Recognize those behind "The Elements"

As you may or may not know, JRecognize is producing its first event. Because JRecognize emphasizes the idea of community, it's important that we all get to know one another. 

Being that "The Elements" is a Hip Hop event and everyone involved has been greatly influenced by the culture, I asked some of the emcees, deejays, etc. three questions.

  1. What was the first song that sparked your love for Hip Hop?
  2. What does the Hip Hop culture mean to you?
  3. What artist(s) heavily influence you today?

The purpose of this is so that "The Elements" attendees can get a sense of and understand who they're watching/interacting with. 

Here's what they said.

What was the first song that sparked your love for Hip Hop?

Lando Chillrissian: First song… I'd have to say "Touch The Sky" by Kanye West feat. Lupe Fiasco was prolly the first to truly spark my love for Hip Hop. It's funny because I'm of that age bracket that grew up in the backpack v gangster rap era with the 50 Cent v Ye sell off & when conscious rap really got a foothold in the mainstream, so it would be Ye and Lupe.

Ben (Combine Vibes): Nuthin’ But A G Thang - Dr. Dre

Nax (Combine Vibes): Well, I was born in ‘91 so frowning up Hip Hop was everywhere: cartoon shows, commercials, movies, radio, the news, etc. So naturally I was already bobbin’ my head to the stuff, but one year for Christmas when I was like 5 my Tia gave me a portable cassette player with a mixtape she made me with all kinds of cool Hip Hop (a lot of West Coast). I’d have to say a combination of two songs: Hit Em High from Space Jam Soundtrack and I Like Big Butts by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I remember I was always rewinding and fast forwarding the tape and singing along to every word. 

Fonz (Combine Vibes): I wouldn't say that it was a single song and if it was I can't think of it Haha but my older brother used to listen to a lot of Hip Hop when we were young so I'd play all his CD's in my CD player at school or on the bus. Hearing different artists and styles is what really grabbed my attention.

Young One Era: I would say Kanye West - Gold Digger, it for some reason had a certain sound that inspired my love for Hip Hop.

Chozen Profit: My mom was a huge Amg and Dj Quik fan the earliest rap songs I can remember were "Tonight is the Night" or "Word to the D" by Amg.

Marley B: First song probably would have to be The Pharcyde- Passing Me By.

Izzy Mintz: Kick Push by Lupe Fiasco

Jaca Zulu: 2Pac's Dear Mama

DJ Alias: The first song that made me fall in love with Hip Hop music was either "The Freaks Come Out At Night" or "Five Minutes Of Funk" by Whodini.  That's the first tape I remember listening to over and over and over again.

Jocelyn: I Used To Love H.E.R. - Common. Thanks to my sister. 

Dio: My cousins hand me down a mixtape… Blood of Abraham, Father of many Nations.. sparked my curiosity.

Smash Lames: I can't remember a 1st song, but I bought my 1st rap tape visiting my dad at Tanque Verde swap meet. It was the Fat Boys.

What does the Hip Hop culture mean to you?

Lando Chillrissian: I honestly still think I'm still trying to mold that answer... because I think it's ever changing, ever evolving culture. But to me, it's the voice for the voiceless, yet these days it's being threatened more than ever. more subconsciously and subversive than any active racism could ever display. Hip Hop culture is the base that we as African Americans had created to form unity among brothers and sisters torn asunder by years of segregation, self deprivation, and utter social control by the oppression of racism.

Ben (Combine Vibes): Organic, movement, freedom of speech. 

Nax (Combine Vibes): For me, true Hip Hop culture is a way of life. This means it’s in the way you eat, sleep, walk, talk, act, dress, move, laugh, cry and all that. Giving it plenty of room to grow and celebrate and manifest movements along the way. That being said, I also believe that Hip Hop is a huge source of power, love and self worth. So to me its worth a whole world and when I’m doing my thang, best believe I come correct representing me and mine for the people from the people. 

Fonz (Combine Vibes): Hip Hop culture means a lot to me because it is my culture. It's just the way I live and it's always been a heavy influence for me.

Young One Era: It means being unique and expression through words.

Chozen Profit: Hip Hop to me is a release from the normal world, a way to express yourself peacefully, Hip Hop to me of course aside from my family is life...

