good, man. I'm feeling busy as a toothless beaver. I'm just busy with
a lot of work. It's that March to September period where any artist worth
a damn is really working hard.
you want to introduce yourself to everyone not familiar with you?
I'm Mr. Blakes
and I do soulful Texas hip-hop. It's best experienced live. If you come
through the Texas area, you're going to see a lot of shows and affiliations.
You can't go too far in the Texas scene without seeing me. I'm trying
to plant enough seeds to where you can't miss me. I'm one of the premier
lyricists in Texas, at least that's what I'm supposed to say. I'm one
of the MC's down here starting to get a little recognition. I'm grateful
to get this interview with you.
doesn't have that Texas sound to it that we're all hearing now.
For the most
part, no. But I'm on a lot of the hot Texas mixtapes with those same artists
you're probably thinking of. I've only had one song in commercial radio
rotation, ever. I got something in rotation on community radio in Austin
right now, KAZI 88.7. It's a song called "Stay Strong" featuring
Fatal and Ter'ell Shahid. As you know, Texas is known for its independent
grind until it becomes a business and they can't ignore you. I'm at the
transition between a hustle and a business. I'm just trying to come up.
I have a couple songs that are radio-friendly, but I'm focusing on my
rhymes and I work on every kind of style and beat. The cool thing is,
whatever artists I work with, they always let me be me. I think that's
what's helping me get a little bit of notoriety in Texas.
ever thought of changing your style to get more spins?
I don't really
have another style. I don't really have that option to change. I've been
rhyming since I was a little kid and it just keeps developing. My boy
Deon calls me "the beathopper" because I always rap very specific
to the track and topic and it stands out. The way I rap is an expression
of who I am, but if you look around, no matter what your particular taste
is in rap, I got something for you. If you want to listen to traditional
underground hip-hop or some experimental type stuff, get Hydroponic Sound
System. If you want hip-hop soul, pick up some Verbal Seed or Strange
Fruit Project. If you want some regional underground, then get the latest
Rapid Ric and Chalie Boy CD. I'm on all of 'em! It's good music and I
think versatility is my strength and to change my style when I'm just
starting to get recognition would be stupid. That'd be like suicide. I
think people are appreciating me for exactly what I do. I think it would
be real dumb of me to try something else when I'm just starting to get
said you're one of Texas' "brightest new stars." That had to
Yeah. I always
looked up to him. He was a local star before he was a national star. He
was already a star before Ruthless. Tom Joyner did the morning show in
Dallas when I was growing up, and they would play "I Hate to Go to
Work." This was the Fila Fresh Crew when D.O.C. was still Doc T.
He was always that dude in Dallas, so I always admired him. I did the
song "Play the Role" a few years ago, and he heard it in the
studio from the producer and he was really attracted to the lyrics. I
was like a little kid when I heard that. D.O.C. is the man.
your single "Nobody Leavin" doing?
Leavin" is charting on college radio right now. The label that put
it out, Natural High, and made a mixtape of my single and the other 12-inches
they put out. It's been charting well. It's been getting me a lot of new
fans in pockets across the country to get people checking for me. If you
just check the CD's that are dropping in Texas, like a Chalie Boy, a Gritboys
CD, a Money Waters CD, basically there's not a week that goes by where
I'm not featured on one of them. I was on one of DJ Bull's mixtapes a
couple months ago. A lot of what I do is below the radar, so to speak.
I even got a new 12" on a label in Sweden. I work with these producers
Hydroponic Sound System. I got the lead single called "50K"
on their 12" called "Choice Cuts Vol. 2". Hopefully that
will keep me out there and people will know how much stuff I'm a part
of. People in Texas know who I am, but hopefully I'll be more than local
soon so I can drop this World Trade project.
your inspiration for "Nobody Leavin"?
It was the
beat and a producer in Austin named Damar "D. Powers" Howard.
He has a real strong Timbaland/Neptunes feel to what he does. He said
he wanted to take me to the next level and make me a hit. When I heard
that beat, I told him to play it again. I don't think he had it in mind
for me. He said I was really known for my live show, so envision there's
3,000 people in the crowd waiting and to make a song about my mind-frame.
That's where the song came from. I just rode the beat. That's what I'm
known for, the flow and the vocal tone. It was a great session. The producer
had his vision, and an hour later we were listening to the song. It seemed
like it was reaching a wide variety of people so I made it a single.
happy with how your Blazing Saddles project did?
Yes and no.
