Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Black Lung: Bad News EP

When Black Lung emailed me asking for an interview, I was figuring he was just another wannabe myspace rapper. But upon my first listen I realized that at the very least the dude's got potential. While listening to his unreleased EP "Bad News" I couldn't tell if his sound was either not my style or maybe it was the sound of that prized golden cd that takes a while to really get into. Black Lung starts off the song "Swear To God" by saying "put your hands on your eyes, if you feel you might die, in the next couple seconds". At first listen I chuckled at that line but it's kinda growing on me. For an eighteen your old young man he has a pretty mature sounding voice and deep lines like "I get high before school and don't believe in god. And I'll never give a f!*% if I don't see my mom." After listening to his EP I asked Black Lung a few questions:

For all those hip hop heads out there, why should they buy your album?

Man, I'm just some dude that grew up listening to Master P. I'm not trying to be some ''underground rapper'' on some typical hip-hop bullshit. If you don't buy the album, come see me live. Then you'll buy the album.

If people could listen to only one song of yours what would it be?
A lot of people like "Beautiful Crazy". Bitches will like add me on myspace and I will go to their profile and be like ''hahaha she's got beautiful crazy on her shit". But dudes should listen to "Swear to God' or "X's & O's"......for real

Your first full length album, "Fishtail LP" was produced by Mac Lethal. How was it working with him?
He's a real cool dude. At the time i was like 16, so it was a real big deal to me. I've been a fan for a real long time. It was cool to be able work with some dude that i ride around in my whip listening to...

What should people expect from you in the future?
Lots of shows, mix tapes, and albums. Right now I'm working on some shit with my boy JSN. It's called "Dimes up", and the mix tape is about 75% done. But besides all the rap shit, I have some other shit in mind. That's why i'm doing this college shit..I'm out to get this paper..

You can check out Black Lung on his myspace page and can expect the EP to drop any day now.

Grieves: Irreversible

His 18-song debut "Irreversible" blends together nicely with songs like "Unedible," which has a laid back and smooth beat to go with lyrics that call out help! "He Won't Answer," a song about life's struggles and not being accepted back home, showcases Grieves emotional lyrics with lines such as "daddy was a rolling stone, momma never gave two shits about a broken home." One of the faster songs beat-wise is "I Ate Your Soul," (featuring P Smoov) but Grieves still manages to provide dark and eerie images as you lay back and enjoy. A lady sings the track's catch-line: "I Ate Your Soul" and Grieves responds with the catchy line of "And I'll eat you up, go hide before I eat too much."

Grieves shows off his sense of humor on a skit track where he mistakingly calls a guy Susanne and insists that the the guy looked like a girl from across the bar. One song, however: "Capitol Hill Girls" struggles to find it's place on the album with a techno-ish beat and a somewhat out-of-place British accent. By far the best song on the album and the song that got me hooked on Grieves is "Scar Gardens." With gripping lyrics such as, "I shoulda' never even showed you what it's like inside the world I keep a lock on, purple hearted scar gardens harvesting my thought songs and "this is not a love song, I'm working out my problems, the love song is what caused 'em and now I'm stuck and trying to solve them." Also be sure to check out "Rebecca" and "The Room We Hide In".

Overall, this MC, who hails out of Seattle, provides an intelligent and fresh new sound that is easy on the ears. Definitely check out this cd!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Q & A With Luckyiam From The Living Legends

When I asked the Living Legends if they'd be available for an interview they replied, "Who do you want to interview?" Now this question struck me by surprise. I'm usually the one asking tough questions. Who should I interview? I mean 9 members and they're all very talented. So I listened to some songs searching for an answer. I started with "Never Fallin", being it's my favorite song of theirs. I've had one of Lucky's quotes from that song on my myspace page for days. I guess their question wasn't as tough as I initially thought and my decision was made.

What's your take on todays mainstream rap world?

Ummm, it is what it is. Some good (Kanye, Jay, Outkast, T.I., NaS) then there's a lot crap. It's not that different than the indie scene, the rappers just get shot more.

Being in a group with 9 members, how often do ego's clash and how does it affect your performances/tour experiences and even cd's?
We don't have ego's so we never clash. (Hahaaa!!) It makes performances fun & unpredictable and sometimes unbearable. Tour stories turn into seedy novels or fight club and the quality of everyone's individual cd's is effected by a healthy sense of competition.

Would you rather succeed independently or within the group? Do you think other members would feel the same way?
I was the last one in Legends to pursue my solo career. Personally I'd rather rap in a group and be a standout member on a team due to the merit of my style & skill. The concept of being a solo artist is very narcissistic in my opinion. To me, rappers and solo singers come off like they're on some "Me, me, me, me" look & listen to me shit!"

