Hip-hop is changing, and it’s changing in every direction. Hip-hop is– without a doubt– the new pop music. If it isn’t, the pop music beating it in sales is ‘taking influence and paying homage’ or more likely directly lifting modern rap production styles for mass appeal and profit. The underground community, however, doesn’t give a fuck about pop music. The underground community in hip-hop in this climate doesn’t give a fuck about what you think of their music; as long as they think it’s a hit, it’s going live that night.
The current wave of underground rappers is a diverse crowd, with 100 Gecs nightcore trap and 808 rolls that leave your subwoofers in shambles. Any niche genre-bending artist you want to find in this scene, you can. Whether through Twitter, Instagram, or SoundCloud itself, independent artists are pushing out quality, boundary-pushing music more than ever. I have to say, as an artist myself in this scene, I’m here for it. The creativity being pushed through the masses of uninspired emo rap clones and overly cocky trap metal artists is worth the search. Diamonds in the rough, as they say.
[ I chose many different rappers to interview for this article. Each one, to me, represents a corner of the current, spontaneous underground rap scene bubbling on platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube. I was previously in a collective called HEBI with Acid Souljah, Havik, and Wren/Ve’ra, and currently am in a collective with Wren/Ve’ra known as Serpent Cemetery. Because of this, I would like to clarify that this article is not paid or promotional in any malicious or self-serving fashion, and answers are not altered for any reason other than grammar and spelling error editing. I do not have any prior collaborations or business/financial association with Kill Stacy/XHRIS2EAZY besides interaction through social media and music discussion at time of writing. ]
INTERVIEW #1: ACID SOULJAH
Acid Souljah is a 17 year-old rapper from Texas and has been rapping since 2018. His style is a distinct, enunciated, drowsy flow over ethereal, spacey beats backed by pounding 808s and sparse drums, generally produced by the talented producers Seepy or Fony Wallace. He often collaborates with XHRIS2EAZY, a rapper and frequent featured artist with a raw cadence and a beat selection consisting of what seem to be the hardest instrumentals known to mankind. Both are founding members of their collective known as Evilplug, along with both aforementioned producers.
What inspired you to start making music?
“I’ve always wanted to make music since I was a kid, but what really inspired me to go hard with music is being involved with [his collective] Evilplug.”
What was the first album that you fell in love with?
“I think [Around the Fur] by Deftones was the first album I really fell in love with; when I was in middle school, I probably listened to it every day […] .”
Who are your main influences? Does it reflect in your music? If so, how?
“I think my main influences are probably Ruben Slikk, Lil B, Yung God, KirbLaGoop, Marilyn Manson, and Soulja Boy are [sic] the first to come to mind.”
When did you start making music?
“I started making music in 2018, but I was ass. [laughs]”
How do you think your music has progressed?
“I feel like over time I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable recording, and doing my own mixing has helped me shape a sound [that is] more like what I wanna be doing right now. There’s a long way until I reach my peak, though.”
Do you have any collaborations you’re looking forward to?
“Right now, I’m really looking forward to finishing my EP with Xhris2Eazy and working more with Mr. Cheezl & Keenanza.”
What is your motivation behind making music?
“I really just love making music and I want to see myself and all [of] the people around me get successful.”
What was your first song? Is it available for streaming?
“I don’t even remember the name […], but I deleted [it] like the same day I dropped it because I knew it was hot ass lol [sic].”
What, in your opinion, is the best song you have ever made? Why?
“I think my favorite song [I’ve made] is either Magic or Flexed Up, I don’t really have a reason, I just think I went really hard on them.”
Acid Souljah is an amazing, versatile rapper whose flow always finds its pocket over synthy, ethereal beats that take up the room or instrumentals stripped down to the 808 and a stock plug-in pluck. His low-key cadence often contributes to the atmos of certain tracks, and his influences shine in his music, but never to the point of being overbearing or taking away any of Acid Souljah’s bright personality that presents itself on these tracks.
I highly recommend checking Acid Souljah out, starting with his most recent song (at the time of writing), ‘Doorman’ produced by Cheezl.
INTERVIEW #2: KILL STACY
Kill Stacy is one of the most important rappers outside of your radar coming out of the West Coast area (more specifically, Arizona) at this time; Stacy’s music is ruthless, the beat selections making you want to flip the nearest stroller in reach and a vicious cadence that will immediately turn your behavior into Black Air Force 1 activity. His antics on Twitter have gotten him into a bit of trouble, but he pops back up stronger than ever, dropping heat and scamming DoorDash orders.
