KdawG: Yeah. Glad to finally have you here, Raf. How are you today?
Rafael Z: Maannn, I'm glad to do interview as well, especially on a beautiful day up here in Washington. I'm doing great, by the way, and how about yourself?
KdawG: That sounds very good. I am good as well, thanks.
We are already well into the new year, 2013. And you have already released a few joints this year. You had a production on Core's latest single "Sleep Tonight", as well as your own track "Too Good For Me", both raps and production from yourself. Will we be able to see this track on an upcoming album?
Rafael Z: I'm really proud of both tracks and what the finished products sound like, but when it comes to "Too Good For Me", you will most definitely hear that on an upcoming album.
KdawG: OK. I understand. And no doubt, you should be proud of the finished results. It looks bright for the upcoming months. It sounds like you may be planning a solo album to drop this year. Do you got more plans or do you take it as it comes?
Rafael Z: I am, in fact... maybe a few small tapes just to lead up to the full length tape(s). I plan on doing a lot more music videos (just getting into that field) and producing A LOT of instrumentals. I also plan on doing a lot more shows, where it be open mics or just rocking the stage, regardless!
KdawG: Great! Sounds like you got many things in the works.
Seems like we all have a lot to look forward to. Do you got any release dates or is it to early to say? And can we expect any guest appearances on this projects?
Rafael Z: Yes, and that we do, haha. Well, I'll be dropping singles every now and then, and eventually I'll put down a release date for the tapes the songs are from. It depends, but I'm considering having artists Core, JMF, Soul Percept, A+(Austeezy), and anyone else who catches my ear.
KdawG: Right, that sounds like a good idea. We looking forward to these projects, Raf. Let's talk a little about last year. You released several projects, like your debut EP "The Deaf Listener", which had guest appearances from artists like Core, JMF, and Brandon Rosales. You also
released "It Happensss Beat Tape", which was an instrumentals tape. At the end of the year you also came with "The Ladybug EP". You worked hard.
Were you satisfied with the outcome of these projects as well?
Rafael Z: Thanks, man, haha. Many of the covers of the tapes I did, produced for, had guest appearances are on your cover photo, and that's dope as fuck.I'm VERY satisfied with the work I've done over the last year, and I can look back to those tapes and see what I can improve on and whatnot. My favorite tape so far is "The Ladybug EP" cuz it all comes from the soul.
KdawG: Your damn right, Raf! They are all featured on the cover photo of the S-R-H-H pages, and that's because they are all very impressive. So you certainly have every reason to be happy about the albums and EP's you released last year, as well as the ones that you were featured on.
Rafael Z: Thanks, man!! I'm very appreciative of you and what you do for your blog.
KdawG: Thanks, I am glad that you appreciate the love you get from S-R-H-H. All your works were published on the blog of S-R-H-H last year. And I am looking forward to follow you this year as well. But l'm curious, what inspires Rafael Z to write?
Rafael Z: Thanks, again! What inspires me to write is anything and everything I've witnessed, encountered, and experienced; I can't write a song if it doesn't do with any of those three. I used to write about the typical shit about how mainstream is garbage and whatnot... I've learned instead that it's better to accept ALL kinds of music whether it be on the radio or not cuz I would very much enjoy my music reaching all kinds of people regardless of their music preferences instead of staying in one spot all the time, you know? I gotta stay updated and never be scared of experimenting.
KdawG: I see what you mean, man. specifically, it is important to look at other genres, and see what one can possibly be inspired by, and use it in their own music. That's what most underground and indie artists do today as well. But yeah, you got some points, but it's no doubt that you got your own style, and
even if you are an open person, as you say; Your tracks is really carrying on some deep soulful music, real hip hop! But I really feel you and I wish you a lot of success with your music, real musicians deserves that. Too bad that too many talented artists never get off the ground though. Any particular artists or producers who have been inspirational to you, which you wish to mention? Both from hip hop and/or other genres.
Rafael Z: I feel it and thanks for that! That's true... I believe that several talent musicians don't know where to start and build a foundation for themselves and/or are not ready to show off their skills.... that's what I've seen lately.
Artists that influence/inspire me include: Slug (from Atmosphere), Kanye West, Murs, Jay-Z, Evidence, and Eminem. I really would like to sing like David Ruffin, by the way, hahaha.
Producers that influence me include: 9th Wonder, J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Knxwledge, Shlohmo, Black Milk, and Dr. Dre. And anyone else who's proficient in that spaced-out, echo-ey, experimental sound.
KdawG: Yeah, you're right man. But it's also important to remember that something that starts out to be a small thing, can actually grow very big. We have some examples of artists and groups in the hip hop underground, which has always worked hard and founded their own labels, are doing pretty big today. Just to name someone quickly we got JMT, which independently has been growing to become one of the biggest in the underground, and reaches people all over the world, and they are reaching pretty high numbers when it comes to fans and views, at least for being so independent as always.
When it comes to the people you feel inspired by, I feel you. A good mix of producers and rappers, and I can actually hear it on your instrumentals. But again, it is something unique and experimental, as you said.
Rafael Z: Oh, of course, man!! It just takes A LOT of dedication and motivation to get where you want to be. Yeah, and one day I hope to meet them... When I first found out about J Dilla, it was sad that I found he died two years prior to when I found out about him... but his music stills continues to inspire and influence A LOT of producers, I'll tell you that, haha. I like to mix it up, but still lead back to my roots on every instrumental and song.
KdawG: Yeah, I never doubt that man. You got this! Keep working hard, and I think you have the right beliefs and thoughts about how you are going to be able to grow in this music industry. One last question about your music; What's your favorite track (of your own tracks) from last year? Personally I like "Black Sheep" Feat. JMF, from the Deaf Listener EP, and "Add A Little Sugar", from the Ladybug EP is an obvious favorite.
Rafael Z: I gotchu man, and I'll always remember my first interview, ahah. I have a few such as "Black Sheep (feat. JMF)", "Add A Little Sugar", "Scarlyt", and "Anny C (Silly Bitch)"... but if I had to choose I'd pick "Scarlyt" cuz it sounds very different from any track I'll and ever do again.
KdawG: Good to hear, Raf! (Laughs). Yeah I feel you, that's a good one too.
Do you got any shot outs, or anything special you want to say at the end?
Rafael Z: I'd like to give a shout to Kdawg for this opportunity, first of all! haha. For his dope ass blog, which I recommend EVERYONE to check out!! I wanna give a shout out to the homies Core, JMF, Soul Percept, and A+(Austeezy) for being true to themselves and putting in hella effort in their music. My final shout out goes to all those that used to fuck with me... who NOW want to fuck with me. haha.
The last thing I wanna say is thanks again Kdawg for this interview, and I hope your blog expands and flourishes!!
KdawG: Great shot outs, fam. And no problem at all, I am glad that you could make it to the interview! And yeah, it's time to show this interview to the fans as well. Thanks for the nice words, I truly appreciate it! Much success for you, once again Raf! Peace Out
Rafael Z: Ight, fam. Likewise! Peace and out!
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Rafael Z - Scarlyt