Movement Detroit 2018

Movement Detroit Announces Dates for 2018

Some call it Techno Christmas, others call it The Super Bowl of Techno but to all, it is Movement Detroit. Independently owned and operated Detroit staple Paxahau is bringing the illustrious festival is back to Hart Plaza for it’s 12th year on May 26-28 2018 and this year is sure to be one you can’t miss. After last year’s nonstop 3-day blowout over Memorial Day Weekend, this year is surely going to continue taking the festival experience up a notch.

Last year you could find dance music superstars like Carl Cox, Ritchie Hawtin, deadmau5’s appearance as techno alias Test Pilot, and Seth Troxler at the Main Stage with Grandma Techno, and then walk over to the Red Bull Music Academy stage including Danny Brown, Thundercat, Earl Sweatchirt, and Juicy J. The lineup always includes the worlds best DJs sure to open your ears to the sounds of Detroit and beyond with afterparties to keep the party going until the festival opens the next day.

Keep an eye out for early bird tickets to lock in the lowest pricing to dance your Memorial Day Weekend away in 2018!

Blood, Sweat, and Beats – The Story of Austin’s Hip-Hop Trio ‘The Bishops’

In early April 2017 I stood at Carson Creek Ranch waiting for The Bishops to kick off Euphoria Music Festival on Thursday night. I had listened to their music before but had never seen them live. This family trio consists of 2 brothers and a sister: Luv (Chris) Bishop (24), Troy Bishop (20), Cara Bishop (19).

The young family took the stage and introduced the Euphoria crowd to their unique blend of Hip-hop, R&B, and Electronic production.

The Bishops put on quite a unique show. It’s clear they are siblings, and they have an amazing on stage chemistry with one another. Even though they are young, they are mature and grounded in their music. Their lyrics and personalities blend together perfectly on stage for a great live performance.

I introduced myself after the show and a couple months later I was fortunate enough to sit down with The Bishops before their set at the Mohawk for Solstice Fest 2017.

This local Austin family is young, hungry, and humble. They have already had twp singles take off on Spotify, and they are getting ready to release more new music.

Check out our interview with The Bishops below as well as their live version of ‘Scatterbrained’ performed at Solstice Fest 2017.


How long have y’all been making music together, and independently?

LB: Well I’m 24, and I’ve been making music since I was 16. Me and Troy started as a duo, like a rapper and beats duo. Cara came along and joined us a few years later.

Cara, were you singing much before you joined them in the group?

CB: I would sing around the house and in the shower, but I saw my brothers form a group and I was kind of jealous that they were in a band together, so I made it a thing to learn how to sing.

What do you mean by made it a thing? Did you teach yourself?

CB: Ya, I thought myself in a way. I really just wrote a lot and worked on perfecting my craft. I know I still have a lot to learn, but its much better than it was when I started.

LB: For me it was pretty surprising, because it wasn’t like she grew up doing it her whole life.

Wow, I would not have thought that you picked up singing so late, you sound like you’ve been singing your whole life, and your voice sounds a lot older than a girl who just turned 19.

CB: (Laughs and blushes) Thank you.

So were all of you born and raised in Austin?

CB: I was born here.

CB: Me and Troy were born in Houston. Our families are from Houston, but we moved here when I was 4, so we are Austinites. Been here for a couple decades now.

Has Houston hip-hop been a big influence on your music?

TB: Ya Zero is DOPE!

(everybody laughs and agrees)

LB: Our family kind of knows Zero actually. They housed him for a little bit and have some good stories about him.

That is super awesome. Are your parents musicians, or where did yalls early music influence come from?

TB: Ummmm, Soulja Boy Tell Em!

(everybody laughs again and agrees)

CB: Seriously though…he is the reason.

LB: We were already hip hop fans at that point, but that was it.

TB: the point where we were like, “We can do make this. We can be YouTube stars, haha.”

How old were all of you when that song came out?

TB: I was 11.

LB: I was in early high school

CB: Elementary school

LB: That kind of got us our media influence.

TB: Ya, the way he did everything all on a cell phone. That whole do it yourself thing.

LB: That’s why we ended up forming the group.

TB: The dude is a legend. He’s still going.

(I figured it was necessary to post the ‘Soulja Boy Tell Em’ video for everyone to watch again and reminisce on the good old days. You’re welcome.)

Alright, lets talk about Euphoria Fest this year. That is where I met all of you for the first time, and the first live set I saw you play. The set was a great start to the Euphoric weekend, and I was very impressed with your show, especially for how young yall were. Was Euphoria the first festival yall played?

LB: No, we actually played Solstice Festival here in Austin last year, and we played Oaktopia Festival in Denton, TX too.

Congrats on playing all of those. Getting plugged into the festival circuit is huge for upcoming artists.

Lets talk about some of yall singles out. Lets start with Blood Ring – was this the first song y’all officially wrote together? Chorus is catchy, but its also personal about you and your family, which I love. Was that the goal of the first single, to introduce The Bishops to the music world? Tell us the story about how the first single took off on Spotify, and the making of the video?

TB: It wasn’t the first song we made together, but it was the first one we released. We had a bunch of ‘test trials’ I guess you’d say before this. We had been working on stuff for about 2 years. We didn’t release anything, but just passed around each other and were really honing our sound.

LB: Once we made Blood Ring, we were like yep, thats the introduction right there. Then we made a video for it too.

So how many singles have you officially released as The Bishops?

TB: Only two. But we all have some solo stuff too.

LB: Ya, because we all started solo. The Bishops is kind of like a super group in a way, but more like a family group.

Tell us about the Spotify growth on Blood Ring? Over 500,000 streams as of now.

CB: Literally one night we got a bunch of streams, and that got us on Spotify’s Viral 50. Once that happened we got even more plays and got on a couple other Spotify playlists as well.

TB: We got on an Urban Outfitters playlist or osmething too.

LB: We had a little bit of buzz locally in Austin going on before this, but once we hit that Spotify Viral 50 playlist, our managers were hitting us up about how quickly the number was escalating. One thousand, five thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand. It just goes to show that if you put anything on the internet, it might pop up. The right person at the right time can get your sound out quickly.

That’s incredible. Congrats on that success so far. Definitely is a good feeling when you know lots of people are listening to your music you created. So did you only have Blood Ring out at the time. Or was your other single Scatterbrained up there as well?

LB: Scatterbrained was up there as well.

I love this track as well, and really felt like it just validated your sound after Blood Ring. I can’t say I like it more than Blood Ring yet, but it’s creeping up there. The more I listen to it, the more it’s becoming my favorite Bishops song.

(Troy nods his head with a big smile confirming his views)

LB: Troy’s like yaaa, haha.

It’s got more unique production, smooth vocals by both Luv and Cara. I love how y’all switch off on the verses in the song and join each other. Tell me where this song came from and what its about to you?

CB: When I wrote Blood Ring, we were trying to write a song that would speak to everyone and that would be for them to enjoy. When I wrote Scatterbrained, we just did what we felt.

LB: Ya it was more about us.

CB: Ya we experimented with this one a lot more, and tried going back and forth with our voices and stuff. We tried some new things on that one.

Your production style and sound is unique on that track as well too. Troy, where did your production style come from? Who influenced you growing up?

TB: Well, its hard to put it on just anyone, cause I have a lot of different influences. I listened to mostly hip hop growing up. So guys like Kanya, J Dilla, and all of them. The samplers…I just really liked sampling.
But then electronic music started coming out more, and so those DJ’s started influencing me more now. Like Flume and shit.

Very cool. I love the mix of electronic and hip hop and I think that fusion of music is starting to happen more and more. I’ve seen Chali2na of Jurassic 5 doing some awesome stuff with The Funk Hunters, and Big Boi’s ‘Big Grams’ with Phantogram is an awesome show as well.

Lets transition into talking about independent music. You guys are currently still independent right?

LB: Ya we are.

How has someone like Chance the Rapper influenced your approach on wanting to sign with a label vs doing it your own way?

CB: I think he’s incredible.

TB: He did a lot of other stuff too though, like working with a PR firm before. An artist like Chance is kind of hard to compare to, just because its not normal. But what he represents as far as independent is awesome.

LB: Ya, its great for artists.

TB: At the same time, if there was a right label that was a good fit, it could definitely work.

CB: Ya, definitely.

LB: Absolutely.

Totally, there’s nothing wrong with a good deal.

TB: Ya, imagine f Kid Cudi came around…

CB: Ya! Kid Cudi we would definitely jump on that.

LB: Ya Cudi is the man…

Ok, we only have a few minutes left, but can you tell us if there is any new music coming out soon from The Bishops?

LB: Ya, definintely.

Singles? Album? EP?

LB: Singles for sure. And an EP on the way.

Can we get any dates or numbers on these yet?

LB: Na, not yet, haha. (smiles and laughs)


I guess we will have to wait and see what new singles The Bishops with drop soon. Make sure you follow The Bishops on the JamFeed App to get real-time updates with they drop their new music!

Also keep an eye out for their upcoming Studio Session with Austin360 on July 6 at 12pm CST!

JMBLYA Announces Set Times for 2017

JMBLYA Announced their Dallas and Austin Set Times today on Instagram.

Pell is leading off both days, and Gucci and Chance will close out both nights. Score More Shows continues to put on impressive lineups and events. You can still buy tickets to both cities here!

‪SET TIMES FOR #JMBLYA2017‬ . ‪gates open at 12pm in Dallas & 1pm in Austin. see y'all soon 👋‬

A post shared by JMBLYA (@thejmblya) on

Behind the Stage with Magna Carda at Euphoria Fest 2017 (Interview)

Magna Carda has steadily become one of Austin’s hottest hip-hop acts. They proved it again at their first Euphoria Fest set on Day 1. They started at 5pm on a beautiful Friday afternoon at the Dragonfly Amphitheater Stage and left fans feeling grateful that Euphoria had expanded its lineup into more hip-hop.

Megz and Dougie Do, the founders of Magna Carda, have brought together an amazing band to create a hip-hop group that rings similar to The Roots. Megz humble yet confident swag speaks through her lyrics, and syncs up beautifully with Dougie’s unique production style.

We were fortunate to catch up with Megz and Dougie after their Euphoria Set to talk about their new album, their first show at Euphoria, and how Magna Carda became the band they are today.

After meeting them my passion for the band grew even more. They were genuine, humble, and extremely passionate about making their own music. This young duo is paving their way through the music industry and they are doing it their own way.

Check out some of their show at Euphoria, and take a few minutes to learn more about this unique duo making waves in Austin hip-hop. Also, make sure you follow Magna Carda on JamFeed to stay up to date with everything they are doing in music!


