rap writing

Nardwuar Interview



Written by Jimmy Ness and originally published at Passionweiss

Nardwuar the Human Serviette is a squawky voiced, tartan-wearing Canadian who knows more about his interviewees than they do. The man previously called John Ruskin uses his encyclopedic knowledge of music to shock, impress and enlighten. His unorthodox approach includes asking his targets who they are, giving them presents and freezing in a wide mouthed grin until the camera shuts off. This pulls the humanity out of media-trained celebrities who are usually surrounded by yes-men and unprepared for the baffling torrent of obscure questions and non sequiturs. Pharrell thinks it’s the best interview he’s ever had, Alice Cooper hung up on him, Kid Cudi left mid-way through and Snoop Dogg invited him to his house.

The controversial Canuck also works as a guerilla journalist and has questioned several world leaders, including former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien who said he didn’t know what pepper spray was, instead claiming “for me, pepper, I put it on my plate.” Finally, Nardwuar plays in several bands, hosts a show on campus radio station UBC CiTR and has more interesting stories than the bible.

After months of trying to pin Nardwuar down for an interview, I caught up with him at Vancouver skate shop Antisocial before his band The Evaporators performed. A group of veteran punks in their 30s and 40s chatted as he rushed around setting up merchandise while wearing his trademark Scottish cap. I watched him while looking for anything that would signal a difference between his on-camera persona and the real Nardwuar. Although I didn’t come much closer to unraveling his true identity, he was a genuinely nice guy, doubled his interview time with me and spoke in rapid-fire mode at all times. We chatted about his research methods, this infamous interview with Blur, Sean Price imitating him, the freeze technique and Canadian rap.

What interested you in music journalism? I heard Sound Proof, a punk and new wave video show, had a lot to do with it.

Yes indeed, thanks for remembering that and thanks for the shout out for Sound Proof! That was a TV show on the North Shore where I lived. Unfortunately, I didn’t get cable, but a whole bunch of other kids at my high school did and they would always say there was some cool stuff on Sound Proof. I was able to actually get videotapes of episodes and was able to check it out. Finally, I actually participated in Sound Proof and that’s when I started doing a lot of interviews.


I couldn’t do Sound Proof until I volunteered at the local cable company though, so I had to volunteer filming council meetings and if you film council meetings then you were allowed to help out with Sound Proof. You had to do some community service, but I was so bad at filming council meetings that I started to laugh and the camera started to go up and down so they said “okay, you can go help out with Sound Proof.”

Around the same time, I got involved in UBC CiTR Radio [University of British Columbia’s campus radio station.] So I was doing a radio show and I was doing the radio interview thing, and then I started doing the video thing. So I decided I would film the interviews, take the audio for CiTR and take the video for stuff like Sound Proof.

Journalism is in your family too. Your mother was a history teacher, but she also wrote a book about a Vancouver bar owner and hosted a television show.

Yes indeed, thank you for digging so deep into the archives. That’s amazing you know that. Well yes, my mom was a member of the North Shore Historical Society. She would drag me to all her meetings, so as a young child I would attend these meetings where all these local writers got together to talk about local history. I got into local history and then as I got into Punk Rock, I got into Punk Rock history. So it all sort of came together. My mom was doing stuff on local Vancouver history so I thought why not do stuff on local Vancouver punk and that got me interested in the roots of punk.


How did you get into other genres?

At first it was only punk rock. I would only interview punk bands and people said to me “hey man, metal is kind of fun why don’t you get involved in metal?” So I was like ok I’ll try metal. And then people were like “you’re stupid to only do punk and metal, why don’t you do rap?” and then I got into rap. And then people were like “there’s electronic music, why don’t you do electronic?” While I was at CiTR UBC radio, there were all different DJs there playing all different genres of music and they would come up to me and go “you’re so stuck in your ways.”


So I guess it was the influence of other people at CiTR UBC Radio, where I still do my show. Also when you do a radio show once a week every Friday, you can’t really discriminate. You eventually run out of punk things to talk about so you’ve got to do metal or you’ve got to maybe interview some politicians. So I think part of it was people telling me. But also having a show once a week you’ve got to interview everyone and you can’t just stick to the punk.

I heard you actually collect and create scrapbooks for artists you’d like to interview?

In the olden days anything that was in the newspaper about punk rock I would clip it out and put it in a clippings file. So I do a similar thing if someone’s coming to town. I open a file on my computer and I jot down information thinking maybe one day this person will come to town and I’ll have all this information ready. Or I dig through my files and stuff that I may have collected previously.


How long do you spend researching an artist? Do you have a team that helps you out?

I do my radio show once a week on CiTR, so generally during that week I have one interview and I think about that interview. That doesn’t mean I spend the whole week doing preparation for that one interview, but I do think about it that entire week. And sure around a radio station, I’ll go like “hey, I’m talking to this ska band called The Toasters from New York City, anything I should ask them?” or “what do you know about ska?” So yeah I do always run things by my friends as well.


How much of Nardwuar is a persona, and how much of it is who you are in real life?

Well every time I get on stage I do get excited and I jump around and I sing in The Evaporators crazily and when I do interviews I jump around and do interviews crazily. So I do get excited once I get on stage, once I’m doing interviews or once I do my radio show. Generally, I kind of think about it in the sense of when you go to a rock and roll gig.

