anacron I nterview: Los Angeles hip hop musicia n tells it all
Fashion Parade: The si nger rocks the latest fashion trends her way
Julian Nagano Q&A: Get to know this 1 mic entertai ner
Get I n His Head: “Truth is... They Don’t Know Me I nside.”
Issue 01 - 2013
Issue 1 contents
Q&A JULIAN NAGANO Talks about his album & future projects
fud draws Oliva Guenther’s artwork features gorgeous women of color
MIO SOUL: FASHION PARADE Mio Soul shows off her boy meets girl style
LETTER FROM EDITORS Tiffny & Tiffology welcome you to their premier issue
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Producers, DJs, & Turntablists talk about their preferred hardware or software
Q&A JULIAN NAGANO Julian Nagano talks about his album Some Fora Better Weekend, Nazi Music, and what’s to come
UNFAMOUS MIND FRAME Los Angeles hip hop musician tells it all in an interview
Album Review: Silverclub Tiffny weighs in on the debut album from the Electro-pop group
A BAND OF BURIERS Interview with the anti-rap, alternative folk group from the UK
MUSIC TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2013 A few artists & labels that Tiffology thinks you should check for this year
STEADY RISING TO THE TOP Artists you’ll be hearing a lot from in 2013
HALFMANHALF Q&A with Portland hip hop artist
2012 in review Countdowns are lame, but here are 20 things that happened in 2012, that made Tiffny go “ooh!”
TIFFOLOGY’S FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2012 Better late than never!
GAMES YOU SHOULD PLAY Atari Blitzkrieg suggest games other than Call of Duty: Black Ops II
SOUNDCHECK: KARIBEL Major Music’s chantues Karibel is on the verge of stardom, get to know her name
SOUNDCHECK: PENTATONIX Season 3 champs of NBC’s The Sing Off are fast becoming the hottest group in pop music.
LA BEAUTé EST DANS LA RUE Two photographers are featured in this month’s photo theme
FUD DRAWS Olivia Guenther’s artwork is amazing, colorful & features gorgeous women of color
SURREAL TALK: ALBANE SIMON Surreal collagist talks about her art
MIO SOUL: FASHION PARADE Mio Soul shows off her boy meets girl style on the streets (and rooftops) of Chinatown NYC
(PORT)LAND, HO! Aaron Moiel discusses his clothing shop, Bulle, located in Portland, Oregon
GET IN HAS-LO’s HEAD Emcee & producer talks about depression & his album, In Case I Don’t Make It
UNFAMOUS MIND FRAME Anacron tells it all in an interview
SURREAL TALK: ALBANE SIMON Surreal collagist talks about her art
GET IN HAS-LO’S HEAD Emcee & producer discusses depression
Anacron Cover Photo by Masaki Miyagawa
Issue 01 - 2013
A Letter From The Hello, and welcome to the very first issue of CrayonBeats! We have been planning and plotting the premier of CB Magazine for over a year, and the process has been an amazing (yet emotional) roller coaster ride! When we were tossing the idea of a CrayonBeats magazine (among other things) back and forth, we were pretty much dreaming out loud. Now, the dream has finally come to reality! The amount of support we have received has been amazing. We can’t express how psyched we are!
Editors was super nervous about the turn out. Luckily, there was an amazing team of people to help: stylist Sequine S. Lee and photographer Curtis Bryant. She had a lot of fun, and it turned out amazing.
For our first issue, we wanted to give you content that’s exclusive to the magazine, as well as incorporating some of our (and your) favorite sections of the CrayonBeats website.
Tiffology is excited for you to read her in-depth interview with Los Angeles hip hop musician, Anacron. She asked him numerous questions about his life, his music career, and much more. She also had the pleasure to speak with Philadelphia emcee and producer, Has-Lo, for an 8-page article about who he is behind the mic--and, more specifically, what he was dealing with when writing and recording his 2011 album, In Case I Don’t Make It.
Tiffny is most excited for you guys to check out the fashion spread with Mio Soul. Shot in Chinatown, NYC, utilizing the street, rooftop, and hallways of the bustling neighborhood, it was the first time Tiffny had directed a photoshoot; she
All in all, we are both proud and humbled that our little baby CrayonBeats has grown so fast! We hope that you enjoy the magazine, and stick around for future issues, as well as other projects that we have planned for you guys in the near future!
the two tiffs Tiffany Robinson aka tiffny
Tiffany burriss aka tiffology
Tiffany Robinson is an artist, blogger, writer and word nerd based in New York City. A language lover to the core, she currently speaks 3 languages and is attempting to pick up her 4th and 5th . When she’s not studying, Tiffany likes to search for new music, watch Youtube videos, and generally waste time on the interwebs. In the real world, she enjoys hanging out in NYC, eating takoyaki from Otafuku, and cuddling.
Dwelling in ultra-hot Arizona, Tiffany Burriss is a music enthusiast, a freelance artist, a blogger, an optimist, & a Pisces. She’s a lover, not a fighter. But, like the Latyrx song, this lady don’t tek no shit! In her free time, she likes watching foreign films, listen to music, browse the internet, get artistic in Photoshop, play PS3 games, & enjoy life. She’s sarcastic, playful, & always laughing. She is among the few people that still buys CDs.
The Best Music Discovery I Made In 2012: Three way tie between Hanzo Reiza, Riz MC, and Sneaky Sound System Top 3 Guilty Pleasure Songs: Tell It To My Heart- Taylor Dane, Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison, & I’m Different – 2 Chainz I’m Obsessed With: Music, Hair, Makeup, and Shoes. Favorite Meal: Japchae and mom’s BBQ Chicken. Together. S(e)oul Food baby. On A Cold Day: I passionately wish I were in warmer climates. When I’m Feeling Lazy: I lay in bed watching internet TV and playing Sims 3.
The Best Music Discovery I Made In 2012: Tailor, Corina Corina, & Ecid The First CD I Ever Bought: TLC - CrazySexyCool The Last CD I Bought: P.O.S. - We Don’t Even Live Here Favorite Meal: Either a broth-based, heavy vegetable soup (such as Minestrone), or pizza (pepperoni, black olives, & tomatoes; unless I’m at AJ’s Fine Foods, then their Mediterranean pizza). On A Cold Day: I throw on a hoodie & enjoy the weather. We really only have two seasons-- Summer and “Winter”. When I’m Feeling Lazy: I’m on the couch, catching up on all my TV shows.
Issue 01 - 2013
CURTIS BRYANT: Freelance photographer based in the NYC area. mooseography.tumblr.com
SEQUINE S. LEE: Wardrobe stylist from NYC. In love with building imagery his entire life. Wants to continue to give the world inspiration & beauty. sslthereligion2style.blogspot.com
ATARI BLITZKRIEG: A father, a husband, a hip hop musician, & a video game fanatic based in Virigina. iamsubstance.com
C-Zar Van Goghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long-awaited sophomore LP
The Streets. Politics. Religion. Celebration. Tragedy. Triumph. Poetic Portraits. Life. Music.
No Cursing Dusty Samples Live Instruments Available at spacelabrecordings.bandcamp.com, iTunes, Amazon & wherever music is sold.
Available on CD January 31st, 2013 Foreword by Dr. Cornel West
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jake Palumbo ÂŠ 2012 SpaceLAB Recordings www.crayonbeats.com
Issue 01 - 2013
Weapons Of Choice
Producers, DJs, & Turntablists talk about their preferred equipment and/or software By Tiffany Burriss
I use Propellorhead Reason 3.0, Akai MPD32, 32 Key Midi Controller Keyboard, NuMark turntable, Micro Korg, and Pro Tools with live musicians. Out of all of that, the one piece of equipment that I’d like to speak about is Reason 3.0. Reason 6 recently came out, but I’m sticking with Reason 3. The last thing you want to do as a producer is limit yourself, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It’s not limiting yourself if you know a program or a machine in and out blindfolded (while you continue to progress musically) AND use new things, as well. My man DeeJay Element has Reason 6, so I use that when I make beats with him, but I’ve been making beats since 2003 and have been using Reason since day 1. I operate in Reason really quickly and really efficiently. My process is borderline insanity when I work alone, and Reason 3 allows me to be the OCD-rittled, driven artist that I am. When I hear a sample or a melody I’ve played on the keys, I immediately envision the drum sounds, drum pattern, tempo, bass line, the whole 9 yards - a lightning quick program is a must for me. I’ve made beats on every machine and with every program possible, but Reason is my favorite, by far. J57music.com
Out of all the gear and plugins I use on a daily basis, if I’m making beats, the first thing I need is my Korg padKontrol. I’m a computer nerd, not an MPC user, so to control my synths I use this. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a fact that you program drums differently if you’re using pads or keys, so this piece is crucial. It has sixteen MPC-style pads, with adjustable sensitivity, which is great for heavy handed folks like me. Plus, the assignable knobs and X/Y pad are nice extra features. Whether in the studio or on stage, the padKontrol is crucial to my music. WillieGreenMusic.com
The piece of equipment that I have been using since the beginning of my evolution of being a producer is a software program entitled Adobe Audition 1.5, which used to be called Cool Edit Pro. I still continue to use this program, simply because I’ve been using it for 16 years. In a sense, I’ve mastered the software and developed my own style within the software. I also use it because I think it’s an effective music editing tool and I’ve become accustomed to certain filters, effects, multi-track editing, and tricks that I’ve personally learned. Although I enjoy this software, I do not prefer anyone else to use it, because they will probably think it sucks compared to all the newer music software and hardware used today. 14KTZ
I think I’ll go with the Micro Korg. I know that everybody is using it and it’s kind of played out, but I always come up with something good when I mess around with it. I’ve been using it for about 5 years now and I still don’t know that damn thing like others do, but I get everything I need out of it. It has some really good leads on it, which, you will hear on MC Eiht’s upcoming album. And I use the vocoder a lot, because it sounds real West Coast-ish, if you twist the knobs the right way and eq it after recording.
My weapon of choice is the Akai MPC 2500. I’ve been making beats since 1996, and owned the Akai MPC 2000, 2000Xl, 3000, but for the last 4 years I have used the 2500, and it gives me the best workflow. 128 mb’s of sample time, 2 effects processors, 80 gb internal hard drive, to load up hella drums fast, Q links let me throw LFO’s on samples, I can rehearse a sample on the beat I’m working on simultaneously, easy to edit, time stretch, and chop up my samples! Issue 01 - 2013
Akai MPC 1000: This machine added a new way of making / composing music for me. I always loved Hip Hop and after watching several Pete Rock and DJ Premier videos using MPC I thought I needed to get mine. This machine has a great workflow. I chop my samples on Pro Tools and then put them on the MPC via usb and start to play with them. A lot of use of pitch, 16 levels (sensitivity, tune, filter, etc.). The filters on it are amazing, the sequencer is great, and the sound I can get out of it, makes me very happy. Another piece of basic equipment on my beats are my Warwick Corvette 2001 bass, my violoncello (year 1930), the Microkorg XL and some virtual synths. GasLabMusic
Joel J. Dahl (The Phantom Farmer)
The pieces that I use the most in my studio, would have to be Logic Pro and the Empirical Labs Mike-E preamp and compressor combo. Logic Pro is just a recording program, so I will talk mostly about the Mike-E. Empircal Labs won’t ever let you down. This pre sounds so good. It has an instrument quarterinch jack on the front, for easy direct connect, digital step gain increase, phase reversal and high pass, and, of course, “Phantom Farmer” power gives out the 48 volts. The pre section of this piece is simple and elegant, like a Polo knit shirt. Next, you come to the compressor half of the model. This is where things get HEFTY. You start off with a drive knob to decide how much signal from the pre to pump into the comp. I usually pump the drive enough to get the “warm” light bouncing, but you can take it higher to get “toasty”. Then comes your standard comp variables: ratio, attack and release. All three on the Mike-E are digital step buttons. The ration switch allows for a “nuke” function that will sincerely crush your audio signal. It’s fun to use on room mics, for drum kits and crushed fuzz pedal action. Then they give you a blend knob. That’s right! You can blend your dry and wet signal to your liking. Last, is the over all output control knob. Easy Peasy. I love this piece. I wish I had a whole console of them. I use it on vocals, room mics and go direct with bass through it a lot. It’s also rad to run some Nine Inch Nails style distorted synth through it. bylightning.com
My #1 piece of gear is my first generation iPad, which I’ve had since they first came out. I have created two apps for iOS, one for recognizing your beatbox and making a MIDI file (Vocal Beater) and Polyplayground, an app for composing and improvising through some visual help. I write all my music with Polyplayground, which I made to improve my tonal harmony and awareness of how pitches relate to each other. I can play big jazz chords easy on this app, then display the chords back to myself while I hammer out the melody. Producers have begged me not to release it, but finally I decided to share it with the world. I published about it in a peer reviewed music technology journal and I am preparing to spread the tool, even if it means everyone sounding like me later. Migamo.net nightprowlmikegao MIKEGAO
First and foremost, I will forever be an MPC head, even if I have to move on to software and midi controllers. I say that, because, currently, my MPC 2000 xl is on its last leg, and I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. To me, the MPC just feels like hip hop. The history, the pads, the display, everything. That’s no disrespect to anyone else, some of the best producers I know started with and continue to use software, but, to me, the MPC just holds a special place in my record dusty heart. Two friends of mine put me on to the MPC about 9 - 10 years ago, so a lot of the crazy gear/programs kids are using these days weren’t available or utilized yet. I recently managed to get one more album (Be Brave, Gladiator) out of my trusty little friend, with the help of post production effects, through Sonar x1 and various plugs-ins, which was a first for me. I know the machine like the back of my hand, so creating a beat feels incredibly natural. It’s also why I’ve been hesitant to move on to possibly easier forms of production, as my MPC still requires zip disks that have been extinct for quite some time now. A lot of my friends use Reason and seem to really love it, not to mention they all make incredible music, so I’m considering giving it a try soon; that, and Logic. It will be hard to finally say goodbye to my friend. I know AKAI has all these new models out, but there’s something about the 2000 xl that will forever define an era for me. ProeMusic ProeMusic
My main tool that I use for producing is Reason. I used to only use the MPC, but I started noticing that a lot of producers I was around were using Reason and Logic a lot. I started messing around on it and just learning how to do different things, but at first I didn’t like it. I noticed a lot of the beats I made on there were sounding really thin and didn’t have as much swing as the MPC. I kept hearing dope beats that other people were making on it, though, so I knew there had to be something I was missing. After playing around with Reason for about a year, I started to pick up on little tricks and things you could do to really make it sound big, have more swing, and overall sound better. Once I picked up on that, I started to solely use it instead of the MPC. One thing I really like about using it, is everything I need to create beats is right there on my laptop. I travel around a lot and it’s really convenient to have everything I need right there with me. I’ve been using Reason for a couple years now and it’s now my “go-to” tool for production. NimaFadavi.com
My weapon of choice as a producer on the software side would have to be Pro-Tools for editing and recording vocals and samples. Ableton Live using an MPD26 or MPK Mini for programming. On the hardware side I love using the effects on the Roland SP-404 sampler. The built-in mic has been one of my favorite little things for years. I also am super into using synth right now. My favorite being the Novation Ultra-Nova. The best thing about having out board synths v.s. VTS is that you can feel it more. I tend to run a lot of my stuff through effects pedals, caos pads, or pretty much anything I can get my hands to make it have more of an organic sound. At the end of the day my biggest weapon is my ear, being a 70% sample based producer I rely on my ability to find the dopest, rarest, most untapped sounds I can find.... EcidLovesYou.com
ECIDfitb Issue 01 - 2013
I go by DJ Mr.Vibe, of the Sleeprockers. My weapon of choice would have to be my Rane TTM 57sl. It goes with me everywhere, from studio to shows. I’ve rocked many mixers, but when Rane dropped the 57 in ‘06, it changed the game. Not only can I rock my vinyl, but I can go digital without hooking up extra gear. Most importantly, they got a tough fader that will take a beating from hours of scratching and juggling. It is a BEAST! DJmrdotvibe DJMrVibe
Kwes The Bess
My name is Kwes the Bess, of Sleeprockers. I have to say that the MPC 2000xl, and my extensive record collection, are my goto means for production. I’ve been using the MPC since ‘06 and have been digging for a little over 10 years now. I began making beats on software; did that for a few years, then made the transition to hardware because of the more organic, hands-on feeling. I like the fact that it can be played as an instrument and the workflow is really nice. I could use this machine in the dark, and have. It’s also a great addition to live shows, not too many people use them live, and I’m proud to say I’ve rocked hundreds to thousands of people using those 16 pads. Just as important as the MPC, are my few thousand records I own. This is my primary source for sampling; without the wax, there would be no hip hop. I prefer vinyl over mp3’s, due to the full range of sound offered. My collection consists of mainly Soul, Funk, Jazz, and Hip Hop. Some of my favorite artists are James Brown, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Ohio Players, Bob James, and the list goes on. These two things keep me going in the lab and on stage. KwesTheBess
Since 1998, I’ve been using Sonic Foundry Acid as my main beat making, multi-tracking tool. I have been using it forever, so I’m fast with it, and I know how to [quickly] bang out whatever I want, which is the most important thing to me. I’ve used other DAW programs, but I have always came back to Acid. Making beats is all about being in the right moment and just knocking your ideas out fast, because if you take too much time to get technical with it, you can lose the vision or thought process for the beat you’re trying to make. I’m a firm believer in mastering a tool and sticking with it, if you’re getting the results you want. MEATYOGRE1
DJ Mr. Vibe, DJ Rated R, Kwes The Bess, & DJ Nocturnal of the Sleeprockers ---- Sleeprockers.com
DJ Rated R
My weapon of choice, or should I say weapons of choice, are the Technic 1200 turntables. You can’t have just one. Kinda like Raphael of the Ninja Turtles. His weapon is a pair of Sais. He needs to get down with them in order to fight. I need to get down with my 1200’s, in order to battle, mix, scratch and so on. Juggling records is a must, and Technics can withstand the abusive power. I’ve been rocking 1200’s since 1999. Prior, I went through numerous turntables. Broke plenty of them. None of those compared to the beauty of having 1200’s. They are solid as a rock. I prefer the 1200’s, because of its durability and reputation in the industry. They are built tough just like Raphaels SAI’s!! So, definitely my technic 1200s are my weapon of choice. From 99 til infinity!
