Monday, November 30, 2009
…SERIOUSLY!!! And I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout my return to the blog either (sorry y’all…had a baby…been a lil’ busy). Anyway, you might remember a while back I let y’all in on a little behind-the-scenes taste of this project – if not, start here. A good friend of mine joined forces with one of Seattle’s hottest crews to produce an official music video for the extra-official debut album…and it’s definitely OFFICIAL! Lady’s and gentlemen, this is what happens when Gray Matter Productions meets Fresh Espresso, peep:
*sniff* this shit right her *sniff* shit make a muhfucka proud as shit *sniff* aww man, i promised i wan’t gon cry *sniff*
On the real though, it mighta taken a shade under a decade to finish this video (my ball-hair has some gray in it now), but you can’t argue with results like this! If you dig – and really, fuckouttahere if you don’t – take a second and let ‘em know via Tweet (click their names above) or Tube…shit, by Mike-Tyson-Messenger-Pigeon if you like (that’d be tremendousss).
P.S. – There’s rumors of a DVD sporting a documentary of the FE crew, and the making of this little ditty (including a nice high-res version of the video too), I’ll let you know if it turns out to be true.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Just wanted to drop off a couple things... I know this Lupe Fiasco mixtape has been out for a couple days but I was waiting for a chopped up version with track list and shit! So here it is, no artwork though. If you want one, the dopeboy Shake made an alternative cover art here. Oh, and keep an eye out for "Friend of the People" coming Christmas Day!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It has been far too long but I wanted to get somethings out the inbox before the holiday weekend. Oh, and an early Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. While y'all are stuffing yourselves silly, and then sleeping it all off, I will be wandering the halls of work aimlessly. Thank for that!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
My buddy Troye has been tellin me about his guy Larue for a while now, and even sent through a few tracks off his new mixtape "Larue In The Streets". I never did get a chance to listen, so BrainSlice, Troye, and I decided to hit up his show at the Vera Project. I can't say that I was surprised that I liked what I heard, Troye and I have a lot of the same taste when it comes to hip hop, and this was no different. What did surprise me was how well Larue performed on stage. I think this was one of his first, if not his first, "headliner" show. Up until Larue took the stage, I wasn't real impressed by what I had heard from the other acts. For what he may lack in experience on stage he more than made up for with energy. I thought he did a good show. We met up with them after the show and had some drinks and shot some pool. Larue was an all around good dude. You can check him out at the link above or on his twitter (@Larue206). The mixtape is nice to, check a few tracks below that Troye sent to me.
Sunday was a LOOOOONG day for sure. We started tailgating the Seahawks game at about 10am. After a few drinks there we got BrainSlice to his first NFL game, a Seahawks win (hey it may have been Detroit but at least we didn't lose...*cough Redskins choke*). We were due to head over to Neumos around 8 to the Swollen Members show featuring Big B, Bliss N Eso, and Common Market. Needless to say the drinks had taken their toll, and we passed out for a few hours after the game and missed all but Swollen Members.
If you remember, BrainSlice recently did an interview with MadChild of Swollen Members and struck up a bit of a friendship. After the show we met up with MadChild and got to kick it with the guys and chop it up a bit. All of them were totally chill, laid back guys. This is when we met Bliss N Eso. Bliss, Eso, and DJ Izm comprise the Australian group Bliss N Eso. The dudes gladly gave us a copy of their "Flying Colours Mixtape" and after a couple listens, I am pissed that we missed their performance. These dudes spit straight fire. When they handed us the mixtape is came with a simple request, "burn that shit, copy it, hand it out, give it away, just get it out there". So here it is...definitely worth the download. You can hit the guys up on myspace, youtube, or twitter. Peep the link and a couple videos below.
This would be my first experience with Swollen Members, other than listening to their new album "Armed To The Teeth". BrainSlice, on the other hand, has been a fan since the beginning. It's good to go to a show unbiased about the music sometimes, you never know what to expect. I gotta say, I was impressed...Prevail, MadChild, Tre Nyce, and Rob the Viking put on a great show. MadChild was even fighting off a bit of the flu, but still tromped around the stage like a madman. To this day, Prevail is the only dude I have seen spit his verse while stage diving and crowd surfing. Tre Nyce is the "new" guy. Having not heard much SM prior to Tre, I thought dude was dope...singing hooks, delivery, stage presence, everything. Tre, you were right my dude, it was cold as shit out there!!! If you don't have "Armed To The Teeth" go cop it now! I'm gonna work on gettin some of that older Swollen Members. Below is a video for Bollywood Chick off the new album, and SM playing to the Seattle crowd with their take on Nirvana.
Monday, November 2, 2009
“Mad Child should be dead” – that is a phrase I have heard repeated quite often lately. I was happy to hear that he was off the pills, and I was eagerly anticipating the new Swollen Members album. What was supposed to be a twenty minute phone interview with Mad Child turned into an eye-opening 60 minute conversation. When we were done I had a renewed respect for Mad Child as an MC, and as a person. He is a survivor, a Hip Hop soldier that almost became a casualty of war. He lost a lot in the last 3 years, and now he is more determined than ever to make music, and repair the damage his drug habit caused.
