It's been a while since I've done a music post, and it seems appropriate to do one on the night Drake drops his new album. But this isn't about Views, this is about something that you're gonna be happy you knew about first. If you remember a few months ago I did an interview with Wes Period, and now I have another amazing LA based artist who's name you should keep in your brain and playlists.
Below is the transcript of some questions I asked Ye, and with his collab EP with Tommy Genesis and Wes coming out soon (titled none other than baby.daddi) there's no better time to start adding to your listening repertoire. After all if you don't like r&b bangers who even are you?
To those who may not know, in your own words who are you?
Ye Ali, songwriter, artist, producer
Nowadays with hip hop and rap being so diverse sonically do you feel like you fit into a specific sound or is it more you just creating whatever you feel like at the moment?
I just create what moves me. Pop, r & b, country, trap. If I can make it sound good…I will do it.
I’ve also seen you’ve been working with Tommy Genesis on her upcoming project, what’s the process of working with such a strong female creative like?
It's awesome, she takes the lead in sessions sometimes and it's refreshing because I always lead when I'm in the studio. She's really smart about harmonies and cadences so she really made me happy to be a part of the project. We did a 4 track EP called Baby.daddi.
Since we can’t exclude Tweets in 2016, you recently Tweeted Prince lyrics as your favorite lyrics ever, as Prince was obviously a master of sorts of the slow songs, in your opinion are love songs dead or just waiting to make a comeback?
No, love songs aren't dead because love and music are still alive. I hear love songs all the time, and love is interpretive. It's been back in my opinion.
Sort of along the same lines, do you think mainstream hip hop is ever going to shift towards a less misogynistic tone and more of a honest one that isn’t afraid of male hip hop artists showing emotions?
I think as artists, we are entitled to talk how we please and create freely. Life is about sex, love, money, happiness, sadness, pain, anguish, anxiety, hatred….these are all components of life. Songs don't have to reflect ALL of these. Art imitates life...so “misogynistic” lyrics have ruled since I heard Randy Travis sing about cheating on his wife with a stripper at some bar...I heard this in a country song when I was 9 years old. I can't say if thats wrong or right because its his opinion.
In addition to the music, visuals are also really relevant especially in this age of short attention spans, are you working on any new music videos?
Working on several videos for the summer
Finally, if there’s one thing you want people to get from your music what is it?
I have a love/hate relationship with album reviews. On one hand I enjoy reading them and consider it a much better waste of time than mindlessly scrolling though my Instagram feed, on the other hand I think album reviews are too opinionated to be held as valid forms of measurement for an albums quality. Because of this I don't think I'm going to necessarily make this a post about who I thought had the best albums of the year, or who totally flunked, however, I'm going to give my very biased opinion on what I believe the state of hip hop to be in 2015.
Even as the trap gods rose out of Atlanta with their fare ranging from Taylor Swift friendly, to hidden cries of help (Future anyone?), this wasn't what I held to be the most interesting sounds of the year. To be honest I find this style of music to be somewhat boring now. As much as I enjoy Thugger at high volume, the repetitiveness leaves me wanting more. Yes, the music itself sounds great to my ears, but I can't enjoy it as much as possible because it provides little in the content category. I 100% understand that many of the artists rapping about living the trap lifestyle are merely providing a window into that portion of America and what they know, however, sometimes I wonder if artists use this as a crutch to produce mediocre music that simply sells. Once you have housewives in middle America singing about baking soda you know you've made it.
What struck me as creative this year was those straying from the made up boundaries of hip hop. Artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Goldlink, and Raury, who weren't afraid to incorporate other genres into their music. This was fresh to me, a certain vibe which wasn't afraid to borrow from the past while sounding very new wave. A return to emotion almost. The popularity of a fairly new genre of music with R&B vocals, grimy lyrics, and pounding beats also reached a new level of success this year. From The Weeknd's love ballad to cocaine, to Bryson Tiller's bedroom tracks, this was almost enough to keep me satisfied without a new PARTYNEXTDOOR EP. Come to think of it, I enjoy these artist's work because its somewhat of a happy medium between top 40 pop fare and rap. Dark but seductive.
