Real Talk w/ Navid Najafi (@illnomadic) #NaHokuNominee #HIpHop

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Get readers up to speed on your band Evasive Species and the Molten Poets crew?

Evasive Species is more of a studio band because all of its members are full time working musicians and productive members of society so we don’t get to all be together that often but when the stars align we come out and rock an eclectic mix of original music. Shawn Livingston Mosley is our leader, producer, and plays the keys, John Hawes on bass, Stephen Inglis on guitar, Kanohowailuku Helm who is an incredible singer from Molokai and destined to blow up, Jason Segler on drums, Lea Woods Almanza, Kutmaster Spaz on the decks, and myself on the mic. Check out http://www.reverbnation.com/evasivespecies or find our album on iTunes. Molten Poets is a collective of MC’s from Maui, Big Island, Oahu, and the Bay Area spearheaded by Nohokai (http://www.facebook.com/nohokaiprod). We recorded a full length album titled Magmalodic and if you want a copy hit me up and I’ll send you one! Like Evasive Species, we are never all in the same place at the same time so its difficult to play shows but we all continue to record together through the power of the web and have big plans on the horizon. I also am a member of the Hawaii/Los Angeles collective the Hearios. Scott Eats Ohtoro is the founder and we have two albums that feature the one and only Aloe Blacc, DJ Cheapshot from Styles of Beyond, Seann Carrol on drums, Rachel Inouye, Anne Au, and Miya Dunets. Check out this interview Scott did in LA to find out more about the Hearios (http://poketo.com/blog/2012/02/29/hearios/)


Coming from New York all the way to Hawaii, I’m sure you brought your passionate for hip hop with you, what was your early take on the scene here compared to the scene out in the Big Apple?

When I first came out here and met cats like Jamal, Ed (sick dog), Walter (High Chief XL RIP), Kavet and so on I was so moved by their hospitality and genuine love for hip hop. The scene was small but dope out here with lots of mainland acts comin through as well. You can’t compare it to NY just because of the sheer volume over there but I would say it’s a lot better than most people give it credit for and its gained a lot of momentum recently. While I was gone and not making music a whole new generation of hip hop musicians came up in Hawaii and I’m so impressed with the talent here now. There’s a high level of skill here all the way around from MC’s to producers to b-boys writers and DJ’s. Now that my record is out and Im putting together a full time band I hope to get out and connect with the local scene a lot more than what I have been. My album features a young dude you should know named Illisit who is super dope and deadly with the pen and also Definition and Punahele from the Nightmarchers who just killed the track we did together.

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Do you recall the moment where you were bit by the vaunted hip hop bug and when did you decide to initially pick up the pen and start writing rhymes?

When we were still in Iran I remember seeing and hearing hip-hop for the first time in the movie Breakin’ and trying to breakdance with my older sister and cousins. I also remember my older cousins getting beat up by police who would catch them at parties because western music and dancing were and still are illegal in Iran. Iran is run by a strict Islamic dictatorship for those that don’t know but the kids still get down and there’s a huge Hip Hop community there. I basically learned to speak English by listening to Run-DMC and Public Enemy. Hip Hop has been in my blood as long as I can remember but I started writing rhymes and rapping in high school. My friends Ali, Dan and I would make little mix tapes of us rapping over any instrumental we could find. We made like 5 or 6 different songs to that Channel Live track “Sparkin Mad Izm”, not sure if anyone remembers that joint. It was more of a hobby for us then, we were too busy wilding out to really focus and put something together. I’ve also always loved hard rock and punk music so I’ve always been drawn to live instruments. That’s why most of my album is made with real instruments and I always wanna play out with a live band. Honestly though this music thing for me is all a labor of love and I never had a desire to blow up and go major. I love my life and family here and my real goal is to be able to continue to make music, play shows and travel. If I can make a simple living doing that and be able to help out the people around me I would be completely satisfied and happy.


Talk about the first hip hop show you ever attended?

Cypress Hill with Rage Against the Machine opening up in 1993. It was the first East Coast tour for both bands I believe. B-Real came out on stage with Rage to rock a few songs. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Cypress had just blown up with “Insane in the Brain” but I had no idea who Rage was. They were increadable. That’s where I was sold on rapping with a live band.

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