For those new Euphoria Fans who just discovered Magna Carda, how did you guys form the group and begin making music together?

Megz: We met at St. Edwards University in Austin.

Dougie Do: Ya, we met at school and started making music after.

Are yall from Austin originally?

Megz: I’m from New Orleans

Dougie Do: I’m actually from Houston

What made you want to come to Austin?

Dougie Do: Well I was living abroad, but from Houston, and I wanted to come back to Texas. Then I got to Houston and realized that I don’t really want to be in Houston anymore, so Austin seemed like a dope spot.

Megz: Ya, it just seemed like a great place to live.

Do yall plan to stay in Austin as your homebase?

Dougie Do: We’ll see…we kind of have done everything here already. We’ve done almost all of the festivals, and Euphoria is the last one on our list to hit in Austin.

Megz: Austin is a dope city to be in, but we are exploring options.

When did Magna Carda become a full band beyond just the two of you?

Dougie Do: Pretty much in 2013 it all came together.

Megz: Ya, we were making music just us two for the first year, then we added in the rest. But it started with us. After that first year, we slowly added in people, one instrument at a time.

We noticed yall put out an “Epic Playlist” just before Euphoria Fest w artists ranging from Kendrick Lamar to A Tribe Called Quest. What artists have influenced you the most?

Dougie Do: It’s Tribe Called Quest for me. It was the first hip-hop album I fully picked up and understood was Tribe…I love that group.

Megz: Mine is not really a rapper…but ‘Baduizm’ by Erykah Badu. I was exposed to that album at a very early age. It almost felt like it was my first experience with a real songwriter…it made me want to write songs, ya know? You could just kind of feel the authenticity. She was just doing her thing, and nobody was doing it at the time. And even as a young kid, I could recognize that, and it’s always been a big influence on me to do my own thing.

Let’s talk about your blues/soul sound surrounding the hip hop. Is this influenced by the two of you, or did your other band mates bring that vibe in?

Megz: From my experience, it’s kind of everybody bringing their own little style in, which is kind of how we work in general. We don’t like to tell people what to do or create. I mean, if I’m playing music with you, obviously it means I already respect you as a musician, so I am going to respect your opinion and your way of working. I’m always into the whole feed off you, feed off me thing.

Dougie Do: I definitely agree.

Is Magna Carda currently signed with a label or independent?

Megz: We are currently independent.

Dougie Do: Right now we are really just trying to build our own brand. If the right partnership comes along, then we will definitely look into it.

What is the next step / goal for Magna Carda to get to the next level?

Dougie Do: We have our 2nd album (Sophomore Album) about to drop, so we are getting that ready right now. We are hoping to drop it early summer.

Megz: Ya, the way things are going now probably late spring or early summer.

Dougie Do: We also want to try to get on the festival circuit too, especially outside of Austin.

Can you tell us more about this new album you have coming out?

Dougie Do: Ya, it will definitely be an album. Our sophomore album. With our first album, we just kind of threw whatever we had on there and put it together. This time though, we are being more picky about which songs are going to make it or not. It will probably end up being around 8 or so tracks.

Any upcoming shows that yall are excited about?

Megz: Yes, we are headed up to the east coast to go play in NYC soon.

Megz, when did you start writing music and deciding on pursuing your career as an MC?

Megz: It was always like second nature for me. It’s just something that I have always done, just writing in general. I’ve always loved writing and story telling.

How old were you when you first starting rapping over beats and wanting to make music?

Megz: Really young. I was probably like 7 or 8 years old. But it wasn’t until later when I decided I wanted to rap. You hit those spurts when your like damn, I really wanna be a rapper…but then you come down to earth a bit. I think once you get the real momentum going after making something and putting it out, and can back yourself up with it, then you can really start looking at it as a career. And that didn’t really happen until I met Dougie, but I have always been writing.

Ya it helps to have someone on the grind with you doesn’t it?

Megz: Ya for somebody like me, I am more motivated when I have people around me working with me. Not saying I always want to be around people, but feeding off their energy and having someone to hold you accountable definitely helps.

What about you Dougie? When do you start producing / playing music?

Dougie Do: I started doing music in 5th grade in school, playing in the school band. But I was playing Saxophone and it was classical music, so not producing yet. That came later and picked up even more when I met Megz.

Let’s talk about your blues/soul sound surrounding the hip hop. Is this influenced by the two of you, or did your other band mates bring that vibe in?

Megz: From my experience, it’s kind of everybody bringing their own little style in, which is kind of how we work in general. We don’t like to tell people what to do or create. I mean, if I’m playing music with you, obviously it means I already respect you as a musician, so I am going to respect your opinion and your way of working. I’m always into the whole feed off you, feed off me thing.

Dougie Do: I definitely agree

If you could get on tour with any artist, who would you like travel and play with? Who puts you in front of the right audience / fans that you think would dig your show?

Dougie Do: Man…I’d probably have to go with two. I think it would be The Roots and The Internet

Megz: Haha I don’t want to say the same thing, but The Internet and The Roots would definitely be good. I’d also say something like Oddisee.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who might’ve been in your shoes 3-5 years ago? What have you learned?

Dougie Do: Um….You can ask for anything. I’ll say that.

Megz: Ya, always ask for anything. And it sounds cliché, but always keep trying to get better each day. Never be content with where you are. I’m not saying don’t be satisfied or grateful, but there’s always something else you could be doing to get better.

The Top Shows We Saw at Euphoria Fest 2017

There was no better place to be this past weekend than Carson Creek Ranch. This was the 6th annual Euphoria Music Festival, and it was definitely one to remember. Each year they continue to grow and expand their diverse lineup, improve the overall festival experience, and bring thousands of people together to share a state of Euphoria.

I spoke with many first time festival goers, as well as many Euphoria Fest Vets, all of whom had nothing but good things to say about this year’s festival.. The weather was perfect, the lineup was uniquely diverse, and the festival activations and art installations kept fans in awe throughout the entire weekend.

There was so much good music over the weekend that it can be tough to pick the “top shows” without leaving a few out. For those few, we apologize. I can honestly say I didn’t see a bad set at this year’s festival.

The names below are a combination of shows that blew us away, left us wanting more, and had us talking with friends and co-workers about their sets. At the end of the day, that is the goal of any performer…to leave you completely feeling satisfied, but also wanting more. These artists did exactly that.

Enjoy the list, and make sure you follow Euphoria Music Festival on JamFeed to have a chance to win free tickets to next year’s Euphoria Fest 2018!

(These artists / bands are listed in order as they played in the festival)


Resonant Frequency

Austin’s native electro funk and soul band Resonant Frequency was the first to really kick off the festival Thursday night. Their set included guests MC’s Chris Bishop (The Bishops) and Roofie to add a live hip-hop element to their show. They also brought out Zach Morgan (A Live One) to bring out the live saxophone and take the funk to a whole new level.

Their set played as the sun went down, and their funk eventually brought all of Euphoria’s campers over to the Art Outside stage. The crowd seemed to grow song by song, and by the end of the show hundreds of people were dancing. It was quite to Euphoric start to 2017.

Congrats to this hard-working local Austin band for such a huge set on their first Euphoria lineup! Luckily, for those of you who missed them at Euphoria, you can catch them again this summer at Float Fest in San Marcos.

Manic Focus

There is a reason J-Mac was the first one to sign to All Good Records as Manic Focus. This Chicago-born DJ knows how to put on a show, and he didn’t let anyone down while headlining this Thursday night pre-party at Euphoria. He has a unique ability to blend multiple sounds and genres seamlessly; including hip-hop, funk, dub, blues, and soul.

He played some of his biggest hits and also sampled some new material for all his fans. J-Macs energy is infectious, and his ability to connect and engage with his fans while putting on a funky dance party makes his live show one to remember. I was fortunate enough to meet J-Mac briefly the next day in the VIP tent, and he was very friendly and grateful for us supporting his show. We hope to see him and the All Good Records crew in Austin more often!


Magna Carda

One of the biggest lineup changes this year was Euphoria’s push on hip-hop. They had dabbled in it before, but they booked a number of different hip-hop acts this year, both large and small. As good as some of the headliners were, the best hip-hop act of the festival was Magna Carda at the amphitheater on Friday afternoon. Led by musicians Megz and Dougie Do, this band reminds me of The Roots, but with a lead female MC. Megz has an amazing energy on that comes off very smooth but confident, and the rest of the band create a unique bluesy sound for her voice to flow over. On top of that, her lyrical ability is as good as any MC in Austin, TX.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Megz and Dougie Do for a quick interview after the festival, and they are as genuine and real as their music. They have both the hustle that comes with hip–hop and the humility to match which many artist lack. We will be releasing the full interview with Magna Carda soon, so stay tuned to hear more about Austin’s hottest hip-hop act.

Pretty Lights (Live)

Pretty Lights was a special show for me for many reasons. First and foremost, I met my girlfriend at a Pretty Lights show almost 2 years ago, and we had not seen him together since. Second, I had never seen him play with a live band before. I had only seen solo Derek and his amazing light shows. I was a bit skeptical after seeing some short teaser videos about Pretty Lights Live, but all skepticism was gone within about 10 minutes of that show. The live band created a fuller, deeper sound that you could feel and hear. It was also incredible to watch a live band play some of his hits. The light show he had topped off one of the best sets of Euphoria 2017.

Derek created an incredible team of people to help carry out this mission of his and it was nothing but spectacular. I have had a number of different people text and talk to me about this show. If you missed it, try and find a way to see them again at The Gorge Amphitheater on August 4-5.


Blunt Force

This was Euphoria Fest #4 for the local Austin duo Blunt Force. Each year they continue to improve their live set and add in something special for Euphoria Fans. This year, they pushed themselves to new boundaries with their jam-packed set on Saturday at the Dragonfly Amphitheater. They brought out Jay Fresh for a live performance of their hit single ‘Dreamer’ and also brought out Cara Bishop (The Bishops) for the Euphoria 2017 Theme Song. Both of these guest features crushed it and brought a whole new dynamic to Brian and Deniz’s show that the crowd seemed to love.

Blunt Force stepped up to the plate and delivered on their 4th Euphoria Set, and I am sure you are likely to see them get booked again next year. Brian and Deniz are about to hit the road for over a month as Blunt Force will be touring around the country opening for Bass Physics. Check out our recent interview with Blunt Force before Euphoria to hear about their upcoming tour and some new music!

Oliver Heldens

I saw Oliver Heldens this summer for the first time at Lollapalooza after a co-worker highly recommended him. I didn’t know much of his music at the time, but it didn’t matter. I was blown away by the energy of his live show, and this time around at Euphoria was even better.

