I could list a million and one reasons, but the evidence really speaks for itself.
Making waves in the hip hop/dance hybrid scene is LA based duo N.A.S.A., who started off with street smart beats and witty rhymes back in 2009, but are now getting people pumped on the electro dance floor. And you might have heard this song already, but didn’t know who it was.
N.A.S.A’s latest single, “Hide” has blown up, thanks in part to being featured on an ad for Sonos’s HiFi Home Entertainment System; but a lot of credit is due to Tropkillaz, who remixed the track quite beautifully. If you take a listen to their earlier music, a la 2009 album The Spirit of Apollo, the group’s vibe is more along the lines of classic 70s and 80s early hip hop and artists such as Atmosphere or Blackalicious.
But now? Now the duo is taking an electro approach, and they’re definitely doing it the right way. Never a stickler for labels, N.A.S.A.’s entire project has been an exercise in genre-bending tunes with little to no rules. Couple their flexible characteristics in collaborations with the fact that hip hop has become the world of mainstream dance music for now, and the new sound makes sense. Plus N.A.S.A. (which is an acronym for North America South America), is indie enough to make the changes in their music without casting a huge tidal wave of confusion over their current fans.
Hopefully they have a new full length release in the works, but for now, this amazing single will just have to tide us over. It’s been on my “Going Out” playlist for weeks. What do you think?
San Diego based musician Addy G has just released a new hip hop EP, Opiate Soup, and the style and subject matter may remind you of a previously fluent time in rap’s history. His EP is occasionally a nod to 90s hip hop thoroughfare while also offering witty and modern one-liners that reference anything from cartoons to Star Wars. Though a bit unpredictable at times, his style is clear, and it does a good job of leaving a few jaws open after just one listen. Addy G is adding to his musical resume, and with a recent move to Los Angeles, he’s ready to take on even bigger hurdles on his quest to further his music career.
Below, we discussed his influences and what draws him to the often shocking, heavily drug-laden, and quick-witted subject matter of the Opiate Soup EP.
TheIndieSD: When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I attempted to rap in high school but I ended up getting made fun of because I wasn’t very popular. Some kids played my earliest material at the Homecoming game for the whole school to hear and even though a lot of people thought it was cool those fuckers still did it to make fun of me. After that experience, I decided that I would really take the time to find my niche and style and come back full force with shit that people would find tight and love.
TISD: Why does hip hop and rap appeal to you? What do you relate to the most about these genres of music?
Hip hop and rap are alluring because you have the ability to create a persona or put forth a personality that, in the real world, may not be practical. It’s almost like living a fantasy and tapping into that feeling is amazing. I love words. I love playing with words. And I play with words in a very specific way; my syntax is unique. One of the main reasons I love hip hop so much is that I get to see what other people do with words and what those words mean to them…it provides perspectives that aren’t normally available. There’s a give and take, like an interaction between the listener and artist, that’s present in hip hop, which is not as prevalent in other genres of music. Lyrics mean different things to different people, and how an individual interprets a given line or song is always interesting to observe.
TISD: Being a drummer as well, do you prefer drumming or rapping?
Damn that’s a brutal question to which I have no answer. I will say that I view rapping as “drumming with words,” in that each syllable is a note, and that’s one of the reasons I am drawn to rapping.
TISD: You’re making a big move to LA soon! Will you be taking on a part of the LA music scene?
Hell to the yes. Well, I’ll be attending law school at USC, so however much time I have to spare will be spent pursuing music.
TISD: How do you balance your music with other obligations?
It’s all about time management and what’s important to you. If you truly love something, you will find a way to make time for it. For me, hip hop is not always a passion I can spend every hour of every day on, but I make sure to keep time allotted to write and record.
TISD: Do you think image ties into an artist’s importance? What is your opinion of your own image when it comes to your music?
Image is so critical! I feel like I’m still in the early stages of developing my image so I don’t know where I’ll be by the time I drop my full length album.
TISD: What do you think makes “good” music?
I think the biggest thing is a genuine motivation to do something significant and impact people’s lives. People who do music for pussy, money or fame always end up falling short and it seriously comes through in their music.
TISD: Do you have a favorite SD venue or favorite performance so far?
The Casbah in San Diego remains to this day my favorite venue to play. I’ve been on stage there 3 times so far, and I absolutely love it.
TISD: There are a lot of drug references in your music. Do you have experience with drugs? What inspires these themes in your music? Why have you chosen the world of drugs as a central theme for the EP?
