Getting an interview with one of my favourite artists out at the moment is quite the thrill. Lord Apex currently has 3 projects in his discography and we’re gearing up to the release of his 4th entitled: “Hyoko Meiso (elevation/meditation)” for a release at somepoint in 2015. Lord Apex talks about the new project; his process behind making records, his love for anime and Kung-Fu, how Madvillainy impacted him and more.
1) What’s your approach and creative process towards each project?
Lord Apex: Right now I make sure I keep the process of creating songs in its purest form, usually when im in a peaceful state alone with a couple of joints or sumn, I play through a few beats till one captures me, choosing beats is such a hard task because each one I hear but I’m always out for that one that has that difference that I can feel through the sound waves.
My next project entitled “hyoko meiso (elevation/meditation)” is more of a project which has all over chill sense to it. its been a journey while making it, it really describes my last few months on earth as a British rapper who loves to smoke.
2) What made you want to use the free associative style
that you use to communicate your rap lyrics instead of the common narrative driven style?
3) New artists you’ve been listening into/what you like about
their music? + 4) How do you feel about the UK rap scene and where can you see it heading?
Lord Apex: In terms of the rappers been listening to i just fuck with mostly the homies on soundcloud its like a big unit because we all work together but its more than just collaborating because we all helping each other achieve dreams.
To be honest though i don’t listen to a lot of British music because all the rappers that will change peoples views on British rap are on soundcloud so that’s my home for music.
Lord Apex: To anyone reading i just wanna say i appreciate you for being a part of my existence, do what you want and ignore clouded judgement which usually comes from them closed-minded people out there. Don’t ever let someone tell you something you believe in is wrong, questions and life is all perspective and the best part about is there’s 7 billion different ones but no ones else can see through your perspective on life. Smile whenever you can, compliment random people you walk past on the road you might just make their day. keep living life a free as possible and don’t let all these man-made restrictions hold you back.
6) What’s next for Lord Apex?
Lord Apex: Whats next for me is more focus on visuals, i study media so filming and documenting things is like a second passions, i like to design clothes, i get a lot of inspiration from animes because they have such different small details which i always find interesting. I think not to think about the future too much though, Although ive got this whole planned out music wise, i like to just live life as everything comes n go with the flow of things to keep the aura pure.
In the modern world, humans truly have a fickle nature. Fully consumed and sadly manipulated by the random statistics we’ve created. “People don’t read my stuff.”, “Nobody responded to my post.”, “I didn’t get one share.” – are all bullshit excuses to not be expressive. There is no need to get stuck like this, but it seems like a trap that us humans have set for ourselves. In fact, here’s another one…
I CAN’T SEEM TO FINISH ANYTHING LATELY.
Sorry about yelling there, but I just needed to get that off my chest. I have spent weeks writing about (what seems like) a million different topics and haven’t completed one piece. Each place I go to write has been unique and interesting, but after a while it’s as if the light in my brain goes out. It doesn’t seem to matter where I am writing at all.
When it comes to not completing projects in my life, I’m no rookie. This doesn’t make me feel guilty, that’s always been a result of me not applying myself. I know this is not the case in my current situation, this is something different. This has forced me to look inward at my position. I have kept losing myself in the words I write and that’s never been my style. The pieces I love to share are the ones where I’ve found myself.
Shit, that’s it! – “The pieces I love to share are the ones where I’ve found myself.” …so… where the hell am I? Clearly I can’t do this without ME being here, that’s how all of this works. Now that I look back on some of the things I’ve written lately, they’re all just flaccid and drab. It’s as if I’ve been writing for someone other than myself.
Writing (for me) is about channeling from a place between my heart and intuition. It’s inspired by my senses and my experiences. It’s about my physical output, my musk and my balls. Maybe that’s arrogant to say, but they’re MY words. In fact, it’s about damn time I put all of that in writing. Step aside brain, you’re in my way.