Oliver bounces from track to track so smoothly and never lets you rest. Just as you begin to take a breath, he builds you up and drops a new house beat with old school pop samples like Michael’s Jacksons ‘Billie Jean’ or Macklemore’s ‘Can’t Hold Us’ which gets the crowd singing along with him. His happiness radiates off his dutch smile into every crowd that he plays for. It’s nearly impossible to leave one of his shows without a matching smile on your face.

Make sure you follow Oliver Heldens on JamFeed to read our exclusive Euphoria Fest interview with him!

The Floozies

I was feeling pretty tired by the time I got to The Floozies. Saturday was full of amazing music, and I had already been on my feet for 8+ hours by the time the funk brothers Matt and Mark Hill (The Floozies) came out for their Euphoria Set. Within a few minutes they had all my energy back as they put on one of the best performances I’ve ever seen them play. This was probably my 3rd or 4th set to see them play, but their set in front of the water at Euphoria topped them all.

Matt & Mark have an incredibly unique vibe on stage, being brothers from the same mother. They share the light with one another, and improvise seamlessly as if are thinking the exact same thing. Matt’s funky guitar loops mixed with some heavy bass and drums had Euphoria Fans going crazy until they were cut off at 2pm. The crowd seemed pretty upset when they had to stop. Everyone there seemed eager for more music. The weather was perfect, and you could tell Matt and Mark were having just as much fun as everyone in the crowd. This show on the water at night was one word: Euphoric.

Euphoria Fest 2017: Day 4 Top Picks

Today is the final day of Euphoria 2017, and its going to be a special Sunday out at Carson Creek Ranch. On top of another day of amazing music, Euphoria Founder Mitch Morales and his fiancé Tyler will be getting married inside the festival grounds at 2pm today. This is the 6th Euphoria Fest, but the first where they have opened up the possibility of getting married in their euphoric environment.

Check out some of today’s top music picks to follow up Mitch and Tyler’s wedding ceremony!


If you want to see some true New Orleans funk, this is a must see at the Euphoria Stage today at 4:30pm. Their gritty groove is bound to keep you moving all day long, and it will be the perfect way to start off your afternoon.

The Funk Hunters

The Funk Hunters have become one of the top acts out of Canada. The duo consisting of Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith have made a name for themselves with their unique blend of funk, hip hop, soul, and disco.

They also have teamed up with Jurassic 5 legend Chali2na for many songs and even some shows to spice up their live show and bring a whole new element of old school hip-hop to their sound. I’m not sure if we will see Tuna Fish today or not, but the Funk Hunters are sure to put on one hell of a show. Make sure to check them out at 6:30 at the Elements Stage.

Petit Biscuit

Mehdi Benjelloun, better known by his stage name Petit Biscuit, is a French DJ and music producer. This young musical sensation is still not even 20 years, and is going to prove that age doesn’t matter when it comes to live music performances. He edits and mixes all the sounds of his tracks himself, and he excels in creating unmistakable chopped and twisted vocal leads.

He will be bringing his talents to the Dragonfly Amphitheater at 8:30pm.

Wiz Khalifa or Zeds Dead?

Honestly, this one just comes down to a personal preference. Do you prefer hip-hop over electronic music? Both of these shows will be a great finale to the show, and you really can’t go wrong. I’m leaning towards Wiz Khalifa right now, but you never know what will happen at Euphoria Day 4. I’m gonna leave you with my favorite Wiz mixtape ‘Kush & Orange Juice.’ Enjoy.

Enjoy the last day of Euphoria…maybe some kush and orange juice.

Euphoria Fest 2017: Day 3 Top Picks

Get ready for a beautiful day at Euphoria’s Dragonfly Amphitheater. Saturday is looking like another beautiful day in Austin with another Euphoric Saturday Lineup.

Today brings more local Austin talent with some amazingly talented headliners to close out the night. Here are some of our top recommendations for Saturday at Euphoria Fest 2017.

Blunt Force:

This is a big year for the Austin local duo Blunt Force (Brian Gustafuson and Deniz Baykal). Not only do they have a primetime spot at 5:30pm at Euphoria’s coolest stage, but this is their 4th Euphoria Fest to play. They have been putting in a lot of hard work for this set before they hit the road for the rest of the month on tour with Bass Physics.

They will be showcasing some new music, bringing on a few guests, and will likely make this their best Euphoria set yet. Make sure you check out our recent JamFeed interview with Blunt Force to hear more about what’s in store for this young talented duo from Austin. And make sure you are there at early to get a good spot for this epic show.

Henry + The Invisibles

Henry is a local Austin legend. If you are not from Austin, I highly recommend letting this friendly funky man rock your world for an hour at the Art Outside Tent at 7. Supported by his invisible band (he is THE band), Henry will take you on a wild ride of groovy funky beats that will leave you feeling Euphoric.

Oliver Heldens

Oliver Heldens has been taking the electronic music industry by storm lately, and he is sure to bring it tonight at Euphoria Fest on the main stage. The Dutch DJ has a unique sound of future house with his own this, and he always rocks a smile on his face. I saw him last summer at Lollapalooza in Chicago, and I’ve been excited to see him again ever since. Whether its your 1st or your 5th time to see Oliver, it will be worth taking an hour at the Euphoria Main Stage tonight at 11pm.

The Floozies

The Floozies at the Dragonfly Amphitheater is the show to close the night with tonight. Sorry Young Thug fans…but its true. Brothers Matt and Mark Hill have a unique brotherly bond that you can see and hear in their live set.

They bring a unique sound, born in funk, but with live-eletronica and endless looping and production builds that will keep you moving and grooving all night long at Euphoria’s most beautiful stage.

Day 2 Recap: Euphoria Fest 2017

Friday at Euphoria Fest was another perfect combination of great music and beautiful weather. They brought a uniquely diverse lineup of some talented artists including Sip Sip and Flamingos. Every show I saw was good, but three shows in particular stuck out to me.

Magna Carda:

Magna Carda has been making waves in Austin for a while now, and their set at the Euphoria Amphitheater proved that they are here to represent Austin hip-hop and change the game with their unique blues/soul infused style.

I was fortunate to get a chance to do an interview with Megz and Dougie Do after their set at the Dragonfly Amphitheater, and I can tell you that the two of them are both as real and down to earth as their music. Keep an eye out for the full interview coming soon after Euphoria Fest!

The Disco Biscuits (2 sets)

I’m sure there were a number of people at Euphoria who were disappointed when they found out The Knocks show had been cancelled due to flight troubles in Atlanta. However, I think this turned out to be a blessing for some lucky Disco Biscuit fans who ended up getting to see back to back sets.

There are not many bands that can pull off unscheduled back-to-back shows and do it effortlessly. The Disco Biscuits did it with ease, playing 2 completely different style sets, and all 3-4 hours of it was Euphoric to say the least.

Pretty Lights (Live):

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what to expect here with Derek and his Pretty Lights Live show. I had seen some videos, and heard a number of different opinions about this show, but at the end of the day, I was blown away.

The production and light show were as good as I have ever seen at a Pretty Lights Show. Also, having a full live band with him created a whole new sound that you can’t get with just Derek alone. You could hear and feel the difference it made. Pretty Lights brought a whole new element to his live show by bringing in other amazingly talented musicians like Borahm Lee from Break Science and letting them shine and have their moments as well.

I heard some new tracks, some classic hits, and I got to enjoy the show with my lovely lady who I met 2 years ago at a Pretty Lights set. It was Euphoric to say the least.

Make sure to check out our Day 3 Top Picks for Saturday at Euphoria, and make sure you follow Euphoria Music Festival on JamFeed for all the best festival content and updates!

Day 1 Recap: Euphoria Fest 2017

It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon and evening out at Carson Creek Ranch for the Euphoria Fest Pre Party. This event was reserved for campers only, and they were rewarded with some amazing music for coming early and committing themselves to being in a state of Euphoria all weekend. Make sure to check out Euphoria’s Official Day 1 Recap Video and more exclusive content from yesterday’s top shows.

The day started off with local hip-hop family trio The Bishops, and the young siblings showed their artistic talents and ability to connect with the crowd both during and after the show.

Check out their live performance of their new hit single “Blood Ring” from yesterday’s Euphoria Set.

Following The Bishops came Resonant Frequency, and just as the sun came down, the funk came up. This trio consisting of versatile musicians Landon Reichle (Lando), Vince Siedl (Diamond Cuts) , and Ben Slade (Local Color) put on one of their biggest performances yet. They brought multiple MC’s including Luv Bishop of The Bishops as well as Zack Morgan on the saxophone to give fans a special euphoria performance.

Every time Resonant Frequency plays, the crowd gets bigger, the funk gets louder, and more and more people are grooving. Make sure to catch these guys again this summer at Float Fest!

Manic Focus came on after Autobody and closed the night in style with his unique mix of funk, dub, dance, and hip-hop. There’s a reason J-Mac was the first to sign with GRiZ and All Good Records…he knows how to put on a show, and he knows to leave all his fans wanting more, which is exactly what he did when headlining the Euphoria Pre-Party last night.

Friday is shaping up to be another amazing day at Euphoria. Make sure to check out our top picks for Friday, and make sure to follow Euphoria on JamFeed for all festival content and updates!

Euphoria Fest 2017: Friday Top Picks

Euphoria Fest started off Thursday night with their best Thursday Night Pre-Party yet. Reserved only for campers, local acts Resonant Frequency, The Bishops, and Autobody all put on incredible shows and got the crowd grooving to some funky beats. They set the crowd up perfectly for Manic Focus to close the night out with his non-stop bangers that left everyone thirsty to come back tomorrow for more great music.

Check out our Day 1 Recap, as well as Euphoria’s Day 1 Recap Video.

Today marks the first full day of Euphoria Fest, and there are some amazing acts to check out today. Here are a few of them that we think will put on some ‘Euphoric’ shows today:

Sip Sip:

Sip Sip formed in summer 2009 when individuals from Austin bands Mother Falcon, Corduroi, and PowerNap collaborated to create an original summer lineup under the moniker ‘The Summertime Band’. Since then Sip Sip has accumulated 18 performers from varying musical backgrounds.

Sip Sip’s sound can be described as a blend of electronicgroove, jazz horns, rock, group vocals and crowd participation. All of this culminates in intense performances that regularly shake the foundations of the venues they frequent.

Their live performances command crowd participation and audience engagement, featuring several members in costume, party favors, and repeated chants. Don’t miss unique show at Euphoria. “When I sip, you sip, we sip.”


