A.S.A. Project – Little Lady and Interview

“If he said you were the one
Now would you kiss him
If he said that y’all were done
Would you dis him”

The A.S.A. Project, an eclectic hip hop/pop trio comprised of Spazz on vocals, Reelo on vocals and production and DJ/Producer Turnip Gawd, release their vibrant new single, “Little Lady.” This catchy song will get you dancing for sure. The bright, happy Reelo produced track, with its bouncy keyboard sounds, will appear on their forthcoming self-titled album due out late this spring. In “Little Lady,” a song that belongs on the radio, A.S.A. sing of modern love and it’s pertinent expression through instagram flexin’, notifications and follows/unfollows. They are clever with it and their standout voices shine in the dope pop song. This is their first single from the project other than a recent video introduction. The group, who rep PVTSTCK, have been going hard in 2016, they dropped the OH! What A Place! EP just a couple months ago. For more on the group, read our email interview below and know that there’s always something awesome coming from the A.S.A Project.

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Photos by Bryan Allan Lamb

Can you give me a little background on each member?

Spazz: From the Southside of Chicago, 22, currently attending Marquette University

Reelo: From the Northside of Chicago, 21

Turnip Gawd: I grew up surrounded by music. My mom was a drummer in a all girl Latina band. My dad’s side is the more musical side. My grandpa played in a band and taught my dad and uncle about music. My dad is also in a latin band til this day. My dad refused to let me pursue music until I was in high school and decided to teach myself piano and how to produce. Then I met my friends (Reelo and Spazz) and decided to go this direction. Now my dad does support the music and helps in any way he can. I was in college, but decided music is what I want to pursue so I dropped out to work and focus on music. I am planning to go back to school for audio engineering. I am from the Northside of Chicago (Logan Square), I’m 19.

I hear several different genres in your music, are each of you bringing different and specific inspirations to the collective? Who did you grow up listening to?

We first and foremost enjoy having fun when creating music and create with completely open minds. We don’t intend to create certain things, these things just happen. Subconsciously we intend to genre bend when creating music from many of our music influences. We all grew up listening to very different styles of music. For example, Spazz grew up listening to punk rock and different styles of Hip Hop/Rap such as N.E.R.D which he also drafted his name from his favorite N.E.R.D song titled: “Spazz”. Another example of how different our music tastes are, Reelo grew up listening to R&B & Spanish music such as 112, Jagged Edge, Rakim Y Ken-Y, and Ricky Martin but as far as hiphop and rap music go, he was a big DMX and Three 6 Mafia fan as a kid as well. Last but not least our DJ Turnip Gawd grew up listening to almost everything from Old School house to latin music (bachata, merengue, salsa, reggaeton, etc.) to metal rock to punk rock and alternative and even to rap/hip hop. Marc Anthony was definitely a household favorite. There was a wide range of artists that Turnip grew up listening to.

What are three words you’d use to describe your upcoming project?

Always Something Awesome

Any particular goals for The A.S.A. Project album?

This project is and has been something very special to us. The A.S.A. Project is our debut album and a reintroduction of our new sound, and image of our group. As far as goals go, we expect this album to really keep people on their toes and expand our fan base and network because all of this music and this new sound is something no one is expecting because it’s a big leap in difference from our older music but we want to let the public know that now we are here, and we are here to stay!

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Any features or production collabs on the project?

As far as features go, we have a very small amount of features and collaborations on this album. The artists and collaborators you can expect to hear on our album would be: Producer IKON from PVTSTCK, vocalist Rebecca Brunner, vocalist Stormy English, guitarist Jameson Brenner from Zaramela, and our close friend guitarist Oscar Gonzalez is on a very special song to us that closes out the album.

I’ve seen lately in Chicago, that it’s hard to keep a group together! How do you all manage any differences within the group and navigate directions that you may independently want to pursue, but that the other two members might not be feeling?

As a group we have never had trouble compromising with each other. We have a big brother, little brother relationship where we each push each other to become better at what we do and continue growing. At times we do bump heads but at the end of the day, we all want to see each other win equally.