This may be a long-ass post, but whether you are an old or new fan, or even if you forgot about Swollen Members altogether, please read! Also if you missed it, check my last post about ARMED TO THE TEETH – Out Now!
Disclaimer: I am not a professional. My interview skills suck. So, I’m gonna strip this down and paraphrase a lot. I just want Mad Child to be heard. Check it:
Mad Child: It's a different time. Imagine me, going through what I just went through, not even paying attention to the world for the last 3 years; and then coming back and being reintroduced to the whole music industry, not just as a business, but just what people are listening to. It was quite a culture shock. You know, that 3 year gap of me not really paying attention to music, or to the outside world, and then coming back, I was like: "Holy shit man, things have changed so drastically."
BrainSlice: I respect you for comin' back hard and being strong with the pills and all. It's a hard road, I can't imagine.
MC: It's fucked up, I'll tell you that much, it's fuckin' crazy. Thanks for the support man, that kind of stuff really helps me make it through the next day. That shit was gnarly, if you have friends that have been through it, then you know exactly what I'm saying, it consumes your world, you know?
BS: We need you man. Your lyrics just kill me.
MC: I'm honored man.
BS: We gotta keep you around, we gotta keep you here.
MC: (laughs) Keep me around, yeah, okay! Cool. Well, we've been doing a lot of recording the last 5 weeks, when I got back from L.A., we opened Battle Axe back up with Suburban Noize. I came back and everyone was like, well what are we gonna do before we go on tour? I said, let's just go to my house and record, let's make every day count for 3 now that I'm finally off these pills. I wasted 3 years of everybody's life, so, let's try to make every day count for 3. We went back and we recorded tons of music, Coming back after 3 years of doing damage to yourself financially, physically, and spiritually…. It's NOT like you just come back to life and then everything is good. I don't know if you've watched the Vlog thing on YouTube?
BS: Yeah I did. I watched all that shit.
MC: I lost a grip of money. It's all my own fault, you know what I mean? So, it's up to me to make up for the mistakes that I've made, and what I've done to myself. My whole point is, we've really gotta be productive now. Even when we go on the bus for this tour, we're bringing the music equipment. The whole goal is that, once you get off stage, after we say "Hi" to the fans and stuff, we can get back on the bus and keep writing and making music.
BS: I like that man, that's organic, that's where the art comes from.
MC: So, If the internet is where things are now, people keep pumping stuff out; instead of sitting around and crying about it, let's just embrace the good things about it and make sure we keep feeding the fans. We gotta feed ourselves too, with a constant, creative process, and keep moving.
BS: Some of the lyrics on the new album really had me laughing; with your comments about dudes wearin' tight pants and stuff.
MC: Yeah, I'm not really a fan of that. Coming back to that whole shit and seeing what these kids are doin' right now and you're like, "Wooow." I understand that trends happen. We're both getting up there, but we're still young at heart, right? If music is your life, which it's both of our lives, yours and mine, that keeps you young at heart. It keeps you in touch with what's going on in the streets. You find trends and roll with 'em, because that's what you did when you were younger, but, I just can't embrace what's going on today with a lot of kids.
BS: I'm in that exact place, I mean, I look at these dudes and I think, "Did you steal those fucking pants from your younger sister?"
MC: Exactly! I just can't get with it, no matter how hard I try to be open minded. I think that those kids are gonna look at pictures of themselves in 2 years and say "Oh my god, what was I thinking?" I'm not getting caught up in that. I'd just rather keep it classic. You know what I mean?
BS: True. They WILL do that, because we probably did the same thing. I look at pictures of me when I was in high school, and I say: "Who the fuck did you think you were?"
MC: Yeah (laughs) exactly! (more laughter). We've learned that lesson. They're learning it for the first time. The guys in high school and college, taking pictures, they're gonna look back and go "What the fuck was I thinking?"
Throughout the interview, we talked about a wide (and arbitrary) range of artists that he enjoys, and have influenced and inspired him. He mentions Ghostface, the Beastie Boys (Ad Roc in particular), Led Zeppelin, Son Doobie, Nirvana, Souls of Mischief, AC/DC, Del, House of Pain, The Rolling Stones, La Coka Nostra, and a lot of others. Then Mad Child throws me a curve ball: Gucci Mane!?
BS: So you feel like he's different, he's not part of this whole fuckin' radio mess we got goin' on right now? I mean, I just saw his name and I was like, “Don't care."
BS: But I haven't listened to him, so I'm gonna take your word on this and check it out.
MC: This is where we might differ in opinion, because as much as La Coka Nostra is one of my favorite groups, and Beastie Boys, same thing, I had their records on my wall. They're one of my favorite groups of all time. They were more than a group to me, it was more of a lifestyle. The Beastie Boys were epic to me. Ad Roc was one of my favorite all time rappers, hands down. They consumed my world. The Beastie Boys were so dope.
BS: When I was a kid, I could not stop listening, you get in my truck and that tape is rolling: if you don't like it, get the fuck out.
MC: Hell Yeah, I had a fucking '63 Mercury back then. Driving around listenin' to 'em, and I didn't even have my license; I was 16 years old. (laughing) I fucking loved that shit.
