The fact that there are a handful of global corporations who control mainstream music and dictate what gets heard is the only thing I see wrong with Hip Hop. The fact that the internet cannot be fully controlled yet, the fact that there are kids creating new styles and pushing the boundries, the power it has to make lives better and create positive change, the reality that it is a global revolution that can’t be stoped and how much fun it is to rock the mic are all that’s right with Hip Hop. All youth trends will eventually be commercialized and used to sell bullshit products but the mainstream will always be just a little behind what’s actually going on in the streets. All of the media in the US is controlled by like four or five companies, that aint right!
How did you find out that you were on the pre-ballot for the Na Hoku Album of the Year?
I saw it in your blog. Saw that there were only four entries in the hip hop category which pretty much means we are all finalists.
Do you think the Na Hoku's gives Hawaii Hip Hop a fare deal?
Not at all. I think they would admit that themselves. A lot of the HARA members know very little about hip hop and just vote for whoever is more familiar to them. If you look at the past winners, not one actually rapped! Its dope they finally separated Hip Hop from R&B but they still have a long way to go to gain credibility wih the Hip Hop community.
What improvements, if any would you make to the selection process in the Hip Hop category?
They just need more real heads to get involved but it’s up to them to reach out and invest in Hawaii hip hop, state wide. They need to be educated on the culture and thats up to the hip hop community to do. We gotta put effort into it as well if we want to be properly represented. It's gonna take a lot of effort on both sides. HARA is slowly gonna realise that hip hop is critical to their survival. Also a selection committee of established and respected hip hop artists should be put together to pre screen potential nominees and make sure they at least adhere to a few basic principles, like rapping! But I guess it would have to start with hip hop heads becoming HARA members, if they care to do something about it. Honestly though its just an award and it doesn’t mean nearly as much as having people feel your music and come out to your shows. If it draws attention to you well that’s great but win or lose you gotta go out and rock the stage any opportunity you get and win over the people. That’s the truth with hip hop anyway.
Props, plugs and praises, ready go.
I got a lot of projects going on right now. The Supa Groupers with Scott Eats Ohtoro is a Mad Men inspired project in the making where we sample old 45 records from the 50’s and 60’s and touch on themes from the show in the lyrics. Also like I mentioned before I’m practicing with a live band to play some gigs towards the end of April in support of my album so look out for that. Working with Illisit on an EP we hope to release soon. I try to keep busy and am blessed to have a lot of talented musicians as friends. Too many to name but other than the ones I’ve already mentioned I gotta shout out Matt Delaney, Todd Elrod, Lopaka Colon, Deon “Boogie” Scott, Red Rokka, Kings of Spade, John Viera, Simone Cole, Steven Mullin, Martin Dixon, Brandon Apeles, Maria Ramos, Sean Ramos, Vinyl Wine, Diskrypt, and Brandon Blazz Golden.
Check me out at reverbnation.com/navidnajafi and go get Illnomadic on ITunes.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak Kalani. Peace!