Tag Archives: rap

AltWire Indie Artist of the Week – The Town’s own GQ

This weeks featured Indie artist is Oakland raised emcee GQ.

GQ comes with enough bars to argue his place as one of the West Coast’s top rising stars. GQ is signed to 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records giving him access to production on par with the verses he spits. Expect an honest perspective of a young Black man growing up in a bleak environment. Take this journey with GQ as he rises above what is a trap to outsides.

He is three releases in with his most recent E 14th, which dropped on November 17. Be sure to stream and purchase his release on all platforms. Check out the first single released entitled “Can’t Run”.

The Shortlist – September 9, 2016

The Best New Music Every Week

As Fall approached and the days continue to get shorter in the Northern Hemisphere the musical landscape is beginning to follow suit with calmer, more introspective themes and even drifting into downright darkness at times.  This week’s playlist is stocked with a few cuts and previews from Fall releases and a decent helping of chill hip-hop.  Put it on to ease yourself into the new season.

c0689dbc258eb062f5a712ba817f011f7f7934a8Angel Olsen – Never Be Mine

Angel Olsen’s highly anticipated follow up to 2014’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness was released this week.  MY WOMAN is a collection of expertly written, dreamy guitar pop and only serves to solidify Olsen as one of the most impressive voices in the genre.  “Never Be Mine” recalls early ’60s girl-group hits like “Be My Baby” as her voice floats with ease atop the swelling wall of sound.

2dffe48b794fab2c5f915af10e6d964fd08db8b4Action Bronson – Descendants of the Stars

New York rapper Action Bronson has recently veered away from making music to hosting and co-creating TV shows on Viceland, but apparently he at least still has some free time to make theme songs for his shows.  With a simple, piano-anchored beat, “Descendants of the Stars” is a gritty track that really spotlights Bronson’s nasal tone and variety of weird non sequitur  bars.

e60c01e920a56c7bb5e1843b43e616cfb00f957eEverything Everything – I Believe It Now

The UK power pop group have a wonderfully unique sound.  They’re more artsy about a lot of things than their contemporaries.  They don’t shy away from singer Jonathan Higgs’ shrieking falsetto.  They stay poppy and danceable while sounding unlike anything that’s made to be poppy and danceable.  “I Believe It Now” is no exception.  The new single pulls from bass-driven ’80s pop before exploding into the fist pumping chorus and throwing in a gravelly electronic bridge for good measure.

8834ac4ea759929a5cb9c80505a30672cce0daaaSampha – Blood On Me

Sampha proved himself during his years of work with SBTRKT, but up until this year he hardly had any solo material.  But now he has been setting himself up to release a new project all his own and the cuts he has released sound awesome.  “Blood On Me” shows expert use of harmonies and structure and presents the artist as a singular force that can easily stand on his own.

ed4e335b4e2ecd674eeea470ea24e0d9e70a430eSylvan Esso – Radio

Before Sylvan Esso’s debut album, the suggestion that a cappella folk singer Amelia Meath and electronic musician Nick Sanborn would come together to make one of the most creative sounds of the past few years might read like the musings of a crazy person.  But it more than works, it excels and “Radio” only serves to continue the success of the fusion.  Meath’s intense alto vocals are perfectly matched Sandborn’s layered production and rumbling bass to create a thick and rich sound.

406aabe72389535e80c87f5eca520439a7249e90Joey Bada$$ – Brooklyn’s Own

Joey Bada$$ is all about the old school.  He’s demonstrated time and time again that he’s done his homework and want nothing more than to carry on the legacy of classic East Coast hip-hop.  “Brooklyn’s Own” nods to Biggie with fluid rhyme schemes and a golden era tinged beat while still retaining Joey’s point of view.  His punchy consonants and loose flow bring the old into the new quite effectively.

cd9da404eac38ab71b653f82991b7198d5c16098Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jesus Alone

