Grindhouse aka Gemini
16 June 2010
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Grindhouse, Please tell us a bit about yourself, as people are normally not familiar with 831 artists.
[ Grindhouse ] : First and foremost let me give a shout out to BayUndaground.com for supporting underground artist. It's people like you who make the biggest difference when it comes to us pushing our music. Thank you.
As an artist I'm not the rowdy, rowdy type of guy. I don't run up in people's faces & start rapping. I don't even mention that I rap. I'm a firm believer that the music speaks for itself. Yet, I believe in hard networking especially outside my area. I think that's where it counts the most. I love and support my area, but it's biased opinions & I'm looking to make it outside the 831. The world is a big place & at the hands of the internet, it's within our reach.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How did you start rapping? I normally hear from artists that they were doing this and that ever since their adolescence. But you probably weren't a teenager back in 2002.
[ Grindhouse ] : I used to maybe rap a few lines here and there as a teenager, but never really took it serious. On a personal note, I'm a joker / smartass at heart, so I would rap to make fun of a situation. In 1992 I would buy the cassette singles that came in the cardboard sleeves back in the day. I had Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day". And back then the singles came with an instrumental. I recorded, "It Was A Good Day" using Ice Cube's lyrics and random played it for my friends. It was a joke though, I wouldn't tell them it was me & they never noticed until I mentioned it & they paid close attention.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How did 2Face Entertainment start? When was it founded?
[ Grindhouse ] : 2Face Entertainment was founded in 1999 after a string of working with other independent labels. I'm not the type to burn bridges, but things were not going in the direction that I wanted them to go in. I don't have a dictator's frame of mind, but rather a person who goes for the gusto. Often times that is distorted due to others not visualizing the same dream. To many people it may seem far fetched & although many say they are going after their dream, they lose faith at some point. I've always stood firm in my dreams, so it all falls back into the ol' saying, if you want something done, you got to do it yourself.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Please tell us about your first underground projects. Who were you networking with back then?
[ Grindhouse ] : My very first underground projects were in fact cassettes. I would rap over instrumentals using a karaoke machine back in 1993. Again, I wasn't serious about it, it was pretty much the whatever attitude. A friend of mine who went by the name of Droopy Dog (myspace.com/break1979) & I did the first tape titled, "Str8 Frum Da Undaground". Droopy Dog introduced me to a white rapper who went by the name of Slim Loc aka Young Sinn aka Tommy Blue Eyez R.I.P.
Droopy Dog moved to Texas in 1994 and Tommy Blue Eyez and I stayed connected and proceeded to record a full length tape (Fred Fish featuring 1216 - Catch of the Day.) 1216 was the area codes merged with me being from the Salinas Valley (831 = 12) & Tommy Blue Eyez claiming Sacramento (916 = 16). Now, being a rapper in the early 90's wasn't like it is now. There was only a handful of us, so a lot of people in my hometown laughed & made fun of us. There were a few who attempted to rap, but it was short lived for a lot of them. It was more a fad for them people. A lot of people said we were fake, but if you weren't rapping the gangsta raps back then, people didn't want to hear you. It falls into finding oneself... I see that now. Looking back, I don't expect people to have understood us back then. I was the first rapper & the first to put out a tape in my hometown of Soledad, Calif. So with that being said, everything was brand new in every aspect (independent artist etc.) The best way I could put it is, we were actually recording mixtapes before they were the in thing. And for the same thing that a lot of people laughed & hated us for, is the thing that became popular to do in the 2G's.
Feeling down & out over the ridicule from hometown people, I met more rappers in 1997. Tommy Blue Eyez introduced me to rappers Jo Jo (Young Blaze) sixteen years old at the time and Key Loc (Key Loom). From Key Loom I was introduced to Yun-Gun who I handed a tape to in mid 97. I was on the phone with Yun-Gun talking to him about the tape I recorded. I told him how bad it sucked to save myself from more ridicule, but to my surprise he said he liked it. "It's not so much the concept, but rather the way you put it all together, man. The sound effects in the background. The movie skits over the music. And all done with a karaoke, a bunch of tapes for tracks, one mic & a VCR? That's tight!" It inspired Yun-Gun to release an E.P. entitled "#1 Suspect."
