featured interview

Koncept The Game of Life Where could a hip-hop crew start off better? The crew Brown Bag AllStars saw the light of day because of its members hanging around at the Fat Beats store. Infected by the music virus, they started to convert their musical knowledge into practice. Koncept, an emcee of this NY quintet, recently released a free EP entitled 'Playing Life', a great warmer-up for his upcoming solo full length.

Hello Koncept. Explain in a few words who are the Brown Bag AllStars and what are each of its members most remarkable characteristics?

Myself, a passionate Whiskey and Tequila lover. J57 talk with his hands. You can always trust Audible Doctor. He's a doctor. Don't forget to give Soul Khan his receipt. E Holla is fathering you mahfawkas. Element is chillin with porn stars drinking coffee. DJ Goo is on vacation drinking Mojitos.

The Audible Doctor managed Fat Beats NY right? What do you think of the decline in vinyl shops?

It was a very sad day when Fat Beats locked up and closed its doors for good. It's the place where I met my friends even before forming into the group that we are today. That place was our second home.

Is there any solution to save vinyl?

Saving vinyl? Unfortunately, not even sure I can make a comment on that.

What memories do you have, hanging around Fat Beats?

So many, so many. Eating cheese steaks and waffle fries almost every Tuesday with DJ Eclipse. Those were my healthy days.

Ok, the title of your EP is definitely a step stone to a more philosophical inspired question. How do you play the game of life? Do you let yourself lead by the hand of fate or do you try to control it as much as possible?

The game of life for me at the moment is basically working harder and harder on my music every day so that eventually -hopefully soon- I won't have to work anywhere or on anything else. I believe that you control your 'game of life'. Your future is determined by the work that you put in. Dreams and goals depend on how bad you want them and how much you're willing to put into make them come reality. Basically, I decided to call it 'Playing Life' because I'm speaking of the stuff that's going on in my, or around my life, things that occur with your average everyday person. Going to a shitty job everyday that you hate, wishing you could quit, but you know you can't or your rent won't be paid. Trying to better yourself, but things keep getting in your way. A relationship that has its good days and its bad. Falling in love and having your whole perspective on life change so easily. And then of course, there's the drinking and drugs. (laughs)

If we take it a little bit further on a symbolic level: on the cover of the EP you're holding the money instead of the beer. Coincidence?

Well, the beer isn't really symbolic in the picture. I just like to drink! (laughs) What was important in the idea of the cover though is the fact that I'm playing the game by myself. The only person that determines your success is yourself. You're biggest challenger is yourself. Like I stated earlier, if you want something bad enough and you have the determination, drive, and work ethic, you will be successful. So I'm sitting there by myself weighing out my next move.

So this EP.is it the 'preview' to a full album coming soon? Will it actually hit like a Tsunami?

(laughs) Yes, it will hit like a Tsunami!! This EP is just a 'preview' to Koncept. Just something to make the people aware of me. Something I did to get out while I was amidst my project, 'Awaken' that will be out in 2011. If you liked 'Playing Life' you will absolutely love 'Awaken'. My word.

When was the first time you grabbed the mic, really? And how was it like? Did you know you were going to continue doing this (for a long time)?

'And the first...', ha. I always loved to write, whether poetry, short stories, etc. I actually have 2 stories published. So writing raps just came naturally. Although, I actually started DJ'ing before I rapped. Just freestyling and shit with friends and at parties or wherever. I just fell in love with it. It became something I did constantly. After going away to school in Vermont for 2 years I then decided to move back to New York City and make rap my career.

There's a bit of everything in the EP: considering the restricted number of tracks, you have an array of production styles: the more soulful tracks, a harder, boombap track, some up-tempo, some down-tempo songs. Also on a content level there's a few concepts and subjects (love, the rap industry, then again 'Playing Life' is a wide playground.did you want to show as much as possible to the listener, showcasing all kinds of facets of you and your style?

Honestly, 'Playing Life' is a project of songs I recorded while creating 'my baby' if you will, 'Awaken'. (laughs) So basically I put the project together for something to show people who didn't know who I was, or had only heard me on Brown Bag stuff. It's something to hold them off while I get my material together to unleash it to the world. I wanted to show people who Koncept was. The title was created almost while it was in its final stages. I think it fits really well though.

How much of the EP is autobiographical? Did you have an overseas relationship for instance?

(laughs) Yes, I did have an overseas girlfriend. Skype is a great thing! (laughs). Nah, long distance relationships are tough. It's not long distance anymore though. Some is autobiographical, and some isn't. Everything on the project is something I experienced one way or another.

'Old Man Winters' is a very nice, deep track, is it based on any specific person you know/knew, a story you read or heard somewhere?

Thank you. Nah, just a story that I wrote. The title came from my crew calling me Old Man Winters all the time. I used to live in the studio -it was my room when living in the Brown Bag Headquarters- and I would always have the window open. People would come over and be mad cold asking me to close it and I'd always be hot wanted it open. I think J57 started calling me Old Man Winters. It was either him or Element, either way I decided to write a story about a cold old grumpy man. Then it got a little deeper. Pause (laughs)

You use the word 'numb' quite a few times throughout the EP.any particular reason for that?

Depending on the reference. Although, yes, a lot of people are numbed into listening to the same corny shit over and over.

The choruses are very well put together ... mostly with a great selection of samples ... do you keep an eye on that part of the song process, or do you let the DJ Brace do his thang?

Well, with the hooks I would give Brace an idea of what I was thinking as far as subject matter, length, etc. Then Brace would go to work on it and bring it back to me to say, yay or nay. He fucking nailed it just about every time. Dude is a robot. I might even say a genius.

Please complete: 'I am from New York' so.

I will fuck you up!! (laughs)

We don't follow baseball out here.but how well did the New York Mets play last season? What is your hopes for the next season?

(laughs) Unfortunately not so well. But do they ever? I'm a Mets, Knicks, & Jets fan. I don't expect much.

We don't have a clue what we're asking here but: 'Does beer taste nicer wrapped in a brown bag?'

(laughs) Of course!

What was the first rap album you bought/got/listened to?

Couldn't tell you the first hip-hop album. The first tape I ever got though was Michael Jackson's 'Bad'. RIP.

What are some of the last few albums you uploaded unto your iPod or iPad?

Damn, I wish I had an iPad! That ish looks ill! Just uploaded the Cee-Lo album, the new Kanye, Sene & J57, & Soul Khan. And the beats that my homie Tranzformer's been sending me for the EP we're doing together!

We're nearing the end of the year: do you already have a top-5 of rap albums for 2010?

Nah, but my favourite album of the year is The Roots 'How I Got Over'. I love that album!

When was the last time you pair of Converses? Do you have a collection?

(laughs) Nah. No Chucks. It's been a minute. More of a Nikehead.

What's next for Koncept?

At the very top of 2011 I have a free EP with Tranzformer coming out. After that will be 'Awaken' that I've spoke about. We also have the Brown Bag AllStars 'Brown Bag Season Vol. 1' double CD dropping at the top of 2011, and then our debut album. 2011 is going to be a big year!

Shout-outs?

Everyone that has supported 'Playing Life' as well as everything that me and my crew has done and/or put out thus far! Whoever is reading this right now. Everyone in my crew for being so damn talented and increasing the quality of the music. My incredible wife for all of my photography and design. And you, for taking your time to do this interview and supporting what I'm doing. I really appreciate it, for real!

Thanks

 

POSTED 12|04|2010
conducted by cpf

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