Marley B: The Hip Hop culture to me is about the struggle and hustle of the underprivileged. Its about having your back against the ropes but still being able to fight back and crack a smile through all the bullshit. Hip Hop is an outlet for us to run to and keep our sanity.

Izzy Mintz: It means a lot, I've invested my life in this

Jaca Zulu: It means the expressions of the oppressed whether they be joyful or painful. It means breaking walls down. It means building bridges. It means connection.

DJ Alias: Hip Hop culture to me is the love for and identification with the elements of Hip Hop (MCing, DJing, Writing, and B-Boying). Just like you have certain music, dance, tradition, speech, dress, etc. attached to say Japanese culture or Mexican-American culture, you have that same fully formed culture in Hip Hop.  When you're a part of the culture, it forms who you are as a person and how the world around you sees you as a person.  It becomes a part of who you are and informs your interactions with the world around you.

Jocelyn: To me, the Hip Hop culture means/is made up of an accumulation of many positive things. The Hip Hop culture gives voice to those who feel the need to be heard. Everyone has a story and Hip Hop is there to help you express it, whether it be through breaking, writing, turning tables, painting, poetry, etc. There's just so much to Hip Hop that people are unaware about and I honestly used to be one of those people. I still have a lot to learn but I like to think Hip Hop makes its way into people's lives at the right time. 

Dio: Hip Hop is the closest thing to flying. It’s more than a culture to me, it’s in every breathe I take, it’s with me in every step I take, every word I exhaust. “Hip Hop” is my mother and my father, it’s my mentor in life, it tells me to express myself and shine with pure intentions and the rest will follow.

Smash Lames: Such a big answer to compress down into so many words... geez. For me it's been a means of respect, honor, originality, style, love, and life. It raised me. I don't put it above my faith or family, but its that close for me to care about.

What artist(s) heavily influence you today?

Lando Chillrissian: I try to find inspiration within original works, regardless of genre. Outasight would definitely be someone that's influenced me musically, in the style of not being afraid to add a lil funk into Hip Hop. I'd also say, Mick Jenkins is a huuuuge influence on what I converse about musically. The poetry.

Ben (Combine Vibes): Apollo Brown is a heavy influence on my style. 

Nax (Combine Vibes): I’d say I’m heavily influenced by the older cats I listened to growing up like Gang Starr, Lauryn Hill, 2Pac, Outkast, Erykah Badu, Wu-tang. But if we’re talking a recent vibe, I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration in artists like Kendrick Lamar, Joey Badass (and anyone affiliated with Pro Era) and Dizzy Wright. I’m also heavily influenced when I kick it in cyphers with the homies. 

Fonz (Combine Vibes): Artists that heavily influence me today would be dudes like Joey Bada$$. Big inspiration as far as more recent artists go: Kendrick Lamar. Ab-Soul. J.Cole. Action Bronson. Older artists open a whooole 'nother realm of discussion.

Young One Era: Drake, Chance the Rapper and Kanye West

Chozen Profit: Today im bumping Kendrick Lamar, Ab-soul, Jhene Aiko, J.Cole, I fucks with A$AP Rocky, (The old) Wiz Khalifa (I'm talking "Prince of the City", "Flight School", "Kush & O.J.") I hate the new Wiz lol, and a few more I can't really think of.... but those right there I listed are HUGE influences.

Marley B: The artist that influences me most right now would have to be Murs. After touring with him and having him take me under his wing Ive learned so much. Not only from the music side of things but also the business side of Hip Hop. Its truly a blessing to have Living Legend in my corner.

Izzy Mintz: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco

Jaca Zulu: Flying Lotus

DJ Alias: The last one is a hard one for me as I can't really point to a singular artist or even a handful of them.  In my early days as a DJ I was heavily influenced by the DJs of the "Golden Era."  DJ Aladdin, DJ Premier, Evil Dee, Tony Touch, Cash Money and others literally taught me how to DJ through their tapes.  Now, I feel like I'm influenced more by the people around me.  Local DJs, B-Boys and B-Girls, MCs, and other friends.  Too many to name but that's who influences what I do now more than any single person.

Jocelyn: I'm still very much fathomed by "old school Hip Hop"... I enjoy Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, Tupac and emcees in that arena. They influence me in the way I appreciate Hip Hop. 