Overall, 2015 was a weird time for hip hop. With so many projects being produced in a short period of time it was hard to process each and every piece with enough time to truly hear it. But even with all the mediocrity and misses, the amount of talent was enough to call this year a success. 2016 should be interesting.
Los Angeles is great in its absurdity, but Seattle’s still
where I’m from, and also coincidentally the home of some of my favorite music.
A few weekends ago, while back in Washington for Thanksgiving, I saw Nyles
Davis open at The Crocodile for Dave B. A great performance and a set list of very
playable tracks led me to his Soundcloud profile, which ultimately led me to
become a big fan of this town rapper. After releasing a very solid music video
to Summer Jam/Real Talk Pt. 3 yesterday, I’m excited to see and
hear what else gets developed over the next year. Here’s a little insight:
First off, what inspired the visuals for Summer
Jam/Real Talk Pt. 3? And how was working with Lea Godoy and Jon Sal (who are
definitely some of my favorite creatives)?
The inspiration for the video really was all spur of the moment and impromptu back and forth brainstorming between Jon, Lea & I. Working with them was most definitely a pleasure. I was nervous because I was worried that we were rushing the product (plus I like to be prepared when working with Lea and it was new to me, working with Jon that is).
Even though I cant exactly describe it, I think there’s a sound that’s unique to the Pacific Northwest and its not like everything else
being released right now. So if you had to put it into words, how would you
describe your own sound?
Myown sound, I would describe it simply as a new wave or else. I say else because if you look it up it means different and in addition, and that's what exactly what I'm going for. I don't want to be different, I just am, in my opinion. I just want to add my perspective in the game and be heard.
Out of all your projects or songs that have been
released so far do you have a personal favorite?
My favorite song that I have made to date is "friend or foe", which is on the ep "supply & demand". The way I produced it, the emotion that inspired the song, and how it all came together is what I like about it so much.
Photo by: http://luisfromla.tumblr.com
Does subject matter make or break a song? I
don’t know if you heard Goldlink’s last album but something that struck me in
it was when he mentioned that hip hop will die if everyone keeps lying in their
raps, and what I like about your music is that it does sound truthful and
personal, not like a façade.
Subject matter is very important to me. I am not too familiar with his last album but I agree that music has taken a turn for the worse because of things as such. I rap to encourage myself a lot of the times in hopes that someone relates and is inspired as well.
Teams are of course important as well (even for
stage accompanying purposes) who are some of your people to work with/turn up
My favorite people to work with is my squad, FTB. I believe a lot of intentions aren't genuine but with my day one's I know it's purely based from a good space and positive energy which is a necessity for me. Shout out to my bros Teez, Hayes, Erm, Taxman, and the whole squad. I can't forget about my PG bros either (especially when it comes to turning up hahaha).
Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/reeseisevil/
Since it’s nearing the end of the year, what do
you think about the past year in terms of hip-hop and what would you like to
see happen in 2016?
I think hip-hop is in a interesting place. Honestly there isn't as many artists as I would like that inspire me currently, but I like being surprised by someones talent that was unexpected. I would like to see just as much fun in music in a different way. To me that means, less turn up music and more memorable music. Not much is classic anymore.
Can we expect a full-length project in 2016?
Yes, I hopefully will have a project ready to go and released by spring of 2016, with fly merchandise as well.
You tend to meet quite a few people going out in Los Angeles. However with all the small talk that you're obliged to participate in, you sadly forget most of the individuals you come across. But after running into artist Justin Rose at a 424 Fairfax event earlier this year, I've kept up with his antics and haven't been disappointed. With a killer track named She Movin' released a few months ago, and a song featuring Playboi Carti getting hype on the internet, this is definitely a rapper to keep on your radar.
Heres a little bit of the New York state of mind.
What burough of New York are you from?
