Tag Archives: Rap

Artist Feature: Marc Stretch

Marc Stretch is a renaissance man based in Oakland, California that we were fortunate enough to meet through producer Wax Roof, a recent Feature Series contributor. Marc has been an important player in the Bay Area music scene for some time, and he’s currently involved with several groups including Foreign Legion, Big Willie Dynamite, Handclap Technicians, and a bunch of other dope projects. In addition to being a masterful craftsman of the art of rhyming, Marc keeps the dance floor crackin’ as a video DJ throughout the Bay, and is expanding his repertoire with more video and photography projects in the future. Marc’s perspective on Reflection centers on the idea of returning equal energy that comes your way, while Response is a more developed and better articulated plan of action. Check below to see how he approaches R & R in his music and Reflects on the evolving nature of his work.

Marc Stretch

Marc Stretch | Photo by Leo Docuyanan

Reflection is returning the same energy to a situation that is aimed at you…Response is what happens when you take the energy of a situation, take a moment to think over the possible repercussions of options that you have, and articulate a plan and put it into action.

– Marc Stretch

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MS: I’m originally from Ft. Dix, New Jersey (born in Huntsville, Alabama) but I’m currently resting my sneaker collection and bacon addiction in the lovely city of Oakland, California.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MS: To me, they’re opposite sides of the same coin. Reflection is returning the same energy to a situation that is aimed at you. If somebody directs anger towards you, you respond with anger. If a situation directs peace towards you, you direct peace towards the situation. Response is the other side of that. Response is what happens when you take the energy of a situation, take a moment to think over the possible repercussions of options that you have, and articulate a plan and put it into action. That’s response to me.   

How does your music fit in with that definition?

MS: I feel like all the music I make is the result of inherited reflections and informed responses. I am a result of every thing that has happened to me, every person I’ve met and every word I’ve ever heard. Sometimes, that means that you’re going to get the instinctive Reflection side of me in a song. Those songs tend to speak to where we’ve been or where we are in the moment. Sometimes, I’ll make the Response which is usually focused on where I feel we need to go.

Traditionally I’m known as a goofy rap guy or a battle MC, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had the opportunity grow and express myself in a more mature and honest way. Not saying that the party MC wasn’t me, because I’ve torn down plenty of stages and wrecked plenty of hotel rooms. It’s just that the older I get, the more I realize that the “goofy rap” box is just way too small for me.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

MS: Man…. Quiet is kept, I’ve been pretty busy. I just released the 2nd album for my group, Big Willie Dynamite along with my brothers Mondo and raysthebar. It’s called Joes vs. Pros and we’ve been rocking shows to support it. We’re currently finishing up our next album (untitled at this time) and working on the visual side of that. I’m also working with Prozack Turner on our next release as Foreign Legion. We’re getting ready to shoot a video that I’ll be co-producing and co-directing. We’re considering releasing a limited edition 45, for all the vinyl heads. Next, I’m working on a solo record with production from myself, Rice4Ever, Unjust, Flight 27, raysthebar and a few other friends. I’ve got some guest appearances from people that I’m close to like Danjres Will Robinson, Ariane Mitchell, Mondo, and Lowbrow The Hypnotic. The record is tentatively being called Marc’d for Def.

Oh… Just for the record, I tend to only work with people I actually know and like. The way music is now, it’s not really to your advantage to work with somebody just cause they are hot. It doesn’t matter. Make good music. Speaking of good music, I’ve got an album done and waiting to be mastered with the indomitable G Koop called Instruction Manual. Together we’re known as Handclap Technicians. Most recently, I’ve started working on a project with my dude Wax Roof and I’m crazy excited to get that done and get that in the hands of the people. He’s a young dude that is super talented and hungry to make great music. He’s definitely one of the best kept secrets in the Bay. He doesn’t know but we’re gonna call the album Paisley Paint Job and the group is going to be called The Corduroy Boys.

In addition to all of the recording that I’ve been doing, I’m also rocking live monthly with the G Koop and O-man Band on the first Friday of every monthI’m also Video DJing for my night on Second Saturdays called #FUTURESHOCK along with Deejay Saurus and DJ Halo as well as some one-off gigs around the Bay. Both of these gigs happen at Prozack’s place, The Legionnaire Saloon.

I also caught the photo bug from my girls Adza Adrienne and Araya Diaz, which is kind of a return to my roots since my Dad was an amateur photographer and I used to work with him. I was in charge of developing the film, back when you actually had to develop film to make pictures. I’ve been refining that in my somewhat spare time.