Dio: Today my friends around me, in my newfound studio at 125 e Pennington above Space Smoke Shop. We blow glass, screen print, break-dance, logos, murals, jewelry, embroidery, the list goes on but the art district in general has been inspiring being that I was born and raised in Tucson.

Smash Lames: Most of my influences now day are the publicists and managers of the rappers. People like Dante Ross, Fadia Kader, Drew Millard. These people know what is relevant in old and new Hip Hop. They get it and I respect that.


If you'd like to learn more about some of these awesome Hip Hop heads, click on one (or all) of the buttons below:

Code Green

Providence, Rhode Island hip hop trio, Code Green, has been putting in work as a collective since 2009 and now, with their recently dropped visual for their catchy single "Too Silly,"  fans and new listeners catch onto the CG wave.

Their vibrant, colorful and scenic music video premiered on AshleyOutrageous.com February 2, 2015.

As a fan of Code Green myself, JRecognize linked up with ER, Evo and Nesi (the CG trio) for a short yet informative interview that took place on The Gold Factory radio show regarding "Too Silly" and what fans should be on the look out for, among other things.


We’ve been working underground for a while now just trying to get our shit right. Just so it’s like... once we come, we come hard.
— Code Green

Musical chemistry for the trio was found back in their high school days and as they continued to have fun with their style, Code Green has had the diligence to develop their sound before releasing any material to the public. "We've been working underground for a while now just trying to get our shit right. Just so it's like... once we come, we come hard," said Code Green.

Influences for the trio come from an array of different genres and musical styles. From alternative to R&B and Michael Jackson to Max B, Code Green appreciates good music with a fresh sound. "Just crazy sounding shit that can just open up my mind to new things," as they described it.

They don't label or perceive themselves as strictly East Coast artists, as they believe that the East Coast versus West Coast Hip Hop history is a thing of the past. Avoiding the regional barriers, Code Green's sound goes beyond the Providence and is relatable to Hip Hop listeners who have an ear for various Hip Hop styles.  "We just make songs that we would like to listen to," they said, adding that they do have down south bounce that rides, storytelling and palm tree vibes. 

Young Thug's flow is currently a heavy influence, alongside Future. Thugger is an artist they're eager to collaborate with.

The hip hop scene in Rhode Island is very much present and with Boston emerging not too far away, Code Green said that they've been grinding hand in hand. "It's all love between us. We all know where everybody stands and we all know each other," said Code Green. 

"At the end of the day, what's competition," they said, "Obviously, we're all competing in this field but it's like everybody got their own lane and there's enough room for everybody to do their own thing."

Unexpectedly, "Too Silly" acclaimed house party playlist fame so the trio decided it was time to not only give it a visual but create their first music video, which was directed by John Greene. "If you think about it, a lot of things can be too silly," they said, "Your outlook on certain things or your opinion on something."

All these different types of vibes that you can catch but it works cohesively.
— Code Green

Within the next month, Code Green is set out to provide the listeners with more than just "Too Silly." Having revisited a current project multiple times that has been in the works, they are focused on making it fresh and adding new things before they make any official announcements. "There's a lot of different flavors," they described, "It's like a color wheel. All these different colors. All these different types of vibes that you can catch but it works cohesively." 

Make sure you stay on the look out for Code Green's upcoming project release and if you want to stay posted on all things Code Green, click on one of the buttons below. 

Lando Chillrissian

On November 30th, 2014, Lando Chillrissian released his first solo mixtape, Broken on the Wheel

In the midst of establishing his sound, Lando proves to be doing just so in his second full project. A collective of bass, claps, fades and orchestral instruments, Broken on the Wheel is a promising first impression for many. He is mastering a blend of future, funk and flow. 

Born and raised in a south side neighborhood called Roseland Heights of Chicago, Illinois, Lando is flourishing his image in the small, yet artistically driven, city of Tucson, Arizona; originally in the pursuit of film. 

Growing up in a religious household, where his mother was a pastor, he had an array of musical influences like gospel, folk, and Motown. 

