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AWAR Nature's Laws AWAR’s latest trilogy ‘The Nature Series’, of which the third release ‘The Laws Of Nature’ is his first official debut, is powered and inspired by nature. It’s a ‘progressive’ album, ‘more thorough and polished’ than his other albums. And an impressive guest list, with production by The Alchemist, Nottz, Jake One, Vanderslice, and guest features Stat Quo, Evidence, MURS, Joe Budden, Roc Marciano, a.o…

This is your ‘official’ debut, but your first album 'Glory Days' was released in 2005. So what makes this official and 'Glory Days' not?

I still stand behind the music but what makes 'The Laws Of Nature' my official debut is that over the last few years many people are just now getting familiar with my work on a national and global level. And I have distribution deals for this project. I only sold ‘Glory Days’ hand-to-hand at shows and stores that took it on consignment.

‘Glory Days’ was a real album in the technical sense, all original production and it was packaged as such, but it contained some of my first sessions on it. I was really just learning how to make songs by trial and error. I made some mistakes here and there. I've grown since 2005 and sound way different now. My voice, my flow, my ability to ride beats and writing have all improved since that project. I dropped two projects last year, 'Things Of That Nature EP' and 'Nature Of The Beast', along with some visuals. You should check those out too, they're pretty dope.

Those were the prequels to 'The Laws Of Nature' and together the projects make a trilogy I call 'The Nature Series'. 'The Laws Of Nature" is my most thorough and polished work yet in my opinion, it was the best 'debut' project I could create on an independent scale. I call it that because I feel like some recognition for my music has finally arrived. I'm just getting started though, I want to be the best at what I do.

It's released on an independent scale. How do you cope with marketing and distribution?

I enjoy the challenge of doing my own marketing and assembling my own team. I think my music has something different to offer many audiences, that I have my own lane, and this time I really went outside of the box with my vision. I took some risks and did some cool things with the packaging and did some limited edition survival kits. I'm blessed to work with people that believe in me. My team is small, but we're strong.

The guest list is impressive. Or you have a big budget or you have good contacts with a lot of artists or you have a good manager...?

I had more resources to create this record than I've had in the past, but I still work independently. I try not to force anything, and reach out to artists I feel would complement the music. I usually have an idea for a song before I even approach another artist to be on my record. I reached out to a number of the artists myself, my co-executive producer Vanderslice did as well, and Darryl at Raw Koncept helped me connect with some artists. It was a combined effort. We're staying busy over here.


Vanderslice's been part of your entourage for quite some time. Finally now, it seems that he also is getting more props and visibility the last few years...

Yeah, Vanderslice has production on all of my records. We've been good friends for years now. He's a very talented producer, he takes that title very seriously. He was in the studio with myself and my engineer for every session of ‘The Laws Of Nature’, adding input. And he produced, in the classic sense, not just a beat maker. He has a fine-tuned ear and the combination of us in the lab means we're always making something ill. Truthfully he could have done more records on the album, but he knows that I have records that inspire me as an artist, and he understands what my vision of the music for the album is. He has his own projects always going on, most recently the DWA project with Stu Bangas. I'm working on a project with Vanderslice right now too. You'll definitely hear more in the future, we're constantly working.

You also have M-Phazes on the record. He was already on your first project in 2005, before he got famous in the underground scene. You have quite a nose for production talent right?

I like to think I do. I was getting production from M-Phazes before almost anyone was. He actually did about half of that record, and has had music on every one of my projects since then. He definitely earned his spot as one of the best out there. I'm proud of his achievements in music. I knew from the beginning that he would make his mark, it was only a matter of time.

Any producers you working with now, that could become household names?

Most people have heard of Nottz, The Alchemist, Jake One and by now.Those guys have big names and the talent to back it up. Vanderslice should be a household name, if you haven't heard his work, make the time to get familiar. Shout out Green Steez, shout to Jaisu. Shout to Frank Dukes.

Then there's Sid Roams, Bravo and Joey Chavez, who I think are household names, but they should be more highly recognized. They did ‘Beastmode’, ‘Ash to Dust’ and ‘Can't Walk Away’ for me. Sebb did ‘One Thing More’ on my album. He's overseas but we went to his studio in Brooklyn when he came to work in the US. He did a record with Jadakiss while he was out here, and was producing some gems over the years, some of which flew under the radar. He's one of the best, don't sleep.

You have a good ear for beats, you know which producers fit your songs, what song fits a beat well, is that something other rappers miss often?

