Shower Me With Your Love

Shower Me With Your Love
"...we don't need no piece of paper from the city hall, keeping us tried and true..."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

512 future: Kydd & KaiZen

Nonchalant emcee-producer Kydd Jones has a posse that’s bubbling.  The internets have been paying attention too, as a handful of his videos have 25,000+ plays. And why not?  With a penchant for building mildly smooth head nods that sound dusty yet contemporary, and surrounding himself with other bleeding edge artists and like-minded producers, the young mouthpiece is set to release his second full length – The Sounds in My Head Pt. 2. The sophomore follow up to Pt.1 will include guest appearances by proven grinders Pac Div, Yelawolf and GLC.  Dude can flat out spit and holds down his hometown proper on tracks like the jazzy “Jungle’’ where he claims…city where the hippy be/ more bars than 66 Sixth Streets/ fuck that devil shit, by the Frost Tower fixin' to level it/ Austin rebel shit/ Austin bass and treble mix/ though some ni**as peddle it/ skaters and my peddlers develop it.  I’ve had my eye on Mr. Jones for a brief period and caught up with him earlier this month.

How long have you been reppin’ Texas and what is your favorite thing about the state/ Austin?   I was born in Austin so I’ve been here pretty much my whole life. I love the feeling of Austin.  We have this warm vibe here that makes people want to come here and stay for good.  It must be the food and the music.

Are you influenced by any ATX artists (music or other)?
Tee-Double and Gary Clark Jr. both understand music on a level that I can appreciate.

Did you rap or produce first? Which do you like more? What did you first hear or see that made you want to make your own shit?
Well I started rapping around 9 years old and I didn’t know what a producer was at the time.  I needed beats so I would loop the end of songs on tapes and that process alone was almost impossible! We made it work somehow, but that got old quick.  I was 15 when I produced my first record and since then I’ve gone through phases where I produce a shit load, but can’t write or don’t want to write.   Or I would be writing more without the motivation to produce.  At this point though, I’m doing both pretty well I think.

Tell me about LNS.
Well the LNS crew is a group of creative people, producers, writers, emcees and the list goes on.  We are the Leaders of the New Skool—it’s almost like a group with elite powers that evolve through time.  I’ve watched too many episodes of Heroes!  My album The Sounds in My Head Pt.2 will be out later this month.   It will be crazy good like ya momma’s cookin’ unless she sucks! #Lz But yeah, Pt.2 is some of my best work, but I’ll let the music speak for itself.

What does the future look like for you?   Everything G.O.O.D. (Getting Out Our Dreams)

The homie KaiZen, aka Zen Dutchmaster, is another 512-er standing tall for Texas hip hop. Draping his bars with genuine couth, Zen’s refined flow and scholarship are the reflection of an artist who’s ventured through life with an innate sense of absorption.  KaiZen is on a mission to pass his words to your well being.  He answered some questions from likedeaddogs headquarters--inhale the flavor of a cultured gentleman. 

I think an emcee’s life experiences and the way they digest other artist’s music has a considerable impact on their own body of work.  What has had the biggest impact on yourself as an emcee?   The Power of Music has had the biggest impact on me and continues to impact me every day.  You can go all around the world and find songs or written pages from before Christ that still influence the way people think and see the world today.  Music, like all literature, allows the writer to live forever and has the potential to influence the world forever.  When I realized how powerful music and words can be and how eternal they are, I was hooked.   I had to leave my mark—bomb the wall of life with my own personal graph design.  Feel me?  I’m just blessed to live in a time where “Hip-Hop” has provided an avenue that allows for the explicit expression of my story, no holds barred.   I don’t like to be censored—at any fucking time. lol

People love to place an artist’s sound in a box or domain...sounds like this or influenced by that.  If you would, box yourself up in your own words before anybody else does  :) *you can be as vague or explanatory as you’d like… Hmmm.  I hate boxes. Lol  You’re talking to somebody who grew up on Pearl Jam and Dr. Dre, but I also love listening to Stravinsky symphonies, too.  I love the calculated aggression the Bad Boy/Death Row era, but I also learned from it.  Just as I learned from Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Tupac and even Jimi Hendrix.  They all danced with the same demons. . . I almost feel like they were all afraid of their own greatness.  I’m not always so serious though.  I bump all kinds of music because I’m in all types of moods any given moment.  Honestly, I can’t even say a box man because I am influenced by everything I see.   The universe is so big, but it’s the right size box for me.

