10th Annual Rap/Hip-Hop Song Vox Pop Winner
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Record Label: n/a
Home Base: Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
Category Entered: Hip-Hop Song
Work Submitted: “Jesse Jackson”
Artists Featured: S-Star (Courtesy of Sidewalk Chalk)
Influences: A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, J. Dilla, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, D’Angelo
What’s the meaning of your band name? We started as a rarity in hip-hop – a live band – comprised of “animate objects” if you will. Not your standard MC + DJ set. There were no other contenders.
Describe your nominated work: It is an uplifting, political song meant to express that if you do not love what you are doing, then what do you do it for? Find your passion and pursue it, no matter the economic or social clime, because in the end, your reward will be far sweeter.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s? We won back in 2008 for “El Dorado” and had such a fantastic experience with all The IMA staff and the doors it opened for us, and we wanted to capture that feeling again.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Nope.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? Our hard drive crashed half way through recording – forcing us to start all over again – delaying the album’s release by nearly one year.
Did fans help you fund this project? Not the recording, but the vinyl pressing of the album, which is coming soon, was entirely funded by fans.
Who’s sitting in your audience? Humans, sometimes accompanied by pets, shadows, and other assorted ornaments.
What makes your fans unique? Our music may often times be the only unifying factor among them. We have such a varied fan base, it speaks to the diversity of the band itself and the influences we bring to the music. We are constantly humbled by our dedicated group of fans.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote? Is there a character limit to this questionnaire? I’ll just start with “Po-jama People” by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and “I Want You” by Marvin Gaye (and Leon Ware).
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Clive Tanaka y su orquestra – maybe that would be a surprise? Lotus Plaza – the Floodlight Collective
What is your dream show lineup? A Tribe Called Quest, Dilla, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Us
What are your guilty pleasures on the road? IHOP, Waffle House, and other assorted franchised diners. We feel guilty for the damages done to our gastrointestinal tract afterwards as well.
Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? We once left our DJ at a rest stop while driving from Maine to Cleveland.
Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? Nope. We’re normally unaware that we are called to start because we’re too busy clowning around. I guess that is a ritual…
Should music be free? All “art” should be infinitely accessible, but unless there are mechanisms in place for musicians to earn a living when they release their music for free (with touring becoming increasingly difficult for independent musicians), then we would say not until there are ways to turn exposure via free product into a way to pay the light bill. With that being said, we have released more free music than we have any other kind in our 8 year run.
How has digital affected your career? We have reached across the globe to find fans – which is rewarding. If only travel and tour booking were more feasible…
Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? Recent trends suggest the price of albums is coming down thanks to the rise in the sales of digital singles. I think we’ll see a shift back to albums being priced at $9.99-$12.99 and a subsequent balance struck between the two, favoring full albums.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is… the most cruel, rewarding, hurtful, passionate, spiteful, and beautiful of mistresses.