What are your thoughts on the value of collaboration?

Collaboration is very important, as the saying goes: 3 dummies is better than 1 lol. Collaboration brings a lot of great things because you’re not just combining ideas from one person, you have other minds filled with all great ideas and when you bring many good ideas together you get something very magical – THE A.S.A PROJECT!

Anything you’ve learned along the way that you’d care to share with artists earlier in their career development?

This industry takes a lot out of you as a creative but keep pushing, stay positive, and keep everything 100% authentic. ALSO, you must work very hard and be very patient.

Where did you record?

We recorded almost the entire album inside of Reelo’s home studio located in his grandma’s basement. It doesn’t get any more organic than that… We feel that played a major key *DJ KHALED VOICE* in creating the album and capturing a sound that we feel just cannot be recreated anywhere else. We recorded a record, “Bon Voyage” on the album at PVTSTCK Studios and also recorded a few verses there. We finished a couple edits of songs and verses in Milwaukee, WI. at Spazz’s apartment there.

Shout outs?

Shoutout to everyone doing what they love, KEEP GOING!

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I asked the A.S.A. Project to list a few of their favorites things:

Spazz:
Album: Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Bands: Blink 182
Vocalists: Kid Cudi
Rappers: Meek Mill
Producers: Turnip Gawd, Reelo
Chicago based musicians: Saba
Books: Pedagogy of Freedom by Paulo Freire
Movies: E.T.
Video Game: NBA 2K13
Fav Chicago spots or restaurants: The Nite Cap

Reelo:
Album: 112 “Pleasure & Pain” and Panic! At The Disco “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out”
Bands: Panic! At The Disco, Jagged Edge
Vocalists: Brendon Urie, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Drake, Blackbear, Justin Bieber
Rappers: Drake, Rockie Fresh
Producers: As a producer it’s sort of weird that I don’t really have any “favorite” producers, but I do have some friends of mine who make some hot production… The homies Ikon & Flex Lennon from PVTSTCK
Chicago based musicians: Saba, Spazz, Mick Jenkins
Books: Not much of a reader, but books that I enjoyed reading as a kid were The Captain Underpants books lol
Movies: Not much of a movie watcher but one of my favorites would be Taken
Video Game: Madden, NBA 2K…, anyone let me know if you wanna get busted lol (Xbox One)

Turnip Gawd:
Album: Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak, Taking Back Sunday’s Louder Now
Bands: Taking Back Sunday, The Airborne Toxic Event, Kids These Day, Nirvana
Vocalists: PartyNextDoor, Blackbear, Mike Posner, Marc Anthony
Rappers: Kanye West, Drake, Chance, Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar
Producers: Timbaland, Pharrell
Chicago based musicians: Chance The Rapper, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Vic Mensa, Saba
Books: The Outsiders, Places and Spaces I’ve Been
Movies: Superbad, This Is The End
Video Game: Fallout, The Division, 2K, Mario Party (any mario game really)
Fav Chicago spots or restaurants: No favorites, too many great spots in our city!

Dutch – No Measure

“There was no measure
All in my fever
I found you”

“No Measure” is a haunting, hazy love song by Toronto based artist Dutch. I stumbled across the track last night via a Hillydilly repost on soundcloud. It begins with dark sounding synths and guitar, then his rich voice comes in and captivates for the next 5 minutes. I couldn’t find much info on the artist, just a Passion of the Weiss post on his only other release that I know of, a vastly different sounding and intense rap, “MNNSLTR.” I’m impressed and intrigued, listen to “No Measure,” Dutch is a remarkable new artist.

“You are the pleasure
With you forever
You’re mine”

Trapo – SHE EP (Prod. by Derrick Thomas Jr.)

17 year old Madison rap prodigy Trapo released his highly anticipated SHE EP, produced entirely by Derrick Thomas Jr. Trapo’s debut project, The Black Beverly Hills, impressed the nation, and the SHE EP shows incredible growth in content and musicality. If you didn’t know any better you’d think the high school senior had years of experience over his peers. Trapo has certainly done a lot of living in the past few months, and now the young vocalist’s got women on his mind. He describes the project as, “…a complete therapy session. Each song is filled with genuine feeling, and relates to women both currently and no longer in my life, This isn’t just some corny love tape. SHE is entirely from a male perspective, or at least from my perspective. It’s me falling in and out of emotions.”

