Un-Retiring Razer – Game Plan

Razer and I have been hanging out more often, and I think I have an opening.

He hates his job, absolutely hates it (his fulltime one not his once a week video game job), but he is not willing to make a jump back into music.

Remember when I went off on how I wanted to transcend  all hip hop genres? Well, I guess you could say that Razer thinks the same way as me. I like his take on music and wanting the freedom to tackle it all, completely unshackled.  Integrate rock, reggaeton, hip hop elements, pretty much doing whatever sounds good to make the best possible music, regardless of the genres.  I really agree with him when he says: We should be able to use elements from all music if it makes the song “sound” better.  That’s exactly what I have wanted to start.  Cut through this bullshit of what “real” hip hop is and tackle whatever is tossed at us.

So like I have been saying since I first recognized Razer, he is going to join this group whether he knows it or not.  I got Mooch (our future manager) and Chemist (1 of 2 of our beat makers) together and we’re heading down to his place for what can only be described as a Cleveland hip hop Intervention.

I’ll give an update on how things went tomorrow.

A Rising Hip Hop Star Falls

Razer aka The RZR

Razer aka The RZR

Proph here continuing the Razer interrogation.  But first a public service announcement: This is the last weekend to come out and see my play The Aperture so please come and support the local Cleveland Arts. Click here for details on The Aperture.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, Razer and I sat down at a local bar and kept talking about music.  I told him about my ongoing hip hop soap opera, and he told me his crazy journey through the Detroit hip hop world.

So here’s what I found out about The RZR…Apparently, a lot of things have changed since his album dropped, and he needed to focus on other things instead. (Those personal stories are for him to tell if he ever feels that’s necessary, but as for the music end, that’s free game!  Sorry Razer.)

He pretty much said that he felt pressure to conform to what the underground hip hop scene defined as “real” at the time.  And that in trying to live up to what they dictated, he was compromising himself as a rap artist.  If he wasn’t changing his style for the radio, he sold himself self to the other devil and changed his style for the Detroit Hip Hop underground, which at the time was very dark.  I liked how he put it, (paraphrasing of course), but he basically said: In Detroit hip hop (at the time) it was always about not being a sell out.

Don’t be the next Kid Rock; Don’t be the next Eminem; Don’t be the next ICP (yes, they had a small window of some mainstream success).  It’s like you’re cool until you make it, then you’re just a sell out, especially if you make something that’s catchy.  I was always being told to push the envelope.  Shock, shock, swear and shock some more. Anything else is being a fake ass sellout to the mainstream.  The harder core you were, the more “real” you were keeping it, even if it was fake.  At least that was the case about 2-3 years ago.

It’s changed a bit since then. He said, it’s changed mainly because of the hard work put in by the late Proof & Dilla.  Now we got some great artists like Black Milk, not to mention Royce the 5’9″ has steadily been doing his thing over the years.  Razer pretty much finished talking about when he started to write like that (for shock value), he realized that he was still selling himself out just for the Detroit hip hop underground scene instead of the mainstream radio.  “I wasn’t being real to myself.”  Razer had got to a point where he just wanted to make good music about his life without the limited constraints of always being pissed off.

He said his style was evolving, and he recorded two last tracks to enter into a hip hop contest to be part of a tour.  These two tracks were by far his best, but no one cared.  It wasn’t that Razer thought he was the best…It’s not that he should have been number 1…It was that he was beat by 50 other people, some of which were pathetic jokes at best and  were nothing more than a gimmick.  The “winners” were filled with people who rapped about rape and about aborted fetuses just because it was taboo.  There was no substance; it was just one person trying to out do the other.  That’s what the fans wanted, that’s not who Razer was, so he walked away.

I remember he specifically said, “I had no place in the Detroit hip hop scene at a time dominated by horrorcore and obscenity.  So I walked away from hip hop.”

I (as in Prophet The Rebel,) focused on a few key words such as “his style was evolving.” 

“So you do still rap ?” I asked.

He smiled, and said let me show you something (in a very unhomosexual way, mind you.)  We got in his car, pulled up to a place. Down some stairs and with the flick of a switch we walked into a real studio!  Okay, maybe not your huge mixing board with a spot for every instrument in a professional orchestra, but a studio with every music program I would need, synthesizers, mpc’s, electronic drums, preamps, amps, guitars, cool electrical thingies I had no idea what they do, lots of wires and and the greatest microphone to ever grace the industry (I am not telling you which one cause if you care, then you know.)

