“It’s the wavelengths, bro, that change over time because nothing stops moving — including people. Niggas get older; new people take their place.”
The next generation of hip-hop is coming of age as of late, and the future of the genre is bright. Not to say there wasn’t always youngins in the game, but the industry is a transitional state, and a new breed of artists armed with a true sense of golden era asthetic – and a built in digital marketing compass – are reclaiming the elements that had many of us older heads fall in love with the back in it’s hay day. Furthermore, these new rappers are seemingly a buffer, allowing some of the older/jaded ears to take in some of the newer influences they may otherwise sleep on. There are a number of soldiers leading this brigade, many of whom I’ve featured here. Today, though, I want to introduce Loaf Muzik, a Brooklyn hip-hop collective consisting of members Oso Dope, Kidaf, Shine Sinatra, and Shadow The Great.
All in their early 20’s, these cats are remarkably self-aware, and seem to have found their artistic focus/foundation quite early on. With their new mixtape, Live From The Dungeon, their collaborative release with Harry Freud, Camo Assassin, and their work with Team Backpack, their work ethic is showing – and for now, it’s all in-house.
The guys were kind enough to sit down with AAHIPHOP to talk about their music, their influences and more. Check out the interview below, and get familiar!
(L–R: Shadow The Great, Oso Dope, Kidaf, Shine Sinatra)
Talk a little bit about first how you got into hip-hop and then we’ll get into Loaf Muzik and how that came together…
OSO: I got into hip hop pretty much just opening up my eyes to my surroundings and my neighborhood where I was growing up. You know, here in people’s apartments and across the street somebody else had they speaker outside their 7th-floor apartment; hearing people compete for the loudest speaker, facing the window, hearing that soul. That bass line, those drums, at the park, on every single corner. That’s where my hip-hop experience began, literally just growing up taking a detour around the neighborhood and stuff like that. Also, video games that had mad brand new tracks on them. I would play the games just to listen and bump the tracks, every word, things like that. That’s how I started knowing about different MCs.
Shine: In all truth, it was Shadow, he exposed me to it. He showed me everything about it. Whether it was the lyricism or DJing or, you know, b-boying, I just started to expand my knowledge about it. It just caught my attention; you know what I mean? I got put onto like all these artists and at the time, I was like maybe 14 or 15. Listening to dudes that grew up in the same city I grew up in. Relating to them in a certain type of way because of what they’re saying. Listening in to them, also to the drums, the bass line, the low end. It was just like, so captivating. You got all these dope ass lyricists who come from the same area in reality. You got Big Pun from Queens, Biggie from Brooklyn and all these dope ass artists – but they’re all New York artists. It was like, knowing that all these guys grew up in the same city that I’m growing up in—it was crazy. Being 14, knowing that. It was dope.
Kidaf: How I fell in love with hip-hop? It’s a very particular story, bro. My brother had just turned 18; he copped a fucking Lincoln LS, some burgundy shit. I went inside, and he was playing a Big L and Jay-Z freestyle. It was a 9-minute long freestyle. I heard hip hop before but I had never heard nobody kill it like that. Ever since I heard that, I just fell in love with the art. And then with the art comesthe culture. You just feel all these people just doing what they want to do in a world where that’s pretty hard, you know what I’m saying? It was attractive to me, even as a young kid. Now that I’m older, I still have that same mind state – do it yourself. In 2016 everybody got their movement.
So how did you guys come together? Did you guys go to the same school? How did you guys meet and decide to form Loaf Muzik?
Kidaf: Through music and school, bro. Education is secondary to it, though. I knew Shadow in middle school; he was living in Brooklyn. It was like a community thing. I was living all the way in Queens. I was fucking with his shit, he was fucking with mine, and then we linked up – and we started making music together. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it was dope the way everything came together.
OSO: The simplest form of it was pretty much… I knew Shine from the neighborhood, and I also knew Shadow from the neighborhood. It was like “I’m going to rep your shit, you’re going to rep my shit,” that’s how we started with the music aspect. We just started hanging out more, and it became a lifestyle – more of a religion. We had started making plans and started evolving more of our homies/crew into what it is now.
