I caught up and coming Seattle MC J. Pinder live at A3C in Atlanta a couple months back. I'd heard the name, but never heard the tunes. Dude was rocking to a fairly dead crowd, and managed to totally turn that shit, well, upside down (pun intended). And this was the joint that did it - 'Upside Down', which is a fucking incredible track with ridiculous production, dope hook and mean verses. I'm officially a fan. Shame I didn't get to holla at the dude in the A. Peep the video after the jump, as well as an older track off the Code Red EP entitled 'Three Words'. The album, Code Red 2.0, is due to drop January 25th, so cop that.
Viewing entries tagged
Atlanta. Seattle. St Louis. J-Mar has resided in all of these cities, and their style, attitude and swag is evident in his music. Most folks may not know the name, so I'ma let the man himself tell y'all...
Cee: What up man, how you doing?
J-Mar: I'm good dog, just livin' this North West life.
Cee: Aight, so you represent Seattle, one of my favourite cities in the US for sure. Even though Seattle is on the West, do you think you guys get excluded from general West coast conversations?
J-Mar: In some ways I think we get excluded. I think it's mainly from the people who ain't on West Coast. When you think of the West a lotta people associate that with palm trees, Cali life. But cats in Cali if they're real for the most part, they know what's up and they put us in the mix. We along wit it, we're bangin', ridin' low low's, ol' school Chevy's, the whole nine.
Cee: Does Seattle have a certain sound with regard to Hip Hop, as y'all did for the grunge movement?
J-Mar: Yeah I think Seattle's hip hop sound is MCs busting over real smooth, cool out joints. That's when hip hop is at it's best out here.
Cee: Tell me about your latest album.
J-Mar: My newest project is called 'Be A G About It'. It has all kinds a features on there, including West Coast legends such as C-Bo and Marvalous. 'Be A G About It', the the phrase is somethang our camp tries to stay true to. It means to handle your business accordingly whether you are the street hustler on the corner or the business executive. Be a G about yours and handle your business.
Cee: What were some of your inspirations?
J-Mar: As far as inspirations go, my cousin Yougn was the first one who pushed me to start rapping for real. We formed a group called North West Heathens. As rappers go, I would have to say Brotha Lynch Hung. He was my favorite rapper growing up but as I traveled around I grew to like artists such as TI and Obie Trice.
Cee: What sets you apart from the masses of MCs these days?
J-Mar: I think what sets me apart from most MCs is my diversity. I have lived in so many different areas in the States that I just naturally picked some of their styles and that especially held true with music. From Atlanta to St Louis back to Seattle, I'm able to tell stories that can relate to all urban living, no matter were you come from.
Cee: What other projects are you working on?
J-Mar: Currently I'm working on my mixtape which is set to hit the streets within the next couple weeks. It's called 'Elevator Music (Next Level pt 1)'. Also I'm working on my new hip hop/jazz album called 'The Cognac Lounge' with the hit single 'Pimp Shake'.
Cee: Have you been touring or doing any shows lately?
J-Mar: Yeah I just got off the Prenuptial Agreement tour with J Stalin and San Gin. And I'm doing a show in Seattle with B-Legit from E-40s The Click on May 6th.
Cee: Ever been to Australia?
J-Mar: No, never been to Australia but I would love to come over there to rock a show and kick it with the locals.
Cee: Outside of Hip Hop, what artists have been catching your ear and inspiring you?
J-Mar: I love R&B. Keri Hilson is doing her thang. Neo soul artists like Dwele, Lauryn Hill, Corinne Bailey-Rae and Jill Scott.
Cee: Hit me with some contact details so the people can get at you!
J-Mar: You can find me and my music on iTunes, Rhapsody, CD Baby, MySpace.com/du4self and look for Du4self on Facebook.
Cee: Thanks for your time!
J-Mar: Thank you. Appreciate it, continue to do your thang and don't forget to be a G about it the whole time.
We took a bit of a pause from the Loud blogs lately...bringing it back...second last one I wrote too...
Week #7: Locking It In
Things were looking pretty good. We’d heard back from most folks that our contacts put us in touch with by mid to late June, and already we’d locked in a mainstream radio spot in Seattle; College radio, hair braiding session and a photo shoot in Toronto; a podcast and recording session in Oakland; a session with a bass player and an MC (Jermiside from the Lessondary Crew) in Atlanta; possible radio and shows in Denver; possible shows and studio sessions in Minneapolis; possible shows in Jacksonville; and a meeting with Eternia and an influential gentleman in New York (who happened to get us this very blog). We were vibed.
