Artist Spotlight: Chuck Chan

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Today we touch base with Chuck Chan, the man who introduced us to the #Hometeam collective. After checking in on a few of his IG live videos, it was clear this man had inventory with the production. Track after track of impressive work. Lo-fi sounds followed by some harder hitting boom bap and other experimental works. After building with him for a bit he explained that he also rhymed and represented a group of hard-working guys trying to make a name for themselves. He is a workhorse, with a handful of releases in the past few months alone and many ahead, including a Hometeam mixtape.

For the uninitiated, we recommend both projects with General BackPain (Lo/Holy Hands) as well as Bar-ter with Deuce Hennessy. They represent the base of his sound, as well as establishing his chemistry with his brothers. The sky is the limit for the crew and Chuck himself, there’s no telling how far they can take this.

RD: You are a duel threat talent, what came first rapping or producing?

CC: I started deejaying in high school. Bought some Technics from my friends Dad and started collecting records pretty heavy.  I used to rap over the instrumentals and record on a 4-track recorder.  Deuce and I connected around that time.  The producing came shortly after that, it came out of necessity.

RD: Upstate NY has become one of the epicenters of underground hip hop. Was that something you foresaw?

CC: There has always been talent up here. No, I didn’t see it coming.  I feel heads want that gritty shit again.  I think a lot of that gritty sound comes from up this way these days.  There’s a lot of folks up here making authentic music.

RD: Talk to us about #Hometeam. This a collective that I feel has a chance to make some real noise in the game. How did you come into contact with the others?

CC: Killy Shoot and I connected over some beats I sent to him.  Heavy Moves and The Killing Time came out around the same time.  Deuce and Killy linked up.  GBP got in the mix with Holy Hands.  We just started tossing beats around sending music back and forth. Onaje. I got a project together with our beats and Killy and Deuce spitting on them. Propha C stay supplying heat for the cause. We all just vibe and let shit work.

RD: I want to talk specifically about your relationship with General BackPain. You guys already have some strong projects together, there’s a natural chemistry between you both. How did that develop?

CC: That’s my homie. Pain will send a verse back in a hour. Done. That shit was easy to get used to from the producer standpoint. We started putting music together. I had some joints on Holy Hands and we put Lo together.  We have a lot of music in the archives.

RD: Your beats have a classic feel to them without sounding dated or copied, who were some of your biggest influences growing up?

CC: RZA, Premier, Alchemist, Pete Rock, Dilla.

RD: What do you feel is your strongest body of work to this point?

CC: Heavy Moves and Lo.

RD: Can you outline some plans for the rest of the year?

CC: I got a project with GBP thats done. Another project called Golden Pipe Dreams I’m gonna release at some point. I have a project with my homie L-Train. Magno Garcia and I got some work in progress. Deuce and I also have a project with Don Carrera that’s being wrapped up. A Hometeam project is being built. As Killy would say, “We healthy out here.”

Editors Note: The project with Don Carrera and Deuce, titled Moving Parts, has dropped since we conducted Chuck’s interview. You can find it in his Soundcloud link

RD: Your putting together your big production album, with no budget for the guests. Who are the first 5 calls you make?

CC: Deuce, Killy, GBP, Onaje, Propha C.

 

Follow Chuck on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/chuck-chan

Twitter is @charlesdizz and IG @chuckchan716

Purchase Bar-Polar here https://charliechan2.bandcamp.com/album/bar-polar-by-deuce-hennessy

Artist Spotlight: Deuce Hennessy

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For this installment of #Hometeam month, we travel to one of hip hop’s most fertile grounds: Upstate New York. You already know a ton of names from the region, but it’s Deuce’s year to shine. He just dropped Moving Parts, an EP with his Hometeam brother Chuck Chan fully produced by Don Carrera. He is prepping his official debut, but in the meantime has a number of offerings to get listeners warmed up. Bar-Polar, fully produced by Chuck, is a prime example of what these two can accomplish.

Deuce is a fairly no-nonsense individual, and hype doesn’t faze him, my man has had it with the same old in the hip hop world. He’s here to present his bars, and to build with his brothers. His latest single is The Way It Goes produced by the legendary Farma Beats, and that’s just a taste of what he has in the works. 

 

RD: What’s the science behind your name?

DH: Well, that goes back a ways, to a time when my life was filled wit a lot of OE’s, Billy D’s, and Hennessey.

RD: You rep upstate NY, there has been an explosion of talent making noise from out your way. Was that something you saw coming?