On top of aaaaalllll that, I’ve been flexing my athletic prowess by playing adult Kickball for WAKA. Yes…. I said kickball. I’ve won more than a couple local championships and even went to the Nationals, in Las Vegas.

What am I working on next?  Well, along with the audio projects, I’m really excited to be working on more video projects. I’ve already done a comedy film with Prozack (shot by Tim Nolan and Dave Medina) called Night Moves and I’ve shot some music videos with the likes of Roy Miles and Behn Fanin. I recently shot my own video for a song called Ready2Fly and that was really when the video bug bit me. I’m working on videos for some songs for my solo record and starting treatments for a Foreign Legion joint and some of the Corduroy Boys songs too. I’ve also been talking to Nightclubber Lang from Boom Bap Project about a cooking variety show. We’re both culinary enthusiasts and feel like we can bring something to a younger generation of viewers.

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Diane Ghogomu

Recently I saw that someone had posted a preview of a documentary project on hip-hop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a friend’s Facebook wall. After researching the project a bit, we sent an email to one of the film’s three creators, Diane Ghogomu, who welcomed the idea of participating in the LIFESTYLE Artist Feature series. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Diane has been living in Buenos Aires for some time, where she has worked along with Segundo Bercetche and Sebastian Muñoz to produce Buenos Aires Rap.

Diane discusses the Reflective and Responsive nature of hip-hop in the film, which follows the lives of various artists involved in this art form in the Argentine capital. Diane and her co-directors will be screening their project at the Buenos Aires Film Festival this year, and are currently fundraising in order to put finishing touches on the project and begin distribution. Check out the interview, trailer, and stills from the film below!

Segundo Bercetche | Diane Ghogomu | Sebastian Muñoz

Sebastian Muñoz | Diane Ghogomu | Segundo Bercetche

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

DG: I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Steeltown, represent! Right now I am living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

DG: Reflection and Response is the process of acting authentically to each situation that is presented to you. I always think of the Lion King. Simba had to follow his guide Rafiki to the water to see himself. Simba had to look in the water and reflect on his situation, speak with the ancestors, see his own image in the shore before he knew how he had to continue. His response was more powerful because it wasn’t reactionary, but to a powerful impulse backed by his spirits! That’s how he knocked evil’s block off!

Buenos Aires Rap

How does your project Buenos Aires Rap fit in with that definition?

DG: Buenos Aires Rap embodies Reflection and Response in various ways. First off, this project follows an incredible amount of artists whose music is a response to how they reflect on their own identities, their own existences, their own ways of life.

Lukas (Buenos Aires Rap)

Lukas (Buenos Aires Rap)

Those artists who truly respect and understand the history of hip-hop and rap see themselves reflected in that history and the present hip-hop culture. Many of the Bolivian immigrants who live here in Buenos Aires spoke about being able to relate with African Americans living in ghettos during Reaganism. One of my favorite quotes comes from a character named Anton who says, “Through hip-hop I’ve been able to comprehend a lot. I’ve thought a lot. I’ve learned a lot. Here people who have been here for less than 200 years are going to tell you that you are an immigrant when your ancestors have been here since Before Christ? That’s not right. Nationality is only a lack of identity!”

Milito (Buenos Aires Rap)

Milito (Buenos Aires Rap)

That is a beautiful thing to me. These characters are able to reflect, transform, and respond through hip-hop and rap.

Secondly, the job of the documentarian is to do just that: reflect and respond. Anyone who tells you that documentaries are objective are lying to you. Our job is to reflect on a social phenomenon, and respond by placing a camera where and how we see fit. In this project we tried to reflect an image of Buenos Aires that is oft-ignored. Even people who live in Buenos Aires will have a hard time naming all of the urban landscapes that pass by on their screen. We hope that the impact of our project will be a process of reflection and response. Buenos Aires is often painted as a white and European society, without leaving space for her true colors. We hope people can reflect on the truths of the black, the brown,the ghetto-dwellers, the hardworking, the crazy, and those that are just looking to have a little fun, and realize that all of these narratives make Buenos Aires what she is. The response should be an integration of these personalities into the imagery of Argentina. Buenos Aires, reflect! THIS IS YOU!! As one of the characters Rasek raps, “We know you won’t understand it if we rap it, so we’ll breathe it into you.”