My weapon of choice is my Rane 62-Z. I like to call her Zoey! I have been using my 62-Z for only a few months or so now; I picked her up in early April. When it comes to DJ Mixers, I consider myself to be some what of a connoisseur. Although, I own a quite a few other really dope mixers, such as a Rane TTM 56S Performance Mixer, Vestax PMC-06 Pro A (Mixtick), Stanton Scratch Artist Instrument SA-5 (Allies Allstar Beatdown), and Technics SH-DJ1200 (Official World DJ Championship Mixer), nothing compares to my 62-Z. The onboard effects, Serato Controls & Functions, professional build quality, and high performance faders make the 62-Z second to none, in my opinion. I have rocked on my “six deuce” at various types of events, ranging from concerts/hip hop shows and even DJ battles, such as the 2012 DMC West Coast Regionals, and she has been quite a beast in every situation. I consider my 62-Z a thing of beauty that allows me to express my self freely and advance my art to the next level, Oh yeah, it’s also co-designed & crafted by the World Famous DJ Z-Trip & Street Artist Shepard Fairey! DjNocturnal916 DjNocturnal
Tape Mastah Steph
What up folks. I’ve been a DJ, producing music and beats since 1988. I started off “pause mixing” samples from records and drum machines until ‘93, as the Ensoniq EPS & ASR 10 became my known weapon. Fast forwarding to 2012, I have a few weapons of choice on deck (scavenger style) and very stuck in my ways. I mostly create beats by splicing samples, drum kits, live instruments and using software programs such as Vegas a/v 2.0, FL studio, Akai MPK midi control, Wavelab 4.0 (Mastering Tools), and of course my Technic 1200’s, Vestax pmc05 or Rane57 Mixer, Serato Scratch Live along with the Akai MPK mini during live performances. StonesThrow.com
Well, the heart of my studio is my computer, and my current DAW of choice is Digital Performer. Not a lot of hip hop or electronic guys use this program, but, for me it kind of delivers the best of both worlds (great audio editing like Protools, and great midi functionality like Logic). I also do a lot of composing for TV and Film, and Digital Performer is great for scoring to picture. As far as plugins, I love the Stillwell Audio Comps and EQs, the Waves Renaissance are still my bread and butter, and the Soundtoys bundle is like my spice cabinet. Outside the box, I have a few choice pieces of hardware. I run a lot of my mixes through a Dramastic Audio Obsidian compressor. I also use a Neve Portico 2 Channel Strip, Avalon 737, and API312 when I record. Sometimes, I send drums or samples through my UBK Fatso as well. KennySegal KennySegal Photo Credits: J57 (Joel Frijhoff); Willie Green (Liz Allen); Brenk (Robert Winter); Gas-Lab (Alejandra Moricz); 6Fingers (Divina Misajon); Spoken Nerd & Joel J. Dahl (Searai McAnulty); Proe (Trevor Traynor); Nima Fadavi (Ben Ingram); DJ Mr.Vibe (Olisa Rachele); DJ Rated R (Redbull); Tape Mastah Steph (Kyle Elrod); Ecid (Sharri Keller for Satori Innovations) www.crayonbeats.com
Issue 01 - 2013
Image credit:Nozomi Matsumoto
We had a man on the moon, soon a man on mars, but I ain’t give a fuck: I’m the man on the block Intro Again, Do It Again and Again (2012)
jUliAN NAGAno Interview by Tiffany Robinson Images provided by Cherry Wong and Nozomi Matsumoto
Julian Nagano first became interested in making hip hop music back when he was only 11 years old. Since then, the 22 year old emcee been a member of 3 rap crews, released a total of 6 albums and mixtapes, and has been featured as a producer or rapper on over 20 different projects from other independent emcees the all over the world. The Berlin-based, Tokyo reppin’ emcee has always incorporated aspects of his multiculturalism into his music, often seamlessly switching from Japanese to English midverse and later rapping in German as well, as he did with his 2011 “best kept secret.” For his latest mini album “Some Fora Betta Weekend ,” released October 2012, Julian teamed up with several other multilingual emcees . The project bangs with Japanese, English, German, and Korean language lyricism and code switching all over the place, creating a fun and engaging listening experience for international hip hop fans. As one of the regular features on CrayonBeats’ website, I was extremely excited to catch up with Julian and chat a little about Sum Fora Betta Weekend, and what we could expect from him this year. www.crayonbeats.com
Issue 01 - 2013
10 crayonbeats magazine
Hey Julian! How have you been since our last interview?
Good! Lot of stuff happened to me and my surroundings, but it’s all good.
I’ve been listening to Fora Betta Weekend almost non-stop since the drop. It really is a great party album!
It’s “Sum Fora Betta Weekend!” I wanted listeners to have a better weekend with it, [so] That’s the message behind it!
The features on SFBW are great and each artist brings their own special vibe to the songs. How did you come to collaborate with everyone on the album?
I asked, they joined. That’s it! [Laughing]
I really like This Is How We Do It feat. Kwizyne and i11even. What’s your favorite track on the mini album?
“The Paper II (ft. Terusha)”, I would say. I spent a lot of time with this song and one can hear the development from “The Paper I” to “The Paper II”. The technique, but also the message/lyrics.
Do you plan on releasing any music videos from the mini album?
People can watch the video for “1 Mic Entertainer” on YouTube, But I’m not planning to do another music video with any of the songs from “SFBW.”
Issue 01 - 2013
A Q A
I’m curious, what’s your opinion of music today?
OK, so who are your top 5 international female artists right
Switching gears slightly, let’s talk about projects you’ve been featured on. What was it like working with Terusha, The Ray Man Three, Enigmo, Sonny B, and Chill Cat just to name a few.
I always loved collaborations and I’m really enjoying it. That is real social networking. It is “give and take” and much more than hitting the Like-Button. And each artist I’m collaborating with is a new color on my canvas. And I hope I can give them new colors for their paintings too.
Is there more pressure for you when you’re on the opposite end of the feature?
I’m sure there are plenty of great rappers (underground and mainstream) doing it right now in Germany, but I’m willing to bet that there aren’t many artists like you. How have audiences reacted to your music?
I like it. I do enjoy techno-styledHip Hop, swag-stuff and DirtySouth-styled pop music.
No. The pressure is the same, but I love that kind of positive pressure.
Who are some of the producers you respect and would like to work with?
Ichiro Yamaguchi (from Sakanaction), Bach Logic and 45 aka Swing-O.
This is pretty random, but do you keep any good luck charms?
Yes I do! It’s a little foldable map of Tokyo’s railroads. I’ve been had it since 2007...
They like it, but most people don’t know how to deal with it.
Haha, nice. So what’s the hip-hop scene like in Berlin?
Berlin’s artist community is really international. But Hip Hop is still “German” here. [When they see me] it’s still like, “Hey, look! This Non-Hip Hop-looking boy is rapping in Japanese!” Berlin is very international, but sometimes it’s a village.
Haha, that’s sweet! So then, who are your top 5 international male artists? Sakanaction, Ben Westbeech, Ray Mann, Drake, and Daichi
Q A Q
Top 5 international male artists?
Sakanaction, Ben Westbeech, Ray Mann, Drake, and Daichi
Ok, another totally random question,but... If it meant that it would solve all world hunger, war, disease, racism, bigotry and prejudice, would you spend the rest of eternity unable to make or listen to any music?
That is probably the most difficult question u could ever ask me! Yeah, I would choose love &
crayonbeats magazine 11
Photo credit: Cherry Wong
This is my own way, I don’t need a 指導 者,おれは too fly, I don’t need a 自動車 Photo credit: Nozomi Matsumoto
-- THE PROVIDER, SFBW
Top, counter clockwise: best kept secret (2011), Julian performs live at izayoi/One Blood, SFBW (2012), Do It Again And Again, (2011) Julian Nagano performing live with Terusha (left).
Name: Julian Nagano Age: 22 When I’m angry I listen to: Dirty South. My favorite color is: Dark red. The weirdest food I’ve ever eaten was: Haribo (gummy candies). I just can’t figure out when and why you should eat Haribo. When I was a kid, I wanted to be : a LEGO-designer (designing the space ships, buildings and stuff). My guilty pleasure is: Acting like I don’t speak any language my opponents do. It’s really enjoyable when they talk about me, in front of me, not knowing that I’m understanding. Oh, I’m such an asshole!
peace. Then, I would enter some crazy religion and live somewhere in the mountains. There, I would probably die, since I’m a city person and I don’t know how to get food out there in the wilderness.
Speaking of, who do think should just stop making music for the greater good of mankind. It’s OK, I won’t tell?
AT A GLANCE
Lanzer (Nazi-Music). Please tell, everyone you know!
Ok, will do! Now OK, back to you: Your label YES Music Group; what’s the story? Are you actively looking to recruit and present artists under the label?
Lots of stuff happened under the YES-Project [musically], but hardly anything that went public. I’m really sorry for that, but I learned a lot from [the experience]. Right now, I’m re-thinking it. Taking a break, but of course, I keep reppin’ YES..
Can you tell us if there are any upcoming projects under YES Music Group?
Terusha just released her solo album “ProCess” and my solo album is coming real soon.
At the beginning of 2012, you and British emcee Hanzo Reiza released “Happy New Year 2012.” How do you think you’ve progressed since the beginning of the year and what are your hopes for 2013?
My feelings towards my own music is much richer than 1 year ago. I’m focusing on better lyrics now and some people might find themselves in my lyrics now. That’s a great difference. But I’m still loving my super-unclassifiable-weird-I’m-theone-shit. I’m gonna work even harder in 2013.
Lastly, when people hear the name Julian Nagano, what do you want them to associate with that in regards to your music?
It is my real name. It is Western and Japanese. It is me.
juliannagano juliannagano www.crayonbeats.com
Issue 01 - 2013
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Photo by Stephanie Meiling www.crayonbeats.com
Issue 01 - 2013
crayonbeats magazine 13
unfamous mind frame Website anacronmusic.com
anacron “A jazz playing, poetry composing, breakdancing, graffiti writing, gang banging, filmmaking, record collecting kid that wasn’t afraid to get out and about, in all areas of this great city.”
Interview by Tiffany Burriss
e raps, he can sing, he’s a music producer, he was formally trained on the saxophone, he’s a breakdancer, he educates children; he’s a man of many hats. Meet Anacron. He’s a bad mother--Shut your mouth! Born on the East Coast, but Los Angeles raised, this is what a natural born entertainer looks like. Whether it be musically, making you laugh out loud, or captivating you with super ill, elbow-tip dance moves and tricks, you’re sure to have a good time. With nearly 2 decades of music under his belt, this hip hop to the bone musician is still rising, and has no intentions to stop. He has something for everyone--from party jams, to hard-knocking hip hop joints, to jazzy grooves--so get to know him, get to know his music, and get UNFAMOUS.
Photo by Stephanie Meiling www.crayonbeats.com
Issue 01 - 2013
14 crayonbeats magazine CRAYONBEATS: Why Anacron?
block” for the good stuff though -- it comes when it’s supposed to.
ANACRON: Anacron is my name, not an alias. Derived from the Latin anakronos meaning, “without time,” it describes everything I do to a tee -- chronologically misplaced, ahead of my time, and ultimately timeless.
Being fully submerged in the elements of hip hop, it’s safe to say that it plays a large role in your life. With that said, can you tell us what hip hop means to you?
Where did you grow up? How did it help shape your attitude towards the music culture? I was born in North Carolina, and lived in a bunch of places as a baby and/or little kid, including parts of Africa. My family hit the West Coast when I was in Elementary school, and I grew up in big, bad Los Angeles. Not the L.A. that tourists and pop media consumers know, but that real Los Angeles that we haven’t seen since the mid to late 1990’s. I was born an artist, and my life has always been about music since a young age, when I began training as a musician. Being in L.A. during that magical urban renaissance period of the early 90’s was perfect for me -- a jazz playing, poetry composing, break-dancing, graffiti writing, gang banging, filmmaking, record collecting kid that wasn’t afraid to get out and about in all areas of this great city at my doorstep. It was just the right place and time to cultivate who I’ve become as both an artist and a man. What was some of the music that you listened to as a kid? When I was little, I grew up with what I like to refer to as the Black Family Holiday Standards: Donny Hathaway, Al Green, Earth Wind & Fire, Al Jarreau, Marvin Gaye, Andre Crouch, etc. My own personal collection has always been eclectic since the beginning, though - I’ve always been an enormous fan of Roy Ayers, Serge Gainsbourg, and Gil Scott Heron, but I was largely inspired by jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Erroll Garner. When it came to Hip Hop, I was into just about EVERYTHING that dropped during the golden era, but in my early teens I was particularly fond of Freestyle Fellowship, Grand Puba, CVE, The Roots, Del & Souls of Mischief, etc. Even before that, I was really into the New Jack Swing era... I’ve always been into dancing, and the late 80’s and early 90’s was the best era of R&B and pop, in my opinion. From the moment you wake up, to the moment you close your eyes to sleep, describe an average day in the life of Anacron. Oh damn. I can’t even really answer this question honestly, because every single day of my life seems to be completely different than the last. The only things I do consistently are talk to my daughter and make music. Everything else in my life is so sporadic and overwhelmingly mis-arranged, that every day tends to turn into an activity roulette of sorts. Where do you get your inspiration from? And, what do you do when you hit a writer’s block? I’m inspired by life and experience. My life and experiences, the lives and experiences of those around me, and the lives and experiences of the world around me. We’re all connected through some unseen force that goes by many human definitions, and I feel that my job as an artist is to translate those feelings, emotions, and expressions into a tangible form that others can understand. The music I compose, the lyrics I write, represent the conveyance of something a lot larger than who I am, and I do my best to serve it correctly the way that I know how. When I create, it flows easily - like a transmission from this force I mentioned. When the transmission doesn’t flow, I don’t create. I can’t force it. I do a lot of commercial production, incidental music, and very generic stuff that doesn’t come from that same source -- but a lot of that is cookie-cutter bullshit that pays my bills & cushy lifestyle (HA!). That stuff doesn’t come from the same place, so I can crank that out no matter what’s going on. There’s no such thing as “writer’s www.crayonbeats.com
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I am hip hop. I’m a realist, so I’ll never claim to be the best at anything; however, I know that I can actively serve many of your favorite rappers, breakers, DJ’s and graff writers. I am well versed in all four major elements of hip hop expression, but there’s so much more to hip hop that even just that. I live, breathe, and exude the spirit of hip hop, but the way I do it is undefinable. I don’t dress hip hop, I don’t talk hip hop, I don’t even act hip hop, as defined by what today’s standards seem to be... And I feel that both my closeness to and distance from the conflicting examples of “real hip hop” is the thing that makes me MOST hip hop. Sorry that was a gray-area-ass, esoteric-ass answer, but I really can’t describe it any other way.