I'm happy that it got strong feedback and it still sells a little, but
to be honest with you, at the time I put that out, I wasn't in the mind-frame
to really push it like I needed to. I was kind of worn out. People still
look for it and people still ask for it. It's probably being bootlegged
in some places which is cool. We put so much energy into making it, and
then I was too tired to push it last summer. It only moved a couple thousand
units. The cool part about that CD was working with Baby G. I always admired
him growing up and then I got to work with him, which was cool. I just
wasn't ready to push it. I hope that doesn't sound crazy, but that's just
honestly what happened.
next for you?
on my second album, it's called Too Selfish. Hydroponic Sound System just
dropped an album called Mixtape Mentality and I'm featured on say half
the album. I'm doing a whole lot of work with DJ Rapid Ric and the Whut
it Dew family which includes Chalie Boy, Da Ryno, Magno, Gerald G, Black
Meezy, and some more folks in Austin. I'm doing some stuff with Symbolyc
One, Strange Fruit Project, Verbal Seed and Deloach. We just did a show
with them in Dallas. The Strange Fruit Project is dropping a project on
OM, the Bay Area indie label. They had Erykah Badu show up and perform
their song together off the new album. There's a group from San Antonio
called Mojos. They just signed with Music World, which is Beyonce's daddy's
label. There's a lot of seeds being planted, basically. Whut it Dew 4
is coming soon. I'm just trying to build up the artists around me. People
are looking at me like I'm about to do something, but I'm just working.
Right now I'm just trying to beat up the state and region doing shows
and all that. I'm also moving this Spring '06 exclusive CD and trying
to get more fans. I come from a real humble perspective. I try to make
fans and keep track of the people who like it. My goal is 50,000 fans.
I wish I could talk about "major deal this and major deal that"
but that's not really what I'm doing. I just try to keep making music
and then I get lucky and get an interview like this. It just keeps on
snowballing. I don't even contact major labels or send out stuff. I just
you describe your show to people who haven't seen it?
It's a whole
lot of energy. It varies a lot too, because if I'm doing a show with a
soul group or a more organic-type hip-hop group, then I can do the live
band. I do this thing with D-Madness, he's a one-man band. Then we do
this thing called "The Livest Texas Rap Tour." It's me, Money
Waters, and Mojoe, with some supporting acts, going out with a full band.
At the same time, if you caught me at South by Southwest, then you might
just catch me with a DJ like Rapid Ric. There's a Whut it Dew family show.
I have a lot of different show formats, and I think that's something my
fans really like. Depending on what show they catch me at, they know I'm
going to do a different thing. You never get the same show twice. You
get a real personal energy and a real personal feel for what the song
is about. If you listen to my music on CD, sometimes it comes out heavier
than the average. I don't have booty music. But if people come to the
show and they feel the actual energy behind the song, it makes more sense
to them. When people come to the shows, they realize that it can be fun.
I put a whole lot of energy into my shows even though I'm real laid-back
live show dying out?
It is and
it ain't. I have to wonder if the people who can't do good live shows
are going to be around much longer. I know the majors sign their four
or five acts a year and push them out, but there's a million other acts
trying to get out there. It's a good thing if you can link up with your
fans and they can see you live and buy your CD to take you home. Radio
only plays twenty to twenty-five acts, so the DJ's have become important
again like they used to be from my understanding. The live show is the
best way to connect with your fans, and a lot of people suck at them.
They'll rap over their vocals or perform their full songs when people
have never heard the song before. There's a reward for doing a good live
show. There's groups that may not sell a million records, but they can
keep their deal because they can tour.
you want your next album Too Selfish to come out?
I want it
to sound like the South mixed with the West mixed with the soulful hip-hop
sound which is all me. I want it to be real versatile, which is what I
bring to the table. Hopefully the album will play to my strengths. I got
about a dozen keepers. The title track is ridiculous. It's produced by
DJ Domo from Coughee Brothaz, best known for his work with Devin and DJ'ing
for Scarface and Geto Boys. The production is sick. I have a few songs
I think could be singles, but I have to keep working. I hope it's something
people feel is refreshing and worth their time. At the end of the day,
I hope people like it and burn it and play it and I sell enough copies
so I can recoup.
you want to say to everyone?
everyone jumping on Texas right now. There's a lot of artists like me
who are eating off of that and being exposed off of that. And to artists,
don't be afraid to be yourself. There's only so many artists that will
get a deal for being a cookie-cutter. Look at why Chamillionaire is succeeding.
He built up his movement from a grass-roots level and had a plan. If you
believe in yourself, just keep working and everything will be alright.
And thanks very much to HipHopGame for the interview and exposing me to
the nobody who knows
somebody go Google "Bavu Blakes."