DH: Honestly, I always knew what was here, but at the same time, we used to being completely overlooked. So you kinda stop thinking about it and just do you. WNY is a unique place to grow up. I do remember telling Chan 10+ years ago that Benny would be mentioned with names like The Lox, if he ever just got a real chance. Now look.

RD: Do you consider Bar-Polar your debut project?

DH: If not, what is? I don’t know. I don’t think I even have what I would consider a debut project out yet. There are a lot of elements that should go into an official debut, and I definitely haven’t had a project like that so far. Right now, we’re just putting out as much quality music as we can, so that people hear our shit and start to get familiar. A real debut is coming soon tho.

RD: Let’s talk Hometeam. How did you enter into the equation?

DH: I’m not even sure I recall all the shit that led up to all of us coming together. Chan and I been doing this music shit together since we were teenagers. As far as the fam growing into Hometeam, it all started on Twitter for me, which I had never even entertained until this past summer. Onaje actually reached out to me, after hearing some of my stuff, so him and I kicked it first. He sent me some beats, I literally layed them both down the very same day that he sent them to me. After that, shit started to grow. He sort of linked Killy and I up, and once that happened, it just snowballed from there. General Back Pain and Killy had already known each other, so that connection was already there. Same with Propha C, he and Killy had known each other from working on some shit together previously. So all these ties started coming together, and Hometeam just formed organically.

RD: There seems to be a mutual respect between the members. Do you feel it’s important to build with someone personally before getting into recording?

DH: Definitely. I don’t fuck with people generally, so having Hometeam develop isn’t something I would have ever saw coming, for me personally. Once I had the chance to build with these brothers on some personal levels it was undeniable that we were all cut from the same cloth. It’s hard to explain, but I know it doesn’t just happen like this everyday. The like-mindedness that we all share is special, and it’s deeper than music at this point.

RD: Listening to your music, it’s pretty clear you’ve had it with the redundant sound in the mainstream. In this boom-bap renaissance who are some of your favs at the moment?

DH: Is it that clear? It’s actually dope for me, cause I don’t have to go very far to hear cats that I wanna hear. WNY got all I really need honestly, but there are a few others. ETO, Benny, Spesh, Conway, Rigz, Pounds, and the local list goes on. Outside of my own backyard tho, Brown Bag Money – Daniel Son, Saipher Soze, Asun Eastwood, that whole movement is tough.

RD: Who are some talents outside HT you’d like to collab with in 2019?

DH: There are some collabs already in the works for 2019, for sure. Like you mentioned earlier tho, being able to build with someone before you work together is important for me. Way too many cornballs out here masquerading as “artists” in this boom bap shit. So, personally, I can’t just jump on tracks with anyone. Got something with Magno Garcia, Toney Boi, Norm Reg, Lupus Dei, and a couple others that I don’t wanna throw out quite yet. As far as production, Chan, Onaje, and Propha all hold me down, but I got some things cooking up wit Don Carerra too. Just put out a track with The Working Man as well, and the OG from Philly, Kil, blessed my latest project with half the production. 2019 looking bountiful.

RD: What do you want listeners to feel when they bump a Deuce project?

DH: I make music for people like me, that think like me, and that move like me. The specifics of all that are hard to articulate though. So, just connecting with like-minded people on any level is something I think is dope. Especially through music. Sometimes I feel like a member of an ancient lost tribe, so finding out that there are others that think/feel/act like me is crazy.

RD: Plans for the rest of 2019?

DH: A Hometeam takeover.

Cop Bar-Polar here https://charliechan2.bandcamp.com/album/bar-polar-by-deuce-hennessy

The Way It Goes single https://farmabeats.bandcamp.com/track/the-way-that-it-goes

Follow Deuce Hennessy at @DeuceHennessy on IG  & @20belowent

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: General BackPain

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We continue our month-long #Hometeam coverage with Inglewood’s General BackPain. He is one of my absolute favorites to emerge since we’ve been doing Respect Due. He combines hilarious punchlines with a smooth delivery and flows that entertain track after track. It’s refreshing to hear a Cali accent over gritty east-coast production, although GBP has the skills to rock over any style. He is constantly grinding, following up a series of releases last year with the upcoming Street Sacraments, fully scored by Hometeam brother Onaje Jordan.

You’re going to be hearing him more as the year goes on, so it’s time to get familiar. We feel his profile is only going to get stronger, as the music hits more ears it’s only a matter of time before more people hop on the Pain Train.

RD: You’re a new name to a lot of listeners. What does GBP represent musically?

