The rap game is a voyage of words. Some go the story telling route. Some choose to be a bit more straight to the point with punchlines and hard hitting bars. None the less, it takes a real lyricist to pull off any effort and keep his/her fans engaged in what they’re trying to convey. For the young wordsmith Ghosty none of that is a problem. With his latest release, UPS Is Hiring, it’s easy to realize that he is showing off a bit with his lyricism and putting less fortunate rappers in their places. In this month’s segment of “Straight From…” Ghost sums up his latest effort and three of his favorite pieces from it.
In a day when artists are spitting out loose singles, mixtapes, and random projects left and right, you start to wonder if anyone cares about the quality of their music anymore. Vintage Radio, more commonly known as Vinny Radio now, had been working on The Foundation for quite some time before he felt it was ready to release, which ended up being a good thing for the listeners. This project was laced with perfectly crafted beats by P. Fish, who landed 15 tracks on the album, and authentic lyrics that captured the vision. Vinny sums up how his project came together and 3 of his favorite tracks.
“When I began work on The Foundation, lyrically there was really no theme I wanted to convey. I was really more concerned about the sonics, making sure it all flowed well together. There were a couple of different styles of hip-hop I played around with on the tape but my real goal was just a more advanced version of your basic boom-bap. My main complaint with how the final product ended up would just be the length; I really wanted to do something shorter, but I had so many songs I felt that were of quality I decided to keep a lot of material.
“My favorite song on the tape hands down would be “Optimism”. I feel like that track came out exactly how I envisioned from the moment I heard the beat. P. Fish had really just sent me a loop with some drums. He had flipped the hell out of that sample but lost the session and was unable to complete the beat to his liking. It worked out well in the end. I like how raw the song came out sounding, just a loop, drums, and a verse with no dubs, it really gave me room to do my thing and drive the track lyrically. The chorus at the end was really just an after thought I felt like I gave the song some closure and really helped give the feel of optimism.
Another one of my favorite tracks would be “That Music” one of the two songs Big Jerm produced on the tape. That song was designed to blend with the poison of your choice. The lyrics are just really about the people (everyone) and situations (everything) that I feel like my music is appropriate for. Add to the fact it probably had the catchiest chorus on the tape and I can see why it became a fan favorite.
Finally I have to talk about “Spaceships”. A lot of people sleep on this song probably because it was at the very end of the tape, the irony of that being that is was the first song I recorded for the project and it really defined the new sound I was beginning to work on. P. Fish, as usual, did his thing on the beat and I really feel like I delivered lyrically on this track. I would say theses are my two favorite verses on the tape. Although not as violent, I was listening to a lot of solo Prodigy when I wrote this song and I think the influence definitely shows.”
Ingeniously skilled producer P. Fish took some time out of his schedule to speak on the pressures of producing, constructing his beats, and working on a full project with Vinny Radio.
“P. Fish on……his production style”
“My production style is heavily sample based. Some people compare me to Alchemist, some compare me to Dilla. All I can say about my beats is that they are from the soul, and heavily kush influenced.”
“P. Fish on……working on a full project with Vinny Radio”
“Me and Vin have been good friends since high school and we’ve always had good musical chemistry. So when it came to doing this project, I was the first person he came to. The project turned out crazy and I’m super proud of my brother Vintage.”
“P. Fish on……having a brother who produces and how it helps him”
“Having J. Fish as my brother is invaluable. I truly believe he is the most talented producer in Pittsburgh. The Production knowledge he has instilled upon me over the years has helped me immensely.”
“P. Fish on……how he makes sure his style differs from other producers”
“I think a lot of producers get pigeonholed into a certain niche or style because they have certain production techniques that they stick to. As for me, I’m always trying new techniques and styles, so my beats don’t always sound the same. I never try to make the same beat twice.”
“P. Fish on……the pressures of doing better than his last productions”
“For me there really is no pressure to make the next beat better, because every beat is a learning experience for me. So, I automatically feel the next beat will be better. For me the pressure comes in my creativity. I always feel pressure to be more creative.”