I think I stand alone on this point, everyone else in my crew has proved where they are at with this topic, meaning everyone has solo careers. It's every man for himself around here, that's the way that we work. I aint mad though, get yours. I guess it would suck though if I wasn't a decent solo artist.

It seems that all rappers like collecting shoes and cars. Do you have any interesting collections that aren't so obvious?
I collect babies. I have one on every continent and every race combination. They are custom made/limited edition.

My favorite verse of all time, hands down, is the verse you do on the song "never fallin". Can you explain that verse and what it means to you?
WHOA! Exaggeration! Are you serious? Thank you. That verse was about me and how I'm a scum bag womanizer/liar and it was written in Maui where we recorded that album "Classic". I had a secret love child and my girl @ the time didn't know shit. It was eating me up inside.. I left clues about the situation in various songs. So on "Never Falling" I further told on myself in a emo-ish metaphorical way "learning forces me to search, exsume all my skeletons a room full of demons with a angel as a prisoner, she's tortured for the visitors, listeners read between the lines and stay inquisitive to dissect these sentences". Which was basically saying I was too chicken shit to come clean but I spill my guts constantly in songs. She came to visit me on the island and she's chillen in a house where we are listening to mixes of songs with all these hidden messages in them. Inner demons on the loose flying in and out of ears. Nuff said, if you listen to my raps and look a little deeper you can catch all my fuck up's and triumphs. The poor angel I was going out with was just a prisoner of my madness.

Due to scheduling conflicts, how often if ever are you guys all in the same room working on a song? Has anyone written a verse or a line that got vetoed by the rest of the group?
hahaaaa..I like your questions they are very un-lame. Well, earlier this year we all got together in the studio and wrote songs for the Gathering..but other than that we are only ever in the same place at the same time if we are playing a gig.

And a couple of guys have gotten they're verses vetoed or removed from a song completely .

(I never have) But during the "Gathering" sessions The Grouch got mad @ me for making a cocaine reference on a song called "Where u @?"and a huge argument broke out while I was laying my verse..it was mayhem. It's all love though, we are family and families feud sometimes.

You guys ever consider adding or subtracting members? Besides all the rumors, I am available!
hahaaaaa... There was a time when I wanted Pep Love or Fatlip in the crew. As for subtracting..I think Legends is blood in/blood out. You gotta get jumped out.

For the 95% of people who will never get a chance to perform on stage, can you describe what it's like? What kind of emotions do you go through?
it's magical..I've had a handful or more of life altering moments in the live arena. Connecting with the supporters or earning new fans is euphoric. Bringing people to tears performing "Memory Loss" for example, it makes me remember what's important in life and my pursuit of art.

What are some of the pros and cons of being in such a big group?
this question is a variation of a previous one. I take back my un-lame comment!
Pros: variety of styles
Cons: touring is F'n expensive for 8 plus doots.
Pros: we have strength in numbers

Cons: we are only as strong as our weakest link

Pros: we can kill a live show and fill the entire stage up

Cons: all the single guys want the same ol pussy.

What's your favorite random place to eat at when your on tour?
Cracker muthafuckin Barrel bitch! Excuse me, I meant Cracker Barrel. I Love that place. I love the old style gift shop, the rocking chairs out front, the green beans and mash potatoes, the little puzzles they have for you at the tables while you wait for the food, the sweet tea and the overt racism.. God Bless America dammit.

In most interviews someone will ask about any crazy tour stories. What about any crazy stories outside of touring?
I was in Vegas a few weeks ago for my homies Bday. We had a dope ass suite on the 51st floor of the Wynn. The NBA was in town, it was the last pre-Olympic basketball game, they whooped Canada's ass & there was a big boxing match going on as well..

So due to these events there were soooo many fine women in town for the weekend. You could walk around the casinos dragging your jaw in amazement. Anywho..I ran buck fucking wild Thursday - Saturday then I burnt out. This caused me to punk out and stay in Saturday night and watch adultswim or jackoff to hotel porn. (*Order the porn you want to see..finish yourself off..then call the front desk and say the movie isn't working right & they clear your room of the charge*Ssssshhh)

After I was fast asleep my homie comes back up to the suite drunk as hell @ like 4am and he's like come on lets go out doot. So I did. Nuthing major, We went downstairs to B-bar @ the Wynn..5 minutes later my boy met a Cuban Cougar..raaaaawr. She had a thick ass Cuban accent, nice boob job..She was pretty cool for a 45 year old "possible" hooker @ 4am. She reminded me of Charro. It turned out she wasn't a hooker so they kept talking. He wanted to get her upstairs to our suite but she said she was waiting for her friend and then she proceeded to do the usual "girl thing" co-signing for her friend, building her up..telling us that her friend was beautiful & blah..blah..freakin blah...We didn't belive her and it was 5am so it wasn't really gonna matter anyways. Time passed, I fucking cracked and drunk-looked at my ex's myspace page like a dumbass so I felt like a piece of heartbroken drunken shit..