“I love working with kids - I feel that the only way to create a perfect world, is to properly condition those that will be in it long after you’ve gone. I’m doing what I can to ensure a beautiful future, and I enjoy every moment of it.” I read that you educate the youth, and that you’ve been doing it for about a decade. How did you get involved with that? What kind of things and programs do you teach? I grew up listening to Whitney Houston sing about the children being our future. I also came up in a home with parents that instilled a true and uncut sense of community in me, teaching me that whatever you have needs to be shared in ways that help others to grow. My father has been a university professor my entire life, and my mother ran the Public Health department, and was a well-respected advocate for others. These things prompted me to be the person that I am, and, above all, I believe that educating and conditioning following generations is of utmost importance. I’ve taught at some level ever since I was out of high school; starting with jazz, spoken word, hip hop dance, capoiera workshops and classes for kids in LA, and ultimately creating and developing an Evolution of the Hip Hop Arts public and private school residency program through Global Roots and The Old Town School of Folk Music during my stint in Chicago. Currently, I work with Resource Specialist Program children in public schools in LA, along with a couple other arts and mentoring programs geared towards encouraging artistic expression, while stressing the importance of education to middle-school-aged youth. I love working with kids - I feel that the only way to create a perfect world, is to properly condition those that will be in it long after you’ve gone, and not enough people are participating in that effort here in America. I’m doing what I can to ensure a beautiful future, and I enjoy every moment of it. That’s something I will do until I die. Which came first for you, the music or the breakdancing? Music came first, with my instrumental training and classic musicianship; however, breakdancing was the first element of hip hop that I practiced. When we got home from seeing the film, I spent the rest of the night trying to do breakdancing moves. The next morning, at Sunday School, I did a sloppy backspin in the basement of my church, and cracked my head on a brick wall. Somehow, that tragic and painful moment marked the beginning of my almost 30year affair with b-boying, which I call breakdancing because no one in L.A. was calling it “b-boying” until about a decade ago, when
crayonbeats magazine 15 outside influence re-wrote the true history of breaking on the West Coast. Tell us about your involvement with the LA Breakers and Brickheadz. I was invited to be a member of the World Famous LA Breakers sometime around 1994/95. I was invited to be a member of Chicago’s BrickHeadZ Crew in 2002, right after my daughter was born. Being a naturally vocal and more of a spotlighted dude in other arenas outside of the breaking scene, I’ve always been a torch bearer of sorts for both crews. I claim my breaking crews with vigor on many of my releases, and I always rep my families and give it up for ‘em. As far as my internal involvement in the crews... When I was breaking more regularly, I was battling and competing alongside both crews simultaneously. Halfway through the first decade after 2000, I basically served as the bridge between LA Breakers and BrickHeadz (claiming LAbHZ as my crew), later helping to unite both squads under a common belief system relating to the ways that the breakdancing world was changing, and we cliqued up to form the Avengers with other like-minded breaking crews like The FreakShow and Lost Tribe. Being the business-minded and organized individual I am, I’ve been a driver of hustle in both crews; mobilizing the fundamental organization, industry connections, and handling gigs for members of both crews. At this point, the “b-boy” scene is so wack to me, that I don’t ever go to breaking events - I still get down though, and I can still smoke a lot of young dudes.
One of my homies was going through a rough time just kind of figuring out where he was in life. Some things happened that really messed with his head, and he was just hella down and out for a while. He was fading in and out, and a lot of the homies didn’t really know what was up with him. Me, being the bluntly forward person I am, caught him and had a real serious talk with him one day, when he divulged to me that he was seriously considering suicide. This dude is like one of my brothers, and it really hit me because I’ve lost close homies in the past to murder and accidental death, but never to suicide. I kept a close, but distant, watch on my bruh, just trying to “talk him off the ledge” in a sense, and the whole situation was very emotional and difficult. I just had to write about it, because I needed to get those feelings out. I don’t even know if he’s ever really heard or listened to the song -- we never talked about it. Me and my potnas are some really dude-ish dudes... Once all that emotional shit ends, we’re on some testosterone-driven guy shit, so we really don’t talk about feelings and emotions and stuff like that.
What’s your most impressive move? As I was coming up in breaking, I was also getting real involved with martial arts. When I started training in Capoeira, my entire approach and style of breaking changed. Paired with the inspiration and innovation of LA’s early-90s breaking scene, I developed a lot of original handstand, hand hop, and elbow moves that no one was doing back then--many of which you can see in any breakers set these days; just saying. At the peak of my breaking career, I was probably most known for my variations of elbow-tip poses and tricks, as well as hand-hop and head hop movements in addition to my completely different styles of up-rocking. You put out an album with a fellow LA Breakers member, producer Josh Jetson, called “LAbX”. Being that the X stood for eXperiment, how do you feel that it turned out? Because I’m such a perfectionist, I rarely say this about projects that I work on, but I really love what I did with that album. I enjoyed writing and conceptualizing the whole record, and also the opportunity to collaborate with many of my favorite artists and performers. The reception of the album wasn’t even a smidgen of what I thought it was worth, but that’s something I’ve grown accustomed to accepting because I’m not a hype-chaser. I don’t promote myself as well as I create amazing music, and the course of history has always seen self-promoters become superstars while true artists birth unheeded masterpieces. I always say that people will appreciate what I do after I’m dead, and I’m truly comfortable with that. One day, people are going to look at that LAbX album like, “this is some of the most amazing hip hop created during that time period.” Until then, I’m happy with it making some people happy, inspiring a few others, and changing a couple of lives. You have a song on there called “For The Moment”, where you wrote about a personal friend that was contemplating suicide. Despite the somewhat cheerful production, it’s your most serious and darkest song on the album. What can you tell us about it? That song is a direct transmission from one of my life experiences.
Photo by Barry J. Holmes
“The Reason” is a shout-out, thank-you song to your listeners and fans. You often keep the communication open with your fans via social networks, including replying to comments, and thanking each one individually as they like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. As an artist, do you feel that it’s important to build with your fans like that? Kudos to all the artists that have their internet strategy mapped out and actively attend to that stuff, because I sure don’t. I think a lot of these guys do that stuff as promotional and marketing technique, which is awesome if it works for them. I do it because I know that of my small fan base, none of those people are required to listen to or like what I do. I really appreciate and feel humbled every day someone acknowledges what I do, and I’m immensely grateful for that. I do what I do because I love it, and because it’s who I am; an artist. This is my life. The fact that people can identify with it and appreciate it is a bonus that I don’t expect or demand, and I feel that it’s important to let people know that I really value their time and attention, because it’s not something that’s owed to me. At the same time, that recognition that they give me often provides a great amount of inspiration and motivation for me to continue my growth as an artist, thus completing this circle of giving that flows between myself and my fans. Those that really listen, actually KNOW me. I’m not a self-centered prick -- I want to know them, too. “Out The Club” is song about sittin’ curbside with no ability to get in, which follows “Party Animal”, a song about the normal people that either can’t get in the doors or are the most low-key, blue-collar of the bunch. Are you not on the guestlist? Do you have a most frustrating experience with a club that you’d like to share? www.crayonbeats.com
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16 crayonbeats magazine Hahahahaha... Actually, I’ve always been on the guest list. I’ve always been able to get in VIP. I’ve always gotten backstage passes. I’ve always gotten after-party invites. I’m not sure what it is, but something about me has never allowed me to enjoy these perks. When my homies and/or collaborators invite me to their shows, I spend the majority of my time with the people in the crowd, instead of with the industry types backstage, in the green room, in VIP, or behind the scenes. At my own shows, I’m more likely to arrive early to hit the breaking circle and see the opening acts from the audience before I get on stage. I don’t want to separate myself from everyone else in that way -- I don’t feel like I’m better or above anyone else, definitely not because of any unimportant ass shit like a guest list or a backstage pass. I enjoy that “normal” life, and I celebrate my ability to do what I do and still be the person that I’ve always been. That’s what we call UNFAMOUS. You were once collaborating with Himself and Murs, as a trio, under the name Netherworlds. The full-length album recently resurfaced from your vaults and was put up on Bandcamp. Is there anything else that you’re hiding, that may see the light of digital streams and downloads soon? I have TONS of old records that I’ll be re-releasing. From 1996 to 2003, I was releasing a minimum of 3 albums and 3 EP’s a year... MINIMUM. The majority of this stuff was completely independent, no distribution, certifiably underground music. I’m basically going to take the best or most well-received of these albums and releasing them as Anacron throwback releases for the folks that want to do some virtual “crate digging” of my previous work. Music consumers these days aren’t as interested in learning the history of and finding original tracks by their favorite artists; not like I was. I want to have the key releases I’ve done up for those that do want to see and hear how I’ve evolved as an artist, and get some timeless pieces of underground hip hop history that inspired much of what is happening in music today. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about live shows? My favorite thing about live shows is the act of performing. I just love being on stage, I love to share art with people, to spread positive vibes and good energy across a room. I’m good at that, I think. I love interacting with the audience, getting people involved in a human, person-to-person way, not a “forcing you to repeat what I’m saying” way. I think that’s why people enjoy my live show so much. Even in a huge venue, I can still manage to make it an intimate experience in which everyone is included and participating in what’s happening. It’s never ME performing AT you. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about live shows besides janky promoters. To anyone that listens to your music or is a fan, they know that you play an array of instruments. How many do you actually play? And, which would you say is your favorite to work with? Personally, I like your saxophone work. Thanks! Saxophone is my main instrument - I play both soprano and alto. I also play clarinet, flute, and piano very well, but not as good as the sax. In addition to all that, I have a pretty tight rhythm section - I play bass and drums, but only well enough for tracking in the studio or fooling around in public. I could never sit next to a real bassist or drummer and say I’m a bassist or drummer, but I can get busy well enough on them to write great music in the studio or at home. Since sax is my main instrument, that’s definitely my favorite. After that, I like piano because it’s the best for writing and composing music. I have a big, nice grand piano at my house, and I can spend hours at it, just laying out chord progressions and banging out ideas for songs. I always wish I had trained a lot longer on piano, but once I started on woodwinds, I kind of forgot about it. Maybe one day I’ll start back in with private lessons on piano.
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Photo by Taya Rogers
Were you trained or are you self-taught? Formally trained on everything I play. To this day, my parents have been the biggest supporters I ever had. When I was a kid, they spent so much money on lessons and instruments for me over the years, that I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for what they gave me. My primary teacher was the late, great Bill Green; a wellknown and iconic jazz saxophonist that played alongside numerous legends, including Miles Davis, Elvis, Sonny Rollins, BB King, The Beach Boys, John Coltrane, Carole King, The Isley Brothers and a zillion more. I won a bunch of jazz competitions and some serious jazz scholarships under his tutelage. Who and what is in The Peanut Gallery Network? Gallery! That’s my artistic family, business team, and global network. Originally, The Peanut Gallery was a high school rap group that consisted of myself and Aumnikrises. Shortly after it’s inception, it developed into a hip hop crew whose original members included DJ Jedi (Digable Planets), Murs, Double K (People Under The Stairs), and many, many more. Over the years, it evolved into a global network of creators of all artistic mediums, and that’s where it exists today. Many of the original members are still down, but like most organizations, people have come and gone. Recently, there’s been an insurgence of new members, including producer Viktor Stone, MC’s Thusfar and Wizdome, and an all new staff. Some original members are working on brand new projects to be released through PntGllryNtwrk, including The Lvxes and Aocoa. Overall, it’s just an awesome collective of amazing artists from LA to China and everywhere in between something that’s always been there, but will be a lot more visible as a backing entity over the next couple of years.
Photo by Taya Rogers
crayonbeats magazine 17 You often talk about Unfamous in relation to a group of musicians, but there are also get-togethers and events that are presented by Unfamous. Break it down. I said it in my song This Is Me: “My mind frame is / UNFAMOUS / It’s not a label, it’s a lifestyle, language / and love for music, not that lackluster lameness / It’s not exclusive, any open mind can claim this.”
Any advice for the young creators just starting out? Art comes first, business comes second - anyone that tells you otherwise can not be trusted. Be creative, but be realistic. Value the people that value you. Be human. It’s okay to be UNFAMOUS.
UNFAMOUS is a mind frame. It’s the state of being that an artist exists in when he creates for nothing more than expression and the sake of creation, and anything that comes as a result of that creation is circumstantial. Anyone that creates can be UNFAMOUS, not just musicians. The events that I produce are called UNFAMOUS because their sole purpose is to celebrate this mind frame, and provide an open platform for creators of music, visual arts, dance, and food to share their best works with people that seek creative innovation. The best thing about UNFAMOUS is the community that grows alongside the movement. As of right now, UNFAMOUS exists as a handful of recurring events at galleries, bars, clubs, warehouses, and outdoor venues. In the very near future, the UNFAMOUS event blueprint will be franchised in different regional markets including San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Toronto, London, and Hong Kong; and later established as an annual festival focused on showcasing lesser-known and underexposed artists of all mediums to the public.
“My greatest achievement, hands down, is my daughter; she’s an amazing, spitting image of me, without all the bad parts.” How do you view negative feedback, reviews, and criticism? When I was young and psychotic, I was totally that guy beating up critics when I saw them at shows and stuff, like “hey bitch, what was that shit you were talking on the internet?!” In the early days of the music world becoming part of the internet, I had more than a few violent confrontations with some critics that were a little more out of pocket behind a keyboard than I feel they typically would have been. Now that I’m older, more mature, and wiser; I’m able to take criticism and feedback with the realization that everyone has a right to an opinion, and the right to express it. For the most part, I’m able to actually draw constructive input from reviews and criticism these days; although, I’ll still gladly get dumb if anyone just wants to get outright disrespectful and insulting. How does it feel to have nearly 2 decades of music, versatility, and experience under your belt? When you first began, did you ever think you’d be where you are now? It’s pretty crazy. I think the main thing I wonder these days is if I’m officially “old school” yet. Although I’ve been around the world, gained a little bit of notoriety, and made an awesome living; I never really considered where the things I was doing would take me at the beginning of this crazy ride. As I said before - I’ve always created because it’s not only what I do, but who I am. I was born to be an artist, and my motivation for creation was never fuelled by thoughts of where I could eventually end up... UNFAMOUS. What have you learned since then? What would you say is your greatest achievement? I couldn’t tell you all the things I’ve learned if this interview was 5 more pages. The most important things are basic cliché’s, though Practice makes perfect, you get what you work for, and no one will care about the things you care about as much as you do. My greatest achievement, hands down, is my daughter; she’s an amazing spitting image of me, without all the bad parts.
