Real Name: Alexander Manzano
Hometown: San Francisco/Los Angeles
Influences: Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Morrissey, Charles Bukowski
Who He’s Down With: CBG, RSWD, Trash Talk, NRML
You produce and rap. What impact does that have when you’re making a song for yourself?
I think that’s a huge aspect of what I do as an artist. It allows me to fully convey the sound and the message I’m trying to get across. It gives me full control over the material I put out, from the arrangement of the song to the way a certain drum beat drops out. No one can say I’m not doing exactly what I want to do because I’m fully controlling all of my songs and my material. In situations where I’m not working on the beat itself and I’m just writing to a track, I realize I get more imaginative, I think, when I’m working on my own music because I can take the song wherever I need to take it.
On some of your production, you change the vibe of the song, switching beats or tempos or sounds dramatically within a song. Why do you do that?
Some of my favorite songs are songs where it’s a two-minute track with the coldest loop. Some of my favorite beats have been interlude beats, where it’s a 30-second beat. Sometimes less is more. If it were like a five-minute loop of that beat, you’d probably be sick of it and you wouldn’t have it on repeat. Sometimes when you get a little taste of something, it makes you pay attention to it more. I think that’s what it does for the track sometimes.
On your new video for “Facemelter,” you don’t really show your face in the video. Why?
I do, but just briefly. It was kind of the vision the director and I came up with together. The song itself is already a little bit far from a typical rap song. It conveys all the elements of a rap song. I’m rapping on it. It has a beat. But subjectwise and the overall vibe, it isn’t your typical rap song. So, for that reason, we didn’t want to do a typical rap video.
A lot of what the director and I wanted to showcase was like crazy visuals. The focal point wasn’t so much me being the artist that’s rapping the song, but just me being part of the video. I was just trying to break all the way from the mold of just being a typical rap video. I wanted the video to fit the song rather than just try to show my face to people.
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