Flamingosis (the name comes from a free-style Frisbee moved that his father invented) is an electronic producer, beat-boxer, and entertainer from New Jersey. His real name is Aaron Velasquez and his music has been influenced by Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Madlib, and many others that have helped him craft his own unique sound of vintage funk with soulful disco music.

Flamingosis will bringing these beautiful vibes to the Euphoria Stage from 4-5pm today. Make sure you catch his infectiously energetic live show!

Magna Carda:

Magna Carda has quickly established itself as one of Austin’s top hip-hop acts. In a city that is not as well known for hip-hop, this group is changing the game and proving that there is an audience here to support their music.

Magna Carda is led by the city’s most dynamic MC-producer duo — Megz Kelli and Dougie Do — “whose work pairs like a fine wine with the meat-and-potatoes backbone of the group’s signature live instrumentation.” With their genre-defying blend of rap-meets-jazz-meets-R&B-meets-electronic, the band has quickly captured the imagination of listeners and the attention of critics alike in Austin and beyond.

They play today on Euphoria’s Dragonfly Amphitheater on the water from 4:50-5:50pm. This is a must for any hip-hop fan at Euphoria this year.

Also, make sure you check back in soon for an upcoming JamFeed interview with Magna Carda!

Pretty Lights (Live):

Derek Vincent Smith AKA Pretty Lights, is one of the most influential electronic music producers in the electronic music scene today. Pretty Lights has become an extremely influential and his sound has shaped many of the artists following in his footsteps.

Smith dropped out of school in Boulder after his freshmen year and hasn’t looked back. He continues to push the boundaries in electronic music, and this year at Euphoria he is bringing a live band to play with him on stage. This show is sure to make things even more Euphoric than his normal sets.

Even if you’ve seen Pretty Ligths beofre, this show is guranteed to be full of some amazing surprises. Derek is not one to let fans down, especially with an entire live band behind him.

Make sure you follow all these artists and Euphoria Music Festival on JamFeed to stay up to date with all things music!

Euphoria Fest 2017: Thursday Top Picks

Today is the start of the 6th annual Euphoria Music Festival at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, TX. It is shaping up to be a beautiful opening day, with potentially the best Thursday Night pre-party lineup so far from Euphoria. We have some amazing local Austin talent leading off the weekend, followed by one of the top acts from All Good Records.

Local Austin hip-hop trio The Bishops will be kicking off the festival this year. The Bishops are a rare super group in the music industry. They are made up of three people who are real-life family members, and each of them have their own career outside of this new collaboration. They teamed up to release their first synth-ed up single ‘Blood Ring,’ which caught fire on some Spotify playlists and captured almost 500,000 streams for the young family trio.

They clearly will not be stopping here. As Cara Bishop says herself in their hit single, “Not one, not two, but three,” The Bishops are ready to show Austin fans what they are all about with a full hour set tonight. This will do be the biggest festival yet for the band. The Bishops kick off Euphoria Fest tonight at 6:30pm CST – don’t miss it!

Following The Bishops at 7:45pm is another amazing local Austin trio Resonant Frequency. They have started off 2017 with a huge bang, playing late night STS9 afterparty shows, opening for RJD2, and also playing 2 sets at Head for the Hills Festival 2 weeks ago.

They have truly started to developer their own sound and vibe, which is a mix of future funk, soul, and a little southern texas hip hop swag. They are guaranteed to keep you on you dancing throughout the entire set, and all three musicians are incredibly talented and know how to put on a great live set.

This is their first Euphoria Fest set, so you can bet on them spicing it up with some surprise guests, and bringing their funkiest beats to kick off Euphoria Fest the right way. Make sure you are there to see what it’s like to get everyone to vibe on the same Resonant Frequency.

Last, the headline for tonight’s lineup, Manic Focus. Manic Focus is the electronic music project of John “JmaC” McCarten, a Chicago-based producer originally hailing from the Twin Cities. He’s become well known for his multi-dimensional sound, including elements of soul, dubstep, hip-hop, blues, and funk. It’s an amazing complitation of heavy and smooth sounds that make for an incredible live performance.

JmaC teamed up with GRiZ and All Good Records in 2014 for his fourth album ‘Cerebral Eclipse’ and he hasn’t looked back since. He is at the forefront of this new age funk revolution and he is the perfect fit to bring home the night and end night one of Euphoria with a bang.

As you can see, this is one of the best Thursday Euphoria has booked yet. Their mix of strong local talent to kick things off, and following it with Manic Focus as the headliner is guaranteed to put music fans in a state of Euphoria tonight.

Make sure you follow Euphoria Music Festival on JamFeed to stay connected to all the amazing content created during this festival. We will also be making some exciting announcements over the next week, so stay tuned!

– JamFeed Team

Questlove & More Kick Off SXSW Interactive Weekend at Empire Control Room

The first weekend of SXSW is finally over, and it was a great start to this year’s festival.  This weekend is more focused around Film and Interactive, but don’t let that lead to you believe that good music doesn’t start till next week.
Of course you can leave it up to Empire Control Room to kick things off right in Austin.  On Friday night, Empire hosted a number of great local acts and topped things off with a 3 hour DJ set by yours truly…Questlove (of The Roots).


Austin’s local A-Town Get Down started off the night by bringing the funk inside and getting people up and moving for their first night at SX.  They showed off their freestyle abilities by letting each member shine during songs and showcasing that they are a group of very talented artists, and don’t rely on any 1 person to make the crowd get funky.

The funk was followed by Sphynx, a local dance band that reminds you of a modern day queen, who brought out their amazing ability to hit high pitches, while also bringing a talk box and showing off their musical talents as well.
These openers got the crowd ready for what everyone came to see:  Questlove.  Quest does not do many solo DJ sets like this, so Empire was packed that night to make sure people got a chance to watch him deliver the goods.  Most of us know Quest from his long time place as the drummer of The Roots, which many people now see frequently on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon.  If there is one things Questlove showed us on Friday night, it’s that he is an all around amazing and talented musician.  We all know his drum skills are at par with the greatest out there, but he showed off his ability to mix and sample live tracks, throw in hits, and keep people moving on their feet all night.  On top of his producing skills, he brought out local friend / partner to rap / sing some reggae style rhythms to match Quest’s beats, which turned out to be a great compliment to the show.

It was everything that people were hoping for on the first night of the 2017 SXSW…good weather, great music, and lots of amazing people from all over the world coming together for the sake of live music.  Welcome to our home town – the live music capital of the world.  We only have another full week left of this amazing madness…

RJD2 & Resonant Frequency Bring the Beats to Empire Control Room

Friday night at Empire Control Room was the place to be in Austin, TX. Heard Entertainment came through again by booking a monster Friday night lineup, selling out the show in just a few days after it was announced.

Of course the headline of the night was RJD2, which always brings a good crowd out in Austin, TX. On top of that, they were able to book 2 of Austin’s top rising bands, with Chipper Jones and Resonant Frequency.

The night began at 8pm with Resonant Frequency, who has been on fire lately. They recently lit up the inside room at Empire for the sold out STS9 After Party, and topped it all off with this opener for RJD2. The band continues to draw a bigger crowd each show they play, and for the opening slot at 8am, this local band was the reason the party got started early. I even had someone in the crowd say to me during the show that “These guys should be closing the night out over RJD2.” As crazy of a statement as that might sound, I think the guy actually had a point. Yes, these guys are young, and yes they were opening the night up, but their unique combination of funk, hip hop, and electronic music creates one hell of a show, and they are clearly starting to build a loyal following in Austin…A following that will show up at 8pm right when the doors open to catch these guys play at a sold-out empire show.

The only thing Resonant Frequency didn’t have going for them that night, was that they should’ve opened directly in front of RJD2, instead of opening in front of Chipper Jones. Nothing against Chipper Jones, they are incredibly talented as well, but for the vibe of that event, Resonant Frequency would’ve made a lot more sense to put in that 2nd slot, and everyone in the crowd knew it.

By the time RJD2 came on, Empire was packed, and the crowd was ready to hear this talented producer in Austin for the first time in a while. He immediately got the crowd going by coming out solo and showing off his production and turn table skills, mixing all sorts of unique sounds together to create an amazing live experience. Then, he did what everyone else came to see, he brought out some live instrumentation to support his show, and the crowd lost it. He brought out a live bass player and drummer for multiple songs, and even had a soul-vocalist and rapper STS come out and perform “Doin’ it Right” which was an awesome experience of the unique electronic / hip-hop blend.

RJD2 and his live band lived up to the crowd’s expectations, and everyone left with a big smile on their face, worn out from dancing and grooving all night. Heard Entertainment and Empire Control Room continue to put on amazing showcases for the local Austin crowd, and we are excited to continue this great run of music leading into SXSW.

Make sure you follow RJD2, Resonant Frequency, and Chipper Jones on JamFeed to be the first to know about new music releases and show announcements. And for all you local Austinite’s, don’t forget to check out our new ticket giveaway site Free Austin Concerts, where we help fans get in for free to top shows each week in our hometown city!

– JamFeed Team

Resonant Frequency Proves They Are Ready to Build Their Own ‘Tribe’

This weekend kicked off the music scene for 2017 in the live music capital of the world. The big hype around Austin, TX was STS9 playing 2 sets for both Friday and Saturday for the first time ever at the ACL Live Moody Theater. As someone who has seen ‘Tribe’ play many times, and at various places across the country, this show was one to be remembered.

Every time I go to Moody Theater in Austin, I am blown away by the acoustics and the overall venue itself. The sound is just noticeably better than anywhere else in Austin, and this was especially true for STS9, who previously played at Austin Music Hall on their stops through the city. Their sound might’ve been the best I have ever heard them live. Their lights didn’t seem to skip a beat much even after STS9 Lighting Director Saxton Waller left the band recently.

The first night clearly belonged to STS9’s drummer, Zack Velmer. They had him up front right next to bass player Alana Rocklin and he kept the crowd going the whole time, taking everyone from long wild build ups to funky drops all night long. This guy’s physical endurance throughout the night continued to blow me away, and he only seemed to get better throughout the whole show. He had the entire crowd at his fingertips and he never let them go until the show was over.

On top of some great STS9 shows at the legendary Moody Theater, some local Austin promoters did an amazing job of putting together STS9 Late Nights at Empire Control Room. (These were not in affiliation with the STS9 event) but it was still a brilliant job marketing and showcasing upcoming talent in Austin that really fits the ‘Tribe’ audience. He^rd Entertainment & Euphoria used this weekend perfectly to showcase some upcoming talent that will be playing at this year’s Euphoria’s Fest in April at Carson Creek Ranch.