Yeah, definitely. If the music doesn't make me feel something then I won't be able to make my listener feel something. I'm very selective with my production and I don't chase trends. I'm trying to create something timeless. Something that still has value years down the line. Most rappers flock to whatever sound is hot at the moment, or whatever they have at their disposal and micro waved music usually sounds stale and dated by the time it drops. Others just don't have the best ear for beats, they don't understand what kind of music they'd sound best on.

I'm an artist from New York, so I definitely have a East Coast influence because that's what I grew up listening to. But I'm trying to make something progressive, street music but something fresh, soulful and inspired. I feel like my sound has versatility and you won't be so quick to categorize my music if you listen to a full length from me. I gravitate toward sounds that inspire me naturally, and when it’s authentic like that, the music ages much better.


Exactly. The album has this soulful, spiritual touch. OK, it's called ‘laws of nature’ but still, it comes through more than on your other work…

I put my life into my music, so that's kind of a spiritual experience in itself. Life is a rollercoaster ride, right? There are some days where you feel like you might black out on someone and others where you might feel nostalgic. There are artists who don't take many risks and only stay in that one lane they think works for them. I want you to hear all the different colors in the spectrum. I felt like it was important for ‘The Laws Of Nature’ to reflect my story and just to put my heart into it. It came out sounding very passionate and soulful on certain records. You can hear the hunger and attitude on some of the harder joints.

In every single album title of the trilogy there's the word 'Nature'. Please explain your bond with nature?

I grew up in Upstate NY. So I'm used to going through all the four seasonal changes every year. You get to see the whole life cycle throughout the course of a year when you’re in NY. Everything dies and has a rebirth. I just find nature to be powerful and intriguing and it applies in many different ways. When I listen to records, sometimes I feel like something gives me a winter vibe, that darker sounding time, Timb boots and heavy jackets. Breezy sounding stuff I usually apply to the spring time vibe, when everything is blooming. Then there's summer time, which has a blockbuster, bright sounding vibe to it. Fall time, the leaves are changing, it's getting towards the end of the year and it's colorful in a grimier way. That's just one way I apply nature to music.

Do you get inspiration out of nature?

Yes. In the opening track of the album, ‘Ash to Dust’ I say, ‘The nature of mankind, the powers of law’ and the laws of nature relates to the rise to power of a new artist, the concept of power and how people use and misuse it. The struggle and competition between humans and nature for survival. That way of relating nature to my environment is inspiring to me.

What's the nature of a good emcee?

A good emcee is able to process thoughts in an entertaining fashion and has strong vocal presence and delivery. A good emcee is comfortable being original and developing his own style and sound. A good emcee does the knowledge on its predecessors and maintains tradition in a unique way. My favorite emcees are musical geniuses.

Such as…

I listen to mostly the people I work with. As an artist, you try not to let others influence you too much outside of your creative circle, but I check new music out. I try to stay in tune with the current and also what’s going on from my area. I like Nas’ new album, I like the joints I've been hearing from Roc Marciano lately. The people in my circle have enough great music to keep me occupied though.


Your album is often described as ‘boombap’. Good hip-hop equals boombap or...?

I just describe my music as good hip-hop, good music in general. Boom-bap is a term for that ‘real hip-hop’ vibe. I'm not mad that someone says my music is boom-bap, but I think my stuff expands beyond the traditional. The music is progressive while still maintaining its roots.

You were in a crew called Fallen Angelz. How’s that goin?

I still speak with most of the original members of Fallen Angelz and Pitch Control Music, they all my people. We all have our own thing going on, either musically or otherwise. I appreciate everyone's individuality and we work when it's right. I have my imprint, Lions Pride, and that's my main focus right now.

One of your fav authors is Paolo Coelho right?

Yeah he's a really wise writer and always has jewels and vision in his work.

So no doubt your fav Coelho book is ‘The Alchemist’?

I had some friends put me on to that book. I could read it multiple times and still enjoy it. Everyone's got their personal legend.

Does The Alchemist know?

I'm sure he's familiar with Coelho, he probably doesn't know that I'm a fan of that book. I've never told him that.

You once said in an interview: my main career goal is to find what I'm looking for. Have you found it yet?

I'd say I'm grateful to be in the position I'm in and I'm just going to keep working hard and getting better. I'm growing as an artist and I'm thankful to have a chance to give my perspective and have people relate to that.


POSTED 10|23|2012
conducted by cpf

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