I always was inspired by people like Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys. He gets up there and he jumps around so I figure when you have the chance to be able to do your music, jump around as well. I guess you can concentrate on singing, but maybe do it secondly. The same thing when you’re doing an interview. Also you should go full out, because you don’t have much time. You’re only limited to 20 minutes or 10 minutes or whatever so you gotta go in there, ask your questions and get the hell out! But if I had four or five hours, sure I’d love to just sit back and relax. Generally, it’s because I get excited, I get nervous and when you get nervous, you get pumped up and you gotta go fast, fast, fast!

I’m nervous……

So am I!


What about your clothing, your name etc? Do you use this stuff as a special tactic to draw the real personality out of your interviewees or did that just kind of happen by accident?

Well Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys is called Jello Biafra [a combination of the brand name Jell-O and the short-lived African state Biafra.] So I thought I could be called Nardwuar, the Human Serviette. So everybody sort of had fun names like that. As for what happens I don’t really plan anything. If it happens, it happens. I don’t really think of it as what you’ve described, I just kind of go and do it because every interview is different. So you go to an interview thinking it’s going to go this way and it never ends up being the way you think it’s going to turn out. So I just keep doing it because I just love it!


During your interview with the band Blur in 2003, drummer David Rowntree throws away your glasses and constantly physically intimidates you. Was the worst interview you’ve ever had?

Well that wasn’t the hardest interview I’ve ever had or the worst because the tape survived. When I interviewed the heavy metal band Skid Row and the heavy metal band Quiet Riot, they didn’t like the interview so much that they destroyed the tape from the interview. So I would say the Blur interview was a success. First off, because the interview happened and the tape survived. Years later actually, Dave of Blur apologized to me because quote “he was on cocaine.” It took him eight years to apologize to me but he actually did… so we can blame it all on cocaine.


[You can read Dave’s apology toNarduwar here. He says he keeps a video of the interview on his phone to remind him to stay drug free.]

I read that you’ve previously been banned from interviewing artists on labels like Geffen and Warner?

Yes, because when I interviewed Sebastian Bach of the hair metal band Skid Row and he destroyed the tape I was using for the interview. He stole my favorite Tuque, that’s why I wear this Tam [Nardwuar’s traditional Scottish hat.] He [Bach] was on that record label, so the people from that record label said “you can never talk to anybody on that record label ever again.” It lasted a few years and then well here I am back. I just interviewed Ed Sheeran the other day and he’s on Warner.



who is nardwuar
Nardwuar, artist and musician Tim Kerr and myself. 

Do you read a lot of music journalism and is there anything about contemporary music journalism you don’t like?

Oh I love the music journalism that I read. The only thing I would say is make more online blogs printable, so you can actually read them, like on the toilet. But I love reading what other people do because I know what not to ask and it’s fun reading interviews so I can get little tidbits here and there. Every interview that is done, even if it’s for a mainstream top 40 outlet, I’ll listen or read it because sometimes there’s tidbits of information out there. So I love all writers. I love all interviews and I get information from them all as well.


You were booking gigs for a little while yourself, but I heard you stopped because they were pretty disastrous. One of the craziest ones was the show at St David’s United Church, can you tell me about that?

Yes. Thank you again, amazing you’re bringing up these relics from my past. That was put on by a guy called Grant Lawrence, he’s my friend. He was in a band called The Smugglers and he managed to get a hold of the church, it wasn’t me. I was co-presenting with him because his mom knew people at the church, and we hired some skinheads to do the security. They did a good job, but unfortunately at the end of the evening they stole the money because they were working the door and they stole the amp for the church organ. So the next day when the people showed up for the church there was no amp to project the organ, that was sort of bad. Plus after the gig we didn’t go into the washrooms to clean them up and we later found out there was shit on the walls. I learnt quite a bit from there. After you do a gig, you should clean up.


I learned kind of the hard way because I thought you just leave. But then I learned when we left the parking lot – it was covered in beer bottles and stuff like that. The gig was a band called The Gruesomes from Montreal and they totally inspired me too because they covered a lot of bands in their set. Like they would cover obscure 1960s bands from Montreal and I was like “wow there’s cool obscure 1960s bands from Montreal?” That got me into ‘60s Canadian punk so that gig was a big turning point for me in 1988.

Did you see Sean Price pretending to be you while interviewing Pharaoh Monch? There was also someone dressed like you in Korn’s Twisted Transistor video.

You’re one of the few people to actually acknowledge that. I say to other people, “hey man I was in the Twisted Transitor video” and they are like “NO!” So thank you for acknowledging that. I am really there. Although, they never told me. They got a Nardwuar lookalike there.


How do you feel watching that stuff?

Well I was honored because Sean Price has a song that goes like “SHUTTHEFUCKUP!!!!” Kind of like the Juicy J song and I think that’s amazing. Pharaohe Monch, just to have him reacting to a fake me was out of this world. I just could not believe it, like this is Pharoahe Monch. I would love to speak to him myself. I guess I did it right there. So it was just something that I don’t think will ever happen again. I was just totally honored.


You’ve interviewed everyone from Jay-Z to Iggy Pop. Do you have many names left on your interview wish list?

Well, originally it was Neil Young, Bill Clinton and Kurt Cobain. I spoke to Kurt Cobain. I’ve tried Neil Young twice, failed both times. I guess I could try again when he comes to town in the next few weeks. Bill Clinton I’ve tried, but didn’t get close to him and was escorted out by other members of the media. It wasn’t like the authorities or anything. It was other members of the media saying “get that guy out of here, he’s Nardwuar, he’s going to cause a disturbance.”


