First, let me say that Los Angeles-based emcee Gajah is not a stranger to CrayonBeats. Second, let me introduce you, in case you aren’t familiar with his work. Gajah jumped into the hip hop scene sometime in the early 90’s with a couple of rap groups, until he became the founding member of the long-standing, two-man hip hop group, Acid Reign (with BeOnd), who eventually earned their stripes with Project Blowed. As a group, they’ve released a handful of projects, worked with a ton of West Coast underground hip hop legends, have started their own label (Acid Lab Records), and have had countless performances. As a solo act, though, Gajah has released nearly 10 outstanding projects (some of which we’ve talked about here), performed all throughout the West Coast, and has worked with various hip hop artists (such as Open Mike Eagle, Uncommon Nasa, Abstract Rude, The Kleenrz, Duke Westlake, Graves33, Atari Blitzkrieg, Ceschi, Tommy V, Ellay Khule, Mute Speaker, and more).
Hip hop artists Mega Ran and Richie Branson are heading out on their first headliner tour together, and that all starts today. I had the incredible opportunity to ask them some questions for my Tour Necessities Q&A, where they talk about this West Coast tour and more. Before I get into that, though, I’m going to give you a mini break-down of these two awesome artists, just in case you are new to their names.
Pittsburgh-based, punk-influenced rapper Stillborn Identity is heading to Florida today to begin a very short-run tour. By short, I really mean it–he’ll be performing in Cape Coral, Orlando, and Tallahassee, before heading back home and preparing for his next set of touring dates. I stopped him in his tracks for a moment to answer some questions for my Tour Necessities series, where I ask him a bunch of tour-related stuff regarding the Slow and Sunburnt tour. He talks about avoiding people on the bus, asking fans for a place to sleep, throwing crummy clothes away after shows to avoid cross-contamination among clean clothes, hopes to skate in down time, maybe trying yoga for the first time, dental hygiene being crucial while touring, packing back-up ham sandwiches, Taco Bell being his only fast-food vice, liking the instant gratification of performing for fans and disliking playing for careless crowds of people, slangin’ merch (such as his most recent album Slow and Steady and his TheThrowAwayDays zine), and more. Read about all of that and then some, along with peeping the tour dates (the first one kicks off tonight), in the Q&A below!
Currently residing in Oakland, California, DJ Halo is a man of many hats: a DJ / turntablist (and has been one since 1997), a producer, a remixer, a man behind Fake Four’s Four Finger Distro, a hard worker, and a Virgo. I’m not sure how the last one is entirely relevant here, but he assured me that by being one, it meant that he was going to give me cool answers in this interview.
California-based emcee Bonnie Blue is wrapping up her See Me Tonight tour, along with Nat The Lioness, Zzay, Rics Rumble, and Razor, so I thought I’d ask her some questions about it and touring, in general. To give you a *little& bit of background, Bonnie released a collaborative album with Rics Rumble and Razor under the name Bushwall Junkies, back in 2013, called Black Eye Blue, and then released her debut solo album All Things Considered early last year. If you caught Issue 4 of our magazine, you would’ve seen her name and picture in my “Do The Ladies Run This Motha…” article, where I talked about some talented women in music whose names you should’ve gotten to know (it’s not too late). Since then, though, she has been performing a lot (especially throughout California), working on new music, and, basically, kicking ass and taking names.
So, go ahead and read over this Q&A, where you will find her talking about packing for tours, what she’s been listening to on this run, travel necessities, Hot Cheetos and cheese dip, what a full day of touring generally consists of, tour riders, some memorable experiences, touring advice, and more.
After talking with Brzowski about this tour in my previous Tour Necessities Q&A (read here), I knew that I had to shoot some questions about it over to New York-native emcee (and man of many other hats) Uncommon Nasa. If you’ve been around CrayonBeats for awhile, you would know that he’s no stranger to our site either (although, I’m a bit behind on writing about a couple of his projects–I’ll catch up, I swear!). Since the last time that I covered him, he released two projects that you should listen to: New York Telephone, which released in August 2014, and Halfway, which released October 2015.
After you read this Q&A, I highly advise that you go through his discography. Now, let’s get into this interview. Before he goes on this short run with Brzo, he’ll be throwing down at Yule Prog’s 9th annual event on December 3rd (peep the FB event), so I started this Q&A by talking about that first. Then, we jump right into all CHURN tour stuff, so give it a read.
It’s been a little while since I talked with someone for my Tour Necessities Q&A series, so I decided to hit up my friend and Maine-based hip hop artist Brzowski. He is almost done with his solo “Series of the Witch” tour, which has taken him through Texas, Tennessee, Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island, with his final show is in New Hampshire on December 3rd, at an undisclosed location. After that, he will be heading out on a special 5-day tour with Uncommon Nasa next month, and they will be cruising through 5 different cities: Washington, Baltimore, Charlotte, Charleston, and Philadelphia. So, I did a Q&A with him a little bit about this past tour and the one he’s about to be on, so check it out below and make sure you see him perform when he’s in your city.
Bred in San Jose, California, and in the process of relocating, emcee Dave Dub is not a new name or face in the underground hip hop realm. I became familiar with his name and work through another California emcee, named Megabusive (side note: those two make music together under the alias The Fucking Mutants–hear somethin’).Â I think I got put onto him one or two years before his 2012 album, titled The Treatment, came out, but it was mostly due to word-of-mouth and hearing him spitting on other artist’s tracks (which is a fine way to get put onto someone fresh). Dave Dub has been in the music scene since the early 90’s, largely in hip hop, but he has also dabbled around in the punk scene during the early 90s. I advise that you check the discography here, for some of his works.
