- What city do you hail from sister? (Son Ra) I was born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia
- When did the HIPHOP bug snatch you up? Did you start off bboying, rhyming, deejaying, etc.? (Amriki Aswad) Music was a big part of my growing up. My first hip-hop song was Kris Kross’s “Jump” back in 1992, and it was the first song I memorized at the age of 9. I started off writing poetry at age 10. I didn’t get into rhyming until I was 12.
- How did you get into music production? (Amriki Aswad) As a kid I was always making music of some kind. I had made my first drumset out of a kerosene heater and old pans when I was 6, I played in the high school bands and participated in church praise groups as a drummer and percussionist. Back in late 2009 I was watching YouTube videos of producers that I follow on social media. One producer in particular, Solomon Vaughn aka BoonDoc had a video of him flipping this sample on his MPC1000. He made it look super easy, so I said I wanted to try it. I bought an Akai MPD18 thinking I was going to get the same effect, but I couldn’t get it to work (this was before I found out that the MPD18 was NOTHING like the MPC1000.) I downloaded Fruity Loops 9, and after hours of frustration, I finally got it. In 2010, Seven Five Nine Beats was born
- What is the reaction you typically get when someone finds out you are female producer/beatmaker in the heavily male dominated arena? (Butta) At first, I got no reaction at all. I had a few guys around my old neighborhood that knew I made beats, but the city had no idea. My mentor, the late E Kayne heard one of my beats on Facebook and he called me one day to meet at his home where he produced for quite a few industry people. He said that I was the only female in the city that he knew that made beats. As I made more beats, people started pay attention and wanted to work with me. I ended up producing for some well known local rappers. I was told some of my work was better than some of the boys, but I’m just another producer.
- What has been the most challenging aspect with making music? (Son Ra) The most challenging thing is keeping it fresh and coming up with new ideas. I struggle with beat block more than I’d like to. I don’t have a “signature” sound like DJ Mustard or Jahlil Beats. I try to keep it different. Everybody does or has done trap/drill beats. Been there, done that. I may still do a trap/drill beat from time to time, but I try and focus on setting myself apart from everybody else in the city who makes beats. There’s quite a few of us.
- From your experience what is tougher, having an artist fit and compliment your beats/music? Or creating beats specifically to compliment an artist? (Butta) For me, it’s finding an artist that compliments my beats, no question. I had made a beat a few years ago and me and this artist from another state had collaborated on it. He sends me the track, and when I tell you he jacked it up…I felt like I had wasted a good beat on a half-assed drunken slur of a 16 bar verse. And now with the industry rappers that’s out with this new wave, all the local rappers are copying it. It’s frustrating.
- How did you get into emceeing? (Amriki Aswad) From 2000-2003, I and my cousin started a duo called 434 Squad. I went by Lyrikal Ninja (ridiculous name, I know) and we had the old school tape recorder and cd player setup with a stack of instrumentals that he had downloaded. Our first song we demo’d was called “We Ready (434 Squad)” off the rapper Archie Eversole instrumental. Of course we remixed Clipse’s “Grinding” and “What Happened To That Boy” as well. Then we changed our name to RhymeSlayerz had added three more members and had people rocking with us. But this was before Facebook, and we didn’t have the resources to get our music heard. We didn’t even have a proper booth to record. We were just doing it for S&Gs, but that was the start. I didn’t pick up rhyming again until 2 years ago. I was just producing a track for a mixtape that my team was working on and we needed a 4th verse. Since people were dragging their feet, I stepped up and did it. That was my re-emergence to the local scene.
- In what way do you believe HIPHOP has had an affect on American culture or culture worldwide? (Dejed19) I believe if it weren’t for hip-hop, people wouldn’t be as ‘in tune’ as they are now. From politics, to fashion, domestic affairs or whatever is going on in the world. Hip-Hop has always played a part to make sure young people knew what was going on, because they don’t read the newspaper or watch the news. The culture is ever changing, and so we’ve gotta keep up. Look at our president. He listens to Kendrick Lamar. Have you ever heard of such? I think it’s awesome. We need hip hop.
- Last one……….. Where can people find you on the web and/or social media? (Amriki Aswad) You can find me on Instagram (sevenfiveninebeats434), Twitter (@7_5_9BeatsVA). I also do graphic design (Seven Five Nine Graphics on Facebook), and also on Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/sfnb). My first solo produced EP “The Beginning” is on Spotify as well! Enjoy!