Aside from that, his flows are always unique (his verses on ‘Mercy’ are some of my all-time favorites), filling pockets of the beat that amateur rappers could never slide on–and when he talks his shit, he does not hold back. Kill Stacy makes it known that he is not a person to get on your bad side, but his music will still fill your playlists the further you dig into his discography. Kill Stacy vehemently rejects the ‘underground’ label; his music is for the masses, and Kill Stacy is going to be massive.
When did you start making music?
“When did I start making music? I started making music when I was a kid, but, seriously, I’ve probably been making music since 2016. Maybe ‘17.”
What was the inspiration behind pursuing music?
“The inspiration was– I was listening to Chris Travis’ “______” album on the way home from somewhere, some shit, and I was hearing these songs and I was like, “Damn, this shit hard.” But I felt like there could be more from this album. So I just said shit in songs that just made sense — that I felt like I would hear from him — but I just did it ‘cause he wouldn’t say it.”
What was your first song? Is it still available to stream?
“My first song.. It’s still available to stream. I don’t know what that shit is called, but I could find that shit on SoundCloud. I could find it type shit, like- if I typed in my old name, I could find that bitch easy.”
What’s your recording process like? Do you write or freestyle more?
“It’s like- I like to punch in and shit, but honestly, I do whatever. Maybe I’ll write something, that’s fine, but you just feel for the beat and take it from there. Whether you wanna do a hook first or a verse first, it’s up to you.”
Who are your main musical influences, and how does it translate into your music, if at all?
“Main musical influences? Uh, Chris Travis, Kid Cudi… with the Auto-Tune and shit I feel like I’m more of like, a Kanye-type Auto-Tune n—- ‘cause Kanye do the Auto-Tune and that shit hard.”
How do you think your music has progressed since you started?
“My music’s progressed. Like, drastically, bro, because I used to be like not really mindful of what I dropped, I just dropped whatever, whenever. And now, it’s just like everything has a pace. You keep up with the pace, you follow the pace, and everything will be alright.”
How did you connect with Lil Prada? Do you have any more collaborations with Prada coming up?
“I connected with Lil Prada through Twitter. I DMed him, and that n—- didn’t wanna work at first, but then he heard my bussin’ ass songs and then that n—- wanted to work. Like a bitch. [laughs] I got a whole tape on the way with Prada, and we got a few of our friends on there.”
Who else do you enjoy working with, or want to work with at the moment, if anyone?
“Uh, I enjoy working with n—-s that are just cool with me in real life. Prada, Trey, Fetti, like, I like working with a lot of producers too because a lot of people don’t care to hear what you like in your beats. But Zane, Bobby Johnson… fuck, I might’ve forgotten somebody, but those people listen to what I need. Oh, and Emerald! But do I wanna work with anybody? Yeah, but I’m not like, on their dick to work with them type shit. I’m open to work with people, I’d say that. If I had to choose somebody, it’d probably be somebody I had shit set up with like Leshy, Swerzie… that’s all coming up, but y’all gotta stay tuned for all that.”
What is your personal favorite song you have released?
“I think my favorite songs I released are Flip and Malice in Wonderland. Beat-wise, and you know, melodies- shit you can rock with. But, meaningful shit, I mean like OMA, Journey, 6am Freestyle all got more of my actual feelings in it.”
Are there any collectives or groups that you associate with?
“I’m dead. I only associate with Crowlife187. That’s it. That’s it. Like, that’s it.”
When did music become profitable/viable as a career?
“Music became profitable- shit, always. But when did it become profitable? When I made First. That’s when money started coming in, and I could actually eat off the shit.”
Where did the name ‘Kill Stacy’ come from?
“The name Kill Stacy came from this movie called The Hood– it was a Blood n—- named Stacy, and a later movie called Dope too, and he was a Blood back then but then he was a security guard. Then they ain’t wanna kill that n—- off so I was like fuck that, I’m Kill Stacy.”
Is there any music dropping in the near future we should be looking out for?
“Yeah, I’m dropping the true Kill Stacy tape by the end of the year– I don’t know, shit, probably sooner than the end of the year. Just because I have a lot of shit backed up, I’ve been playing with a lot of shit basically, I don’t know if I wanna make a tape out of it but… we just gotta see what direction to go to, and when we do that, it’d be a wrap.”