GBP: My focus primarily is always bars. I also think that I have a good year for beats and I’m very discerning in that respect. When you listen to a GBP verse you’re going to hear something hard, heavy bars but different and probably a little janky as well.

RD: What do you consider your strongest body of work thus far?

GBP: The project Chuck Chan and I released at the end of last quarter called LO is my strongest full body of work thus far. The concept was simple, Chuck Chan had a bank of lo-fi beats and we built a whole project around that soundscape. I have to also say that my first project Holy Hands is my baby and is the most special project to me thus far.

RD: Guru famously declared it’s ‘Mostly The Voice’, I feel that’s one of your strongest attributes. How long did it take to develop your style? And do you rap in a character voice, or is that natural?

GBP: I actually just fully fleshed out my style around six months ago in terms of getting it really polished. I would say it has taken about 15 years to get to the point that I’m at now with controlling my voice as it relates to the flow. Still bars first though. My flow is pretty much my speaking voice, I am projecting but not much. I do put a little growl in the ad-libs if I happen to say my name or something then that is a lower register but mostly everything else is really close to my speaking voice.

RD: We hear a certain chemistry between yourself and Chuck Chan. We asked Chuck about your relationship, wanted to get your take on the material you already have done and what the future holds.

GBP: Chuck is a friend first and foremost, the fact that he is one of my favorite producers ever, is almost secondary.  I think that is what makes the chemistry so apparent.  We talk on a very regular basis about stuff not related to music and are just naturally the same type of individual. We really meshed right from the get go. He is also one of the best spitters out right now and is really underrated. We have so much music, I really don’t know what’s going to happen with certain records as a whole, but what I do know is he and I have a finished project together with him spitting ridiculous bars that will be dropping later this year.

RD: #HomeTeam seems like an organically formed collective that has much potential. Talk to us about your friendship with Killy and relationship with the other members.

GBP: I have known Killy Shoot for a number of years, before all the fame and accolades he is receiving now and he is still the same person. We came up together on some little apps, rapping and stuff but he elevated himself and has just continue to soar in this rap game. I would say with us, it’s more like a best friend first, artistic relationship second. I have also known Prophecy Allen as long as Killy. It’s just organic with P, he got fire beats, simple as that he is a man of few words. He a stand up dude and a real friend. Deuce is just that dude, instant connection with us, like actual brothers. Two things are true about Deuce, if he calls you his friend, your probably not lame, and secondly he got your back, even if he knows your in the wrong he is a loyal dude. I spoke about Chan earlier, Onaje Jordan is the most recent member, I am still getting to know him more but we have a project that will be dropping in the second quarter 2019. The thing about Onaje joining the group is, there were no slots open or available, there was just no way we were going to pass on an opportunity to work with a producer of his caliber in-house. We’re really humbled that he wanted to be down with the team and we are lucky to have him, more in store for sure.

RD: How often do you write? Do you wait for the right beats, or can inspiration hit at any given time?

GBP: I don’t really have a set schedule, if I have a feature or a project,  I address them as they come through. MC’s spitting that heat inspires me though, fasho. Battle rap is a huge influence on my style and approach, that gets me really going for sure. My work load varies I typically don’t schedule time to write or record it really all just happens organically. I do however, schedule time to not write or create anything. Just to reboot, live and enjoy life.

RD: What future projects can you talk about at this time?

GBP: I have a bunch of project in the works, most untitled at this time. I have the project with Onaje, one with Sam the Grouch, one with Mindframe, iKing will be dropping our second project this year called Grimy Luxury. Other stuff too that I can’t mention just yet.

RD: Give me 5 legends you would recruit to work on a big budget GBP album.

GBP: Game, Rae and Ghost, Nipsey Hussle, Roc Marciano and Ice Cube.

Follow GBP on IG and twitter @Generalbackpain

Artist Spotlight: Killy Shoot

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Worchester’s Killy Shoot is a man of conviction. When he speaks in short video clips, you tend to believe what he says. Recently he declared that this is more than likely his last shot at making a name in the hip hop world, and he’s not for games on his journey to that goal. He isn’t taking the trip on his own, as he represents 1/6th of Hometeam, a group of artists spread across the country who make the kind of music they want with no outside influence. They support each other at every turn, and have only scratched the surface of their potential.

