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Hip Hop Is...


Hip Hop Is...

Hip Hop is Flavor Flav's clock. Kanye's shades. LL Cool J's bald head. Questlove's afro. Hip Hop is blasting M.O.P. after a fight with your girl because the beautiful music will calm the savage beast in you. Hip Hop is staying up all night, refreshing your internet browser and waiting for that next Lil' Wayne leak. Rolling up to St. Kilda Sea Baths in baggy jeans, stunna shades and baseball caps, because you and your crew also deserve a Corona at sunset.

Hip Hop is all about image. The popularity of clothing lines rising and falling throughout the years. My Adidas. Kangol. Dickies, Chuck Taylors, Raiders caps and Starter jackets. Cross Colours. FUBU, Ecko Unlimited and Enyce. Hip Hop is having your own personal style, as long as it fits in with current trends. Not wearing dress shoes to clubs. A white tee for every occasion.

Hip Hop is underground, mainstream and everything in-between. Old and new school. Old school rappers reinventing themselves - but don't call it a comeback. Brand Nubian. Melle Mel. Even Ultramagnetic MC's (but at least Jay-Z is aging gracefully). Hip Hop is older fans hating on younger fans, as if it's their fault that it's not like it used to be. Skilled emcees making more money ghostwriting for mainstream stars, or dumbing their lyrics down to appeal to a wider fanbase. Hop Hop is MC Ren training Eazy-E to spit the rhymes others wrote for him - and nobody caring.

Hip Hop is metaphores, similes, alliteration and adlibs. Somewhere along the way, Hip Hop became whispering your delivery and using auto-tune on your voice. Hip Hop is war. Beef and diss tracks. BDP vs. Juice Crew. Common vs. Ice Cube. LL Cool J vs. everybody - and Canibus studying his background, reading the book that he wrote, researching the footnotes about how he used to sniff coke.

Hip Hop is rappers and their own record labels, with a ratio that must be damn near 1:1 by now. MARKETING. Youtube. Myspace. Facebook. Blogs. Hip Hop is the internet.

Hip Hop is DJ's and break loops. Grand Wizard Theodore scratching. Doug E. Fresh beatboxing. Graffiti and breakdancing. Freestyling. Producing, mixing and mastering. Ebonics and slang. Classic cuts on vinyl. MP3 promos and iTunes bonus tracks. Hip Hop is sped-up (and slowed-down) soul samples. Jacking Impeach The President, Nautilus or More Bounce To The Ounce for the millionth time. Hip Hop is mixtapes, mix CD's and iPod playlists.

Hip Hop is remixes and posse cuts. The legend of the lost versions of Scenario. Masta Ace making it onto The Symphony by being in the right place at the right time. Busta Rhymes outshining everyone. Da Graveyard - Big L featuring Eazy-E, Big Punisher, Scott La Rock, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Jam Master Jay, Proof, Pimp C, 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G. and many others.
Wild Style. Style Wars. Breakin. Beat Street. Boyz N The Hood.
Hip Hop is conscious. Alternative. Gangsta. Hyphy. Grime. Hardcore, horrorcore and nerdcore. Hip Hop is pushing back release dates. Sample clearance, with original versions of tracks leaking years later. Hip Hop is parental advisory stickers. Explicit lyrics. 40's and blunts. Sex, violence and drugs. Hip Hop is artists allowing their dignity to fly out the window. Hip Hop is the fans that buy it.
Hip Hop is politics. Reciting N.W.A. lyrics in the face of the law. Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo. Hip Hop is hate. Love. Knowledge. Hip Hop is power. Hip Hop is wanting to be somebody. Diamond rings and things. Hip Hop is not just music, it's the soundtrack to an uncertain future. Hip Hop is not just words, it's poetry. Freedom of speech. Hip Hop is change. Hip Hop is opportunity. Hip Hop runs the free world.
Hip Hop is... Obama.


Interview: Will Widdoss - MC & Producer (USA - Florida & Cali)


Interview: Will Widdoss - MC & Producer (USA - Florida & Cali)

photo by buddahbong

I finally have been able to catch with the homie Will Widdoss. It is funny how things work out I one night I just happened to stumble across Will's music profile on myspace after checking out Dutchmassive's myspace page and have been a fan since. Shouts to Will for taking time out of his studies and work in the lab to find some time to do the interview.

Grain: When did you record your first song?

Will: My first official song was "Earthly Relief" and the beat was a Floyd the Locsmif beat originally released shortly after he did the OutKast remixes. Devine Designz is essential soul music so anyone sleeping on Floyd go check him out.

Grain: Considering the type of music Florida is known for (Trick Daddy, Luke, Plies) how have fans received your music?

