BizarreBeyondBelief: What we see in the mainstream is a very distinctive “rap” genre, do you think it’s possible to maintain the true roots in hip-hop and achieve popular success?
1990: I think that most people who are trying to attain mainstream success don’t care about maintaining “true roots” in hop hop, but, that being said I think it is possible, even for a new artist. A$AP Rocky for example is attaining semi-mainstrem success and is a NEW artist and has respect because he is true to him self. thats the key, being honest.
Saidah: Yeah. Most music lovers these days aren’t really stuck to one genre, and the same goes for artists.
Beanez: I don’t think its possible anymore to remain true to hip-hop and get major success. I think it’s possible to stay true and get to a certain level but you will hit a wall and never break through. I think Sean Price is the perfect example. He is hip-hop to the core but it’s only the true heads that understand his value.
BBB: There’s been a wide-spread notion that “Hip-hop” is dead, do you feel that’s an accurate statement and how do you feel about the current state of hip-hop?
1990: I don’t agree. It evolved, just like every other music genre. I bet if a dope “boom-bap” group was marketed correctly they would have just as much chance at success as a “swag” rapper, ha ha. I don’t even know what to call it. Nah though, (Hip-Hop’s) not at all dead, (it’s) re-born.
Saidah: Hip-Hop isn’t dead, it’s just changing, j ust as it always has been changing. Yes, Hip-Hop isn’t what it used to be in the 90s, but same goes for other genres. Everything changes and evolves, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just different.
Beanez: I think it’s alive and well. Hip-hop ain’t dead it just lives in the clubs. People wanna party and the music is a reflection. Hip-hop now is just going through it’s changes (but) it will always be around. Hip-hop is fine.
BBB: Because of this, would you say that we are at a point in music where it is extremely difficult to achieve infamy in the genre of hip-hop?
1990: I think to get truly noticed you have to be doing something different, creative (and) unique because nearly everything has been done. Hip-hop “dying” has made it easier to be different and made it easier to achieve infamy in my opinion.
Saidah: No, I think it’s almost easier. A lot more people are being discovered.
Beanez: I don’t think you can be infamous in hip-hop anymore the internet has made it easy for anyone that’s good to be a star. You’re only as good as your last project.
BBB: (For Wra Beanz) – You guys were a duo prior to ANL. By adding two more individuals to complete Ain’t No Love as a group, how has the dynamic shifted and how is the creative process affected for each of you?
1990: HAH! The creative process has changed nearly 100%. We have a female soul singer to work with, which is amazing and our production levels sky-rocketed. We also hooked up with a special engineer (Fresh Kils) who has hugely helped cultivate our new sound.
Saidah: Well because we’re in different cities, not much has really changed in the dynamic. We are still doing the long distance thing. Musically though, the backbone provided by Liam’s beats has pushed us closer to the “Pop” side of things, which has made us more aware of songwriting techniques.
Beanez: The creative process has change like crazy. In a good way. Adding more people that you respect as an artist is always gonna enhance the work I think, and this new music gives us so much more freedom. I’m loving it.
BBB: Your group represents dually Montreal and Toronto, how would you say the reception of the group is in each city respectively?
1990: Last month we sold out our first show in Toronto at Wrongbar. Before that I was shook we’d only be accepted in Montreal until we did something big. Now though, I think each city represents equally. Until about four days ago two (of us) lived in Toronto and two in montreal (now 3 montreal). But yeah, very equal and hugely flattering.
Saida: Montreal (is) the city we debuted in. Huge support especially from the university crowd. Toronto (is) our home-town. We haven’t had that many shows, but the ones we’ve done have had a great reception!
Beanez: (In) Montreal the reception is crazy. Everyone shows so much love (and) it’s great to see. But in Toronto I think we still have to pave the way a little bit more (to) show the people a little bit more. I find there are more artists in Toronto and less fans. If you impress people there then you’re impressing your peers.
BBB: Would you say that there are more similarities or conflicting views of hip-hop within each city as well?
1990: Mmm yeah, not too different but there are. Some cities are more evolved and some are more stuck in the past,. Generally the bigger the city, the more open the public is to new sounds…
Beanez: I think the views are similar people want good music. Everything else is secondary.
BBB: The group’s played a number of shows in different cities such as Austin and Hartford. How would you compare and contrast that Canadian vs. American scenes?
1990: Hartford was hugely accepting of anything we threw their way, they just wanted to party and hear cool music, not unlike a university town in Ontario or Quebec. We we’re in Austin, Texas for SXSW which was really crazy. There were over 1500 artists. That scene is one of the most thriving in the world, not unlike Toronto or Montreal.
Saidah: I was surprised at how receptive American audiences were. It was great to see how open they were to our music. It was refreshing and very exciting.
Beanez: I think the scenes are the same like I said, it’s the music that matters. People no matter where you are or where your from are going to love you or hate you based on the music.
BBB: Your videos convey a lot of energy and passion, do you feel that is truly accurate to the filming process or is it more a mandatory step in a performers publicity?
1990: I don’t know, we’re pretty energetic people and the songs are pretty high energy so it naturally conveyed that (way). However, our new videos are much less like that and much more cinematic.
Saidah: If you come to our live shows you’ll understand that the energy you see in our videos comes naturally.
Beanez: The passion is real for me. What you see on camera is what you get in real life.
BBB: How would you say that energy and vibe contrasts from live performances?
1990: Absolutely, that’s where we shine. Our live performances are where we truly excel as a group.
Saidah: Same goes!
Beanez: I have learned through past projects that I’m best when I bring my energy so the music hopefully reflects that. On stage I try and show people that this is me and this is the energy I have for the music.
BBB: If there’s one major prize in the eye of ANL, like a certain venue, festival or performer/producer, what or who would it be and why that in particular?
1990: Well, I want to get signed. Not for money (entirely) but more for the symbolism or “okay, this is our job now”. It would make me feel a lot more comfortable. A major label would be alright, but an independent like Fool’s Gold or Mad Decent would be even better I think.
Saidah: I think we’ll all say different things. I’d love to be at The Grammys! Touring Europe and the USA would be another step.
Beanez: I wanna play the half-time show at the Superbowl. That has been my dream since I was young. Nuff said.
BBB: Finally, what keeps ANL ticking… What drives the group to keep on creating, inspiring and performing and what can be expected in the future both creatively and materially?
1990: I honestly think its just a bug that’s in any body. Same thing goes for visual artists, entrepreneurs and athletes. We’ve found something we love so much we obsess over it and constantly change it and evolve and thats what makes it fun. Also, live shows make it worth it every time. We’re dropping a bunch of videos and campaigns before summer. Our next album will be very 80s inspired and a little slower at some points and a little more mature. Think Drive meets Ain’t No Love.
Saidah: We all have our own individual drive to make music and when you combine that with the moving beats, the rest comes naturally. Our next project will be dropping Summer 2012!
Beanez: I think that we all just wanna make music. We took four people that love to make music and put them in a group. Nothing matters more to me than the music (and) I just wanna make music and perform. That’s what drives me. No one knows what the future will hold but I just hope it’s good things.