By Jhantu Randall
It was two days before Christmas and the rain was coming down;
Records being set as the water hit the ground.
The city lights illuminate the sky showing its hazy tint;
Up on Union, many talents making their way to a networking event.
Different voices together in one room, traveling from miles around,
Sharing parts of their stories on All City Sounds.
UBO MAG was invited to an event at Hollow Earth Radio in Tacoma, WA where All City Sounds and Hard Grown Records (HGR) were present. [DATE OF THIS INTERVIEW?]
The stars seemed to be aligning for all the right reasons as we had the chance to sit down with some of those in attendance, specifically Gerald “RealLife” Beamon, Marianne Reilly and the rest of the All City Sounds crew. Also in attendance is Mistah Moufpeace, Hard Grown Records’ C.E.O. and Label-President, Anji D, who recently released a new music single. They had their star artist HIM; who is known for his soul music, in along for the interview as well.
The entire group carried a seemingly tight bond. It is the dynamic between all of these individuals that lends to the authenticity of who they are and the music they create.
“We’re a collective, we move as a family unit,” Mistah Moufpeace tells.
Formed in ‘16, Mistah Moufpeace and Anji D linked up through writing and creating music, followed soon after by Him; a soul-singer, originally from Seattle, WA and previous time spent in music while residing in Texas. Him was brought into the fold through a mutual friend,
“[Him] played a song for me called…’Believe Me’ and I ain’t never heard that come out of such a young soul like that before so I had to get him to rock with us.” Mistah Moufpeace shared.
The collective’s strength is in its dedication to one another for the same foundation that has been ingrained and reinforced through what they produce together.
Hip-Hop artist Anji D recently released her single, “No Time” under Hard Grown Records not so long ago [ACTUAL RELEASE DATE]. Anji D blends not just her words but the melodies in her delivery; which when done right gives more depth to her verses. While it is not unfounded or done-before, it does take a specific rhythmic enhancement instead of relying on musical crutches. This same point is clear with HGR’s track, “Cookies” [SOUNDCLOUD HYPERLINK]. Anji D has been writing since childhood, starting, in her words, “some pretty dark poetry” where the pen has always been a form of release for her. It was there where she could write out moments in her life and gain the perspective in which she carries in not just music but everything she takes on. Where Anji D was always set on being a singer, rap presented a better platform for her creativity.
“Walking into a genre that was new to me is the place where I found myself having the most fun.” Shares Anji D.
It is the combination of that fresh spirit and ability that Anji D uses to put herself out there completely comes through showing that she can stand alongside those who may try to dismiss her simply for being a female in hip-hop. Women in Hip-Hop have always had a tough time in Hip-Hop which is a male-dominated industry who manhandles and puts women down and with age, you are just a lost memory and sometimes even forgotten. If an artist is able to tap into their pain and present it as a story that people can follow, there will always be an audience somewhere.
The singer of the group, Him, found his sound growing up in the church instead of secular radio. Listening to older singers, Him had learned how a song sung in a certain way can convey a message. What drove him to create his own music was the fakeness that resonated from so many other artists who all sounded as if they were telling the same story.
“I’d rather listen to my own music and those around me because I know their stories. I’m around them every day.” Him simply stated who pulls influences from Bobby Caldwell for starters.
In 2020, the best way to convey what the musical collective was aiming towards is to produce great music and videos that exemplify what the artists are sharing with fans. “A complete clear vision,” they all agree on.
As their path becomes more hectic with growth, the focus of each of them further solidifies. HGR’s sound is the familiarity of their production. It is consistently smooth and sonically clear and their fan base listens to conscious and popular music as well as targeting an older demographic in their songs. While not a direct comparison, HGR’s sound branches off from the same train that gave the Fugee’s identity. It is that unapologetic determination that is evident in the tracks that they make. HGR is for the grown and sexy, the lounge-going crowds that enjoy that 206 soul.
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