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Shifty Eyez Lays It All On The Line

Alberta, Canada, rapper Shifty Eyes struggled growing up. “I seemed to fit in with the kids from way harder families…

Alberta, Canada, rapper Shifty Eyes struggled growing up. “I seemed to fit in with the kids from way harder families than my own,” he tells AAHH, “that lead to all sorts of unwanted exposure for a young kid … really, music was like an antidepressant and a vent even before it was a career craft my headphones were my go to.”

He was introduced to drugs at a young age; “I was introduced through prescriptions, which also led to other nasty things we won’t mention,” he says. “I didn’t break free till I found hip-hop as my vent in 2006—I got out from the self-inflicted bottom and started climbing to the point of self-awareness and confidence, which as an addict of any kind is extremely hard to do.”

“I kinda switched the addiction from cheap thrills and expensive life draining drugs to music and the hustle of real life responsibility,” he says.

We sat with Shifty, and he told us about his music, his life, and much more. Check out the full interview, below.

Explain your angle, Shifty.

I represent the devil kids the ones who don’t think they have the worth to make it out, and you don’t have to be raised in the ghetto to put yourself in the same situations, its lifestyle choices ultimately, and hip hop is the positive version of that lifestyle. Now as time has passed I have had three children and am focussed on building them a future that’s not defined by the same trials and tribulations or the false career limitations we seem to think there is while we grow up in this society.

Tell me about the music — describe your sound.

My sound is different, its like if you mixed boom-bap with trap threw some ice cube on it and shook it up like a Bond martini. To be honest, sometimes I feel the sampled boom-bap sound, and some days I am in super trap mode, but I tend to mix both genres and talk a lot of different contexts. I don’t know how to describe my sound as I don’t have a goal for it sonically I think that would limit my creativity, so who knows today you could hear me on some ATL Trap sound and tomorrow you may catch me on some rock crossover joint. I have fun with it all the same and am the same weirdo all the time, so really I like to think I got a little something for everyone in my bag of tricks even your grandma.
How did you get involved in music?

I have always been creative, but when I was about 13 years old, that’s when I was introduced to the art of Freestyle Rap. We were just young street kids getting into trouble around town, so really it was our way to pass the time, one of my older homies was really good at the time, and I remember we all would just waste time, years passed most of us got into even worse trouble none of us kept rapping really or made it into anything of a career venture at that time but later at about 16 after addictions and a heavy weight on my shoulders from bad experiences I used Freestyle as a vent and started to pursue it every day. Once I had my first son though I began to think about career options, where I’m from you, don’t have many career choices more like occupations. I did the whole 9-5 thing in many industries and kept rapping on the side, but one day we got a show and ran the venue, which was ridiculous, we had no clue what we were getting into. After that, I opened my first company, and we started throwing events. We threw our events that we would just perform at first but there were no others doing this in town at the time so with each show we had more artist who would want to get involved, which then turned to us throwing more significant events with more tremendous acts to help platform myself and the artists we worked with. This all led to me touring and changing the formula entirely, although now I am focussed on my craft a lot more and have the time to create the high material I need to keep myself satisfied.

Who/what were some of your influences?

As a kid growing up I think there was only a handful of us who listened to hip-hop, I think I got my first tape in 96 a Snoop Dogg tape, I remember my mom not liking the music that was on the tape and having to hide it! That whole experience birthed what is my career today, artist wise I would say the ones that pioneered my passions for hip-hop would be Notorious BIG, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, WU Tang Clan, Bone Thugs, 36 Mafia, Busta Rhymes, The Fugees, and more. And as for newer artists, I would say 50 cent and G-Unit, Game, Trae The Truth, Z-Ro, as well as artists like Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar; they’re the ones that had influenced me to use my original talents freestyling and to keep the organic to my music alive in more recent times. But, like I said, I like all music so this new stuff even the boom-bap and the trap is all very inspirational and a great example of how this art is continuously evolving from artists pushing to be different and more elite.

What have you released?

I have released a decent body of work over the last few years from singles and music videos to my mixtape A New Day that I released in 2015. But I have just started releasing the album material I have been building, and I am confident that my new content is going to double my numbers at least with the first release “Beast” already catching a great buzz. From multiple mixtapes ready to drop and a cache of visuals that meet my standards and exceed I think 2018 is going to be a busy year for sure!

What are you currently working on?

I have been shooting visual after visual recently building a cinematic story to go along with my debut album. At the moment we have a lot of material ready, but I am still in the studio making more records for the album until this upcoming summer, I am also tying up two mixtapes I plan to release in 2018, they are done, but I keep adding more music, so its time to just release the lot of it. We are in the studio tho over the next chunk here working on club bangers and radio singles, so I am sure we will have some more summertime heat to add to the fire later in 2018!

What have been some of your most significant achievements thus far?