SHE premiered via HotNewHipHop (where listeners have rated it VERY HOTTTTT,) you can cop at iTunes. What first drew me in about Trapo is the quality of his voice – a unique & emotive instrument, deep and rich with some gravel, and seasoned beyond his years. His bold wordplay, incisive and open, is throughly engaging throughout SHE. He relates his varied experiences with women, moods range from dismissive to desirous and befit his age. SHE has a few features; Chicago based theMind and Max Wonders, and Meraki from Milwaukee. Trapo made a wise choice having agile beatmaker Derrick Thomas Jr. produce the whole thing, he’s versatile yet provides congruity adding to the smoothness of the piece. Some of my early favs are “She Moved On,” “Prototype” featuring Wonders, “Special” featuring theMind and of course “Chicago.” It was a pleasure to post Trapo’s first interview back in September, and man has he leveled up since. Listen to SHE to get inside the mind of Trapo, he’s on a roll right now. :lipstick:

“This ain’t a drill baby get to the dancing.”

ZenZan – Zendiana Jones EP

Producer ZenZan makes heroic music on his iPad, and his Zendiana Jones EP, released via Mishka Records, is a rewarding adventure. Created while the producer watched the Indiana Jones trilogy on mute, the music embraces the many twists and turns of the quest with gravitas and precision. For more insight, read ZenZan’s latest interview by neonpajamas. He described the process of making Zendiana Jones, “Well, it all started with my love for watching movies on mute while I listen to all different kinds of music in headphones. I wanted to know what would happen if I made beats while watching a film on mute and just reimagine certain scenes with a different musical approach. I started with the Indiana Jones trilogy naturally. Haha!” I paticularly love his interpretation of “Marion.” Follow ZenZan to consistently hear unique musical explorations.

Dos Phendi – Fire (Prod. by Flight)

“There she go, playin’ with fire”

Dos Phendi continues Feo Mob March Madness with his latest single, “Fire.” Prized team member, producer Flight, laid the musical foundation for Phendi to meander the winding road of love. This track, with a subtle latin vibe, shows a different side of Dos than the harder raps that I’ve heard from him recently and it’s a welcome sound. Enjoy Dos Phendi’s brand of “Fire,” for more flames check out his recent EP, Papers.

Lucien Parker – Good Side (Prod. by Rel One)

“Let me show you my good side.”

Lucien Parker is from the South Side of Minneapolis and presents himself very well in his latest single, “Good Side.” I find the harmonious song, produced by Rel One, warm, detailed and lyrically rich. I reached out to ask Lucien about the song and he responded, “Good Side is a story of my life. It’s a story about going after what one wants and giving it their best. In many ways the song connects this idea of chasing after the love of your life, and chasing after a dream and both deserve dedication and hard work. My partner deserves the same love and care that my music does and in that way she becomes art physically and spiritually, show your partner your good side, they deserve it.” There is an almost tangible quality to Lucien Parker’s voice, his sincerity comes through and he’s got writing skills to match. Check out Lucien Parker’s “Good Side,” then follow with a visit to his soundcloud, he’s making damn good music.

Noah Sims Feat. Hugo Lee – Phoenix

Chicago producer Noah Sims met Australian saxophone player Hugo Lee at an event at SAE Chicago and the fated meeting resulted in the stirring instrumental, “Phoenix.” Sims described that the dynamic saxophone feature was done in one take at Glass Tree Creative, Noah wanted to keep the performance pure and intact so built everything around that solo. It begins subtly and smolders, then evokes emotion as it tastefully catches fire. Rise up with “Phoenix” and then check out Sims’ debut project Testament.

