24: Introduce yourself to everyone that doesn’t already know who you are.
bE!: My name’s bE!. Depending on whose reading, I could be the weakest, yet most relevant, artist on the record label that I represent, ChangeUp Entertainment. Consider this whole interview, a testament to my work ethic. I love where I’m from, Fremont, California; which is comfortably locatehttp://24hourhiphop.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=43731&action=edit&message=1d in the heart of San Francisco’s Bay Area…Just another person who feels like they have something to say & a creative way of saying it.
24: Before we get into your music, can you describe your history about how you got into it and what inspired you?
bE!: My mother, initially, as with anything else. Self expression, honesty, exploration, etc., we’re deeply encouraged & she damn near is music, so I grew up around an eclectic & constant exposure to various albums, cassettes, instruments, musicians, equipment, studios, & live performances, as well. It all runs deep, in my family & some of the previous generations have some great personal relationships with several influential names…Hip-Hop hit & it changed my older cousins lives; by the time Tupac Shakur & I mattered, he cemented my moms love & it quickly trickled down…Then, life hit. I also come from a region rich in culture and diversity, so that has a lot to do with who I am.
24: What was the Hip-Hop scene like for you growing up where you’re from?
bE!: Amazing. I’m a 90′s fan, in general, but the rise of west coast Hip-Hop was also very real, to me. I have a lot of family in Los Angeles, so we’d be down there from time to time, too. The Bay Area is unique, like no other, though. Many of the major figures out here were known hustlers & we really saw their grind. Regardless of how they got it, it translated through the music & had ties to a lot of lacals’ real lives. They defined our sound & originated many others’, while driving our culture, business models, maintaining originality & staying true to the region. Some of it is outdated, but the game is timeless & it’s why we keep so much love for many names the majority has never heard of, or simply join us in mourning, with all due respect. It’s also why many see so much independent success. It’s unfortunate misunderstanding turned the Hyphy Movement into a mainstream joke, because it was everything but, for an entire generation of my older heads and peers. For better or worse & a notable time period, it was our way of life put on display & you really couldn’t understand unless you were there. That shit still lives somewhere, in all of us, & you can hear the influence in some of today’s mainstream rap.
24: What makes you unique as an artist and different from other rappers out now?
bE!: First of all, I rap about real life experiences…Don’t believe the hype. Exercise your truth…Like my label mates, I frequently hear that I don’t sound like a lot of artists from my region. Despite my last answer, I grew up admiring many east coast, south & mid-west Hip-Hop legends & somewhat underground artists. As I got older, you can even say I “learned” how to rap, based on that artistic & poetic influence. As well as the likes of Pac, The Pharcyde, Zion-I, Souls Of Mischief, Mac Mall, The Team, Locksmith & local underground music. It tends to throw a lot of new listeners off, at first but I try not to be biased to my lifestyle. If an artist is good enough, I can connect & try to take something from the talent level. I’ve also dabbled in & will continue to study musicianship, along with all aspects of my music’s creation & output. I’d like to practice that theme, in Hip-Hop & popular music; keeping it music. While conducting much of my own business, with a certain respect to it, I also produce various visual arts. Really, I’m not out here trying to compete with these rappers. I’m much more concerned with my growth & affect on this world, as a man – Morality that’s been diluted, in the mainstream. Not claiming to be any kind of role model, much of this is fun & I’m fairly brash. Musical expression is just a part of my sanity & I’m blessed to have connected with enough people to create a lane & take it.
24: Tell us about what you are working on.
bE!: I constantly put out free material & released my debut EP, “The CollidescoEP”, not too long ago. Currently, I’m finishing up the latest installment of a running series of mine, “Xpression Sessions Part 0.4″, out May 28th. Some video projects, continually being released & I’m scheduling as many live shows as possible. I’m also working on a solo collaboration project, as well as a ChangeUp Entertainment project.
24: What producers have you worked with and who would you like to work with. in the future?
bE!:I’m fortunate enough to have some amazingly talented friends, who keep me laced with ill shit. Among a few others, working very closely with Eden “Starscream” Danilo, Bryce “Bonafide” Doherty has helped me develop a unique sound. Bonafide is a very dynamic lyricists, as well. I also enjoy working with Ean “Indecent The Slapmaster” Dawson. From hooks, vocals, rapping & songwriting, to production, engineering, mixing & mastering; He’s diversely talented, experienced & a great supporter. I really plan on expanding with my peer group but, given the opportunity, I would love to work with Dr. Dre, 9th Wonder, Black Milk, Ryan Leslie, Quincy Jones, Charles Hamilton, Ski Beatz, No I.D., Rick Rubin, The Neptunes, Justin Timberlake, Merk S. Villain, Lambo Beats, Matt Luty IAMSU!, Erk Tha Jerk, Swiff D, Sounwave, Cardo, Clams Casino, Terrace Martin…I’m probably forgetting people.
24: Are you happy with the feedback you have been getting from people on material you have released?
bE!:You know, I expected much more resistance, early on, but I’m pleased to say that I don’t get too much negative feedback, if any. I love insightful, constructive criticism & seem to appeal to a large demographic. So, all of the responses, from a diverse range of sources, are fun. I don’t expect to appeal to everyone – maybe the negative feedback is silence, but I ain’t mad at that. We’re making good progress and that’s all that’s real.
24: In today’s free download age, what do you need to do to make yourself a household name?
bE!: Stand out….Be naturally unique. I’m more concerned with being a legendary name, than a household name & given the opportunities, I wouldn’t let that affect my artistic approach. In order to ensure that – money, these days, lies in branding yourself &/or building an organic fan base. The digital age has only eased the process of producing music & reaching larger audiences, thus, strengthening the independent market. However, the ease has also diluted it, which brings me back to my first statement…& sleep as little as possible. There’s no time for that; just don’t die.
24: How do you feel about the current state of the Hip-Hop scene?
bE!: I feel like it’s completely separate from the mainstream rap scene. Some talented trailblazers are shedding light on how to circumvent the majors & successfully bridge the two, but I feel like the fans are confused; they don’t take the actual culture serious, regardless of allowing it to evolve. I’ll be glad when that settles itself.
24: Outside of the music, what else are you currently working on?
bE!: Primarily, ChangeUp Entertainment label operations &, as I have time, building my digital arts company. I plan on producing beats & films, in the near future, as well.
24: Where do you see yourself going in 2012 and how do you plan to separate yourself from the other artist out today to get the recognition you feel you deserve?
bE!: I try not to feel entitled & take everything day by day because time is only as important as what you do with it. That given, I have no lofty expectations but I’m very proud to say that I, as well as our artists & associates, have some dope opportunities ahead. Some of whom are, WDnation.com, BTSbrand.com, thinkBIGvisuals.com, Akil & The Monopoli, DJ L.O.C, DJ Tasi & some others, behind the scenes. The label is also taking serious steps to elevate various operations of music industry logistics, I’m staring to book larger events, through a larger part of the calendar, while more artists reach out, as well. KiDD, Champlu & Vinnie Maze are also poised to keep the ChangeUp Entertainment name noteworthy, in their own profound rights. So, building the brand is my main focus. I’m not worried about too much, once we’re heard.
24: How can fans go about contacting you?
bE!: I deal with twitter very timely & encourage contacting me there @justbE_CUE. Otherwise, Contact@justbEmusic.com or ChangeUpEnt@gmail.com (for booking).
24: Thank you for providing 24HourHipHop.com with this exclusive interview, do you have any last words for your present and future fans?
bE!: Thank you, for listening…& Thank you, 24HourHipHop.
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