How long have you been spitting and what are your immediate and long-term plans?   I’ve been spitting since I was 20.  I came home one winter break when I was working/interning at the radio station.  I heard Nas’ “H- to the OMO”.  That Jay-Z diss.  And I just loved how he just came out so fluid, but so gangsta and so meticulously brilliant.  I was like, I wanna do that.  I immediately just wrote some words on a legal pad.  No bars or rhythm to it—that stuff was all in my head.  I just needed to put the words down.  My brother over heard me and said it was tight.  That gave me the confidence to go spit it to the people at the radio and they liked it.  I been writing and spitting ever since.  KaiZen (continually improving) every time! LONG TERM: Music is my life, so I want to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.  I want to have the relevancy and the freedom to drop an album when I’m inspired to.  Jay-Z and Nas inspire me to be at their age and still spitting with such tenacity and sharpness.  I want to change peoples’ perception of what a rapper can say or where he can come from.  As well as where he can go.  I’m not headed for no casket or no jail cell anytime soon, so people should expect to see me everywhere for a long time.  I want to get into sports ownership, free agency and such.  Plus, I want to be the first rapper with a successful cannabis dispensary chain (once it’s all legal of course).  The main thing is that I want to enjoy my life and my music to be a reflection of that.  All of it.

Tell me about Word, Power, Life.   Words Power your Life bruh.  If you think/speak BIG, you are BIG.  It’s no bullshit.  It’s not enough to have though in your head.  Manifest it vocally and you’ll see it manifest in the physical.  Trill talk.  You seen it with ‘Pac and Biggie and even others.   No disrespect to their music or their message, but I’m trying to give people something that will inspire them to make themselves great and this world a better place.

“Everybody wants to be a deejay, everybody wants to be an emcee…” so said Posdnus twenty-two years ago.  How do you stay fresh in an oversaturated sea?    Maaaan, believe it or not… I don’t know how I stay fresh bruh, cuz I’ve been this way my whole life.  Thank God.  I don’t know how to do anything else.  God’s surrounded with an ill group of individuals that don’t let wack shit ride in the circle . . . period.  It’s nothing cocky or personal.  That’s just how confident we are in our fresh and our swag.  Like, I said, I’ve always been this way.  I don’t think I’m gonna change.  I got too many people that would call me out on it.  Lol (including you!)    My best answer for the question is I just stay true to myself and God.  The best move you can make in an oversaturated market is an original one.  I don’t know how to be anybody but myself.  I’m TRILL-HUNDRED PERCENT authentic bruh.  The artists I respect the most and admire have always been true to themselves their entire career (i.e. Jay-Z, Nas, Dr. Dre, Snoop, etc.)  The artists that fell off or are washed up have never really been one person to the public (i.e. Ja Rule, Milli Vanilli, Ma$e, Loon, etc.).  They’ve always been jumping from one costume to the next.  I spit about my real life man.  Music isn’t just my hobby, it’s my craft.

Momma and Dahm maxin' outside of Mr. CoCo
Being super new to our neighborhood, the lady and I constantly keep our eyes and ears peeled for eateries, bars, bodegas, etc. that we should make a part of our new life in Brooklyn.  Mr. CoCo’s seems very unassuming from the outside (other than having an above average quality of produce), but inside the nearly new bodega lies a fantastic grocery store that somehow fits into the tiny, no more than 500 square foot space.  With a healthy selection of foods and hard to find brands comparable to those offered by Texas’s finest Whole Foods (without the dreaded ‘whole paycheck’ cost), Mr. CoCo’s is our new spot for everything from hummus to the latest flavors of Ben & Jerry’s. The essentials, 
duh.  There’s also a sushi chef on site – dicing up 
sashimi and rolling out California, Dragon and Crazy rolls 
of tasty fish.  I’ll quote Belinda J, as she said it best, 
“Mr. CoCo’s is down with the PEOPLE.’’  I love that woman.  

