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Antwon – End of Earth
Last week the young San Jose internet rapper Antwon’s new mixtape End of Earth dropped – his first release since the 2011 Fantasy Beds which was received with immense enthusiasm and hype. I don’t really know how I stumbled upon Antwon (somewhere on the internet of course), but after hearing Fantasy Beds in full I’ve been somewhat rigorous in recommending him to everyone I meet. So naturally upon the release of End of Earth I downloaded it immediately, choosing to purchase it for $10, because “support young artists” and all that.
The nine-track mixtape does not disappoint, with a different producer for every track, each with its own unique sound and feel. Antwon works with the likes of Greedhead’s Big Baby Gandhi, the very talented ambient beat producer RPLDGHSTS (repelled ghosts), Pictureplane, his good friend DJ Sex Play (previously Bad Slorp) who produced all of My West Side Horizon, and a bunch of other talented people on this tape.
I’ve been listening to it on repeat for days now and what stands out the most is how very synesthetically vibrant and pleasing it is, and how the more you listen to it more elements are to be found. Listening to this is like undoing a ‘layer’ each track, each revealing another set of emotions, thoughts and experiences.
The opening track “Laugh Now” (produced by Wounderaser) is some kind of amazing hardcore doom/noise rap anthem creation that sets the tone for the rest of the tape as one of eclecticism and experimentalism.
This might scare some people away, and if it does Antwon isn’t really for you. There’s no one really that sounds like Antwon, as much as he is compared to Biggie (to my bewilderment). If I had to compare his flow and oral presence to anyone else I couldn’t, to me he stands alone as a cross-over internet generation rapper kid and a multi-talented Bay Area musician.
Download/purchase his mixtape at his bandcamp, listen to it over and over. Follow him on tumblr, check out his soundcloud and photography blog- be aware of him because he is absolutely someone to watch. Listen to it because it’s a sound and mishmash of styles that represents something new and really awesome for hip hop.
I had the utmost pleasure of interviewing Antwon via email a couple of days ago, who was kind enough to share some of his wisdom as an artist, recommend me some hip hop and give his two cents on the rap game in 2012, Lil B and the sweet little community he’s become a part of in recent times.
How old are you?
im 25 years yung
How do you feel the reception has been for End of Earth so far?
its pretty nice. i feel like some people who would really get it either have either jus held in the feelings they feel or havent had a chance to sit down and listen to it yet. i still get some biggie comparison but i think its the same thing to me as a lazy fat joke and i aint fuckin with that.
I really dig this mixtape ’cause it feels just, really ‘you’. It feels like you did this for yourself, just to have some fun, because it’s nice to be creative (or something). Is that basically how it went?
i was really interested in trying to remake the same feeling that i think people got from Fantasy Beds. it was crazy how people responded to it. so i felt like i could do it again and thats what i pretty much did! dreamcollabo had an influence in it and thas why every track is a different producer. it was a dream to be on pictureplane production. my music is 100% me… because its me whos telling it and i cant lie to myself but for the most part its entertainment for everyone so its up to YOU to figure it out.
The video to “Living Every Dream” is amazing. The dancing people is the best part, and the girl you ride around with is cute. Will you be making another video for this mixtape?
a couple more are coming. theyre in talks still. im not jus tryna work with just anyone and do …you know… jus another plain old rap video. i grew up in the generation where music videos ruled and the internet was too ridiculous in like 95′ and it wasnt like back then people didnt have the equipment they do now. so i grew up seeing crazy videos not jus rap videos either. watching much music and the box and mtv (when they actually had music videos) and vh1 i was seein this whole other world that was way far from what my neighborhood was. so yeah these next videos will be interesting.
Your singing on ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ is great, and I know you like to rap a lot about gurlz and womyn. Would it be foolish of me to hope for some kind of Nelly n Kelly Dilemma style tracks (lols)?
yes i do sing on “Diamonds and Pearls” i sing on a couple songs too on My West Side Horizon. i wanted to sing before i could really rap. singing rules ill def keep doing both. as for a duet iunno that nelly and kelly song was really corny as fuck!
You seem to be garnering a lot of attention as Antwon, are you working on any other projects at the moment? Are you still in a punk band?
DEFINITLY ALWAYS WORKING! you must work as much as you can and if youre not working you should be setting up shows and merch and PR stuff. its better to stay busy itll help you out in the long run BELIEVE ME. naaah i havent played in a band since me and my friends started the band LEATHER in philadelphia. my friend wants me to play in his band soon so ima see how that goes. im really busy with rap so itll jus be a little something.
I read in a previous interview that you used to smoke weed, listen to Biggie and draw and write and create. Do marijuana, and other substances mentioned in your raps (DMT, acid, psilocybin) influence your creative process? How do you feel about hallucinogens and creativity in general?
yeah i do drugs for sure. haha i dont like listen to biggie all the time! les jus get that straight. biggie is good but hes not my favorite rapper to listen to right now infact i barely listen to rap lately. if i do its something completely different from the style of music i make.
What’s the recording process like for you?
i wake up check my phone. either me or doug (dj sexplay) calls one another. doug swoops me up we go eat or get a coffee then go to his pad downtown and work on whatever were workin on for the day we do that atleast three times a week.
It feels like you’re totally immersed in this community of friends, artists, musicians and chill people, is that a part of that whole Bay Area scene kinda thang? What’s it like to contribute to/be a part of that?
oh yeah its pretty cool as fuck. it all recent for me. so im still getting used to the fact that its happening and its awesome im so grateful to be received the way i have!
I like to ask hip hop artists how they feel about Lil B, especially if they’re from the Bay. How do you feel about what he’s doing?
WE MUST PROTECT LIL B
I see you minglin’ with them Greedhead boys, is there a possibility of you being signed to Greedhead? Would you be down for that? Are you signed to anyone at the moment?
im not signed to anyones label. i do stuff with those guys but i also do stuff with other people. they understand they apart of the realm haha
It’s obvious that you’re influenced by a lot of other genres of music, who have been some really influential artists for you, growing up or whatever?
kate bush, pee wee herman, and jim varney
Can you recommend me some hip hops?
B L A C K I E
Some of your raps are Danny Brown level depressing. Particularly “Skullcrush” from Fantasy Beds tends to break my heart a little bit, I find it similar to Big Baby Gandhi’s “Eulogy” in that the content is something that is so emotionally charged with grief and loss that it allows for you to be totally open and honest about it, because it’s like, what else can you do but feel what you feel and write a song about it. This isn’t even a question, I just wanted to say that.
youre right! growing up with so much pain makes you jus not take anything serious or jus not want to cuz thas not a nice place to be in in your mind.
Anyone you wanna give a shout out to?
OAKLAND WHADDUP PHILLY WHADDUP NATURE BOY MF GANG
General musings on the rap game in 2012?
GET OFF THE INTERNET AND PLAY A SHOW
Rating: 4/5 Stars!
Album Name: End of Earth
Release Date: August, 2012
Location: San Jose, CA
Genre: Rap, Hip-Hop
Band Members: Antwon, Producers: Wounderaser, Big Baby Ghandi, Pictureplane, Shawn Kemp, Rpldghsts, DJ Sex Play, Aj Suede, Fatees
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