My mouth hit the floor.  “You have a studio?! You can record music!?”    “Well I have two sort of, this and a place in Detroit,” he said. “Oh I can also do HD videos, semi-professional photography and have marketing and legal connections.  Would you like a beer?”

“My ass you’re retired…you were preparing for an onslaught!” I said.

“Nope,” he rebutted. “I’m retired…This is just so I can make music and record for myself.  If I feel like writing some songs on guitar, I can.  If I wanna sing, I can.  If I wanna rap, I can.  Which is what I just did this last week.  Want to hear some new stuff?  Razer finished off by saying he has “begun writing a bit but as for making it in the hip hop industry, he’s done.

We’ll see about that!

P.S.- His new stuff was killer. Very, very different, but killer.  I’m going to try to convince him to post some of it.  As for now he only agreed to upload a teaser on his MySpace.  It really is nothing, just a 10 second intro to a song he played for me, but he hasn’t had a song posted for over a year or two so this has to be a sign that I am getting through to him.  So, I’m begging you…Go to Razer’s MySpace, and drop comments that you want to hear more.

I’m determined to bother this man until he caves and joins our group.

Detroit Hip Hop Mystery – Razer, Part 2

Proph here with Razer aka The RZR interrogation part 2.  I waited until he got off work yesterday  and we headed out.  This time I started with asking Razer about the hip hop recording process.  I figure he could give me contacts and teach me a little about what it’s like, what to expect in the rap game.

It was interesting to hear his Detroit hip hop stories…About his first time being in the studio, his first time on stage, how scared shitless he was when he performed on a massive stage in front of like 800 people. (I know it’s small potatoes to most.)  It may have been unnerving, but the highlight of his very short career, according to him.  He told me how he got the nickname The RZR, (Hint, hint…It has something to do with him and the Wu-Tang Clan back in the days, and it actually has a few meanings.)

Something that was really interesting to find out was that he learned a lot over the past few years in producing and recording.  He had more then just a solo rap LP; he worked in a studio, helped record a local Ohio rapper, a band from Columbus, became good friends with one of Ohio’s biggest indie bands, Bancroft, worked on some commercials (one that aired at the X-games, but I forgot the year) and  even worked on an indie film…It started with a “D.”

Ya know what? As he talked about his past, I saw the piece of my hip hop crew that had been missing.  But why did he walk away from music, why did one of the Midwest’s most promising young hip hop artists just vanish? Well, he kept that little secret to himself…That is until we started drinking some beers after work! Amazing what a little alcohol can do.

Details to come before the week ends…

Detroit Hip Hop Meets Cleveland Hip Hop, Razer – Part 1

Man, do I have a killer midwest hip hop story for you!  Acting in this play has been eating up most of my time, so I’m gonna have to break this story into parts.

The day after my last post,  Razer was working again.  I walked right into the store and called out, “What’s up Razer”? Right when he turned around, my boy snapped a pic.  I think that this time he knew the gig was up, and I think he was possibly a bit embarrassed as the other guys at work were like “uhhhh wtf?!”

I started into to him with the questions immediately. “What the hell!?”  I said.  “What happened to you?  Where have you been, and why didn’t you say anything when I told you what I was doing?  Come on, Detroit Hip Hop at it’s finest is here in Cleveland, and you’re not going to say a word when I tell you about my hip hop dreams?

“I’m retired from hip hop,” He said. “Rapping is in my past.”

“Your past my ass! Why were you with Matisyahu at HOB?  Hmmmm?” I challenged him. “Plus it’s in you, you can’t just walk away from your calling. Hip hop is who you are, and you just can’t change who you are, especially when you just started picking up steam.”

He avoided my prying with “I wasn’t hanging out with Matisyahu, I was just there that night.” (Right, that’s why you came from back stage); and “I’m really not interested in picking up the mic again.”

Why not?”  I asked.

He then turns to the boss and asks to take a break so we can walk around and discuss this whole thing.  He lit up a cigar as we walked out. “I don’t usually smoke but a few times a year a really nice cigar crosses my path and, well, I indulge.  You don’t mind do you?”