With the upcoming Skeleton Tree, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds hopefully are prepping a tremendous return to form.  Perhaps not a return sonically as much as a return emotionally.  The band and it’s leader thrive in the darkest subjects and in setting an ominous mood.  “Jesus Alone” is a droning, 6-minute long expedition into the mind that flips between unsettling and uplifting piano accents.  It’s vagueness leaves everything open and gets under the skin.  It’s what Nick Cave is best at.

f6f992e8650dc28f0361c101acc6677ae479e49fIsaiah Rashad – Free Lunch

Top Dawg Entertainment has produced some of the most impressive and highly-regarded artists in hip-hop and Isaiah Rashad is a big up-and-comer from the label.  His new album The Sun’s Tirade is out now and features some modern bangers and a few chill R&B flavored cuts like “Free Lunch”.  The beat with it’s bright guitars and smooth keyboards drives this track and let’s Rashad drop some well written verses.  He’s going places for sure and the album is definitely worth a listen.

52abd9c07908386d56681b87a3c22b54bc904ed6Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Bon Iver already dropped a few alternate versions of upcoming tracks from 22, A Million but “33 ‘GOD'” is the first fully formed, final version of a single we’ve heard and it finds the group veering pretty hard from their roots.  They are introducing a lot of electronic production and samples and pulling equal influence from experimental art-pop and mainstream ’80s rock.  It’s clear that Justin Vernon and company are doing some heavy experimentation.  Let’s just hope it isn’t so heavy that it buries the songwriting that originally drew people to the band.

adb5816c319e0cab20a422af0bee5c4801b448d6Shakey Graves – Tomorrow

“Tomorrow” comes off of an upcoming compilation from Dualtone Records who have housed Americana giants like Shovels & Rope, Brett Dennen, and the Lumineers.  It’s a stripped down recording where Austin singer-songwriter Shakey Graves gets to play with his tempo and rhythm.  It’s not a happy song exactly, but you can hear him having a good time.  This track’s aggressive, loose guitar work  and emotive vocal performance honestly might be the high point of the compilation, but if it is, it’s a really solid high point.

Listen to the playlist below and follow Altwire for more

Watsky Drops Surprise Video Single “Stick To Your Guns”

Some only remember George Watsky as the pale kid who raps fast.  But to others, Watsky is much more than that.  The poet, rapper, producer, social leader and now published author built his career on telling it like it is.  He finds emotional common ground and plants himself there to bring things together rather than tearing them apart.  On the 1st of July, shortly after another devastating mass shooting and just before the celebration of American independence and democracy, Watsky posted a video of his new single featuring fellow youtube-based songwriter Julia Nunes.  The song serves as Watsky’s response to the increasing frequency of mass shootings and a scathing critique of how society tends to react to them.  He satirically plays the part of a news anchor reveling in boosted ratings and a politician who manipulates emotions to further his own agenda claiming that “nothing ever could have been done to prevent it.”

The video itself is just a black box until almost the halfway mark when a list of state representative’s contact info starts to appear with the message “Call Your Senator” at the top.  Watsky is certainly not the first musician to use his art as a response to this terrible event.  Melissa Etheridge wrote “Pulse” as a tribute and a number of LGBT artists have made their voices heard.  A large number of notable Youtube creators like Hannah Hart and Tyler Oakley have also posted their own thoughts on the issues surrounding Orlando and events like it.  But Watsky’s unique voice and way of addressing these issues is as much about bringing about change as it is about bringing love and acceptance to a hurting community.

Listen to “Stick To Your Guns” below.

Album Review: Drake, VIEWS

drake-views-from-the-6-to-arrive-end-of-april

International rap superstar Drake released his much anticipated fourth studio album on April 29th. Prior to it’s release very little was known about the album, aside from the two leaked tracks, and were all but ready for some new Drizzy. This is evident, as the album sold 630,000 copies on the very first day of release, but did VIEWS really live up to all of the hype around it?

VIEWS was largely produced by 40, Drake’s long time friend and go-to producer. 10 out of the 20 songs on VIEWS were produced by 40, but other big names like: Kanye West, Metro Boomin, and Boi1da are also had production credits. While the album features many different producers the album still has that classic Toronto/Drake sound, which I am a huge fan of. Overall the album has a very relaxing and laid back vibe, but that’s not to say the album is low energy. There are a number of songs high energy songs on VIEWS. Take Hype for example, the song is high energy and features some explosive drums.

