Afroway Magazine Afroway Magazine Issue 05 - Page 20

five steez Five Steez is among not so many jamaican Hip Hop artists who are keeping Hip Hop alive in that part of the world. His music is being appreciated in different parts of the world. Steez is an independent artist on the path to accomplishment and he proudly expresses himself as so, a hardworking artist. He recently put out ‘Work’ a song he expresses his efforts in building a legacy and focusing on growth. Steez is currently working with his long-time partner and producer Mordecai on a new LP which is due out soon next year to be precise. Afroway caught up with the artist in an informative interview about the state of Hip Hop in Jamaica, his musical growth and achievements and of course the upcoming project. Afroway: Hey Five Steez, what’s good? Five Steez: All is well. I’m happy to be chatting with you. I’m very grateful for the support as well. Afroway: Let’s dive into this now, tell us about Five Steez… Afroway: Let’s dive into this now, tell us about Five Steez… Five Steez: Five Steez is an independent Hip Hop artist hailing from Kingston, Jamaica. I’ve been around for some time now with multiple releases stemming from 2010, namely the Momentum mixtape series with DJ Ready Cee and my original projects, War for Peace, These Kingston Times and HeatRockz. I think of myself as new school boom-bap… true school, rather… with my own twist on things… sometimes, it’s a Jamaican sound or slang, but moreso, a Jamaican perspective and reality that you’ve never gotten before in Hip Hop. Afroway: What is the state of Hip Hop in Kingston or Jamaica for that matter? Five Steez: The culture is very much underground in Jamaica. American Hip Hop music is popular, like all other pop music, but the local scene lacks the infrastructure and, by extension, the support that 20 M Afroway Magazine || And we never made any money out of that lol… we definitely created a buzz, made a lot of connections, gained respect and cultural capital. But it was a burden. You pay the cost to be the boss. Afroway: How would you describe your music; that is in your own definition? Five Steez: Real music from the soul. That’s what it is. If it’s not that, it’s just me rhyming and having fun. But my music is always a reflection of my self, my life and my surroundings. Dancehall and Reggae gets. There are many Hip Hop artists and producers but few opportunities. Some of us have been making a name for ourselves and there are crews in Kingston, Portmore, Spanish Town, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, just to name a few sections of the island. Hip Hop artists are pretty much all over. There are breakdancers here in Kingston as well as Ocho Rios. There is not much graffiti… we have other forms of street art though, dancehall posters etc… things that are not really tied to Hip Hop culture. There is also a small community of DJs and turntablists I became more exposed to sometime last year. Because there are not many outlets, the scene is still somewhat scattered and located in different pockets. Afroway: Your latest release “True Original’ is one wicked track, and a great teaser of what to expect from the next project, what inspired this production? Five Steez: I don’t know what Mordecai was thinking when he did this beat but I know when I heard it, I just felt to speak my mind with where my head was at at that specific point in time. So that’s exactly how I started my verse. I usually let the beat tell me what to do, where to go, what to say… I just zone out to beats and wait for something that feels right before I begin. So I would say the beat itself inspired the lyrics and the outcome of it all. Between 2012 and 2015, myself and my partners in The Council staged a regular Hip Hop event called Pay Attention and that brought a good amount of media coverage and general awareness about the local movement for a while. It was a party and artist showcase and many of the most respected acts touched the stage at some point. Since then, I think the energy and vibe of the entire scene has somewhat tapered off, but I’m watching to see what the younger generation does. I’m in my early 30s and I’ve been on the scene for over a decade as a performer. I want to see what the teenagers and 20-sumn year olds do with it… many are into the trap vibe, which is expected, but I have my ear out for the MCs. Afroway: How is it like being one of the key artists in the Jamaican independent Hip Hop scene? Five Steez: It’s an honour and a great source of pride, but it’s also a huge responsibility and a burden at times. It’s also very humbling. It’s something that would give a lot of people a huge ego, but I’m aware of how far I still need to go and how much people expect me to succeed or look to me for guidance, hope or inspiration. In many ways, I’ve put on for the scene, by simply talking about the movement, helping other artists, and, most definitely, staging Pay Attention… that was us coming out of pocket and putting on a show for the entire community… time and time again. Afroway: Tell us about your music journey with The Council… Five Steez: It’s been a long journey with The Council. While this name is only a few years old, we’ve all been linking musically for a little over a decade since we met at Gambling House Recording Studio circa 2004/5. That was the Mecca for local Hip Hop since then up until a few months ago when the property was sold. It went through different stages but in the last four years, it was The Council and a few other collaborators of ours that took over the studio and began doing our music there. There is even more history to The Council though as I’ve known Nomad Carlos since the seventh grade and we came up in a rap group together. It’s a similar story with Inztinkz and TSD… they both are high school friends and were also in a rap group together. So The Council, in a way, was a merger of two groups, or the remnants of them lol Afroway Magazine || 21