Kill Stacy is one of the most technically skilled rappers and lyricists to come out of the contemporary Twitter-era underground rap scene and the burgeoning Arizona music scenes alike, with the personality and image to back up the consistently impressive musical output. His dynamic flows, aggressive cadences, and genuinely ruthless lyrics make you wish you had thought of them as soon as they register–and keep wishing as much, as they get stuck in your head, and the tracks get stuck on repeat.
I recommend browsing through this artists’ discography- he is a jack of all trades, and I’m sure there is something you will find in your playlist later. (Most of his music is on SoundCloud.)
INTERVIEW #3: WREN/VE’RA
Wren/Ve’ra are two nineteen year-old artists, vocalists, and visionaries hailing from Dayton, Ohio. Formerly of the collective Dreamside 2099 (headed by former Anti-World member ‘Ego Mackey’), both of their discographies are filled to the brim with music that transcends whatever genre you can attempt to place on each and every song. I say ‘each and every song’ because Ve’ra and Wren’s craft are those with true variety, a fierce desire to push boundaries and incorporate the music that they were built from to build something even bigger than them. They are the founders of Serpent Cemetery, a collective of several different types of artists with members and affiliates located across the globe.
What (or who) inspired you to begin making music?
“Um, that’s a good ass question. I was always raised around music–my cousin was a guitarist. At first, it started when I was really young, it started when I was playing Guitar Hero with my older cousin, and that really got me and my cousin both into a bunch of different types of music, and it sort of evolved from that into- we went straight from that into like Three Days Grace, Flyleaf, all those bands like, uh, 30 Seconds to Mars. As we grew up, me and my cousins actually started learning guitar. My cousin started learning drums. I got into guitar and bass and worked in a recording studio. My cousin’s in a band right now– and I make the music I do– he’s in a pop punk band. All my cousins got me into this shit now. Since then, my friends have been leading me to the direction that I’ve been in.”
What was the first rap album that you ‘fell in love’ with?
“The first rap album that I fell in love with- that’s a good question because I used to love a bunch of different songs on the radio in Ohio, whatever they thought was mainstream. A bunch of Ludacris songs, um… a lot of Ludacris. That’s a good fucking question. There was, um, mostly rap and rock growing up so that’s why I turned out the way that I am. 50 Cent, Ludacris, early 2000s type of rap. As for the first album… I couldn’t tell you. That was a completely separate golden age of rap, so there’s so fucking many, I couldn’t even point out one specifically.”
Who are your main influences? Does it reflect in your music?
“Okay, so… My primary influences, aside from my cousins, like musically speaking, I’d have to say were like a bunch of different post-hardcore bands. A shit-ton of post-hardcore bands heavily influenced my sound nowadays, like, the whole alternative type of deal. More specifically, bands like Flyleaf– not necessarily post-hardcore– but for that, I’d say From First to Last and Sunny Day Real Estate. The Messenger was a legendary group, a very underrated band. Yeah, I fuck with a bunch of post-hardcore. And my music taste took a major shift and I was listening to a lot of people like… You’re gonna hate me for this: Um [laughs], Yunggoth, ITSOKTOCRY, and of course like, Syringe [Sybyr] and shit. I was one of those ‘rawr xD’ type of bitches so I grew up with like, Blood on the Dance Floor, but yeah, Falling in Reverse. I have a whole emo playlist, quote unquote, and it influences my whole style today. If it doesn’t, I’m sorry. Also, Crystal Castles. Oh, and add in The Devil Wears Prada. They’re from Ohio. I love them.”
When did you start making music?
“I started making music in August of 2018. That’s when I first started making music entirely. My first song was Unloaded, produced by Skel Figures, which is a private song now I’m pretty sure–but the beat was good–but like, my lyricism and mixing wasn’t nearly what I could achieve today. My lyricism was off in a lot of that song, and I’ve improved a lot in terms of mixing and mastering, like, general creativity. A lot since then, a lot. I was working with Skel Figures from the beginning, and he’s part of what I owe for a lot of this shit nowadays. Shout-out Skel Figures.”
How do you think your music has progressed?