It is not that I don’t want to be able to use my brain. Of course I have to use it. However, that does not mean what I doubt mentally has to be in control of me physically. Clearly it’s taken me a long time to get this figured out and obsessing about it from here on, will only be a waste. Life is too damn short for that.
I feel like this struggle I’ve been going through is inevitable now and again, but completely conquerable. When I think about it, life is a succession of conquests. None are identical, but all are important in defining my sense of self. My brain is there to process information, not to control how I feel about it. Well look at that…HERE I AM…and damn it feels good.
Expression is the process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings. Most of us don’t choose to do so, it simply comes natural to us. Whatever we encounter throughout our lives will determine how we express ourselves, but nothing should ever stay in the way of what we’re truly feeling. We will always experience ups and downs because that’s life. However, our outlook is something that’s only in our control.
If we’re ever not feeling like ourselves, we don’t need to be afraid to say it. The world relates to us because we are the ones who put our expressions out there in a shareable format. Being blocked isn’t something to shy away from, it’s something to breakthrough. Our pride is only our demise in situations like this. We must ask for help when we’re struggling to help ourselves and be grateful by listening to those who are willing to offer it. It’s in that moment when we can finally get out of our own way and back on an enlightened path.
Now let’s go eat some lunch…
TUNA FISH SANDWICHES FOR EVERYONE!
I wanted to give it a listen for at least a solid 3 months before I wrote anything on this. This is an absolutely incredible project from start to finish. There’s alot of ear-grabbing ideas and well executed concepts on here throughout the duration of the EP.
Beautiful Home opens Fjer’s world with looming instrumentation and distant strings. A really good use of dynamics is present here and throughout the EP to help present sounds with their full potential. Interesting use of dynamics is a thing that can help keep listeners engaged, it works blissfully here.
The opening of Floors operates like a slowed down Musique Concrete piece of what would be a Dick Hyman song. Rattling sounds moving left and right in a secluded space whilst Fjer’s vocals are the door, keeping the progression grounded throughout. You can really hear the remains of a once Beautiful Home in here.
I previously summed up my thoughts on ‘Children‘ here so I won’t waste your time here.
Stairs is pure ear-candy with light synths providing the main backdrop for Fjer’s engaging performance on here. The track’s instrumental is progressive and works like a marathon with subtle new details in the background space so the sonics are tower-like at it’s end.
Roof moves like a downtempo monster, a lovely Fjer vocal loop to start things out before moving to more spacer territory. Bjork like elecronic percussion, auto-tune esque vocals and a stellar string placement with some devastating piano chords to piece the end of this thrilling movement.
Boston’s EK returns with the ambience-rich hip hop art piece “Invincible”. I call it an art-piece because his music is like a movie. You can REALLY feel it. Also congratulations to him – he just hit 50,000 plays on SoundCloud!
The chemistry between him and producer Bueffard Mallary is clear – “Runnin” is another amazing track they created together we blogged about.
What makes this track really stand out for me and make it a complete home run are the positive affirmations at the end. It makes it a very special song – and that’s my favorite part. The whole song was enjoyable – and he never spits the cliche bullshit that we hear in most hip hop. There’s no filler. And he’s saving his best material for his upcoming album.
His bi-weekly song series leading up to his “Hands of Time” EP, which this track is a part of has been a huge success so far. The last track, “Mean Ol’ Town” was featured on numerous blogs and hit over 8,000 plays.
The wonderful art is done by Rie Murphy. Hit her on Facebook here or mlm1012127 [at] gmail [dot] com. She is incredibly affordable and the BEST cover artwork person I know to work with.
The long-running “Freedom Cypher”, a monthly cypher held at “The Democracy Center” in Cambridge raises over half it’s goal on Kickstarter, now having a CHANCE to run for a 4th year. It‘s in OUR hands now to see if that happens – as the fundraiser moves to GoFundMe.
It’s gaining steam.