There were a variety of impressive late night shows, but the one that stood out to me this weekend was Austin’s own Resonant Frequency. (I must admit, I may be a little bias since I personally know some members of this band) but I’ve probably seen over 10 shows of their shows over the last 2 years and have really watched them evolve their sound and grow as a band.

They seemed like they had been waiting for a moment like this – a solid opportunity to get in front of some like-minded fans, and show them their unique mix of funk, electronic mixes, live instrumentation, and southern rap samples. They hit the ground running and with each song the crowd continued to grow bigger and bigger, until the entire indoor at Empire was packed and boogieing down a couple songs into their set.

But most importantly, they did what tribe fans love most…they never let you go for the entire show. They took you on their own musical journey, and they went from one funky jam to the next showing these Austin fans that they are ready to build their own ‘tribe’ of fans. There were a few songs I saw people going crazier at Resonant Frequency than I saw anyone at STS9 do just an hour earlier. That’s a really good sign. There is something infectious about their funk, and they look like they are ready to show everyone what this “Funky-Resonant Frequency” is all about.

If any of you are fans of GRiZ and his crew of artists at All Good Records, you will immediately understand what makes Resonant Frequency so fun to see live. They have their own unique mix to funk though, which to me is that dirty south “We From Texas” swag to it.

These guys are some serious musicians too…which is what makes their live show significantly better than a lot of electronic shows I see today that are more focused around light shows and DJ’s. These guys can JAM, and their live show seems to get better every time I see it. They have been mastering this new age funk sound for 2 years now, and came out firing Friday night with some of their newly releases singles like “Groove At Last” and played some crowd favorites such as “Fresh Air” & “Like You Like It.”

2017 is starting off great for Resonant Frequency. Along with the STS9 Late Night Show, they are already booked to play at Austin’s premier electronic festival Euphoria Fest in April, and are opening for some great acts in the next 2 weeks in Austin.

They play again next Thursday 2/2 at Empire Control Room, opening up for Opiuo. And they open up again for RJD2 (also at Empire) on Friday 2/17. Make sure you find a way to see them play in the next two weeks…everyone needs a little funk in their life anyway.

Make sure you also follow Resonant Frequency on JamFeed to be the first to know when they drop more funky new singles over the new couple weeks!

The JamFeed Team

Lettuce Talks New Album ‘CRUSH’ and “Cross-Pollination” in Music, Explains Meaning of Album Titles

Image Credit: Cristina Girod for Catalyst Arts Movement

As I stumbled off Lettuce’s tour bus in the middle of nowhere this past weekend, one particular word kept popping up in my head, and it wouldn’t leave.

You see, oftentimes when I conduct interviews I think of “keywords” that I might want to use to frame my subsequent write-ups. I generally write down three or four before I actually begin writing the interview, just to have some reference points to bring me back in focus if my writing gets too scatterbrained.

In this particular instance, however, there was only one word that I could think of: camaraderie.

My boss and I had just conducted the most fun interview we’ve ever been a part of, and we were trying to figure out how to get back to our car amidst the mud and rain that had overtaken Apache Pass, TX, the location of the soon-to-be-canceled 11th annual Art Outside Festival.

We were both completely geeked off the energy that Lettuce had provided us for the past 20 minutes, but we also wanted to get the fuck out of there. My Nike Air Max CB 94’s were starting to crust over with mud and my cell phone was on a network called “Cellular One,” which I’m fairly positive isn’t a thing.

Yet and still, the only thing that kept crossing my mind was the word “camaraderie.” You have to write about their camaraderie, I kept telling myself.

So here I am now, dry and under the cover of my own roof, with the chance to show you what real, true camaraderie is, in the form of Lettuce.

The funk band from Brooklyn by-way-of Boston embodies the word more than any other that I’ve been able to witness with my own two eyes. Guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, keyboardist Neal Evans, drummer Adam Deitch, bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpeter Eric Bloom comprise a family that naturally feeds off itself — and all the funk that this world has to offer.

They are releasing their fourth studio album, CRUSH, on November 6th, and they were nice enough to put The Empire Strikes Back on hold for half-an-hour to talk to me about it. The following interview is a microcosm of the type of guys that Lettuce are. They completed each other’s sentences; nodded in approval like bobbleheads; laughed hysterically; and constantly dropped knowledge on their own history and that of the music they love.

Amidst the lauded solo careers and countless side gigs, Lettuce is bound together by the same cosmic funk that they in turn keep alive, and it all builds upon itself, consistently, year after year, in a perfectly imperfect circle of groove and rhythm.

You can only obtain Lettuce levels of funk with the camaraderie that these guys have built. After over 23 years in the game, I think it’s safe to say that they’re finally crushin’ it.

Lettuce’s fourth studio album ‘CRUSH’ comes out this Friday, November 6th.

The new record, CRUSH, drops on November 6th. A quote from Shmeeans on your SoundCloud describes it:

CRUSH‘ takes off where RAGE’ and ‘FLY’ left off. We continue our journey of the Funk universe playing through many styles, including Psychedelia, Classic Soul, and Hip Hop. While still paying tribute to the past, this album is clearly pushing boundaries and has us heading into the future.

Shmeeans, could you elaborate on what this quote means?

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff: This band is continuing to grow and evolve, and we’re doing it in such a way that I think we’re keeping our roots and our core values together. But also creatively speaking, I feel like this album is our furthest journey into how deep and how far we can go. It’s probably the most alive show that we do.

Erick “Jesus” Coomes: We played and developed these songs live first, so some of the b-sections and some of the actual sections and grooves come from spontaneous things that happened onstage.

Ryan Zoidis: We’ve never done this before, where we have four or five fully developed tunes that come from playing live before we even go in the studio. Usually we get the tunes together in the studio and flesh ’em out from there, but we already had ’em this time.

Jesus: [The record] really does capture what you’re going to see when you see us live. That element is there.

Shmeeans: We’re trying to break new boundaries musically, at least for us… We’re breaking our own boundaries. And at the same time we’re still trying to pay tribute to all of the people who came before us.

As you always have done.

Shmeeans: As we always have done.

Jesus: Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to serve different functions outside of the group. Working with hip-hop legends like Dr. Dre or DJ Quik is such a huge honor because it gives us the chance to expand our repertoire and our musical abilities. We now know how to make a concert sound like a record. We’ve realized that we can do it. So when we’re onstage sometimes we’re like, “well why don’t we just go super hip-hop for a minute and then we’ll come right back to the funk,” just because we know that we can.

So going off and working extensively in different realms, such as hip-hop, has actually paid off quite well.

Jesus: Absolutely.

Shmeeans: Honestly, I think that those dynamics have always existed within Lettuce. You can look at when we did [the Dilla tribute “Mr. Yancey”], or on the Live in Tokyo album when we start playing Redman. Knowing Jesus and Adam [Deitch] as long as I have, hip-hop is a part of them, so it’s a part of Lettuce, you know what I mean? Whether or not we want to touch on that during certain nights, or during certain elements of songs, it’s just a part of who we are. It’s part of our DNA, and that’s gonna come out.

Something I really love about funk is that you can infuse it into any genre — as you guys have always done — and you just gave some great examples in regards to hip-hop. Are you covering any older songs on CRUSH, in the vein of a “Move On Up” or “Express Yourself” (both from 2008’s RAGE)?

Jesus: Yes! We have two [covers on CRUSH], Bobbie Gentry and Syl Johnson. Gentry is the one that’s really old school.

Zoidis: It’s like country-funk, kinda. Well, she’s country, but our cover of her song is one of our more funky tunes.

Jesus: Yeah, we definitely put Bobbie Gentry straight into the funk genre.

Which cities really surprised you with big fanbases?

Shmeeans: (without hesitation) Omaha, Nebraska.

(laughs around the room)

Shmeeans: On a Tuesday night those guys represented harder than I could’ve ever imagined, and it was right at a moment when we really needed to have that injection of positivity into this tour. Soooo much love for Omaha, we’re coming back there.

Zoidis: 100 percent!

How did you guys get such a strong following in Japan at the start of your careers?

Jesus: We went over there with Meshell Ndegeocello in 2001 and booked Blue Note Tokyo for a ten-day stretch, two shows a night.

And that was what would become of the 2004 live album?

Jesus: Yes.

Shmeeans: Prior to that, Outta Here was released in Japan. It was the only international release that we did for that record.

Jesus: Soulive could also have something to do with it. They had their record poppin’ in Japan, and I remember [Eric Krasno] and [Neal Evans] coming backstage like, “dude, they’re asking about Lettuce already!”

We’re incredibly fascinated by the Japanese culture. They love to rage, they love soul, and they really care about the music. They listen intently.

Zoidis: They’re really funky, man.

Shmeeans: At the time we did Live In Tokyo, I’m not really sure how much we deserved to go there (laughs). We were double-billed with Meshell Ndegeocello, and that was such an incredible experience for us.

Jesus: The band she had with her were these badass older cats. Oliver Lake was one of ’em.

(Editor’s note: Lake is an influential jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer, and poet.)

Zoidis: Deitch was pulling double duty on drums every night, playing for both Meshell and us.

Shmeeans: Chris Dave, their drummer, canceled last second, which is actually what enabled us to bring Rashawn Ross on at that time. History.

Jesus: We had to invite Rashawn onstage as a special guest every night because he didn’t have a visa at the time. (laughs)

Shmeeans: They would be like, “you have to play three songs first, and then you can bring him up after that.” (whole room laughing)

Jesus: So yeah, Meshell hooked us up on that tour… Which brings us to Eric Bloom over here, who is our new trumpet player!

Shmeeans: ERIC BLOOM!

Where are you from, Eric?

Eric Bloom: I’m from Rhode Island.

Jesus: He’s been with us for the past three or four years.

Shmeeans: CRUSH is the first full album where he’s played on every track, just representing where we’ve been the past bunch of years. We’re very lucky to have him.

Jesus: We’re all learning a lot from him. He also plays in the Pretty Lights live band, which is really good for us too… all the crossover stuff he does — and that Deitch does — helps Lettuce out tremendously.

Are you guys working with Pretty Lights?

Jesus: [Derek Vincent Smith] had called us to do some sessions in Malibu, so we showed up and did some pretty amazing stuff with him.

Shmeeans: All I know is that I played some guitar on something. I don’t know how it’s gonna come out, so we’ll see what happens.

Jesus: I heard it. It’s sick as fuck dude.

Shmeeans: Is it?

Jesus: It really is. It’s like four or five ridiculous tracks. We spent a really good day out there, and we were feelin’ it. We were like, “we’re just gonna fuck shit up right now.”

