I hope everyone has enjoyed the blog so far. There is only a few weeks left within the semester but it’s sure to be packed with much more content for your ears and eyes.We have featured several SJ emcees during our time and will continue to do so, during the next few weeks.
My Weekend Obsession With Death
Chuck Thomas‘s next project, “My Weekend Obsession With Death”, was supposed to be released this past Tuesday, however it has been delayed until further notice. Nonetheless, We will keep you up to date with it’s release
For now, here is the first single of the project, “Perfect”.
SjBRL will be experimenting with various forms of media in our coverage of our favorite topic. Expect audio and video interviews over the next several weeks.
Beats, Rhymes & Life: Live Show?
What better way to showcase some of SJ’s best talent then hosting a live show?
Although it is currently a work in progress, SjBRL is working on hosting a live event that would feature artists showcased on the site, as well as other artist from the area that want to be heard. The plan is still being figured out of course, but feel free to contact me if you would like to be featured or would like to assist the process.
Now that spring break is over, it’s time to get back on the grind. If you saw the South Jersey Video Playlist post, you may have seen our next guest in the Corfu cypher or on “Backyard Boogalo” with Miilkbone. Nonetheless, I was able to contact Skrewtape over the break for a quick interview to help provide some more insight into his work and upcoming projects.
Skrewtape is a culmination of the elements that made 90’s hip-hop it’s edge. He’s not the kind of rapper you would catch wearing skinny jeans and Harlem shaking, but his energy and rhymes can get a crowd rocking any day.
How long have you been rapping for?
Well over a decade, Since I was 13, I guess. I didn’t start taking it seriously until later on though. From the age of 17 to 21 I got a real taste for it, but it wasn’t ‘til I cleaned up and got sober around the age of 26 that I committed most of my focus to it. That’s when shit started to open up for me.
- Where did you rap name come from?
I adopted the name from a book by C.S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters”. I felt the writing style and concept of the book and its main character paralleled my approach to music. You’d have to read it to really understand how the name is significant, but basically the chapters in it highlight human nature’s inherent goodness, while written thru the eyes of pure evil.
I read it for the first time years ago and dug that paradox of duality. Plus, I thought the name sounded cool at the time. The name stuck. Most people just call me Skrew though. Looking back on my philosophy now, I probably should have chosen a name from an Alan Watts book or something.
- What inspires your music?
A desire to express myself and highlight certain aspects of our lifestyle and culture. Aspects that I feel have been forgotten or misrepresented. I get inspired by almost anything. I enjoy seeing a whole become more than the sum of its parts. Words and sounds coming together to form complex ideas and moods is a miracle in my eyes. Being able to do that is what inspires me. Sometimes I just like to talk some shit though. That’s why I love Hip-Hop: No rules.
- What is the message behind it?
Street wise with a deep side. My message depends on the song. Every life has a story, every story has a lesson. As a human being, my everyday message would be to: 1. Know more about the universe than you did yesterday, and 2. Lessen the suffering of others. As an artist, my message would be that it’s all just music. Some take themselves too seriously, and some not enough. I’m somewhere in between all that, just doing what I love.
At times, I wish my music reflected more heavily on my personal philosophy, but then again, I’d hate for every song of mine to sound like a metaphysics text-book. Music is about having fun. If I can slip some gems in there while doing that, mission accomplished.
Lately, a lot of the music I’ve been putting out for this Skumbag Millionaires LP has been on some straight grimy style, cipher poem type shit. Witty wordplay, gritty content. The type of shit that I grew up listening to. Basically I’ve been paying homage to the years of my life I spent on the streets involved with drugs, doing dumb shit. Years that shaped my personality, but hopefully not my character.
- What is CORFU and who’s [Am] down with it?
Corfu is a collective, if you will. Like minded and talented individuals building, booking shows, and promoting with one another. There is a core group of emcee/producers and also a wealth of supporters who are “Am Down” for the cause.
- How many albums have you dropped and when is the next one coming?
Skumbag Millionaires (dropping in May) is my first solo effort, tho you could hardly call it that. Featured artists include Pace Won, Young Zee, Mr. Green, Tame One, Copywrite, Reef The Lost Cauze, C-Rayz Walz, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Thirstin Howl III, El Da Sensei, MiilkBone, Nems, Kevlaar 7, Apollo The Great, Renagade, Biz Mighty, Rich Quick, Voss, and a gang of other established up and comers. It’s an ambitious project with a lotta tracks, but I’m hoping it will be regarded as an indie/underground classic.
As far as other projects, i have a few in the works for after Skumbag Millionaires drops. I’ve been putting out tracks here and there for years. Also, back in 2010, Expo, DJ Gravity, and myself released “Mushroom Cloud“. There’s a bunch of music out there, but way more to come.
- When is your next show?
Seems I’ve been doing 3-4 shows a month lately. You can catch me on any given weekend in Philly or Jersey. The next BIG event is the 420 celebration on April 19 in Atlantic City at the Grande Fromage. I’ll be rocking with Reef The Lost Cauze, Dutch Dap, Elsworth, and my Corfu Family among others. The show is sponsored by NORML, so for a 420 event, it’s gon’ be pretty official.
- If you could hop on the track with any rapper who would it be and why?
Wow, Good question. There’s a bunch. I’ve had so many influences musically. If I had to pick one though maybe Brother Ali? Depending on the mood I’m in. He’s dope on any occasion. If I’m feeling particularly fly that day though, I might have to go with a Ghostface or an Action Bronson.