And you get benefits if you donate – ones that are particularly appeasing if you are an MC (or a vendor). With just a $50 donation (the most popular donation – you get two hours of studio time with a very reputable Wreck Shop producer – Tommy Forge. His beats are dope and his quality is excellent. Just go to his SoundCloud to see for yourself. With $100 or more you’ll get free promotion from ProU, 1000 guaranteed listeners with that (and a ProU USB Wristband, a free beat from Tommy Forge, and 3 hours of studio time. Not too shabby). The beat from Tommy alone I believe is worth the $100. This particular one below, which I’m obsessed with “Pleasure & Pain” was featured on the well-known Mind Spray Boston platform (the only MA Open Mic with a cash prize). Every penny helps though. IF you can only donate $5 – that helps move the momentum train to our goal. Go to the page here to donate or check it out.
P.S: Also a PLAQUE will be made of all the donators if the goal of $1500 is reached!
Can’t donate? We politely ask then that you just spread the word !
The vendor offer info is below. Quite nice as that amounts to only $20 for a table with some of the most active participants in the hip hop scene and a growing movement you will be vending at. Also: any vendor who signs up – all your employees (up to 5) will get a free ProU wristband – and an artist of your choice will get a free track promotion.
I mentioned the fundraiser was gaining steam. And that’s thanks to someone who doesn’t give up. That someone who doesn’t give up is Justice Born. He would give all credit to the wonderful people donating. But the truth is no one works as hard as this man – and has that type of heart that is required to save a hip hop movement. Hip hop is known as a field where people aren’t really investing and don’t have much spare money. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up or not even try to start a fundraiser. All this work for a non-profit fundraiser takes valor and true love for the game and for the movement he started – Wreck Shop. It truly is a wonderful venue (The Democracy Center) that this event is sponsored at (which happens the last Sunday of every month. And has been going on for the past 3 years featuring 36 producers. Not one show was missed). He would WALK there from his hometown of Peabody to make sure every scheduled event happened, if he had to.
The Democracy Center in Cambridge has just the right amount of extra space so it’s not congested inside – and has all the proper logistics to set up tables and make it a fun experience. There’s even a DJ – DJ G7 scratching every time. I want it to be saved not just for all the hard work Justice has put in, but also because it truly is a spectacular event with awesome participants every time and a sweeeeeeeet venue. It would certainly be a shame for it to go away. Even though I am friends with Justice, I would not be putting as much effort into getting the word out if I didn’t TRULY believe in the event. There’s already too few places for people to express their creative energy at in the state without this great platform. Everyone is incredibly supportive. If you are rapping for the first time, everyone will cheer you on. It’s all love. That’s the thing I adore most. It lasts from 6PM to 9PM. There’s always a few rappers who drop some epic jokes that you can’t forget during the course of the night. Usually one of them is Estee Nack of Tragic Allies. He’s one of those acts you respect and can tell as soon as he grips the mic he has been doing it for 10+ years. A really talented fun act to watch. People are allowed to recite writtens in the cypher but 90% of the time I would say people are going off the top of the head. It’s always exciting to see what people will come up with.
Moving On to GoFundMe.
It was originally started up on Kickstarter (and reached around $810). Kickstarter refunds your money, though, after the period expires when you don’t reach your goal (for this fundraiser it was $1500. It is to provide rent for the year). We still actually have to get all the donators from Kickstarter to GoFundMe. It’s already at $400 in a few days though – which is pretty extraordinary. People from all over the industry from every age range are donating to the movement. Colin Mitchell (my homie Composition of the Glasshouse movement) donated – he just turned 17 years old. A great kid who just wants to see hip hop thrive in his state. It’s great to see the state come together for such a cause as this. My friend, NRJ of ProU donated a complimentary graphic that we could use to promote the #SaveTheCypher movement in its early stages. Jenova 7, whose art I recently discovered and really respect, created the graphic that was popularly used on the original Kickstarter page (and is featured at the top of this article).