Derek’s our homeboy, for sure. It’s part of the same family at this point. He helps us out with all kinds of stuff now…

Zoidis: When he’s not out he’ll allow us to borrow his crew, which makes our stuff more professional and valid.

Shmeeans: Sometimes people say to me, “yo, so you’re in Lettuce, and then there’s this band and you guys do this jam, and there’s this and this and this…”

My answer to that kinda stuff is always that this cross-pollination thing is happening. That’s the world we live in today. We’re essentially living in a word-of-mouth business. You’re not gonna turn on Channel 4 NBC and hear about Lettuce, you know what I mean? It’s gonna be your homie who’s gonna be like, “yo, I had fun listening to this group, you should check ’em out.” So to me, the marketing game today is to get involved in as many things as you can.

Cross-pollination… I like that.

Zoidis: For the longest time, what kept us afloat was the fact that we were out doing different things.

Shmeeans: Most real musicians want to be involved in a lot of different creative things, period. No real friend or creative partner would ever hold you back from being the creative entity that you should be.

Bloom: It’s been happening forever in music. The lead trumpet in a big band might play trumpet for this other band, and then the next month they go with this band, and then these people hear about them and recruit them to play with this other band. It’s how music starts. It’s popular again nowadays with the whole DJ/electronic music culture, but maybe people don’t realize that it’s always been this way. I came up playing with thirty different bands. (everybody nods in agreement)
Zoidis: We all love putting real focus into Lettuce, though, because this is our favorite thing to do.
CRUSH is going to be the third album in a row with a one-word title. Why?
Jesus: (long pause) Well, it seems like Lettuce is already two syllables, so, like… (Jesus trails off, whole room explodes with laughter)
Shmeeans: It’s because we’re using Lettuce as a term that says “Let Us.” So Let Us Outta Here was the first one. Then it’s Let Us Rage, Let Us Fly, and now Let Us Crush. So to me, it’s really a sequential thing. I really put thought into this!
(Shmeeans perks up, gets super excited to explain)
For the first one, Let Us Outta Here, we’ve never released anything before, we’re trying to get out and be heard in the universe, you know what I mean? So there’s Outta Here.
Jesus: Boom.
Shmeeans: Then all of a sudden it’s like wow, we get to go to Japan and we’re an international band?! We were just trying to get outta here a second ago… but now we’re raging!
Jesus: Boom.
Shmeeans: Then after that, we actually have an audience and we’re really starting to take off and we’re flying! So we put out FLY.
Jesus: Yes!
Shmeeans: Now we’ve been flying for awhile and we’re reaching new heights, we’re crushin’ it! So there it is.
Jesus: That was awesome.
Zoidis: Interview over.

Against The Current, Part II: Chali 2na Talks Amsterdam, Graffiti, Action Figures, and Van Gogh’s

The last time I spoke with Chali 2na, for the first edition of Against The Current, he was in the midst of a European tour with his Jurassic 5 group-mates. However, while most artists who venture across the Atlantic to rock crowds are eager to get back stateside at the conclusion of their tour, 2na had different plans. He remained in Amsterdam for a week after his performances were over, as he so often does. The Dutch epicenter is somewhat of a home away from home for 2na, a place where he can relax, create, find inspiration, and feel a type of freedom that evades him in America.

“The first time I came to Amsterdam was in 1999 with Ozomatli,” says 2na between hearty bites of sausage. “I remember thinking ‘I could probably live here’ because I had so much fun. But it wasn’t about the weed or the prostitutes or none of that stuff. To me it’s about the attitude. I don’t feel obligated to follow any particular political or social ideas. I’m able to create, get my head clear, and just feel immune to almost everything.”

“Prequel to the torrential downpour #CalmB4TheStorm #NoPaintStillSmokin #AmsterGram #BloodShotFishEye #2natography”

Since that first trip 16 years ago, 2na has returned to Amsterdam every year, a tradition that he is intent on continuing. When I spoke to him via FaceTime for this interview, he was over at a good friend’s house enjoying a self-described “feast,” wearing a noticeably more jubilant and carefree demeanor than in any of our previous interactions. The freedom he spoke about was shining through.

“The mentality of America is ‘in and out,’ like the burger. They want you in, they want you out. It’s not like that here,” explains 2na. “Everybody is free, whether it’s their sexual preference, religious preference… whatever it is, it doesn’t come first before the fact that you’re a human being, and I think that is true freedom.”

2na enjoys hanging out in Amsterdam’s Leidseplein district the most, because of its central location and accessibility. “The biggest music venue in Amsterdam central is Paradiso, and that place is right there [in Leidseplein]. Melkweg is a smaller one that’s right there. All of the coffee shops are there, good food is there. The movie theaters, shopping, everything. It’s just a dope area. You get a really good taste of the culture and how everything is built. There’s lots of old stuff around there too, if you’re sightseeing. The Van Gogh and the Rembrandt Museums are both there,” 2na explains, as if he himself were a Dutch native.

“I Amsterdam #AmsterGram #SmokeAndMirrors #2natography”

The revered MC is preparing the release of his first art book, entitled Against The Current, which is without a release date as-of-yet but will be coming before the end of the year. The book will chronicle 2na’s life journey in a variety of different artistic mediums, including graffiti, photographs, and oil paintings, the latter of which he picked up from exploring Amsterdam’s Vincent Van Gogh Museum.

“His paintings are almost 200 years old and they’re still preserved,” says 2na in awe about the 19th century Dutch painter. “I’m doing the math in the museum like, ‘How old is this?! It’s lasted this long?!’ Okay, I’m going home and applying every knowledgeable trick that I know about painting to this canvas.”

Coming up in Chicago as a graffiti writer in the early 1980s, 2na didn’t always know how to preserve his work. “As a graffiti artist, you have to swallow the fact that when you put up a painting it’s not gonna be there for much longer. You gotta bring your camera, take a good picture, and just know that you’re bombin’ for right now. Whoever sees it, sees it. But be prepared for it to be gone, because somebody will either paint over it, wash it off, or it will naturally wear off because acrylic cracks after a while,” he says.

Nevertheless, 2na is an artist through-and-through. He still loves to get busy with the spray can when the time is right, as he recently did on a collaborative mural in Oslo, Norway, seen below.

“Big respect to the one called Poker.. For the help out on this piece we did in Oslo Norway. #FishAgain #GraffTime #J5EuroSummerTour2015 #jurassic5 #2natography”

“I hooked up with this dude named Poker, and he had this very strong face that was all serious, like many of the people in Oslo have. So I’m thinking this dude was going to be some monster but he was mad cool, man,” says 2na about the experience. “As far as graffiti goes, I don’t ever want to lose that part of me because that’s what got me into hip-hop in the first place.”

Followers of Chali 2na on social media might have noticed another one of his artistic quirks: his love for action figures. His collection began about 14 years ago, after linking up with some Japanese toy makers in Tokyo while on tour with Jurassic 5.  “I get clowned, man. People always say I play with dolls,” says 2na with a laugh.

After keeping his word and bringing the toy makers to a J5 show, they sent him the box of action figures that would stimulate his collection. “The box had a Neo [from The Matrix] action figure, Christopher Walken from King of New York, and two Andy Warhol action figures,” 2na recollects. “It kickstarted my passion for it, and after that I was like, ‘okay, it’s really going down.’ I started studying how much things cost, how much they’re worth, so on and so forth. My collection is crazy now… When I get home from Amsterdam I got that young Scottie Pippen waitin’ on me woooooo!!

The latest edition to Chali’s collection, that “Young Scottie Pippen.”
Scottie next to his second three-peat teammates, Dennis and Michael.

Between rhyming, painting, drawing, photography, and looking for that next hot piece to add to his toy collection, Chali 2na has a lot on his plate. It’s a good thing Amsterdam exists.

For more information on when and how to obtain a copy of ‘Against The Current’ this fall, download JamFeed for free, follow Chali 2na, and stay tuned for the release announcement. A push notification will be sent straight to your phone as soon as the book is ready. You can also follow Chali on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

30 Things I Learned From Reading ‘$weet Jone$: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story’

Chad Lamont Butler (December 29, 1973 — December 4, 2007) is one of my heroes.

He really is. Not because I aspire to “have a fucking ho for every letter in the alphabet,” or because I agree with some of his ridiculous stances, such as when he vehemently claimed that Atlanta, GA was not part of the southern United States because it’s on Eastern Standard Time.

No, Chad Lamont Butler is one of my heroes because he knew no other way than to be Chad Lamont Butler. As I stated in the conclusion to this piece on why I prefer UGK’s music to OutKast’s, Pimp C was “possibly the most fearless and uncompromising artist in the history of rap music.” He was one of the truly rare individuals who couldn’t help but say what he felt all the time. He didn’t have a fake bone in his body, and he’s the primary reason why UGK is my favorite rap group (I got mad love for you too, though, Bun).

Pimp C rode for his beliefs all the time, not just when convenient, and after reading $weet Jone$: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story, I have come to understand that riding for what he believed in was never convenient for Pimp C. The doors that Pimp and his UGK partner Bun B kicked down for southern hip-hop in the 1990s were made of steel and teflon, with dead bolt latches running up and down the sides and fire breathing dragons peeping around the corners.

For a follower of the Trill Testimony such as myself, $weet Jone$ is 686 pages of pure bliss (no, that’s not a typo). Author Julia Beverly, who founded the south’s premier hip-hop magazine, OZONE, at the age of 19, absolutely crushed it. Seriously, I have never read a book that covers any particular topic in such vivid, magnetic detail. Dare I say, $weet Jone$ easily puts 99% of biographies to shame. It’s the best hip-hop related book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of them. You feel as if you’re there in those moments. It’s more diary than biography, really.

What $weet Jone$ conveys better than anything else, though, is the torturous struggle to be an individual in the world today. Not just a person, but a real individual — somebody who does not succumb to any sort of outside influence, who cannot and will not let pressure from the establishment dilute what they feel is true to their soul.

That was Pimp C.

He was far from perfect, highly misunderstood, stubborn as they come, and utterly brilliant. He was the mastermind behind UGK. He looked out for everybody who he respected, and rarely got the same respect back. His story is one of a rise, fall, rise, and unfortunately, one last fall. He was taken from the world nearly eight years ago, at the young age of 33, but his spirit lives on in every single so-called “MC” who claims to represent southern hip-hop — nah, fuck that — country rap tunes.

I understand that some people might think they don’t have the time to read a 700-page biography, but if you claim to be a Pimp C, UGK, or southern rap fan in any capacity then you have no excuse. You must read $weet Jone$: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story. If you need a little motivation to get started, then continue reading below to hear about 30 things that I learned from the exceptional biography, in loosely chronological order. There’s plenty more where that came from in the book itself.