“If people say New York hip hop is back, then New York hip hop is back. The people are the ones that create these terms…”
— Oso Dope
Is it more of a group or collective? Because it’s very specific wording. For example, Wu-Tang is a group. I guess they’ve grown into a collective, but they’re a group. Do you guys think about yourselves as separate entities or do you work more as a group?
Kidaf: Nah, I think it’s like this bro: If we’re all in the same room, it’s a group. But the minute I step outside that door, it’s all me. We’re all in our shit, and we all have our style you know what I’m saying? That’s why the group is so strong. I think we’re kind of both, man. I think once you start to use words like the group and collective…I mean, we’re brothers; I’m probably going to chill with them later on today, and smoke—you know what I’m saying? We’re a family…we’re a family first.
Shine: It’s like collective creatively. The group is like the family. We mob together.
OSO: Everyone has their shit, yeah.
Kidaf: Exactly, everyone has their creative niche that just coexists with everyone else. That’s the collective part of it. One vibration.
It’s an interesting direction too because if you think about it, collectives don’t break up. Groups break up. Groups always have trouble, but collectives don’t break up because it’s a different mentality. Native tongues is a collective; they’re all very strong artists kind of on their own.
What are you guys currently working on?
We just dropped a tape called Live from the Dungeon that can be found on DatPiff.
OSO: We also dropped Camo Assassin like a week or two ago. That’s the shit that we just did; we were in the studio for 22 hours with Harry Freud, we came out with that. It came out through Red Bull Sound Selects. They (Red Bull) put us up on Pandora, too. We’re going to keep creating keep giving you guys a taste of Loaf, you know what I’m saying. Just more and more.
Kidaf: A lot of things, a lot of projects following up. That’s what people can expect. More Live From The Dungeon, more of that experience, more of that insight.
Here’s a question: You guys do a lot independently. Do you guys think about maybe going with a label or going major? Do you think there’s an advantage?
Kidaf: Loaf Muzik, it’s a label already. That’s how we operate. Always had a do-it-yourself mentality. When we were all getting together, trying to figure out how we were going to get this shit bigger, it was never like, how are we going to get found? It was more like, how are we going to create a foundation of sand, that way we can keep getting bigger to fill more places? We don’t have a handout mentality. Not to say that anybody getting signed to a label is getting a handout, but in-house is our specialty, and we take a lot of pride in that. Getting shit done on our own, and not working for somebody but working with somebody.
Who are some of the artists that you guys look up to?
OSO: On the real, I look up to Daf.
Kidaf: Yeah, to keep it real with you bro, to keep it real, I listen to a lot of rap. Regarding artists I look up to, I look up to these guys bro. Not even be corny with it. I know these people. It’s hard for me to sit down and create a character for an artist that I look up to, and want to be like. Hip-hop is what we do; you know what I’m saying? I’m more inspired by the people around me, how they get down. The last thing you want to do is be the wack nigga while your homies are killing it. So yeah, that’s my answer to that bro.
You guys do have a very 90s sound. I’m much older than you guys. I’m about 10, 12 years older than you guys. You guys sound like the shit I was bumping in high school, which is dope. It’s very organic; it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to sound like that.
Kidaf: People say shit like that all the time, bro. Ever since we started, people have been saying that. I don’t think that’s what we’re going for; I think we’re just going for lyricism. That’s how it is in my head. Everybody else is filtered; it will go straight to old school hip hop. We spit, we do what we like, you know what I’m saying? Of course, to a lot of people, it’s going to translate into that. That’s just the way life is.
OSO: I think it’s a compliment, having them compare us. Not compare us, but tell us that we remind them of something that is great. I feel like the music from the 90s is great music, it hits home. That’s the root of a lot of people’s hip hop introduction. To be able to remind people much older than us, it’s a compliment. Yo, I remind you of a great time? That’s what’s up! We remind you of great music? Thank you, it’s an honor.