A big salute to Justice. You only get a few Justices per state (if that many). Who care enough about hip hop & that have a spirit to match like he does. When this kickstarter initially launched – I was right there with him. It was almost two weeks through and it had reached only 1/30th of its goal. That would have crushed most people. Any ordinary person would have given up. No, not Justice. With his unbelievable nack for newsletter-writing, getting press & radio attention, organizing real life events (there was a real life fundraiser at the December event), and personal strength – he has been the rock behind the movement reaching over half its goal. At the real-life fundraiser people who know of Justice’s hard work and moral had even said, “Don’t worry if it doesn’t reach its goal – keep the money for Wreck Shop”. But Justice is going to make sure it’s saved and that your money will be put to the exact use it was intended for: Saving The Freedom Cypher. He doesn’t waste effort – once he sets upon a goal – he makes sure its his. This is as good as a done deal I’ve seen with him as the force behind it – and a very supportive scene.
He never intends to make this a charge-per-head event – and this is what it takes for it to stay free.
Let’s keep it that way.
A Source of Strength To Overcome Any Obstacle.
Justice: you’ve been a huge personal inspiration to me. Instead of quitting – near the end: you sent out a very organized newsletter & Kickstarter update on how the fundraiser would be moving to GoFundMe. Like it was nothing.
Despite knowing that Dec 21 – 28 (the orig. fundraiser was Dec. 1 to 31st) is the most dead time of the year for fundraisers (with everyone offline, enjoying time with family and also bankrupt) he still believed we could reach the $1500 – and so while most leaders wouldn’t have been able to take the Kickstarter from $300 to over $700 raised in the last few days – because they would have given up – Justice never gave up along the way. He kept pushing and promoting the movement in different avenues. I really respect that – because I would not have had been able to maintain the same willpower he did. He understands the law of attraction. The power of thinking positive and letting that drive you. Maybe better than anyone I know.
It is possibly cliche to say, but when you’ve gone through something so tough it is very easy to trust that the next steps will be incredibly easier. The toughest part has been surmounted. We are on mile 24 of 26 of the marathon to raise the $ appropriate for keeping the cypher movement alive another year. I hate to say it but I believe it was a test of God to start out the fundraiser with such hard and seemingly insurmountable circumstances, to see how bad Wreck Shop & Justice wanted it. I think anyone would be super proud to have Justice as their leader. I know I’m proud & blessed to have him as a friend and source of faith/inspiration for myself to learn from. Justice, your example of not quitting in this particular case is a big example of why I look up to you. No slowing down in these last few miles.
Spirit For The Homeless
His Hoodies For The Homeless program with Wreck Shop and constant food drives are another example of his shining heart. I believe the hoodie designs are amazing – and the variations you can get are incredible too. The Crimson Red is one of my favorite (below).
I got the Navy Blue this year. I can’t WAIT for it to come. You can purchase one here. It REALLY is a nerve-wracking experience trying to pick one because there’s so many good potential color combos. Probably why some people end up getting two or three.
Thank you Justice for this program. When you spend $50 to buy a Wreck Shop hoodie of any color combo, one less homeless person will be cold this Winter (an extra hoodie will be donated for each one bought). This is the point of the program.
ProU is proud to announce that we are recognizing Jon Glass as our selection for 2014 producer of the year; as well as our pick for who we believe is most primed for a breakout year in 2015. Dozens of producers were considered for the process – ones with ultra note-worthy placements. But Jon Glass was the one with the total package we were looking for. We also voted him “Most likely to stay grinding, despite winning any type of award”. So you better stay true to that, Jon.
Fun Fact: We had some other superlatives for kicks & the female ProU fans voted him for “Best smile award” of any producer we had on our list.
Where does one begin?
Where do you find a harder working and kinder producer than Jon Glass, leader of the Massachusetts Glasshouse Productions team?
From being mentor and role model to rising talents Token and Composition (of Glasshouse) to working with some of the best in the biz (REKS, Termanology), what I respect most about him is that his dreams never fade
He is always looking for the next step. Thinking about the future.