“Of course not. You don’t mind if my boy nabs a few pics do you…for my blog, do you?”     “Uhhh, I guess not as long as I see what you’re doing with them first.”

And that was that, we ended up talking for about 15 minutes, most of it him saying that he really isn’t into that whole scene these days and trying to avoid my questions.  But I was persistent and refused to take no for an answer.  I’m going to find out the truth behind this Detroit Hip Hop emcee one way or another.  Then I’m going to do anything in my power to un-retire (Is that a word?) this supposedly retired underground rapper.  Cleveland and Detroit hip hop will unite damnit!

I got him to the point where he sighed and said, “Look, meet me after I get off work, and we can talk some more.”

And that my friends is where this hip hop story gets interesting.

So, you wanna do me a big favor? I’m leaking Razer’s Twitter account he gave me the other day. It’s @Razer_theRZR. Go bug the hell out of him to start rapping again…Just don’t tell him I sent you.

Unfortunately for now I really got to run. I’m exhausted from this weekend’s round of performances. (Side note: Isn’t it weird how once you’re name starts appearing in the papers as an up-and-coming actor, all the people you never got along with in the past decides to suddenly pick up the phone and want to talk to you? My uncle literally called looking for me…Apparently, he saw one of my acting reviews in the paper, and he wants to be my manager now. I guess this fakeness just goes with the territory, huh? Everyone wants a piece of the pie when someone’s onto something big.)

So without further adieu, here’s a shot Razer and me to prove that I am not a total moron, and he really does look different that how I remembered him.  If you still don’t believe me, then compare it to Razer’s MySpace pic. After you see that one, you really can’t blame me for not putting two and two together.

Prophet and Razer

Prophet and Razer

Oh yeah, and remember how I said I was working on getting some of my free styling stuff up on my MySpace page? Well, it’s finally up! I put a couple of my free styling sessions from when I was on the Rusty Munchyz Show awhile back.

Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/prophettherebelofficial. Let me know what you think about them too! I need some comment love on the blog!

Hip Hop Gods: Enter New Guy – Stage Left

So I’ve been working with this guy on the job.  We hardly work together because he is only there like once a week, if even that.  He’s only there as a very part time side job.  He’s a pretty cool guy, but what is really bugging me is that his name sounds familiar…Maybe just cause his name is a sport. (This kid’s name is pronounced “hockey,” and I don’t have a clue if that’s really how you spell it!) Anyway, his name sounds really familiar, and I keep having this feeling that I’ve met him before. At least that’s what I thought until I went to a freestyle session with my boyz and told them how we gotta have this guy over to play some Xbox 360, (Chemist still has his).

When I said the name, someone looked at me and said, “Is this guy from Detroit?”

“Uh…Yeah! How did you know he was from Detroit?”

“You idiot! Don’t you realize who you are working with?!”  He ran over to the CD rack and dusted off a three-year-old hip hop album from a Detroit rapper named Razer. I looked through the CD booklet, and sure enough, the guy I work with is Razer.

My boy told me, “Razer was hot shit back when his CD hit the Detroit hip hop underground scene, but finding info on him now is slim to none.  He disappeared almost as fast as he appeared.”

Then it all came back to me, I am an idiot! I just met him a little while ago at a concert and took a picture with him and Matisyahu.  Hell I was so hyped about it I  even wrote a Starstruck post about Razer and Matisyahu! I completely did not recognize Razer at work.  (Hey in my defense, Razer has grown out his hair long, has a beard, and was not in his usual attire.)

While I sat there wondering how I could have missed it, my friends jumped onto the internet. Twenty minutes and a Google search later, we verified it. He is/was the guy once known, Razer or The RZR to some, a Detroit rapper who is one of the Midwest’s finest emcees, IMHO.

That’s why his name sounded familiar, and that’s when I had an idea. He may be the key to this whole crazy midwest hip hop plan.  Stay tuned because  I’m definitely gonna confront this guy about our project, and find out what happened to him, and how the hell he winded up in Cleveland! And when I’m done compiling his story, I’m going to convince Razer to help me out with my hip hop dream!

First thing’s first though, I’m gonna get a picture with him for my Punk Revolution Blog to prove that I’m not a total moron, and he really does look different.