This is a funny question, for me, I continually push myself to do better, so my goals are always advancing so I always seem to forget how far I have come. I have toured the US a few times now, performed festivals such as SXSW and AC3, got a feature with Kevin Gates in 2013 that I released on my first mixtape in 2015 which actually did great numbers on streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Tidal, though most recently I have got to shoot the visuals I have always wanted and to add to that got to co-star with a young Tiger in L.A. for my highly anticipated video for “Beast” I think I am the most excited to see things coming together in my vision as I’m the most critical person when it comes to my craft. This is stuff that I dreamed of doing five years ago but didn’t think I would be doing at all. But like I said its a funny question I would like to believe that I haven’t accomplished anything really to keep the hunger alive and stay humble, although I am proud of the work I have done and greatful for all the blessing I have had and have been able to pay forward as well!

What are your goals in the industry?

I plan to make a footprint, really that’s all the plans ever been. I want to make music that reflects my outlooks and experiences in my way while using positive actions to reflect what I am about. I feel the music is only a small percentage of my overall goals in the industry, and I plan to branch the brand out into as many outlets as possible to connect with as many people as possible. I think with being an artist we have a responsibility if we are doing this as a career, I want to help as much as I can to advance the culture more and more as it grows. I plan to keep supporting artists like myself find pathways to their success along with my journey as well. There is just a lot of two-bit hustlers all over the industry who won’t work for you passionately, so I think the more of us who are actually helping other dedicated artists reach the right platforms than the music is only going to flourish more which means the fans will have more access to some of these artists as well!

What’s next for you, professionally?

Well after we release some visuals over the holidays I plan on touring in the new year to promote the upcoming album and single releases. After this, though I plan to stay performing as much as I can and making music in between to keep evolving as an artist always. But yeah, the primary goal now is to meet the fans and potential fans and stay working as much as possible till the album drop next year after that its back to touring I want to be face to face with as many people as I can to share the energy I have when performing.

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Gage Keeps It A Buck On His ‘With Love’ EP

When it comes to marking out your legacy in the music industry, almost a third of the total recipe is…

When it comes to marking out your legacy in the music industry, almost a third of the total recipe is determination; with determination for success comes plenty of byproducts, mainly sacrifice. With his latest EP With Love, Massachusetts-native rapper Gage Tielr has put these elements of his journey into a concise and impactful package worth a few spins.

Off the rip, the projects positions itself worthy of placement with any major mainstream market. Sure shot single like the intro, “F.W.Y.S.” — an acronym for Fuck What You Sayin’ — the dream big single “Emblem” (which received a visual treatment), and “Speedin'” featuring the silky vocals of Pyro Da God, establish Gage as ready.

 

It’s the insanely humanizing and — if your an artist — relatable tone he takes throughout the project that makes it connect. The lamenting of a fed up partner tiring of sticking it out for her rapper boyfriend’s dream of making bags is universal. The love letter to the one that got away, “Written Down,” and the closer “Talk About” with themes that touch on mental health, see some of the project’s most profound depth.

There’s this unspoken cohesiveness to the setlist that positions Gage in the fast lane; he has an excellent ear for instrumentals and careful curation of his work that make the EP come across as polished — right down to the artwork.

From what is gleaned from the literature attached with the release, it’s the result of two years of working to develop his sound. While the project fails to sonically breakthrough into any new artistic territory, his personality, cadence, and sheer honesty shine through and create a great impression — especially if it’s the first.

A lot of rappers like to take the fake it until you make it approach; Gage keeps it a buck, painting the everyday roller coaster of the road to riches with vivid color. With Love is worth a spot on your playlist this week, hands down.

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Hefe Heetroc’s Box Set Is As Ambitious As It Is Experimental

Hefe Heetroc is not a new artist to us here at AAHH; though we’re familiar with him, it’s always been…

Hefe Heetroc is not a new artist to us here at AAHH; though we’re familiar with him, it’s always been in smaller, manageable doses of artistic output. Alienz & Conspiracies box set is his ambitious new release that — if we’re honest — we were slower to jump on. Not for lack of interest, but rather out of intimidation of its length (it’s 33 songs).

“My dream was always to have a box set,” Hefe admits to AAHH. “I thought a theme compilation boxset consisting of a hybrid of an experimental trap, emo, with ‘3rd eye woke’ lyrics could work.” The elephant in the room — which he points out to us — is that box sets generally aren’t themed experiences, but rather compilations or anthologies of music.

“A friend observed that my older music was all aliens and my newer stuff was all conspiracy theories, a lightbulb popped into my head of not only the title but the theme.”

Though the lengthy affair does have some overlap, such a clips of his songs being played/broke on WRIU FM, and what feels like reworkings throughout the tracklist, there are some gems. Staying heavily thematic throughout, the project is a really complex blend of styles and intriguing writing elements. The delivery, however, is eclectic in nature ranging from easy to follow, to what borders on slam poetry, to distorted and obscured to the point that dissecting becomes a bit labored of an experience.

