I told you about the upcoming Vets Of Kin album in a recent post (catch up here) and I am happy to tell you that it is now available (as of yesterday)! I have to thank Twist from Civil Mics once again, first for putting me on their music and second for suggesting I interview AMiAM, one of the crew’s talented MCs and beatmakers. The young artist has some very interesting things to say about hip-hop, his crew and the album and I am quite pleased to share those with you. Without further delay, here is AMiAM, in his own words…
First of all, for people who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself? When and how did you discover hip-hop and started being part of the movement?
Call me AMiAM or Freddy Douglas. I’m an MC, producer, original B-Boy, promoter, and more in the works. (Laughs) I overheard hip hop from my pops playing Kool Moe Dee, or my brother MyGrane playing NWA. I recorded my first rhyme when I was like 6. I didn’t even write it. My brother kind of made me do it. I just wanted to do something cool at the time with big bro you know? Then when got older, I started break dancing real heavy in ’97. Shit turned for me when my brother woke me up on a school night to show me a his first Open Campain album that he recorded with his boy MURDOC. It was called “Suspense”. Yo I bumped that shit for a year! Started writing my own shit in 99, been nonstop ever since.
You took part in several freestyle battles and won quite a few of them. I have to say you’re a very skilled lyricist and have a lot of imagination. Is it important for you to emphasise this aspect of hip-hop and of your talent?
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Yes, I think it’s important for other MC’s too. I started out battling. Over the radio on 95Live, in school, at HUSH shows, house parties, in different cities, all that. I had that urge to get props. When I started, MyGrane was killing niggas in battles. So I had this… hype to live up to. To show that it’s not like “oh that’s Grane’s little brother”. Sometimes deep down I still get that… that… fire, that urge. There’s nothing like a good freestyle battle. On the spot creativity you know? Thats why Rugged and I started Spit Camp battles.
A lot of fucking people don’t know that I actually helped start Grind Time Now. I was going to be hosting, but Drect wanted me to battle a few cats. I believed in Drect’s goals and I still do. It’s helped out a lot of people and give fans and even our peers something to look forward to. Big ups to my motherfucking Grind Time Now family. Kap Kallous, what up!
You are a member of several groups or crews, including Vets of Kin and you are close to the Civil Mics movement. How did you get in touch with all the others and what have you been up to with them up to now?
I first started in a group in high school. Myself and Clarity formed Elite Breed. So I always been in collaborative situations. Vets of Kin started through me and MyGrane. He had an idea of just doing posse shit. Since we all fucked with each other on collabs and shit, we just got up in the lab and knocked out some bangers. I linked with Civil Mics through Shinobi. I got other crews too. Me, Doc and Grane got a crew with C-Rayz Walz and J-Kroaz called Bermuda Pentagon. Crazy stuff! New World Chaos is me and Grane. Mad crews you know? My niggas is deep! (Laughs)
Could you tell us more about the Vets of Kin album, which was released yesterday? What’s the concept behind it and how different is it for you to work within the group, as opposed to working on your solo projects?
Pestilence is the name of the album. Majority of the production is in-house. There’s really no concept for the album, about 80% is actually older stuff. We wanted to just put it out there for the people. Hearing it together is amazing. When I’m working with the Vets it’s easier, it’s more enjoyable. I get to do a lot more than just rhyming. Engineering, beats, etc. You know a beat can get inspired off of a conversation with JBiz. Or a verse that P! been working on, it’s just that energy that’s within our cipher. When I’m solo, I tend to be a perfectionist. Not technically but with my vision. So I can do a song, build more and then come back to it. We usually do all our Vets of Kin joints on the spot. Plus with them, I don’t got to write much (Laughs), it’s more like playing a role on a team.
You are also a producer, like fellow Vets of Kin member Shinobi Stalin. How did you develop an interest and discover your talent for creating music? Is it a necessary complement to rapping for you?
Back when Elite Breed began in like 2000, all the beats we rhymed on came from JuniAli. This is way before production software was big, so he had hardware sequencers and shit. At one point he went on a hiatus, so we didn’t have any beats. Then my brother told me his homie MURDOC had some program to make some. It was Fruity Loops. This was like in 2001, 2002. Got a copy, me and Clarity both went at. Sampling everything we could find. He started to make beats too but I kept going at it hardcore over the years. Beat battles, all that. So then when JuniAli came back, we all linked up. Me, Jun, Clarity, Shinobi and started The Beat Ministry production team and our first compilation project. Since then we added on more cats that make beats. Shouts to Tone Blare and Manifest. I think it’s necessary now that I’ve discovered how to create music. Rather than finding a beat or a producer with the right sound, I can take my own shot at whatever it is that I’m looking for. It’s funny because I rarely rhyme over my own music. Most of the time, the other Vets pick the beats of mine for songs. They hear things I don’t.
You seem to be performing quite regularly and apparently really enjoy it. How important is it for you to be in touch with your audience and to present your music live? Do you plan on broadening your horizons and performing more outside of your region or even abroad?
It’s very, very important. Man, I love performing. For 7 people or 700, It don’t even matter. I’m going to kill it either way. Because when those people leave after my show, they’re going to say “Yo that cat AM is the truth! I can’t WAIT to see him again!”. I know that’s how I’m supposed to treat it. I’ve seen the greatest performers treat it that way, and audience appreciates it. I plan on doing more tours, overseas definitely. I’m open to travel. Solo or whatever. Even a Vets of Kin tour. Not all of us have toured yet, that’d be CRAZY!!
Do you have anything else in the works, either solo or with other crews or rappers that you can talk about?
Yes, looking to release my EP “The Combine” in a few months, my album is due out 2011. In the meantime, we got some more from the whole crew. JBiz is coming, Shinobi, MURDOC, Grane got mad joints! Working on another Ozone 50 MC’s soon also.
Anything else you would like to add?
Uhh…Big ups to my crew, Ozone, the people who support. Make sure you check us out everywhere, the sites, Twitter, all that shit. Oh, and shout out to niggas! (Laughs) Peace, represent!
Now that you know more about AMiAM, discover this great freestyle for Ozone 50. Enjoy!
And discover one extract from Pestilence, the amazing We MC, produced by CoDrum