Miss a show? Watch Recent Sessions of The Movement.
Growing up in Philly, it was inevitable that you were exposed to Hip-Hop. For those who were drawn to it, the love affair began and the culture grew. Since 1973, Hip-Hop grew from B-Boys, Beat Boxing and DJs to an art form relatable to everyone. The 1990s gave way to a generation of people who could appreciate Hip-Hop as an art form rather just a commercial entity because artists from NWA and Snoop to A Tribe Called Quest and Nas could co-exist. There wasn't one sound and people could hear different artists on local radio stations.
Coors Light and Power 99 would like to introduce The Movement, to give the mic to 13 local emcees and introduce the collective of real Hip-Hop artists that exists in the city. The Underground Summer Series, featuring 13 local artist performances, live in our performance studio, will take place over the 13 weeks of summer.
What were you trying to do with My Point of Hue?
My first album was a way to release frustration. At the time, I was capturing the last four years of my life, and just putting together an album with my fears, my thoughts, my emotions. It started out as a group project, and I wasn't really supposed to be the emcee… but the producer… and the more I got into it… it became my cd.
Do you want to focus more on producing than emceeing?
Absolutely. I'm working on a project now where I am the emcee and the producer but after that I want to produce instrumental tracks and tracks for other people. On this one, I'm heavy into production and I'm learning a lot. The more you get involved in music, the more you understand it and I have a greater love for composing it and arranging it. In the next couple of years, I'll probably be focusing on production and composition.
Is producing your role in Chemistry Music Collective?
I have a lot of roles in Chemistry Music Collective right now, so I wouldn't say I have any one focus right now. I'm the solo engineer producing a few albums. Amir and I both have creative direction. Chemistry Music Collective is what it sounds like. It's just a group of artists coming together to put things together. We might have an artist doing anything. It might not even be music. It could be photography. There are no defined roles. Anybody can step in. We have several great producers involved… Deleon, Mute, J the Audiophile. We're not lacking producers, so I wouldn't say I'm the main producer at all.
What is the official start date for Chemistry Music Collective?
We haven't put ourselves on the web yet. We are all artists so we didn't want to focus on the business side… the side we don't like… we wanted to focus on the art and putting everything together. So we were like 'let's get ourselves to like 90% there and then we can start pushing the stuff we don't like. It's definitely in progress. We have a lot of artists doing a lot of different things.
So now, at a time when you have to be involved in every aspect of a project because there is no major backing, how do you find the balance to make the music you want to make?
I definitely say art first. We get the art done and then we move on to push the product. Once we figure out what the product is then we figure out how to market it. There are many different opportunities and channels to push your music out… some of them we use to the full extent and some of them we don't use at all. We have a lot of major opportunities now and we don't have to go through a major label to get studio time or to get a promotion. We have the contacts that we need, you can do a lot of stuff on your own-you can self-promote, you can mix your own cd, you can master your own cd… distribute your own cd… you don't need the press.
What do you think of Hip-Hop in Philly?
It's all over the place. There are different pockets. I think in general, a lot of it is positive. When we go places, we get a lot of love. There's a lot of respect. There are different crews or cliques that are doing music or doing art and a lot of people are going to share or feed off each other. Philly has always been a soulful Hip-Hop place as far as I'm concerned. Between Philly and New York, I always felt like New York was the raw, harder Hip-Hop… just raw lyricism and raw beats and Philly was soulful Hip-Hop. It's almost like Chicago and Detroit for me where Chicago is the soulful part and Detroit is the raw Hip-Hop.
So what project are you currently working on?
It's called Stained Glass Shattered Thoughts and Broken Syllables and it's me extending myself from my last project and really starting where I left off but making it broader. It's me trying different things… trying new ways of producing… learning new styles and new techniques. I always start a project looking for a sound and once I find that sound I try to grow it and make it cohesive. I'm not a one track person. I try to do an album as a whole project so I can listen to it all the way through. I'd rather do an album that a few people absolutely love than do an album with a few things that a lot of people kind of like.
Who were some of your influences musically?
It's hard to narrow it down. I listen to all kinds of music. I've been listening to Shiina Ringo. She's a Japanese pop-star… Emiliana Torrini… K-os. It's too many. I've been listening to Jazz. It's too much. Even Composers… like Jon Brion and John Williams. My favorite type of music to listen to is soundtracks from movies because I like the themes and trying to understand what people were putting together when they were putting together themes.
What other things have influenced you?
It starts with life experience and it branches off with stress and things you're dealing with on a regular basis. Artwork - Deleon is the second producer on the album…he also provided artwork for it so it influenced some of my lyrics and production. So it's a give and take. It really starts with life though, dreams.
Your first album makes reference to things that happened when you were a kid and kind of jumps around in time but everything always ties together by the end. Was there a point in your life where you knew you wanted to put together something like this?
I can tell you the exact artists that make me want to make albums that way. Quentin Tarantino - he makes movies and all of the different chapters can be about something different but they all tie in… or like Isaac Hayes… he can make a song that starts off with a theme and you won't hear that theme again until like 7 minutes into the song… or the Roots… when you listen to their albums and there's no 2 second gap in between songs. I started hearing things like that and it was like 'I don't want to do just songs. I wanted to write themes.' That's how I like to listen to music. I like to put a record on and just let it play. It's like a movie to me.