To become Producer of the Year, it is not just about talent; which Jon has an excess of (Proven by his overall 2nd place finish in the Ryan Leslie search for top producer $5000 contest, of hundreds — maybe thousands of entries, where he was able to meet Ryan Lewis and get personal compliments on his work with his impressive performance). In a field where money isn’t known to come thundering down upon its participants, it is sometimes VERY difficult to stay motivated. This was a sure sign – getting a nod from the Grammy winner and one of the world’s most talented producers – that Jon chose the right field.
To become Producer of the Year, you should show inspirational qualities like Jon does. His ambitious mindset is infectious through his team (and beyond). P.S he supports people BEYOND just his team – so he gets support outside it. A major important thing about him. This is the proper attitude you should have – and that is lacking in the industry. Back to the topic at hand: Inspiration. At any Glasshouse meeting, you can see the excitement on everyone’s faces. And this wouldn’t be possible if they had some lame-o leader. And let me tell you something. Jon Glass is no lame-o. He doesn’t waste time – and makes sure every meeting is productive (unlike most leaders. A fatal mistake). They get recording sessions and/or mixing processes out of the way almost EVERY meeting. Everyone feeds off this inspiration and productivity – and they mix in good humor within it all. Fact: Jon loves Family Guy.
Producer of the Year isn’t about a producer who has “made it”. It’s about a producer and person who is still bucking away. With big eyes, like it’s Day 1. And from that passion, he inspires others to improve THEIR craft, and take THEIR craft more serious. A producer who has “made it” is laid back. POTY is about who you are going to hear about for MANY years! An underlooked hard working producer out to prove himself.
Jon is an extraordinary businessman, engineer, and producer (Speaking of business: their new sweatshirts are now available too).
I got a glimpse of his plans for 2015 from talks with him and can tell he’s become a very savvy businessman, and it’s been a conscious act to get to that level. I’d say he’s become 10x the businessman he was when I first met him. He used to think it was a weak spot. Now I think he’s great at it and his ideas (and more importantly: the speeds he takes action) is quite impressive. Some people talk too much and don’t act. Jon has something called quiet confidence: a trait Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi were known for (new nickname: Mahatma Glass?). They look peaceful but actually harness a lot of power driven from that peace that you might not expect to see. An insatiable desire to change the world (or their team).
It takes planning to be successful. Jon knows and embraces this fact – making sure proper strategies are in place before any major move is executed.
The Difference Between a Producer and a Beatmaker
A beatmaker creates a beat and sends it to the rapper like, “Ok, whatever, do what you want”. A producer is right there with you and tells you you are sucking if you are sucking. They help guide the entire creative process. If Jon was a yes-man and afraid of giving his opinion on how a song is working, Glasshouse wouldn’t NEARLY be enjoying the amount of success it is right now. That takes GUTS, and someone who truly cares. As people in GH say, “Jon Glass is like family”. I was talking to Du-KaRan of GH at a recent concert and we were both feeling a little off without Jon there because he’s one of the few people that you feel like “If he comes, then I feel like I have family there supporting me”. It literally is as if your blood brother or sister is there to support when he’s at a show of yours.
What’s He Up To
What’s he up to now? Plans for many releases in 2015, and a debut studio album guaranteed to have a lot of nice features. He just opened up a new studio. If you are looking for mixing/mastering services (or recording) he’s the MAN to go to and is reasonable. He’s worked with SO many rappers. So if you’re an annoying rapper he will still probably be able to work/tolerate you because he’s used to it.
Him and Balance The Bum are working on a Token album. Him and Composition are working on a studio debut (Compy is 17. Token is 16 – they both go to Marblehead High).
