Interview with U-N-I [engl. version]

>> Hi Y-O and Thurzday! Since most German rap cats might be quite unfamiliar with you, introduce yourselves at first.

Thurz: whaddup, my name is Thurz…son of Sandra, [laughing] I'm straight outta Inglewood, CA and I'm the one
in the Beautiful Day video with the red hat and Stussy lumberjack.

Y-O: I'm Y-O, born in Seattle, WA and lived in the Wood since '96.  I'm the cat with the Mohawk in the Beautiful Day video.

>> I read that you are making music together since highschool in 1999 which is quite a long time. Are there any other releases yet besides Fried Chicken and Watermelon?

Thurz: we've done a few mixtapes with a crew we used to be apart of called Rapture Kamp.  Those projects
helped hone our skills.  FCAW is a street album that really introduces us to everyone and lays the foundation for things to come.

>> Is it correctly that you released FCAW completely independent?

Y-O: Yeah, we released FCAW completely independent and we are still indie.  We want to create our own fanbase
and eventually link up with a major to massively distribute and market our product.  We want to show folks that we are capable of creating our own movement.

>> Anyway, are you fulltime musicians (saw you were touring the whole US) or do you have a 'normal life'
besides? If so, what do you do when not working on dope music?

Thurz: we are fulltime everything! [Laughs]. I work a 9 to 5 at this actuary firm and I have a daughter to take care of at the house.  So when I'm not performing or recording, I'm with the fam, or slaving at the job to pay these bills and my debt from buying shoes.

Y-O: I work a 9 to 5 at this school mentoring the youth, picking them up from school, and helping them with their homework. So when I'm not handling this music biz, I'm earning my check to keep buying kicks.

>> My first contact with your music was the video of 'Beautiful Day' which I really liked because it has an easy, positive vibe and doesn't stress any of todays popular gangster- or badboy clichés. It's straight forward good music. Do you think that this is what makes the difference between you and most currently popular acts?

Thurz: definitely!  We're not aiming to be anyone but ourselves, and our music represents us and the common
individual.  A lot of acts today are puppets and do what they're told.  We've started our own movement with honest music that has been neglected from the mainstream, and the response from the people has been very receptive.

>> Once again on the video: I liked the idea of putting the credits at the end. How did that idea come up?

Y-O: Tomas Whitmore is a genius and he came up with that idea.  He added an instrumental from one of our upcoming songs to give folks a glimpse of what was coming in the near future, and he also managed to capture a lot of footage from our stomping grounds in Inglewood.

>> Let's talk about your music. In my opinion FCAW is a great album. I can listen to every song, doen't have to skip a single track and never get bored. Moreover most tracks come along with a fresh idea or cool story. Overall it seems like it was a lot of thought and work involved. How long did you work on it and how can we imagine your work process?

Thurz: we worked on this street album for about 3 to 4 months.  We compiled beats that we were feeling from different producers.  A lot of concepts would come up by driving and blasting the beat in my car and thinking of topics that fit the track.  We'd go back and forth with ideas, verses and hooks and chose the material we thought sounded the best.  The concept of the street album was to show the world that the west coast can produce some good Hip Hop outside of the gangsta rap that the Coast is known for, and we have achieved that.

>> Another reason for the album being so homogenous is the beat selection. How did picking the beats work?
Did you have a clear idea of how FCAW should sound like and worked directly with the producers or did you
just get tons of random beats and chose them by circumstance?

Y-O: there was no clear idea of what the album should sound like.  We were just having fun with our music. We'd meet up with producers at their studio and go through tracks.  We'd pick the beats that caught our attention and moved us.  We then organized the playlist on how we felt the songs should transistion from one to the next.

>> There's that K.R.E.A.M. song on the LP which brought you quite a bit of fame. How did that idea develop?

Thurz: we've been into the streetwear culture for a while, and sneakers play a major role in that arena. Along with sneakers, music plays a major role, and in Hip Hop, Wu-Tang is one of the greatest groups of our time. "C.R.E.A.M." is a classic song and acronym for "Cash Rules Everything Around Me".  With us being into sneakers, we spend a lot of money on shoes, so we thought it would be clever to flip the classic song and apply it to our lifestyles.  Thus you have "K.R.E.A.M.", "Kicks Rule Everything Around Me."

>> As you might have noticed we are a German blogzine. So, I'm interested in the cognition of the German or
generaly European hiphop scene in the US. Do you know any German or European artists there? I know that the producers Shuko and Phrequincy are starting to work with US artists on are more regular basis. Are there
others which you recognize?

Y-O: we don't know many artists and producers in the European Hip Hop scene, but we've been in contact with
the producer Lefto.  Our good friend Aloe Blacc was just touring out there as well.

>> When you hear about a hiphop scene in europe - how does it feel? Are you proud that your culture spread
that far or has it a negative connotation?

Thurz: we feel great that Hip Hop is being appreciated in different parts of the world.  It lets us know that good music can still touch and relate to different crowds.  We're very proud to be apart of Hip Hop knowing that it has spread that far and we don't see any negativity involved with that.

>> Can we expect you to come to germany in the foreseeable time? I.e. to the Splash! festival?

Y-O: we'd love to come out to Germany and rock.  As soon as we're able to come out there we will be hopping on the plane.  Hopefully we'll be out there this year!

>> By the way do you know the Splash! ?

Thurz: Yes Indeed!  It's the biggest festival in Europe.  We definitely need to be on the bill for that this year, so let's make that happen!

>> Anything else you want to say? Any shoutouts?

Both: Shoutouts to Daniela and Dre of Contrashadow PR, Chris London, Faahz, Swivll and everybody down with U-N-I