Lyrically this is a very interesting album. Of course you have the classic sad Drake songs like Redemption, where Drake reminisces about old girls, and of course you have the obligatory shots at Meek Mill and Tory Lanez throughout the album (most notable on Hype). Drake’s maturity and self awareness on this album really shocked me though. On U With Me Drake drops a funny, yet serious line about how he has made a career off of reminising, and on Weston Road Flows he makes reference to the fact that he is going to have to retire eventually. He specifically says he will retire when he’s 35, which gives us another 2 or 3 Drake albums to listen to.

That’s for sure though, I made a career of reminiscin’

Time got a funny way of tickin’, things are so much different

I’ll admit it, I’ve admitted to a lot of things

In all likelihood this is the peak of Drake’s career. This is by far the most put together and focused album Drake has ever put out. VIEWS is flat out beautiful. While I wish I could say that Drake is going to be on top forever, I can’t. He’s already thinking about retirement, and honestly what other rapper has had this level of success as long as Drake has (other than Kanye West who’s the most hated man in America). All we can do now is kick back, listen to VIEWS, and wait and see if Drake’s next album can top VIEWS. He has his work cut out for him.

Favorite Songs: 9, Feel No Ways, Weston Road Flows, Redemption, Faithful, Views

Least Favorites Songs: None

Grade: A

 

Blueprint talks Vigilante Genesis

If one line Blueprint ever spit on a record could serve as a mantra for his career path, it might be this one from 2011’s “Radio-Inactive”:

“Make it more commercial, Print/
You probably would sell more”
But I’m eating now, so I’m like, “What the hell for?”

Blueprint is one of the most prolific producers, rappers, and collaborators in the underground scene since 1999. Blueprint has steadily churned out banger after banger with acts such as: Rhymesayers, Greenhouse Effect, Soul Position, and Atmosphere. He started out as a producer; churning out dark, head-bobbing beats for Aesop Rock and Illogic. Soon, he jumped into the rap game and honed his distinctive, yet deliberate pace, along with his elastic flows. His approach has been one of constant evolution and improvement from record to record; especially since 2011’s major stylistic turning point, Adventures in Counter Culture.

On April 20, Blueprint announced a new narrative EP produced entirely by fellow Rhymesayers veteran Aesop Rock.  I got the chance to chat with him between his many projects.  We spoke at length about his inspiration behind the album and the stylistic direction of the story.  Read the interview below:

VG-CD-Cover-Update_smaller

AltWire [Dan Kok]: So Vigilante Genesis is a story album. What is the inspiration for this story in particular?

Blueprint: I mean I’d say it’s a combination of reading comic books and having shit happen in real life that kind of makes you think about what you can do and what you would do if certain things happened, you know?  So the character in the story he’s…he’s just a regular dude, you know, but he’s just kind of trying to figure out how to find, you know…I guess resolution in an environment where that’s just not possible.  So, he’s trying to find a way to get back at businesses or institutions or whatever his way is of fighting.  But in doing so he kind of get’s taken down the wrong road.  I mean it’s a fine line between activism and vigilanteism and just, you know, thinking you’re taking matters into your own hands but there’s also the law involved.  And so the record kinda goes deep into-

Random nail gun noisily falls 

[laughs] Random nail gun.  Yeah, so there’s that fine line, so the record kinda comes from that.

Yeah

There was an event where I kind of felt like…I was dealing with this business and I felt like they kind of shitted on me.  And it just gave me the idea like “Man, what do you do when you can’t get no resolution?  Is this why people bust out windows of businesses?”  They say a lot of employee theft is due to, you know, being unhappy with pay and things of that nature, these little passive aggressive or just directly aggressive things that people do.  It made me think about that, so the story kind of came from that and from just falling back in love with and rediscovering comics again.

Are there specific comics that served as a jumping off point?