So I really would love to do another presidential United States of America-ish interview with another political figure. I’ve interviewed some of the other prime ministers from Canada, but I’ve never interviewed a president that’s been in office. I’ve interviewed Gerald Ford, ex president of the USA, but I’d like to do some more presidential ones. So those are pretty much on my wish list still. I guess I’m still kind of hoping for Neil Young, but still Bill Clinton. Also if we bring it into the 21st century I would still like to speak to some of the legends of rock and roll like Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis. People that may be passing away soon. Hopefully they don’t, touch wood, but I’d like to speak with them because all this history is dying and you have to document it before it all disappears.

Do you personally find time to listen to music and what are you enjoying at the moment? Any rap?

In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, there once was a rap artist who I’m still listening to called MC Terror T. I still listen to her and I listen to old school Vancouver rap. There was a group called EQ, which was one of the first groups that ever came out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. So I’ve been listening to some of the old stuff. As for other groups I do my radio show every Friday on CiTR, so there’s tons of music to listen to and I listen to CiTR as much as I can to find about new music. I’m constantly looking for it because I have no idea where to find it myself, that’s why I have to have CiTR direct me on where to look because all the different shows play at night and I can find out what I like.


I basically don’t know much at all. I have to find out what goes on, it takes a little while to find out. Yes even when I’m doing my radio show, as pathetic as it sounds, it takes me hours and hours to figure out what music to play. It’s so difficult.

At the end of every interview you completely freeze in one pose and stop blinking completely. Tell us about this technique.

I have no idea how the hell that happened. I think it happened originally because I was having so much fun that I didn’t want the interview to end. So I was like “ahhhhh!” I was just having fun. I don’t know how it happened!


You always mention Vancouver in your interviews. I just asked you about rap music and instead of talking about American music, you bought it back to Canada. Why do you love it so much?

I guess it goes right back to your first question, my mom. She was in the historical society. When I got into music, I got into local music and I love local scenes. However, if I was in Seattle I would be obsessed with the Seattle rock or rap scene, like Kid Sensation from Seattle or Criminal Nation from Tacoma. Anytime I go to a different city I’m interested in the local scene.


Looking back at your career, you seem to be a big advocate of the D.I.Y ethic when it comes to releasing and promoting music or even doing your radio show?

Yes because to begin with nobody would put on a gig for my band The Evaporators, so the only way to put on a gig is to put it on yourself. Same thing when you do a radio show. You’re doing the radio show, you have to program the music. I was doing my radio show for a little while and I was like “won’t it be cool to put out a record?” So I was inspired by a band in Vancouver called No Exit and they put out the first punk LP in Vancouver and I was given a copy of that record and I thought they can put out a record and they did it totally low budget.


What they did was they took the first Clash record and put their faces over the guys in The Clash so it was kind of a play on the first Clash record, it was totally do it yourself. So I thought I could do a record label, so Nardwuar records started in 1989. Then I thought I can put out a DVD, I can put out a CD and they can have Nardwuar t-shirts. So it started I guess because I saw other people doing it and also in Vancouver in the 1980s, I was inspired by the people that put out records. Because in Vancouver, people were like “ok we’re in a band let’s put out a record!” In other cities, they are like “well, we will put out a record but I don’t know if I want to put out an LP because I want to wait for the big major label deal.”

But here, there was no big major label deal to actually help you out, so you had to do it yourself. And a lot of things with the gigs too – there’s no place to play, there’s no place to do an all ages gig. I wanted to go to the bars, but I couldn’t go into the bars because I was too young, I looked like too much of a nerd. I could have grown a beard, but I still looked like a nerd. I still am a nerd now so I wasn’t allowed in there. You had to organize your own all ages gigs. If I lived in another city, it might have been different. There might have been a regular place to put it on, so you might not have had to do that but it’s different here in Vancouver. That’s why some of the best music is in Vancouver because people work hard. If you can do it in Vancouver you can do it anywhere in the world, because it’s so hard.

Do you have any advice for people looking to pursue music journalism?

I heard Green Day’s Dookie album and I didn’t hear one hit. I had no idea. In other words, my ideas are probably different and totally wrong compared to other people. So I’m trying to learn myself. I’m still trying to get to the top of the rock pile. But I would say what has helped me in my opinion has been being part of a community organization. You mentioned right at the beginning, Sound Proof. The local cable company, going right down there and volunteering for the local video show. Volunteering at CiTR UBC radio, the local campus community station. So I would say that in everyone’s town there usually is a local cable access TV show you can volunteer for or there’s a local campus community station and if you can volunteer and hang out at those places then you’ll learn a hell of a lot about journalism and you’ll meet so many people. I’m still learning. In fact, every time I show up to do my radio show I learn something. I always say, the minute you think you’ve learned everything is the minute you should quit.


What are you hoping to achieve with your career? I know that you were rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage in 1999 and once you came out you felt a lot more determined and focused.

Originally, it was to be pool side with Heather Locklear. However, that’s dating me a bit so I will update it. To be poolside with Heather Graham. Roller girl from Boogie Nights, right? Not Heather Thomas, but Heather Graham. I guess my goal still is to get my own show. I didn’t have my own show on MuchMusic, I was a freelance contributor but I’d still love to do my own show. I guess also, like you say, after being in hospital your goals change and right now actually I’m just happy when I wake up in the morning and I have a pulse and I can breathe. So my goal is to get through the day as you get older.

Well thanks so much and Doot doola doot doo…

Doot Doo!

