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Tanya Morgan

The Movement Fam's A3C and CMJ Wrap Up


The Movement Fam's A3C and CMJ Wrap Up

Aight, so we're a bit delayed on this one. But y'all can forgive us. We'd never been to anything like this before, and the shit is hard work. Seriously. Networking. Trying to talk to that producer/MC/DJ/industry dude without looking or sounding like a groupie or a new jack. Yelling over loud music all night. Up early and paying attention to panels all day. It's a full time job doing this shit. But we ain't complaining; both of these conferences were some of the most amazing experiences we've had thus far with music, and in 2011, we finna be rockin' shows there, beleeeeedat. We kicked off Atlanta by scoring tickets to the Drake show at the Fox Theatre. Bonus. Notion and I walked into a room full of people rapping every word to a Soulja Boy song. Oh-kay. Five minutes after we got in there, Drake started so it was perfect timing. Apparently Tyga opened, so we prolly didn't miss much. The crowd, mostly women and their generally less-than-enthusiastic partners, stood up pretty much the whole time and there was a lot of screaming. Drizzy did most of the joints I wanted to hear bar 'Say What's Real'. 'Forever' was dope; he even brought Young Jeezy and The-Dream out for their respective collaborations (I have no idea what they are), and the pyrotechnics for 'Fireworks' were awesome. Great show.

Drake @ Fox Theatre, Atlanta

So A3C (it stands for All 3 Coasts, for those who ain't know. I didn't til recently) kicked off on Thursday at the Masquerade complex in East Atlanta. The venue was dope as it had about 5 stages with either performances, demonstrations or panels on at any given time, so there was never a moment of boredom. We finally got to meet a gang of folks we'd built with over the years but never met in person (as well as a bunch of folks we respect and have admired for years), including North Carolina producer S.T.T.R.E.S.S. (below with The Fam), Kevin Nottingham, Dasha, Hassahn, Emilio Rojas, Hezekiah, Donwill and Von Pea of Tanya Morgan, Che Grand, Big Dho, Chaundon, J The S, DJ Evil Dee, DJ Z of DJ, Crooked I, El Da Sensei, Illmaculate, Laws, The Bodega Brovas, Khrysis and a gang more.

Cee, Notion, VP, S.T.T.R.E.S.S. and Bekah

The Fam reppin'

Day 1 was the 9th Wonder interview by Dres The Beatnik, and included guests and collaborators Buckshot and Murs. It was an awesome insight into 9th's work ethic, inspirations and methods. The rest of the night included performances from Jamla artists like Skyzoo, The Away Team, Rapsody, Big Reemo, Murs and Jean Grae. And of course, DJ Evil Dee was on the mix (c'mon kick it!).

DJ Evil Dee @ A3C

Buckshot, 9th Wonder, Murs and Dres The Beatnik @ A3C

Skyzoo @ A3C

Buckshot @ A3C

Day 2 was full of more shows and informative panels. The two main showcases we caught were Kevin Nottingham's and DJ Booth's. Kev's included dope sets from HiPNOTT Records artists like Jermside, Nobody Famous and the Hall of Justus cats headlined and tore it down (Rapper Big Pooh, Chaundon, Jozeemo and Joe Scudda). DJ Booth's showcase had sets from cats like J The S, Emilio Rojas, Cyhi The Prince, Laws, Exile and Crooked I. We ventured inside to catch Illmaculate's set, followed by Seattle native J. Pinder, both of whom murked it.

Nosh even caught Mr Douthit to get a quick photo and pass on a copy of his tribute mixtape to the man himself. And we also managed to chill with Crooked I for a while and explain our move to Canada from Australia to pursue our music, which he said he really respected and that we'll be successful with that sort of determination, belief and passion. That really meant a lot coming from him. Great dude.

