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Friday, February 5, 2010

WHWN Asks What Are Your Thoughts on HipHop: a.levy Smirkly Calls Out All HipHop Peepin Toms

In 2005, Katrina waters rose and damn near took out a culture of life in New Orleans.  With it the people who call it home, rose again and rebuilt. Some slower than others but nonetheless, they came home to put the pieces back together.  And now some are even proudly buying a home at home... like the brotha who is featured in this interview.

Let's fast forward to today, February 5, 2010 where the same city, who boost of a huge Superdome has a  pulse that has always chanted and cheered for the Black N Gold. Where kind hearted brothas, like a.levy, are getting their hustle on and I mean, really taking care of business. Which is the pulse of that same culture. I know you saw the last interviews...and places like Philly ain't no different either. 

For the first time in history, we are looking at HipHop as a culture, a religion, a way of life.  Just like we are witnessing the birth of the Super Bowl Saints and the transition into their prime.  All beating in the heart of New Orleans. 

Is it all a coincidence?  Naaaah. I don't think so... 
I think it has a lot to do with those peepin toms...

WHWN Asks What Are Your Thoughts on HipHop and the New Orleans native, a.levy, smirkly replies:

The same reason why "The Inside Man" was a bigger box office success then "Malcolm X" for Spike Lee. The majority does not want to see or hear anything that resembles reality. In the hood "Scarface" is the most watched movie and Soldier Slim is the most beloved N.O. artist. Ask those same people who Truth Universal or who Bionik Brown is and they’ll say they don’t know. Even in the suburbs they use HipHop music as a portal to peak into the “hood” without endangering themselves.

Damn. HipHop Peepin Toms. Let's roll.  Here are his thoughts in his words...


mia:  What is your stage name? What is your government name?
a.levy: .a.levy or Austin Levy
mia:  Is the music industry your primary job?
a.levy: Nope I wish
mia:  In the music industry, who do you work for? Or are you independent?
a.levy: Myself
mia:  If you are a DJ, producer, writer or an artist what is your content?
a.levy:  HipHop
mia: How long have you been in this profession?
a.levy:  8 years 5 years professionally
mia: What is your relationship with HipHop and music in general?
a.levy:  I'm a rapper, an engineer, a studio owner and most importantly I'm a fan
mia:  What is HipHop to you?
a.levy:  Oxygen
mia: Do you think HipHop has a purpose and what?
a.levy:  Yes. To express whats going on in the inner cities and in the world.
mia:  Are you influenced by HipHop and why?
a.levy: Of course.my dress my talk my walk is all hiphop. I dream HipHhop dreams. lol
mia:  When do you think HipHop was born?
a.levy:  In the Middle Passage. lol. It's hard to tell if you ask me James Brown and Isaac Hayes was rapping.
mia: What is your understanding of the birth of HipHop as a music genre?
a.levy:  It was created in testtube somewhere in New York in the 70’s
mia:  How often to you think about HipHop?
a.levy:  25-7 yes I said 25-7. lol.
mia:  How long do you think HipHop will be around?
a.levy:  Forever!
mia:  Do you remember the first HipHop song you heard?
a.levy:  Damn naaah I was real young. I heard 100’s of HipHop songs before I even knew what HipHop was. The radio raised me.lol
mia:  How did it make you feel?
a.levy:  idk
mia:  What are your 3 most favorite HipHop songs and why?
a.levy:  WOWWWWW  This is a hard one. Nas, "If I Ruled the World" & "Undying Love," Eminems', "Stayin Eminem Till I Collapse." I have 100’s of favorite songs.
mia:  Who is your favorite HipHop artist and why?
a.levy:  Nas.  He is the most influential rapper on me and personal rap career. He was the creator of my epiphany moment.
mia:  Who is your least favorite HipHop artist and why?
a.levy:  GucciSoldieroJPliesMinaJ I pilled them into ball and I'm rolling them off a cliff.  j/k that’s cruel.  lol. I enjoy thier music the least but they all appear to be good people just trying to make money off of the idiots that buy it.
mia:  Do you think Rap and HipHop are the same and why?
a.levy:  Hell no. HipHop is the roots the foundation rap is the stuff they package out in Japan for mass production. HipHop is organic and doesn’t have rules.
mia:  What, if any, would you change about HipHop?
a.levy:  Nothing…I take that back I wish the corporate machines would have ignored it a little longer and that we could have got another decade of great music.
mia:  Now that's what's up!!! Great thought. Do you think HipHop is used positively or negatively, and why?
a.levy:  Both there a good and bad with anything in life. Media uses it against us the justice system by using the lyrics of rappers against them. smh the actual artist in most cases use hiphop to provide income shelter and food for family members and friends sometimes those same people suck those artist dry but it is what it is.
mia:  Why do you think most HipHop videos and songs are filled with stunting, sexism and violence?
a.levy:  The same reason why "The Inside Man" was a bigger box office success then "Malcolm X" for Spike Lee. The majority does not want to see or hear anything that resembles reality. In the hood "Scarface" is the most watched movie and Soldier Slim is the most beloved N.O. artist. Ask those same people who Truth Universal or who Bionik Brown was and they’ll say they don’t know. Even in the suburbs they use HipHop music as a portal to peak into the “hood” without endangering themselves.
mia:  Shit, peepin toms that not only peep but steal? Damn, that's another great way to show the truth.