Isaiah G – Loan Le (Dir. by Cole Bennett)

Isaiah G’s “Loan Le” gets some video magic from director Cole Bennett and finds the rapper walking through the neighborhood solo. The track showcases Isaiah’s variety of flows and begins with introspective lyrics, then the beat by Martin $ky takes a dark turn and Isaiah follows suit. Don’t leave him lonely, follow Isaiah G to “think about happy shit, about how to live and cope in these streets” and for more dope music.

“I don’t want to go
Sometimes I just want to stay
Lately we just tryin’ to leave it alive
Cause we dyin’ anyway
No, I don’t wanna just exist”

Anak1n drops his 3 track EP, SKYWLKRS and lives up to the promise and flair heard in his last project, Wish Wisely. As he walks forward on his musical oddyssey, his seriousness, energy and dedication come through clearly on this dark and smoky EP. For the opening track, the jazz infused “shadows,” Anak1n brought in songstress Sydny Smith who dazzles with her gorgeous voice and lifts the gravity of the song while complementing Anak1n’s words and flow. He raps, “Used to be this innocent boy, they say what happen to you. I said I changed for the better, struggled, and now I’m Zulu.” Next comes “nobodies” featuring frequent collaborator Shao Doja and his rich deep voice. Shao and K1n have a very distinct chemistry, and I’m excited to hear more from the duo both together and individually. Anak1n ends the project solo with “exist.” P. Soul produced SKYWLKRS in it’s entirety and set the perfect stage for Anak1n’s trip. Best known for his work with Trapo, it’s nice to hear another talented young artist on P. Soul’s beats. The project was mixed and mastered by Sherpa and cover art credit to Chandler M. King. Get to know this young artist, you’ll definitely be hearing more from Anak1n soon.

SoloSam – Gettin Somewhere (Prod. by Ad Astra)

“But don’t compare me
To the last guy
On your spotify
Don’t call it a tie
I’m just tryin to win
Is that shit a crime”

SoloSam is back at it and confident, he’s really “Gettin Somewhere” with his latest single. Last weekend, before the official premiere on Fake Shore Drive, Sam performed and live streamed “Gettin Somewhere” with his band. Producer Ad Astra’s pizzicato strings and 808’s blend solidly with well placed hi-hats. SoloSam spits fire from start to finish. The track was engineered by Banks The Genius at Glass Tree Creative. Fall back and listen to SoloSam’s banger, “Gettin Somewhere.”

Qari – Szabo (Fortress) (Prod. by Mulatto Beats x Samii Beatz)

Anthemic, solemn and hypnotic – with his latest release, “Szabo (Fortress),” Qari takes his listeners on a dynamic and fulfilling ride, blending moods throughout the 3:40 and making it seem effortless. The first section draws you in with its intensity while seeming almost nonchalant, and ending with the words “I know you really need it” before easing into the second section’s smoky and vibrant guitar driven trance; Credit to Mulatto and SamiBeats on a superb bed of music. With this being the fifth release in the past month, Qari and friends really seem to be heating up. Keep a close eye on the young one, exciting times are ahead.

Supa Bwe – Run A Check Up + Supa Bwe x Taylor Bennett – Show Me

“Run that check up, so extensive
My time is money baby
Yeah my time expensive”

Damn, Supa Bwe comes back to reality on the single, “Run A Check Up,” and finds that everybody is still fake. He’s spending and he’s taxing over production by himself and Shepard Hues. Supa is consistently a bold and passionate artist, I can’t wait to hear what he’s got coming with his next EP, Down Comes The Spaceman.

“Can you show me something I ain’t seen before”

Supa is collaborating with Taylor Bennett and the two released their first single, “Show Me,” on the same night as “Run A Check Up.” When I first heard that these two were in the studio, I was curious. It works. The beat, produced by Home, grooves and lays solid ground for the two artists. Supa is raw, weary and very much himself, he’s been in the game awhile and wants to see something new. He says “Every time they call my cell n****s need something, every time I hoist my sails n****s sea sick.” Taylor comes in with his polished demeanor. He adds a verse commenting on the typical day and the needs of the people that he hears from. He retains his bright energy even while rapping about tired scenarios. I hope to hear more work from this pair. Be sure to catch Supa Bwe’s first solo show in Chicago at Reggies on April 14.

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