It gave me a fresh new look & motivation to give the game another shot. I gathered recordings that had been shelved which included songs with Young Blaze, Tommy Blue Eyez, Key Loom & myself. I envisioned I was no longer going to record on a karaoke machine using instrumentals. And after the two previous underground tapes, I released a six song cassette E.P. titled, "Fred Fish Presents... The Last Bootlegs."
[ BayUndaground.com ] : And your debut solo "Casualties Of Life". What do you feel when you think of it now? What could people hear on it? Is it still available somewhere?
[ Grindhouse ] : "Casualties Of Life" is a real personal album for me. It was actually a four year project. I had lost my dad in Oct. of 1997 and I wasn't able to focus back into the music until 1998. I was incarcerated for small charges in the midst of all that. I started to get my life back on track when my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor in Nov. of 1999. It was successfully removed, but she lost her memory in the process. She was placed in a rest home & was now a vegetable. After two months in the rest home I quit my job & took her home to care for her myself. In the process of raising two kids (my nephews) on my own. It was in late 2000 when my mom started to get back to normal.
Once my mom got back to normal (doctors were surprised because she was not supposed to recover & made a 100% recovery once I cared for her myself), I started recording "Casualties Of Life" in 2000 with "Blind Justice" being the first song recorded for that album & under the 2Face Entertainment label. Listening to that album now, I honestly don't like listening to it too much. "Casualties Of Life" is real from beginning to end & captures a period in my life that I don't really like looking back on.
"Casualties Of Life" featured the hottest artist in the 831 at the time. Plus having big named artist like Yukmouth, Young Droop, Mr. Kee, Dutch, Kaoz The Assassin at the time. My initial plan was blow up the 831 and bring the 831 with me. That was my reason for having so many features.
At the time I didn't know of CD Baby, or it wasn't as popular as it is now. It was a strictly a limited release. I been asked to re-release it, but I'm truly not happy with the quality of it & no longer have the masters to it. Who knows? If I get enough people to want it I might just do that, or let people download it for free. It's underground, but on a personal note, I'm spilling my heart & soul on it.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : 2Face released the debut project by Yun-Gun, one of the most known Salinas artists. Are you still networking?
[ Grindhouse ] : Yun-Gun & I still network to this day. He's one of the few that went on to do his own thing, yet remains a solid 2Face Ent. affiliate. Yun-Gun & I are actually good friends on a personal level. He produced a few of my new upcoming projects.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What happened to Doom?
[ Grindhouse ] : Doom the OriGinal. The last song he produced for me was "Baby Boy" in which I feature Davina "The Queen of Northern Cali." He went on to also do his own thing & we remained networking. Due to another individual who I won't mention... I feel he caught Doom in a vulnerable stage in his life & cause our relationship to diminish. I, to this day don't understand the full reason, but I don't care to speak on it any further. I will say Doom has moved outside the 831 area & I hold no grudge, or dislike towards him. I got nothing but love for dude. He is truly a seasoned Vet & a talented individual & important to this game we call rap.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : 8 years back... it must have been strange that Bay Area rap scene had so many active rappers, while Central Cali was sort of blank spot on the map. Or am I wrong? What the local scene looking like?
[ Grindhouse ] : I don't want this to be misread as arrogant, so understand that my demeanor is humble. The 831 area at the time was heavily influenced by the Bay Area. We were trying to make noise out this way & often fell on deaf ears. It became a circle of rappers who pretty much traded our cd's like baseball cards. I personally believe (and not taking nothing away from anybody) that the area really woke up with the release of Yun-Gun's "16 Shotz Block 2 Block". That album was the first out of the 831 area to feature known rappers like X-Raided, Mr. Kee etc.
The following 2Face Ent. release Gemini - "Casualties Of Life" had Yukmouth of the Luniz, Mr. Kee etc.
With that being said, I feel 2Face Entertainment stepped up the game for a lot of 831 artists. The following releases from local 831 artist also featured known Bay Area rappers, but 2Face Entertainment was the first & the one who set the standard for our area in that sense.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You were also working with A.O.D. and wanted to release their debut project. They ended up doing it on their own. What's the history of it and your relationship with them?