“P. Fish on……who’d he like to work with outside of the Pittsburgh area”
“I’m actually really focused on working with people in the Burgh right now, but as far as people outside of the Burgh, I really want to work with all the original members of Wu-Tang, Nas, Kanye, Styles P, Elzhi, man the list goes on…I love gun rap, so if you make gun rap, get at me! [laughs]
Jamal Anthony Walton (known as XO), an uptown DC native, 1/3 of the Diamond District, part of Studio 43 Family and a solo artist, has been making serious noise in the District (that’s Washington, DC if you live under a rock). He has earned his success in what outsiders may call the “underground music” scene in DMV hip hop. He came into the music armed with a musical background including influences from various musicians, as well as his parents who were a part of the Howard University marching band.
“I grew up in an era where people really took pride in music and that instilled in me a great appreciation for music.” He has only been in music for the past five years, but his music is known far beyond the metropolitan area of DC. XO has been consistently hitting the DMV with some of tightest bars in the game. In 2009 XO teamed up with fellow rappers Oddisee and Y.U. which forms “Diamond District” and released the pre-Grammy nominated Best Hip Hop Album “In the Ruff”. His fellow rap mates also helped him with his solo efforts.
Smoke Dza on the first time he got high:
Dza: The first time I got high I was in Washington Heights with my homie Jose (God bless his soul) and we smoked some purple haze…I was so high! That day made me appreciate fresh air and rice and beans [laughs].
On the best weed he’s smoked:
Dza: The best weed I ever smoked, up to this day, is Sour Diesel. There’s nothing like it!
The dot com bubble may have burst almost 10 years ago, but the internet revolution continues as more bloggers and websites pop up everyday. So when in less than a year you establish yourself, coming off the heals a Pac Div headlining show and moving on to Atlanta’s AC3, the world needs to know about you.
Introducing Ashley Outrageous: a blogger and event planner/promoter out of South Florida. JENESIS sat down and got Ashley on the line to find out more about her site iamashleyoutrageous.com, her company Bread and Butter, and what the future holds for this talented entrepreneur.
Brought up in Yonkers, New York, Outasight’s musical drive shines through his voice and steps up with his hip-pop funk approach. He punches through the thick walls of diverse genres and gathers the pieces to bring an Outaisght incomparable groove. Outasight combines different music formulas and manifests a sound that grabs you and throws you into left field. An ability to rock the mic, yet serenade a note with an angelic funk voice – which is only one of the many threads in his gifted attire.
A soul charmed emcee with dual musical ability, Outasight graces his audience with a worthwhile experience in his latest project Never say Never, which includes hot features like XV and Freddie Gibbs.
In an interview with JENESIS Magazine, Outasight hands over a few of his thoughts on music today and where we might catch him in the next few years. Check it out:
JM: In what ways, with your style of music, do you want to reach out and relate to your audience/fans?
OS: Well if you listen to my music, most of the time I’m singing or rapping about positive messages that people can relate to. Like my last project was called Never say Never, and it touched on subjects of what a solo twenty something year old is going through and trying to figure out [in] their lives and stuff of that nature. I think I make a lot of relatable content, and it’s not too general. Everyone can kind of relate to it in their own sense, hopefully, that’s what I go for at least.
In a business heavily dominated by males, DJ Dimepiece is a more than just a pretty face who happens to know her way around the one’s and two’s. As one of the most recognizable female DJ’s, her alliances with some of the biggest names in the game have made her a person to watch, as well as one to be respected. From Nashville, TN to Cincinnati, OH, her road to success has stretched far and wide but pleasingly seems never ending. With the industry seeing a recent influx of female DJ’s, we turned to DJ Dimepiece to get her take on DJ’ing in a male dominated industry, her road to the top, and the decisions that helped her along the way.
How did you get your start as a DJ?
It actually all started while in college. I was a student broadcaster on our college heritage station, 88.1 WFSK (Fisk University – Nashville, TN) hosting a midday show. Each week, I’d visit a music store called “Platinum Bound Records” to get music for my show. The owners would always make comments that I should mix my own mix CDs (Mixtapes) and become a DJ. Taking it in consideration, my college radio station later purchased turntables for the broadcasts. Soon after that, I took it as a sign to learn the craft and have never looked back since.