Buenos Aires Rap

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Ayo Dot

Ayo Dot is a rapper and songwriter who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and currently lives in Seattle. A seasoned artist, he now performers throughout the Northwest with his group Ayo Dot & The Uppercuts, featuring keys, drums, guitar, bass, and backup vocals. In his Feature piece, Ayo breaks down the importance of silence and mental Reflection leading to positive, organic Response. He also comments on the constant improvement in our Responses as we continually get to know ourselves better as people. Check out the dialogue below to read about his tracks My Dreams, Thinking About You, and Mo Ti So, along with an upcoming EP from the band!

Ayo Dot

Response is how I react to everything I’ve internalized or reflected upon. It should be organic and natural. The more you know who you are as a person, the better your response.

– Ayo Dot

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AD: Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria – West Africa. Now a resident of the great Northwest. Seattle. I represent the West 2x.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? 

AD: Reflection to me is a time out. Silence. It’s when I get to take a mental stock of things. I break things down. Good or bad. Determine how to take the good and build on it or take the bad and make it better. I’m in my head a lot. That’s my happy place.

Response is how I react to everything I’ve internalized or reflected upon. It should be organic and natural. The more you know who you are as a person, the better your response. I’m getting there.

Ayo Dot

How do your songs My Dreams, Thinking About You, and Mo Ti So fit in with that definition? 

AD: The song My Dreams really just latches on to the idea that you should never really let people dictate what you can or can’t do. Build your own ship and sail it.

With Thinking About You, I wanted to do something that was borderline dark. If you check out the video, you’ll know what i mean.

Mo Ti So is my Ode to smack talking and also recognition of my Nigerian roots. I opted to keep part of the chorus in Yoruba, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next? 

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Artist Feature: Eric Medina

Eric Medina nos muestra las posibilidades expansivas de la música. Explorando varias facetas de Rap, Eric mueve desde el estudio al esenario con paradas en el DJ booth en el intermedio. Este artista Madrileño ha encontrado una forma melódica de reducir la velocidad del mundo caótico que nos rodea y enfocar en el presente. Abajo Eric nos abre a su mundo y explora Reflexión y Respuesta y también comparte sus various proyectos, inlcuyendo su grupo ESTAFA y High Standing, trabajo en Headroom Estudios, un libro-cd en collaboración con el poeta Julio Reija, y muchas iniciativas más. ¡Damos la bienvenida y le pasamos el micro a este hombre del renacimiento del hip-hop!

Eric Medina represents the wide expanse of possibilities in music. Eric explores various facets of Rap from the studio to stage with stops at the DJ booth in between. This Madrid-based artist uses this melodic art form to slow down the chaotic world around us and focus on the present. Below Eric goes in on Reflection and Response and welcomes us to his world while discussing his various projects including his groups  ESTAFA and High Standing, work in Headroom Studios, an audiobook in collaboration with poet Julio Reija, and much much more. Without further aidieu let’s pass the mic to this Renaissance man of hip-hop!

Eric Medina

Para mi la reflexión es un ejercicio de análisis, de tomar aire y pararse pensar en que has hecho, a dónde querías llegar con tus acciones y dónde has llegado realmente. Digamos que es un momento de quietud ante tanta velocidad que nos rodea.

To me, reflection is an exercise in analysis, taking a moment to think about what you’ve done, where you wanted to get as a result of your actions, and how far you’ve actually made it. I’d say it’s a quiet moment amidst all the chaos around us.

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

EM: Pues para empezar, vengo y estoy en Madrid y vengo y estoy en el Hip Hop.

Soy productor, dj y técnico de sonido. Me gusta la ironía, la profesionalidad, el buen humor y atrapar el talento de los demás en mis grabaciones.

EM: I’m originally from – and currently live in – Madrid, and I come from – and am currently in – Hip Hop.

I’m a producer, DJ, and sound engineer. I like irony, professionalism, good humor, and capturing other artists’ talents through my recordings.

Eric Medina


Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

EM: Para mi la reflexión es un ejercicio de análisis, de tomar aire y pararse pensar en que has hecho, a dónde querías llegar con tus acciones y dónde has llegado realmente. Digamos que es un momento de quietud ante tanta velocidad que nos rodea.

Y una respuesta lo veo como una solución ante una situación. 

EM: To me, reflection is an exercise in analysis, taking a moment to think about what you’ve done, where you wanted to get as a result of your actions, and how far you’ve actually made it. I’d say it’s a quiet moment amidst all the chaos around us.

