The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper:
Brew of Lower Life Form/Dark Sunz
Brew, "EZ on Urself"
This Week's Subject(s):
Rappers and the hustler lifestyle; how hip-hop is like Michael Jackson's face; the ironic "hater conundrum."
Ask A Rapper: Why do you think it is that rappers seem to embrace the hustler lifestyle more than most other musicians? Are they just that intertwined that you can't get away from it?
Brew: In my opinion, it's almost like we have to do it. We're our own sellers as far as our art and our creativity is concerned. We have to hustle to sell it. The only way we're going to make the people believe what were trying to present them is to blow it up.
But musically, everybody is a hustler. We're all hustling to get people to buy into what we're giving. The only real difference is that rappers talk about it a lot more. [laughs] Every rapper has at least one song about hustling. We just expose it a lot more than rock. But as far as music, we're all hustlers in our [own] right.
AAR: Now, this is something that's been mentioned tons these past few years, but do you think hip-hop is really dead? To us, it seems more like it's just always evolving into something new.
B: It's going through a phase. No music ever dies, it just changes. It might not be out there as vivid as it was from '95 to 2000 - it was real huge at that point - but it's out there.
You got a lot of dance records out now, people inventing dances. The younger generation doesn't really know about it. I was born into hip-hop, from Sugar Hill to Kid 'N Play, you know. I've seen the evolution. I really think it'll come back around like it has before. Like, with reality rap, where people are just being themselves, I think that's going to come back strong like it was back in '95. I think that'll be the next thing, the next "it."
You got the corporate people controlling what's out there and what's popular. Whatever the kids see the most, that's what they're gonna be drawn. But it'll come back around.
AAR: So the surface may be a lot different, but it's pretty much the same thing underneath? Essentially, it's like Michael Jackson's face?
B: [laughs] Yeah, I mean, yeah. He's still that guy. That's what music is.
AAR: Somebody actually emailed this question, and we feel like we know the answer, but let us ask because it's the first emailed question that wasn't horribly racist and we don't want to ignore it: What's a Bape? It's like a shoe or something, right?
B: Man. [laughs] That's, like, that's what I call an imitation Air Force One. [laughs] I think that's Japan's movement or something. It's a Japanese based clothing line and shoe line. It was real popular before but not too much now.
AAR: Okay, last thing. We've been seeing a few of the local big names killing Jay-Z's Blueprint 3. Like, based on the singles released, Killa Kyleon is just getting after it on his Twitter. But he's the same guy who's always talking about how haters need to stay away from him and whatnot. He's doing exactly what he chastises others for doing to him. Why do so many rappers not understand irony?
B: To me, I feel like it's America. The beauty of it is everybody has there own view on things. If you don't like this certain song or that one you can say so. I'm sensitive about my shit, but I'm not gonna cry or get pissed because someone says they're not feeling something. They might be feeling the next one. That's the way it is. Me? I appreciate the positive and the negative.
Check out Brew at www.myspace.com/darksunz or follow him at @brewlowlife. And make sure you keep an eye for his forthcoming LP
Classic Brew, which should drop before October. Seriously, pick up a copy. The man is wicked talented.