“Oh, bro, um.. Well, [laughs], when I first started music, I was heavily focused on– it was like, 2016- no, 2018– I was focused on the trap metal scene. After my inspirations had shown themselves, I focused on that scene. The Anti-World shit, I guess. I was heavily into that whole trap metal shit, I suppose you could say. Since then- at that point, I was focused on being a trap metal ass n—- in this little bubble I created for myself and ever since my album ‘Viridi’, where Ve’ra came in, we’ve been geared to making whatever we like. That whole trap metal thing faded out; we lost interest in making the same shit, over and over and over again. We came into ourselves, I would say, in the sense that we learned what we wanted to do, who we really are, and the sound we wanna continue producing– not even producing– but creating. We wanna create different sounds. You’ll see a hint of witch house or, like, drum and bass, and there’s a lot of electronic influences in my music, I suppose. But yeah, like, our sound from when we started, you know, it was originally like trap metal and I was screaming a lot in the beginning. Making that whole screaming shit. Nowadays, I’m into the more melodic, soft vocals with whisper undertones. Oh, also, um… We have backwards messages in our songs. There’s always subliminal messages in our music. [“Always?” – Arctic] It’s for Ve’ra.”
Do you have any collaborations you’re looking forward to? What’s your dream collab?
“As of recently, I haven’t been looking to collaborate with many new people except for- we don’t have anyone specifically that we want or have been looking to collaborate with, except for nynishuman/nineishuman, Wren wants to collaborate with Gardenxo and Ve’ra wants to collaborate with nynishuman/nineishuman. There’s nothing planned at this moment, there was, but not anymore. In time, there’s going to be work with them. Um, let me think- oh, we’re just focused on our own shit. We’re trying to mold our own art first before collaborating with anyone outside of our circle because we’re still coming into our own.”
What is your motivation behind making music at this point in time?
“Well, when I first started making music, my goals were very confined and limited to one sort of group of people or community. Nowadays, we’ve sort of realized that’s not necessarily what we want for ourselves to grow as an artist– or, as a unit, you know. But, it’s not always easy leaving the box you were putting yourself into when a lot of people know you as… that.
The person in the box. You know?”
When did your music career become profitable/viable?
“I mean, um, there are two separate definitions I would give to each of those things you just asked me. Profitable, in regards to that, my music is still not entirely profitable because I’m still an ‘underground artist’ if you will, but our music has always been viable, like, ‘valid’. From the beginning, it was always viable for us. Even before it was ‘us.’”
What was your first song? Is it available for streaming?
“My first song was ‘Unloaded’, and no, I think I privated it. I privated a lot of my old songs– especially the ones I was screaming on– even albums I’ve privated, because of evolution as an artist. That’s not who I am anymore, or the audience I wanna reach anymore. The group of people that were getting me the most attention at the time- there was a time as an artist where it became pointless to keep feeding into it, I suppose. It’s “ever-evolving alternative artistry’’ for a reason.”
What, in your opinion, is the best song you’ve made? The worst?
“ [laughs] Oh my god, bro, my worst song has to be DIAMONDSONMYDICK. That’s my most popular song. I made it when I was really fucking high and eating chicken tendies bro, I made that song- [laughs] Give me a second. Okay. So, DIAMONDSONMYDICK is my most popular song, but it was before I realized I was non-binary and transgender so it pushes a lot of dysphoria on me a little bit. I made the song when I was really high and at a friend’s house– my parents had kicked me out– I was eating tenders and one of my friends was talking about my other friends at the time. Said something about diamonds and dicks, and I just thought, “Diamonds on my dick, I’m bout to fuck your fucking bitch.” My most- my favorite song, for a while, it was Ketamine Cook-Off. It just brings back memories of, um, a point in time where I wasn’t taking music all that serious. It was fun. By the time the second album came, it got more serious for me–there were funny songs on the album, but they’re privated now–at first it was Ketamine Cook-Off, then Isolation (Cry for Help 2). I had to channel all of that emotion for both Wren and Ve’ra. And then, it was Cyberchopp. Nowadays, I would say it is, um, A Woman Claims To Be The Virgin Mary and Kisaragi Station. Two of Wren’s latest tracks, type shit. Both of which are talking about, you know, things that I’ve been going through but at the same time, it speaks on sort of, um, my internal guilt growing up all the way up to now. My ex-relationships. Um, my… eyewitness accounts on seeing sort of ghosts and demons and things like that. It just reflects all of that.“
Who do you enjoy working with and look out for in the underground scene?