What obstacles have you faced as a female DJ? Were there times that you wanted to quit?
As a female DJ, we’re always forced to prove ourselves twice as much. Primarily because we are a female, so our ability is already second-guessed, and you’re not taken seriously. In addition to being a female DJ in a male dominated field, it’s rare not to recieve advances from male counterparts. Unfortunately, I have learned in this industry that men see you as a female first, then professionally. So automatically, you’re going to get hit on. I won’t say that these obstacles have influenced me to quit, but moreso work hard to earn and maintain my respect as a woman and prominent female DJ.
Pistols and Palm Trees is more than just the name of his next project. Skeme was raised around them in the streets of Inglewood, LA. But, he always knew music would be his way out. And with a few projects under his belt and a growing buzz to back him, it’s seems the only direction for this rapper is up.
When did you get started with your career?
We started scrambling and making official moves since I was 16. I’m 20 now, so we’ve been doing it decent for about 3-4 years rocking—just getting our fan base up but working hard since day one.
How has everyone around the area, and even outside, been accepting your projects?
It’s so much love for us within the city it’s not even funny, like as far as LA. Like, regardless of if I was rapping or not it was love for me for just who I am in the city. So knowing that I do music, everyone is showing me love. It just so happened that we have those fire projects. I have a heavy fan base down south just off of how we move down there. I have a couple of brothers out in the A that put me on. Shout out Alley Boy. We just rockin’ giving the people what they want. I know what the people want to hear right about now.
So what do you think about artists such as Gucci Mane who just grinded til success and really didn’t do the mainstream thing?
I can’t tell you Gucci Mane’s living situation, motivation, what bills he has to take care of or even how far he wants to go in this industry, but I can say he’s done what a lot haven’t and he’s making a good career/lifestyle for himself. At the same time you also have to understand that as big as Gucci is, for every 5 people that know him, there are 10 who don’t. The 10 he won’t reach without the mainstream is the reason why he’s now on 4-5 mainstream artists records currently in regular rotation. It’s to take the leverage he’s gained for himself on the underground level and blow it to a megastar level.
That’s the position you want to be in when you start choppin’ it up with the labels and the industry heads. You want to be able to pack out 10K people at a venue without a major label deal, because in that situation you become the meal ticket—the golden child so to speak. Situations like that create bidding wars amongst the labels.
It’s similar to sports. You have teams fighting over a first round pick because the athlete was a star in high school or college, and then you have athletes who get drafted/picked up by a not so ideal team or not picked up at all. So if Gucci is content with being an underground cat, then he can make a great living and make the music he wants and just be fine with that. But at this point I think he and the people around him want to take what they’ve built and elevate it as far as possible.
You have to be honest with yourself when pondering the idea of pursuing a music career. I know people love music but not everyone was intended to make it.
The popularity and accessibility of home recording has driven a lot of people to pick up music making that otherwise would not at have done so. They are following the trend, the fad.
For some that may be the case and in turn we find that you’re truly a diamond in the dirt, but for others that music should stay in your basement. Or at the very least be man/woman enough to accept constructive criticism and learn to grow into an artist.
If you’re really in the music industry because of a deep rooted love and a true talent for making music then attribute it to your life.
In life you grow, you start off on one level and hopefully (if you wish to be vital in society) you grow to another level. The same applies to any craft in which you love. You put your heart, mind and soul into it and you grow with it. It gets better with time and in turn that’s what makes it timeless. If you truly grow with your music, your fans grow with it as well and they will understand and identify with it.
Understand that money, women/men, and material things are prizes. You should only be rewarded for excellence but some people get out of hand with it. They see the exceptions and the glow of the negativity and get attracted to the allure and instant gratification.
It’s not the success you appreciate but the journey it took to get there. Everything worth having takes a grind and I believe you’ll be more appreciative because of it in the end.
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