Music had always been a part of me.
— Lando Chillrissian

"Music had always been a part of me. My mom was really artistic when she was a kid so she pushed poetry, dance, which is kind of embarrassing," Lando admits and follows with laughter, "But she pushed a lot of artistic qualities, which was cool for me because it allowed me to have an emotional outlet. It wasn’t until, I would say, sophomore year of college where I took hip hop and rap and poetry the most serious I’ve ever had up until this point.”

Between the years 2011 and 2012, he officially started his pursuit in music.

"It wasn’t that long ago," said Lando. "It’s cool to have progressed from my first little foray into the music industry, which was this little joint mixtape with my friend Deep Rich, LA artist, called Tabernacle, to now, Broken on the Wheel. It’s tight."

Hip Hop wasn't welcomed in Lando's household growing up but he felt as if it was something that bridged the gap between himself and his peers, his relatives, and the kids on the block. 

"I mean, as a kid I wasn’t black enough for a lot of people. Being mixed you have the identity crisis of: you can be this, you can be that," he said. 

"Falling into Hip Hop… it wasn’t by chance it was a necessity at first to feel black enough. And it wasn’t even like I liked it at first, honestly. It was tight but my ears weren’t trained for it.

"It’s funny ‘cause my mom had the same problem. I think she still does because she doesn’t listen to a lot of Hip Hop. I remember back when I was first listening to it, my ears couldn’t catch up to the wordplay. It couldn’t catch the metaphors. It was so fast compared to what I listened to. Being from Chicago you listen to Twista, Consequence… you listen to all that, so you got cats that spit all fast."

Finding Hip Hop was a musical awakening and enlightenment, as he described it, for Lando. 

“[Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor] was the first rap CD I bought with my own money, which is kinda lame,” he said. 

Beginning Hip Hop influences 

“Growing up I’d say Lupe. Man, Lupe was a big influence. Lupe and Kanye, I would say," said Lando. 

Lando was a big mixtape head, visiting sites like HotNewHipHop and Stereogum for new music and artists on the come up. 

You want to be honest and truthful. Especially in rap, you keep it one hunnid.
— Lando Chillrissian

"I remember when Childish Gambino was coming out and when Asher Roth was coming out and Cool Kids are just getting on, all these young cats now that are making headway. I used to think that I wanted to rap like them or emulate them like they were the 'end all, be all.' It got to a point where, I don't know, I was lying to myself through my music and that's the last thing you want to do as an artist. You want to be honest and truthful. Especially in rap, you keep it one hunnid. Honestly, that's what Hip Hop’s about. So it got to the point where I was just like, ‘Screw this. Let me find my own voice. Find my own path.’

I cut a lot of influences I thought were good influences that turned out to be just me trying to write a trend. I cut those out and I think my music grew because of that. I think it got a lot better, a lot better," said Lando.

When Lando first began writing, Childish Gambino, Tyler the Creator and Kid Cudi were the ones to somewhat be a foundation for his founding. 

"It wasn’t as if I was biting their flows or their subject matter, I was biting their beat selection, their ambient style, their aura," he explained. 

"After a while, after a few months of writing to their songs, it got to a point where I was like, ‘This is not getting me anywhere.' Musically, me being an artist is a pipe dream. Back then I didn’t have a mixtape, I'd bullshit. If I really wanted to get somewhere I didn’t want to be another one hit wonder, I didn’t want to copy ideas," said Lando.

"It definitely happened pretty fast. I would definitely say from finding my own voice I've grown exponentially," he said, "Just learning what I'm capable of - what sounds good, what sounds original. I think I'm almost there. I'm close to hitting that stride of it being a 'Lando' track. Like ‘Ah damn, that's Lando.'"

Upcoming album

With a few demos already on hand, Lando has got a twelve to fourteen track album in the works. 

"I’ve been listening to my demos and it's not like it transcends Hip Hop, it just sounds really… I don’t want to toot my own horn because I don’t really have a horn to toot.

It sounds really cool, it sounds unique, it sounds like I put the funk back in Hip Hop. That's what I want to do. I grew up with funk. I want to put the funk back in Hip Hop. Hell yeah," he said as if having had an epiphany. 

"I have so many ideas spinning in my own head about it. I know I have two songs, I have a U of A artist working on the cover, I know Phen from Jivin' Scientists is going to engineer it and hopefully produce most of it. It's going to be interesting, it's going to be really interesting.