Check out Nardwuar's video channel

Gangsta Boo Interview

Gangsta Boo Interview

Gangsta Boo ain’t no Barbie. As one of the south’s few premier female MCs, Lola Mitchell, spit vicious rhymes as a part of legendary Memphis crunk pioneers Three-6 Mafia. Her tough attitude and witty lyrics backed by her trademark “Yeah, hoe!” ad-lib earned the respect of peers, fans and white New Zealanders named Jimmy. Boo appeared on five Three-6 Mafia projects and released several popular solo albums before leaving the group in 2000 due to financial disagreements. But her career hasn’t become any less interesting – she briefly converted to Christianity, renamed herself Lady Boo, was accused of armed robbery, and has since affiliated with producer Drumma Boy.

Gangsta Boo is also highly opinionated and doesn’t take any shit. She expressed annoyance over constant Three-6 Mafia questions, had some advice for women and was critical about the mixtape era. We also chatted about possible retirement, friendship with Drumma Boy and Kreyashawn, collaborating with Eminem and her new mixtape.

Jay Electronica’s Act II: Patents of Nobility (the Turn)


Me and the guys at Passionweiss did a parody review of Jay Electronica's new album, which was supposed to be released two years ago. It features absurdly grandiose song titles like "10,000 Lotus Petals" and Jay takes himself waaaaay too seriously. He also looks like the twin brother of NBA player Mikael Pietrus.

Anyway I contributed this tiny spiel:

Nights of the Roundtable (first draft skeleton)

Elec ingests Amazonian frog secretions in the hopes of gaining lyrical superpowers, but instead records an imaginary roundtable discussion with his some of personal idols including Rhonda Byrne, writer of “The Secret” and once and future King of New York – Papoose. Rhonda instructs Jay that if he really wants to make an album he should create a wish board with crayon, macaroni and glitter drawings of himself in a recording studio. The track remains a draft as he eagerly awaits a verse from Fonzworth Bentley.

You should definitely check out the rest here.

Roach Gigz - Going Off

Originally published at passionweiss

by Jimmy Ness

For better or often worse, 2012 is the year of the white rapper. Roach Gigz joins the ranks of the chosen few who rhyme without catering to college bros, performing at the Gathering of the Juggalos or sounding like this. The San Francisco native was named “Roach” after the Caucasian character in Next Friday who feeds weed brownies to his dog, and for this effort he deserves a baker’s dozen of the finest space cookies.

“Going off” is simple and direct. Gigz rhymes over a mechanical beat and drops a few bars. But this isn’t a rappity-rap song by a mean-mugging street poet. Roachy Balboa is a versatile wordsmith with a sense of humor. He rhymes “I got neck two times, like a fat face” and chubby fans get their feelings hurt. With his official debut, Bugged Out coming next month, the lyrics also introduce Roach to those who aren’t part of his core Bay Area audience. We learn he’s a hippy, had a kid too early, likes Spanish girls and owns two houses. Gigz would also like to date Nicki Minaj. She would probably be terrible dinner company and speak in cartoon voices the entire time, but whatever man. 

The video is equally uncomplicated with Roach as the central figure, stop motion editing and few distractions other than some ladies and his son’s juicebox. Gigz might look like Baby Bash, but he rhymes well enough to help Kid Rock become a distant memory. The white rap OG MC Serch would be proud.

Shady Blaze interview

main attrakionz

Shady Blaze spits syllables like a Gatling gun and his rapid fire flows have 90s rap fans reminiscing over smoking sessions to “Thuggish Ruggish Bone.” Despite his close friendship with fellow Oakland natives Main Attrakionz, Blaze doesn’t just make cloud-rap or whatever else avid Tumblr users want to call it. Instead the Green Ova soldier works with a variety of producers to keep his sound in constant evolution. 

His early work (and by early I mean like a year ago) stuck to traditional themes of narcotics, guns and women. But he’s recently touched on NWO conspiracies, family issues and even flirted with slow rapping like regular humans. Despite terrible phone reception and my recording software threatening to kill the interview, we talked about him wanting be a singer, his rap influences, learning the speed flow technique and meeting Main Attrakionz. He also complimented me on my questions which was the perfect confidence boost for a hung-over Sunday.

By Jimmy Ness
 
There isn’t a lot about you on the internet, tell us about yourself?

Man, I’m from East Oakland, California. I’m 24 year’s old and I’m part of Green Ova Chapter Five. I’ve been rapping since I was a little kid. Just got serious with it when I was about 19 because Main Attrakionz really pushed me to keep doing this and here I am.

Where does your rap name come from?

At first my name was Velocity, because of how fast I was. After that, Shady Blaze basically came from my friends and the streets. Shady came from the part of East Oakland I lived in. It was off of 89th Avenue and that was known as the Shady eighties. I moved from there and basically I was known as Little Shady. Blaze came from when I used to produce and make hot beats. So I just put Shady Blaze together when I first created my Twitter, but my rap name at the time was Velocity. Then everyone just started calling me Shady Blaze so I just went with that.

How did you start rapping?

I’m not going to lie to you, at first I wanted to be a singer. When I was a little kid I wanted to sing. At the age of 11, I realized I wasn’t good enough to be a singer. I couldn’t sing for shit. Then when I moved to 89th Avenue in Oakland, I met a lot of friends there who were really into hip-hop and they kind of introduced me to it. I started copying them and writing raps and rapping on the street. We were making little songs on little cassette tapes. We would play an instrumental on another radio and record to it. We just played it to everyone and from there I’ve just been rapping ever since.

Did you come from a musical family?

My dad is a singer. He’s got his own studio. I didn’t really know him when I was little. I didn’t know anything about him. My mom happened to run into him again and I met him when I was 14 and he had a studio up and he was making his own music, he was doing shows and all of that. [The father of Shady Blaze is a traditional R&B singer named Supa Jay]

Who influenced your rapid-fire style?