“Bro, Skel fucking Figures, bro, fuck, haha. People that I’ve been looking out for, um.. MF Zeph– he produced Dominant Force, Submissive Body for Ve’ra and the sequel which is yet to be released. Daniel’s Gone. Um, Gardenxo, Acid Souljah, Skel Figures, um.. Papi Panda. I worked with him before, ‘Domino’, it’s a really old song I made about a school shooting, type shit. I made a song about a school shooting when I was in high school ‘cause I was irritated at n—-s, and I hate being isolated and alone, and a situation where no one can entirely relate… and no one fucks with you. Oh! Um, Knw_Ctrl of course, Aura, and Sacrifice Kid. Definitely.”
Who is your favorite producer to work with? What producers would you like to work with moving forward?
“I already said these names- ookay, my favorite producer to work with has to be either Knw_Ctrl, Daniel’s Gone, or GLOOMSTONE. And, a producer that I would want to work with in the future, would have to be your ass [laughs]! Let me think… Arctic, nynishuman/nineishuman, Guillion, and Aura. That was the last one. Aura.”
Should we expect any new music in the coming weeks?
“I’m dropping an EP with GLOOMSTONE.” [“Concise.” – Arctic]
[ This interview was conducted on April 4th, 2020, via an Instagram video call session. All answers were transcribed verbatim to the best of the interviewer’s ability. ]
Wren and Ve’ra have a great deal of artistic potential, and they are showing that they can harness it as they progress throughout their career, as young as it is. Their music has evolved into a morphing, genre-less, catchy amalgamation of every influence they desire channeling–and that, to me, is truly difficult and true artistry. They contribute as a member of Losers Club as well, with Skel Figures and Knw_Ctrl.
Stream their latest projects titled ‘(Less Than)’, ‘P.T.’, and ‘Viridi’ to support the artists and as an introduction to their music. Wren / Ve’ra possess a natural musical talent, to me, that has only grown since their first song with producer Skel Figures. Always pushing boundaries, taking risks, and disregarding traditionalist views of hip hop, rock, and pop alike, I recommend them.
INTERVIEW #4: XHRIS2EAZY
XHRIS2EAZY is a 17 year-old rapper, vocalist, and artist hailing from New York. He is a founding member of the same collective (Acid Souljah is also a founding member) named Evilplug, composed of both them and their producers, who form an excellent team in crafting ignorant, dissonant, bass-heavy instrumentals with catchy melodic patterns that allow XHRIS and Acid to glide over the beat with ease and make another banger. With a smooth cadence and a bouncy flow, aided by ear-pleasing Evilplug-exclusive production, XHRIS2EAZY’s music is sure to get stuck in your head.
When did you begin making music?
“I started writing music when I was like, eight years old, then wanted to make an actual song. My first actual song was made when I was like… thirteen, fourteen. That shit was trash.”
What was your main inspiration to make music? What motivated you in the beginning?
“Basically just like- growing up with my cousins, seeing them recording music too. That inspired me.”
What was the name of your first song? Is it still publicly available, and if so, where?
“ [scoffs] The name of my first song… I think it was called Orchids. That shit was garbage. I hope nobody can hear that.”
As a musician and overall artist, how do you feel like you have progressed since you began?
“I feel like I’ve definitely come a long way as an artist and musician. People around me just telling me to go harder. As I got older, I had more life experiences, more shit to rap about, talk about. […] Now it’s just like, second nature type shit. Swag.”
How did you first discover and interact with Acid Souljah? How long after did you record your first song?
“Acid Souljah hit me on Instagram and then SoundCloud asking me to make a song like, ‘Yo, I fuck with your music, what’s up?’ […] Then he sent me an open, after that, it was just up from there. More tracks, doing more together and shit. That’s it.”
Do you plan to continue experimenting with Auto-Tune in your musical output?
“I definitely plan to keep experimenting with the Auto-Tune shit. I just feel like it’s a fresh vibe. I’ve been putting out a lot of singles, I don’t have to get repetitive, so the Auto-Tune shit was a way to switch it up. New vibes, you feel me?”
What was the name of your first mixtape? Do you still view that tape favorably?
“My first mixtape I released was the Evilplug mixtape produced by Fony Wallace. I released it on Halloween 2019 — I don’t fuck with it at all now, I feel like it sounds super dated compared to my new shit. I think it’s alright, but I’ve gotten a lot better.”
Do you believe you have improved at creating full-length projects since you’ve begun? How?