The one thing I want on my album is passion.
— Lando Chillrissian

I'm going to get a lot of Tucson locals to be on it. Not the quintessential Hip Hop artists we have here. I’m going to get some world class trumpet players, trombone players, some unknown U of A choir kids to sing on it. I want to get some homegrown talent to be on it. The one thing I want on my album is passion. I'm going to pick passionate people who came [to Tucson] for a reason," said Lando. 

He is aiming for an album drop in March of 2015. 

Quick, yet diligent, to provide people some material, Lando is dedicated. 

Music isn’t something you quit.
— Lando Chillrissian

"This is going to cost money, this is going to cost time, this is going to have bad days, this is going to have days in the booth where I can’t rhyme, where, fuckin', my big ass lips don't work. There's going to be days like that but that's all a part of the journey. For those who think their end goal is having one performance or one tour or selling one album, this is the wrong profession for you. This is not something you quit, it's a part of you. Some people fall into it, some people grow into it, some people are just natural at it. Music isn’t something you quit. It's not a job, it's not a chore," expressed Lando. 

His true end goal is having a long career in the music industry. 

Broken on the Wheel

Broken on the Wheel took about five days of creation; given, a few of the songs are songs that Lando has been performing for a while now but finally had a chance to put them on wax and give them a home. 

This ten-track mixtape is available for download on Bandcamp, (link can be found at the end of this piece). When you do download this baby, you find yourself with an eleventh track, "ain't no reason," where Lando covers one of his favorite songs by Brett Dennen. 

One track, "Stay Gold," has an official music video and other tracks like "FAST Food" will have a video underway. 

The project's cover artwork was made by Ezra Letra and photography was taken by Brian Thompson.

Lando sequenced this mixtape with reason. All ten (secretly eleven) tracks were placed in order while the titles were being given. 

Not only are they sequenced but each song on the tape has a significant meaning and portrayal. Because of this, Lando walks us through the message behind each song and how it relates to the theme of the project: pride.  


"babel"

“It’s a tight track. I wanted something that would catch people’s attention. The theme of the mixtape, why it’s called Broken on the Wheel, is pride. That’s what I’ve come to understand is an area of weakness for me, so I decided to run with that theme.

Being 'broken on the wheel' is the punishment you receive when you are damned to hell for the sin of pride. That's the mother of all sins, of which all other sins arise from. Makes sense how everything stems from pride.

Each track reflects that in a sense and especially some of the subject matter in some of the songs. "Babel" was the first one. I named it "Babel" because of the Tower of Babel. That was the tower of pride within the bible. The Tower of Babel was this tower built and it was a monument of mans superiority and of course it was torn down.

I want people to know I was serious. I want people to know I’m not bulshittin’."

"Namek"

“It's an ode to Dragon Ball Z. I don’t know. I was kind of a nerd, still am. So I wanted to do a little shout out. I wanted to have fun. It was a really light hearted; Brazilian, samba form sounding shit. It sounded real dope, produced by Co.fee. I heard it and I was like, ’Whoa, this shit is tight as fuck.'

Namek is the planet in Dragon Ball Z that Piccolo is from. We all know Piccolo is the deflecto, black person in Dragon Ball Z. Little ode to that and that song also shows my hebrus. I really wanted to make it a point to have fun with the first few songs but also assert myself as a musician, as someone who has metaphors on wordplay, someone who can entertain you."

"FAST Food"

“That was the Kanye produced one. I wish I actually had his phone number to be like, ‘Hey thanks for the beat.’ I’ve actually had that song written for a while. That was one of the songs I always wanted to do because I’ve been a fan of Common for a while and the beat is off of his album Be. The original song is called “The Food.” Common killed it but I wanted my own version and I wanted to sing on the hook as well.

It’s nice to see “FAST Food” on wax, listen to it, layer it up.

That’s one of the ones I got pretty real on. Not sort of to preach but just a wake up call that the food that we’ve been eating, (the food as in a metaphor for the education, the culture, the ideas, capitalism and this consumerism), all this stuff that we’ve been fed by the people in power... it's not necessarily good for us.

It's not conducive to how human life really is. Humans aren’t meant to hate other humans, humans aren’t meant to enslave other humans. Once you already get in that mindset then you’ve already lost. So yeah, that's where I wanted to go with this song."

