[ Stevie Ray ] : What's good man, my name is Stevie Ray of Paybak Muzik. First off, let me start off by saying good looking out to Bayundaground for the interview and thanks for the support over the past few years. Aight, so for those who don't know, I represent Salinas California and on some real shit I am just a Salad Bowl hustler that picked up a pen. Personally, I am a humble individual that keeps it true to the music so just know that when Stevie Ray is in your speakers, it's all about substance.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Where did your rap thing start? Who were you influenced by at that time?
[ Stevie Ray ] : To be honest I never wanted to or thought that I would become a rapper. I was always too focused on survival in the streets to care about a rap career. That's why I have only been doing this for about 2 years and in that time I already released 11 mixtapes and 3 official releases because I have a lot to say about my past and day to day struggle. So long story short at the time I was homeless living in a garage and the homies; we were spitting freestyles to the beginning intro to the "Menace to Society" movie "Ghetto Bird" by Ice Cube. They told me to kick a flow, I spit some heat and everyone was blown away and from that point forward I kept it movin. When it comes to influences, at that time there were too many to mention all of them but for sure Tokztero, Darkroom Familia, Sandman, Mac Dre, P.B.C, Fat Pat, Shadow, P.B.K, Lowdown and the big homie A1 Yola of M.A.K.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : I know you already have numerous projects under your belt. Which ones were the first to come?
[ Stevie Ray ] : The first project I released was on May 30, 2013 and it was titled "Most Hated Individuals" (M.H.I). It's a collaboration mixtape with my brother, Joe Thizz of Paybak Muzik and at that time I was known as Lil Stevie. When it comes to solo work, the first Stevie Ray project I dropped was on July 03, 2013 and was also a mixtape titled "Fuck the World" (F.T.W).
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Are you still affiliated with Paybak Muzik? Will there be more stuff to come out from this group?
[ Stevie Ray ] : Yes, I am still affiliated with Paybak and always will be. See Paybak Muzik is different than most groups, we are actually all family members. Joe Thizz, Lady Liz, Dipso Maniac, Freddy Couga, we are all related by blood so your always gonna hear fresh Paybak material. As of right now the upcoming projects in the works are "M.H.I Vol. 2" starring me and Joe Thizz and we also been collecting old school Paybak jams for a remix project produced by my main producer Lexosyl but at the moment the group and I are still debating on an official title.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : 2014 was a significant year for your rap career. Tell us more about the "40831 Compilation".
[ Stevie Ray ] : The "40831 Compilation" was my way of holding it down for the coast. At first it was all me networking and putting in the foot work etc. until I linked up with the other half of the untouchables duo, Just Nice formerly known as J-Mac. He previously worked on numerous projects with a French producer named Lexosyl and one day Lexo hits me up saying Just Nice told him I was a consistent artist and we have a common compilation in the works so we joined forces and put together a classic compilation for the Salad Bowl. My main focus was the foundation. Artists like Superior 1, Gemini, Yun Gun, AK Sound, Bigg Spank and producers like DJ Mix and Spin, King of the Darongz and T-bone of Wizdomone Muzic. Vol. 2 of the "40831 Compilation" presented by Tokztero of Strong Arm Entertainment is coming soon.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Another was a collabo project with DEA. Tell us more about it, how did you two hook up?
[ Stevie Ray ] : First off let me start off by saying shout out to my nigga DEA. He's been going hard for the kid the last couple of years and it's all a blessing to me because I was brought up on his music so much respect big homie. "Lifez Cheap Vol. 2" coming soon. Alright so DEA and I first linked up in late 2012 when I was networking tough for the "40831 Compilation". I shot him my Datpiff account link and he liked what he heard and he laced up 2 tracks for the Compilation, "Slap in the Trunk" and "The 40831 Anthem". Soon after that we decided to work on a collaboration album featuring the dopest Mc's from the 831 and the 925 where both me and DEA reside today. Make sure ya'll check out the homie DEA's new mixtape "Octohustle" dropping soon.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : It's early 2015 now, but you already have two projects out: The Untouchables and your solo EP. Please elaborate on them.