Thanks to our good friend Regina, we have also become weekend fixtures at Project Parlor, our new favorite watering hole located down the street in Bed-Stuy.  Sporting a graveled courtyard out back complete with large picnic-style tables, (perfect for conversations and carcinogens) the cash-only bar and artist safe haven is dog friendly, host to barbeque cookoffs and the occasional band.  The outdoor area reminds me a lot of Sidebar in Austin, while the interior d├ęcor is dim-lit and is decorated with a rotation of local art pieces, complete with comfy couches and tables for lounging.  Patrons may also enjoy viewing anything from classic black and white movies, to cartoons, to gay musicals which are projected each night on the main wall.  The makeshift deejay booth is at the front of the bar and if you’re lucky, Mickey Perez will be blessing the evening with an array of hip hop, funk and ‘80s classics.  Cheers to Project Parlor for having $3 PBR tallboys and exceptional service as well.  I’ll see you soon.

Christopher Wallace and Easy
We walked by the Emerson last Saturday night and were astonished to hear a live deejay blaring from the inside, which was also surprisingly packed.  The bar is one of the closest to our pad and we’d been inside before to find a relatively empty space without tunes and a friendly bartender informing us that they’d been open for less than eight months.  As we crept in (free) to peep what all the commotion was about; we were shocked to find legendary deejay and producer Easy Mo Bee diggin’ through six crates of wax, while a crowd of hands-in-air swayed back and forth to Golden Era greatness.  For the first time I felt like I was on the corner of 7th and Red River and I was grinning from ear to ear.  The Emerson isn’t very big and there was no AC, but no one cared (except for Easy, who when I asked if he played there regularly, unbeknownst at the time of his identity, he replied ‘hell no, shit it’s hot in here!’).  We stuck around for about an hour before heading out to get some fresh air (we had guests with us, but if it was up to me we would have stayed).  I hope that the people in charge of the Emerson will regularly host a deejay that drops that kind of hip hop.  It was refreshing.

I’ll leave you with a bit of news that I didn’t initially broadcast because, well, haters will hate AND my girl and I are very private about our personal lives.  We are officially engaged. 
We will wait to become more settled before picking a date; but you can bet your ass it WILL be in Texas and it WON'T be during football season.  Be happy for us and feast your eyes on the sweet potato falafel that my boo whipped up for us last week.  We kill it in the kitchen on Grand Ave. I’m going to spend the rest of my days with this woman and it feels spectacular to know that.  I love you baby.

I’ll be waxin’ ‘em again Friday, September 2nd on Roosevelt Island before the free screening of one of my favorite animated flicks over the last ten years: UP.  Thanks for reading, kiddos.

Photo by Quito...Miss ya'll in ATX



Saturday, August 13, 2011

bah-Voo, AKV, John's Coffee and Donut

Mr. Blakes
Texas hip hop ambassador Bavu Blakes has BEEN dope. The musician-journalist-minister is hands down the most reputable mic-controller to ever claim Austin and one of the top 10 emcees to EVER rep the Lone Star state. Well, at least for the Nobody Who Knows. Blakes’s commanding, yet inviting intonations of blue collar consciousness have painted paragraphs for well over a decade. Sharp and confident, Mr. Blakes lyrically is both a gatekeeper of information and a muse for the selfless, modern man. Whether it be the skirt lifting of atrocities or his emotive display of spirituality and introspection--Vu’s soulful style has been the archetype for a region of the country whose hip hop is thoughtlessly branded as inane, luxurious brag rap. Blessed with an army of fantastic collaborators throughout his career ranging from Adrian Quesada to D-madness to S-1, this righteous mouthpiece and purveyor of substantive music has also shared stages with De La Soul, the Roots and Guru - to name a few. Currently residing on the west coast, the soon-to-be father took a moment to answer some questions about his forthcoming record.

Soooo, will it be Mr. Blakes/ Rev. Blakes/Bavu Blakes  ??? 
I’m a broadcaster, musician, writer and a minister, a servant, not a reverend. What’s a reverend?

Your body of work speaks for itself and I consider you to be a true preservationist of soulful, conscious hip hop music. What makes you tic as an emcee in 2011?
Habit and sense of purpose. The fact that you, and some others -- I call ya’ll The Nobody Who Knows -- consider me to be anything encourages me to stay productive. I’m thankful to be an emcee and a musician, like the folks I’ve admired all my life. I’ve taken all my influences, mixed them in a bowl, rubbed it all over myself and eventually broke out of my shell!
I jam a lot of old school, Oddisee instrumentals, “Nobody Else” by NickNack, Soul Seekers and all things Adrian Quesada. I’ve turned into one of those “I don’t jam a lotta rap” cats.