"Padawans"

“Another ode to Star Wars. It’s funny because one of the strongest Padawans that there ever was, Anakin Skywalker, the thing he suffered from was pride. We’ll say that revenge had a big thing to do with it and that’s not necessarily something that’s a theme in this mixtape but it is a theme in my life just because I’m a spiteful ass son of a bitch, which is sad. But yeah its easy to admit just because it is me.

Yeah, Anakin, his power stemmed from his pride and his abilities and of course he had abilties that were beyond any Jedi or man or whatever. The pride was essentially his downfall. He believed he was more powerful than he actually was and at times I think us as a human race, me as a person, believe I’m more powerful than I actually am. It took growing up to realize that and I talk about that in that song. That song is produced by Lunice, originally a Rockie Fresh song. Shoutout Rockie Fresh."

"between Ends"

“That ones produced by Flying Lotus. That songs pretty tight just because from the time I got here, 2010, to now I definitely been a part of a lot of friend groups, been on different sides. I've been taken advantage of, I’ve taken advantage of people, lied, cheated, all sorts of stuff and it got to a point where it was - you know, I’m putting myself in these situations, not the other way around where trouble finds me. 

So I started to just make my circle smaller and smaller and I did that by becoming a hermit, in the sense of being more responsible, paying attention to my music and that cut a lot of bullshit out. But when you go do you, when you go to Henry David Thoreau type of forest bullshit and you go out into your own and find yourself, you then realize who has your back and who doesn't have your back.

You realize who goes out of their way to go say 'Wassup' and hang out, and who will just say 'Wassup' in passing when they see you at the bar at one a.m.. That was a song for them, for those people. That and for me. The song starts off with, 'Let's keep this between friends but to them I’m a means to an end/ I’m a pot of gold with a voice that can bend'. So yeah. Got to be real."  

"unusual betrayals"

“That one is produced by Bearface. I wrote that after an ex-girlfriend. After we were talking and we stopped talking. My pride was hurt is perfectly how I segway back to the theme of pride and that beat sort of gave me the canvas to be able to portray how I felt when the heartbreaker gets his heart broken. It's unusual. That's why I named it “unusual betrayal” cause you never think you're going to fall on your own sword. The cop never thinks he's going to get arrested. It's just one of those ironic situations so I picked an ironic title.

It's funny because some people listen to your music and say, ‘Yo I listened to that song its so dope,’ and it's just like, ‘Yeah I wrote that song about you.’

She's heard this song. She doesn’t know its about her though.

The only reason music touches anyone's soul is if that person has been through what they talk about on the track. You can talk about dishonesty on the track, that doesn't make you dishonest."

"Stay Gold"

"That is actually cut off of my first tape. That was a single. That is the only song I have a music video for.

For Senior Film [Ben Montemayor], (a classmate), talked about doing a music video. I was the artist he picked. I didn't have a song so he got his producer, a.k.a. his friend at the time Josh Sheppard, and we all collaborated on a song. After we collaborated on a song, got a music video, I was like ‘Hey, i got this music video coming out, I have this song coming out, I don't have a mixtape. I have nothing'. So that is what spurred the making of Tabernacle, my first project.

I give a lot of credit to Alexis Preston for producing and set designing that. A lot of credit to her and Ben. Shoutout to Cooper James, the cinematographer. I gave them a lot of ideas to work with where I wanted to be truthful.

The metaphors that I portray within the music video are real. That stuff happened to me or was in the process of happening to me and I wanted to make it vague enough to where as you wondered what it took for me to be here after all this shit happened to me. But I wanted it to be specific enough for you to realize that I didn't get here without some trials and tribulations, I have scars. I have been tested. I could have died multiple times but I'm here for a reason."

"sTUC"

"It's spelled on purpose like that. It's spelled with capital TUC to represent Tucson. It’s one of those songs that you really have to listen to before… this one is hard to explain. It’s a metaphor for every college students nightmare but it’s also a nightmare that we are more important than what we think our future may hold for us. We’re more important than that job or career. Society said you need to make a certain amount of money to be able to live comfortable, you’re more than what you lost last week that you’re trying to get back. I mean you’re more than that.