Will: I'm not sure. FL emcees I respect like Celph Titled, Dutchmassive, Surreal, Laws, Willie Evans Jr, Dillon, Therapy, Butta Verses, Protoman, Majik Most, (and a few others I may have forgotten) will probably agree that the scene for the type of hip hop we do is not what's "hot" in the sunshine state. Though the scene has grown more recently, but I doubt anyone in FL is listening to Rick Ross and Will Widdoss on their playlist...other than me!

Grain: Which one do you enjoy more emceeing or producing?

Will: Honestly, that all depends on my mood. I can say that when I started making music it was with strict intentions to just produce. Inspiration often flows in many forms so I go where ever that takes me.

Grain: How many albums/mixtapes have you made?

Will: I just got started in this but I've only been featured on various albums/mixtapes and the only project I put out on my own is "Ventilation" in Nov 2008. It's a mixtape of 40 tracks snippets and beats that I've been working on since 2006. It's a rough sketch of who I am, where I've been, and where I hope to be. Originally it started as a solo album but turned into more when I had to deal with the loss of my mother. I vented through this artform because it's what I needed to move on. Instead of trying to wait and package it neatly I decided to just throw everything in there. There's not as many beats as I wanted to put but I may put out a beat cd soon enough. Overall, Ventilation allowed me to grow in many ways through this and I'm hoping others will grow too.

Grain: Thus far in your career who has been your favorite artist to work with?

As of now, anything over a David Luke beat. Be on the lookout for him, the kid is sick.

Grain: What projects are you currently working on?

Will: Many things! But mostly on the new album. I'm planning on dropping an album soon with all David Luke beats. So far we have about 5 cuts. The album will feature a few emcees but so far only Wordsworth has been locked down. It's still a work in progress and may not be ready until late '09, possibly even later. There are other projects though, I just don't know how soon those will be out.

Grain: What differences have you noticed in the hip hop scene on the west coast?

Will: There is much more to do out here. A lot of culture is here mainly because there are so many poeple here period. Also, people actually go to the shows and support! There's so much more talent out here as well. Blu is one of my favorite up and coming emcees, but the most underrated out here as for production goes to the guy they call Dert (the Don) is ridiculous. The world is not ready for Dert so if you're sleeping WAKE THE F*#% UP!

Grain: When you receive a beat how long does it take for you to write your verse(s)?

Will: That all depends on really on two things. How much time I have, and how much I'm feeling it. There are a few producers out there that are probably mad at me right now for not getting on a few beats yet. If I'm really feeling it I will generally get it done the same day or week. But really, if I have time on my hands I will always get something done. Sometimes I choose to make my own beats instead of writing when I know I should write.

Grain: Do you have any plans for touring?

Will: I would love to do a few shows this year but I don't think I'll do any touring until the album drops. But you never know, maybe I'll be around your venue soon.

Grain: What was the first rap album you bought?

Will: When I was 8, I saved up my allowance and I asked my grandma to buy me a tape that had tons of artists on it I was hearing about. I had to get her to buy it because of the whole 2 Live Crew era. Parental Advisory took over but I knew my grandma was unaware of all that! I can't remember the name of the tape but it had 2Pac, Ice Cube, Geto Boys, AMG and a few others. It wasn't until Arrested Development's album dropped that I could buy a rap album myself because it wasn't Parental Advisory. I still have both those tapes somewhere packed away.

Grain: How did you link up with Dutchmassive?

Will: We met a few times on the scene, but never really got close until we were talking online one night and realized we lived right down the road from each other. The first time I met him though, I was with this cat DV and Dutch wanted to play him something in his car and I was loving it. Who knew I would wind up living with that dude and learning so much in such a short time. It was good to pick his brain, Dutch is the type that is more than willing to share with someone who loves good music. Same goes for some other Tampa artists as well (Surreal, Celph Titled, SlopFunkDust) thanks fellas.

Grain: How do you feel about the state of hip hop right now?

Will: Honestly I think it's on it's way back to the real shit! Maybe it's because I stay away from the radio, I don't know. But I honestly think the masses are starting to see through some of the nonsense. If Common can go number 1 then that's gotta be good. I have no problem with street rap or even club rap...if it's good! What I do have a problem with is that auto tune crap. I love that Apathy "Love Lockdown" remix, he kills it! When will it die already? I wish more people would feel how we do about Akon and T-Pain...especially Akon! Why is that fool not in jail!?!?

Grain: Do you have any words of wisdom for new artists?

Will: Yeah, be careful who you mess with. But most importantly, just be you. Don't get sucked up into the industry standard of what they think people wanna hear or what you think they want you to be. JUST BE YOU!

Grain: What do you know about Australian hip hop?

Will: I know that M-Phazes has been killin it continously! There's so much good music all around the globe it's hard to keep up with all of it but I love that hip hop is growing globally. I'd love to come out there and learn more about the scene down under. I'm constantly listening to new stuff and always looking to build with new artists and I've worked with cats from every continent except that one...Australia, get at me!

Will Widdoss MySpace

Download link:
Will Widdoss-Ventilation mixtape