way. However, I am going to tell you about  an artist I found named Space.

I’m also going to tell you why his new song, “Alright“, is going on my “Dr. F. Good” list.

First things first, Space is from the 509. For those of you who don’t know, that’s Eastern Washington State to be exact. His influences read like a “real hip-hop” playlist:  Jay-Z, Common, Nas, Eminem, B.I.G., and the Wu-Tang Clan.

In other words, #lyricsmatter to Space.

Alright is the first single from Space’s upcoming album, “The Manhattan Project”. 

We used to have an “official” category for songs like “Alright”. It was called the “Get-the-party-started” category. This includes songs like, Johnny Kemp’s “Just Got Paid”  and more recently, Usher’s “I Don’t Mind”. 

Space knows this also:

“I know where the party at, let’s ride/

I live like a fool long nights, fast living but it’s cool if you at my side/

You don’t need to trip ’cause you ain’t gotta worry ’bout shit”

I have a feeling that everything’s going to be alright.

Follow Space on SoundCloud at: soundcloud.com/spaceghost509, on Instagram at: @king_spaceghost, or on Facebook at: facebook.com/spaceghost509

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”!

 

Beasts Behind the Beats Week I: Scotty Wu

Kansas City, MO

It’s Happy Hour,” the bartender informs me as she looks around at the people huddled together. Taking in the scene, she notices the 3 men in the corner wearing Skyrim shirts . Sitting in the booth next to the jukebox, a girl with large framed glasses sits doodling on her iPad. She suddenly lets off a small, but distinct chuckle.

The bartender shakes his head as I reach to pay for my glass of Black and Tan. She nods over to the corner where a young man with a huge afro sits. He waves me over, motioning me to come and sit. Today he sits in a posture with his legs crossed, as if he is a Kung Fu Master in heavy meditation. He wears an old-school waist-length leather jacket that makes me wonder if the name of this bar is actually The Regal Begal.

However, those thoughts disappear when he hands me his latest beat tape. Ironically, the name of the beat tape is “The Happy Hour”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Scotty Wu!

Scotty Wu! It’s an honor bro! My first question is, what got you started producing?

Scotty Wu: “I’ve always loved music, as a kid I would listen to my father jam out on a guitar and it really got me interested. I remember getting this game on PS1 called MTV Music Generator 2 It was like a real basic beat making game but at my age it was pretty amazing and inspiring. in 2006 I downloaded FL Studio 6 on a roommates computer in college and since that day I have continued to love and create music with “Fruity Loops”.

Tell us about your Beat album. What inspired it and how are people receiving it?

Scotty Wu: “The Happy Hour” is my Newest EP which is also free to download on my Soundcloud is a musical perspective of who I am. My production style is real chill and groovy with a hint of darkness. It’s my first release with the KC based label I have recently just signed a deal with which is Indyground Entertainment. With the help of Steddy P, I’ve had the opportunity to venture out with him on his “Picture Perfect Broken Home” Tour (which is also the title of his new album I had the honor of co-producing) and present this project to ears I may have never reached on my own. I have received so much positive feed back from all sorts of people ranging from all sorts of ages. Its truly one of my greatest pieces of work.

Where do you see Hip-Hop going in the future?

Scotty Wu: With the way things are with music it’s so hard to tell, I feel like Hip-Hop has a glimmer of hope of retaking the throne of what plays through a majority of people’s speakers. But the radio makes it really hard when you’re hitting the Quan and Dabbing to Rae Sremmurd all day. These fads change up every 4 minutes, but I won’t lie I’m that guy bumping Future’s last 6 projects over Kendrick’s new album.

Who is on your playlist right now?

Scotty Wu: Future, Outkast, Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller always get play.

What projects do you have coming up?

The album I just Co-Produced for Steddy P “Picture Perfect Broken Home” was released and you can get that on iTunes or indyground.com. I am also working on my first album with Indyground! It will be a mix of things all original production from me. You might hear some rappers or singers. Who knows…it’s a surprise! I am also working on something special with my label mate Dom Chronicles. You can look forward to seeing all this in 2016! Also make sure you check out my Soundcloud to stay updated on new available beats for purchasing from me as well as new music! I appreciate the Nerdcore community for accepting me in!

Check out “The Legend Of Mana” Cypher below with some hard hitting Nerdcore rappers!