You're more than that moment. There's more to life than that. It's not that big of a bump on the road in your journey and that was my little story about us college kids, the pitfall we go through. A little reminder being stuck is relative but we’ve all been there but it's not the end.

I heard that song because of Coachella, I went to Coachella this year. That is a Virtual Boy song. I heard that and it was bomb as fuck and I decided that it needed me on it."

"seen it all b4"

"That is from Mellow Hype, ancillary group from Odd Future. I wanted to get really biblical. I have a religious background: Christianity, Methodist, Presbyterian, not really Baptist, Episcopalian.

Going to college you learn how to ask questions. Not only that you learn how to ask questions, you learn why you should ask these questions. It's not just of curiosity, you learn in asking questions because ignorance is not bliss.

It's a pretty deep song. I'm going through the lyrics in my head and it's funny because I sound somewhat condescending but that is the whole point. That is my pride at work but that's also, I guess, my point. I've seen it all before.

As an Anthropology major, which I am now, and as a minority, I’m previewed to the knowledge and the history and the scars of what people are capable of, of what society is capable of, of what the world is capable of."

"REIGN OF PRIDE"

"That is an important track. That is my apex or my crescendo of my growth and understanding of myself and my weaknesses when it comes to pride and when it comes to that affecting other people or my consequences or my actions affecting other people. It was a culmination of the few years I have been musically inclined. That was just a culmination.

It was an important song. It's a song I’ve listened to for a while now. I think it came out in 2010. That's a Ryan Lewis cut, produced by him. The original song was “Fake Empire,” I believe, by The National. That band... they're a pretty dope band. That cut of a song was available on Macklemore’s and Ryan Lewis’ The Vs. EP.

I always had an affinity for that song. It always had this weird feeling or meaning or aura or something about it just felt right. I decided to write over it and it took me a while. Took me like a year because I wrote it in different bits and pieces. In my different highs and lows.

I wrote it, finished it up. Finished up the chorus last and sung it and it sounded right."

"ain’t no reason" - (the hidden track)

I like folk music. It's pretty tight. It's pretty fucking tight. That is a cover of a Brett Dennen song, "Ain't No Reason." I think it's pretty relevant to the struggles to the middle and lower class nowadays. It puts into perspective what and who we take for granted in society nowadays and how lopsided it can be.

That and I wanted this mixtape to be a really interesting roller coaster. I want it to flow but I also want it to showcase a lot of my talents. Being able to rap and sing can give you a wide range but also give you a cool little roller coaster, typhoon type shit you can do if you sequence it right and if you execute it right on wax.

It's a song I love to sing so I just put it on the tape."


For more on Lance Chillrissian, click one (or all) of the buttons below. 

DJ Jazzy Jeff

You may know him as Jazz from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You may know him from your old school favorite "Summertime" with his partner Will Smith (the Fresh Prince). You may know him through some of your favorite R&B artists like Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott or The Roots. Maybe you even know him from his episode series Vinyl Destination. 

Wherever you may know him from, it is known that DJ Jazzy Jeff is a legend behind the turntables. Since the young age of ten, Townes had a passion and love for music that came into fruition while spinning records at parties. 

Since the '80s, DJ Jazzy Jeff has had and continues to have great success; even as the music industry evolves through the ages. 

Having gained popularity overseas and a fan base in and out of the Hip Hop community, he continues to tour the globe and spin a dope mashup of your favorite records. 

On November 13, 2014, DJ Jazzy Jeff rolled through the small (but vibin') city of Tucson, AZ. 

A little less than an hour before his set, fans spotted him sitting in a a black leather booth with the rest of his crew, unhesitatingly shaking hands with those who approached him.

He is as cool and collected as you picture him being.

After his set, I await to interview him outside in the the patio with much explaining on my end to the venue security and management (because by this time the club had been cleared out and it was no longer "legal" to have me there). 

[Journalist tip: contact the venue staff and management prior to the event, as well as the interviewee.]

Townes comes out and takes a seat in front of my good friend, Kiara, and I like he was meeting up with two friends who were waiting for him at the end of the night. 

Here's the short but sweet interview with DJ Jazzy Jeff:


J: You’ve been spinning records since you were ten years old, what’s been your drive?

DJ: Love of music. Simple and plain. Love of music over everything. Over business, over everything. You always come back to music.