[ Grindhouse ] : The relationship with A.O.D. stems back to the foundation & leader of the pack Tommy Blue Eyez R.I.P.
A.O.D. were in fact the first artist / group on 2Face Ent. It was a time where it was a learning period for all of us & a lot could not be executed due to not having the outlets & knowledge of what to do. The album "Blacc Mass" was supposed to be the first 2Face Ent. release. Some of the songs from the A.O.D.'s "Blacc Mass" album ended up on "Casualties Of Life", when the album was shelved at Tommy Blue Eyez' request.
The release of A.O.D.'s "Noncomposmentis" under AOD-ORG Productionz, they shout out 2Face Ent. in the credits. There was a situation where there was a falling out with one member and the guys were beefing amongst each other. I, as a friend & label refused to step in & take sides. That move upset the members of A.O.D. but I saw the feud more personal than business. Yes, we can go into pride & street codes etc. I'm trying to run a legit label and not bring the streets into my business. Plus I honestly saw the feud as petty with all due respect. That beef within the members was squashed like I thought it would (they just needed time to settle & mature) and we all proceeded ahead with the music. It was good to see that water under the bridge when I saw the track list to, Tommy Blue Eyez - "Killafornia Hittaz" compilation and saw the one they had beef with on the album. That showed maturity & love amongst them. Plus showed this game was not bigger than friendship. I can't say there was ever any love lost within each other. Perhaps disagreements, but never escalating to full on hate. Tommy Blue Eyez & I met up again in mid 2009 at a show out in the 209 area. He was my friend first, before the music. Tommy was now on a new page with his music. He wasn't as dark anymore. I senced maturity in both him & his music as well...
The passing of Rocky "Neves" Hernandez was a big blow to A.O.D. as was a shock to me personally. Not to mention the incarceration of Madnus and the passing of Tommy Blue Eyez. It's a reality check to me personally that has left me at a loss for words. Young Blaze & I attended Tommy Blue Eyez service out there in the 209 & it has been one of the hardest things for me to swallow. Yet, brought closure and I continue my journey in memory of Tommy Blue Eyez. 2Face Entertainment displays a Tommy Blue Eyez logo in our products. The reason? Because the music is how we met, but there is a lot of history outside the music. Friendship, hanging out, joking laughing etc.
I still have the album, A.O.D. - "Blacc Mass" in my possession. The original recordings that were recorded in Yun-Gun's studio (from 2000) and all the cover artwork. I made a promise to Tommy Blue Eyez that I would not release it. I keep my word & hold that promise. If the family wishes to release it now, I will send them a copy & they have every right to do what they wish.
Much love to View 1, Madnus, ZickafekT & all the families of the members of A.O.D.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Then you somehow went off the radar. You were supposedly working on a sophomore solo "Walking Tall". What happened?
[ Grindhouse ] : I recorded like four albums worth of material for the "Walking Tall" project. Album cover was done as well, but I honestly wasn't happy with the sound. Coming off the "Casualties Of Life" album it still had that underground / dark depressing feel to it. I was trying to shake that sound. My vision & plan for "Walking Tall" was an up-tempo cheerful / good feel sound & I wasn't getting it. It was to display my life had moved on from "Casualties...". I dumped everything & scratched that project.
I proceeded in doing lesser known features and other projects. Not so much in the light of the 831, but rather laying in the cut as they say in the business. Yet, my hand in certain projects. Have it be the photographer (Yun-Gun - "The Good Die Yung" / Yun-Gun & Fury - "Cali Crookz" / Fury - "Ferocious"... see credits for photographer on those albums), ghost writer or what not. I didn't so much fall off, but rather stepped aside & recollected my thoughts on the next move.
I was feeling like the 831 area was at a stance & not willing to make a change. I saw it as a dead end for the area & publicly stated we need to step it up out here. Some don't agree and there were fall outs, but this game is not for everybody. And I refuse to stand around & pretend it's all good when I feel otherwise. I don't believe in supporting any artist simply because he or she is from my area. I support talented artist & good music. By good music I mean it has to be something the majority feels, not just your homies on your block. I respect artists who are really doing it out there and staying humble about theirs. I don't like the superstar attitudes.