Now that we had enough information to start booking the trip, we skedaddled off to the travel agent to lock this bitch down. We knew that the earlier we booked our flights, the cheaper it would be, but it was hard because we didn’t know where we were going until we had confirmation from enough folks – and even then, some of the confirmations were sketchy at best.
So we rocked up to the travel agent all excited. Here’s how it went down (dramatic license, of course, has been taken):
Travel Agent: So, where do you guys wanna go?
Cee: Um, pretty much San Francisco, LA, Toronto, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, maybe Denver, maybe Jacksonville, maybe Miami. I think.
Travel Agent: Ooookay. Do you know how long you need to be in each city and the dates you want to go there?
Cee: Not really.
Travel Agent: Riiiight.
I think she wasn’t too pleased to have our custom that day. But I gotta shout her out, she was great. It came down to this: in order to get cheaper flights, we had to lock something in soon. And if we went to too many cities, the trip would be stupid rushed and the internal flights would cost a fortune. Plus, we only had five weeks in total, instead of the original six, as Bekah’s work were being assholes and refused to give her the extra time off. So we had to make a call. We ended up cutting Denver as it would have taken a lot more work to arrange shows; we cut Jacksonville as the city is so small, we’d be smarter to concentrate our energy elsewhere; same deal with Minneapolis; and we hadn’t hooked anything up in Miami as yet so that one was reluctantly let go.
Even though it was tough, we now had a basic itinerary. Boom. As long as we had tentative dates locked in, we were good. So long story short, after a bit of shuffling around and triple and quadruple confirmations, we managed to book all the flights. The only thing was if we were going to change a single flight, it would cost us hundreds of dollars. So if shit fell through, we were going anyway. Such is the wonderful ways of the international – and US domestic - airline restrictions. And I realised after that the flight from ATL to NY was on a small ass plane – I don’t fucks with small planes. We wanted to change it; we couldn’t without paying. I said we’d get a Delta flight instead and just miss the original flight, but if we did that, the rest of the onward flights would be cancelled as it was part of the package. Goddamnit.
But once we had the tickets in our hands, we were truly excited. This was real; it was actually happening. It felt like a dream, as I had literally had dreams of being in Canada quite often since being back in Melbourne, and going back overseas – this time, strictly for music – was a sign that we’d been working hard enough to get to this level. And not only were we doing this, we were doing it all off our own back. One hundred percent independent. Man, we were proud as hell.
Bekah and I spent the next couple months slowly booking accommodation whenever we were bored at work and wanted to handle biz (I don’t work where I did at the time of planning the trip so I can say it lol), with the assistance of DJ Grain in the ATL sector. So things were looking good…
Plug of the week: The kid Steve Duck at GroundUpHipHop.com has supported The Fam since the jump, lacing the artwork for ‘The Soul Movement Volume 1’ and even doing the Cee & Bekah logo. He hooked us up with a lil download section on GroundUp for our latest projects:
Notion – World Domi-NoTiOn (http://www.grounduphiphop.com/2008/09/14/notion-world-domi-notion-mixtape/)
Cee & Bekah – The Soul Movement Volume 2 (http://www.planeturban.com.au/download_mixtapes/cee_and_bekah_soul_movement_vol_2)
So until next time, listen to Esthero. She’s a trip. It’s like Portishead, Stephanie McKay and Jill Scott had a lovechild that was reared on Nine Inch Nails and copious amounts of marijuana. It’s good.
The Movement Fam.
So the decision was made; we’re going overseas. Awesome. Just saying it out loud made me excited as all hell. I didn’t wanna come home when we lived in Toronto and travelled for 12 months, so since then I’ve always been jealous of folks saying ‘Yeah, I’m going overseas next month’. Shit killed me. Now I was that annoying prick going on a holiday. Boom. Happy campers, we were.
But this wasn’t just a regular holiday. When the haze of excitement eventually passed, I realised how much work it would be to actually put this together. Not only did we need to arrange the logistics, but we had appointments to arrange. Where the fuck do we even start? That was the first thing that came to mind. So I thought logically. We were only going to visit cities where we had contacts; like I said, this wasn’t no umbrella-in-your-drink vacation. So we knew we had folks in Miami, Toronto, Atlanta (DJ Grain, now part of The Movement Fam, is in the A-Town) and New York that would be worth visiting. That’s a good starting point.