“I definitely feel like I’ve improved when it comes to releasing and recording projects– my first project wasn’t really like, focused and shit, but after you do it more you start getting better at it. In a year or two, I’ll probably put out my best project. I’m still learning. I feel like the tapes have definitely gotten way better since the first one.”
What projects or songs coming up in the near-future can we expect from you?
“For the future, you could expect the Novaboys EP, the whole gang, expect more shit with Problem, my evil twin from Novagang. That’s my brother. Fony Wallace, for sure, one of my favorite producers. Keenanza. And just more singles, more projects; I’m not stopping anytime soon, and it’s hella more XHRIS2EAZY music on the way, feel me?”
Where are you from, and does it influence your music?
“I was born and raised in New York, so I feel like my surroundings have inspired me a lot. When I feel uninspired, I go for a walk, explore my surroundings. I feel like- just like, the grimy shit of New York inspired my music a lot. Inspired my music, my sound. I love New York. I ain’t ever prepared to leave.
Who are your main influences in music? How do they reflect in your discography?
“A lot of people, especially when younger,
Where did the name ‘XHRIS2EAZY’ come from?
“The name came from just fucking around, dropping music under different names. I just came up with XHRIS2EAZY. I thought, like, “too easy,” like this is just too easy. Just flexing on ‘em. XHRIS2EAZY, just too easy, this shit’s too easy for me. That’s it.”
Do you have anything else you want to add before we conclude the interview?
XHRIS is an incredibly versatile and unique artist, with some more vapor trap-influenced tracks scattered across his discography while his most recent mixtape features experimentation with melodic vocals and flows, shrouded in a blanket of pitch correction/alteration, which comes together extremely nicely for a unique and quality release from the rapper. If you ever feel like you’re running out of new music, fear not– XHRIS2EAZY’s output has been Herculean over the past year, and extremely consistent at that.
As with Acid Souljah and Wren/Ve’ra, XHRIS’ raw style and laid-back, loose flow hit home for me and I can assure you that it is a matter of raw talent and originality; even when he pulls influences from other artists, you know exactly who you’re listening to and feel his energy through the track. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Black Kray and Acid Souljah.
INTERVIEW #5: HAVIK MOTION
Havik Motion is a 20 year-old vocalist, producer, songwriter, and engineer coming out of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin with a penchant for lo-fi aesthetics, unorthodox melodies, and drums that knock harder than the local PD. Havik is by no means a one-trick pony; his music ranges from melodic dream pop that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Draingang cut and hardcore hip-hop where he shows his passion for lyricism and tight grasp of the artform itself. To boil him down to just that, though, would be a disservice. He’s a dynamic producer, vocalist, performer, and creative with a lot of potential–and he sees it, too.
When did you start making music?
“I started making music when I was 15, but just like any artist, or most people, I had somewhat of an in-depth music background. My dad was a very big oldhead — old rock, rap music — anything vintage, I guess, music-wise he had more of an appeal to which appealed to me more. Indie, shit people never heard of. I was in band and stuff throughout school. I did play in a band for about half a year when I was a freshman in high school, but I’m 20 now. It’s been part of my life since I was a kid. I play guitar.”
What was the inspiration behind pursuing music as a career?
“The inspiration behind my music career I can honestly whole-heartedly say I [dedicate entirely] to the Beast Coast representatives: Joey Bada$$, the Underachievers, and them. Capital STEEZ was the reason I wanted to start rapping- not just my music career- but why I wanted to rap, and like, Flatbush Zombies. Freshman year, we were all going crazy over them. I was into the, like, third-eye indigo shit. That’s what really [hit] home to me. I was a very spiritual person, and also pretty ignorant to most music — I liked the new wave SoundCloud shit, and I was picky. I only liked old shit. I was very narrow-minded about SoundCloud shit, I only liked shit with like, under a thousand plays. That’s how I got into Anti-World, TeamSesh, and then they kind of molded my production career in a way because of what their production choices [were]. I wanted to make beats like that, so that’s when my producing career started to take off in a sense, learning the basics and how to make a proper beat.”
What was the name of your first song? Is it still available to stream?
“The name of my first song- I actually don’t know. It was a very long fucking name, but all I know is it featured my homie _____. Shout-out _____, all I know is he’s in Connecticut, but shout-out him. And no, it’s not available to stream.”
What’s your recording process like? How much do you write/sequence vs. freestyle?