I think around 2008 or 2009…I stopped drinking in 2010, but in 2008 and 2009 I started getting back into reading again.  You know I missed so many comic books; years of comics.  I remember looking at some top 10 lists of the best graphic novels of all time.  So I went back and I looked at the list and I was like “Man, I’m gonna try to get as many of these as possible.”  So I took that list and I went back and, like, I read the Watchmen for the first time…

So good

Yeah I read Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Batman Year One…The Sandman, some Daredevil stuff, I just started getting into more of the full length graphic novels and that kind of got me into reading again.  Those stories and that whole ethic.  You know, those are all people with no powers except Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen; but except him, none of the other characters have powers. It just kind of awakened me to that kind of story telling.

Yeah, I think it’s interesting, those normal people and that sort of darker bent to a lot of those comics.  They explore that very fine line between moral right and moral wrong.  That’s very interesting that you mention those as major inspirations for this album.  Does this story also sort of toe that line between moral right and moral wrong?

Oh completely, completely it does.  I mean there’s parts where, you know, the character is trying to do the right thing, but he’s not afraid to, like, cut somebody or stab somebody. [laughs] You know, whereas most guys they have that absolute thing, Batman won’t use a gun, Daredevil won’t either, he won’t kill anyone.  My character doesn’t really have that.  It’s not necessarily revealed in this thing, in the story, that he’s that guy.  He’ll take it as far as the people who are attempting to harm him will take it.

Aside from the comic books, your work seems to have sort of a juggling of the idea of having a real respect for the art form and a real reverence for the roots of everything and where it’s taken you and a knowledge and some harsh criticisms of how that has affected culture in sometimes negative ways.  Does this album fit at all into that idea?

I don’t think so.  I think this is kind of…Because this record, there’s only like one song that isn’t a complete story.  So this record is pretty much a concept record, as much as you can make a concept record.  I kind of wanted to really challenge myself to make the record its own thing and not be like anything else in my catalogue.

As far as sound goes, you’ve also had really consistently evolving sounds especially since Adventures in Counter Culture.  There was a really ethereal, synth-y sound to that and Respect the Architect ended up with more of a boom-bap thing.  What kind of sound influences are gonna come into Vigilante Genesis?

Well this record was produced entirely by Aesop Rock.

Right

That right there just changes the whole feel there.  Maybe a feel I wouldn’t have gone for myself for just a standard record.  But for a concept record where we’re talking about the darker elements of human behavior and vigilanteism and dealing with people, I think that his production fits it perfectly.  It’s not production that he would have necessarily rhymed on himself.  He would send me beats for it and there may be ten beats and I would always pick the one that he didn’t think I would pick.  He’d be like “Why’d you pick that one?” So he was thinking he’d put the ones he liked the most as the first 5 or 10, and I would pick the 11th one every time. [Laughs]

So you’re saying it’s a whole self contained thing.  I don’t know, is this a typical Blueprint record? A typical Aesop record?  An Orphanage record?  None?  All?

I don’t think it’s either.  I think it’s gonna be something new unto itself.  I think he just put out a new single from his latest record and, I mean, the stuff that we’re doing on this project doesn’t sound like anything on his record.  And theres a reason, and the main reason is that when you’re telling stories, you have to make sure that the music is kind of a backdrop.  It’s almost, like, the same philosophy as when people are scoring movies.  When they score movies there not choosing the music that bangs, you know?  There choosing the music that complements the mood of the narrative and that’s kind of what I chose in his production every time.  I chose pieces that completely complemented the narrative, but they wouldn’t necessarily be beats that you would hear and say “I’m gonna write a rap song talkin’ shit” you know?  It’s perfect for what I’m doing but it doesn’t necessarily fit anything that we’ve done prior.

Is this the longest full project you’ve worked with Aesop on?

Yes it is.

So what was it like to come together with him on something so highly conceptual and really ambitious?