I’d say he didn’t end the year too badly either. The cypher he produced in conjunction w/ ProU and that was shot by Downlow Productions (peep their videos on this link. very talented) has garnered 13,000 plays on SoundCloud in two weeks and landed on the biggest hip hop blog in France (Le Tournedisque). EK, Tim Nihan of ProU, Composition & Token were the rappers on it. See it below. He also engineered it (which is a pain getting vocals and putting together the separate projects from each vocalist. But he did it with ease)
Last, they just recorded the first-ever Glasshouse cypher (I believe this is going to be a series! If so, I know it’s going to be amazing). You can check the behind-the-scenes video of the energetic meeting taken by Dexter Soul (Formerly Biz) of Glasshouse below. The cypher will be released sometime this month.
It was Dexter’s first video/edit and I think he has a very bright future in it. I’ve talked to him and have seen how driven he is. Stay tuned for Dexter’s videography business launch in 2015. He’s another person in Glasshouse who is REALLY inspiring me to step outside my comfort zone and become a better all-around person. He is most well-known as a rapper – but we all know we should never box ourselves in to one identity and that rappers can’t make livings off rap alone. Have to think outside the box. So thank you to Jon, Dex, and the entire Glasshouse family for their inspiration.
Jon, congratulations on your award. It could not go to a more humble person. You work hard every day and that’s why it’s easy to predict you as a big producer and give you this award. Keep it up.
Joseph James of Brooklyn, resident of Boston and co-owner of the buzzing Yo Soy clothing line is back to rap again after taking the 2013 year off. He took the year off to recharge & freshen up his skills & is ready to steady his climb in 2015. An artistically gifted musician who also puts in a lot of creative work for Yo Soy – he doesn’t like participating in the cliche. To that extent, I am looking forward to see what he comes up with the video he drops for N.W.A (Nothing Without Art) next week. The reception for the track has already been stellar, hitting 2000 plays in little time.
I love the whole package – the art, the title, concept and the energy of the song. It was a good single choice. Stay tuned for the video. And enjoy the track.
DAH Trump of Producers United seems to be the latest in composers who are catching the ears and hearts of growing #s of fans & distributors alike with his incredible soundbanks. He releases his newest one just recently: the sequel to the original after it was heavily requested – The “Sparkstation” Vol II Native Instrument’s Massive Soundbank.
As someone who doesn’t produce, it’s hard for me to become a fan of a soundbank. But that’s exactly what happened. I absolutely love this and it’s ONLY a sample. So far I have only heard raving reviews from producers about his work and they are VERY excited to use the soundbank. The sampling even has 1000 plays on SoundCloud already. I spoke with Mr. Trump and he has big dreams for his future plans with it. He would like to continue until it becomes essential in the kits of producers – he says – somewhat how like producers await EVERY new blap-kits by !llmind release. I’ll tell you this much: He won’t be stopping anytime soon! And why should he – he’s doing amazing! If you’re liking what you hear, please visit here and tell a friend!
Includes: 70 sounds (.nmsv format), bonus content & documentation
Requires: Native Instrument’s Massive
Apollo Main is back in full gear, he never really seems to let his foot off the pedal actually. He drops one of, if not, my favorite release from him, “Red Eyes”. He’s constantly reinventing himself. It’s a deep track I enjoy more with each listen. He’s on the 3rd verse. Page is on the first (Duela the 2nd)
I absolutely love the chorus by Page (he sounds VERY much like Apollo Main, I first got them confused). Apollo comes up with clever & fresh concept every track which is REALLY hard as an artist & what I respect about him. Dope production by Mounika. An obscure producer form France with a LOT of skill.
Male singing Vocals provided by Duela.. I love the female background vocals in this track – it’s a simple part of the song that adds a really necessary element.. All the collaborators really make it a standout track that wouldn’t be the same at all if one was left off. It’s an instant-replayer. I’ve heard this track 10+ times and am not getting tired of it. This is off his December EP. Get it here!
Raw raps. London. That’s all there is to describe this track. Adding a verse to East London’s Drew Bakes “Sweet Living” – Kid Bracer adds a sense of perspective of determination and triumph in the face of adversity. It’s a tough world and both MC’s paint the hardships of living in such environments.