“To be honest, it’s kind of a mix of both. If something comes to my head instantly, I’ll write it down, but I don’t really revise unless need be, I guess. I just like to let it flow. So I guess I freestyle shit and then write it down from what I have, then I usually adjust it- like I said, if need be. Sometimes I do write shit down. Sometimes it’s hard to be in a sober mind to write shit down, sometimes it’s easy, but other times I just need to be fucked up off something, high, drunk. It really helps. Usually before I start writing though, for sure, I’ll listen to somebody for a vibe I’m trying to get, but more of like the actual energy. I try to just let it happen. I try to keep my mind stimulated with music, videos, ideas, so if anything comes to mind, I’m ready to just write it down, type shit.”
Who are your top musical influences, and how do those influences present themselves in your music, if at all?
“I got a lot of influences. Um, when I was younger, it was mainly like early rock and hip-hop music, but as a teenager and adult it’s just moreso the Internet wave. If I had to choose anyone off the top of my head, I’d have to choose Anti-World, SESH– I can’t think right now, honestly. […] But not a lot of them- you really can’t hear my influences in my music, I think. I think when you listen to me, you’re genuinely just listening to me. When I use influences, I try to use them without making them completely visible to people, because then I won’t appear as unique. It’s energy I like to replicate. I know it sounds corny — energy, manifestation — but that’s what I like to match, when you listen to Havik, you’re listening to Havik. If you’re a big listener- it’s an if-you-know-you-know-type thing.”
How do you think your music has progressed from a creative and technical standpoint since you started?
“My music has progressed greatly. [The ways I think] it’s improved is producing. I went from the trial of FL Studio, just like everyone else, but I dove in and tried to teach myself- still trying- audio engineering, like, mixing beats and mixing vocals. I’ve come a long way with, like, knowing how to use plug-ins; a compressor, a delay, reverb, without making it sound like ass. EQing out vocals, shit like that. Since I started, since like 2015, 2014, if you listen to any of my beats or been listening since day one you know that I’ve worked hard to get to the skill level where I’m at. I still don’t think it’s enough. I know it’s not, because I don’t put in enough work. I think it can compete with others in the scene now [though], and it’s given me confidence. I think that’s the biggest key. If you’re looking for progression in yourself, confidence, that’s where it all starts. Where that confidence begins.”
What do you believe your most underrated song is?
“As of right now… um, I really don’t know what my most underrated song would be, to be honest. Probably ‘baby fire’ [sic]. That’s one of my cleanest songs. As well as Feel My Pain, from all of the songs I’ve dropped in the last couple months.
Who else do you enjoy working with, or want to work with at the moment, if anyone?
“I honestly enjoy working with anybody. I don’t have a preference unless I already have, like, a preconceived notion of who you are. I don’t have a lot of friends except for like, you — Arctic — that I’ve worked with. But, um. If I wanna work with anyone, it’d have to be shvrk or Leon’sWolf from Anti-World, so goddamn badly. Summrs… fucking, um, I’d love to get on production with Slayer and me. Fifty Grand, dear God, Fifty Grand. Bones. Robb Bank$ for sure, Robb Bank$ and wifisfuneral. Make sure you get that down. Robb Bank$, shvrk, wifisfuneral. The three people I’d like to work with right now, off the top of my head.”
What is your personal favorite song you have released?
“My favorite song I ever released was a song I deleted, that I shouldn’t have deleted. It was called IAmNotWhoYouThinkIAm. It reflected on a very troublesome year I had when I was in high school, family issues, a lot of personal issues, a lot of school issues, a lot of demons I was facing. The entire song is memorized. I no longer have the beat, though. I could probably find it. That’s my favorite — it’s about two or three years old, now, so yeah.”
What was your most popular upload? Is it still up?
“Currently, it’s a fucking- um, unreleased- not unreleased, a privated song. It was a $uicideboy$ remix. A ‘Grey Magic’ remix, at 36,000 right now. I’ve had over like, 200, 300 songs on my SoundCloud and I know I hit 10,000-15,000 on one of them, but my most played on my profile right now is OuttaLuck featuring 333Stain, with 776 views.”
Where did the name ‘Havik Motion’ come from? Why the switch from ‘zvneworld’?