I do have experience(s) with drugs. My music is always reminiscent of what’s going on in my life, and for the past two years I’ve been having significant health problems that have required me to be on painkillers. Drugs are fine in moderation, but I think the problem comes when it becomes a lifestyle rather than recreation. Being on pain pills for as long as I have, I have felt the irresistible lure of making them a priority and having that be a part of my lifestyle and it’s really difficult when you’re on them for so long not become addicted [sic]. I think speaking about my experiences and being honest helps me deal with it in a healthy way. My mentality about drugs has always been, “if it comes from the planet, than go for it. If it’s a man made drug, stay the fuck away.” Following that vein, I’m a huge proponent of marijuana. You might see me in public with my eyes red, cheesin’ for no reason.
TISD: Your bio mentions there are a lot of 90s references in your music. Were you creating a nostalgic EP that reminds listeners of the hip hop of that era? What 90s artists influence your music the most? (Other than the obvious, which can definitely be said is Eminem — agree or disagree?)
Well, when it says “90s references,” it means references in my lyrics to big things in the 90s like Pokemon, Power Rangers or Rugrats – basically my childhood. However, you do bring up a good point about my music being stylistically a throwback. I didn’t set out to create a nostalgic EP, but I feel like in the 90s, hip hop was focused way more on the lyrics and content which is just now starting to make a resurgence today. I think the reason it feels like its from the 90s is because I set out to make music that is intelligent and lyrically focused, and that was the main quality of rap in the 90s.
I take that as a compliment that my music is like old school Eminem. I love his music, especially the Marshall Mathers LP.
TISD: How would you explain your subject matter and your songs to someone who is listening to it for the first time?
I wouldn’t try to. I would just let them listen to it themselves and make their own evaluation. What I think about my music should not affect what you think of it, and vice versa. Like I mentioned earlier, there is an interaction between listener and artist, and its up to the listener what they take away from my music. I wouldn’t dare sully that relationship by prefacing my music with any sort of explanation.
TISD: The track Gangster Rough contains a lot of dark imagery, including violence. How much of this is based on your own personal opinions of violence?
Being Indian, I am a huge Gandhi fan. Violence is something that’s not really in my nature, but I definitely have thoughts about acting that way. Rapping about it is a way to deal with those urges in a healthy manner, rather than actually going out and doing something harmful. At the end of the day though, a woman should never be hit by a man. Unless she doesn’t make me a sammich.
By the way, Jamie Rose did an absolutely amazing job on this track. Her voice is so fucking sexy. She is the front woman for a band called SXO, so make sure you check them out.
TISD: “Drug Abuse” is probably the biggest ode to the 90s on the album, agree or disagree?
Debatable – that song was really influenced by Eminem’s song, “Drug Ballad,” which was on the Marshall Mathers LP, from 2000. I wanted to do a song like that where people could listen to it and be like, “damn this kid is insane.” But I feel like it’s truly infectious and Jimmy did a great job on the hook we wrote. Jimmy’s hook definitely has that 90s feel to it, but I don’t think by any means that “Drug Abuse” is an ode to an entire era of music.
TISD: At the end of “Drug Abuse”, Patterson sings “And if this world is mine, then I better tell the truth. And if I ever lie, I’m guilty of abuse.” What is the story or the meaning behind that powerful line?
There are a few things happening with that line – first, the literal meaning of the lyrics has to do with the nature of an addict, where lying is prevalent and pervasive. If I’m going to accomplish things in life, I can’t be a drug addict, which means I’ll tell the truth. If I lie, then you know that I’m hiding something. In a more personal sense, this song has a lot to do with my fear of not being successful in life. I’m starting law school this month at USC, and my potential is sky high. The lyrics in the verses have to do with having fun on drugs, and the chorus is a stark contrast to show what the cost of that fun is. The song represents my personal fear of not achieving my potential due to the consumption of drugs. Like I said, I’ve been on painkillers for a long time, and I’m very scared that I will fail in law school because of drugs.
TISD: What do you want fans to take from your music as a whole?
I want to create music that is absolutely jaw dropping. I want people to laugh and groan and be impressed. I want listeners to be like, “oh FUCK” when I spit a line that hits hard. I want my lyrics to be complex and deep enough to the point where a listener won’t get everything on the first listen. The more they listen to the track, the more they’ll pick up on and the more they’ll get out of it. In my mind, that’s what creates longevity and replayability [sic] in a song. And I think that with these first four tracks, I’ve accomplished that. If someone likes them enough to keep listening, they’ll keep understanding more and more things that they may have missed before. I want my tracks to keep on giving.