Props to Ms. Beverly for taking the time to bless the world with this gift, and as always, Long Live The Pimp.

P.S.: Mama Wes is Chad’s mother, Weslyn Monroe, who was by far the most important person in Chad’s life and the most important character in the book besides Chad himself.

1. On Chad’s health issues as an infant

Chad was born prematurely. He had a birth defect that caused his feet to awkwardly point inward, so at six months old doctors equipped his legs with bars in order to straighten them. After four months the bars came off and he learned how to walk. Here are some of Chad’s other problems during infancy: He had to be propped up at night to sleep due to a serious digestive problem, he had his tonsils removed, he suffered through nine bouts of pneumonia (the last of which nearly killed him), and he had poor eyesight that turned him nearly blind after a serious case of pink eye. Anybody who can survive an infancy like that was born to do something special.

2. On finance lessons, or lack thereof

Pimp C never learned how to balance a check book. According to Mama Wes, he “didn’t want to keep up with his money because he didn’t want to know when he didn’t have none.”

3. On “Smoke Somethin’, Bitch!” and inside jokes with friends

The popular Pimp C catchphrase “smoke somethin’” (or “smoke somethin’, bitch!”), which is present on the intro to many of his songs, originated as an inside joke with Too $hort. Apparently, every time Pimp and $hort saw each other, instead of greeting with a normal ‘hello’ they would tell each other to “smoke somethin’,” leading to the creation of one of the best rap trademarks ever.

4. On the meaning behind “It’s Supposed To Bubble” (hint: it’s not about champagne)

“It’s Supposed To Bubble,” the classic ode to champagne off UGK’s 1994 sophomore album Super Tight, is not actually about champagne. Instead, it’s about smoking PCP-laced cigarettes, a trend that became popular in Texas in the early 1990s. Widely referred to as “fry,” the PCP at the tip of a cigarette “bubbles” when it burns, hence the clever title of the song. Speaking of which…

5. On Bun B turning into a rapping machine

Bun B’s vastly improved rapping in the two years between recording Super Tight and Ridin’ Dirty was largely due to smoking excessive amounts of ‘fry’ and freestyling for entire days at a time with Mr. 3-2 and Big Mike.

6. On recording environments

When it came time to work on their third album, Jive Records flew UGK up to Chicago to record at Battery Studios. After recording for three weeks, they flew home to Port Arthur and debuted the songs for Mama Wes. Usually jovial and complimentary, Mama Wes said nothing. After Chad asked, “It’s not good, is it,” she responded, “No. It’s boo-boo.” They scrapped all of the songs and started all over again in Texas. Ridin’ Dirty is the album that came from these Texas sessions. The Chicago trip would mark the first and last time UGK ever recorded songs outside of the south.

7. On Lil’ Keke almost appearing on “One Day”

Initially, Bun B didn’t want to write a verse to “One Day,” a Mr. 3-2 (from The Convicts) throwaway track that Pimp C bought and revamped. Bun’s reasons for not wanting to do the song were twofold: he didn’t want to redo someone else’s song, and he didn’t want to rap about vulnerable, sensitive subjects. With Bun out of the question, Chad invited Lil’ Keke to hop on “One Day” instead.

On the night of December 4, 1995, Chad, Keke, and DJ Screw were on the way to the studio to record the song, but stopped at a Stop-N-Go first to pick up Swishers, styrofoam cups, and soda. Keke went around the corner to use the restroom, and while he was gone an undercover police officer who happened to be parked in the Stop-N-Go parking lot radioed for backup to arrest Chad and Screw after smelling a strong marijuana odor emanating from their car. They spent the next two days sharing a county jail cell together before being bonded out, while Keke, who was already on probation for cocaine possession, lucked out and fled the scene.

Bun heard the nearly finished version of “One Day” sometime later and, inspired by Chad’s potent verse, decided to get on the song after all. Alas, “One Day” was completed without Keke’s assistance, and went on to become one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made.

8. On “Murder”

The UGK classic, “Murder,” which features Bun B’s best verse ever (and arguably the greatest verse in the history of ‘country rap tunes’), came about as a favor to Bun B from Pimp C. After Bun reluctantly agreed to hop on the vulnerable, introspective “One Day,” he told Pimp that he needed an aggressive uptempo track for him to showcase his new and improved skills (something to “go off to”). Pimp created the “Murder” beat and the rest is history.

9. On the realness behind Ridin’ Dirty’s interludes

The now classic “Live From The Pen” skits performed by UGK affiliate Smoke D, which build the conceptual framework for Ridin’ Dirty, were not studio skits… Smoke D was actually doing time in a Mississippi state penitentiary, where he managed to sneak in a tape recorder. He documented his life in prison on the recorder, and would send the tapes home to Pimp and Bun so they could stay updated on their homeboy’s life. Pimp then decided to use bits and pieces of Smoke’s recordings as interludes for Ridin’ Dirty.

10. On resentment towards Master P

After No Limit Records blew up in the mid-to-late 90s, Pimp C resented Master P for becoming so rich and famous. This was primarily due to P – and most of the No Limit roster, for that matter — being such terrible rappers. I really can’t blame Chad for this.

On a Master P-related sidenote, the UGK-featuring “Break ‘Em Off Somethin’,” from P’s 1996 album Ice Cream Man, marked the first time Pimp C ever used double-time hi-hats in a beat. The technique has long since been a staple of southern hip-hop production. Pimp was the first.

11. On the legend of ‘Trill Azz Mixez

In 1999, with UGK’s fourth album Dirty Money stuck in label limbo and Pimp and Bun both at a lack of income, they took things into their own hands. Knowing that their fans were desperate for new material, they linked up with a Nashville DJ named C-Wiz who was a huge fan of the group and had been pleading with them to let him drop a UGK mixtape. Trill Azz Mixez hit the streets of the south and midwest in early ’99 and instantly became a rabidly sought after underground phenomenon, fueled by the fact that supply was limited and demand was through the roof. It contained 13 tracks of classic UGK a capellas blended with popular beats from the era, such as “Pocket Full Of Stones” b/w 2Pac’s “Hail Mary,” “Murder” b/w Lil’ Keke’s “Southside,” and “Front, Back & Side To Side” b/w 5th Ward Boyz’ “Pussy, Weed & Alcohol.”

It also included the previously unreleased Pimp C solo track “Top Notch Hoes,” in which Pimp disses The Roots and east coast hip-hop, claiming, “’What They Do‘, ‘What They Do’, niggas was corny as fuck/ You gets no play in that Texas, yo’ shit don’t bump in the trunk.” It’s one of my favorite songs of all time, backed by an impeccable instrumental and one of Pimp’s most incredibly sung choruses.

“Everywhere we went, people wanted it,” Bun said about Trill Azz Mixez. “We’d never have enough copies of it.” The buzz behind the tape was so strong at one point that UGK would perform nothing but Trill Azz Mixez at their shows. All in all, they estimated that Trill Azz Mixez sold around 40,000 units at $8 a pop, resulting in handsome profits for Pimp, Bun, and C-Wiz.

12. On borrowing from Big Gipp for “Big Pimpin”

Pimp C didn’t know how to approach the “Big Pimpin” beat, claiming that he “wasn’t a lyricist” like Bun B or Jay-Z. He called his boy Big Gipp from Goodie Mob to ask him if he could borrow his rapping style on the song. With Gipp’s permission, Pimp went on to write undoubtedly the most quotable eight-bar rap verse ever. On that note…

13. On eight bar verses, flutes, and Jay-Z

Pimp C’s “Big Pimpin” verse was only eight bars because he never wanted to do the song in the first place. He thought that UGK would alienate their core fanbase by doing a crossover record (“How is Texas muthafuckers gonna look at us?”), and that Timbaland’s beat wasn’t good enough, saying, “I don’t know about them flutes, man.” When Jive Records A&R Jeff Sledge later asked Pimp why he only wrote eight bars, Pimp responded, “Man, fuck Jay-Z, man. I ain’t giving him 16. I’m only giving him eight.”

14. On rocking mink in the summer time and TV’s not having temperatures

The “Big Pimpin” video, in which Pimp C infamously rocked a black mink coat with no shirt beneath it in the sweltering Miami sun, was the true beginning of the Pimp C “image.” When Bun B asked him how he could stand to rap in a mink coat, Pimp responded, “TV ain’t got no temperature,” implying that his visual introduction to the mainstream rap world had to look perfect.

15. On being bipolar

Pimp C was clinically bipolar, and his mood swings were often accentuated by heavy drug use. At any given time,close friends and family claim to have been able to recognize what kind of mood Pimp was in by what codename he was using. His codenames, or “characters,” included: Sweet James Jones, Jack Tripper, Tony Snow, and Percy Mack.

16. On “Ain’t That A Bitch”

UGK’s Dirty Money was finally rushed out in 2001, a full three years after its originally intended release date and five years after their previous album Ridin’ Dirty. Pimp C never gave his final approval on the project, which led to some “oddities.” For example, the Devin The Dude featuring “Ain’t That a Bitch” was censored on both the explicit and clean versions of the album, and still is to this day. This is due to a sample clearance issue with the estate of Johnny “Guitar” Watson, whose 1976 song of the same name was sampled on the track. However, an explicit version has indeed surfaced online:

17. On Bun’s depression and alcoholism

Bun B entered into a deep depression when Pimp C went to prison, before eventually snapping out of it, starting the “Free Pimp C” movement, and wrecking every single guest verse he appeared on. While he was depressed, Bun claims to have broken “at least six” windshields in anger, and drank at least a fifth of liquor every day, also stating that he was a “terrible drunk.”

18. On Bun’s lack of prison visits

Bun B only visited Pimp C in prison once, in mid-July 2005, after Pimp had already been locked up for nearly three years. Pimp was very disappointed in Bun for this until the day he died, but he was never mad at him about it. He understood that Bun was keeping the UGK name alive, and that he himself was to blame for UGK’s career nearly getting derailed when he went to prison.

19. On Paul Wall being a prison pen pal

After initially reaching out one time, Paul Wall became a regular pen pal with Pimp C when Pimp was in prison. Paul soon became friends with Mama Wes and often took Pimp’s children to the mall, the swimming pool, or McDonald’s when he was in town.

20. On the prison experience lacking flyness

Pimp C never wrote about his experience in prison because there was “nothing fly to write about.”

