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Work Fi Mi: An Interview With Yellow Cloud

“We make music. Of course, with a Hip-Hop base but also sprinkled with Jazz, Funk, Dancehall, Rock, Folk, Salsa, etc. man. I mean, for real, the list goes on and on and on—and on! We love art…but we hate labels!”
—Yellow Cloud

Washington, DC, duo Yellow Cloud have a cool vibe about them. Former bandmates—and longtime friends—TreeLag and Nick Wood have a 90s hip-hop aesthetic, infused with live jazz instrumentation and contemporary rhyme schemes to great their unique new wave. Their latest record, “Work Fa Mi,” is not that unfamiliar thematically, but the jazzy saxophone kissed instrumental vibe give it an unusually vintage feel; as does the video, which reminds us of classic 90s house party videos, like Notorious B.I.G’s “One More Chance,” for example.

Taking time out from creating, the duo sat with AAHH to discuss their music, their influences, and what they have coming up on the horizon. Check out the video—and their interview—below.

Tell me about yourself — what got you involved in music?

Nick Wood: I couldn’t even tell you. I mean, it must be my family. I’ve been involved in music as long as I can remember.

TreeLag: I think music got me involved in life! I don’t know what got me involved in music because I’ve always been involved in music. I mean, I was born with a song I still jam to today – it was played by my uncle. Music has just always been a part of me and my life.

Coming into this game, who did you look up to?

N: When I first started rapping, I was all about Lil Wayne and Dipset. They made music fun, and my friends and I knew all their lyrics. But my first real personal inspiration to make this music came from seeing A Tribe Called Quest live. They motivated me in a way I didn’t know possible. Q-Tip became my father.

T: [Laughs], for real. I looked up to people like Queen, Journey, Michael
Jackson, The Temptations, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. The way these musicians performed and impacted the world is something so powerful to me. Talking about the rap game specifically, though, I was looking up to Dipset, Big Pun, Hot Boyz, TRU, Bone Thugs, the old Terror Squad, and Fugees! I grew up in the 90s with mad older role models who were bumping that fire! I—for real—always looked up to Bone Thugs and especially Bizzy Bone! Then, when we got to go on tour with him, it was like a dream come true! He was even like “Damn, that dude got flow,” talking about ya boy right here after he seeing us perform with technical difficulties and still keeping the place live and bumpin! 

Tell me about your music; what have you released thus far?

N: The releases have just begun. We debuted our single, “Straight Out the Dungeon” back in July, followed by this video for “Work Fa Mi.” Now that we’ve established a groove we can start to release the dozens of singles we have in store. Those are coming up as soon as y’all watch “Work Fa Mi” enough.

T: Oooooooooh baby! Yeah, like Nasty said, the releases have just begun! We got projects with our famo in DC at FHTMG and Les Autres, our international fam in Cuba, Malcolm Beybe, and so many singles, visuals, merch and full-on films for y’all! Get at our Facebook and IG pages to stay updated.

What are you working on right now?

N: Finishing the project, Treezus vs. the Magnificent. I also have a solo EP that should be done in a couple of months; and one of our associates, Brandon Moulden, has a project coming up that I’m producing for. Very excited about that. There’s [also] further collaborations with Alpha Diallo of Les Autres, as well as Pacman Slim of FHTMG. We got mad projects with FHTMG.

T: TREEZUS vs. THE MAGNIFICENT!!! Haha, it’s gonna be amazing! Also, got some more projects on the way, like I said, with our DC famo as well as our international familia! I got a few classics, accompanied by visuals, done with Malcolm Beybe’s Escobar and Saez! (two amazing rappers out of Parraga in La Habana, Cuba). Also got a solo project in stores, with some very different and fun vibes fi y’all! Finally, a project with OJALA. Yellow Cloud will be entirely official and taking over the scene within the next year, baby!

Let’s talk about this video — where was it filmed? Why are you excited about it?

N: It was filmed in Philly, where I just moved away from. I’m just so excited about finally putting it out! It’s our highest quality video to date. That’s why I only mentioned two songs before because this new stuff is really on a whole different level as far as professional quality. I also love the team we worked with, Unchained Media, and their director Dan Foster. I love their style that they brought to the video; it’s very cinematic. And retro. It reminds me a bit of how Goodfellas was filmed.

T: WATCH THAT SHIT! [Laughs], for real! Nasty explained most of it, shoutout Unchained Media! This is our very first single released off our upcoming album and comes with a visual… I’m just excited as shit it all happened! Can’t wait for y’all to see all the rest!

What have been your biggest accomplishments to date?

N: Staying alive [laughs]. Nah, but I’m always proud to be putting out music that’s constantly improving. Every project I put out is better than the last. I teach music as well, so I’m happy to be able to have that balance. I practice what I preach. As a team we’re building a very solid footing, so to speak. We have so much in store we’re just focused on how we present it right now.

T: [Laughs] I don’t like to talk personal. What I will say, is that I feel my biggest accomplishment has been getting to where I am right now! I’m alive, healthy, in love, and making music with all the homies. Yellow Cloud is coming along, and I can’t complain. I feel pretty accomplished; so much more work to be done, but I’m psyched that I’m here!

What do you want people to ultimately take away from you as an artist?

N: Authenticity. I mean that’s what’s always important in art. That and the effort. Both are evident in this video. That’s why it’s a good starting point for y’all to get to know us. Yellow Cloud is real; we represent the people.

T: JUST MY ART, Leave me alone! [Laughs]. I ultimately want people to
get any feeling at all. I make my music when I’m happy, sad, mad, feeling fun,
groovin’, etc., and I just want to keep making more for people to explore themselves and possibly gain some sense of understanding; and if they
don’t, at least just bop their heads playing one of our jams over and over again. Then I can die a happy artist!

What’s next for you professionally?

N: See question number 4. We have projects; we’re working on putting them out. And we’re still working on new projects. I have a growing base of
people I’m mixing for and producing for so that all leads to more collaboration.
It’s all just getting started.

T: I explained a lot of the work in progress and shit that I/we got in store, but y’all ain’t hip to my eyes baby! Once the money gets up and I can get my hands on a decent camera, y’all ain’t even gonna be ready! YELLOW CLOUD PRODUCTIONS IN FULL EFFECT! The shit I see, and how I see it, ain’t something you see on the daily. Even without a cam of my own, I still manage, though, and we’ll be releasing some Treezus produced material soon. I also have a lot of design work I’m working on, so keep a look out for Yellow Cloud and Treezus gear!

Speaking of, Yellow Cloud tees will be available no later than Nov. 10th, and pics will be posted on our FB and IG pages. If you are interested in any merch or have any questions about booking, featuring, etc., please feel free to contact us.
email us at yellowcloudproductions@gmail.com.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns