Mainstream Hip Hop has shown that you might just need a catchy hook and some extra reverb or autotune to "make it." But the underground offers a whole other perspective, one that the internet helped to democratize by bringing the artist directly to its listeners, still there is a struggle. With all the social media and technology, many independent artists seem to forget that you still need talent and strong work ethic to gain respect and an organic following in the underground. More importantly, you need that “wow” or “x factor” and for a lot of female rappers, sadly that means sex appeal. As a fellow artist, I like to see rappers that have that raw passion that simply cannot be faked. You need that drive, that fire, and if you’re good enough, you’ll rain ashes as well. As some of you know, I participated in Team Backpack’s Live Cypher Draft at Mission Underground in Los Angeles earlier this summer. I’ve already featured some of the dope female artists I met at the event including 3XTK and Ashley Banks. But today I introduce yall to one of the most unique female MC’s I know- Ashe Blanco.
Ashe Blanco means “white ash” in Spanish and her name already shows her unique skill with word play. She grew up in a musically inclined family and began writing and recording raps in 2009, notably following the birth of her son. “I really started pushing to pursue music as a career. Something just catapulted me to spend all of my free time networking, making new music, and talking business in terms of what my next move was going to be,” says Ashe. When I met this young woman in person, I was taken back by her assertive persona and her confidence when talking to other artists and various media personnel, and rapping not only on TBP but on the many other cyphers that took place as well. We exchanged business handles and I knew she was someone I wanted to work with in the near future.
In 2014, Ashe entered in Funk Volume’s “Don’t Fu[$]k Up Our Beats” Season 6, an online rapping contest where rappers can upload videos of themselves rapping to beats produced by Funk Volume. She gained a decent buzz from that entry and went on to perform in more than 40 shows last year, all while building her own promotion company “Stay Hydrated.” Due to her relentless grind efforts, she was noticed and picked up by a group of talented artists called "Lab Life," and since then they’ve been putting ideas together for music, media, and promotions. Check out the “ASHE BLANCO Presents: The 2K14 LIVE Cypher” video on Youtube and you’ll see that they mean business, with Ashe as the group’s Alpha-Female.
Currently, Ashe and her team at Lab Life are putting together an acapella-styled cypher, which will drop in the next week or so. She has many videos for you watch on her Youtube channel. Take a look at her “Destined” music video and be on the look out for more of her projects.
“Where there’s fire, there’s ashe…”
There's an ancient Hawaiian tale about a demigod named Maui and the special Haleakala crater on the island of Maui, where he captured the sun in order to make the days longer. The literal Hawaiian translation for Haleakala means "the house of the sun." Today, Haleakala remains a critical viewpoint to study the heavens because of its clear skies and fairly steady weather patterns. In the same manner, the island of Maui collectively with the other Hawaiian islands are a very unique place to experience Hip Hop. As Hawaii locals, our experience in Hip Hop is different because of our physical, spiritual, and historic place in the world. With that said, I introduce DallahDeezo, a young and proud local man from Maui, whose love for Hip-Hop and poetry has given him a voice that is too often overlooked. He has strong love for his island home and uses rhythm and poetry to tell his story.
Dallah Deezo has been part of the Hawaii Hip-Hop scene for over a decade. Starting in the late 90s as a teenager "just freestyling for fun," he developed a passion for writing lyrics and put himself on a personal mission to share his story. Growing up in the north shore of Paia, Maui, he brings to the world authentic island Hip Hop. Take a listen to his track "Mind On My Mission" and you'll see/hear what I mean. Although Maui is gaining more popularity and becoming more commercially developed, there is a unique pride amongst the Maui locals that is different from the other Hawaiian islands. As a veteran in the local scene, Deezo says that "so many artists put up a front in order to be popular and as a society, were scared to be ourselves as individuals."
Aside from rapping, Deezo is also an experienced beat maker and producer under the name "Stoney Kine Beats." He produces many of 808 Lava Squad Mafia (LSM) 's tracks as well as his other rap duo 579Klick with his friend SamBeezy. He is the third member of LSM that I've gotten to interview and had the pleasure of meeting in person, before the group's recent gig on Oahu a few weeks ago. Deezo says that "there is so much talent here in the islands it's ridiculous. Hawaii Hip Hop is a small movement but with more collaborating and networking with each other, our voices will continue to grow."
As stated above, Deezo has many solo and collab projects under his belt as a rapper and producer. You can check out his SoundCloud to hear more. See more of this talented local brother on the on social media (links below).
As an avid vinyl listener, Deezo can be seen crate surfing through old school records. Follow him on Instagram @DallahDeezoVinylExperience to see more of what he finds #TodayOnVinyl !
Author Jehzan with the some of the members from 808 Lava Squad Mafia. You can read more about DizzieDazz(left) and GIM$(right) in previous Friday Features. DallahDeezo is standing at the far right.
Sorry I'm a little late on this Humpday Update, it was supposed to be posted yesterday but I've been busy with other things. Anyways, thank you once again to everyone who has been reading and supporting my blog! The artists I feature are truly the stars of the show and deserve all the credit for their work. I simply share their story, and it is honestly a blessing to do so. You can watch my daily whereabouts on SnapChat (Add me: Jehzan), check out my tweets, and/or watch my Lumpia Lifestyle vlogs that I've been posting for the past few months now.
Well, summer continues to be an awesome time for me. With most of the kids in the family on summer break, it's been great spending time with my cousins and other friends and family. I've been vlogging ALOT and it's really fun but it does take some time to put together the content in a way that flows. I've released some tracks on my Soundcloud including "YaYaYa" (which is a remix to T-Wayne's Nasty Freestyle), "Roll Another" (another remix originally done by rapper Pryde), and an original called "Zero Gravity." I'm continuing to write and draft up new material. But, summer will be coming to an end soon and I will need to refocus back on my schooling and jobs.
With that said, I will have 2 to 3 more Friday Features up on my blog. I got a dope line up of female artists and some other groups! I will have 2 more vlogs posted on my Youtube channel. All of this will be leading up to a music video for "Roll Another" remix, which will showcase a lot of the stuff I've been up to this summer. Other than that, I got a new Lez Talk video up for yall and I'll be performing at Bar 35 in downtown Honolulu tonight! By the way, tomorrow's Friday Feature is fellow Hawaii Hip Hop artist and my good friend DallahDeezo from the island of Maui
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.