21. On crying over spoiled shrimp

Always staying true to his love for shrimp that he famously alluded to on Three 6 Mafia’s “Sippin’ On Some Syrup” (“We eat so many shrimp, I got iodine poisonin’”), Pimp C once literally cried over 100 pounds of spoiled shrimp that Mama Wes had to throw away after damage from Hurricane Rita cut the electricity in her Port Arthur home for several weeks.

22. On dealing with east coast media

Pimp C held a grudge against The Source and other east coast media outlets for his entire career. He claimed that hip-hop media was unfairly biased towards east coast rappers (true) and didn’t understand the first thing about southern rap. When he was released from prison in late 2005 to a southern-dominated hip-hop landscape, the rap media was finally ready to give him all of the access that they had denied him before. He exacted his revenge on them by routinely showing up four or five hours late to interviews, if at all. However, he always tried to be on time for interviews with southern media, such as OZONE Magazine.

23. On ad-libs and backing vocals

According to Killer Mike, Pimp C didn’t change the volume or add any studio effects to his ad-libs or backing vocals. Instead, he would “[repeat] his line while moving backwards in the booth (‘gone… gone… gone… gone’) to create a real echo.”

24. On the UGK day shift and night shift

Following Pimp C’s release from prison, him and Bun B were on opposite recording schedules while recording the Underground Kingz album. Bun was a “family man and an early riser,” while Pimp preferred to work all night until the morning. This turned into a “UGK day shift” and “UGK night shift” scenario, wherein Bun would complete whatever songs Pimp had left for him from the night before, and vice versa.

25. On the creation of “Int’l Players Anthem”

UGK’s most popular record, the OutKast collaboration “Int’l Players Anthem,” was originally a song called “Choose U” on Project Pat’s 2002 album Layin’ Da Smack Down. Pimp C wanted to use the DJ Paul & Juicy J produced beat for a UGK/Three 6 Mafia collaborative single, but Sony, Three 6’s record label at the time, didn’t want the group featured on anybody else’s single.

Meanwhile, Big Boi from OutKast heard the song on a Jive Records sampler and laid a remix verse on it. With Sony clearing Three 6 Mafia to appear on the UGK album but not on the single, Pimp reached out to Andre 3000 to make “Players Anthem” an official UGK/OutKast collaboration, as well as an official single. Andre, who had always been a diehard UGK fan and friend to the group, laid the verse for Pimp and returned it within 24 hours, a rapid turnaround that shocked everybody who knew Andre. His one stipulation? He only wanted to rap on the loop without drums, which is why the drums don’t drop until Pimp C’s verse.

26. On cocaine

Although he often rapped about drinking codeine with promethazine (like most Texas rappers), Pimp C’s real vice was cocaine, stating that everybody had “they thang” (meaning addiction).

27. On the struggling rapper discount

Pimp C would charge local and up-and-coming rappers sharply discounted prices for featured verses and beats — if he liked the rapper. If somebody couldn’t meet his normal asking price of $30,000, he would often take a couple grand, or whatever they could spare.

28. On straining his relationship with Bun over his Young Jeezy beef

Pimp C’s relationship with Bun B got severely strained over Pimp’s decision to beef with Young Jeezy, who Pimp comically referred to as “Mr. Potato Head.” Bun had a great working relationship with Jeezy after lending his voice to some of Jeezy’s early street classics, such as “Over Here,” “Trap Or Die,” and “Rollaz & Riders.” Pimp believed that Jeezy unfairly reaped the benefits from his connection with Black Mafia Family, but didn’t support BMF once federal indictments disbanded the organization and many of their leaders went to prison.

29. On hating athletic activity… especially golf

The only athletic activity Pimp C enjoyed was swimming. He never played sports or worked out while in prison. When Scarface, an avid golfer, invited Pimp to play golf with him, Pimp responded, “I’m not going nowhere and hitting no lil’ white ball, and then pick that lil’ bitch up and hit it again. That shit don’t make no sense.”

30. On calling Mama Wes, and the moment everybody knew he was gone

The night before Pimp C’s death marked the first time ever that he went a full two days without calling Mama Wes. UGK affiliate Big Munn claimed, “That nigga, no matter what the fuck was goin’ on – high, drunk, whatever – he was gonna call his Mama. Always.” Pimp C’s friends and family knew there had to be a serious problem if Chad hadn’t called his mother in two days, and sure enough, they were right.

Chali 2na Is Going ‘Against The Current’ With First Art Book

Chali 2na: lyricist, underground stalwart, the ‘Verbal Herman Munster‘… painter and photographer?

For nearly 20 years, Jurassic 5’s Charles “Chali 2na” Stewart has wowed fans with his complete package of lyrical acrobatics, subject matter, and one of the most distinguishable voices that hip-hop has ever known. Now “creepin’ on 50,” as he playfully puts it (okay, he’s only 44), 2na is finally ready to show the world that he can get busy with a mic and a beat or an easel and a brush all the same.

“I’m so grateful that people have recognized what I’ve done as an MC, but now at this point in my life my son is 24 and it feels good to be able to say to him, ‘okay, here’s something else that I can show you,'” says 2na, who is gearing up for the release of his first ever book, Against The Current.

He is currently midway through a European tour with his Jurassic 5 brethren, one that just might be the group’s last tour for quite some time. European crowds have always been extremely receptive to hip-hop acts in a way that American crowds have not, so J5 is enjoying the time overseas with a steadfast dedication to rocking every crowd, whether at festivals or single show venues.

“To be perfectly honest, the people outside of America know us better than the people at home,” says 2na without a hint of irony. “Our career really took off in Europe around 1997 when we first set foot in the UK, and we’ve always gotten a lotta love out here,” he says thoughtfully with a pause, before reiterating: “a lotta love.

When asked why Europeans seem to appreciate hip-hop shows more than those of us back home, 2na gave numerous thoughtful reasons. “I’ve always thought that Europeans share music the way somebody would share a good book… They understand that it’s harder for us to get to them so when we do come out there they support it to the fullest… also, America is a trend-designing place, so there are lots of places that want to be like us in some form or fashion, especially in a social scene like music,” he says.

Those of you who follow Chali 2na on social media might have noticed his love for photography, which is far from nascent. He is constantly sharing his most recently snapped photos — an art that he aptly dubs “2natography” — that chronicle his life, and they are all very impressive (not impressive for a rapper, impressive in general). Check out some of the recent ones he’s posted of his J5 group-mates, which he’s been using to promote their current tour:

“DJ Nu-Mark of the Mighty Jurassic 5!!! But some of you know him as UNCLE NU!!!!!! Big Blessings to Berlin for a sold out show and an amazing time. Tonight we are at Debasser Medis in Stockholm Sweden!! Come join us! ‪#‎jurassic5‬ ‪#‎NUmanCapote‬ ‪#‎J5EuroSummerTour2015‬ ‪#‎2natography‬”
“Akil The MC of the Mighty Jurassic5!!!!! A.K.A DJ Tae!!! Stockholm get ready! We hit the stage at Debasser Medis soon!! Forward!! ‪#‎jurassic5‬ ‪#‎J5EuroSummerTour2015‬ #‎Killllah‬ ‪#‎2natography‬”
“Chali 2na From the Mighty Jurassic 5!!!!!! A.K.A. ‘The Verbal Herman Munster’ thank you Oslo for a Great show!! Maximum respect to the one called Poker for the incredible paint sesh earlier yesterday! Left our mark in Norway, now on to Copenhagen to smash up Club VEGA!! Come to the merch tent at the J5 shows here in Europe if you want one of these cool t-shirts I have on in this picture. #‎jurassic5‬ #‎J5EuroSummerTour2015‬ #‎MonsterManphibian‬ ‪#‎HappyBirthdaySonOfMine‬ #‎2natography‬”
“Marc 7 of the Mighty Jurassic 5!! A.K.A. Marc Several!! Had another amazing show tonight at Vega in Copenhagen. Now on to Paradiso in Amsterdamn. Who’s gonna be there? Sound off!! #‎jurassic5‬ ‪#‎J5EuroSummerTour2015‬ #‎CookieHead‬ #‎2natography‬”
“Zaakir, From the Mighty Jurassic 5!!! A.K.A. Soupah!!! Night Before last at Paradiso in Amsterdam was exceptional!!!!! After a needed day off, we are now in Vienna Austria at The Arena Wien for tonight’s festivities!!! Come join us!! #J5EuroSummerTour2015 #jurassic5 #soupahdoupah #2natography”
“Cut Chemist of the Mighty Jurassic 5!!!! A.K.A. ‘Cutty Rankins’ @outlookfestival got smashed up tonight at one of the illest venues we’ve ever played, Period!! Old School to the Max because this place is older than Christianity itself!! #imaginethat? Off day tomorrow then on to Jazz La Villette festival in Paris France! #gratitude #pulaarena #CroatiaBidness #MomentumIsHype4TheBrothers #zulunation #jurassic5 #J5EuroSummerTour2015 #2natography”

Against The Current, which 2na’s manager Mike Lanza describes as a “coffee table art book,” will be “loosely chronological” in format, with one specific connection that didn’t fit in chronological order. It will include many of his photographs and paintings from over the years. “The new book is a little bit of everything, man. It’s a chronicle of my life as an artist from a visual perspective, so you can understand what was going on at the time I painted this, or how Jurassic was connected to this, you know what I mean? It’s like a blueprint for my fans who know about my whole renaissance,” 2na says with a hearty laugh.

For an MC who is twenty-plus years into an excellent career, giving longtime fans a visual blueprint to his life — a sort of accompaniment to the music — may seem like an obvious idea, but it wasn’t until something life-changing happened that 2na really decided to pursue it. “My father passed away three years ago, after getting sick four years ago,” says 2na. “I was picking his brain about everything that I could before he left this Earth, learning about myself as a person and a lover of art and music. I started thinking that to honor him, and also to show my fans that I’m more than just the Verbal Herman Munster, I could put it all together like this, you know what I’m saying? Because I’m a painter who can rap, not vice versa.”

2na, who has been painting since 1981, is an audio-visual learner who literally paints his verses in his head before writing them. Against The Current will serve the two-fold purpose of honoring his father’s life, as well as showing his son and his fans the full spectrum of his talents. True to Jurassic 5’s roots, the book was financed independently through a successful PledgeMusic campaign, which 2na calls “a blessing,” and may receive full-scale publication soon. “The concept of this book is strictly ‘for my people,’ the people who have supported me all these years. So they’re the ones who are going to get the book,” he says.

For more information on when and how to obtain a copy of ‘Against The Current’ this fall, download JamFeed for free, follow Chali 2na, and stay tuned for the release announcement. It will be pushed straight to your phone as soon as it’s made. You can also follow Chali on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.