9th Wonder & Notion @ A3C

Cyhi The Prince @ A3C

Crooked I @ A3C

Illmaculate @ A3C

Crooked I & Notion @ A3C

Cee & Crooked I @ A3C

Day 3 was just as hectic. More panels in the early afternoon and the weather was gorgeous. Atlanta turned it on for us, we were drinking beers in the sun; it felt like home. More networking and more shows, including Torae, Sha Stimuli, Lessondary Crew (Jermiside, Von Pea, Donwill and Che Grand), Reks and Statik Selektah, the big homies The Bodega Brovas (Traviii 7th, Keynote and Headkrack), Hezekiah and horn section 'Me So Horny' (who KILLED it), The Artifacts, Emilio Rojas, Camp Lo and Rhymefest. All up, it was an amazing festival and we'll be there next year for sure.

Cee & Hezekiah @ A3C

After a quick couple days in Toronto to do some laundry and re-pack, we were on the bus to New York City to catch CMJ (College Music Journal). Yet another amazing experience; though a little different than A3C in the sense that it was general music business across all genres rather than strictly Hip Hop. We chilled for a couple days to check out the city as it was VP's first time, but Notion and I caught the David Icke lecture on the Sunday before booking it to the Mayer Hawthorne show downtown at the Bowery Ballroom, missing half his set. We got to hang with the homie Cyclops too, which was dope.

The Movement Fam & Cyclops in NYC

Mayer Hawthorne @ Bowery Ballroom

CMJ started on the Tuesday, and it was full on. The panels went from 11am to 4.45pm every day, with only 15 minutes break between each one, where we had to fit in any quick chats to panelists and toilet breaks before heading to the next panel and trying to get there early to ensure a seat. It was like being back at Uni. But the information we gathered was absolutely incredible, and the people we met will definitely be either long term friends or business associates.

The first night we caught the New Zealand showcase at Le Poisson Rouge, where we saw awesome bands like Street Chant, Ruby Frost and Kids of 88, saw Blonde Summer over at Kenny's Castaway (where Bruce Springsteen apparently did his first ever gig), and then back to LPR for the Duck Down vs Blacksmith Showcase. It was Duck Down's 15 Year Anniversary so they went all out. The 16 year old in me lost my fucking shit when every Duck Down artist (with the exception of Louieville Sluggah pretty much) rocked the stage, performing classics like 'Le Fleh, Le Flah, Eshkoshka', 'Operation Lockdown', 'I Gotcha Opin' and more. Incredible. The newly signed Black Rob even came through to perform 'Whoa'. No words.

The Blacksmith kids killed it too. Jean Grae and Mela Machinko, Pharoahe Monch and Strong Arm Steady did an awesome job. We bailed after SAS so I'm not sure who else rocked, but it was an incredible night.

Black Rob @ Duck Down Showcase, CMJ

Sean P @ Duck Down Showcase, CMJ

Starang Wondah, Rock and Buckshot @ Duck Down Showcase, CMJ

Mela Machinko, 9th Wonder & Jean Grae @ Duck Down Showcase, CMJ

Pharoahe Monch @ Duck Down Showcase, CMJ

The rest of the week consisted of panels until Friday and shows every night. The soul showcase with Eric Roberson was amazing, the international showcase at 92Y Tribeca was really interesting, we even caught Aussies Paul Dempsey (from Something For Kate) and Angus & Julia Stone doing their thing. Israeli electro artist Onili was awesome, as was closing night with Foreign Exchange (who had Darien Brockington and Zo rocking with them all night, and they even brought out Rapper Big Pooh and Jesse Boykins III). Shouts to the big homie outta Jersey, Mike Philson, who we connected with. So after two weeks of shows every night and early mornings at panels, we're absolutely shambles. Now it's time to re-up, consolidate the networks and use the new info we learned. Until next year...

Foreign Exchange @ BB Kings, CMJ


Jermiside & Danny Diggs: Afraid (feat Maverick Sabre) (video)


Jermiside & Danny Diggs: Afraid (feat Maverick Sabre) (video)

The homie Jermiside has been at it for a minute. Part of the Lessondary crew with Tanya Morgan, the ATL resident (via Cincinatti) has been putting in major work, and now he's about to drop his album with Irish producer Danny Diggs, 'Middle Classic', on HiPNOTT Records.

Check the press release:

"Afraid", featuring Irish singer Maverick Sabre, is presented visually in this stunning video that was written, directed, and edited by Ilyas (of Tanya Morgan). The song itself is an excellent example of the type of feel good hip hop Middle Classic represents as a whole.


