Saturday, May 21, 2011
I catch up with this hungry emcee who has been a staple in hip hop scene in the city of Pittsburgh over the past several years. Let's go...
Where did you grow up and what kind of things were you into as a kid?
I grew up in the central North Side area of Pittsburgh, Pa. I was a pretty good kid but I definitely had a bad side. I didn't get in alot of trouble as a kid but i did have instances of destroying public property and whatnot.I guess I was a typical kid outside of having alot of family responsibility from a young age. I definitely watched alot of television as a kid and I think its bled into my colorful personality. I was big into Ninja Turtles, WWF, Power Rangers, and the Ghostbusters. Not much has changed.
What were your earliest music memories?
My father had a studio in our basement when I was a kid. I remember all of the posters on the walls and ceiling and all of the equipment that I wasn't allowed to play with. I can also remember sneaking with my older brother and his friends to listen to The Chronic which was not very kid friendly. I really got to witness music from the ground up with a studio in the house. If i knew where i'd be now i would have paid more attention back then.
What artists or groups really inspired you?
I'm inspired by more artists than i can really think of offhand. But off the top of my head I'd say I'm most inspired by: Nas, Dj Quik, Big Pun, Tha Dogg Pound, 1996-2000 Cash Money, J. Dilla, Eminem, Jay-Z, and K-Rino among others.
When was the moment that you decided to persue a music career?
The day I realized I could get on stage and outperform someone with more acclaim than myself. I wrote lyrics since around 11 or 12 years old but I never recorded a song or actually attempted to put my raps into people's ears until i was 17. I started to realize my ability shortly before this after seeing artists like Charon Don, Strict Flow, and The Roots perform.
Did you have any music mentors or anyone that worked with you in the beginning?
No, not really. Charon Don has always been a positive influence on me but we didn't always chop it up especially back then. One of the big things I experienced in the city was alot of the older guys weren't really open to help teach the younger cats something. People just in it for the status and thats all fine by me.I know as i get older, if i'm in position to i will always help out the next in line as much as i can.
I still gotta respect those who looked out for me when i was coming up. Peace to Charon, Dos Noun, Verbal Tec, Dj Big Phil, Drake Steelz & everybody else out there that showed respect from the gate.
Do you feel you can grow as a person and as a hip-hop artist in Pittsburgh?
Yes. It's just up to us as artists to take control of our music and ideas. Small-Town-Mentality has kept Pittsburgh very low when it comes to entertainment and we're all witnessing the beginnings of a change in that department.It's up to us as artists to keep innovating and finding new ways to grow, not only as artists but as human beings.
What are your feelings on the current state of hip-hop music?
The state of music itself is pretty good. I love music and I still feel like alot of quality music is being produced on a commercial and independent level. The state of the music business is a complete joke and it makes the concept of making music so much harder to live with.I'm not mad at the music itself but i'm definitely mad at the people in charge and some of the fans.
There is no more neutrality in radio/tv so the playlists are all slighted and the industry is falling apart at the seams. Until artists boycott major labels and take control of themselves or the labels destroy and rebuild the system, things will continue to crash. It's not very easy to see which direction things are going in at this point.
What are some things that Kid A is into off the stage?
Im a football nerd so see me on Sunday!! My fantasy teams struggled last year from me having shows on draft days and me just being lazy with it but this year its on!! I'm a huge music fan so I try to keep up with whats out to a degree. Can't let new music flood your creative process but I like to keep up with thats good and new. Every year I lose more faith in the MC's I once prayed to and now its time to find other artists out there to relate to.
Please tell us what to expect from you in the near future?
I am about to release my first full-length project of all original material entitled Blunt Guts & Glory at the end of May. Its been years in the making and at this point i just want to release it to get the weight off of my shoulders. It will never sound like i wanted it to but the project itself has been very instrumental in my growth and is a perfect segway into the next chapters.