Photo by Masaki Miyagawa
Random Questions What’s a song that is so good, that you wish you had written? Why? “Saturday In The Park” by Chicago, because the composition and arrangement of the song is amazing. “National Holidays” by Spymob, because the lyrical content is touching and honest, and it reaches you where a song is supposed to reach you. Top 3 places to eat at, and your favorite thing to order from each. My absolute favorite restaurant is Fogo De Chao; the Picanha is awesome, but you don’t really “order” there. The Serving Spoon, on Centinela, is my favorite soul-food spot in L.A., and the catfish and eggs is utterly resickulous. Next to that, an ‘everything’ platter at pretty much any Ethiopian restaurant on the Fairfax strip in Mid City will work. Last, an XXL with egg, bacon, and cheese from Fatburger is the best fast food burger on the West Coast! Fuck In N Out, don’t let the trend machine fool you. Based on the mouth-watering pictures you upload, we know you cook, and it looks like you cook well. What’s your specialty? I’m pretty effin’ amazing in the kitchen, I have to admit. Meat preparation is my speciality, but I’m especially proficient at serving up an amazing steak. Any cut, I can prepare at the perfect center temperature, seared to perfection. First lyric that comes to your mind? “I’m bangin’ Venice on you, baby... That real Crip shit” (to the tune of “Square Biz”), because me & some of my old backin-the-day, riff raff homies just hit up a spot that my homie DJ Jedi was deejaying at, in Silver Lake, and when he played Teena Marie, we were all singing this & throwing up gang signs like we ain’t got no sense. www.crayonbeats.com
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18 crayonbeats magazine Silverclub is your new favorite band. As a matter of fact, they’re your old favorite band’s new favorite band as well.
Silverclub are : Duncan Edward Jones (lead vox, production), Chris Mc Grath (bass), Jim Noir (Drums, production) Henrietta SmithRolla (synth/VOX), G-KUT (Electronics/ Percussion/Serato)
It’s the same old, same old song. And we’re all stuck on repeat. Pick up the needle, change the record, don’t accept the defeat. --Pick Up The Needle www.crayonbeats.com
by: Tiffany Robinson
ilverclub is a collective of individual music makers who came together back in 2009 after Duncan Edward Jones decided it was a good time to explore new genres of music. Already known underground as techno artist DNCN, Jones borrowed some equipment from longtime friend and fellow musician Jim Noir for his experiment and ended up recording several demos of electro-pop cuts. Intuitively feeling the sound needed rounding out, Duncan enlisted the skills and talents of DJ Gkut , Chris McGrath and Henrietta Smith-Rolla and of course Jim Noir. Once the band was in effect, their sound solidified and their first two EPs (Answers in 2011 and No Application in 2012) caught like wildfire in the club circuit. Following the massive accolades of the two singles, their first full-length, self-titled album Silverclub doesn’t disappoint with 45 minutes of adrenaline pumping dance music that’s perfect for any basement party.
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he album opens with Like Cat’s Eyes, which is pretty mellow and hypnotic right up until the beat
drops and the track suddenly turns into what I would imagine a rhythmic hallucinogen trip to sound like. Not trying to condone drug use, but this track is so trippy and addicting that I really don’t know what else I could compare it to. Without even giving you time to come down, No Application kicks in and you’re gone. Well at least I am. This is one of my favorite songs on the album, which is pretty hard to even say in the first place since there isn’t a filler song on the album at all. Plus under its catchy beat there’s actually a message behind the party, especially for this digitally dependent world we live in.
n Pick Up The Needle I can see where people would draw the Bowie/Beck connection and I think it’s because Duncan has a similar tone. Any way you look at it though, Pick Up The Needle has a great rock/electronic influenced beat and definitely has radio play potential.
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ine Print is track number four and it actually reminds me of one of my favorite dance bands Sneaky Sound System. The lyrics are just like those of No Application, deceptively profound, their weight hiding behind the carefree pulsating beat. On Your Headphones, the gang really gets into a groove with the bass and drums. The album still hasn’t lost speed and while this track isn’t as high octane as the others on the album, it’s still able to get the adrenaline pumping.
nyone old enough to remember the 80s (or dope enough to still listen to music from the decade) will be pleased to find that this All In All is right up the alley between Sweet Dreams and Sunglasses At Night. This song is full of great quotable lyrics as well and I like that. I hate when I’m jamming to a song and upon further inspection the lyrics are either flat and predictable or just don’t make any sense at all. All in all, this song is perfect. On Gone, Duncan sings, “You find hard to move on when you’re a worthless soul” and again you’re hit with melancholy lyrics hidden under a blanket of ass-shaking audioscapes. As one of the more down-tempo songs on the album, Gone is definitely one of those tracks that would make perfect background music in a film travel sequence or something where you’re listening, but not really hearing what’s being said… because when you do, it’s almost too much to bear.
There ain’t no application on your laptop gonna give you soulNo Application
ou know how I said that No Application was one of my favorites on the album? Well, I Knew It is the other one. This track is very dirty, bass heavy, and Prince-like. I’m warning you now, if you put this on at a get together, expect lots of grinding bodies and swinging hair. Duncan’s swagger as he brags about stealing some random guy’s girl off the dance floor combined with the electric guitar and record scratching makes it almost impossible not to like this track. With Remote Control, the band brings back the sunshine-feel good vibe and carefree (slightly anti-social) lyrics. The song is another one that sounds like it could be on a film’s soundtrack and I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime in the future something from Silverclub’s album ended up just that way.
he album closes perfectly with the aptly titled Long Way Down, which accurately describes the decent from the audio high you’ve just experienced. The song isn’t too energetic nor is it too slow to the point that you’re bored of it, and I do have to say that there is a little Beckitude going on here. The beat itself is almost relaxing and it feels as if you’re looping back around to that lucid state that the album opened with. Perfect album ends perfectly. overall, the debut album from Silverclub is amazing. If you’ve never gotten the chance to get into dance music, I would highly recommend starting with this as it incorporates elements of rock and hip-hop. If you are into dance/ electro music and you haven’t heard this album yet, you should be ashamed of yourself. Go get it because your new favorite band would really appreciate it. Rating: 5/5
silverclubuk.com | facebook.com/silverclubuk | @silverclubuk
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20 crayonbeats magazine
A Band of Buriers
Interview Interview by Tiffany Burriss Photos by Marie Anidjar
A Band of Buriers are an anti-rap, alternative folk band from the United Kingdom. In the forefront, there’s the poetic, quicktalking, lyrically brilliant, James P. Honey, and the black-masked, classically trained, cello playing, Jamie Romain. Also making up the band, are back-up vocalists Annie Broadbent, Anna Byers, Georgia Maguire, Sophie Nurse, Julia Charteris, and Matthew Romain.
his is a band that stands apart from everyone else. They’re incredibly refreshing, and have a distinct, profound style. My introduction to them, was when I stumbled on to the music video for “Stuffing a Chest With Twigs”. I was captivated by the eerie visuals, stark lyrics, and the song structure. I have never seen anything like them before, and I loved that. I did what anyone else would do; I immediately did an internet search for all things relating to them.
hey mesh together rap and classical backgrounds in such a neat, natural way. James (Honey) and Jamie are two opposites, but, the music that they make together, makes them fit together like two oddly-shaped puzzle pieces. In a lot of their videos and performances, James is seen wearing normal attire, with his tattoos exposed, while Jamie is often wearing a suit and tie, or a button-up shirt.
We a ll are a ba nd of buriers. Peop le bury emotio ns, cats, p lastic bottles, la nd m ines, dreams… Whether o ne c hooses to u nearth them aga in is the ir business, bu t, sure ly, a ll bury a ll.
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crayonbeats magazine 21 CRAYONBEATS: How did the two of you meet, and what was it that clicked in your minds to work together musically? JAMES P. HONEY: We went to the same art school… and lived in the same dull, dull town on the edge of London. Nothing clicked in our minds when it came to us working together musically. It was simply an obvious road to waltz along. We considered very little. It really started when I wrote some songs on the guitar and wanted some strings on them. Jamie killed it, and it spiralled out of control from there to now. JAMIE ROMAIN: Until James asked me to play on his music, I’d never even considered being in a band. But I’d always loved his music, and his lyrics, and it just kind of worked from day one. What was your first impression of one another? Are those impressions still accurate to this day? JH: No comment… and no… haha JR: No comment… and yes… haha Did you grow up in London? What was it like? JH: Well, we grew up in a commuter town just outside of London. Sure, we were really close to the city, but it was very different. It is a quiet place. A drab place. It was lovely to grow up there but as soon as you get to an inquisitive age and start to hanker for culture, dangerous dalliances, and adventure, then it is time to leave. So I did. JR: As a child, I was always in awe of London - a place we went to visit, to glimpse the real world and escape the mundanities of a small town. Living in London now, I am still in awe, but occasionally hanker for a quiet life in the
countryside. Why “A Band of Buriers”? How do you each relate to the name? JH: The intention is that everybody can and has to relate to the name. We all are a band of buriers. People bury emotions, cats, plastic bottles, land mines, dreams… Whether one chooses to unearth them again is their business, but, surely, all bury all. What comes first, the lyrics or the music? Take us through your creative process. JH: It varies. The lyrics sometimes come first, other times last. I keep loads of notes… almost nothing gets forgotten. People need to be sure of what they say around me. I could easily pinch it and collage their tongue with mine. Musically, I guess, the most common method is that I write a song on the guitar, in my underwear, put some trousers on, meet up with Jamie, play him the song, he builds on it and then it becomes a blur. Done. JR: Having two people with different tastes write music together, simply means that unless it is good enough to appease the both of us, it stays buried. James, where do you pull your inspiration from to write songs? What do you do when you have writer’s block? JH: Clichéd as it most certainly sounds, I get my inspiration from quite literally everywhere. Books are a vast influence. Certain writers such as Henry Miller, J.G.Ballard, William S. Burroughs and Baudelaire are massive companions, and I love visual art, in particular lowbrow stuff, and of course music too… Leonard Cohen, Silver Mt. Zion, Jeff Mangum, etc. But, the source has long been buried from my vantage point. I no
longer know where or how I get inspiration. I’m glad for it… the sludge of a muse is calming. When did you start taking music seriously? Who or what was it that helped you find your place in music? I took music seriously from the off. No one helped me. I just wrote poems, then wrote alternative, weird rap poem things, then taught myself the guitar. Finding Sole (from Anticon) was a big event. Listening to him, was a bridge for me. He proved to me that there were other folk out there with twisted brains and lively mouths like mine. Pondering it now, it is clear that without the internet it would have been tough to find a place in music. I found a community of sorts… a scene. Jamie, I understand that you’re classically trained? What is your connection with the cello? JR: I think it’s tough to be anything but classically trained on the cello. I started at the age of 7, and played for a long time, but I wasn’t that interested in classical music at 18, and I didn’t have the patience to practice two hours a day, so we fell out, and I quit. After a few years, I realized what a unique skill it is to have and crept humbly back to it. Stopping playing for a few years allowed me to return without any of the stress associated with a child learning an instrument and simply to use it only for pleasure and to make music that I enjoy. Your brother, Matthew Romain, often plays violin in the band. Does anyone else in your family play any instruments? JR: Our mother played the piano and encouraged all of us to play instruments from very young ages. I’m the only one who only plays two – my three brothers www.crayonbeats.com
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We are marc hing towards the bleeding, fla king su n, o n the brow of the hill, ho lding ha nds a nd muttering filth, filth, filth. each play at least three. I’m the only one who only plays two – my three brothers each play at least three. Matthew was always the most talented musician though, and is a real asset to the band. Let’s talk about your newest album, “Filth”. What influenced the direction of it, and what can be expected? JH: The direction is simply a step ahead of where the last album left you all standing. We are marching towards the bleeding, flaking sun, on the brow of the hill, holding hands and muttering filth, filth, filth. Your music videos have given me chills, whether they’re eerie or breathtakingly good. For example, “Cello Dub” starts with a group of young girls, dressed in white, in an undisclosed, deserted location. Swaying back and forth, we see a glimpse of you two, in black, standing still. The vocals begin, and, as soon as the strings come into play, all of the girls start dancing. The video ends just as it began. Can you describe the concept and what the song means? JR: Our songs are very visual in nature – James’ lyrics conjure up those extraordinary moments, and eerie scenes, and we want to reflect that in some way in our videos. Sometimes there is an obvious concept from the off, sometimes we take advantage of the resources available to us. In Cello Dub, the action of the girls reflects the development of the song. JH: Like all the lyrical content in our songs, it is mighty tricky to pinpoint what they are about. Often times, they are abstract collages of fading memories beside a book of dead flowers. I leave it for the listener to decide. As for the videos, and in particular Cello Dub, we always attempt to mold a www.crayonbeats.com
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mood. Everything is a tool, a vehicle for our creativity. The ladies in your videos are always dressed in white, while the two of you are often in black. Is this some kind of symbolism for purity vs impurity? What’s the true intention behind that? JH: Cult. How would you compare “Filth” to your first release, if at all? JH: It is a much, much better album. The first album was always a demo of what the band are about. An introductory release, if you will. Filth is the unfurling of the family. What do you want the listener to take away from it? JH: To take what they need, and to leave the rest behind. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about performing live? And, for those of us who haven’t been to an ABOB show, yet, what can be expected? JH: Our shows are schizophrenic and aim to make you weep. We hope they are an intense affair. My least favourite part is before the show. My favourite part is after the show. JR: Before the show, I’m happy. As soon as
it ends, I have to escape. Lastly, what’s next? Do you plan on touring for “Filth”? JH: Next is more of the same. We’ll be touring the album, Filth, around the UK and then later across Europe and the States. We’ve been offered the grand opportunity of hosting our own acoustic evenings at Blacks members club in the heart of Soho, London, which will be truly great. We’ll be releasing some videos and writing our next two or three albums as well.
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RANDOM questions Name 3 essential movies to have in your collection.
there is a cheese board), 3. My parent’s home (meat).
James P. Honey: American Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Spice World
JR: 1. Circus in Covent Garden do wonderful Steak, 2. The Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair do an excellent afternoon tea, 3. Cote is great for Eggs Royale for brunch (but ask for the Hollandaise on the side).
Jamie Romain: True Romance, In Bruges, Amadeus What’s something that very few people may know about you? Who are you listening to these days?
JH: My name really is James P. Honey
JH: ’Prison Soup’ by Babel Fishh & Evak
JR: I have never eaten seafood
JR: I currently prefer the silence Best advice you were ever given? Top 3 favorite spots to eat at, and what’s your favorite meal from each?
JH: Do it yourself
JR: You can’t polish a turd JH: 1. My home (pasta pesto), 2. A friend’s home (anything, as long as
MUSIC TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2013 HIP HOP: The Kleenrz. Open Mike Eagle. Kap Kallous. Brown Bag AllStars. Tope. 6Fingers. Graves33. Proe. PremRock. Rey Resurreccion. Besatree. Anacron. Atari Blizkrieg. Brzowski. LRoneous. Has-Lo. TxE (Tope, Epp, & G_Force). Taiyamo Denku. Reverie. Gavlyn. Sub Ren. Jake Palumbo. C-Zar Van Gogh. Ciphurphace. Myka 9. Factor. Gajah. BeOND. Resorvation. Elliott Niezel. Dave Dub. Chuuwee. Glad2mecha. Rocky Rivera. Megabusive. Suff Daddy. Tranzformer. Nima Fadavi. Willie Green. Tape Mastah Steph. B.Lewis. Dibia$e. Elaquent. Freddie Joachim. Awkward. Gas-Lab. Apollo Brown. Flatpocket. Fid Mella. Ta-ku. DJ Fatte. Croup. Nick Wisdom. AstroLogical. POP / FOLK / ROCK: Tailor. TV Girl. Ugly Kids Club. Foxtail Brigade. Dynasty Electric. Inna Modja. Tending To Huey. Steffaloo. San Cisco. Said The Whale. Skipping Girl Vinegar.Tick Tock Man. Black Pistol Fire. A Band of Buriers. Gary Clark Jr. 1978 Champs. FUNK / SOUL / R&B: Funkommunity. Miles Bonny. The Stepkids. Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers. The Ruffcats. Pitch & Scratch. Cherri Prince. Sonnymoon. Rochelle Jordan. Geneva.B. Corina Corina. Maryann. Raquel Rodriguez. Nneka. Natasha Kmeto.