The production part for him was probably…that was probably the easiest part.  The difficult part was for me to make sure I had the story and the vision and was choosing things that could make the story sound right.  Not repetitive, not sounding like his stuff or my stuff, not what people expect from us.  That was the biggest challenge.  I mean as far as his working attitude, Aesop is the consummate professional.  He’s a guy that wakes up and does music all day.  If you call him up and say “Hey I need a…whatever for this” he’ll probably get it back to you within an hour.  That’s the kind of musician he is.  He doesn’t play basketball or play chess, you know…[laughs] He doesn’t go to the bar, watch MMA, he doesn’t do that shit.  He just is into music, he’s that kind of guy.

You’ve both had absurd turnaround times on stuff lately.  Like, coming out with consistently one or two projects a year since Adventures in Counter Culture in 2011.  What do you think it is about you guys that makes you so able to do that?

If I had to guess I would say that it’s the fact that neither of us drink. [laughs] That’s my first guess, I think sobriety.  Cause when I was drinking I couldn’t turn around records as fast, I’d be sitting around second guessing myself for about a year having something great.  I thought like “I’ll just do it when I’m inspired.”  Now it’s like, “Aw, let me just finish this.  Let me just dedicate more time to it.”  That was my turning point.  And as far as I know I don’t think [Aesop] has really ever been a drinker…as an artist those things kind of help loosen you up at times, but then they kind of have a diminishing return after a while.

I think it’s interesting you mention second guessing.  Is it that you’re more confident with what you’re putting out?  Or have you just learned to not second guess and just put it out because thats better than waiting until it’s perfect?

Exactly, because there’s no such thing as perfect.  I’ve had situations where the music I’ve worked on for the least amount of time has been the most well received and the music that I’ve sat on forever trying to make it “perfect” has been the least well received.  And in my mind I knew that because I’d worked on this thing for a long period of time that everyone else would see that or hear it.  But that’s not always the case, you know.  I think that as you do it longer and longer you kind of understand that more and more that just because you worked on something forever doesn’t mean its good or it’s gonna hit the people.  They don’t necessarily know that backstory, they just know the finished product.

Right.  So one of my big questions is that with Aesop handling the production and you taking the MCing, those are not the roles that each of you found notoriety for early in your careers.  Twisting that and putting him on production and you on vocals, it seems like it might be a surprise to some.  Is that something you were actively thinking about?

I mean, I think for me and Aesop, I’ve known him for so long that I feel like as a friend and as a fan I’ve watched him progress as a producer over the years to where I remember when he was afraid to do beats, he’d maybe do one beat.  Then he went to where he was like “I’ll maybe do 3 or 4 and let Blockhead do the rest.”  And then he’s like “You know what?  I actually produced this whole record myself.”  And he’d send it to me early and I’m like “Yo man, this is great.  You’ve got it.”  So I think that I always saw his progression from a technical standpoint even though, like you’re saying, he was known as an MC first and foremost and his production was secondary.  And my role was different, I started in the background producing Illogic and Greenhouse records, then as an MC I started making a name but people still know me as a producer primarily.  So my choice in that sense was, like, seeing how far he’s come and seeing how dope he is as a producer and just what he can create, I thought he could perfectly complement what I was doing.  But I knew that technically he was there, and I thought this was kinda of an interesting take on what people know of us.

Yeah, I think it’s a really interesting take, whether you were intentionally trying to step outside of those expectations or not, I think it’s a cool flipping of the script.

Yeah.

And you have the first single out today right?

Yeah, I just posted it about 30 minutes ago.

Awesome, I’m gonna go check it out right away.  I can’t wait to hear what it’s all gonna sound like.

Okay.

Well I’m sure you are busy getting everything together and probably working on the next thing already.  But you know I’ve got my preorder in and I really can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

Awesome.  Thanks man, I appreciate that.  And we’re working on a new Soul Position.  I mean, it’s pretty much done, I just have to rerecord a couple things.

I can’t wait to hear that too.

Yeah, so this might be another year where I actually get out two big records.

That sounds great.  Well thanks for taking the time, man.

No problem, thank you.

Here is the first single from Blueprint’s upcoming Vigilante Genesis EP, produced entirely by Aesop Rock. Vigilante Genesis comes out May 27th.