I've been working on my project with extra-phenomenal Dj Buscrates which is very important to me. I've slacked on it a little just to get #BGG out because I've been sitting on alot of the songs for awhile, but I cant wait to release that one. In addition to those, I am also working on projects with producers James Moore & Dj Thermos, among others. Right now the plan is to really take advantage of 2011 and get out as much music as possible.
What are some of your goals?
I really want to release this music for everyone's ears so I can really gauge what I am able to be as an artist. I want to tour the world, numerous times, so I really want to make progress on that. I also want to continue to create music for myself and others until I have none left in me. If i can impress a few people in my lifetime i'd be happy with that.
What has been your most memorable moment as an emcee?
I don't really feel like I have a set memorable moment, but I've had many. Anything involving a packed crowd is a memorable experience for me. Opening for Tech N9ne was great and definitely a top moment. Also my first big opening gig for Aesop Rock even though I was very young at the time. Recently opening for Method Man & Redman, and also Wu-Tang Clan were huge and a great experience on all levels.
What was the motivation to go with the name Kid. A?
Rap names suck! It actually took me a long time to get to such a simple conclusion. For years I went as EMS(Everything Makes Sense) and while I'll still go by it, I never cared for it. I was always thinking of a better name but never could think of anything that I really liked myself. One day I was listening to Radiohead's album of the same name and it just kind of hit me.
My first name is Aarie so I'm used to people calling me A, and my mom & family have always called me Kid so I just ran with it. It sucks to get thrown into the list with other Kid's, Young's and Lil's but i feel like mine means a little more than the average Young Slappa.
For bookings & collaboration info, email thekidA586@gmail.com. For music and updates please go to:
Also check out the Kid A facebook page and follow the ever-so-trendy twitter account @A412Kid.
Special shouts to Michael for the interview and the respect. Much love to Buscrates, Proseed, Varsity Squad, Shindiggaz, Ayatollah Jaxx and all my other comrades around the city and beyond. Positivity and Prosperity!!!
Thanks a lot Kid A for helping me put this together and you got many people out there excited to hear new music from you. I wish you peace, hapiness and success my man.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
New Video from Apex directed by Tom Larkin with production by Czientist and guest appearance by Varsity Squad. Move back is off their upcoming album Sound Travel due out 7.24.11. Check it out.
I revist with HUBBS after his debut mixtape, Modern Vintage , has become a large success.
So HUBBS, what’s up, what have you been up to since the February release of Modern Vintage?
DJ MG what’s good man, thanks for having me again. It’s been quite an adventure since I dropped Modern Vintage back in February. I’ve had extreme highs and extreme lows, which include seeing an overwhelming amount of love and support from everyone who came across the mixtape, to the passing of my father in March. This all of course, began with the Steelers Superbowl loss [sarcastic laugh]. But through the joy and pain, it all has brought me to a good place and state of mind, which I am currently in. Which allows me to continue to be creative, as I work on my next project, Present Future, which will be released in July. Other than that, just making my footprint in the local hip-hop scene, and establishing rapport with those who share the same artistic passion as me. And of course, I’ve been in the lab, not only working on Present Future, but also current tracks that I’ve been releasing, such as “Come Home,” “Mini Ripp,” along with the N.E.R.D. freestyle and the Kanye freestyle I just put out. I did a show last month too, at Envy in Garfield, which was ill. Just tryna stay active and consistent.
So how do you feel about the feedback from Modern Vintage?
The feedback was incredible man. People were blown away not only by the track selection, as a tribute to the 90’s, but also the authenticity and detail of the rhymes. I put everything into that project, it was very personal. I think that went over well with the listeners. I’m amazed by how far it reached. I had people hittin me from Cali, NYC, Atlanta, London, Philly, and several other places, all showing love for Modern Vintage. There are still MANY people out here who have yet to hear it, which is unfortunate, but I feel gratified by the positive feedback I’ve gotten from some of the respectable hands that it has come across, which include those who carry the cd. You can currently get copies at Time Bomb in East Liberty, Soul II Sole on the Southside, Stedaford’s on the Northside, and Upbeat Records in Wilkinsburg. The internet download is still available of course, at DatPiff.com.