Photos & Credits: Corina Corina (William ‘Gubi’ Chiriboga); Maryann (Nathan Curry); Rey Resurreccion; Tope (Noah Porter); Dynasty Electric (Jeffrey Hagerman); Tailor (Keagan Kingsley Green)
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e y h ad to t Ste g n i s i r Andrew David
is an artist and producer from Los Angeles, California who may or may not be working on his album THE LAST ASTRONAUT according to his bancamp page. What is certain though, is that Andrew David’s star is on the rise. His first EP release, The Starry-Eyed Kid In The Corner (2010) served as an introduction to his quirky and confident rhyme style and his zero gravity beat productions. His following EP, The Time Machine (2011) showcased different facets of his music from the doo-wop inspired “Summer” to the synth-heavy title track, and “Clone Me” which has an air of influence from Kanye West’s earlier works. This year, Andrew will be releasing his third EP and his very first instrumental album, both of which are yet to be titled. In addition to working on his solo music, the audio astronaut is currently collaborating on an experimental hip hop project with Jebediah Percival from Chicago based duo Death by Icon.
o py r
ien 013 T
pho .tien www
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t o g ra
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Hollow Pigeons may only be 16, but the 4 young producer has already started his ascent into
Image courtesy of Rafael Casal
the music realm with his beautiful instrumental collections “Birthdays” (2011) & “Letters to Keiko” (2011). Born Ryan Dela Cruz, the young artist states that his inspiration comes from ‘video games’ and Japanese pop. As you listen to the musical playgrounds that are his previous releases, it’s evident that 2013 should prove amazing fo the young artist. soundcloud.com/hollowpigeons | @hollowpigeons
Rafael Casal proudly represents the Bay 4 Area, California, USA as one of the founding
Photo courtesy of Claudeen Benoit
members of The Getback, a collective of artists, musicians and poets dedicated to “keeping good art in rotation.” The multi- faceted entertainer wears many hats including rapper, poet, director, and educator just to name a few. His work as a musician continuously garners high praise from fans and critics alike, such as his 3rd album Mean Ones (2012). For 2013, Rafael has already set the bar high with the release of his single“¡FUEGO!,” a bass heavy audio roller coaster ride complete with Rafael’s signature rapid fire delivery.
getrafael.com | @rafaelcasal
Benoit has been practicing the 4 Claudeen arts since she was a little girl in New Jersey. Now as a young woman, Claudeen is ready to make this year hers by forging a name for herself as a working actress, presenter and musician in New York City. Her gorgeous covers of today’s popular songs sound as if they’ve been transported from another decade thanks to her unique and beautiful vocal style. She is currently working on original material and her upcoming tour with UK artist Marques Toliver.
claudeenbenoit.net | @ claudeenBENOIT www.crayonbeats.com
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aron Moiel is an independent rapper from Portland, Oregon, that goes by the name HALFMANHALF. All caps necessary. He originally started out in a local rap group, called Evil Hands, with Atlas and Low Limit (of Lazer Sword). After the trio disbanded in 2004, he continued down the solo path.
In 2011, HALFMANHALF dropped his debut solo album, titled Glow, produced entirely by G_Force (a.k.a. Calvin Valentine). The album introduced listeners to his natural lyrical ability, over G_Force’s sample-heavy, soulful production. The topics were grimy, yet uplifting, where he rapped about his personal struggles, and his forward, positive growth. With the power of the internet, and social networking, I found out about Half through Twitter. Someone had tweeted his album, recommending that everyone takes a listen. I clicked the link, downloaded the album, and hit play. From that moment on, I became a fan. We even featured a track of his on our third music compilation, Love... This Might Hurt, released in February, 2012. And, now, we’re featuring him in our premier issue! Actually, he’s featured in here twice. After getting to know Aaron as a musician, flip to the Fashion Q&A’s; he also runs a clothing store with fellow Portland rapper, N.VS. www.crayonbeats.com
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crayonbeats magazine 27 CrayonBeats: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself, and why you chose the name “Halfmanhalf”. HALFMANHALF: My name is Aaron and I go by the name HALFMANHALF. I’m a musician from Portland, Or. I basically rap, make beats, write graffiti, do graphic design, web development, eat burritos, raise my dog, and play Ps3. I don’t remember exactly how I got the name, but it had to do with me rapping good and something about half man half machine. But, I thought that was corny, and dude from the And-1 videos was called Half Man Half Amazing, so I just dropped the end part. Plus, I like symmetry. Where were you in your life when you first heard hip hop? Hmmm. I remember that perfectly. I was, like, 8 years old, and I bought Nas’ “Illmatic” and Notorious B.I.G. “Ready to Die”. The reason I remember that, is because my mom found them and was sooo pissed, because they used the N-word. Regardless, those two albums changed my life. I was raised on East Coast rap. I’m from the West and I had to learn to appreciate our sound (Pac aside), but don’t get me wrong, I’m speaking from when I was a young boy. The East just spoke to me, pain and grimy shit is my pulse, because I’m a man built with too much empathy. What was the driving force of you becoming a rapper? Do you remember the first song you wrote? The driving force into me becoming a rapper was just kicking it with my friends Bryant (LOW LIMIT) and Ruben, getting faded and rapping. Bryant ended up being an amazing producer, for myself as a youngin’, and then with his group LAZER SWORD. He basically showed me everything I know about music. That’s my brother forever. How is the hip hop scene in Portland? Are there any particular spots that you like to hit up for shows? The hip-hop scene in Portland is really dope. There are so many talented acts, and I don’t even say that to suck my city’s dick. Seriously, check us. We have too many dope producers: Calvin Valentine, Trox, Sapient, Lawz Spoken, 5th Sequence, Stewart Villain, Ari Stackhouse, Dain, Dave Notti, Terminill, etc. Rappers like Illmaculate, Only One, Epp, Tope, Braille, Cool Nutz, Al-One, Luck-one, N.VS, Iame, Mikey Vegas, Gold, Serge Severe, Brown Caesar, etc. I like to go to shows at Someday Lounge, Rotture, and Hawthorne Theater’s cool, I guess. Man, I don’t know, there’s many spots.
are interested in. I appreciate everyone that downloaded and listened to the album; that shit’s my life, you’re now family. G_Force produced the entire album. How did you two meet and how did the collaboration come together? He’s the producer for a group called TxE (Tope and Epp) from here, and many others. Basically, I hit him up to kick it and check out some beats, and he showed me a bunch of tracks. I was more than impressed. G is now one of my good homeys, but I’m still a fan more than ever. I think we actually did, like, 17 tracks, but cut it to 13. He’s a super cool, playeristic, hippie dude. Was there a song on “Glow” that had the most meaning? The most fun to write? The song that had the most meaning was probably “Let it live”, because that’s real shit. I’m an addict--heroin, to be specific. Granted, now I’ve been clean for days in a row, that shit’s meaningful, because I did all that to myself. I’m a beautified piece of shit, and, in that song, I think I hit that vein perfectly. The one that was the most fun to write, was “Over”, because I was just thinking rappers ain’t doing this type of shit right now. Plus, I could just get in my zone. Take us through your writing process. Speaking of writing, where do you prefer to do it at? Pen and paper? A phone app? My writing process is basically, like, trying to make some extra planned shit sound freestyle. A lot of listening to the beat loudly, while mumbling ideas. Then, something strikes and I run with it. I’m from the era of where you had hella rhyme books, but lately I’ve been trying to get used to using my iPhone. I embrace new technology. You have a new album coming out. Let’s talk about the producers, the guest features, the direction, and all that other good stuff. What can you tell us about it? The new album features production from Trox, G_Force (Calvin Valentine), Stewart Villain, Lawz Spoken, 5th Sequence, Ari Stackhouse, Lukis, N.VS, and Tope. That’s how it’s looking now. As far as rap features, there aren’t any yet. Nah, just playing, I’m gonna keep that part a secret. I’d say the direction of the album is a little more grimy than “Glow”, but won’t disappoint the fans of my first album. I’m really excited about the new record, especially because I usually don’t do records with a bunch of different producers on it, so it’s something new for me as well.
Your debut album,”Glow”, dropped in 2011. How has the overall reception been for that? Do you feel that it has been slept on? I think the reception has been good. Everyone that has heard it, swore by it. I don’t really think it’s been slept on, simply because people haven’t gotten much from me in the past and this is my first really solid release. I see it as a good start. I got a lot of home support for it out here, which is really cool. I just hope I can keep making music that my fans
Interview by Tiffany Burriss Photo by Andrew Chandler
oneovertwo.com HALFMANHALF HALFMANHALF
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2012 In Review (a brief list of favorites throughout the year)
By Tiffany Robinson
TiffANY TAKEOVER Another of the CrayonBeats’ compilation albums from 2012 that did it for me was Vol 4: Girls Named Tiffany. Of course I’m completely biased as I curated the album, but in all fairness, the ladies featured are incredible artists.
ONLYON Visiting Lyon, France was amazing. The beautiful city is full of young creative people who occupy all aspects of art, music and literature. Many think of Paris as the place to be, but Lyon is definitely a mecca of creativity and inspiration.
QUALITY Baiyu’s Hunter mixtape was chock full o’jams and was one of the most played albums in my iTunes library of 2012.
aka Riz Ahmed
Riz MC’s MICroscope album received lots of play from me last year. From beginning to end, Riz takes you on a journey into inner workings of his mind and challenges you to redefine your notions of hip hop. Having become a fast fan, it was only natural that I attended the Tribeca Film Festival to see Trishna , which starred Riz and the insanely talented Freida Pinto. Beautifully directed and acted, the dramatic movie held my attention from beginning to end. www.crayonbeats.com
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Dirty Baron (Feb. 2012) is one of the best tracks I heard all last year. His mixtapes were also dope: sharp lyrics, clever wordplay and banging beats with obscure samples. Plus he has an accent...
Matt Towards the end of 2012, I discovered the talent that is Matt Corby. This Australian singer-songwriter’s voice and lyrics are enough to break anyone’s heart and I dare you not to become a fan after hearing his hit single Brother.
Jason James & Rodney Hazard’s Pyramids In Stereo was one of the few albums I anticipated in 2012. I really enjoyed MWOC, and this was a great follow up album.
Korean rEGGAE Skull’s long awaited EP “Korean Reggae” was one of my favorite releases from the international scene in 2012. As a former K-pop addict this album really hit the spot.
PARTAY! Shameless uk After much prodding, I finally broke down and watched Shameless; my life hasn’t been the same since. After just one episode, I was hooked and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.
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Favorite albums of 2012
It’s better late than never, right? Tiffology shares her favorite albums from last year; from hip hop, to funk, to soul, to rock, and beyond. In no particular order.
Mute speaker - Post Block
ecid - Werewolf Hologram
Kap kallous - the martian ep
Producer from Brighton, with a knack for creating diverse music. Spacedout electo-soul, downtempo grooves, experimental sounds, dub, hip hop, and more. Collection of 21 instrumentals and collaborations.
Emcee & producer from Minneapolis. Textures, looped samples, organic instrumentation, catchy hooks, thought-provoking lyrics. Party jams, humor, top-notch story-telling skills, and word play wizardry.
Florida rapper Kap Kallous & Los Angeles producer Vikto Beats. Villainous space voyage. Eerie, sci-fi vibe on synth-heavy, West Coast bangin’ beats. Switchblades, right hooks, abrasive bars, vulgarity, intimidating rhymes, and brag raps.
kap kallous - hearse
Aesop rock - skelethon
Suff daddy - Suff sells
Sit passenger, while Kap drives you to your ultimate doom. Klutch’s dark production pulsates with a psychedelic, sci-fi, horror vibe, & Kap manipulates with filthy bars of life’s obstacles, rebellion, & morbid imagery.
One of his best records, since Bazooka Tooth. Takes you further down the rabbit hole, with his deepest, darkest, emotionally-charged work. Still that same abstract rap, metaphor maniac, syllable-slaying, lyrical genius.
This Berlin producer is one of my favorites. Mostly instrumentals, & some collaborations with Miles Bonny, Flatpocket, Phat Kat, Elzhi, & others. Bangin’ hip hop beats, mellow jazz tunes, soulful jams, & funk grooves.
Agartha Audio & Taiyamo Denku - Quadrofiendia Producer Agartha Audio & emcee Taiyamo Denku. Layered drums, fat bass, vibrant brass, electronic programming, & keys. Witty wordplay, distinct flow, angry bars, & lyrical prowess.
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el-p - cancer 4 cure
Dark time sunshine - ANx
He’s a tougher, colder killer this time around. Dense, complex, cinematic beats; heavy on drums & bass. El-P & guests dominate the lyrics. Well executed & cohesive. Overpowering in a good way. Bump this shit, like they do in the future.
Onry’s mentally stimulating lyrics seamlessly fit with Zavala’s dark, but upbeat production. An array of moods. Union of hip hop, jazz, & electro. Ethereal, dreamy pop vocals. Tons of guest features.
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Favorite albums of 2012 Continued: Part 2!
open mike eagle - 4NML HSPTL Produced entirely by Awkward. Mike Eagle is in his own white-walled hospital, spittin’ abstract & eloquent knowledge. Splashin’ the walls with color. Intelligent lyricist. Tackles life events, turning points, & human nature.
typical cats - 3 Back from their sabbatical! Not typical in the hip hop world, but they are typically consistent. Great production. Bangin’ breakbeats. Witty lyricism, spoken word, & multisyllabic rapid raps. A classic.
the herbaliser - There Were Seven
self jupiter & kenny segal - the kleenrz
Seventh album. Still gifted musicians! Fusion of hip hop, soul, funk, & electronic. Reconstruction of their old sound, with modern elements. Don’t sleep, get’cha some Herb.
Instrumentalist, DJ, & producer Kenny Segal serves up sinister, sample-free beats, perfect for Self Jupiter to shine. Gritty voice, vivid vernacular, metaphor manipulator, & over-all nefarious poet.
apollo brown & guilty simpson - dice game
graves33 - banner for boxed in
Apollo Brown is one of my favorite producers right now, & Guilty Simpson delivers grimy bars. They were meant to make music together. Aggression plus introspection material.
s3 - supa soul sh*t
bambu - one rifle per family
Miles Bonny, a blessed old-soul, R&B crooner on the vocals & Flugelhorn. Vienna’s Brenk Sinatra on the smooth, sample-based, soul-jazz beats. Gorgeous record. Turn the volume up & zone out.
Los Angeles to the bone. Proclaimed that this is his last solo record. Powerful & potent social commentary. Rallies around positive change. Great production. All about family & community. Precise flow. One of my favorite emcees..
Distinct voice. Relaxed flow. Deep, introspective raps. Hard-hitting beats & melancholy, soulful joints. Gritty, mysterious, dark, & sorrowful. Packed with 17 songs. No features.
flying lotus - until the quiet comes One of my favorite FlyLo records. Cinematic, dreamy. Intricate, yet simplistic. Downtempo jazz, clunky electronic beats, seductive electro-soul. Intoxicating melodies. Hushed vocals.
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Favorite albums of 2012 Continued: Part 3!
krts - The Dread of Unknown Evil
David ramos - Sento La Tua Mancanza
Brooklyn-based producer’s first album. Beautifully calm & slightly chaotic. Eclectic. Intimate experience, exploring different emotions of the future’s uncertainty.