Time passed & the Cougar's friend finally made it to the bar, it was pushin 6am But she was HOT as fuck! OmFgN! Ok, besides the fact that it was 6am & she was a stripper (weird) & she had a 8 month old baby @ home. She looked like she never went through the pregnancy part of new motherhood. We took them upstairs and wasted a good hour of our lives talking to them about every fucking thing on earth, battling bad translations and exhaustion,drunkeness and other elements. Finally someone in the room got smart & decided to get it cracking, so next thing ya know titty's started coming out all over the room and the mood changed quickly. To make this long-winded story a little bit shorter.
I woke up soaked in breast milk with the sweet taste of the nectar of life in my mouth, I can't say anymore, I've said way too much, fuckin crazy doot.

There you have it. Another interview in the books! Somehow I've managed to pull off interviewing some of the coolest and most talented rappers out there so far. I am definitely lucky! Make sure to check out Luckyiam and the Living Legends on their myspace pages.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ask Grieves

For my second interview I have a young MC that goes by the name of Grieves. Albeit new to the underground rap scene Grieves has already made quite an impression on a lot of people, including one of his good buddies, Mac Lethal. I asked Grieves if he'd be down to be interviewed and he responded, "As long as you ask me sweet off the wall questions. I'm tired of the run of the mill hip hop questions". He also added "ask me fun stuff", so somewhere throughout this interview I hope I've achieved a balance between fun and professional.

Any other skills besides rockin' the mic and provoking the ladies on stage?

hell yes! despite my toothpick appearance..i love food. so i've developed quite the skills in culinary yum yums over the years. that and i worked in kitchens for my whole life....
other than that... i'm pretty accurate with a javelin, i can hold my breath for like a minute and 30 seconds, i can out run murder dice.

The first time I heard you my initial thought was that you had an atmosphere esque style. How do you feel about that comparison?
no.. i've never been to space.. i heard the russians used to send monkeys up there...

You say on your myspace page that you like "missing punches". Explain.
i got drunk, the hippie talked shit, i missed the punch, we all laughed, he may have been an alien... may have...

If you could choose a character from the movie Office Space, who would you say fits you best?

i'm not old enough to see r rated movies... but if i had to guess.. i'd say i'd be simba.

Having lived in Seattle, what do you think about the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City?
who gives a shit?

I heard through your myspace page that you're moving to San Diego. Why the change of scenery?
i'm going down there to spend some time saving beached manatee's.. that and i like the sun.. and.. my roommates in seattle smell like smoked meat and moth balls.

Blonde's or brunettes?

both at the same time...

Scar Gardens is my favorite song of yours and I'm guessing it's about an ex. Does she know the songs about her?

oh she knows...

Ren or Stimpy?

did you know whales can grow to be a 100 years old?

What's your favorite cartoon from the 90's?

barbra walters

Ever been so drunk that it made performing hard (referring to performing on stage)?

every single fucking time...

If you were a male stripper, what would your stage name be?

david copafeel

What's your take on the DH and astro turf?

if there's grass on the field play ball.

What's your biggest personality flaw?

i get nervous when people watch me eat..

Out of all the things you own, whats your most prized possession?

my Michael jordan rookie card.. covered in syrup.. i'm serious.

You just recently were on tour, what's the best story you took home with you?

cinco de mayo.. i did a shot for every song on stage.. blacked out.. got in a fight with a lesbian crip who kept calling me fag... and almost got arrested at the airport for stealing the wheel chair and doing wheelies in it.

Your first name is Ben, your rap name is Grieves, being from the Bay Area I remember a guy who's name was Ben Grieve that played for the Oakland A's. I'm guessing thats where the name Grieves came from. Why Ben Grieve?

because everything that isn't can't be! and everything that is can't not be!
i don't watch baseball.