EAST ELMHURST, QUEENS, NY
Are there any non-written rules of the city one has to know?
Cuff someone with central heating by October.
Do you believe where you’re from still influences your musical sound even with the major use of the internet and social media?
(I'm from queens). I've lived in Brooklyn and Queens most my life but this summer I moved to the Bronx. The Bronx in the summer has certain energy about it that I like to make music in, probably the abundance of Spanish women.
In addition to the classics of course, who are some new players killing the NY rap game right now?
Junglepussy'skillin it. AmirObe is wavy. Joey Badass is still moving strong. I'm in it now so its lit.
Justin x Toronto rapper Tory Lanez
What spots do you frequent on a regular basis?
The Bodega, Crown Fried Chicken, the 4 train
Finally, the age old question, is the East Coast truly the beast coast?
I mean I've never called it the beast coast before but uh, New York is always lit.
The best artists are a little wild. And when I say Cliftun (real name
Clifton Williams III) is a little wild I mean it in the best way possible. In Los Angeles, a
city over saturated with self proclaimed "rappers", the scene can get undoubtedly boring. Its often hard to find the true gems in a pile of musical mediocrity and similarity. But Cliftun is a true
artist, and possibly an even better performer. Mixing components from the likes of punk rock and trap into cohesive work and visual imaginary, this is one case where I know you'll keep wanting more.
Describe yourself in one Tweet (hash-tags
Where are you originally from
I'm originally from a small town called New Iberia, Louisiana. There's about 30,000 people there. It's no fun. That's why I'm here in LA.
Seeing as that you have a Basquiat crown tattoo,
what artists (past and current) keep you inspired?
Basquiat is my favorite. As well as Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain and Tupac. These are artists that inspire me, ones I can relate to. I also like Edgar Allan Poe. He was a poet but fuck it, he's an artist in my eyes. I love rebels.
Since you have a track featuring Kid Cudi, who
is one of our time’s most original & iconic rappers (no small
accomplishment), who would be your next dream collaboration?
My next dream collaboration would be with Frank Ocean or Azealia Banks. I have hooks I've written that would sound great with his voice and I think me and Ms. Banks would sound immaculate on a track together rapping back and forth
Photo by Joshua Elan
Is your next full-length project going to be
sonically similar to what we’ve heard before or take a new route?
My next project (SOUNDSOFINSANITY) is going in the direction I've always wanted to go, which is mixing elements of punk rock, trap, and filthy dirty nasty down south beats.
Following you on Snapchat and Instagram I can
see you constantly working on photo-shoots and videos, how important are music
videos and other visuals to musical artists in your opinion?
I believe visuals are super duper important and are my favorite part of the process. I'm a very visual person and I think giving your audience a reference for all the shit your talking about further helps express the art.
You also recently mentioned you’re going to
release a project with only remixed Lana del Rey beats. As a fan of both the
pop queen herself and hip-hop, exactly how did this Summertime Maddness come about? Perhaps a High By The Beach listening session?
I'm glad we have artists like Lana who are so raw and honest with their music, especially with all the pop bullshit out right now. I fuck with her heavy and can't wait to work with her. I've had the idea to do a remix to the Ryan Hemsworth Summertime Sadness remix since it was released about two or three years ago but I kept procrastinating and missing the whole summer so I kept missing the moment. This time around I was like "fuck it!" and recorded it in July's living room. Me and her also shot a really dope video to it in Malibu on an iPhone. It's lit and looks super professional.
“I visualize the future through a crack in the high beams.”