I see response as a solution to a situation.

Eric Medina

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your art fit in with that definition?

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Feature: Christian Garcia Fonseca Secher

The LIFESTYLE Collective expands. Were going going, back back to Madrid Madrid. Christian Garcia Fonseca Secher balances a life of many facets: various cultures, experiences, and mediums make up this one man. His work as an instrumentalist and vocalist through various projects bring out the different tones that Reflection and Response can exude. Christian shows us how creation is a genre in itself that can spread over eclectic places and spaces. Peep the dialogue below with examples of this artist’s work!

Christian

I only write when something happens, but when it does, the pen can´t stop.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

CGFS: Well, My mother’s family comes from Denmark, and I was born there, but I grew up in Madrid Centro. Is good to have two natural born cultures, it makes you see things in two different ways, have to sights to everything. But if there´s no big changes, I will stay in Madrid as long as I can. This city provides me all what I need, and sometimes it can make you feel small at the same time, but I have my small town in the mountains, an hour from Madrid, to breathe and chill when it´s necessary. I must recognize that I see to many things going wrong in the country I live in, and I fall many times in comparing with the good things Denmark has, but in spite of it all, this is where I come from and I will stay while my situation is sustainable.

 What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

CGFS: I think is a good opportunity to get to know myself and the little artist I have inside, who don’t show up that often. It´s funny to think that before we made our first video clip (8.A.M.) with my band (Welt de Klasse) there was not that many that knew that I had a band or that I had been making music since I was 17 (even my family). I must recognize that the big change came after I met Peter Müller and Vivian Garcia a year ago. They invited me for the first time in my life to get on the stage (and I´m 30 years old). To work with them is always a pleasure, because there´s absolutely freedom to do what comes from inside. They are so talented that makes you feel so grateful when they ask to collaborate in their songs. It´s a gift and I try to do my best, this is the reflection.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

CGFS: Right now the other half of the band (Turco) is living in Chile. The situation for the youth in Spain is horrible, so he decided to get a life in another country. But we have still projects in mind. We are planning  at the moment a new video that will be recorded on July 2013 for our new song “Carne y Chocolate”, produced by Fermin Bouza and with Vivian Garcia as special guest making the chorus. This song is part of a new project we started called Mugre, where we try to separate our music of the Rap style, making the beats sound different, dark and dirty. In the case of “Carne y Chocolate” I can say that this is a real scary song, I´ve never listen to anything like that. I guess there will be many that will not be in the mood to listen to it, and that´s why we wanted to make a video for the song, to explain the scary moment the youth are living, the no future feeling. We will be working again for this clip with Luis Plaza (Luis Plaza Films), who also made our first video 8 A.M. We have been friends since school, and working together is easy because we understand each other really well, and the workflow is fast as hell. So check out our facebook, Welt de Klasse in the next few months!!

Next in mind is to finish the Mugre project with Fermin Bouza. And beside Welt de Klasse I´ve started a new band called TPCE (Totally Political Christian Experience) with Moez Khan and James Jarman, two good friends and musicians, where I play the spanish cajón flamenco, and do some raps too. The idea is to make music that makes you moove, but with lyrics that makes you think. We are working with many talented musicians, with a lot of instruments and beautiful voices, and the results can´t be better. At the same time Luis Plaza, is video recording everything we make, with both of the bands, so we have plenty of good stuff that will be ready soon!

Who or what inspires you?

CGFS: For writing, the big inspiration is living. I normally write when I have something to say to myself, or just to understand a little bit better my own situation. Is not always easy, I only write when something happens, but when it does, the pen can´t stop. About the music, the inspiration of our new songs is close to the music of the 90´s as Portishead, Kosheen, Skunk Anansie. We try to extract this dark sounds and reconstruct them to the times we are living in. Trip Hop has been dead for too long. It has to come back and hit again. Hard music for hard times! But in my basics, the real inspiration that made me start writing has always been The Spanish beginners as CPV, 7 Notas 7 Colores, Solo los Solo, Bufank. I still remember myself listening to this tapes with the only friend I had that loved hip hop, and thinking, this has to be my way of expression.

 Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

CGFS: Don´t close the doors of your style to anything. The musical freedom is the key.

 Shout out to…?

CGFS: My brother Turco. So long distance between us and still the same connection! Me quiere sonar Perra!

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