I come from a long journey of rap music. Any newcomer telling me he's about to blow or how hard he's doing it is wasting his time in my book. As a CEO, I look at it like this. If your really doing it so big, you don't need to go online & post it on MySpace or twitter. It should be clear to see by the shows you perform at, the crowds you rock and what's being said in the street, plain & simple. Your MySpace pictures don't say too much to me, nor your amount of friends. It's the comments from the regular people that really matter in my opinion.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : And now you re-emerged as Tha Grindhouse. What's the reason for the change?
[ Grindhouse ] : Exit Gemini, Enter Tha Grindhouse.
I'm not a believer in fighting over small things. Especially when I don't know that person on a personal level. When I took on the name "Gemini" it was simply going by my zodiac sign. Hence 2Face Entertainment & the label color, green. When I found out there were a few Geminis out there (regardless of how they spell it), it was like Damn! I'm going to have to change my name again. I ran into a few altercations due to mistaken identity. In one case, I had my son with me, so that was pretty much the stick that broke the camel's back. On the upscale, I tend to believe a name doesn't give any artist his / her talent. A name change was not going to stop me from moving forward in what I'm doing.
It allowed me to sling shot & reinvent myself into a whole new artist with a different sound. Stepping outside the shadow of Gemini as I was previously known. And bringing in a fresh new start.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Explain you new singles. And your new music since you became Tha Grindhouse.
[ Grindhouse ] : Besides there being other rappers with the name Gemini, I felt that (locally) I had burned that name out. People already had an impression of what "Gemini" was like. I had written a song titled "Closer" years before. It was supposed to be on "Casualties Of Life", it just didn't fit the feel of the album. I then thought of placing the song on the "Walking Tall" album. I pretty much trashed the song after that until I pulled it out of the vault & played it one day. I called on Yun-Gun and I went back in & re-cut the song. Lyrics were cut & words were changed to update it. At that point I had my mind set that I was changing my name. I didn't tell anybody anything, I had made a new MySpace page and set out my plan.
The single "Closer" took off on MySpace a lot more than what I expected. The plays & comments I've gotten for that song have been crazy from both male & female listeners. It was my way to re-test the waters in the game. I sort of half stepped into it before I actually had the cds (single) pressed and on to CD Baby, iTunes etc.
When I saw how people reacted to it (especially the females), I started to think what would be the next move to make. I was asked by a MySpace friend if I was going to print out t-shirts. There was my answer... I printed up some t-shirts (myspace.com/iamclothing831) and had females requesting them on MySpace. I networked, got their address & sent them a free t-shirt for promotion. Before you know it, I was getting pictures back with them wearing the t-shirts. It was all a chain reaction from there.
The B-Side to "Closer" is the song "Life Is A Chance" (feat. Lady Melodic & Eddie Vega". That song was also dusted off & brought out of the vault. It was meant to go on "Casualties Of Life" and then "Walking Tall". Unlike "Closer" it didn't really make the same noise, but kept me afloat with listeners waiting for the next song.
The song, "My Story" (with me, Lady Melodic & Eddie Vega) on my MySpace page is not an original song. The beat is from a Busta Rhymes song & was for a mixtape. Yet, when we sat down to write it, the topic was picked out to write about something heart felt. I began to think that I had trashed the album, "Walking Tall" and a lot of people who had heard, "Casualties Of Life" kept asking me about my personal life. They kept asking about my mom & how the album "Casualties Of Life" had ended bitter sweet.
I crammed everything that has happened since then into 16 bars with that song. Eddie Vega (my nephew) has since quit rapping & Lady Melodic has turned to religion. Just a side note. There is small talk with Lady Melodic about releasing a Christian rap album under 2Face Entertainment. You never know, but we'll keep you updated.