Shine: Whenever people say that it’s a compliment. To me, music from the 90s is very much timeless. So when people say we remind them of that sound, It’s like saying we have a timeless sound. That’s very much what music should be; music should be timeless.
People seem to be the most connected to a certain period of music in their lives, you know what I’m saying. It’s like in the Tribe song, was it Excursions? When Q-Tip’s dad was saying that hip hop reminded him of bebop. That’s what he listened to when he was a kid.
OSO: That shit was dope, bebop, it’s a compliment. I feel like every music has a root, it comes from somewhere. I feel like the further you go back in music, the greater it makes you feel based on the vibrations. To remind someone of those good vibrations is a good feeling because that’s what we want to do. We want to transcend good vibrations and positivity when we do our art, do our lyricism, do our beats, do our visuals, do our shows, do all that.
“To me, music from the 90s is very much timeless. So when people say we remind them of that sound, It’s like saying we have a timeless sound.”
— Shine Sinatra
How important is it for you guys to stay true to where you’re from as New York cats? Because when I listen to you guys, it sounds like a resurgence of New York hip hop. It sounds like New York is coming back. Hip-hop went through many stages, and it went through damn near every region in the United States of America in the last 20 years.
Shine: If people say New York hip hop, is back then I guess they should say “hip hop” is back – and that’s dope. In a conventional sense, it’s back, but it never left. It’s in the streets. It’s a lifestyle, and you just don’t drop a lifestyle. As long as people who live that lifestyle are still breathing, then it’s still alive.
I feel like maybe eight years ago you guys would’ve been as buzzing. The sound was very, very different.
Shine: People are always going just to try to put things in categories…
Kidaf: One style can make other styles obsolete if enough people fuck with it. Think about it. It’s like alright cool, somebody is rapping about diamonds, and mad niggas is fucking with diamonds. But then, some nigga comes out of nowhere from the gutter in the Bronx, or some shit, and says, “we don’t give a fuck about nothing, and the niggas are on the fucking street.” It’ll be like, fuck diamonds bro, we’re hitting the streets, this shit is hot now. It’s not even about the style. It’s the wavelengths, bro, that changes over time because nothing stops moving including people. Niggas get older; new people take their place. New shit.
OSO: If people say New York hip hop is back, then New York hip hop is back. The people are the ones that create these terms and like Daf said, these wavelengths. They’re like the critics; they’re the perspective. So it’s like, they receive what we create. So whatever they see is how they feel about it. That’s technically how it goes, you know.
Where do you guys see Loaf Muzik going? What’s your ultimate goal? It might be a hard question. What’s your goal? What do you guys want to be 30 years from now when people are looking back? What do you want people to remember about Loaf Muzik?
Kidaf: Our creations – everything we expose as artists. We want to be remembered as what we do, what we create, what we put out. It’s just crazy because we all have mad shit, mad goals, and when we come together, it just multiplies. I just want to Influence others, really, just to continue to vibrate on this frequency with us, to spread positivity.
Shine: Maybe some nigga that we don’t even know, from some other part of the world somewhere is going to get up and change his whole life just because he heard a track and got inspired. That is contagious.
OSO: No more of that hating, people. It’s about unity. It’s real; that’s what it comes down to. That’s where hip-hop started, people coming together. I feel like we have the platforms to make it happen, so that’s what we gon’ do.
Shine: Make some dope ass music, travel the world and shit.
Kidaf: Yeah, pretty much.
You guys have any last words, any last shout outs?
OSO: Thanks for the interview man.
Kidaf: Shout out to AboveAverageHipHop.com, thanks for having us, yo.
Shine: You should check out Camo Assasins when you get the chance.
Kidaf: You know what I’m saying, high new hip hop! Shout out to my man, shout out to Captain Mark… mad dope visuals, new films, just stay in the fucking loop with us. Keep out, keep watch, Brooklyn, Queens, all that shit universal.