Some may be unaware of your writing talent beyond penning beats to bars. How do you disassociate the two OR interweave the two skills in your song writing and vice versa?   
Great question (dap). I don’t disassociate different types of writing. I think efficiency is the key to greatness, including writing. I interweave it all as much as possible.
I’m far more conscious of tempo, melody and pocket in songwriting. Lyrically I try to stay out of the way of the music. But sometimes I write all the lyrics and melodies, and then go get the music to match it after the fact.
Writing is about color and imagery without wasting words or even syllables. I learned that consciously in journalism school and at work with John Bianco and in English class with John Trimble, then eventually I discovered that it’s true in all forms of writing. Check out Easy Lee aka Charlie Peters; he’s a writer!

What do fans of your penmanship have to look forward to with your new work?  
Grind over glory. Faith over fear. And far fewer features.
This new SANCT EP is just an update, an answer to “what’ve you been up to?”. And honestly, after S1 blew up and my Too Selfish album blew away, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be satisfied with my production sound again. I was wrong. Plus I’m down with D-Madness ‘nem.

Who handled production duties?
Reggie Coby. And the bonus track for the CD version is by Fire Winn.

Is there a scheduled release date?
My son’s release date is September 22. So it’s hard to be too specific about the SANCT EP right this second, except to say that I’lI start taking pre-orders on premium packages shortly. When I get to 300 pre-orders I’ll start shipping them out.
This is for The Nobody Who Knows. Y’all are like a members-only support group, and you are my priority as an artist.

Why did you move and how is the ‘scene’ in Long Beach? How do you remain connected to the Capital City?
My wife wanted to do her PhD in a major market, like Los Angeles, and she has family here. I wanted more opportunity, and I’ve found it.
I moved to Cali just to get naked. I’m out here turning my strengths into my weaknesses, and vice versa. So I’m not on the scene like that, especially not until I have the SANCT EP in my hand.
I remain connected to the Casual City through my people. I lived in Austin way too long, but it’ll always be home, and home to a lot of my people. I would’ve maybe named my son Austin if the missus let me, nah...

If you could paint the future, what would it look and sound like for Bavu Blakes? Do you plan to tour? How do you stay fresh in an oversaturated sea?
The future looks blessed, like my son. The future looks like time, energy and money well-spent. The future looks like a great marriage, a movement toward ministry and channeling the power and truth of the most high god. The future looks like multi-tasking through multi-media. The future looks like successful artists performing songs I wrote no matter who knows it. The future looks like a few paid trips around the world.
Touring the world a few times is still my dream.
I stay fresh by staying out of the way. I focus on having a quality life experience, saying my prayers and being professional.

On a different musical note, I don’t understand the hype behind Brooklyn hardcore newbies Cerebral Ballzy. I caught their set at the free Rock Yard concert in BK last week and it left me severely unsatisfied. The terrible sound (the vocals were the loudest thing in the mix) was not their fault, however, front man and unoriginal nasal whiner Honor Titus did not a break a sweat. Now, while we aren’t in the heat wave of Texas anymore, my punk rock co-conspirators, I think we can all agree that a vocalist should be moving around enough to perspire in the month of August. Yes?  The 20-nothing Titus posed and squealed (that's right, not a scream or yell or any other exerted throat force) while standing still, and at one point climbed the speakers to lay down topless while doing his 'thing' on the mic.  I didn't process his antics as any kind of a statement or a new approach to being aggressive. Rather it seemed out of sheer laziness and, in my opinion, an embarrassment to the culture as a whole. Zero pipes and zero emotion. But he did look the part ... I guess. Is that where we are, Brooklyn?! People were moshing and going crazy to these kids, too. I never in my life wanted to play after a band so badly. Surely I must of caught them on a bad day, perhaps??  Cerebral Bore-me.