Rap Must Have Beef!

“Proph, we need to talk.”

It was the first thing I heard when I answered my cell phone tonight. Just because Proph took a step back from the beats for a bit didn’t mean that Dwayne and Chemist did too.

Apparently, Dwayne and Chemist aren’t seeing eye to eye on my solo Prophet Album. (I’m sure you remember awhile back when the three of us decided to end the Alumni  Elites and focus on my solo hip hop project instead?) Well, now Dwayne isn’t into Chemist’s Midwest beats and style, and Chemist ain’t into the whole ghetto fab gangsta rap music Dwayne wants to make. So now Chemist is holding his beats for a duo Prophet-Chemist project, and Dwayne is threatening to hold all of his  beats exclusively for himself.

Hello?! Anyone care about my opinion?

I love all music.  I don’t give a damn about this supposed “sound” Dwayne and Chemist are trying to forge for me. I don’t care what genre it is as long as the music is good.  Why does hip hop always got to be this or that!?  Why can’t each song stand on its own? Why can’t an album be diverse instead of the same old cookie-cutter crap?!  Rock music takes risks sometimes, so why can’t hip hop and rap?  I mean come on…People download on a song by song basis these days now anyways.

Everyone has an idea of what is or isn’t hip hop.  Apparently, this music game is now more about Prophet The Rebel’s image, as opposed to his rapping and free styling talent.  How will Prophet dress? How will Prophet sound? Prophet The Rebel needs to make this kind of hip hop. No, people don’t want to hear that kind of hip hop, they want to hear this kind of hip hop.  This is what Cleveland rap is supposed to sound like.  This is what’s hot in the Midwest.

I say: ENOUGH!

I wanna transcend all genres.  I’m versatile enough to do anything, and I don’t need to be backed into only one corner.  I wanna rebel against it all, (hence the name people)!  I wanna make music that has killer hooks, killer rhymes and killer meaning.  The hell with having to sound like this or that! Screw staying in the tired gangsta rap genre.  Screw hating on radio-friendly music just cause it ain’t underground enough.  I wanna make music…good, meaningful music. Am I the only one who feels like this?! Cause Chemist and Dwayne think I’m crazy.

Enough about me, drop a comment and tell me how your life is going in 09. Me? I’m a bit tired of mine already.  Plus, comments make me feel like people listen to me. Show me some love!

Pause Cleveland Hip Hop, Play The Aperture

Proph here with an acting update.  So while I figure out this whole Cleveland hip hop mess, the show must go on, and in my case that means my new play: The Aperture.

I just finished my last performance of opening weekend a few hours ago, and I feel like I’m on the top of the world right now! I just keep playing everything over and over again in my mind…

I went through my pre-show regimen Friday night with ease. I was calm when I arrived three hours before the show to do some last minute rehearsing. I was still pretty relaxed as I took a small dinner break, and then came the most crucial part of my pre-show schedule…My panic attack. I guess it’s not really a panic attack, it’s more like psyching myself up before the show. I force myself to have a pre-show “panic attack” about a half an hour before I go on the stage to clear my mind and get out all of the jitters. I also use this pre-show panic attack to pray…no beg…the man upstairs to help me put on a good show. I wrap that up with some kind of warm-up to get my blood pumping, like 15 push-ups and/or jumping jacks. Once I get all the worry out, I slow things down a bit and do some meditation. I step on the stage, and my mind goes blank…At this point, it’s all about the performance. No turning back now.

The best thing about this weekend’s performance is that half of Cleveland State’s Theater Department came out to see me on opening night. These are the people I look up to, who I try to emulate, and they were there to see me. It’s cool too cos these people are my worst critics. They always tell it to me straight up, and this weekend, they told me I did really well. It was such an awesome and humbling experience at the same time.

We will be doing this play until March 28th, so in the interim, I’m devoting all of my energy to the show. When it’s done, I’ll switch gears and focus solely on Prophet The Rebel’s hip hop game. I’m excited to put my hip hop hat on again…So much so that I plan on heading down to this bar, B-Sides in Coventry for its open mic night. I’ll step off the acting stage and step up to the hip hop stage.

Anyone else out there privy to the open mic scene in Cleveland, Ohio? Hit me up cos I’d love to meet you while I’m out doing my thing.