[ Stevie Ray ] : "Moment of my Time" was a solo EP that I put together to promote the upcoming official project "The Untouchables"; another collaboration project with me and a sense of mine central coast rap vet Just Nice formerly known as J-Mac. The concept for "The Untouchables" has just as many metaphors as the album itself but the main reason for the untouchables title was because we are the most consistent MCs from the central coast period. Most folks from are area been in the game for years and can't even get close to touching mine or J-Mac's discography half way through the album we decided to make an Untouchable trilogy. Vol. 1 will be The Untouchables collaboration album with Just Nice and I. Vol. 2 will be "Stories of the Speakeasy", a Stevie Ray solo project, and Vol. 3 will be the Just Nice part of the trilogy. We also decided that after all three projects are finished we are gonna re-release all the albums together in a box set and include a book written by me and Nice so expect a lot more from the Untouchables duo. Shout out to my untouchables brothers Just Nice, Lexosyl and Dilom we in this.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Is there anything else scheduled for this year?
[ Stevie Ray ] : The next projects to drop are an official solo EP produced by Surslaps titled "Opinons, Life Struggles & a Fight to Hold the Thrown" and I also have my debut album. Another official project "Stories of the Speakeasy" dropping this year we are currently working on a music video for "Stories of the Speakeasy" featuring Just Nice and AK Sound 372 of P.B.K Entertainment. When it comes to collaboration albums The Crawlla and Stevie Ray LP is also dropping this year currently unnamed but ya'll got to understand me and the homie Crawlla grew up together and we're cut from the same cloth, so get ready for a dope 1-2 punch album and make sure ya'll check out my nigga Crawlla of Cali Code productions.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : I know you primarily focused on the digital market for now, but as a cd collector I have to ask: do you plan to actually press any of your work?
[ Stevie Ray ] : Yes, I do plan to press my work, see the thing is though unlike other artists that are lying to their listeners I am really in the struggle daily, so it's very difficult to actually come up with the funds for 500 or a 1000 units; but for sure I plan on pressing all of my projects. I've recently ordered a shipment of the "40831 Compilation" and am just waiting on the prepress review to get back to me.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What's the current Central Coast scene like? Do you feel people are aware of the music coming out of your region?
[ Stevie Ray ] : The Salad Bowl has always been a big movement. People see the news and want to hear reality but I still feel like people would be more aware and we would be a stronger movement if we all worked as 1 unit. Don't get me wrong we are all successful in our own way but if we put that success together then we would be taking leaps instead of steps. We've got a lot of known talent out here in the coast man, but until we learn how to join forces we gonna be nothing more but some crabs in a bucket.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Any rising local talents? Who should we watch out for? Any good albums people should definitely check out?
[ Stevie Ray ] : You should definitely check out the homie Mac-Lo of Medication Muzik representing Santa Cruz California, my Paybak brother Dipso Maniac been bringing a lot to the table and will be making his first appearance on official release on my upcoming debut album "Stories of the Speakeasy". Like I said earlier the homie Crawlla and the other half of Cali Code production Tito and Paco Locz formerly from Savge Proz Ent. have a strong movement you should definitely check out, also make sure ya'll watch out for that upcoming solo project "Rated E" by the big homie AK Sound 372 of P.B.K Entertainment.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : And more globally: what is your view on the current state of rap scene?
[ Stevie Ray ] : I don't think there is a current rap scene; hip hop today is bull shit and a joke. Folks are so busy making sure they got the latest fit that they forgot about the music itself. For me substance is all that matters and for the majority of the MCs now a days substance doesn't exist, just a decent rhythm that a caveman can bob their head to. Honestly, in our present state I don't consider any MC above ground hip Hop or rap.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What are your long-term plans as far as the rap game goes? Who would you like to network with?
[ Stevie Ray ] : I just want to do my part for the coast and let folks outside of our area know about the OG's from the Bowl. I grew up listening to and continue to let the listeners know the real about the streets. See, I don't glorify the hood; I guide the youth with harsh reality. I'd rather lace kicks and prevent death than have a innocent listener think it's cool to slang dope or shoot someone. When it comes to networking the artists I still want to work with are Dubee, Never of Lowdown, Lil Coner and when the homie Tokztero gets out I gotta knock out a track with the hogfather one time.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Any final words? How can people contact you?
[ Stevie Ray ] : Once again, good looking out BayUndaground for the opportunity. Thanks to all the fans and listeners that have been supporting the kid and the Paybak movement. We got a lot more music for ya'll coming soon so make sure ya'll get that new Stevie Ray debut album "Stories of the Speakeasy" - Vol. 2 of "The Untouchables" trilogy dropping this year. You can contact me at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.maldonado.585
I am always down to network with new artists and get back to my fans with questions. YOU NOW WHAT IT IS MAN SALAD BOWL REPRESENTING WE BRINGING THAT TURF LIFE BACK TO THE MUSIC. CENTRAL COAST ON THE MOVE YEEEEEE!