But, my point is, now it's 2009. I can't get stuck in a time capsule, and that's what I try to explain to some people that are like: "Why aren't you just doing that same Bad Dreams sound that we love?" The true loyal Swollen fans want us to keep doin' that Dungeon and Dragons sort of stuff.
BS: Right. That's one of the things I wanted to ask you about, because I always go back to Balance as a favorite.
MC: I know what you're saying. The thing is, look, it's not 1999 anymore, it's 2009, and I have to make music for myself before I make music for anybody else, because I have tried making music for the wrong reason before.
Heavy was the one album in our disc set that we weren’t 100% happy with. We feel like we rushed that album, we were making it to keep the business machine going. We made that album for the wrong reason, it was a weird time. Looking back, one day I may re-release Heavy, with some of the tracks still on it, but with some new songs; and make it the album it was supposed to be. It still bugs me to this day.
BS: Do it! Strip it down. The lyrics on there are amazing.
MC: Thanks bro, I appreciate it. What I realized from that is, "Hey, we gotta make music for ourselves first, I gotta make myself happy." And yes, I do want to make sure that there are a certain amount of songs on Armed to the Teeth, like Kyla, or Funeral March (with Saafir), songs that have the same feel as that classic Swollen Members sound. It's where we came from, and I always want to keep that as part of my artistry.
I also want to be an artist that's progressive, and keep moving forward. The difference is this: even when I was a so called, "backpack rapper" when the backpack movement was crackin' off, I was living a different lifestyle than the rest of the guys in my group, and I always have been, since high school. I talked to them before we started recording this. I said, "Listen, I don't wanna feel confined as an artist. I know it's gonna throw some people for a loop, but I want to be able to talk about things that are going on in my life, things that are happening around me, and I don't wanna feel confined by my audience, or my group." I don't want to feel like I'm in a box and I can't go to the left or the right of the path because I'm expected to only address certain topics. So they agreed that I should be able to grow, and talk about things that I want to. It's more than just a gradual jump, but I wanted to make sure that there was a balance of the classic Swollen stuff, and also new things.
In addition to other artists we've talked about, I also like Lloyd Banks. I love to listen to that fuckin' guy. The Clipse are fuckin' dope. I was listenin' to this thing they did on Sirius a couple weeks ago, driving around and they were just doin' freestyle to promote the record over a bunch of people's beats. Those guys are sick. There are other rappers out there that are killing it, like Glasses Malone, we got to do a song with him for the new album called Real P.I. It was the last song on the album. That guy is fuckin' dope. He needs to blow up.
It's just fun to not always do the same mathematical rhyme patterns every time. I wanted to try new stuff and say, "Hey, this is somethin' that's poppin' right now" I can adapt this style into what Mad Child is doing and I can show and prove to MYSELF first and foremost that I can continue to be a progressive MC. I can stay on the front lines of what's going on. That was my thought process.
BS: I gotcha man. I gotta be honest, a couple tracks on Armed To the Teeth threw me. I think that comes from a misguided loyalty to your group. I said, "What the fuck is this? This doesn't sound like Swollen Members."
BS: I understand what you're saying though. There are tracks that I love out of the gate, and there are some that I learn to love.
MC: I'm more proud of this album than anything we've done, even though Bad Dreams is probably my favorite album that we've done, and I was really proud that we made Black Magic.
BS: Oh yeah, I loved Black Magic.
MC: Yeah for sure. So I don't think there's anything wrong with doing stuff in topical categories. When shit is the truth, and it's all around me. I don't think there's anything wrong with me opening that part of my life up to my listeners. I wanna make sure that we never over-do it, and I know it came on a little strong! I was enjoying driving around and listening to music. but I've been listening to our album for months now and I haven't gotten sick of it yet. That's how I know it's something that I'm proud of. I want you to listen to it more if you have time.
BS: Hell yeah I got time man. I'll do it.
MC: That's what I want, I want honest feedback.
BS: I don't know shit about Hip Hop. I'm a fan. I don't know about the business, I don't know about the production, I don't know shit. All I know is whether I like or do not like what I hear.
MC: Exactly, and that's all I'm asking for. It's important for us to reflect on the stuff we've done, which helps us to move forward as well.
I'm just gonna give you a heads up with this Battle Axe Warriors thing. We've got an album that is done. We're working on a bunch more songs. The Battle Axe Warriors stuff is gonna be pretty hard the whole way through. Beautiful Death Machine, and the next Swollen Members record we do, will also have a nice balance. I'll be able to satisfy my appetite for both types of music. That gives the fans a chance to decide: are they Battle Axe supporters all the way through? Or is Swollen Members more just their thing and they're not really hip on part of what I'm doing. That way, the fans will have a choice! It's just gonna' take me a little bit of time to build both things up, but I do want to give that to our supporters.
This is just a fraction of the conversation. I hope I did it justice. Big thanks to my crew at AYCE, and of course to Mad Child for taking an hour out of the night before touring began to talk to me.
I wish Swollen Members all the best. Support the artist! BrainSlice out.