For more Skrewtape, check him out on:
Its that time of the week again.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the festivities at SXSW, here are a just a few highlights of this weeks events.
- TDE Show @ The Fader Fort
- Bonus: “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe Remix (Ft. Jay-Z)”
- Earl Sweatshirt’s performs “Whoa”
- Usher performing Acapella (“Bad Girl”, “You Got It Bad”, “Lovers & Friends”)
- Macklemore performing “Thrift Shop”
For more performances check out the Fader Fort.
Gat is better known as Officer Maurice Gattison, president of Irvington’s police union, and the other three men are decorated township officers. All four are now the subject of an internal investigation because of the video, which has reignited a debate about what police officers can and can’t say. Does the right of free speech trump department rules and regulations when the cops are off-duty? (The Star Ledger/Nj.com)
Move over Rick Ross, there’s a new
sheriff officer in town. Ethical issue or just bad idea altogether?
Coming soon: An interview with Camden’s own Skrewtape.
To save you some time searching on Youtube, here’s a set of videos from various SJ artist including: Chuck Thomas, Rich Quick, Screwtape, Charlie Blaze and Trip.
Drag Em’ Out – Chuck Thomas
Crazed – Trip
Ain’t Nobody Safe – Charlie Blaze
CORFU Cypher – Biz Mighty, Voss, Rich Quick, Tray Digga, OHM, Jawnzap 7 and Skrewtape
Backyard Boogaloo – Skrewtape Ft. Milkbone
(Chuck Thomas, Trip and Charlie Blaze’s videos are all entries in Funk Volume’s 5th annual Don’t Fu[n]k Up Our Beats rap contest.)
-New Music: Kid Cudi – Immortal
-Dreamchasers 3 Coming Soon
Meek Mill released a rough copy of his upcoming mixtape on his Instagram Account.
MTV has started their 8th annual Best MC’s In The Game countdown. This often controversial list will reveal a new addition everyday this week.
Let the arguments begin!
Tune in as the “Hottest MCs in the Game VIII” debate kicks off on MTV2’s ‘Week In Jams’ on Sunday, March 3, at 11 a.m. ET and reveals #1 on Thursday, March 7, at 10 p.m. ET on MTV Jams.
Last Year’s List:
- Rick Ross
- Kanye West
- Nicki Minaj
- Lil Wayne
- Meek Mill
- Big Sean
- Wiz Khalifa
Chuck Thomas has had love for music for many years now. When he was 15, he was a bass player in a hardcore band and thanks to the encouragement of a close friend, he eventually made the to transition in to becoming a rapper.
A native of Southwest Philly, Thomas resided in Sewell, NJ for a number of years before returning to Philly last year.
This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to catch Chuck Thomas’ performance at The Bus Stop Cafe in Pitman, which included other local acts including: Stay Gold, Dot Destin, Charlie Blaze, Skrewtape, and Rich Quick. I am happy to present our first interview here at Beats, Rhymes, Life with Chuck Thomas, a true veteran of the South Jersey/Philly hip hop scene.
- What inspires you to make music?
Honestly, I have no choice. It really makes me feel like I have a purpose. I started rapping at 22 but didn’t stay steady with it this whole time. So it’s 11 years since I started but 5 years of actual work. I realized when I wasn’t doing it I was a miserable mess. So, I do this s–t cause I am sick without it. I truly feel like it is why I’m here.
- Whats the message behind it?
I like to think I rap about my mistakes in life, so maybe someone hears it and decides not to make those same mistakes. I rap a lot about my drug addiction in the past and how it held me back and how I made it out. I don’t think that will always be the theme, in fact I know it won’t. But, right now it’s what I have going on. I honestly want to bring a style of rap that I grew up with back, I feel like there is hardly any substance with mainstream rap….there isn’t. I want to be a part of the movement that brings substance and lyricism back to the game.
- Who are your biggest influences when you write?
My favorite rapper ever is Slug from Atmosphere. I also listen to a lot of Aesop Rock, Royce Da 5’9″ and Slaughterhouse as well. Of course Eminem, Biggie, Tupac and a ton of Rock/Metal bands. I am very influenced to write raps after listening to metal, don’t ask me [how], but that’s how it works for me.
- How many albums/mixtapes have you released and which are out now?
In total five albums and I just released my first mixtape, “Holding It Down Vol.1”, this past week. I have a few features with some of my favorite artists in South Jersey coming out and coming in July, I have my next album titled “The Influence” coming.
- What makes Hip-Hop in South Jersey different from the other areas of NJ?
The mix of different styles, you got the college kid hip hop, the street shit and everything in between. I have a few artists in the area I really look up too, and its all for different reasons. This scene is about to blow up! This area is on its f—ing grind right now!
- What do you like best about it?
The dedication, and the loyalty the artists show each other. I like that you [can] do a show with a dope artist and they like you, they show love. They book you on the next one, tell their friends about you download the stuff, everything. Everybody has each others backs and its great cause without each other this s–t don’t work.
- What local artist are you listening to nowadays?
- If you could work with any producer and any rapper (dead or alive) who would you choose?
Slug…all day, it will happen or I’ll die trying.
- When is your next show?
I’m playing next Sunday march 10 at the Voltage Lounge in Philly.
“Dj Siege Presents: Holdin’ It Down” is Available here