Rapper & singer David Ramos bares his soul; preserving his grandma’s memory in 14 songs. Poignant, emotionally honest, beautiful, & hopeful. Minimal production.
corina corina - the eargasm
quakers - quakers
This R&B singer is doing huge things for her genre. Old school spirit, but fresh & experimental. Great passion. Super song writing skills, song stylings, & vocal range. Themes of gender inequality, selfempowerment, love, life, & more.
35 members, 41 songs, 3 core producers. Lead by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. Members: Prince Po, Dead Prez, Phat Kat, Aloe Blacc, Guilty Simpson, MED, Krondon, Frank Nitty, Dave Dub, & more. Gritty boom bap.
Pitch & scratch - together
ticktockman - ticktockman
DJ Suro & Mzuzu are well-respected German producers. Rooted in hip hop & funk, incorporating sounds of psychedelic, soul, & disco boogie. Stellar brass arrangements. Talented vocalists help enhance the album.
A kick-ass, 5-piece rock band. Frontman Ryan Van Wieringen’s powerful & buttery vocals paired with layered, grungy, wailing guitars & intense drumming is liquid gold. Very energetic.
Not Pictured, But I Also Enjoyed: Proe - Be Brave, Gladiator; Myka 9 & Factor - Sovereign Soul; Oddisee - People Hear What They See; Wrecking Crew - Wu-Tang Pulp; Koncept - Awaken www.crayonbeats.com
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premrock - mark’s wild years Creatively reinvents songs from Tom Waits catalogue. Keeping the spirit of Waits, Prem twists stories in his perspective, & producers involved craft up stunning reinterpretations. Impressive narrative ability. Smart, methodical delivery. True tribute.
hannah williams & the tastemakers - a hill of feathers 9-person, UK band. Awesome live instrumentation. Frontwoman Hannah has a throaty, sassy, bluesy-rock voice. Raw, emotive power. Deep soul & raw funk. Sophisticated & sexy.
funkommunity - chequered thoughts Songbird Rachel Fraser & producer Isaac Aesili lead this funky, futuristic soul 5-piece group. Rich vocals, bouncy rhythms, catchy melodies, jazz elements, & fun instrumentation. Upbeat jams & laid-back grooves.
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Games You Should Play Instead of Call of Duty: Black Ops II Written by ATARI BLITZKRIEG
When I’m alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall and, in the back of my mind, I realize I play too many video games. Maybe you don’t, so here are some games you should be playing, but probably aren’t, because you’re too busy playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II with the 556,676,676,223 other humans.
Anyway, let’s kick this bitch off with Persona 4: Golden. The only game in existence that revolves around High School kids in Japan who investigate a murder mystery, get part-time jobs, go to school, summon a manifestation of your personality, chill in a Velvet Room and slaughter malevolent beings in a TV World. A visually-impressive upgrade of the PS2 release, Persona 4, this one is only available for the Playstation Vita. If you have a DS or 3DS, I recommend another game in the Shin Megami Tensei series: Devil Survivor. Continuing my trend of ultra-depressing games is Crystalis for the NES. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, 100 years after a nuclear war. October 1, 1997, to be exact. The END DAY! I wonder if the world did end back in 1997, and we’re all just living in a dream world that was created by machines, in order to enslave us and turn us into fuel. Anyway, this is an old-school, top-down action RPG, with a dude in moon boots slaying beasts across the land. You level up, buy weapons and armor, ride on a dolphin and wield the ultimate weapon--Crystalis--in order to defeat an evil Emperor, before he enters the tower I didn’t tell you about, in order to rule the world. Next up is Bad Mojo, an old-school PC game about a dude who steals cash from his former company, with plans to bounce to Mexico, but is instead transformed into a cockroach. The game is that strange, and you spend the next few days of your life travelling around various locations (kitchen, bar, bathroom), solving puzzles and avoiding things that wish to harm the roach. It’s a dark, gritty game with poor acting, that’s worth checking out if you’re bored. Try and track down the 2004 redux and get ready to return to the world of Full Motion Video. Damn, I’m out of space. Uhm, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, Indigo Prophecy, Parasite Eve, Clock Tower 2, Hotline Miami. Buy my music.
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SOUNDCHECK Artists who will to rock your socks, souls and stages
KARIBEL de JESUS WHO: Karibel REPRESENTING: NJ,USA GENRE: Pop R&B CURRENT RELEASES: I Wish (2012), Messages (2012) WEBSITES: Twitter: KaribelMusic Facebook: KaribelMusic Youtube: KaribelTV RECORD LABEL: Major Music
By Tiffany Robinson
Pop singer, songwriter and model Karibel de Jesus is ready to shine this year. Originally from Fort Worth, New Jersey, Karibel took advantage of her close proximity to NYC and began taking singing and dancing lessons in her early teens. Influenced by singers and superstars from both American and Latin@ cultures, Karibel realized that being a recording artist was where her heart was while singing along to Celine Dionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s My Heart Will Go On. From that day, she began working towards her dream and her determination to follow her passion for music led to a chance meeting with Mark Pitts, current president of Urban Music at RCA Records and CEO of Bystorm Entertainment. The meeting lander her the lead female role in Chris Brownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gimme That video and from there, Karibel has been steadily working her ass off as a recording artist and songwriter. Currently signed to Major Music, Karibel often performs live in the city of her home away from home, Tokyo Japan while also building her online presence with cover videos and original exclusives. Her singles I Wish and Messages were released in the fall of 2012 and by the sound of things, Karibel is definitely one to keep an eye on this year. Photo courtesy of Hiro Oshima at Major Music
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crayonbeats magazine 35 L-R: Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Kevin Olusola (top) and Avi Kaplan. Photo : Ryan Parma (2012)
Named after the pentatonic scale, which has five notes per octave, each member of Pentatonix brings something unique to the table, creating an audio experience that’s almost too good to be true. Scott, Kirstie and Mitch are the original trio who sang together in high school. Today, the three vocal powerhouses share lead singer duties, alternating as their song choices see fit. Then there’s Avi, who the group met through a mutual friend and Kevin, who they found via his viral video on Youtube. Together they
are an incredible bass and percussion super duo and quite possibly the group’s secret weapon. The Season 3 winners of NBC’s The Sing-Off, are without a doubt the most popular alumni from the vocals-only talent competition and it’s not hard to figure out why. With only five members, Pentatonix manages to create an amazingly full sound, big enough to out-sing groups as large as a football team. Not only can they out-sing whole choirs, but they will also remix your favorite
WHO: Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstie Maldonado (lead vocals), Avi Kaplan (bass), Kevin “K.O.” Olusola (beatbox)
jam into something that will blow your mind. Their cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know has been collectively labeled one of the best covers of the song to date by bloggers, music critics and radio DJs alike.
REPRESENTING: TX,CA, & KT, USA GENRE: Acapella, Pop and R&B
If you’ve ever watched any of their Youtube covers or listened to their EP, PTX vol. 1, you’ll see why people either go crazy bananas over them or question the legitimacy of their acapella delivery. Yes, they’re so good that people have accused them of using instruments. Yes. They’re that good.
CURRENT RELEASES: PTXmas (2012), PTX vol. 1 (2011) WEBSITES: Twitter: PTXofficial Facebook: Pentatonix Official: PTXOfficial.com RECORD LABEL: Madison Gate Records
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ĂŠ t s u e n a u a e R B D t a a s L E L T
B e h
ut a e
ed ra t
Photos by Joseph Higares www.crayonbeats.com
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Photos by Joseph Higares www.crayonbeats.com
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La BeautĂŠ Est Dans La Rue
Photos by JAM ONE | JAM1PHOTO.com www.crayonbeats.com
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The Beauty Is In The Street
Photos by JAM ONE | JAM1PHOTO.com www.crayonbeats.com
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Fud Draws Olivia Guenther , also known online as Fud, is an amazing young artist who creates beautiful pieces of women of color.
Olivia Guenther has been drawing for as long as she can remember but it wasn’t until her early teens that she started to take her craft seriously. Now at the age of 19, the talented artist has developed a signature style all her own. Centered around beautiful women of color, her gorgeous digital paintings, sketches, and line drawings are breathtaking: full lips, thick hips, and brown skin dominate her images and her choice of bright bold colors breathe life into characters after your heart.. Guenther states that she is influenced by artists such as Gan Chin Lee, Joy Wong, Jemma Salume and William Gibbons along with the “many great artists on Tumblr.” When asked about what inspires her to create, Olivia states that she is inspired by life in general, yet the things that really bring out her creative streak are great animated films, traditional cultures, music, and of course, friends and family. What medium is her favorite? For digital artwork, Olivia says that she loves to draw in Paint Tool Sai but for traditional artwork, Prismacolor markers are her go to medium. The young artist’s work can be seen on drawr, Tumblr, deviantART, and via her own art community Okekaki (Japanese for doodling or drawing) in all stages from sketches, to line drawings and full color as well. Periodically, Olivia takes commissioned art requests via her tumblr blog.
fuddraws This page top to bottom: Artist Olivia Guenther, 19, Sink Sketch (2012), Nasrin Character Sheet (2012), Different Shapes (2011), Lines (2012). Opposite Page: Fishbone (2012)
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Oliviaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Zodiac Series (2011) This page clockwise from top : Sagittarius, Aquarius, Taurus, Libra, Gemini, Scorpio, Virgo, Pisces, Virgo, Capricorn, Leo, and Aries.
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Surreal Talk: Albane Simon A
lbane Simon is a freelance graphic designer, residing in Paris, France. If her style of art were to be classified, you would call her a surreal collagist. With society’s real events in mind, she conveys her conscious perspectives by brilliantly mashing together a plethora of old pictures and textures. Most of her creations have a vintage, yet modern, science fiction vibe. With her first love being hip hop, it’s no surprise that she has collaborated with numerous underground artists. From flyers to album art, her collage work is one-of-a-kind and is easily recognizable. If someone were to line up 100 different album covers, you could always pin-point which ones she had her hands on.
I started to really recognize her work, due to having similar music tastes. I think the first time that I saw a piece of hers, was when Demune and Cleen’s album, Dreamers, came out. Then, I began to see more from her on Milled Pavement’s Goose Bumps 4.0, Nomar Slevik’s In The Field Where I Died, Aamir’s The Quiet After The Storm, Xczircles Swan Storm, Awol One & Gel Roc’s Life Before Death, Cooler Than Cucumbers Vol. 1, Acid Lab Records’ ALR Elite Compilation, and many more. I chose to feature her in the premier issue of our magazine, because, not only does she have an ear for excellent hip hop, but she has a style of her own. Get to know her a little bit more through this mini Q & A interview, and gaze upon her stellar, thought-provoking collage art. long have you been making art, and what was art is only digital. I using vintage pictures, mixed QHow A My your first collage? with textures, and make the collage in Photoshop. I started to make collages about 8 years ago. And, the inspired you in the beginning? Who inspires you A first collage I ever did was for Existereo. He liked my now? QWho stuff on Myspace, and asked me to do something for him. Back in the day, graffiti writers and surreal painters What is it about surreal art that draws your interest? A inspired me a lot. Actually, it’s pretty much the same Q with 60’s sci-fi and horror movies. It’s the mix between the abstract spiritual realities and A the real forms of the material world. Very interesting one great thing and one bad thing about being vision. QName an artist The great thing is that you do what you want, when What are your preferred art tools? A you want. No schedules, no boss, just you and your Q creativity. The bad thing is money. It’s really hard to live
Black marker pen - 0.05mm, and, of course, Photoshop.
Q Can you take us through your creative process?
off of your art, when you’re an underground artist. That’s why I’m also a freelance graphic designer for an agency.
QWhere do you pull inspiration from? www.crayonbeats.com
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44 crayonbeats magazine Most of my topics are based on what has actually What was the last piece of art that you purchased? happened in our world. Things such as the apocalypse, A Q conspiracy, war, global warming, religion, etc. I have realistic ideas with a surreal vision. A My bad, I buy vinyls and books, but no art! It’s obvious that hip hop plays a major role in your life and your art. Do you listen to music while you work? If Q so, what has been your recent selection? Yes, for sure. Hip hop music is my first passion, and I listen to it all day, every day. My music tastes are A constantly changing, but, in 2012, I listened to a lot.
My favorite albums were: Killer Mike “RAP Music”, Scatterbrain & V-Rock “Madness & Murder”, Flatbush Zombies “Drugs”, Antwon “Fantasy Beds Mixtape”, Zeroh G7 “More Throwaways”, and Jonwayne “I Don’t Care”. If you had the opportunity to collaborate with any living or deceased artists, who would they be, and Q why? I’m already lucky to have collaborated with very talented artists, such as The Opus, Existereo, Gel Roc, A Neila, Aamir and Xczircles, Factor, Riddlore?, and Robust.
I listened to their music for awhile, and I was honored to work with them. And, I wish to one day collaborate with all of my favorite artists, because they inspire me a lot. Those such as Orko, P.E.A.C.E., Longevity, Phoenix Orion, Supernatural, Isaiah Toothtaker, Omid, Maker, Dday One, Medusa, Rubberoom, Sumach, Jizzm, Sach. *Laughter* OK, I’ll stop, that’s too much.
By Tiffany Burriss
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Find more of her art at:
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IO SOUL: Fashion Parade Styling by Sequine Lee Hair by Mayumi Maeda Photography by Curtis Bryant
Singer, songwriter, and fashion lover Mio Soul shows off her style on the streets of Chinatown, NYC. Pop R&B singer, songwriter, and artist Mio Soul released her debut EP In My Skin in the fall of 2011 and instantly created a buzz. Although she’s petite her immense stage presence, vocal power, and dope fashion sense always amazes the crowd and leaves them wanting more. Her gospel inspired vocals have been likened to those of Alicia Keys by the Daytime Emmy Awardwinning music supervisor Dave Hnatiuk and she’s been invited to perform at various venues including the legendary B.B. King Blues Club. As an entertainer and fashion lover, Mio knows that
being comfortable in your skin is key to looking and feeling good whether you’re on stage or not. On stage and on her down-time, Mio likes to keep it casual and trendy playing with proportions, prints and pops of neon color while making sure that her accessories are bold, yet kept to a minimum. The results are stylish and textured ensembles that make a statement without sacrificing comfort for fashion.
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Belt (worn as necklace), model’s own Camouflage Jacket, stylist’s own Neon Shirt, $10.80 , forever21.com Leather Mini Shorts, model’s own Bandana (worn as bracelet), model’s own www.crayonbeats.com
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crayonbeats magazine 49 Twisted Choker (left) $249.00 AUD( $262.52 USD) LIONHEART www.mimco.com.au
Mio keeps it simple and creative by skipping overpowering earrings, bracelets and rings, opting instead to double a chunky chain belt around her neck and rocking it as a necklace. You can do the same, or create the effect by accessorizing with chunky mixed material chains to add an eye catching statement piece to your outfit.
Mixed Curb Chain Necklace (right) $17.59 (USD) ASOS Collection asos.com
Continuing the trends of last autumn, this spring military print and oversized cuts are still in. Mio effortlessly pulls off the trend by layering this mens camouflage print shirt over a slouchy tee and mini leather shorts. Take a cue from her by incorporating different textures with military prints.
Jersey Sleeve Army Hooded Jacket (below) $110.00 USD Imported topshop.com
Army Camouflage Jacket (above) $96.00 USD Topshop Edited Collection topshop.com
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Chunky Cable-knit Cardigan (right) $69.99 (USD) Imported www.romwe.com Think oversized & chunky for maximum coziness and layering potential. Mio likes to fight the chilly spring air by throwing this boxy cable knit sweater over her shorts & T-shirt. Paired with hidden wedge sneakers & finished off by wrapping her bandana around her head, Mioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outfit is both functional and fashionable. You can grab her look by raiding your grandfatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s closet or hitting up your favorite thrift shop.