If you think this line from
Campana’s track House Warming (on the forthcoming album) is
just wordplay, you’re wrong. Eviction Notice, the first full length
compilation after last years First Month's Rent, should be finalized and released in a few months. After
getting the opportunity to hear a selection of songs off the LP, I can tell you this is not
amateurwork.With a range of honest, very
well produced songs of single caliber, this is a rap album that deserves to put
both Seattle and Campana on the rap music radar. As a city that birthed the
likes of Jimmy Hendrix, and has a hip-hop scene much bigger than the Macklemore
controversy from a few years ago, now is the perfect time for new talent to
emerge. Atlanta and Toronto might be in the media because of their exposure,
but Seattle certainly has a distinct sound that differs from its West Coast
counterpart, California. To get more of a perspective of
Eviction Notice, and an artist I admire, I asked Campana a few questions about
the upcoming release and the generation we’re creating art in.As you will see below, Campana is truly a new
age artist, putting together something amazing to listen to from the varied
inspiration that coexists today.With
this talent Complex clearly missed out
on their “One’s to Watch List.”
What do you hope to accomplish with Eviction Notice, is it more of a personal viewpoint on music or do you hope to bring something completely new to the table?
What I plan to accomplish with Eviction Notice, is what I plan to accomplish when I finish any piece of creative work; progression. Bettering myself in aspects lyricism, sound, and just overall presentability. If I'm better than the person I was before last project, then I'm doing my job. Self-progression is the only thing that can be measured and compared in the most appropriate sense.
I'm undoubtedly bringing something new to the table with this project, and it will be evident to the consumer upon listening. Everything in this project is an open book; It's directly tied to my life's experience in the most literal way fathomable. A lot of the Hip Hop music released nowadays isn't as conceptual as it used to be, and I hope Eviction Notice will inspire those to simply just be themselves and find comfortability in reflecting on experience, however they might do so.
How did the title come about?
The title 'Eviction Notice' was merely a thought; a play on words, until a series of life events unfolded that actually made the title concrete. My debut project I dropped last year was titled 'First Months Rent,' which tied into my experience of life anew; moving away from home after graduation from High School. It was also a pretty conceptual piece of work that a lot of people my age could relate to, to an extent. I saw fit to call the next project 'Eviction Notice,' not because it was directly tied to anything at the time, but it complimented the 'First Month's Rent' project. So I sat on the idea, and was just waiting to see if anything would actually come to past to fit the title. Unfortunately, yet fortunately, something did and I ran with it. We can save that story for a different time.
Describe the sound of the album:
The sound of the album is very soulful, very LIVE. And I mean that in all aspects—live instrumentation is present all throughout the tracks. It is vibrant, intimate, and raw. I tried to really put the listener in my shoes, and allow them to feel the realness within the lyrics. Linked up with some good friends—good musicians—in the making of this project that helped sculpt the vision I had; the sound that I had intended. And amidst the work flow, even sounds that weren't intended came to existence out of spontaneity from putting our minds together. The project has a lot of jazz influence, underneath all of the usual Hip-hop/Trap/Atmospheric-esque type stuff that most are used to hearing me over. It's quite unique; different.
Can we expect visuals?
You can expect visuals, promos, a couple singles; the whole nine. Linking up with some talented videographers/directors that can adequately convey the message of the music in ways that are aesthetically captivating.
An earlier music video for The Current.
Tell us about some of the individuals you chose to collaborate with on Eviction Notice & why you chose them specifically.
With this project, I made sure to get involved with musicians who had a firm grasp on music and sound as a whole. The reason being is because I felt like if I planned to devote my life to music, I have to start with the root understanding of it. Being able to link up with musicians has furthered my understanding of music theory. The most amazing part about it is that these musicians have been relatively close friends of mine that I've been working with musically from the jump. We're all fuckin' kids. So it all made full circle when it came time to delve into this project. I literally had the names of everyone listed that I had intended to work with on this project before I even started it. My main dudes/producers Meno & Manteloupe comprise 'Cosmos;' they're kind of like the executive producers on this project. We literally sat in my room and crafted majority of the beats from scratch, then incorporated a multitude of other producers/vocalists into the post-productional processes. Other producers that lent a hand in the project that I've worked closely within the past include Tyler Dopps, Pants, Samurai Del, Nima Skeemz, etc.
More and more artists are using varying genres as influences in their music and aren’t afraid to cite other artists as inspiration, do you have any classics who have influenced your sound?