The single "Baby Boy" f. Davina "The Queen of Northern Cali" is a straight from the heart letter to my son. Also meant to go on the "Walking Tall" album. I like to think of this song as a part 3 in the Casualties saga. "Reminiscin' 97", "The Good Times That Follow", "Baby Boy" & "My Story" - in that order. You will find the song "Baby Boy" on the "Street Connect" soundtrack to be released later this year. The songs "Life Is A Chance" & "My Story" are black & white label songs as they say in the business. The three official singles - "Closer", "Life Is A Chance" & "Baby Boy" were the only songs I salvaged from the "Walking Tall" album, which I felt were worth re-recording & releasing.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You mention MySpace, but how do you feel about the people who feel Facebook is the new hip place to be?
[ Grindhouse ] : I've seen more people move on to Facebook (for more personal use) and that's all good. I'm on there as well, but us musicians need sites like MySpace, BayUndaground.com, Siccness.net, ReverbNation.com etc. It's just all based on how we utilize those sites. As rappers we should know that we never give up & from the beginning we've made something out of nothing. It all falls back into what I said earlier in this interview "...many say they are going after their dream, they lose faith at some point".
[ BayUndaground.com ] : 2Face Ent. features a new logo - does it also mean a different approach to music business?
[ Grindhouse ] : Yes, the previous logo symbolized more of a gemini sign. It felt more underground and I just wanted a new, more presentable look to it. Something that wouldn't have the people question me what the logo was about. I didn't want a fancy look to it. You know the look where the logo actually looks better that the product released from it? Every artist is registered with ASCAP or BMI and actually registers their music when it's recorded. As a CEO, I stress that to all my artists. As well as to the artists I come across who are not on 2Face.
A different approach to the music business? Yes indeed. When 2Face artist are in the studio, there is no alcohol, drugs, or any type of mind distortion. Any artist that wants to jump on board and claims they need to drink a little or get high to write? Should seriously reconsider not quiting their day job. It's clear in my mind that the weed & alcohol do not enhance your writing skills. If that was true, you would be on a major & touring with big names. A true artist doesn't need enhancements of any sort to write. Anybody who feels they do, should realize that perhaps this game is not for them. Rap is poetry in motion, so it doesn't come from your mind, it should be coming from your heart. I take this music serious & just like anybody in their right frame of mind wouldn't show up to work drunk, or high... is the same approach I take & stress to my artist.
I don't want any of my artist in an interview high, drunk & cussing up a storm about how street savvy he or she is. This is a business and as professionals we conduct ourselves in a civilized manner. Why? Because we want the people to take us serious. As musicians we have nothing to prove other than our product. 2Face Entertainment artist do not need to fit into the stereotype of rappers. We don't seek to follow, nor fit in. We set our own rules and make our own paths by setting the example.
Every artist on 2Face Ent. is a spokesman for the label. And 2Face Entertainment expects every artist to handle themselves like they were on a major. Not saying we are major, but our standards and mind frame should be at that level.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : February 2010 brought first project in a long time - solo by the fellow artist Young Blaze. Tell us more about it.
[ Grindhouse ] : As you can see, Young Blaze & I go back for quite sometime. Young Blaze & I had lost contact for a little bit due to him moving outside the 831 area. When he showed up at my house one day, we started to hang out once again. And he let me know he had an album pretty much done. He was shy two songs for completion. He went & brought the album to me and we listened & discussed releasing it under 2Face Ent. Within the week we took the drive to Mix "N" Spin studio in Marina, CA. & finished up the two remaining tracks. Hence the song, "Freak Show" being one of the two which features yours truly.
That album had been sitting around for a few years with Blaze not knowing what to do with it. Gathering 2Face Entertainment's team of players. We worked together to release Young Blaze's "Blaze 2 Richez" on Feb. 16. 2010 the album saw light of day. It's available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and major online retailers.
Young Blaze's sophomore album entitled "Latin Heat" is in its finishing stages as we speak. With production by DJ Mix "N" Spin & one track by Cali Code Productions & features the newest 2Face Ent. R&B singer Prince Jay Keith. Other features include Primo of Societies Nightmare, Paco Locs, Tito & myself. The two singles off that album are "Don't Listen To Your Friends" & a song titled "Ooh Wee!" which is starting to catch a buzz in the last few performances that we've had. Expect to see the singles be released in the next few months, but the Young Blaze - "Latin Heat" album to come out in early 2011 under 2Face Ent.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : So what are the other upcoming plans for you and the label?