It’s got to be Bone Thugs N Harmony. But when I first got hooked on rap, I was listening to a lot of Ca$h Money. Juvenile, BG, Lil Wayne, Young Turk, Big Tymers. That’s all I listened to.

Then I found a CD in my stepdad’s car and it was Bizzy Bone’s Heaven’z Movie. I was just going through it and listening like hmm let me just see what’s on here. And I listened to “When Thug’s Cry” and I didn’t know the song, but I recognized it so I listened again. I was like 14 year’s old at the time. The fast rap just caught me. I was like man this is incredible so I started listening to his other stuff. I took it to school one day and I’m like “ya’ll know this guy right here?” and they were like “yeah it’s Bizzy Bone, he’s from Bone Thugs N Harmony.”

My friends were telling me Bone Thugs N Harmony just dropped a new album called BTNHResurrection. So I went to the store fast and picked that up and became a big BTNH fan. I started buying all their old stuff Art Of War, East 1999, all of it, Faces Of Death. I’ve got everything. I just started listening to them and it just spoke to me. But then their fast rap kind put me on to Tech N9ne and Twista and D-Loc and Dalima and all those fast rappers. It just started catching me and then I started doing it.

Did people think you were copying or biting their style when you started rhyming fast?

I experienced a lot of it. At first it got to me. At first you want to click everybody that says something and start typing back to them fast and hit them back up. But at the same time, the deeper you get in the game the more people are gunna come at you. So you just have to start learning how to accept it, how to take it. I would just stick to myself.

People can stay he’s biting their style, he’s biting this style. But the game got to evolve man. They did their thing. They influenced me to do it, and want to be not like them, but to do music the way they did it. It’s cool to me. I love doing it. I love their style. I love the way they make their music. It makes me feel good when I’m making my own, you know what I mean?

How did you learn the fast rapping technique?

That’s crazy you asked that because I’m going to be real. When I first listened to Bone Thugs N Harmony, I was like they rap so fast! So I never understood what they were saying at first. But I just loved the way they did their thing and I started with Bizzy Bone. I had a cassette tape player, so I would record his CD to a tape. You could play it back and rewind it and slow it down, you could make it go slower. So I would write down each lyric he would say and as I would play it back at regular speed I would start rapping with him trying to see if I could keep up. At first it was hard, but as I started memorizing those words I started getting it down and I started writing my own fast raps after that.

You also slow down and rhyme normally on some of your tracks as well?

To be honest with you, it started in 2011 – when I actually started to rap fast. Before that I was rapping slow. That’s what is crazy. It all started because of my homie Squadda B from Main Attrakionz. He hit me up and was like “there’s a group out there called Children of the Corn and they remind me of your style.” I guess they were on some fast rap type of stuff. Then the next day he sent me a beat and I just started rapping fast. When we made the song it was called “Dirt On My Name.” After that, he just started sending me a bunch of beats and we made Shady Bambino.

It dropped February 2011 on greenovamusic.bandcamp.com and it was just fast raps on that. That’s what really put me out there. That’s what really got me noticed, Squadda B’s beats and the fast raps. So I stuck with it. I didn’t really go back to doing slow raps. But now and then, yeah I do slow raps. It depends on the beat and how I feel.

Do you make music full time or work on the side?

Nah, I do music full time. Actually I’m not even really making that much money to be honest. I’m not doing that many shows, but when you do a show you get paid this and that. Basically I’m living with my girl to be honest and she’s paying, she’s paying for the rent, she paying all that. I’m just going from studio to studio you know what I mean? I’m not working. I’m not doing anything. I’m just recording.

What do you think of the music scene in the Bay Area?

Right now, there are a lot of different styles in the Bay Area. It’s just our radio people are getting paid to play just one type of music. There are so many different styles and so many talented rappers that are not getting known and not getting looked at because they are coming up from nothing. Like Biggie and Pac and shit, we are coming from nothing right now but that’s not what the radio wants to see. They want to see people who have got the money already. People who have got the money to pay the radio stations to play their music over and over again. And people who are tying to come up don’t get noticed because of that. It kinda sucks out here, but that Hyphy shit was cool. That was a movement. The DJs were playing it all over.

How did you link up with Main Attrakionz?

I had just turned 15 year’s old. They were 12 when I met them. I met them through a friend. I produced at first, I didn’t rap. I had a keyboard and everything at my mom’s house in this little garage. One of my friends hit me up and was like “there are these two kids and they are dope at rapping, we are going to bring them over.” We went over there to pick them up and it was Squadda and Mondre. We came up with the name Main Attrakionz. We were all Main Attrakionz as a group. I didn’t see them again for about four years and when I met back up with them they were Main Attrakionz. They kept the name.

You guys mention Green Ova a lot and also release albums under the Green Ova name, what is it?

Green Ova is a family. You know what I mean? A bunch of guys, we grew up together and we trying to survive out here. No matter what we go through, we have to get money and make sure we are good. So that’s basically it. When you hear Green Ova that’s all you really need to know, get money and survive. Aint doing stupid stuff, getting locked up, getting into a beef situation or any of that. We are just doing us. The members of it are just Squadda B, Mondre, Dope G, LOLO and then me. That’s the Green Ova chapters, one to five.

As far as a record label, Main Attrakionz basically started this whole thing. If it wasn’t for them I basically wouldn’t be rapping right now, I’m going to be honest with you. I would not be rapping.