So tell us about Present Future, and what we can expect from this project.
Present Future describes the position that I believe myself to currently be in. With the passion, creativity, and ability that I bring to the game, I feel that I can have a solid impact, along with all the others who are contributing and succeeding in the local scene, in carrying on the future of this music. I also have always been told that I am ahead of my time, or beyond my years. I’ve always had a strong influence from elders, like my brother Alim and his peers. Like I said on Summer Snow.. “I’m so 20/20, that means my vision’s clear/and I’m ahead of my time, so that’s my present year.” That line best describes this project. In short, I am presently in the future [laughs]. Musically, it will still feature a sound that reflects the raw essence of hip-hop, but it will be coupled with a modern and even futuristic and eclectic sound, from a production standpoint. I will be playing a key role in the production too, by the way. I’ve been giving a lot of energy to that side of it so far, with the help of Nysceworkk, Hitt of MCM, and a few others. The rhymes will continue to reflect the everyday instances, topics, and experiences of life, as well as typical HUBBS bravado and wit. No freestyles on this mixtape, ALL original tracks, with features from Pablo Neruda, Abso Blair (winner of Pittsburgh ANTUKS Cypher Best Bars Contest), and a few others. It’ll be released on July 23rd, at my birthday party/show, which will feature a live HUBBS performance that will feature some other artists that I’ve been working with. The location is to be later disclosed.
What are some key things you have learned along this process?
Man, I’ve learned a lot. First, I’ve learned that you HAVE to be humble, which is something that comes natural to me. You have to realize that there are A LOT of other talented artists out here, and a lot of cats putting in serious work. You have to realize that it is a process, which will not come easy, even with talent. Attitude is everything. Everyone is not gonna kiss your ass, and praise you. Expecting that, leads to disappointment and bitterness, which you see a lot in the game. Expectations can kill you. You can’t even expect all your friends or close people to support you, even though most will. Gotta just focus on the music. I’ve also learned how important promotion is. Gotta use every possible outlet to get your music out. It costs, but it makes a serious impact on establishing and also maintaining buzz. Present Future itself, will display my growth as an artist, and represent much of what I continue to learn.
Well HUBBS, I thank you for checking in with us again, and we look forward to the release of Present Future. Any shoutouts?
No doubt man, and yes, I wanna give a shoutout to everyone who genuinely has my best interest at heart, and has a sincere desire to see me succeed. The love is much appreciated, and critical to my success. Shoutout to all the naysayers, keep doing your job as well. Without you all, many of the great people of this world would’ve never come to be. Keep it up [chuckles]. Shout to my family, my mom, brother Alim, my two sons Deshawn and Deston, and R.I.P. to my pops, Lawrence Hubbard. Love you pops! My cousin Vince out in Cali, Kenya in ATL, and all my other cousins, aunts, uncles, and family members. Peace to my man CP, and my dude Epps. Ya’ll been right at the core. Mike Hutty, K. Hammond, P. Neru , my “snerdy lady”, Dennis up in Harlem, Kyle, J. Coleman, Myles, my man Keith, J. Brock, Matt Russ, MyyaG, Shaking, Paul Dang, Ray Jeez, Nick, Dom, Protho, Twon, C. Crawf, Arch, Andy Black, the Schifino family, Akida, Marques Ham,“D” and “B” Johnson, Nate, Eddie B., Varro, Shawn, Krystal, Motor of Taylor Gang, Bruce Green, Craig G, Anth, Ricketts, J. Nunley, Nico, Joe Ceph, Hitt, Nickbe and everyone over at MCM, my man Nysceworkk, the whole PH, Fife up on the Hill, and everyone else holdin me down up there. Shout to my dude DJ Drastik over at Soul II Sole, Brick and KT over at Timebomb, T. Bangs, Image, Lil’ Tone, Abso, Envy, RepPghHipHop.com, Thepittsburghscene.com, Chux Beta, and all the other outlets and artists that have helped me get the music out. Peace to everyone I forgot.. much love from HUBBS! And as always, shoutout to my dude DJ MG and the Hip Hop Haven.
