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.


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