Producer Ryan Hemsworth said in an interview that you and Main Attrakionz were fastest working artists he knew. You went through a period of constantly dropping new albums but you’ve slowed down recently, why is that?

[Laughs] Oh man, you ask some good questions. The time when I was recording and dropping back to back mixtapes, I didn’t care about the mixing process. I didn’t care about any of that. I just wanted to get the songs out, you know what I mean? All of that backfired on me you know cause Shady Bambino was cool, it sounded good but Shady Business that was just awful. That was a half-ass album.

And then from all the blogs and the critics and everything, I learned that it was quality over quantity. You got to make sure your songs sound good before you put them out. I used to just put my songs out just because I did it, instead of putting time into it. That’s why we have to slow the writing process and make sure everything actually sounds good before we put it out for the public.

You touch on some political themes and personal stuff in your music?

It’s just me being real man. A lot of the times when I’m in the studio, I’m in there alone. It’s just me. I just sit in there listening to the beat for so long and I just start thinking there’s so much going on in the world today that shouldn’t be happening. Everything feels funny to me. Everything in the world when it comes to the radio, the videos, everything just looks so funny to me. If it’s funny, I just have to express myself and how I feel about it.

And my family, they go through problems as well. I don’t want to say that when you go through so many problems you write better music but it happens ya know?

You work with a lot of different producers?

I work with so many producers because I put my email on Twitter and everybody hits me up with beats. And there are so many feels and styles and so many different types of rap I can do. They are not out yet but they will be out. I don’t like sounding the same on a track, if you get a rapper that sounds the same on every track you get bored after a while. I love coming different and I love trying different things because if it’s boring for the public, it’s boring for me. So the only answer is to try something new.

You’re making a new mixtape with Deniro Farrar?

Yeah at first it was an EP, but with all the songs we got now it will be like a project.

Deniro said you haven’t actually met in person?

Yeah, we never met. Basically I was on the internet and his manager contacted me. He said he had a song with Deniro Farrar on it and it was the “NWO” track with [producer] Nem270. I listened to the verse and I was like this is deep, I should get with it. So I wrote my verse for it and after listening to the whole song I realized me and him had the same look on what was happening in the world, government and all of that. So we did a second song and I was like damn this chemistry is like really building up. So it’s crazy because he sees the same shit I see and he’s not even around me, he’s from the East Coast and I’m from over here, the West Coast. To see other people feel the same way I do, that’s deep. I feel like I’m not the only one. I don’t feel like I’m insane, like damn this shit is real. So we both make music and we might as well start this revolution. Get people to rock with us. Let’s do it.

What are the world views that you and Deniro share?

Fucked up government man. Shit isn’t fair for people. Some people starve, some people are hungry and poor as hell and then you got the rich people who don’t even pay for shit. Everything’s backwards in the world today man. I’m not saying I’m going to be on the one to put shit back together, but I’m not going to stand here and just watch it happen. I’m going speak my mind about it. I’m not trying to be a superhero or nothing, save the world and shit, I know I can’t do that. But at the same time, shit going on in the world is looking stupid man.

What do you want to achieve with your career?

I want to do this long term because I love doing it. I love being able to express myself in music and get paid for it, you feel me? At the end of the day it’s all fun, you can have the shows, you can have the videos. I’m going to be doing this for a long time for sure. I definitely don’t want to go to working in a warehouse or no McDonald’s making hotdogs or hamburgers and shit. This is definitely the real deal. Anyone that says they rap and they don’t want to make money off it, they lying. I for sure want to make this a career, this is cool.




Waka Flocka Flame - Rooster in my 'Rari


Waka Flocka Flame - Rooster in my 'Rari

By Jimmy Ness

Originally published at Passionweiss

This bangs so hard even the snarky elitists want to rip their cardigans off and smash stuff. Flocka shout raps to the roosters/chickenheads who sit in his Ferrari and try to sample the Flockaveli fortune. His opening acapella line sets things off nicely- “Pay for what girl? You better pay for this dick!” Fozzie Bear is too busy for gold diggers when there’s stacks to throw, other groupies to sample and Xannies to chew. 

You already know what this sounds like: booming trap beats and basic yell-along lyrics. But that’s not a bad thing. No one wants to hear political Flocka raps unless they’re about getting crunk with Obama and breaking windows in the White House.


“Rooster in my ‘Rari” doesn’t push any musical boundaries, but it’s a nice fiesta from technical wordplay and aggressive social commentary. Especially if you’ve been bumping Killer Mike and EL-P’s albums this month like the rest of us. Flocka’s music is stupidly fun and if you ignore any Trey Songz collaborations, Triple F Life might be the soundtrack for summer rioting and two day hangovers. Waka still does gutter shit better than any of those Chicago high-schoolers.

Deniro Farrar Interview

Deniro Farrar Interview

Deniro Farrar is covered in tattoos and rhymes over trance samples, but is the opposite of a third rate Flo Rida. . His second album Destiny Altered, is death, politics and sex over gloomy atmospheric electronics. Farrar witnessed tough times while living in two Charlotte housing projects and left High School before finishing ninth grade. He refuses the “conscious rapper” label and sits in the same contradictory class as Freddie Gibbs and Schoolboy Q, both promoting and condemning aspects of his imperfect life.

The 23 year old only started rhyming in 2010, but he’s one of the chosen few blessed with a natural talent that many of his peers lack. Farrar spoke to me from a sweaty hotel lobby in Atlanta while on a small two week tour. He was high as hell and we talked for nearly an hour about everything from his mother’s previous crack addiction to J Cole’s mediocre album. Farrar answered with brutal honesty and became more outspoken with time. The conversation wasn’t all serious though. We laughed about Deniro’s plans to sleep with Kreyashawn, he rapped a verse about Kendrick Lamar, and after the interview said he only uses Skype to watch Turkish women undress.