“Havik Motion actually derived from my fiance. It was a typo, she was trying to talk to me actually about two years ago, and when I saw her typo I saw the word ‘havik’. At the time, I was actually thinking about changing my name to ‘Havoc’, and after like a day or two, I chose the name ‘Havik Motion’ because I feel like as a person, my personality, my music; it all represents chaos in a way. When I write my lyrics, it’s problematic things about myself, or others. Or, really vulgar things. Zvneworld in and of itself just means ‘sane world’, I wanted a name that was gonna represent like- what normality is. There’s no definition to it, I’m not sure if that makes sense. All of the things we do in the world aren’t normal, but the little shit we do, interacting with people — I wanted to release music to represent that fact. That someone like me can still be sane, and put out good, amazing content. But that’s why I changed it, I didn’t really like anything behind that. That was basically the premise.”
Are there any plans for new music soon to be released?
“Yes, there is. I do have, um, two songs right now that I recorded. One of them is finished and uploaded [on private] on SoundCloud right now. I’m just waiting to do a proper cover art for it- maybe not cover art, I’m just waiting for the right time right now. I just released a music video. I’m working on a project called ‘Death of Emotion’, I wanna drop that in the next year, like, six months. I want it to be my big ‘debut project,’ you know, to define me. I don’t have a release date for that, exactly. Not a whole lot other than that, I’m reaching out and trying to get production credits down but… yeah, that’s about it.”
Havik Motion is an incredible artist with an incredible work ethic to back up incredible music. While most of his old output has been wiped from the Internet, his new material is hosted on his SoundCloud and features production predominantly from himself and a variety of guests [AN: Including myself.] with stone-cold, aggressive delivery, angelic filtered vocals, or something in between. Whatever it is, it’s bound to end up in one of your next mixes as his music tends to be fairly accessible to all hip-hop fans– and music fans in general– while still staying original and boundary-pushing.
Each and every one of these artists has several defining qualities that make them unique, from Acid Souljah’s DIY dirty trap sound, Ve’ra/Wren’s post-hardcore/alternative rock influence, the smooth yet frantic delivery and head-spinning flows out of Kill Stacy, and the genre-breaking creative and musical talent that Havik Motion utilizes and shows in his music. Any reader who can take the time out of their day to listen to any of these exciting new artists might find themselves in a brand-new rabbit hole of the underground.
ACID SOULJAH – I recommend ‘Doorman’, ‘25i’, and ‘CEO Convos’.
WREN/VE’RA – I recommend ‘Cyberchopp’, ‘Kisaragi Station’, and ‘Pleading (Open Mouth)’ w/ Ve’ra.
KILL STACY – I recommend ‘Double Bacc’, ‘Marksman (ft. Lil Prada)’, ‘Mercy’, and ‘Glock in the Mosh Pit’.
XHRIS2EAZY – I recommend ‘Keep It Real’, ‘pornstar!’, and ‘admit defeat!’.
HAVIK MOTION – I recommend ‘DrugTalkkk’, ‘baby fire xo’, ‘mybacchurt :-(‘, and ‘ItWasAllMyFault’.
These are some personal favorites of mine, but music is subjective, and I implore you to dive into their respective catalogs and find the music that you like — both for yourself and to support the artists. I would like to thank Acid Souljah, Wren & Ve’ra, Kill Stacy, Xhris2Eazy, and Havik Motion for letting me conduct and publish these interviews as part of a small spotlight of artists I have noticed making waves in the underground scene. I hope to interview more artists in the future from all corners of the underground as I progress with my own musical endeavors. Exploring my craft helped and continues to help me digest and dissect other perspectives and works of art, whether in music, visual media, or literature. Lastly, I would like to thank Chris and Jamie of 108MICS for their assistance and generosity in giving me an audience through their platform to show off a few friends and peers.
– Steve Warner / arctic* (@907Arctic)
Written, edited, curated, and formatted by – Arctic / Steve Warner
Interviews/guests (in order of appearance) – Acid Souljah, Kill Stacy, Wren/Ve’ra, XHRIS2EAZY, Havik Motion
KILL STACY: @killstacy on Instagram, @stacedawg on Twitter
HAVIK MOTION: @hav_k__ on Twitter
ACID SOULJAH: @AcidSouljah on Twitter/Instagram
WREN/VE’RA: @195wren on Twitter/Instagram
XHRIS2EAZY: @XHRIS2EAZY on Twitter/Instagram
ARCTIC*: @907Arctic on Twitter/Instagram
CHRIS: @108mics on Twitter
JAMIE: @youngjade1216 on Twitter