Emailing time. This is where my networking skills (or lack thereof) would really come into play. I hit up damn never everyone I knew to get them to put me in touch with damn near everyone they knew. Now, being that this is the music business and I was dealing with artists, producers and the like, I knew this could take a long ass time. Lucky it was like May and we didn’t plan to leave until September. This was a useful exercise, as it really showed who my friends were. I know that if I had some folks overseas who were coming out here, I’d do my best to put them in touch with everyone possible, so I was hoping for the same.
I gotta shout out Eternia, who probably spent a good hour or two of her precious time (the girl is busy!) putting together a list of damn near everyone she knew in Toronto and New York. That list was one of the most useful tools that I had at my disposal in planning this trip, and I can’t thank her enough. She’s a true friend, big ups! Also, my dudes Kevin Nottingham and Travis Glave (Wake Your Daughter Up! Blog) were invaluable, as they worked real hard to put us in touch with a gang of folks that came through the goods in the end.
So already, after talking with three main friends in the business in the US and Canada, I had things moving. Wow, this wasn’t looking to be so difficult after all. Or so it seemed. I would estimate that in total, I probably hit up around 100-150 individuals in all sectors of the music industry, all over Canada and the US (including Hawaii). I must have spent a week staying up til midnight after work every night sending emails like a crazy person. Not only to the folks I had been put in contact with, but hitting up random radio stations in cities all over the place (which I got a list of from Wikipedia, of all places). Once I had contacted everyone on my lists, all there was to do was wait.
Of course, this wasn’t just a once off activity. This was a constant thing from May until right up to when we left, and even while we were on the trip we were still trying to arrange meetings and stuff. I reckon I probably got a 5-10% response rate, which is probably better than most direct mail campaigns. So I was happy with that. Plus, you can’t really expect random folks to really wanna help out unknown artists from Australia on a whim (or an email); although that was how it panned out at times.
So with the contacting industry heads side of things underway, we had to get the logistics issues sorted (which we couldn’t do much with until meetings, radio spots, etc were locked in), and of course, finalising two mixtapes in the space of two to three months, all the while working full time. Goddamn.
Plug of the week: The homie DJ Hyphen in Seattle has a dope ass blog, The Audacity of Dope, and he featured both our mixtapes after we appeared on his show:
Notion – World Domi-NoTiOn (http://www.theaudacityofdope.com/2008/09/16/notion-world-domi-notion-mixtape/)
Cee & Bekah – The Soul Movement Volume 2 (http://www.theaudacityofdope.com/2008/09/17/cee-bekah-the-soul-movement-vol-2/)
So until next time, listen to Raheem DeVaughn. I am right now. He’s soothing. Pause.
The Movement Fam.
Wooooord up. Big ups to the homies DJ Hyphen and J. Moore out in Seattle, WA, and their Sunday Night Sound Sessions show on Kube 93fm. Myself, Notion and Bekah done rolled through the studio last year in September during our US radio trip, and the boys been had the biggest names in Hip Hop on the show. None other than Slaughterhouse - Royce, Joell and Joe (Crooked was recording with a Seattle artist) - came through and gave a great interview. Check the video, and check out Hyph's blog for the audio and other details.
Shouts to the homie DJ Hyphen for this one. Not only did he generously have us on his popular show, Sunday Night Sound Sessions, in Seattle when The Fam was in town, but Hyph done went and posted our mixtapes for DL to show some more love. Respect.
Check out The Soul Movement Volume 2 on The Audacity of Dope; and while you're at it, check out the rest of the blog. It's a heater.
The Movement Fam's US trip in September/October is gonna be featuring a fair bit on this blog, I dare say. So much came out of it, it's crazy. Still trying to finalise everything, but we'll keep y'all posted. Video blogs coming soon as well!
Anyway, we were lucky enough to be able to spend some time with an awesome cat by the name of DJ Hyphen in the wonderful city of Seattle, WA, and he invited us along to appear on his famous Sunday Night Sound Sessions show on KUBE 93 FM, the major 'urban' (for lack of a better word) station in Sea-Town. Hyph and co-host J. Moore had us in the studio all night, played a track from Notion's mixtape and interviewed us all. Check out the link below to Hyphen's blog with all the info, plus a download of the show.
Also, keep checking 'The Audacity Of Dope' as it's a mad interesting blog, with a lotta great music and cool shit. The image is a link to it, and we have a link to it to your right. Holla.