Deniro Farrar - Play No Games


By Jimmy Ness

Smashed buildings, muddy water and sledgehammers. “Play No Games” is rugged imagery on a gritty and grey specrum. Deniro Farrar locks eyes with the viewer and rhymes about poverty. It’s an overused subject, but he speaks without a trace of pretentious bravado or corny consciousness.

No witty punchlines, no preachiness, no swag. Just compelling rhymes. Farrar wears a weathered sports cap and dirty boots as he raps about alcohol addiction and death. “Sick and tired of funerals and going to these wakes. Killing off each other, while they laugh in our face.” His raps are straightforward and his intentions are clear: he simply wants to tell his story.

Halifax producer Ryan Hemsworth’s thumping minimal beat is something you’d expect The Weekend to wail hipster drug tales over. Yet it somehow works for Farrar’s precise delivery. A haunting How To Dress Well sample repeats itself and the song reeks of hopelessness. As “Play No Games” ends, Deniro throws his hands in the air and walks away, having experienced the track’s despair personally in Charlotte’s housing projects. It’s struggle rap at its finest.

DJ Carnage Interview


Originally published at Passionweiss
DJ Carnage is a young producer who doesn’t care about old school rap values. He’ll make authentic gutter music for grill wearers and annoy them next week with poppy dubstep. Sneaking on the internet radar after producing Kreyashawn’s collaboration with Theophilus London “Shrimp Pt.2”, his uniquely rhythmic bass obviously stood out and he’s continued to carve a creative sound, whether working with the A$AP crew or remixing Beyonce.The DC native is also a charismatic rapper who smiles in all of his music videos and swears too much during interviews. We talked on a fuzzy phone line about working with the A$AP Rocky, smelling manure in Maryland and his varied production style.

By Jimmy Ness

What have you been doing at Coachella?
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Man, I’ve been out here on the Borgore tour. You know, I’ve been on the bus with Document One and Borgore and we have been doing shows and shows and shows. One of the stops on Borgore’s tour is Coachella. We’ve been watching other shows too, it’s pretty cool. I watched Rehab yesterday. I also watched Feed me, Madeon, Afrojack and we watched Swedish House, oh and The Black Keys.
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I read on Twitter, you said Kendrick Lamar sounded a bit like DMX?
Kendrick ….uh yeah when he was rapping he was very grungy, I don’t know. I can’t do real hiphop music, like I can’t listen to it. It has to be fast or obnoxiously stupid or something. I don’t know, I just can’t sit there and listen to someone try to be lyrical. You know, I just can’t do it.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m from Maryland, DC. Umm I’m 21 and ah you know, fuckin’ living in LA now because there’s more shit to do than in Maryland. I was out in the country. There were too many fuckin’ cows, waking up every day with the smell of manure and shit. So that’s just how it is, I’m living in LA now. Fucking young ass just turned 21 in January.
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How did you start making music?
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My mom and my step-dad bought me a Studio Bible and it was when I was living in the country. I had nothing to do so I just fucked around on my computer and tried to do something with my life. I just started making beats and long after that I got good, and I moved to LA. Your production style is very diverse.
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How would you describe your sound?
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Honestly, I don’t know. My influences are weird. One day I want to make some trap ass gutter shit and listen to Gucci. Then the next day I want to make some Progressive House like Swedish House Mafia, or some random day I just want to make some motherfucking grungy ass dubstep or
something. My managers hate it too because I have to make some hiphop shit and I’m just not in the mood , I just wanna make some dance shit. Or one day I have to make some dance shit and I just want to make some weird-ass bass shit. I don’t know. It’s whatever the fuck I feel like, I need to change my work ethic but that’s how it is.

What is Trap-Step?
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Trap-step is a mixture of trap music, you know the snares and 808s. You know the entrance of a trap song then right before the verse is about to come on you drop some nasty sick ass tune. It’s like the best of both worlds. You get to hear some grungy ass shit that makes you want to grit your face and as soon as the drop comes on, you want to slap the shit out of the person next to you.
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A few years ago you flew to Hawaii and watched Kanye make a beat for My Dark Twisted Fantasy?
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Yeah it was my boy Lino who told me to go out there. I went out with him and he was like ‘yo lets chill with them.’ We went out there kicking it in Hawaii. Lino, this guy I’ve been working with for hella long, he’s a great rapper. We went there and watched them make beats for like an hour. It was weird, quick and fast but they made a lot. [Kanye] He was really nice. He was really passionate about everything.
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How do you and Kreyashawn know each other?
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I’ve known her because she used to fuck with the crew. Everybody from the Bay I used to fuck with. So we were just friends and shit cause we would Tweet, and Skype each other and talk on UStream. She fucked with Lil B and I fucked with Lil B. One day we were like yo let’s make a freestyle and shit, and from there we did “Shrimp”.
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What do you think about the hate she receives?

She’s a really cool and talented girl. I think people say the hype is leaving because she hasn’t dropped new music. But I’m quite excited to hear her album though.
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You also linked up with Theophilus London through Twitter and made the beat for “Big Spender” with A$AP Rocky?
Yeah we did, because of Kreyashawn.

I sent Theo the “Big Spender” beat around August or something, a long time ago. He went crazy over it. We finished it in Australia and I was like “when are we going to release it?” Then around January, this year, A$AP Rocky jumped on it. They didn’t finish it though so that’s why it took so long. Then we had to wait a couple of months to get the sample cleared, so that’s how it happened.