Chunky Garter Stitch Sweater (left) $61.00 (USD) Imported missselfridge.com Wedge sneakers are still in the it piece this spring thanks to their incredible comfort and practicality. Add height and save your feet from uncomfortable stilettoes while still stomping the pavement in style like Mio. To stay on trend and get the most out of your style, opt for solids in neutral or primary colors or choose prints that can be worn for more than one season. Hilite Wedge Sneakers (below) $149.00 USD STEVE MADDEN macys.com
Floral Wedge High Top Sneakers (above) $66.84 (USD) ASOS COLLECTION asos.com www.crayonbeats.com
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Olive Nike Dunk Sky High (above) $120.00 (USD) NIKE nike.com
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Belt (worn as necklace), model’s own Cable Knit Sweater, stylist’s own Leather Mini Shorts, model’s own Wedge Sneakers, model’s own
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Leather Jacket, model’s own Fang Necklace, model’s own Stripped Shirt: stylist’s own Plaid Long Sleeve Shirt, stylist’s own Black Jean Leggings, stylist’s own
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Bandana (worn as headband), model’s own Cropped Muscle Shirt, stylist’s own Belt, model’s own Leather Skirt , stylist’s own Tuxedo Stripe Leggings, stylist’s own Platform Peep toe Wedges, model’s own
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Page 53: Mio plays with texture, striped patterns, and color blocking to create this laid back 90’s grunge-kid look. The mix of striped prints offset by her monochrome jacket creates a patterned playground for the eyes. Plaid Long Sleeve Blouse (left) $31.61 USD Imported sheinside.com
Monochrome Faux Leather Biker Jacket (right) $91.00 (USD) Imported missselfrige.com
Trifecta Studded Biker Jacket $1,850.00 (USD) 3.1 Philip Lim otteny.com
Floral Trim Plaid Shirt $34.50 (USD) Imported delias.com
Mio Soul’s take on the mini leather skirt is to wear it with nylon leggings, sky-high peep toe wedges and a cropped muscle shirt. Her woven leather and chain belt adds to the neo-punk feel of the outfit while the pop of pink keeps the edge from being too rough. Get her look by incorporating leather pieces like her skirt, belt and shoes. Don’t be afraid of layers or textures! Leather Skirt (below) $48 USD, H&M hm.com.
Studded Peep Toe Wedge (above) $48 USD Charlotte Russe charlotterusse.com www.crayonbeats.com
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Invisible Heel Peep Toe Wedge (below) $850 USD Giuseppe Zanotti stylebop.com
Leather Shorts (above) $525 USD,Thakoon Addition shoplesnouvelles.com
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Bulle Classic is a Portland-based clothing store, created by Aaron Moiel and Nick Wooley. You might be familiar with their music, as they are hip hop artists, HALFMANHALF and N.VS, respectively. They opened up their doors in late 2012, and have been enjoying shop life since. They sell their own nauticalinspired gear, but also other local, top quality goods. CrayonBeats caught up with Aaron Moiel, to speak about Bulle, what it’s like being his own boss, the love for his city, and more. CrayonBeats: Who are the guys behind Bulle? Aaron Moiel: BC is myself, Aaron Moiel (HALFMANHALF), and my partner Nick Wooley (N.VS). Where did the name come from, and what does it mean? The name originally started as a name for me and N.VS’ duo EP. It started as an idea for some music shit, and, then, it became our clothing brand, before we even released the music. However, the collab album is finished and recorded, due to be released this year.
We wanted to create something triumphant and grabbing, representing the conquering of our craft. That’s where I think the term Bulle came in. What lead you two down the path of opening your own clothing company and shop? How did the idea come about? The idea came about when N.VS and I were working on designs for music and his website--which I’m designing and developing--GetLiveStudios. I do Graphic Design, Web Design and Web Development (aaronmoiel.tumblr.com) for a living, so I have already had plenty of experience in the field, working for others. We really hit it off, collaborating on designs for the GLS project, but, one day, out of nowhere, we were like, let’s make a clothing brand! From there, the ideas and concepts just started flowing. We went from nothing, to a store, to an online store, gear, constant sales and events, in 3 months. Since then, Nick and I have just made it a point to keep up the momentum of the company and continue that into the future.
nautical things used to represent Bulle? Haha. Good question. The nautical inspired theme comes from our Portland history. Historically, Portland was a ship city, full of travellers, workers, ship builders and ship yards. We thought it’d be clever to show our hometown love in a stylish, yet transferable way, so that people who are not from here could enjoy our fashion and style as well, without feeling like the gear doesn’t represent them, because it does. Suppose a new customer were to walk in, what would their experience be like? Describe the atmosphere of the shop. The shop is casual, but clean and a professional workplace. We always have good music playing, local or not. It’s got a very high-end industrial feel. We have very high ceilings, local artists displayed, rare Nikes (Jordans, etc), a few other local brands, and our stuff. Our gear includes hats (snapbacks, strap backs, 5 panels, beanies),
Why are oars, anchors, and other www.crayonbeats.com
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Henley Tees, Raglan Tees, Crewneck Sweatshirts, Hooded Sweatshirts, Fleeces and Tank Tops.
We also sell local clothing brands: LiFT LABEL, HuMn Wallets, Defcon Gloves, and 2Legit2Quit Collectable Kicks.
Your grand opening was in September. How has shop life been since then? What kind of things have been happening?
“We are local, but global ready.” With that being your mission statement, what are your hopes and plans for the future of Bulle?
It has been great since we opened! It’s been extremely busy for me, but I’m loving it. We have had so many cool people come into the store and buy gear, since we’ve opened. One of the coolest, was Nolan Smith, of the Trailblazers. He came in and shopped, and let me get a pic with him. Needless to say, he was unbelievably cool. The thing I’m most proud of, is how we’ve been received locally. Our events keep getting better and better. We usually host a First Thursday event--events held on the first Thursday of every month-at the store, where we have new art displayed, free food, free drinks, music, and raffles. The most recent event, was a raffle for the Jordan 11 Bred’s, where we had a display of hand-painted Jordan dolls, all done by BC artists. We have so many good things planned for 2013, as well as to try and take the company bigger and bigger. How is it being your own boss? Eh. It’s OK. I’m a lot more broke, and work a lot more, so yea. Haha. Who are your customers? The cool part about our style, is we have a wide customer base. We mostly hit that street wear market of younger adults, but, because of our nautical inspired designs, we find older gentlemen coming in to get a sweater, because they actually own a sailboat. Right now, what is your favorite Bulle clothing item? That’s a tough one, but, my favorite piece right now is the new Bulle “Ranks” hooded sweatshirt. What other brands and things do you sell?
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We hope to do what we love, which is continuing to make our products more quality, and keep designing things that catch your eye.
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BULLE STORE LOCATION:
937 NW Glisan Portland, OR 97209 STORE HOURS: Monday: Closed Tuesday: 1pm-8pm Wednesday: 1pm-8pm Thursday: 1pm-8pm Friday: 1pm-8pm Saturday: 12pm-6pm Sunday: Closed
Interview by Tiffany Burriss Photos by Nick Wooley & Jenna Haar
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Truth is, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know me inside.
All Has-Lo photos by Anthony James www.crayonbeats.com
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GET IN HAS-LO’s HEAD: Is this an unfunny joke, or a suicide note? You think you know, but you have no idea. Tiffany Burriss spoke with the Philadelphia emcee & producer about his critically acclaimed album, In Case I Don’t Make It. Find out WHAT HE’S LIKE BEHIND THE LYRICS.
you haven’t listened to Has-Lo’s 2011, Mello Music Group released, album, In Case I Don’t Make It, I suggest that you do that now. Do that before you read this article. Due to the nature of the following information, it might be best to go in without any spoilers. “Let whoever is interested sit down, with headphones, and listen and experience that, without knowing what they’re walking into,” Has-Lo requested, when talking about spoilers on Twitter. I hope that this article lends you some insight, and you learn something new. Not only about Has-Lo, but, also about the human condition, in general. Maybe your radar isn’t on Has-Lo yet, and this article will get you intrigued to listen to his music, and become a fan. Maybe you’ll find that you can relate to his struggles. Maybe his story and his advice will give you the strength to reach out for help, in the midst of your self-destructive depression. Maybe he will reach you on another level, where you’ll adjust the way you see things, or treat people. While that’s what I can hope for, I know for sure that you’ll get a better grasp into why his album was so dark, personal, thought-provoking, and melancholy. I know this article is very long, but, trust me, it’s a good read. Now, follow me down into the dark, not-oftentalked-about, rabbit hole. Remember, back in the days, when people would throw words like “Rock” or “Love” into their rap names? Pete Rock, Chubb Rock, Aesop Rock, Sha Rock, and Monie Love, to name a few. In 1999, that’s exactly how it was for Has-Lo. He was initially nicknamed “Hassy Love” by some-
one, because he had a song called “Love”, which was an acronym for Living Off Vintage Emceeing. Eventually, he shortened it to Has-Lo. Yeah, he put out a “dark”, twisted, and melancholy album, but do you know why? Do you really know him? Unless you are in his circle of friends, or you are related to him by blood, you probably aren’t too familiar with who this guy is. You may only know him by what he presents through his music, what you have heard in interviews, or how he comes off on social networking sites. A few days after Christmas, in 2012, I spoke with him for a couple of hours. I wanted to dig deep into his thoughts, to know what it’s like to be inside of his mind. He has a line, in a song, where he said, “Truth is, they don’t know me inside.” This article will take you inside. You will learn more about the meaning of some of the songs, what he was going through during the recording process, and, above all, you will get a better view of the man behind the lyrics. Despite being depressed for a lot of his life, he has a good head on his shoulders; he strives to be kind and push out positivity into the world; he has a lot to say, and he’s very intellectual. He is a good guy. This is Anwar Hasan. Born in Philadelphia, in 1979, he was that shy, yet, active kid, with a fairly normal life. His time was spent drawing, playing video games, spinning tops, riding scooters, and having fun with friends. He enjoyed being a kid. Raised by his mother, he added that he was also sensitive, “I would cry easily.” www.crayonbeats.com
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60 crayonbeats magazine Describing his childhood, he explained what it was like to be raised around women--his mother and his grandmother. “I think my childhood was pretty normal, except that I didn’t have some key figure to show me how to deal with certain things, you know. I didn’t have someone to teach me how to fight, or how to deal with girls, or to teach me certain manly values. I don’t subscribe to the idea that a man needs to teach you how to be a man, or anything like that, but, there are some things about the male experience that are better served coming from a more experienced male. But, there are benefits about being raised by women, as well. They teach you how to be sensitive, how to have a little femininity in your personality, so you’re not rugged and rough. It’s important to have some softness to you.” Growing up, those shy and sensitive traits followed him into his adult life. Laughing, he responded with an example that made me blush, “Say, for instance, I was standing in a room with you, and a bunch of other people. I was drawn to you, for whatever reason, but I probably wouldn’t talk to you. I’d be too shy. But, if I’m on stage, doing a show, controlling the crowd, I’d talk to you with no apprehension. I’d flirt with you. It wouldn’t affect me.” Throughout his elementary school years--first through eighth grade--he attended a small, Christian, private school, where everyone knew everyone. He enjoyed, and got used to, that tight-knit, adolescent experience, so, when he was heading off to a public high school, he was terrified. “You’d hear those horror stories. You never heard about the school that was cool, you’d hear about that horrible school, where people get fucked up every day. [That] you’d get robbed, everyone looks wild, and it looks like Lean On Me,” he reminisced. But, he soon found his way, found his circle of friends, and has plenty of great memories and first-time experiences. Musically, he was into EPMD, LL Cool J, MC Lite, Cormega, The Juice Crew, Big Daddy Kane, Rob Base, Ice Cube, Mobb Deep, and more. He specified that he was heavily into the Wu-Tang Clan, Black Moon, Gangstarr, Nas, and Boot Camp Clik. “Boot Camp! I was real into Boot Camp. Back in high school, I used to wear dreads.” He also cites a few of his favorite albums being Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and Diamond D’s Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop. Later in his life, after receiving some much-needed guidance and a helping hand, he attended college. He graduated and received an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, at Penn State. Much like elementary school and high school, he also greatly enjoyed the college atmosphere and www.crayonbeats.com
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experience. He hopes to return to college, to finish getting a degree in English, or a journalism degree. “And, maybe some other shit that won’t get me any money,” he playfully joked. He has released a handful of mixtapes, projects, and EP’s over the years, but we’re here to talk about his most recent album, In Case I Don’t Make It, released through Mello Music Group. When I had asked him about the connection with MMG, he sighed and laughed, as if he’s been asked that same very question countless times. Take it back to the ‘85 Fresh Fest Tour, where Michael Tolle--the founder of MMG--was a roadie for Run DMC, and a young Has-Lo was breakdancing and pop locking infront of a crowd. Fastforward about 2 decade, when Tolle gets put onto Has-Lo’s music, recognizes his face, and boom--immediate connection. In Case I Don’t Make It has stirred up some common misconceptions, though. A lot of its listeners, myself included, took most of what we heard at face value. First, because of what was said, I thought that he had a rough childhood, but that’s quite the contrary.
HAS-LO ON THE ALBUM, AND HIS CHILDHOOD “The material is more internal than anything else. My childhood wasn’t filled with abuse, [and it wasn’t] horrible, per se. It wasn’t like I just had a shit existence and then made an album. I think with music culture today, you can’t have more than one shade. In Case I Don’t Make It came out as something that I needed to express at that time. It’s not to say that I won’t ever feel that way again, or that any of it was fake; it wasn’t. It was very personal, but, it was depression. My mother was and still is around. My grandmother was very integral, too. My grandfather was an alcoholic. My father wasn’t really around, and I spent a lot of time trying to have a relationship with him; but, he didn’t really want that. He was drinking, doing drugs, doing whatever he was into. That was his thing, you know. But, uh, I think it affected me in the same way that it affected other people--I kinda don’t give a fuck. It affects me, but I haven’t quite gotten a feel on how yet.” “It was cool, but it wasn’t a horrendous experience. I did deal, or still do deal, with depression. That didn’t come until later, though. The issues in my childhood had to deal with inadequacy. Things that a poor kid would have to deal with. Less than ideal living conditions. Not in the sense that I had a shitty home, but, you can have a nice home that’s in the projects. So, what does that subject you to? You could have a decent home, in a neighborhood that has gunfights. So, what message does that give you?”
You may not see it when you look at him, but there
crayonbeats magazine 61 was a point in his life, after his childhood, where Has-Lo felt as if he had no purpose; that he was only existing. He wasn’t enjoying life, and he didn’t feel motivated to change it, either. However, when you listen closely to his some of his music, you can hear the struggle in his voice, in his delivery, and in the lyrical content. For example, “Fuck Has Day”, from his first EP, was written during that time of his life. Or, in “Everything Is”, from ICIDMI. Rapping a couple of his bars to him, “I compete to win, though I lose myself // In a penthouse room, with a view from hell,” I asked him to describe that view, “Sometimes it doesn’t matter how high you get, because you can’t break through the cloud. Compete to win, is me trying so hard to be apart of hip hop, to be a musician, and to not only be a musician, but stand alongside great musicians that I like listening to. To be apart of that conversation. I’m trying so hard to be apart of this thing, that it begins to define me. That starts to become the only thing to define me. So, I’m losing myself to music and the pursuit of the career in music. I’m identifying less with who I am, which was a rough period when I was writing and recording ICIDMI. I didn’t feel like I knew who I was anymore. A penthouse room with a view from hell... how great is that? So, you’re losing yourself in your own material. I’m in the penthouse, cool, but your life is a living hell.” “The second verse of that song [“Everything Is”] was so hard to write. In writing that album, and years before that, I was feeling and seeing the rhymes from a stream, to a trickle. And, I was starting to wonder if my rhymes were final. If I would say all I have to say and never have any more thoughts, never have anything more to talk about. It was scary. So, yeah, “Stressed ‘cause the raps don’t fit // And the flows don’t work, and the words come less // And the verse won’t stretch like it used to // And I spit much more than I’m moved to // It’s like being cuffed to a foul friend.”
smile, pretending everything is all right. But, it’s not, and it should be discussed. Has-Lo was more than willing to be open about his issues, whether it was on this album or with me in conversation.
