We have again encountered a time where hip-hop is being embraced and incorporated into all facets of music; dubstep, edm, electronic, and even trap-style artists have seemed to incorporate more hip-hop into their melting pot of sounds. Recently there has even been an increase in types of musical presenters, with female emcees being on a recognizable rise in the game. Joining Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea in their glory, we've seen the continued rise of Tink, the evolution of Dreezy's recent signing to Interscope Records, and we've welcomed Bre-Z ("Freda Gatz") into our hearts during her hard-hitting segments on, "Empire." Its only right that the ladies continue to step up in the scene; showing eveyrone that we, too, can be just as fearless.I had the pleasure of interviewing "Hawaii's Homegirl," AlliCat, another game-changing emcee that's currently based in Honolulu, Hawaii. She provided great insight on her hip-hop/r&b career, as well as some of her successes and roadblocks in music while living on the island.
Born Allison Danielle Lindsay, AlliCat is originally from Northeast Ohio in the city of Mansfield. Growing up on the city's South side, AlliCat lived a pretty fulfilling childhood, that always involved family, church, sports, and music. Whether she was singing in a church or school choir, or playing instruments that she's learned over time, she had a musical passion that has yet to diminish. She grew up performing in multiple school and holiday stage plays, and began writing spoken word poetry in high school as a means of communication with a former boyfriend.
AlliCat went on to study at The Ohio State University before joining the United States Army in 2003, where she continued to participate in spoken word events, freestyle cyphers, and open mic nights while off-duty. Her passion for music continued to grow, and while deployed to Southwest Baghdad, AlliCat recorded her very first track; a freestyle remix to Timbaland's "Indian Flute."
"The experience was surreal to me, honestly. Looking back, I still wonder how we were able to carry out the mission for the day and still have energy to write letters, keep in touch with our families, and then work on music, but I think our environment kept driving us to make it happen and I'm just grateful for that opportunity," said the artist.
Present-day, AlliCat continues to perform throughout Honolulu, Hawaii, citing 2016 as her most successful year on stage thusfar. She's slated to join lineups that headline Kevin Gates, Mike Jones, and Freebandz latest signee, Zoey Dollaz. AlliCat has already received raving reviews on her performances during Boosie BadAzz's and MIGOS' recent visits to the island. Truly an emcee, AlliCat gives the audience a great live performance. She’s confident, passionate, and definitely has fun on stage. I think that’s what makes her connect with the audience.
AlliCat describes her sound as unique and versatile. She credits a lot of her recent progress in music to simply learning to just to stay real to herself, stepping out of her comfort zone, and thinking outside of the box.
“I spent my first few years in Hawaii reaching the scene as a versatile artist, doing more hosting and promoting than performing; just taking time to connect with other artists, promoters, DJs, and venues. I was eager to join the ranks of the ladies in Hawaii hip-hop at the time, but found a greater advantage staying in the background getting to know everyone from a different perspective.
As far as the versatility in my music is concerned, I'll say its definitely been a trip! I've always felt more confident as a rapper than a singer, but I'm getting more requests and features for me to sing so it'll be exciting to watch as everything comes together this year."
Today, AlliCat continues to grind in all aspects of her music career. Recently releasing "Where Do I Go," featuring rapper Jonathan Wes and singer Sam Watson, AlliCat speaks on challenges of being an independent female artist, and the difficulties of finding balance. This is her 2nd single released from her Debut EP appropriately dubbed, "Hawaii's Homegirl." Slated for an early summer release, AlliCat isn't slowing down there. When asked what she had forthcoming, she mentioned the nearby conclusion of her 1st collaborative effort with one of Hawaii's most established rappers.
"Im really excited for the release of my first EP because this is really going to give everyone an overview of what I see, and how I'm feeling about life right now. Just a lot of good times and great vibes. I do also have other projects coming together and am open for collaborations. Just looking forward to seeing whats in store and hopefully releasing some music that everyone will enjoy."
Stay tuned for all updates with Hawaii's Homegirl at www.iAmAlliCat.com and on all social media outlets @iAmAlliCat.
ALLICAT'S NEW SINGLE, "WHERE DO I GO" (feat. Jonathan Wes & Sam Watson) IS AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE FOR DIGITAL DOWNLOAD. VISIT YOUR FAVORITE STREAMING SITE TODAY OR YOU CAN PURCHASE HERE! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/allicat
Cover image created by Dac Flames.
The essence of the classic Hip Hop period was a mix of different topics in the black experience which is still, if not, more relevant and important in today’s world. For many, Hip Hop culture and rap music play an integral role in understanding and expressing themselves. One rapper in particular uses hip hop to build community. Paul Willis, a rapper and activist representing Sacramento, CA by way of Boston, MA, incorporates Hip Hop elements into lesson plans and projects that help lead youth to self appreciation and confidence through critical thinking and creativity.
Building community is what Paul Willis is all about. “In order to connect with other people, especially as an artist, you have to be self-aware and have an awareness and consciousness of the people and events that shape the world around you. If my music connects with others, then I get excited about the conversations once the music stops, and what that conversation then means for my communities” said Willis. I took a listen to Walkups & Alleyways, Willis’ latest joint EP with producer 006 and it’s proof that conscious lyricism mixed with smooth beats can still slap. I’m a sucker for chill beats and vocals that tell stories and take me through the artist’s life. Willis definitely delivers.
Paul Willis is a Hip Hop artist, rapper, and activist who was born and raised in Boston, MA, whose family is originally from Kingston, Jamaica. “We know that hip-hop has roots in reggae music, and it’s the consciousness of reggae and hip-hop artists that influenced me the most growing up. Listening to the dancehall music was a normal experience in my household, especially when my older brother and I got to high school, but it was the conversations around the messages in the music that were the most enlightening” said Willis. Some of Willis’ musical influences include Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, Common, Black Thought, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Immortal Technique, Guru and Kanye. He notes that since moving to Sacramento he’s been really inspired by artists who are making global music. “Some of my elders here include World Hood, who are the founders of the Sol Collective, and Devon Evans, a member of the original Wailers. I was already aspiring to make music that connects with people across the world, and these are folks whose example I can follow,” said Willis.
Paul Willis aspires to continue to build community through Hip Hop, whether that be through rap or education. He currently works with Zero Forbidden Goals Promotions (ZFG), a community organization centered around the creative arts and writing. A major long term goal of his is to finish the hip-hop & education curriculum that he’s working on. It covers social justice issues, issues of cultural competency and how hip-hop plays a role in bridging cultures. In the short term, Willis is looking to release his 5th project later this year, and building relationships with artists around the world through ZFG’s #GuerillaPoetryMonth campaign. Paul Willis’ Walkups & Alleyways EP is available for download via bandcamp. More of his music can be found on soundcloud, and more info about his projects can be found on his patreon page.
Yo! Big Aloha from your Hawaii rap blogger, greetings on this LIT 4/20. In the spirit of Mary Jane, here's the top five list of my favorite songs about weed. Some classic Hip Hop tunes you might recognize and some new stuff that I listen to when I'm in the zone. Have a safe and happy 4/20. Light it up for peace, love, and unity!
Also, check out these other dope stoney vibed tracks from the underground!
And if you in Honolulu check out tonight's concert The Republik, Hawaii's homegirl AlliCat along with the man Aktion TwentyBirdz will be in the opening act line-up! Peace.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.