Introducing Mr. Ilyas, IL, i(el)


Introducing Mr. Ilyas, IL, i(el)

*As originally published on Interview by DJ Grain.

By now I am sure that everyone has heard of Tanya Morgan. If not, consider this an introduction to Tanya Morgan and in particular my main man Ilyas, winners of the MySpace Music “Show Us What You Got” contest.

The recent release of The Prelude is just a preview of what’s to come. It’s not too often that you find an MC that can switch styles at the drop of a hat and rap about any subject in the dictionary. Luckily, I was able to catch up with the homie Ilyas to talk to him about the pre-Tanya Morgan days, his activities for 2009, his other passions besides Hip Hop, and the music industry.


DJ Grain: What’s good fam? Can you describe the pre-Tanya Morgan days when it was you and Donwill as ILWIL?

Ilyas: It was cool, we were just grinding. We’d done a joint called “So Far” with Nicolay back then and we were working with local producers and had a more “midwest/southern” sound then. We were still getting polished as artists a bit, learning to be more versatile and step outside of boom bap. Originally we were in a group in North Carolina called the “Jurx”, and our extended fam was called the Abyss. But Don and I had better chemistry creatively with each other than what we did with everyone. Man! The creative arguments were wild. Especially when you’re dealing with five cats in one group (laughs). But we got snatched up by a subsidiary of Warner Bros., a label on Lightyear and we got the group name ilwil.

DJ Grain: After listening to Beat Thieves Vol.1, on one of the tracks you said that you and Donwill were once enemies. Can you describe the rift once between you all.

Ilyas: Back in High School, a few dudes in my crew had silly beef with a few dudes in Don’s crew. Also a girl that was like a sister to me “liked” Don a lot and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Let’s just say he used to do her dirty and I didn’t care for him much. I wasn’t a hater. I just didn’t care for him (laughs). And Don and his crew came to a dance at my school and went into the back area of the cafeteria and bombed the wall (graffiti). It was a dance me and a few others were in charge of for the most part, so we got in trouble for that shit (laughs). So yeah, I didn’t like Don too much. Our crews almost got into it after a football game once, on some heads walkin’ to the trunk type nonsense. Boy…the good ol’ days (laughs).


DJ Grain: When did you first start rapping, and what was the name of the first track your recorded?

Ilyas: In first grade, I wrote my first four line rhyme in my head, but eighth grade is when I started and stuck with it. It was called “We In The House.” It was my boy beatin’ on a table to make the beat then we recorded it and kept dubbin’ it to get it bassy. Then we played it out of one stereo while we recorded ourselves rappin’ to it a tape recorder.

DJ Grain: Dope! What is the Hip Hop scene like in Cincinnati?

Ilyas: Honestly, it’s kinda dead right now. It’s going through a rebirth though. A lotta new cats are steppin’ up. The cats that weren’t successful quit or moved away. And the cats that are making moves moved away. That’s how it goes here. Not much hometown support from DJ’s and the radio station here. So I can see how cats get jaded. You’re here and nobody cares. ou get on elsewhere then everybody wants to show you love then wonders why you moved away (laughs). Cincinnati…I love it, though. It’s home - it’s a Hard Knock City.

DJ Grain: Growing up, who were some of your favorite artists?

Ilyas: Ice Cube, MC Eiht, DJ Quik, Geto Boys, UGK, Tupac, etc. I was into the midwest, south, and west coast heavy. I got into the Native Tongues in high school though. Then later I grew into Nas, Mobb Deep and Jay-Z.


DJ Grain: How did you and Donwill link up with Von Pea?

Ilyas: Don and Von were on Okayplayer heavy and started trading music.

DJ Grain: When did you, Donwill, and Von Pea form Tanya Morgan?

Ilyas: Wow…hmmmm…2004, I think. I know that’s when we recorded a song together for the first time.

DJ Grain: Who has been your favorite artist to work with?

Ilyas: Outside of Tanya Morgan, I would have to say my homegirl in the Bay, Czelena. She’s an AMAZING talent and is always excited to work. I’ve done several solos with her and we’re still doing more. And you can hear her on The Bridge on “Be You”.