[ Grindhouse ] : Over the years I've learned that it takes more than one label & one artist to make it. 2Face Entertainment is in the process of building a team of talented camps. When a promoter calls for performers, we not only have 2Face artist, but we extend our hand & invite other camps to come perform at that event. It's our way of showing support to the 831 area and the true talent that is here. We are far from selfish and we don't charge any artist stage fees. Our point is to be heard. That's more important to us as a label.
For me the plan is not to try and recruit everybody I come across, but rather weed out the talent. The unfortunate outcome is not everybody has what it takes. That includes me as a rapper as well. By that same token I understand that I can't be the rapper & the CEO in the limelight. I'm an open minded kind of guy who looks at everybody equal and gives each one a role to play. Because it's important for any company to have people playing certain roles. One person can't do it all. We all need people to do certain jobs and all work in as one to make something happen. Each person is talented in certain areas, so those people are assigned to handle those task. Our network does not stop in the 831, it simply starts here, but we network everywhere. The 209 & 559 areas for starters. More shows are being booked outside our region. Arizona, New Mexico & Texas are in talks for shows out in those states. Plus we network with BayUndaground.com out of Poland since 2002.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : We were once talking about cross-promotion for the DVD and the soundtrack. What do you think of such mutual enterprises?
[ Grindhouse ] : Yes we were & I am all for cross-promotion with BayUndaground.com
For starters, it all falls on good intentions to make something happen. To merge & work side by side is something that's been in the back of my mind since I stepped out & looked at the game from the outside in. I think that's a key factor that's been missing. It's an untouched strategy in the underground scene. Being that there is no real money being pushed in the underground, so CEO's & artists alike have stayed wanting to do it on their own. With this move of working with you guys at BayUndaground.com, I honestly believe is a step in the right direction for not only Bayundaground.com & 2Face Entertainment, but for everybody in the underground as well.
The DVD is in fact a documentary entitled "Street Connect" (not affiliated with any website). It displays independent artist from the 831 and surrounding areas. The harsh reality broken down to how it is to be a struggling artist. Outside the world of promotion, weed smoking, fights caught on film, bragging like your really doing it, "Street Connect" tells the tale using the voice of the streets. With the narrator being the artists themselves throughout the film.
The soundtrack to the documentary is now complete & we're just waiting on a few things to get it pressed. I along with co-workers hand picked each track for this project. I didn't put the word out that I was putting together a soundtrack. Due to not wanting to end up with a bunch of garbage from artist just trying to get in on it. The soundtrack is for the most part not new material from artist, but rather material with potential to lead the underground scene into a new direction.
The unfortunate reality is the documentary, although being done for the most part will more than likely see a 2011 release due to wanting to cut it one more time and fill in some lose ends I feel are missing.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You are more of a supporter than just a passive observer of the local 831 scene. Tell us more about it, has it expanded recently?
[ Grindhouse ] : I wasn't until this year (2010) when I started to notice the underground scene really stepping up to the plate with their music. I was surprised to hear some of the material coming out. For the first time since I started in this music business, I really started to hear music with potential to actually make it out to the world. I believe the 831 has expanded in a big way. A lot of artists have matured with the music. The gangsta music is still relevant, but it seems to lean more towards the younger generation. That within itself has its own fan base.
Artists have become more creative with production and ways of writing their lyrics. I see the sound changing in the area. I feel that is important because we as artist in Central California need to establish our own unique sound. I believe it's a matter of time before we polish it all up and stand on our own two as a region in California. People in other states / countries who listen to West Coast music expect the Bay or L.A. It's time the 831 made the West Coast complete. We are the missing center piece who has the best of both worlds (the Bay & L.A.) and made our own sound. Just like the 408 (San Jose / Shark City) movement which I've seen slowly start to stand on their own.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Which people - in your opinion - from your area are notable factors?
[ Grindhouse ] : That's a good question, but before I start naming off any names, I want to say that notable factors in my opinion are not solely based on their music skills alone. A notable factor to me could be somebody who can't rap, but can produce top notch beats and vice versa. In other words, somebody of value who has something to offer & can bring something to the table.