I met A$AP at South by Southwest but I think I’m going to meet A$AP today again at his show, him
and A$AP Ant.
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One of my favorite tracks you’ve produced is “Tell ya” with A$AP Ant and Bodega Bams. How did that come about?
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It’s really grimy. I usually don’t make music like that and it was one of those things where I randomly felt like making music like that. It was weird. I just felt like making some grimy ass shit. My boy Bodega I’ve known him for years and years, he’s my big brother, and he’s an incredible rapper. Whenever I make some grungy hiphop shit I always sent it to him cause you know, he does that New York type shit. He did it and then gave it to A$AP Ant. I didn’t know that then. He hopped on it and I heard it and it was sick as shit. Then they shot the video, everyone from A$AP heard it and they fucking pushed that shit. So that’s how Told Ya came about. I love the tune.
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Are you doing anything with the A$AP crew in the near future?

Yams hit me up and said that they wanted some tracks for the A$AP Mobb album so we talked about it and shit. You’re going to hear some new Carnage and A$AP soon. Some massive tunes.
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You also rap, is that something you do just for fun?

When I rap, yeah it’s for the fun. It’s really like I have nothing to do that day and I’m not inspired to make any beats. So I rap on some shit and people like it, so why not make more you know. A lot of people tell me they like the videos and all that because it’s really fun, like a really fun energy. And that’s how I want it to be, I want it to be like, it’s like whatever you know. But not in the whatever sense that people don’t take me seriously. I’ll tell you a secret. It’s kind of cool that I don’t take my rapping seriously because at the end of it, I know that my beats and my production is something serious. I like to fuck with people’s heads. So they hear my rapping and THEN hear my beats….. and they are like “fuck is he actually a genius?”
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What do you want to achieve from your career?
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I want to be known as a legend. I want people to see me and be like “this guy is like remarkable.” I want to be on the Daft Punk, Timberland or Dr Dre level. I want to be known, you know. That’s my goal in life, to be one of those people that when I walk in front of other people there is a whole mob everywhere, like wow! Like they are in awe. That’s what drives me. Every single time I go to a show I’m pissed off because I haven’t reached that level yet, so it makes me work harder.



A$AP Ant and Bodega Bamz - Told Ya (Produced By DJ Carnage)


By Jimmy Ness

Bring the menacing shit. Razor blades in larynx, Bodega Bamz snarls all over “Told Ya” and treats apocalyptic Baltimore like a crack Disneyland. What Bamz lacks in technical street slang, he makes up for with threatening conviction. His diamonds are black and blue cause he bruised them. Straight out of Spanish Harlem, Bamz proves New York rappers adding winter grime to Southern beats hasn’t lost its charm.

A$AP Ant goes next and dismisses your assumption Rocky and Ferg were the only ones in the crew worth watching. Employing a double-time flow, he decimates DJ Carnage’s post-regional bass thump and as a screwed sample of Three-Six Mafia’s “Playa Haters” lurks in the background. The legend of Juicy J grows bigger.

Look out for Carnage too. His growing catalogue of excellent beats includes electronic, hip-hop and everything between. He also raps with an engaging sense of humor and doesn’t take this music shit seriously. Catch him making indie girls feel awkward in the “Loaded” video with Theophilus London. If you weren’t surfing the trill-wave, you might opt to buy a board. And for the record, Ant and SchoolBoy Q need to collaborate on a bucket hat appreciation track immediately.

Bronze Nazareth interview

Bronze Nazareth interview

We Do It Right magazine is lucky enough to be speaking with Detroit emcee and producer Bronze Nazareth for its very first interview. Bronze is known as an integral part of the new generation of the Wu Tang family and his production credits include Raekwon, Gza, Rza and Immortal technique, as well as having a solo career and being part of the group Wisemen. 

Firstly, Bronze thank you for taking the time out to answer our questions!! What’s up with you at the moment?

Right now I’m taking a break from mixing out the 60 Second Assassin album, also finishing an album for the 67 Mob, some cats from BK who linked up with me for their album. I’m also recording my solo School For The Blindman and working on a new Wisemen album. Quite busy at the moment. 

For those who don’t know about you, tell us a little about your background and how you first became affiliated with the Wu Tang family. Did Rza mentor you to an extent?

Born in Grand Rapids, MI, which we call Gun Rule. Got with Cilvaringz who led me to Rza. Rza heard some joints and gave me five minutes to speak to him, I splashed him with some heat and he asked me to join the Wu Elements! Moved to Detroit some years ago, and began diggin in with the Wu camp. Nah Rza didn’t really mentor me, more so he gave me a push, so I could take my car to the gas station and fuel it up myself. 

As far as producing records, what is your mindset before you go into the studio?

My mindset is on nothing really, I may be in a certain mood or feeling some way and that will drive what I’m looking to make. I don’t ‘try’ and make Wu sounding beats or anything, I sit at my board, and find something I like, chop it, play it, cut it, do whatever to get the sound I want to get out of it. I don’t go in trying to make a hit, or whatever, it’s simply me feeling the music.

I know that you don’t go by many aliases which is definitely a good thing. What does the name Bronze Nazareth mean exactly?

If you’ve ever seen the 18 Bronzemen movie, my name is symbolic of the struggle they went through to exit the temple and go into the real world. Nazareth is symbolic for the Prophetic Jesus of Nazareth, I see myself as a sort of prophet or soothsayer for my people who listen.. so really it’s all symbolic and can be compared to my modern struggles.