After the interview was over me and Grieves exchanged a couple more emails and maybe one too many "I love yous". We promised each other that we'd hang out when he's touring through Salt Lake City. Grieves added, "nothin says fun like 3.2 beer and flat chested emo chicks!... just kidding", the only problem is, I don't live in Salt Lake and I'm pretty sure Grieves knows this. The jokes don't stop with this guy and I'm sure it'll be one of the many reason we'll all be talking about Grieves for days to come. Also be sure to check out Grieves on his myspace page and buy his new cd "88 Keys and Counting" when it comes out November 12th.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Q & A With Atmosphere's Own... Slug

As I sat down in front of my computer before my interview with Slug, a thought occurred to me, have I climaxed in my bloggin career too early (climaxing too early, a phrase a young man in his 20's like me never wants to hear). I mean having Slug as my first interviewee is a pretty big accomplishment and one that I'm quite proud of. As I started to think of questions to ask one of the best writers/storytellers in my opinion, a song by Slug's side project, Felt, starts to play on my mp3 player -- "20 Answers", one of my favorite songs by Felt. I on the other hand, have compiled a list of 16 questions for Mr. Sean Daley and to my surprise he was willing to answer them all! Enjoy!

Who's an artist from any time period that you think more people should be listening to?

-x clan, willie
nelson, mc shan, and the mountain goats.

How do you feel your music has evolved since first starting out?
-like most rappers, i started by emulating my heroes. now i feel as if we've managed to somewhat carve out our own lane on this highway. granted it's a skinny lane where we all drive slow and look at the scenery.

After you're done recording, done making music, whats next? Anything else left to accomplish?
-i have no clue. looking for that answer myself.

Whats the most memorable moment you have of being on tour?

-too many to list. a few worth mentioning: meeting and having lunch with rick rubin. stealing a baseball cap from jack osbourne. going to portugal, iceland, alaska, new zealand, south korea. having a wisdom tooth pulled a few hours before a show, too many more to list.

Any plans on another felt colab?
-yes indeed, but i can't tell you who is producing it, nor who it is dedicated to. those are still secrets.

Has any song that you perform on stage made you so emotional that you cried?
-it's not cool to cry in rap. so, yes. it was hard performing the song "yesterday" for the first time. almost didn't finnish the third verse. and i've only performed "the river" once due to it choking me up.

If you had a choice of one of each; movie, song, cd, tv show, what would they be and why?

-purple rain, purple rain, purple rain, the wire.
i love prince. and i love the wire. sorry that my answers suck.

Where's the most interesting place you've written a song?

-on a plane, i wrote a song called "woman with the tattooed hands," about the woman sitting next to me. i didn't know her, but she kept staring at me like she hated me. so i started to write the song next to her, hoping that she would look down and notice. she didn't.

Can you pin point the moment in your life when you knew you wanted to make music?

-not really. i was pretty young, and i saw how much the cooler older people loved musicians. i wanted to feel that validation.

What are your fondest musical memories?

-too many to mention. as of now, i would suggest that the year 2007 is my fondest musical memory. the amount of time that anthony and i spent making the lemons album as well as all of the seasonal sad clowns was the best time of my career.

Have you ever had any outrageous mishaps on stage?

-ha. yeah, but most were due to my raging drunk days.
i don't drink as much anymore.

How do you balance your music career with other obligations such as family,friends, partner?

-i don't balance them, i mix them together.

What aspect of making music excites you the most at this point of your career? and what aspects of music make you the most discouraged?

-at this point, i love every part of this game. i used to hate doing press, and running the pr cycles. but as of late, i've learned how to enjoy all of it.

In what ways does your home town of Minneapolis affect the music you create?

-i think being surrounded by so many other diy artists has kept us focused. we've never really seen the hollywood side of this game.
i think the cold weather has kept us productive, there is not much else to do in the winter but create.

How has Ant helped you grow as an artist?

-ant taught me how to focus. priceless.

You played nirvana at the show in san francisco.... who's your favorite rock band?

-hmm. favorite? i dunno. too many to name. current favorite - tv on the radio. classic favorite - jimi hendrix. all time favorite - prince

As I thanked Slug for his time he left me with these words, "
keep up the progression and productivity. stay busy and safe".

Check out Atmosphere at his myspace page or on his label's website.

The Things We Think And Do Not Say

What's that? Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire already used this headline for his mission statement? Oh well.... For me, it's been the things I love that I do not act upon. Such as music. It's without a doubt my passion! No matter what I'm doing music is constantly running around in my head. So lately I've been trying to find my niche in music and maybe, just maybe, the wonderful world of blogs is exactly what I've been searching for, an escape from the grueling 9 to 5 into the countless possibilities music has to offer.