mia:  Why do people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds like HipHop?
a.levy:  Because its raw graphic blatant and it doesn’t apologize.
mia:  Do you think HipHop is a global industry and why?
a.levy:  Is Sam Cassel ugly? Of course. They listen to Tupac and Biggie in south Africa. In fact there are Japanese rappers African rappers. Rap and HipHop is everywhere.
mia:  Do you think HipHop is a commodity, and why?
a.levy:  Yes, but its dying.
mia:  What do you think when you hear of people in third-world countries, bumping HipHop?
a.levy:  I love it. That gives me hope.
mia:  Do you think HipHop transcends all languages, cultures and boundaries, and why?
a.levy:  Yep. The average Jay-Z concert is melting pot.
mia:  Why is HipHop used worldwide to advertise a wide variety of commodities?
a.levy:  Because it speaks to young people it's hip.
mia:  Do you think HipHop has a negative perception in the media, and why?
a.levy:  Yes but not as bad as it used to be. Popular rap doesn’t have contend anymore. Why would the masses Hate rap? All they are doing is talking about being rich and dancing. Who doesn’t want to be rich?
mia:  Do you think HipHop is under attack, if so why and by what?
a.levy:  Definitely.  By the man! lol. The attack is over they have crippled the genre hiphop is a carcass now. It's on us to rebuild from the foundation up. When HipHop is flourishing “the man” will be back.
mia:  Do you think a person can stay conscious and achieve platinum success?
a.levy:  Not a new artist. You need singles. As a conscious artist gold is double platinum. My advice get Kanye to produce all your tracks, i.e. Common "Be," and cross your fingers. Lupe’s not even platinum he’s a more polished conscious. Did I tell you I love Lupe? No Nobby.
mia:  Why do you think is it more difficult for conscious artists to cross over?
a.levy: “The man” is not putting millions of dollars behind Common, Kweli etc for radio spins, advertising, etc. If you don’t know it exists how can you but it. If you drop a bomb on commercial rap the radio will have to play something. Damn I miss the 90’s.
mia:  Why do you think it is more difficult for a platinum artist to produce content of value and keep the support of their labels and radio stations?
a.levy:  Because that’s not what the label signed them for. The average artist is so far in debt to the label that they can't make what they want to make anyway.
mia:  Did you or have you ever paid (or received money) to have a song played on the radio/TV? If so, do you think it is right or wrong, a necessity or not and why?
a.levy:  Nope never that’s a sin! It can be worth it I guess….in the current state of radio a local artist/drug dealer doesn’t have enough of money to even make a dent on radio.
mia:  What is your opinion of the “Where Do You Stand: Why Platinum Artists Flee Underground?” series?
a.levy:  I've read it. Great work!
mia:  Thanks. It is far from complete so stay tuned. I had to switch focus for a little bit as these interviews were just screaming to get out!!!
mia: Why did you take out time to complete the survey?
a.levy:  If it doesn’t hurt you it can only help you. Plus your pretty kool.
mia:  Thanks!!!  I really do appreciate your support!

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Thanks for reading. Be sure to leave your thoughts.

Namaste.

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