New and Unreleased Music from HUBBS:
“Come Home”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Ahdx5pqTk
“Mini Ripp”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM3M0zReYTo&feature=related
“Kanye West Freestyle”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWj6eYn88h4
“N.E.R.D. Freestyle”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1J3qzWqXZk&feature=related
“NWA ‘Appetite for Destruction’ Freestyle”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zysl0oM5y0M&feature=related
MODERN VINTAGE Download: http://www.datpiff.com/Hubbs-Modern-Vintage mixtape.201892.html%20
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/itshubbs
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
To say Amuck is creating a buzz in the city of Pittsburgh is a major understatement. He has been steadily improving as an artist since 2007 with his release of Starving Artist. I'm excited to announce that Amuck has a couple of shows coming up at Altar Bar in the Strip District. On Tuesday May 10th he is rocking with AWOLNATION as part of an event sponsored by 105.9 the X. Admission is free to this show. On Thursday May 12th Amuck is on the ticket with Hed PE & Mushroomhead. Tickets for the show will $20 and you can contact me @ MikeyG80_13@hotmail.com or Amuck @ Amuck412@gmail.com. We promote the artist getting as much of the cut as they can. I had the pleasure of catching up with Amuck and exploring what's been in the works with him as of recent. So here you go ...
How well do you feel you fit in with the acts you'll be sharing the stage with in your upcoming shows?
I'm not sure I've ever played a show where I truly "fit in," and I think that's a good thing, but there are certainly elements of both bills that could be advantageous for my act. Awolnation is actually a pretty good match-up for me because we both have strong undercurrents of Hip-hop, Rock and Electronica in our music. I may have more of a foundation in Hip-hop than he does, but I think that at the end of the day his fans are eclectic individuals who thirst for material that is high-energy yet obscure, and I think that makes me the perfect man for the job.
The Hed PE/Mushroomhead show is a little bit more slippery of a slope. Both of these bands have carved a pretty precise demographic of fans for themselves, and when you get those fans together in the same venue, you have to expect a lot of testosterone, angst and bravado. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just something that will be in the foreground of my mind when I hit the stage. These people might be a little apprehensive about me at first because I'm not what they're used to - my goal is that, by the end of my set, I earn the respect of every person in the audience by leaving everything I have out there. I think it will be a case of raw-passion transcending any preconceived notion, and I anticipate gaining a whole slew of new Amuck fans with this performance.
What can we expect to hear from you at these shows?
I'll be performing a lot of songs from my latest release "Improbabilities", and there MIGHT even be some special guests in the house to rock some of those songs with me. My producer Sikes will also be helping me out with some hype-man duty - he's an unreal artist and performer and he's the one guy I trust to have my back when I pick up a microphone. And I may or may not have some never-before-heard jams to unleash upon the Altar Bar..but my attorney has advised me not to speak on the matter any further at this time.
So to paraphrase: Rhymes, beats, and explosions.
Can you tell us about the progress you're making on your new album that you're currently working on?
Things are going swimmingly. I'm more excited about this new album than anything I've done in the past; it's like "Improbabilities" on anabolic steroids. I got work with Onry Ozzborn of Grayskul/Darktimesunshine fame and my best friend Kiltervision in the same track. I'm working with musicians from some of my favorite homegrown hardcore, punk and indie outfits to give the beats a "full band" kind of feel. DJ Gajamagic (currently of Champagne Champagne, formerly of The Blood Brothers) is chipping in on some production, which is totally surreal because his music was a monumental influence on me in high school. It really feels like everything is coming full-circle.
I'm more on point with my lyrics and concepts than ever before, and I can't wait to get this album into people's hands. Unfortunately, there is no set timetable for a release date at the moment..but if I had to guess, I would tell fans to be on the lookout for it to drop late 2011/early 2012.
Amuck-The Unfettered Ones by Amuck
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