As far as the people in my area who I feel are notable factors, I'd have to start with Yun-Gun for the simple fact that he's really out there networking and has been getting on projects outside the 831 as far back as 2003. He's consistent with releasing projects and has been at this non stop. Since the release of his debut album "16 Shotz Block 2 Block" under 2Face Entertainment he went out and pushed his units and made himself be heard. He didn't depend on the label to make him, he actually made a name for himself & for 2Face Entertainment. And for that, I'm forever grateful.
I think DJ Pumba of the Untamed Gorillaz & DJ Mix "N" Spin play an important role in the area when it comes to production in the 831. They have that good feel sound to their music. And are two of the producers which I've heard that can be universal and give an artist the exact sound he / she is looking for.
Primo of Societies Nightmare is a notable factor in my opinion. He recorded a solo album "America To Mexico" and definitely has that sound that I think we need in the area. I could hear what he was going for. Having that mainstream, yet Latin feel to it. The album was released a few years back, but due to not having outlets to really push it, it remained a sleeper. In comes 2Face Entertainment in 2010 and reaches out to Primo. With no attempt to sign him to 2Face, but rather make him an affiliate and take him to the shows outside the 831 where we perform at. On a personal note, I hate to see wasted talent just sit. If I see or hear something with potential & that artist has ran out of outlets to push his / her music, I'm going to step in and try & rekindle that fire to push that product to a bigger audience including my fan base.
Tank of Ghetto Ballin' Entertainment plays an important role in the area. A multi talented individual who can be overwhelmed at times, but Ghetto Ballin' Ent. & 2Face Ent. have merged and have been working together since 2005. Just now, have we started to see things start to move like we've planned.
Superior 1 is the kind of artist every area needs. An artist who takes no sides in beefs & networks with everybody. He's also remained consistent in the 831 and reaches out to other artist by helping them push units. Superior 1 is the kind of artist who you can call to feature him on a song & he will more than likely show up at the studio before you do. Again, that is an artist who plays an important role in the area.
Untamed Gorillaz are creating a big buzz in the 831. They are opening for artist like Too Short, E-40 & Devin The Dude to name a few and really out there pushing their product. I'm loving they're work technique. They are starting to have a good following in the area & rocking the big shows establishing a fan base. Yet, when you talk to them they don't come off telling you the typical rapper speech of what they're doing. What they're about to do, how tight their new single is etc. They are humble guys who despite being youngsters, are laced with a lot of knowledge of how the game goes & how it should be.
Home Team Ent. is another group in the works to which 2Face Ent. has reached out & pulled them aboard to join the team.
Those are just a few of the people who I definitely feel are notable factors in the 831 area. There are way more and I can go on & on, but to name off any artist off 2Face Ent. is a biased opinion. Again, everybody in general has something to bring to the table. The reality is that not everybody is of value due to shady working techniques. In the end, that's 2Face Entertainment's mission... to weed out the bad and move forward with talented people in every aspect of the word.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Is there a unity in the Central Coast or more of a rivalry?
[ Grindhouse ] : I wouldn't say there is so much rivalry. Perhaps at one point it seemed that way, but I think it leans more on artist who are content of where they are at in their music career. You have the ones who have changed the sound to a more mainstream feel. Trying to reach out to a broader audience. And you have the ones who remain with that underground / gritty gangsta sound. I've always looked at Hip Hop sort of like religion. You have the ones who look to make it big & be paid. And you have the ones who don't believe in all the glamour and feel Hip Hop is strictly for the love of Hip Hop / music.
To round out the question, I believe that in 2010 there is more unity than there is rivalry in the Central Coast. I won't lie and say we're squeeky clean, we have a few rotten apples in the bunch, but after so long of being at this, I can see right through them & won't mess with them at all. They tell me what they're doing & I tell them what they want to hear & keep moving forward on my mission. The good thing is, a lot of artists in the area already know who not to mess with.
In closing I want to state that 2Face Entertainment does not feel superior to anybody. We simply are starting a trend to help the underground rap scene move forward.
Here are a couple of handy links for you:
Grindhouse on MySpace
2Face Ent. on MySpace
Young Blaze on MySpace