 
The songs that are more straightforward — concerning its approach and flow — like all three parts of “Do U,” “Shroomz,” and “Global Economics” all (tbh) show Hefe at his best. Even if you disagree, you can’t argue it’s his most approachable. His wordplay and content are all fascinating stuff; peep the bars on “Global Economics,” and even the really dope “Lemon Yellow Sun.” It has this KRS-esque level of actual knowledge injected. We’re talking like keep Wikipedia open and get lost in research type bars. “Truth 2 Be” is another excellent example.

 
“Bravo Tango” is a big record we found ourselves revisiting a few times; what stands out is his cadence, which seems like a warm blend of Madchild and Vinnie Paz, that hugs beats and ride them like Cadillac with the top down on a warm LA night.

He takes on this alternate persona throughout the collection of music of 27 Savage, which he unleashes on songs like “Rap-tilian,” “The Awakening.” While ok in doses, the raspy almost whispery flow does make the potency of some of his bars harder to follow. The same issue presents itself when his instrumental choices become more abstract on songs like “Alien Sky,” with it’s glitchy slightly off/beat delivery that is still contextually strong, but a more frustrating listen.

“On all the conspiracy theory tracks my goal was to try a new poetic device, metaphors, allegories, iambic pentåmeter, and golden and silver lines,” he tells us. “I wanted to try a new poetic device out of my comfort zone.”

As he explains, he used the William S Burroughs cut n paste technique on all his songs that deal with conspiracy theories. It’s this deep level of thought that went into the project that definitely necessitates the need for some context to accompany it, as the behind the scenes details often get lost during musical experiments. Much in the same way, it may be hard for a consumer to wrap their minds around the cost associated with wallpaper that is hand printed, as it closely resembles manufactured work for a fraction of the cost.

That though should never be a deterrent for a true artist, and this collection has this niche feeling to it — Hefe’s artistic merit shines through, like that of an MF DOOM offshoot project like Viktor Vaughn.

Overall though, the project is an obvious labor of love and an example of calculated experimentation. Songs like “Talk 2 Loud” where the premise is that he’s being followed/tapped by the Illuminati as he attempts to pull listeners out of the matrix lyrically are among the various examples of his willingness to commit — reminiscent of a late 90s Kool Keith.

 
Though the message may get a little muddied at times as he leads listeners on a sonically diverse experience, which could best be described as a rabbit hole—hearing some of his more approachable material having bomb sound effects dropped on them during radio sets shows that he is in fact on a sustainable path, should he choose to lather a little more mainstream gloss on his material.

It’s the age-old concept of the iceberg, which we only asses based on the tip that pops of out the water. This box set is the same thing — but instead of an iceberg, it’s an underground bunker built by a man willing to take you on a journey should you take the right pill.

It’s worth tackling.

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Muzik Genesis’s ‘Sequoia’ Is A Call To Action To Discover Our Relationship To Nature

Santa Cruz, California, producer Muzik Genesis drops off his latest (instrumental) LP, Sequoia — the official follow up to his…

Santa Cruz, California, producer Muzik Genesis drops off his latest (instrumental) LP, Sequoia — the official follow up to his debut LP, Retrospection. “I’ve always expressed myself through music ever since I was really little,” the producer explains via press release. “I’ve always also had an affinity for the natural world.

Sequoia is that precise connection between ourselves as human beings and the natural world – we are one with nature.”

Comprised of lo-fi, ambient, hip-hop-trap sound beds — which does feature vocals from MC Khan (“Bliss of Inspiration”) and childhood friend Amir on “Livin’ Life” — the project is a pleasant journey that we’ve been playing out here at HQ for the last few days while we work.

 
His first LP, Retrospection, reached listeners in Europe and Latin America — and the self-titled single’s music video received national attention stateside, airing on cable television in cities nationwide. It was a vastly different sound, much more rooted in Hip-Rock mashups. Overall the diversity is real.

Give it a spin.

Pre-order, here.

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Bronx MC Fadetheblackk Teams Up With B*Star For New Single “Visions”

Bronx MC Fadetheblackk grew up in the home of hip hop — Bronx, New York City. It’s this raw energy…

Bronx MC Fadetheblackk grew up in the home of hip hopBronx, New York City. It’s this raw energy that he’s managed to distill into his music, which is built around themes of life, the struggles within, and the battle we face living in today’s society. Roaming behind the scenes for the last seven years, his new single “Visions” featuring B*star is his first offering via the Warner Music indie platform Level Music.

“[I] speaks on the facts of life and the illusions that we allow to control decisions in everyday living such as chasing the American Dreams,” he says.”Dare to be different then be yourself.”

Check out the single, below.

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