GLASS is a pop band from London, England, made up of front-woman Jessica Winter and guitarist Scott Rimington. Although the two started making music together in 2012, “What It Is To Believe” is their first official single… and music video!
Through galloping drums and smooth piano playing, we hear Jessica’s soft, angelic voice lingering through the uptempo, danceable beat, to sing a short, yet poetic song that is about the power of belief. Joined by a thick buzzing bassline and hints of bright keys, the ghostly “ooooohhhhs” of the bridge will almost put you in a trance (if her voice hasn’t already). In the video, Jessica is dressed in an all-white jumpsuit with slicked-back hair, and we see her leading a man into the bar’s bathroom. However, when she comes out, she is drenched in blood, joyously dancing after what seems to be an exhilarating experience, and blissfully unaware of her wrong-doings.
(@WeAreHeresy @dlaruemusic @Carolina_Dirty)
Monie Love, Dominique Larue, Carolina Dirty, and MyVerse make up the all-female hip hop group Heresy. After watching the music video for “Da Call Out“, I was excited to see a group of dope, strong-willed emcees doin’ the damn thing for women in hip hop. For hip hop, in general. I was eager to hear more, and I wanted to know more.
(@odeliechan #fashion #japan)
Ever since I featured Parisian jewelry designer OdÃ©lie Chan in our fourth magazine issue, I’ve been a fan and follower of her work. She just released a brand new collection, called “Odelie Meets Tokyo”. In this collection, she takes her colorful, geometric designs into more lifestyle accessories, where we now see her beautiful, feminine work having a place on clutches and iPhone cases! And, it’s her first project for the Japanese market!
OdÃ©lie Chan returned from Japan one week ago, where she spent some time there to network, have a good time, and open up a pop-up shop in Tokyo. She set up her booth at Isetan Shinjuku, between August 5th and August 10th (see some behind-the-scenes photos on her website here), and it looks like everything went well. Since her return, she’s been posting a lot of new pieces over at Instagram, where I discovered that she had a brand new collection! “Odelie Meets Tokyo” is made up of 3 new designs, called “Arcane”, “Ailleurs”, and “Capteur de rÃªves”; each of which are described to be associated with Egypt mysteries and the exoticism of travel and Amerindian beliefs.
Although she was out-and-about today, she found some time to answer a few questions:
Tiffology: I’d like to know more about the collaboration. Did you go to Japan?
Odelie Chan: I went to Japan, yes. I just came back one week ago. I went there for a big pop up store in Tokyo. It was amazing!
Can you tell me about the creative ideas and how much time went into this collection?
This clutch and iPhone project started one year ago. I did everything. I designed the clutches, I chose the material, colors, size, and worked with a French graphist on my initial drawings. Each theme reminds [me of] a jewelry collection that I did in the past. You can find the meaning of each one on the website (listed below).
Where can people purchase items from this collection?
It is a special project for the Japanese market, so it’s sold only there at the moment. I hope it will become an international project, if people like it and shops are interested about distributing it! My agent is Japanese, so many upcoming projects will definitely be for the Japanese market for now.
What excites you most about this?
I’m happy to have this project out. It’s a way for me to expand my work to other domains, accessories, etc. My main goal would be to create some clothes in the future, with original prints, if I can. Also, many collaborations with the Japanese artists I’ve met during my last trip.
[divider]Arcane (Gold Clutch)[/divider]
“Blinded by the light, Ra, the Sun God, the Creator of the universe, poured his first tears and from his tears appeared the first humans. The sun, symbol of life and the Egyptian cat, female symbol of protection and benevolence, all both are fighting for every sunrise is a victory over darkness. A glance at the ancient Egypt , myths and mysteries.”
[divider]Ailleurs (Silver Clutch)[/divider]
“The imagination of a totem symbolizing prosperity of travel, adventure, expanding our vision of the world and of life accompanied by the hummingbird, actor of many Native American legends, capable of fascinating exploits despite its small size, smallest step we added another step brings us closer to a goal. From contemplating walking towards oneself.”
[divider]Capteur de rÃªves (Electric Blue Clutch)[/divider]
“A Native American tipi geometrized to embody the element symbol “Air”; a feather to carry our thoughts to peace. A glance at the Native American wisdom whose nature is their God, live with it and not dominate it. Every plant, every animal, every mountain, every place, every living being is sacred.”
For the past few months I’ve had his two-part mixtape Season of Letters / Season of Bullet on repeat. Previous to that, I’d been hooked on Season of Love/Season of Fever. I’ve blogged, tweeted, recommended and reposted his music on every one of our social media accounts ad nauseam. His name is MOMENT and he’s one of the realest independent artists out of Japan. The trilingual emcee has no problem with making you feel his words and letting you into his soul as he raps fluidly in English, Japanese and his mother tongue Korean.
Last week, I reviewed his debut album MOMENTS and was blown away by the depth of his words. For someone so young, there is so much wisdom and insight in his music that it’s inspiring and a strong motivation; I had to know just a little more about him and his music.Â To be honest, I was quite intimidated to interview him as there’s really no info online for me to gauge his personality or even willingness to be sought out. However, I’m glad I reached out to him because it turns out that he’s just as cool as his aka “Swag Cat” suggests. Check out my interview with him below and judge for yourself. And while you’re at it, make sure you download his latest mixtape and purchase his new album from the links below!