Stephanie Williams is the kind of young, hustle-hard visionary that maps her own route and then mashes the gas. Stylishly hip from toe to lip; the 23-year-old voguish trend-getter has built an online boutique from the Austin (under)ground up, and her cultivated vision and business sense are quickly turning a hobby into paper and notoriety. The thrift store that is Austin Knight Vintage specializes in fusing aged fashions with modern design and presentation. ‘Let us do the digging’ is the motto for Williams’s well conducted site, whose foundation is built upon a small collection of uncommon pieces (jewelry, snapbacks, dresses, and everything in-between)  that come and go with the quickness. So by commendable design, you are forced to follow the social networking and shopping habits of Williams (side hustles include graphic design, photography, video production, AND Miss Thang is knee-deep in the hip hop game, to boot) for a chance to purchase her affordable, unburied treasures. I’ve copped a couple items myself and have MISSED more than a couple must-buys. You see, Williams keeps the images of purchased clothing posted as ‘SOLD’ (great idea) for proper enticement and a flavor sample of what’s really good with vintage gear in 2011. Did I mention her FREE SHIPPING policy?!! Young entrepreneurs and fashionistas take note… AKV is on it.

Bo knows.
So I must reevaluate my first notation of the shoe game in Brooklyn (see 6/7/2011 post).  While Air Jordans are abundant and to me, never lame (XIII’s and prior, that is), I can’t help but notice that the only other kicks I see are the Air Max ‘95s, the Air Griffey Max or any one of the 20 color combinations of the Air Foamposite Ones and Foamposite Pros.  I’m a little annoyed.  It’s so bad that I even got my girl calling shit out and she is nowhere near a sneaker head!  Are these the only kicks that people think are nice? Are they bootlegs and super cheap somewhere, hence why everybody seems to be rocking them? I copped the Air Trainer Max ’91 (Bo Jackson's) for $70 at Footlocker and I feel super fly. I had those jawns in 6th grade and I am happy to own them again. I guess I’d rather see the same Nikes every day then have to see another kid wearing earthy, plain boot shoes with a rolled up flannel shirt. The Williamsburg uniform makes me want to vomit, but then again so does Williamsburg most of the time, so I guess that’s fitting.

Bacon with your French toast? Yes, please.
I’m completely addicted to John’s Coffee and Donuts. By far the finest breakfast diner I’ve experienced in or out of Texas, (that’s a bold statement folks) the tiny hole-in-the wall is always packed and seating is limited, but that’s the only negative thing I can say about a place that thrives with two short-order cooks and hand written checks. Waffle House: eat your heart out. JC&D pummels any competition with a greasy spoon, three-page menu that leaves no breakfast base uncovered. And on the cheap.  My lady and I  don't even spend $20 per visit, and that’s after a fat tip and fatter bellies. I cosign with a passion and am infatuated with the speed and accuracy of the cooks, who do it all on a single flat grill. Getting known here is my next mission.

Huge shout out goes to David Reyneke and Andrew Martin over at Potholes In My Blog. I’ve recently joined the team and am happy to be a contributor. Check for me in the reviews section. Speaking of blogs and talented artists; all of Austin needs to peep my boy Bak’s the Feedbak for the latest on local nightlife. Meanwhile, the emcee/b-boy/producer team of Mamba and Kwestro have properly organized their own music blog with Boycott Mag. I would also like to give a huge thanks and bow to photographers Marcos Molina and Miguel Angel. Subcomandante Quito and uLovei respectively are killing the photo game at any and every hot spot in the ATX. If you’re somewhere, they’re bound to snap you and have it posted with the quickness. Bravo, as always, gentlemen.

I’ll probably miss FunFunFun Fest this year, but the rockers-for-life crew over at Transmission Entertainment have out done themselves yet again. I said it a couple years back and now it is so—the Austin music festival rivals any other of its kind simply due to the rare quality and combination of acts involved. This year that bill includes:  Slayer, Public Enemy, Rakim, Odd Future (perhaps the reason it sold out so fast), Hum, Danzig, Murder City Devils, the Damned, Girls, Deathgrips, Boris, Flying Lotus, Black Milk, Passion Pit, and Future Islands, to name a few. If you've got tix, I'm jealous for sure.

Finally, on the day that Watch the Throne dropped, so did the Dow, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and coincidentally (?) the UK riots ensued. Jay Electronica tweeted the circumstances. Let’s not forget that ‘Hov’s Blueprint also was released on 9/11/01--just food for third-eye thought. I hope the outer worldly emcee from the Magnolia PJs does indeed  eventually drop his own album on Roc Nation. Here’s reason to believe it may come soon. Until next time, you can follow me on Twitter @kiLsmizno and I finally completed the Bandcamp pages for Like Dogs and Bohemian Grove Disco. Go download all of our shit for free. I’ll be dropping wax on Plush ATX on Saturday, August 27th with the homies Digg and Kurupt.