“I was starting to wonder if my rhymes were final. If I would say all I have to say and never have any more thoughts, never have anything more to talk about. It was scary.” Being dejected from life, people often look for ways to deaden the pain, to find distractions to help them escape from their feelings. With Has-Lo, he doesn’t have anything to rely on for escapism. Weed doesn’t do anything for him, so he can’t smoke it away. He expresses that he doesn’t have any desire to do any hard drugs, so that’s out of the picture. Then, there’s liquor. Although, he may drink a couple of beers or have a glass of wine here and there, he said that he can’t handle liquor. In combination with having a small body, not handling hangovers, and alcoholism running in his family, he stays away from it all together. “So, what’s that leave you? Your own thoughts.”
HAS-LO ON LOSING INSPIRATION
He told me a story, where he noticed that he had been drinking more during this last year. The crave of liquor sneakily slipped its way into his life. He immediately stopped, due to his fear of alcohol addiction. He described the situation as being, both, weird and interesting. He questioned if those habits were genetic, coming from his dad or grandfather, or if they were just common desires that come along with drinking. To have the ability to willfully choose to stop something like that, requires great strength. That’s an accomplishment in itself.
“I do nothing. Sometimes, when you get uninspired in that way, you need a break. And, I’ve been unsuccessful with breaks, going all the way back. I would just wear myself thin, and that’s a habit I’m trying to break. When you feel so uninspired, just stop and be still. Try not to tire yourself in that moment. Go and watch something funny. Go and walk. Enjoy nature, trees, architecture, people watch, or go to movies.”
Now, back to being stuck with his thoughts. Those are dreadful all on their own. This soon lead to talking about his inner demons. You know, those malicious thoughts that eat away at our brain. Whether it be when we’re in pain, when we’re struggling, dealing with loss, doubting our own capabilities, or when we feel insecure, a lot of us, at some point or another, have battled with these demons.
Depression is a common thing, but it isn’t commonly talked about. Perhaps, openly talking about it is viewed as being taboo. Instead of venting, or getting help, people often bottle it up inside, until they erupt. The making of a ticking time bomb. They’ll mask their true emotions with a fake
With a struggle in his voice, Has-Lo described his four main problems that absorb his mind: inadequacy, selfworth, not being important, and being a failure. On the topic of failure, he casually mentioned his Mello Music Group album release, like it wasn’t a big deal; as if working with a fairly known underground label, and receiving a lot of praise and www.crayonbeats.com
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62 crayonbeats magazine new fans, isn’t much of an accomplishment. Shrugging it off, he said, “Yeah, things that I did were cool. I put a record out, blah blah blah. But, in the scheme of things, it’s only a drop in the bucket.” Growing a confused look of “Huh?” on my face, I soon began to realize that that’s an effect of the bad dialogue that he has in his head, though. While I believe that it’s a good, if not great, accomplishment, he thinks that it’s not good enough. Throughout the interview, though, he said that he was proud of how much impact the album has received thus far. “I was in a magazine. I got it in a store, looked at it and read it. Thousands of people were watching my videos. I’ve been on sites that I didn’t have the chance of getting on before. Strangers are coming up to me, saying that my record is a masterpiece,” he boasted.
That’s the duality in human nature, for you.
Besides the self-destructive effect of Has-Lo’s inner demons, there’s also something that causes them to exacerbate. Giving an example, “When you have a bad inner dialogue, a lot of the time, something small will just ping-pong, until it bumps into one of your big inner dialogue issues. So, you might apply for a job, and not get it, and feel bad about it. That might make you think about how you haven’t been good at keeping a job. Then, you feel inadequate, because people around you have been working at their same job for 10 years. They have a car, but you don’t have a car. So, you feel bad about that, because people your age usually have a car and a house, or an apartment, and you don’t have any of those things. So, what does that say about you? It says that you’re a loser. And, if you’re a loser, and you have been a loser for as long as you can remember, in your own mind, then who’s to say that you’re ever not going to be a loser? It’s that kind of snowball effect in my own head, you know, with why I don’t have this by this time. Why am I such a fuck up, that I don’t have this or that or the third thing? How come I’m not as successful as I would like to be? Will I be that successful in my mother’s lifetime? Will I die this way? Will I die a failure? Things like that constantly haunt me. It all revolves around failure, success, inadequacy, and value. It all comes down to value at the end of the day.” Just when you think that you’re alone in these thoughts, you realize that most people follow a similar path. While you’re comparing yourself to another person, wondering why you don’t have what they have, they are most likely doing that same very thing. Has-Lo described it perfectly, when he said, “We can’t see past our own nose. That www.crayonbeats.com
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person with the car and the house, you’re like, ‘Man, that person is 25, he has a car, an apartment, and sleeps with a lot of girls, and everyone seems to like him. That’s so cool, I wish I was like that. Why am I not like that?’ And, he’s looking at you, like, ‘Man, I sleep with another girl every night, because I’m so lonely. Why do you have one steady girlfriend that you’re in love with? I don’t even know what that feels like, because when I was in love with a girl, she broke my heart. So, I don’t allow myself to fall in love. And, now, I don’t even know how to. I just have this car, but I barely get enough hours to stay on the payments, and I’m already 2 months behind on rent, on my apartment.’ That same person is in the same cycle as you, but you can’t see that. It’s a whole game of resentment.” Value. Self-worth. These are small words, and easy to say, but people don’t take proper advantage of them. It’s not easy to radically change your thought-process, or how you view yourself. When your mind is trapped in its own prison, it’s a difficult task to change its course onto a more positive path, or way of thinking. That kind of negative self-abuse is developed over years. That type of adjustment takes a lot of time. Forty-five minutes into our talk, I asked him about his title track, “In Case I Don’t Make It”. This was the most
crayonbeats magazine 63 shocking song on the album. The end of the song ends with a couple of serious, unsettling bars, “If I die, just remember I tried // If I don’t, just remember my hopes // Is this an unfunny joke, or a suicide note // You never know.” Then, it cuts to static, and the listener is left with nothing. Clearing up another misconception, he informed me that the song is a story. While it does have true facts, it’s still merely a fictional story. He let out laughter, as if he felt foolish, when talking about his thought-process of putting the song at the end of the album.
HAS-LO ON THE SONG “IN CASE I DON’T MAKE IT” “For some reason, it never occurred to me that people would take that song--it’s stupid on my part--and think that I could make a really personal album, and then put a song like “In Case I Don’t Make It” at the end. That song has elements of my life in it, but it’s a story. A fictional story. There are things in it that are true, that actually happened to me, but they’re used to flesh out a character. But, for some reason, I was like, ‘People will get that it’s a story! These people don’t know you, they know you from what you tell them, what you present to them. All they have to draw from, is what you say on your albums, or what you say in interviews.’ So, for some reason, I was like, ‘This is cool, people will get this, because there’s bullying, cyber-bullying, violence, and so on. People will get that.’ But they didn’t! People think some kid punched me in the face, and chipped my teeth at school, and people ignored me there, and all this other shit. So, I always wanted to clarify that. It draws on elements from my life, but it was a fictional story.” He asked me how I felt when I listened to that song. I told him that it left me, as a listener, breathless. I was concerned for him; for what he was really talking about here. I was uncertain. Was this an interpretation for his own struggle to deal with life? Or, is he talking about the legacy of his music? I didn’t know, but I wanted to know. The album, and this song in particular, is what pushed me to reach out to him. Where was his head at? What was the intention of putting this song as the outro? He follows me, by saying that particular song’s story isn’t 100% true, or exactly chronological to his life. But, other songs, like “Years Later”, and the rest, are true. “There’s a part [in the song “In Case I Don’t Make It”] where the character is talking about his dad saying that he didn’t want kids. That happened to me! It just didn’t happen to me when I was six Things like that, I just used to flesh out the character.”
The point of the song was to leave the listener in
that uncertainty. His aim was to raise awareness and create questions--What happened? Is he serious? Is this a character or not a character? Are you OK? There was a lot of buzz circling the internet, when talking about ICIDMI. With that song in particular, he wanted to find a way to remind people to be more alert and cautious with other people. To not trivialize what others are going through, to be concerned with how you treat people, to truly care about anyone who is showing signs of struggle, because you never know what they are going through, or if they need a helping hand. To shed some light on an example, he transitioned into talking about Ol Dirty Bastard: “You ever hear people talk about the last days, where ODB was just spiralling? Then, in hindsight, there were these signs, but they didn’t say anything. They’re having a hard time with their life, and they’re doing things that are dangerous and destructive. And, we don’t say anything, because we don’t feel like it’s in our place to, because they’re grown. But, sometimes you do need to say something. Sometimes, you do need to reach out and let people know that... if you are falling, you can reach out. Likewise, if you are feeling this way, there is nothing inherently wrong with letting people know.” With concern and frustration in his voice, he continued, “Those kind of feelings eat you alive. They change who you are! They change who you are, and you would be surprised with how many people don’t understand that. They don’t understand that the way I’m depressed, and the way that you are depressed, are two very different things. That I cannot just choose to be happy. It doesn’t WORK that way! This is something very different. This is something, whether chemical or not, what I am dealing with is not a simple fix. And, if you hold things in like that, things that I’m expressing in the album, that would’ve just changed me from the inside out.” The song “In Case I Don’t Make It” has a similar relation to the tragedy at Sandy Hook, so he touched on that briefly. Mid-conversation, Has-Lo’s voice raised in tone, while stirring up a cocktail of emotions, including frustration, disgust, and anger.
HAS-LO ON SANDY HOOK AND HIS SONG “IN CASE I DON’T MAKE IT” “Nobody remembered him! Nobody in the town really acknowledged this guy. He was fuckin’ invisible! How does that affect a person? You know, not trying to justify it at all. It was heinous and horrible. But, you have NO FRIENDS. You have NO LOVES. You’re invisible as a person. You know, let’s go back www.crayonbeats.com
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64 crayonbeats magazine to the song. That’s 2011 when that was written -- Could it be I’m a sheep among wolves // Girls see me as weak and uncool // And, I see them as cheap and uncouth // So, we evenly each be unmoved // Truth is, they don’t know me inside // If she want to be my homie, I’ll be open to try // It’s not physical, I just wanted you to be civil enough to let me sit with you // I’m not invisible // I say hi every time and you never reply // If shit flies, don’t be surprised // If I die, just remember I tried // If I don’t, just remember my hopes // Is this an unfunny joke or a suicide note? // You never know...” “We’re social animals, and we can’t survive and adapt correctly without being apart of this social common wealth. So, we got this guy, and he’s no one, to anyone. And, the only person who acknowledges him is his mother. We don’t know what kind of person she was, but she knows one thing--that her son is a bit strange. She probably feels helpless, but tries to make him feel a little more human. It’s SICK! That a person could just go unnoticed, that he could exist almost outside of human consciousness. Of course, he’s fucking crazy, to put a stock label on it. It’s crazy. It’s crazy that things pan out like that.” “That’s the point I’m trying to make with that song. Like, yo, everyone kind of plays with it, but you really don’t know people, and you really can’t trivialize what they are going through. You know, it’s a crime in and of itself to trivialize what they are going through, because you NEVER KNOW if it’s an unfunny joke or a suicide note.” In his song “Untitled #1”, he has a verse on there about his grandmother’s poor health, to which it became even more meaningful, when she passed away during the making of the album. Willing to talk about her final moments, and her deterioration, he described her as being loving, kind-hearted, and an active woman. When she completely lost all brain function, and became paralysed in her own body, it was hard for him to see her like that--so different from the woman he grew up with, knew, and loved. When speaking about her, I could hear in his voice, that he deeply loved and misses her. That, even though he’s comfortable talking about it, it’s still hard to think about. The same way that I sound when I’m asked about my grandmother. Clearing his throat, he describes the relief that he felt when she passed away, “I was kind of just wanting for her to have that freedom. I never liked seeing her like that. The person she was had passed a long time ago, before that. So, I didn’t really... I wasn’t really, you know, a total wreck. But, I do still miss her and think about her.”
To lighten the mood, I asked if she would have been
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proud of him and this album. “Yeah! She didn’t like rap music. That lyric was true. I was playing a song for her one time, and she didn’t like it. So, I played her a song, and she was like, ‘Who is that?’ I told her it was me, and she goes, ‘Oh, that’s beautiful!’,” he laughed. “But, she was always proud of me. I think she would’ve been really happy, having seen me being really happy, being interested in music, and having a breakthrough with music. I think she would’ve been head over heels, really proud of it.” Getting into the song “Limbo”, you hear 5 to 6 voices speaking at the same time. It sounds like a conscious stream of thought, where he’s battling with all the thoughts that weigh him down. Feeling beat down, wishing he had someone to talk to, being mentally and physically drained, and being depressed and lost. To my surprise, I learned that everything said in that song are journal entries of his, making the song even more special. Showing vulnerability in the most exposed way you can imagine takes courage. In fact, he almost didn’t want to put that song on the album, because it was so private to him. But, he felt that he needed to lend gravity and credence to it all; to symbolize what it’s like to be inside of his head. He said that, if he could go back, he wouldn’t have put that song on the album. “Limbo”, and the rest of the album, are difficult for him to listen to. He said that he hasn’t listened to it much since its release, because it reminds him of all those feelings, and how lonely he felt during its creation. With that said, though, he feels that the album was greatly therapeutic.
“You really don’t know people, and you really can’t trivialize what they are going through. You know, it’s a crime in and of itself to trivialize what they are going through, because you NEVER KNOW if it’s an unfunny joke or a suicide note.” I hope that this article shed some light onto Has-Lo as more than emcee, but as an individual. Depression isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s not something that someone should just sweep under the rug, and ignore. Speak up, speak out, talk to a friend, find a positive platform to release all your negativity; do something. Don’t hold it in. And, to everyone else, be mindful of others. We are all human. We all need love.
crayonbeats magazine 65 Has-Lo is a person that chose to experiment with hip hop, to see if he could take these different-from-thenorm ideas to make an interesting album. He went way out of the box, and created something truly brilliant. He tested the listeners comfort levels. He made intriguing material. He made thought-provoking music, through excellent storytelling, that left people questioning what they know, or didn’t know. He made an album that was, in his words, “Really personal, and really introverted, and really solitary. There’s not a great sense of finality with those type of feelings, so why should the record have them? Why should all of hip hop have it? It’s a valid form of art, like books, movies, and paintings.”
“I’m talking with you, not at you. No one wants to be brow-beaten. Let’s take a break from that for a second, let’s have fun.” Although he was depressed when writing the songs, and still deals with it currently, there have been good moments in his life, and positive returns with what he has done with music. In my eyes, he is already “making it”. He is marching in the right direction. He released an album with a label that I highly respect--a label that has also released music by
artists such as Apollo Brown and Guilty Simpson, The Black Opera, Oddisee, Boog Brown, Georgia Anne Muldrow, 14KT, and more. He was in a magazine that was sold in a store. He has thousands of Youtube views. Between Twitter and Facebook, he has nearly 3,000 followers and fans, to which it’s evergrowing. He has been featured on numerous websites. Strangers praise his record. And, now, he’s being featured in CrayonBeats’ premier issue. He must be doing something right. Yes, he does deal with depression; yes, he is his own worst enemy; yes, he did put out a twisted piece of work, but, don’t let that define him. Don’t box him in. He is so far from a one-trick pony. He is a bright, genuine, positive, and wellspoken man, and in relatively good spirits. He has a lot more to say, more moods and shades. I hope that you are all there with open ears, ready to embrace him. “Things have changed. I want to lighten the load. I don’t want to do something as heavy as that. That’s a lot for people to digest. It was a lot for me to digest. So, I just want to have a little bit of fun, and I’m entitled to a little bit of fun, and I think people that embraced me deserve to hear a little fun. I’m talking with you, not at you. No one wants to be brow-beaten. Let’s take a break from that for a second, let’s have fun.”
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