Killy wrote one of my favorite songs from last year, the soulful-yet-somber ‘Home’, a peak back to his childhood with a nod to his fallen friend at the end. The Balance of Man EP, fully produced by Free Mind, is filled with honest, heartfelt rhymes that stay with you long after you’ve listened. He has followed that up with The Big Kill Vol. 2 mixtape, and has many offerings in the works. He breaks down what inspires him to write, the Hometeam roster and more in what became a really special piece.

RDLet’s start with honing your style as an MC. How long have you been rhyming in total, and how long as Killy Shoot?

KS: I have been rhyming since the mid 90’s, been in a few groups within my city, did shows radios out here on and off. I been rhyming as Killy since 2017 I believe, that’s when I decided to really turn it up a notch and become very serious.

RDWhat project would you recommend first to new listeners? 

KS: I would recommend The Killing Time, that project is kinda my magnum opus and shit! Production on that album was from Propha C. ,Free Mind, Filfy Tarantino, Rob Deniro, Frank Grimes and Onaje Jordan. Great producers who gave me a chance and helped me craft something special.  Then I would say bump The Balance of Man produced by Free Mind to get a deeper look into my life growing up in Mainsouth.

RD: You rep Worchester, MA. Talk to us how growing up in your environment made you not only the man you are today but the emcee as well.

KS: Worcester is a dope city, there is the good and then of course the bad side. I grew up in the main south side of the city an area that was infested with drugs, violence and gang activity. As a youth I didn’t even know the peril that was around me, but the older I became the more I realized the dire situations I was faced with on the daily. My neighborhood shaped me vastly. I speak for those who can’t, Worcester is as much a part of me as I am a part of her, feel me? Going through certain situations on the streets gave me focus and drive, an ambition to get the fuck out the jects and better my circumstances through this rap shit.

RDHometeam is a great up and coming collective of talents. Who was the first member you linked up with, and who exactly fills out the roster?

KS: #Hometeam is the fam, that’s the click, my brothers! I knew GBP (General Back Pain) for like 3 or 4 years now, we met online in some Freestyle app and built a strong friendship. I knew Deuce Hennessy because he worked with Onaje on some music and I just finished working with Onaje on The Killing Time album. Chuck Chan and I have been following each other for a few months and then I found out him and Deuce were real tight and worked together for years! Propha C. was one of the first producers to really believe in me and help craft my sound, I knew him as well from that freestyle app, he was making beats on that joint. I always liked his work and he reached out and we haven’t looked back since. Onaje Jordan, my Muslim brother, is someone who reached out and we just built a good friendship, we vibe a lot and he officially became Hometeam not too long ago. The official roster is

•Propha C (producer)

•Chuck Chan (producer/emcee)

•Deuce Hennessy (emcee)

•General Back Pain (emcee)

•Onaje Jordan (producer)

•Killy Shoot (emcee)

RD: You’ve worked with some dope producers lately, including Filfy Tarantino, Rob Deniro and Free Mind. Do you seek out a specific sound when picking beats? Tell us about that process.

KS: Allah has blessed me to have worked with some incredible talent on production, every producer I have worked with is a genius in they own right. These dudes work on they craft tirelessly and I respect them ultra for what they done for me. Most producers know my style and how I do shit so when they come to the table it’s really never too far off of what I fuck with anyway. The last project I did The Balance of Man with Free Mind, that was a big step for me he really set the sonic backdrop for my narrative and was the first time I sat down with just 1 producer for a whole project. I usually like to blend shit up cause I’m like a kid In a candy store, I want Boston baked beans and lemonheads!

RDWhat’s the #1 thing you’d like listeners to absorb from your music?

KS: Pain. My music is heavy street shit, but if you listen deeply it’s about pain and fear. The pain of living in public housing, the choices that are reflected from the pain of not having hot water, the pain of starving and why an individual does certain things to rectify that pain. Fear is something as an emcee we don’t like to touch on a lot because we gotta always be the baddest muthafucka but fear is real when your involved in “the life”. Fear is constant, the fear of losing everything the fear of letting those you love down, the fear of a gun to your head, etc. I think overall I want the listener to question themselves as they embark upon a journey with me.

RDPlans for the rest of 2019?

KS: MORE MUSIC, got a few projects lined up with my Hometeam fam. I also want to release some merch and vinyl this year as well. Oh and to travel a bit doing my music, def got to slide to NY in the next few months

RD: If you could work with any 5 talents for a brand new Killy album, who would they be

KSKool G Rap, Preemo, Alchemist, Raekwon. That’s just off the head right now b.

Killy’s Soundcloud is https://soundcloud.com/killyshoot

Balance of Man is on itunes, just search his name to find it