Fashawn (Interview)

Fashawn (Interview)

Interviewed and written by Hector De La Rosa @11journ_list

If the Pay Dues concert were held in Chicago, IL you would drive across town in the blistery cold winter night, right? This is how we ended up at The Abbey Pub venue.  It was not solely the concert that drew our attention.  It was perhaps to hear and enjoy hip-hop headliner MURS lyrically spill his vivid yet abstract storytelling.  Better yet, it was hip-hop artist Fashawn as part of the performance bill that became appealing.  For a young individual whose debut is herald to Nas’ Illmatic status as classic is phenomenal.  Making it on the XXL Magazine’s Freshman 10 rising stars, performing at Rock The Bells, to organizing his own festival in his hometown Fresno, California further cemented a liking to his brilliance and artistry.  However, it is his struggles since a youth and how he managed to triumph with greatness that grew enormous interest. 
HD: Was it your intentions in crafting Boy Meets World to create a classic?
F: I was young at the time and had a daughter on the way.  I was doing dumb s**t.  I looked at the record as a journalistic success of all the things I endured as a child seeing my father incarcerated, my mother struggle with drug addiction, being placed in a group home, to being a school dropout.  I didn’t view it as a commercial success.  The [album] wasn’t a box office hit like the [motion picture] Scarface, but it was a cult classic.  It was a project that bridge generational gaps.  I had no intentions of creating a classic gem at all.  At the time of recording [my debut], I asked myself what I was going to do with my life.  I didn’t think I was capable of creating a classic.  Music for me is natural.  I don’t think about it.  If I do dwell on it, I back away from it.  If an idea doesn’t hit me like a crashing wave by a beach, then it is not for me.  For Boy Meets World, I naturally got in the mood to create it.  Music and this album is a spiritual thing for me. 
HD: What are some of the hardships you encountered within the music industry?
F: Being on the road for a long period of time is like going away to prison. Not being able to see my family for so long is a hard realization.  I spend more time seeing my fans than seeing my daughter.  Other than that, I deal with fake people and bulls**ters all day.  Despite being used and disrespected, I can’t treat the people of this industry like someone in the streets that try to scam me or take me out.  Industry people constantly lie in your face.  Fans not differentiating between being rich and just having money in your pockets can be misleading.  Sometimes an artist’s pockets don’t match to his or her popularity.  Having family members as opportunists can be challenging because you don’t know who to trust.  I’m not the biggest commercial successful rapper.  I’m that kid with no endorsement deals.  Fame doesn’t affect me.  I’m that same humble person with the mic in his hands rocking it wherever I go.  
HD: Why do you prefer to be a conscious rapper than appeal to mainstream?
F: Conscious is considered commercial.  I don’t consider myself a conscious rapper.  I don’t want to be labeled as ‘too sanctified’ or ‘very negative.’  I’m right in between.  I have seen a lot of hip-hop artists claiming to be conscious that tours to Europe and throughout the world do similar things as to OJ Simpson.  These are the same individuals that say respect your queens, but do the most absurd leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have done some things wrong in my life, but I’m evolving and trying to do better.  Nevertheless, it is always good to be conscious around your surroundings because being asleep in this life is like walking dead in this world.  I feel that being an artist is like a cliché calling yourself gangsta, emo, to conscious.  I only believe in two subgenres in hip-hop just as there are two types of people in this world: the good and the bad.     
HD: How is Fashawn different from those who grace the XXL Magazine Freshmen list with the likes of J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, to Fred Da GodSon?
F: I don’t think we are different.  It’s like we are all the same.  We are all from the same generation.  Though, the difference is some of us grew up with parents and some of us were unfortunate.  Some of us grew up thuggin’ while others grew up living lavishly in mansions.  We all come from the same cloth called hip-hop.   As artists, we all go through the same s**t when it comes to the business of music.  To say that I’m different, I don’t have the same gold tooth as A$AP Rocky and I’m not from Compton like Kendrick Lamar.  J. Cole is like a brother to me.  I have nothing but the [utmost] respects for those guys.  All these rappers are brands of their own.  However, the quality that I’m bringing is different with distinct ingredients I transport into my brand.  My cult following appreciates what I put out when it comes to my fans and overwhelming crowd responses I get via social network sites and concerts.
HD: Has Nas ever reached out to you after releasing the tribute album Ode To Illmatic?
F: No, he hasn’t! I did the project out of love.  I never did it to get full recognition from Nas.  I wasn’t like, ‘Yo!  What do I have to do to get Nas’ attention?’  Though, it would have been good to get the props for it.  On the other hand, I’m not the type of artist to do ignorant things for amusement or public attention.  Illmatic was a very influential [body of work].  It was only right I paid homage.  I never met Nas or shook his hand even when we were both on the Rock The Bells tour.  I have always been a fan.
The interview grew intense as Fashawn emotionally poured his soul out with seriousness felt in his tone of voice and facial expressions.  A moment interrupted us from continuing.  Above us, the crowd grew savage as fans savored more of MURS discography.  The raucous of music pumping out the speakers and the up and down jumping on stage told us how a Paid Dues concert can cause serious damage.  Fashawn smiles and mentioned the entire city of Chicago was having a lot of sex that moment upstairs.  Bursts of laughter abrupt and this lets us know that no matter how harsh of a life he had, he still manages to smile and keep it moving.  Laughter does heal the soul.
HD: What is Fashawn’s ideal of a family coming from a broken family background?
F: It is a vision consisting of a mother, father, man, woman, and child.  I see a mother and father loving one another.  It is love that reciprocates to a child and that child grows into a wonderful person and [productive citizen] that would spread that love to the rest of the world.  This is my ideal of a perfect family structure ordained by the Most High. 
HD: How do you balance family, fatherhood, and life as an artist?
F: I look at it as all one thing.  I have to go on stage, smile, and be happy almost every night.  I don’t want to get too scientific on this rap thing.  Hip-hop and my daughter are everything to me. I embrace life and its challenges.
HD: What is the one thing you want your family, daughter, music industry, and fans to remember about you?
F: I want people to remember my smile.  It takes a lot to make me smile.  My smile says a lot.  It’s impactful.  Someone told me once that my spirit shines through when I smile.  My smile is like a thousand words.
HD: What is the one thing you have not yet done in your lifetime you would like to do so in the long run?
F: I got two ideas.  I would like to do an autobiography. It is going to be an honest book regarding my life.  In addition, I would like to write a book based on my touring experiences: the girls, the drama, and much more.  All the cliché stuff America likes. LOL!  It would be a guide on how to survive a tour. 
Fashawn smiled as the interview ended.  He stated he managed to surpass the hard questions.  He sighed as some sort of relief for him.  Fashawn poked fun at the noises made earlier during the interview and mentioned the commotion died down.  It made of been a quickie for them, but for Fashawn it seemed like this interview was an eternity.  He was told to keep smiling and watch the pain in life fade away.

Read Fashawn interview at Consciousness Magazine website... http://www.consciousnessmagazine.com/Fashawn.html


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