J: In honor of it having been throwback Thursday, what is your favorite throwback of you and Fresh Prince?

DJ: Can’t name it. Can’t name that. I can’t solo any of ‘em out. All of them are equally important.

J: Okay, a random throwback.

DJ: I can’t, can’t.

(he smiles and nods)

J: Too good?

DJ: Yup!

K: How do you stay so passionate throughout all of your work? You’ve been in the game for a minute and you are so passionate, just like your face, focused.

DJ: Like I said, it’s the love of music. You know, trust me, it drives me crazy. It wakes you up in the middle of the night and makes you zone out. People don’t understand that you’re thinking of stuff but it’s just a love. What other thing can you put on and change somebody's emotion, instantly?

J, K: Music.

(we all agree)

J: What advice would you give to aspiring DJ’s?

DJ: Ooo, that’s a tough one. I would want to tell them to find what your niche is. If there’s a hundred deejays, why would someone pick you? You gotta figure out what that thing is and drive with it. Deejays used to have a lot of personality and it got to a point that you could replace the deejay with any other deejay because everybody kind of plays the same. And granted, you have to play some of the same songs but I think that you have to show some kind of an identity that can separate you from everybody else. I’ve always said that at the end of the night when people walk out, they don’t ever walk out talking about the Drake song that you played. They talk about that song that they didn’t expect you to play and didn’t expect you to play it when you played it. So you always have to add those signature things in and kind of separate yourself from everybody.

J: So what do you believe your thing is?

DJ: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a thing. Sometimes it’s certain records just… you know, I play everything. I came up when it wasn’t a Hip Hop deejay or EDM deejay, it was just a deejay. You had all kinds of music and you played all kinds of music and as it kind of went on, everybody kind of got separated and started calling themselves specific deejay’s but name me one person that you know that likes one type of music.

J: Well I don’t. I like all kinds of music. So from the 80s to now, what’s the biggest notable change you’ve seen in the industry?

DJ: That this is the biggest that deejaying has ever been and I never expected that. You know, you always knew that deejays were always going to be around but the explosion in the 2000s of the deejay is just… you know, I probably work more now than I’ve ever worked in my life and I’ve always consistently worked. And everybody wants to be a deejay now. I think with that notoriety, it’s a gift and a curse. With the notoriety, again, everybody wants to be a deejay. Some people who don’t need to be a deejay want to be a deejay. But it also brings and sheds light on to something that, you know… I know a lot of deejays that used to deejay that used to say that the rappers used to push them on the back burners and now that rappers are asking [the deejay], ‘What are you doin’ this weekend.’ So you see a whole paradigm shift.

J: I’m wondering if 2014 was everything you expected it to be because I saw one of your episodes on Vinyl Destination where you were like, ‘I wonder what 2014 is going to bring.’

DJ: It’s been great. It’s been great. We probably did close to 130 dates. We just came back from a month long European tour. I have two more dates and then I’m home for two weeks before we go to Asia and Australia for a month. So it’s working. I think everytime we play, we play for someone to ask you to come back. When you can look on your calendar six months in advance and know where you’re going to be, it’s definitely a blessing.

J: What is 2015 going to bring?

DJ: Oh God. I’m taking office for September 2015. 

(we laugh and the PR gives me the 'wrap it up' signal)

J: Could we possibly see you and Fresh Prince reunite one day?

DJ: We’ve been talking about it. Like you know, the desire. Its just, he’s probably the biggest movie star on the planet and the movie people don’t like me too much because I want to pull him in the studio but, I mean, we talked about it. We talked about setting aside some time in the New Year and just going somewhere for a month and just knocking the door. Yeah I’m keeping my fingers crossed. He’s actually came out to a couple of the shows. I was in Dubai for New Years and he called me two days before and asked me what I was doing ‘cause I didn’t think he was gonna show up.

J: This past New Years?

DJ: Yeah. And he showed up and he was blown away. So anytime he sees stuff like that he gets the juices flowin’. Like, ‘yo man we should, we should.’ So let’s see.


Thank you Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails for letting me interview the legend after hours. Thank you Vinyl Destination crew for being patient. Thank you Kiara for being my lovely partner for the night. And thank you DJ Jazzy Jeff for being extremely genuine and I look forward to the next time I get to see you!