Photo Sources & Credit: printmatic.net & weightess.net

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

“Me AF” – My Interview with Kevin Flum

It’s refreshing when you meet a young person with the gonads to put everything on the line in order to reach his goals.

A goal that many people believe is unattainable. As these same people watch those impossible goals being achieved, they become something else. An entirely different species. They become…

‘Haters.

2 weeks ago, we did a spotlight article on Kevin Flum’s, “The Wake Up”. After interviewing Kevin, I can tell you that these are the types of people that Kevin Flum keeps away from his circle of loyalty. He is an inspiration for many dream chasers. Dream chasers who are re-creating the stereotypical profile of a hip-hop artist.

Stay tuned, hip-hop is about to become more diverse than it has ever been. Thanks to artists like Kevin Flum.

Kevin Flum

At what point did you decide, “Yo, this is it. I’m goin in full time as an emcee”?

Kevin Flum: After my second year of college was over. I was just ready to put my all into it to see where it would lead me.

When we did the Spotlight article on The Wake Up, we got a huge response from your fans. What is it like going from just a kid writing raps to an emerging star with a real following?

It’s a crazy feeling knowing that millions of ears have heard my stuff and rock with it.  I get a lot of messages everyday from people telling me how much they like my material and that they’ve maybe became inspired by what I’m doing to chase dreams of their own.  Its definitely a good and humbling feeling.

You were actually in college when you decided to take a break from school to be an emcee  Do you ever plan to go back?

Maybe at some point I see myself knocking out my 4 year degree online or something.  I’m way too invested in music as of lately so maybe in the future.

You have an exciting flow filled with bars that may seem like punchlines but lyrically you’re just speaking your reality. Was it hard work to get to this point? The point you’re at now?

Yes I’ve been writing my own stuff for about 8 years now, and it took so much living and learning to be able to talk about what I do. Learning rhyme patterns and learning to read and listen to instrumentals all came from really teaching myself and learning off the inspiration I got from at the time stars.

If you had to come up with a name for your rap style, what would it be?

Me AF

Flum3

These days, more artists are retaining maximum control over their brand. It seems like record labels are relics of the past. Dinosaurs. Do you plan to go the route of so many other artists and only seek distribution?

It’s always been in my vision that I was going to do this independently with my closest friends aka my team.  Its so much more organic that way, sure it might be harder but nothing worth having comes easy these days.

Who is your favorite emcee of all time?

Drake. You can’t name a bad song by my mans.

On The Wake Up, you have a line that says, “And they say I can’t rap cause I ain’t that hood”. I don’t believe rap belongs solely to the hood, but a lot of people do. How do you deal with that type of attitude?

F**k you and f**k you is what I say!  People with that closed of a mind have no business around what I’ve got going on.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What’s the first vision that pops up in your head?

I see my music on a higher and more advanced level.  I see everybody on the team doing well and I see nothing but dreams coming true because that’s what follows hard work and talent.

What can we expect next from Kevin Flum?

Album coming soon! Thank You.

Make sure you  follow Kevin on SoundCloud at: soundcloud.com/kflum or on Twitter: @KFlum for more updates and new music!

 

D. Ridley uses the Force to spit some BARS!

daisy-ridley-5jpg-0d6ede_1280w

Apparently, Daisy Ridley now has another accolade to add to her resume.

The bombshell actress is now a rapper.

On the Target edition of The Force Awakens, John Boyega jokes in a bonus feature, “I have an eye for talent. I just said ‘You know what, I can make you a big star.'”

Then Boyega transforms into Doug E. Fresh and beatboxes as D. Ridley spits a few quick bars about The Force Awakens:

“We all up in the desert and we filming Star Wars /
Because of our diet we can eat no Mars bars /
Because of the explosions JB [John Boyega] crawling on all fours /
Because of all the heat we can really make some s’mores.”

Should we look out for the actress in her possible debut, “Jakku 4 Beats”? Stay Tuned!

Images: Entertainment Tonight

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

fb_img_1455866776863.jpg

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.

image

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!