I listen to the most wide arrange of music, and I think it would be wrong for me to note one specific person or group that added influence to my sound. But to say the least, I've been listening to less rap music, and a lot more instrumentally-driven songs/groups. A couple of my favorite bands right now would have to be BadBadNotGood and Hiatus Kaiyote. I've been really into Jazz as of lately; my car radio stays on 88.5. The vibe of the Soulection movement really caters to what I listen to as well. My whole family is from New Orleans, damn near jazz capital, so my cultural background coincides directly with what I've been crafting lately.
With trap music reaching mainstream status and artists (such as A$AP Rocky) blatantly mentioning drugs as a source of creativity, do you think substances can really help with material?
As far as "help" goes, nothing is more prevalent than good ol' mind power. Yes, substances have the potential to aid to the process of the material being created, but in no way I feel should they ever be considered as a dependent means to creating the best material you can. Creativity exists always; for someone to act as if creativity is non-existent without the use of substance is a backwards ideology that will plague the already existent potential to create within that individual. In no way am I condemning substance-use nor am I against it; to each his own.
Is there such a thing as over exposure for an artist with the availability of social media nowadays?
I definitely don't think so! If anything, social media has served as a platform for many underground artist to be heard, which is extremely important especially within today's age.
I’ve noticed you openly discussing the likes of Ferguson and Sandra Bland on Twitter, should artists have an obligation to bring attention to current issues because of their platform?
Yes. Artists definitely have an obligation to bring attention to current issues. Like, how I see it is: Everyone has a voice. Artists, singers, rappers, in general, have more so of a voice that is held to a higher standard than most people's voices, solely because of what they represent through their art. We, as artists, are the voices that don't go unheard, which means we, the artists, should use our voices to society's advantage and bring about real change within this world. It's way too easy to speak on corruption in a light that will further propagate it (drugs, money, violence), so why not speak on something that will raise question, serve as a challenge, and allow others to think critically? A Nina Simone quote that resonated with me states "You can't help it. An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."
Since the recent Drake and Meek Mill situation was so hugely hyped up, what do you think of the so-called “beef” in the rap industry? Is it just a way to get more publicity?
What I appreciate most about rap music is the competitive edge it brings to the table. Within this situation, I bet the beef between the two shaped them to become better artists in both of the particular lanes they plan to progress in. I don't doubt that it is a means for more publicity, because blogs eat that shit up, but overall it's shows that they're both devoted to what they do enough to speak on it in attempts at showing who's the best at what they do. All pride aside, it'll make them the best versions of what they once were.
I love how you have such a positive vibe to both your music and yourself and how you and your peers finished Distant Implosions for Nick after his passing, is there a key to remaining optimistic even through rough times?
Much appreciated! The key to remaining optimistic throughout rough times is allowing everything to be. Just as it is. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything happens for a reason; just the way it should. Dwelling on situations or events only clouds your mind from the present moment, which is the only thing that matters, ever, which then inhibits room for beauty to arise. Live step by step, day by day, moment by moment. Clarity is existent within each breath you take; breathe easy. It is never the end, everything is OK at this exact point in time.
Any final thoughts?
I am really excited to present to everyone what I've been narrowly focused on for the past year and a half. The reason why the project is taking some time to be released is because it needs some time to be perfected. Patience is a virtue that I've learned to grasp more so during this project; even composure more so than patience. When the time comes, it'll be evident that it's time for Eviction Notice to be released, because we're going to make sure to market it like no other. This needs to be heard, so I will make sure it is heard. Aside the completion of this project, Cosmos (Meno, Manteloupe, Daniel Leong, Pants) and I have cultivated a live band and we've had the opportunity to take on countless shows throughout the course of this year. Since we're all under 21, we plan to audition for the EMP Sound Off! here in Seattle this year. Looking forward to getting connected with many other artists in the near future, and coming together with like-minded individuals and creating art in it's truest essence. That's what I live for and will continue to live for.
Follow Campana on social media to hear more about upcoming music and musings!