Skins & Needles, Moe Green
Sun, August 19, 2012
Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pmThe Independent
Tickets Available at the Door
This event is 21 and overhttp://www.theindependentsf.com/event/130911/
“Breakfast is the first, most important meal of the day,” Chiddy Bang MC Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege says. “We named our new album Breakfast because this is our first proper album, and the most important moment so far in our careers. Plus a lot of significant things seem to happen for us while we’re eating breakfast foods”
Technically, Breakfast may be the first full-length disc from Chiddy, a Nigerian who grew up in Newark, NJ, and producer Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin, but it isn’t the first time the world has been introduced to Chiddy Bang. After the duo met freshman year at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Chiddy and Xaphoon began creating and self-releasing music via the Internet, attracting fans with their deft combination of hip-hop, electronic and indie rock styles. Chiddy Bang released their first mixtape, The Swelly Express, in 2009, generating buzz with a catchy track called “Opposite of Adults,” which samples MGMT’s “Kids.”
Since then, the pair has dropped two more mixtapes, 2010’s Air Swell and last year’s Peanut Butter and Swelly, both of which were greeted with acclaim and anticipation for the eventual album that would succeed them. Breakfast, recorded over the course of a year in New York, Los Angeles, London and Philly, represents that next step for the group, a legitimizing offering that showcases the duo’s full range and skill.
“This album is like Chiddy Bang 3.0,” Chiddy notes. “It’s what happens when we have access to large studios with real instruments. It’s what happens when we can have orchestras and synths and string sections. It’s all the stuff we never really had. And it’s me rapping off what the music inspires me to say.”
“We have spent the past two years going from performances in frat house rec rooms to the mainstage of festivals like Glastonbury and Bamboozle,” Xaphoon adds. “We have spent a lot of time honing our sound and creating the best beats and rhymes. To be able to release a proper album for our fans is the greatest feeling.”
Breakfast was written the same way Chiddy Bang has always conceived their songs—digitally. Samples have always been an instrumental part of how Xaphoon constructs the music and beats, an aspect of the band that lends itself to the exploration of different genres and ideas. So while the Internet has been notably important in how the group releases music, it’s also key in how it’s created.
“Noah makes the beats, emails them to me, I write a rap on my computer, we go into the studio,” Chiddy explains. “The Internet has always been a huge part of how we get the music out there but also how we actually make the music. It’s part of the process. I write 90 percent of my raps on Gmail, because it has that auto-save feature. The Internet is crucial. It has so much to do with how we make the music.”
The album, which collects songs that the duo has written since signing with EMI in 2010, was produced by Xaphoon as well as several guest collaborators, including Grammy nominee Sam Hollander (Train, Cobra Starship and Kelly Rowland) and John Hill (M.I.A., Shakira). As for the guest appearances? Chiddy Bang was more interested in having fun making the music than trying to snag famous rappers to cameo on the disc.
Skins & Needles
Skins & Needles is a duo made up of Dj Zeph (Om Records, Oakland Faders) and Max MacVeety (drummer for Crown City Rockers). Both staples in the Bay Area Hip-Hop scene, this duo joins forces to bring a club-party vibe with the use of live drums, breaks, scratching + mixing that keeps the dance floor moving. With live drums and Dj Zeph's musicality, Skins & Needles catches the attention of musicians, producers, and Hip-Hop heads as well as people just wanting to party and dance.
The rap game is overflowing with aspiring new MCs, all crammed into a single ring fighting for that lone heavyweight title. One particular competitor who has fully dedicated himself to the good fight is 22-year old Moe Green from Vallejo, California. His forthcoming debut album, Rocky Maivia: Non Title Match, is titled after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's first professional ring name and perfectly embodies Moe place in today's hip-hop circuit – the newcomer who is one day going to hold the championship belt. "The idea behind Rocky Maivia is the come up," says Moe. "It's about stepping into the league with the pros and aiming for the stars."
While his parents spun old school funk, jazz, and, occasionally, hip-hop, Moe's early musical influences stemmed from whatever was popular at the time, not necessarily what hip-hop purists lauded. As part of the TRL generation, Moe incorporates elements of pop music, often draping his impressive verses over the kind of beats most people wouldn't assume an up-and-coming hip-hop artist would use. Moe's soundbeds range from sparse and blunted ("Ride") to jazzy ("KIM"), and he's just as comfortable singing hooks over driving soul-tinged beats ("Search Party") as he is rapping over electro-house artist Kavinsky's 80's soundtrack-like sounds (bonus track "Lights, Camera, Action") and a drippy, spacey dubstep version of synthpop duo La Roux's "In The Kill" ("Going For The Kill").
But to this day, Moe's main source of inspiration comes from his hometown of Vallejo. Tucked away in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vallejo is well documented as the birthplace of rap legends E-40 and Mac Dre, but despite the city's recognition as a hip-hop hot spot, Vallejo is suffering its own fair share of hardships. In 2008, Moe's hometown became the largest city in the state to file for bankruptcy and continues to struggle from financial adversity. The domino effect of these events has directly affected the morale of his community and motivates Moe to speak the truth and create sincere music that inspires his peers. "After hearing my music, I want people to recognize me as somebody they can relate to because I make honest music," says Moe who cites the track "Day Dreamer" featuring Ragen Fykes as an example of the honest, everyday emotions expressed in his music. "Everybody hates being broke, hates their job, goes through relationship problems, wants dope shoes and clothes, has guilty pleasures and that's what I rap about."
Like any fighter, years of training, dedication, and discipline are required to claim the top spot. Moe has been training for this his entire life. Having competed in speech and poetry meets growing up, Moe found himself genuinely attracted to the creative freedom music imparts early in his life, even writing rhymes in kindergarten with his childhood best friend and E-40's son, Droop-E. What initially began as a childhood hobby progressed into a full-blown passion when Moe resolved to making music his life. "I decided to make a career out of music when I realized I wanted to find something to do with my life that didn't make me hate waking up in the morning," says Moe who, on the somber "Emerald City," raps about his desire to look back on life happy with his decisions and the conflicts encountered on the road to success. "Growing up, my mom always said she should have been in Hollywood. I don't want to look back on my life someday and wonder 'What if'?' I'm ready to fight for my place in hip-hop." Listeners of Rocky Maiva can expect to hear tales from a young man from a hard hit city trying to find his way in the world the best he can. On growing from Rocky Maivia to one day standing amongst the greats, Moe says, "I need to win a couple belts first. I have to prove that I have the skill to do that and this album is like my wrestling debut." And so, the journey begins.