DJ Grain: After listening to your entire back catalogue, one thing I noticed was your versatility as an emcee. How would you describe your style?

Ilyas: I used to be a Kung Fu nut, and even studied Preying Mantis and Tai Chi for a bit. And I always loved Bruce Lee. Bruce would talk about having “the style of no style” and would say, “When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style.”

So I pride myself in being versatile. My flow’s a hoe…just cant be monogamous (laughs). I’m bein’ silly but for real, I pride myself on being unpredictable. That’s why all the solos I’m working on sound NOTHING alike. You’ll see haha.

DJ Grain: Besides being an emcee, not many people know that you are an accomplished video producer. How many videos have you done and what artists have you produced videos for?

Ilyas: I’ve done a video for Ill Poetic to “The Beautiful”. I’m working on a video for “Iswhat?!” I may be doing a video with Illogic. I did two videos for Tanya Morgan to “We Bad” and “How Low” and a video for ilwil to “The ilwil Theme”. I’m working on a video for Tanya Morgan now too.

Those vids were cool because I was learning basic editing but I just got into special effects and 3D graphics and animation, and I plan on shooting a video to every song on The Prelude. And trust me…its some real next level shit. I feel just as they say a producer/emcee is a dangerous combination. A video editor-director/emcee is even more dangerous, because you can express your song visually to fit your idea perfectly.


DJ Grain: If you had to choose between being and emcee and producer, which one would you choose?

Ilyas: Emcee because I have a lot to get off my chest verbally. I love that expression, and to be able to explain complex things in simplified musical form.

DJ Grain: The recently released project The Prelude was in my opinion a great album. What type of feedback have you gotten since it’s release?

Ilyas: I leaked it free because the economy sucks right now, and I know I don’t have money to buy anyone’s album so I feel its only fair. But on another note, I’m going to work on a very unique marketing idea being that I have the gift of video production and multimedia design.

DJ Grain: How do you feel that the digital age has influenced the music industry?

Ilyas: It’s forced it into a rebirth. It obliterated the old structure that honestly was strangling the industry if you ask me. Basically, just like Tanya Morgan is coming up with a bunch of industry folks we know that start small and are climbin’ the ladder. The old industry had the same, got in high places, and then they just catered to their friends and trends and it got old, so now there needs to be reconstruction so that the new blood can get a shot.

DJ Grain: What artists would you like to collaborate with?

Ilyas: Flying Lotus, Aphex Twin, Jay Electronica, M.I.A. (love her), Madlib, Andre 3000, Maynard of Perfect Circle, and in a perfect world…Bjork.

DJ Grain: Do you feel that artists may have to change their style in order to become “mainstream”?

Ilyas: Not necessarily change your style but you have to make yourself accessible to the masses. They’ve been dumbed down by society. So you have to package whatever you’re doing in a way they can digest it. It’s cool to be a creative genius but you have to understand that if you give it to them raw, they may not be able to interpret. It’s like me talking to my son about God and The Universe. I wouldn’t go into my Jungian studies, occult studies, and “otherworldly” experiences all at once to explain. I give him pieces over time so as he matures, one day all the pieces will make sense and he’ll see the puzzle that Daddy gave him to look at. Give them pieces. Do you eat a steak in one gulp?

DJ Grain: What plans do you have for 2009?

Ilyas: Push The Prelude all year. Drop Brooklynati (the new Tanya Morgan LP) in April and push that too. And pretty much sharpen my video skills all year and see what happens. It’s going to be a damn good year though. I can feel it. It’ll come easy too because we’ve worked so hard for it, and will continue to.

Thanks man and tell everybody to check out my site at 100!


Tanya Morgan/Ilwil ish - Beat Thieves Vol 2


Tanya Morgan/Ilwil ish - Beat Thieves Vol 2

For those of you that don't know, Tanya Morgan is a rap group, and recently they won a MySpace contest that highlighted new artists. Make sure you pick up their entire music collection (Moonlighting, The Bridge and dropping early next year Brooklynati). Make sure you download this classic. Shouts to Jermiside who has the verse of the year on the track "Easy". I have a treat for all the fans that think hip hop is dead.

Download link:
Il Wil/Tanya Morgan Presents - Beat Thieves Vol 2