Producer Spotlight: Grubby Pawz

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RD: You & Haze play a role of this renaissance of Underground Hip Hop with dropping the critically acclaimed The Failures, and The Glory. How do you feel the Boston and national scenes have unfolded in the two and a half years since its release?

GP: It’s been dope to see it unfold. There’s a lot of dope artists and music out right now and getting to work with a lot of these artists has been a blessing. Massachusetts has been putting out quality for a minute, but now the past few years more people are getting to see that.

RD: Lets talk about the brand new project with Estee, IWANNAFXCKJADAFIRE. You have linked with him many times before, but this is the first full body of work. Can you talk to us about the sessions and what its like to lock in with such an elite talent for a full length?

GP: Nack is my brother. So when it comes to us working on something its effortless. We just have fun with it. I’d have a beat going or be cooking up something and he’ll just be like “let’s go.” It’s always dope to be in a studio with Nack because it’s just a party and making music without overthinking it. We got more heat in the stash! ADLIB!

RD: City Yard Music has rolled out a number of dope releases in a short amount of time. Many of them are your projects, but some in the store are not. What standards does a title have to have for you to develop and sell it?

GP: I started City Yard as a way to release cassettes for artists based out of Massachusetts. So either the rapper or producer has to be from out here. I just started with hitting up friends and asking them if they’d be down to let me put out their cassette.

RD: In The Field featured a Boston All-Stars lineup, what was the selection process like for the guests?

GP: Well first off 90 East BMX is owned and operated by my boy Lino Gonzalez. Shout out to him, and the 90 East team. Before I met Lino I knew of the company and what they had been doing in the BMX scene for a minute and  it’s always been quality. I linked up with Lino through Haze because they grew up together. I told Haze I wanted to shop this idea to Lino originally of like a piece of music, some type of physical merch. We built on the idea and at first it was going to be a video with just the instrumentals, but then I said nah I have to get all my friends on this shit. I put the calls in and they didn’t hesitate at all. Salute to all of them, they came through and killed shit. Appreciate you!

RD: KRUDEBRICK saw you leave town for some guests, including Lord Juco/Sekwence and Sully Nomad. Do you get all of your work done in-studio, or can exceptions be made?

GP: For this EP I just wanted to reach out to a few people I’ve been fans of and hadn’t really worked with. I try to get the artist to come to the studio if possible, but these dudes are all out of state so it was just easier to send the beat I had in mind and let them send the joint back.

RD: If you could add any one piece of gear to your setup, what would it be?

GP: 1970s Minimoog Model D or 1973 Fender Rhodes Mark III.

RD: Do you guys have a release schedule for City Yard, or does it vary as the projects come along?

GP: No schedule. Once the tapes are done we just pick a date and drop them.

RD: Do you pay attention to feedback on a higher profile drop like JADA, or block out the noise entirely?

GP: Yeah, kinda. I just put the music out and the people that fuck with it. They tag us in photos of the merch they got. I’ll share that on social media and all that, but I don’t go looking for peoples approval of the music or wait to see people’s opinions. Me and Nack love the album and that’s all that matters really.

RD: You are huge on the cassette format, which seems to have taken a bit of a hit lately. What is it about the format thats appealing to you as an artist and a vendor? Do you see sustainability in the cassette market?

GP: The cassettes just look dope and was a way for people to have a piece of art and physical merch with the digital audio. The market is kinda over saturated though. Everyone is doing tapes because they’re easy to do if you just google it, but I like that though. I like the fact artists are doing their own cassettes. There’s no need for someone else to do the work and take a cut if you can just do it yourself. I do still think there’s a demand out there for them. Maybe not like a year or 2 ago but they’re dope to have.

RD: If you get lock any 5 living artists into the lab with yourself, who are you calling?

GP: Nas, Ghostface, Mach, Roc Marc, Westside Gunn.

IWANNAFXCKJADAFIRE can be purchased here https://www.iwannafxckjadafire.com

City Yard Music Bandcamp https://cityyardmusic.bandcamp.com

Follow him on IG and Twitter @grubbypawz

Artist Spotlight: John Creasy

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John Creasy is a rising MC repping Niagara Falls. He has worked with a number of old friends of Respect Due, including Robert Deniro (who scored his entire Exodus album), Killy Shoot, Ol Man 80zz and other members of the growing Umbrella collective. His latest album is The Omen, a 9 track offering that takes you deeper into his thoughts.

RD: You rep Niagara Falls, while growing up did you have a music scene in your area?

C: I rep Niagara Falls NY all day, 716. Growing up in a small city the hip hop scene was limited you know the local shows, but overall it was very small.

RD: Has the rise of Upstate NY surprised you?

C: I wouldn’t say surprised, I would say it’s deserved. Upstate NY always gets the short end of the stick because we are not from NYC. New York is New York to me so surprised? No, more like about time.

RD: Would you consider Power your official debut?

C: Yea, Power was definitely my first official release.

RD: Last year you linked up with two old friends in OldMan80zz and Robert Deniro on the boards. What led you to working with each one of those guys?

C: I first linked with Deniro on the Mean Streetz compilation album. The connection was good, so we decided to do an EP together and Exodus was born. I loved Ol Man 80zz style of beats, so we linked and did the Teflon EP. Both are definitely talented and brought different versions of myself out. We all are part of the Umbrella movement, big shout out to my Gs.

RD: What are certain things you listen for when you’re picking beats?

C: I’m picky when it comes to beats, and I listen for everything. How the baseline rides the beat, how the snare hits, the melody, and the samples. I like to be different in my selection so anything that stands out, I’m on it.

RD: Some artists seem to be able to write under any circumstance, others need a specific setting. How would you describe your writing method?

C: I can write under any circumstance. Go off the top at any moment. I’m putting out versatile styles of music.

RD: Most important thing you learned about the game from 2018 until now?

C: Timing is everything. I feel like your start is not gonna be your finish, and when its time its your time. Stay true to yourself and your own craft.

RD: If you had to pick any one song to represent your body of work, which would you go with?

C: Unity Park off The Omen album, it gives an insight into how I grew up. People get blinded behind the Niagara Falls view itself, but once you cross over the Highland Bridge, you get my story of what Niagara Falls is about.

Cop The Omen and older works here https://johncreasy.bandcamp.com/album/the-omen

Follow him on IG @creasywwg and Twitter @Creasy_HO