Monday, February 22, 2010
“The Beat” recently caught up with E Sik of Realization, who will be performing this Friday at Blue Fin in Monterey. Below is a complete interview transcript.
I grew up here. I was raised here in Seaside. Lived in the projects until I was 16. Those days, I learned not to revolt. In the PJ's, or whatever, (I would think to myself) what if we actually correct ourselves, you know what I mean? What would that look like?
Because I've always seen the dark side of things. That helped influence my music with that mind set. When I see a lot of bad things happening, I think what's the best way to correct it? The best way is music.
A lot of people are very in tune with music. Whenever someone gets in an argument with their girlfriend or boyfriend, they go in their car and drive away and blast whatever music they can sing to. Or maybe someone in the morning has to hear a certain song every morning to feel good on the drive to work. A lot of music triggers you in a lot of ways, emotions you never thought you had until that moment.
If you could imagine a world with no music? You'd go crazy. It keeps our sanity. But the important thing about music is to bring out truth, honest expression. To help correct things in life so people correct themselves first and then they can go correct other things.
Sometimes there's music out there, and it's just ‘Me, me, me, me, me. I'm a thug, I got a gun, this that.‘ A kid can take that and listen to a person over and over and turn into that person, without even meeting that artist. They can say ‘Oh, that's me. He's saying that's me.’ And then they really grow up to be that way. There's some kids that can do that. It just shows you how much control the music has over a human.
Inside of us, our spirit is the one that hears the music, and our flesh form is just robots. You can tell the soul is nice. The soul is feeling it.
My way of music is trying to correct things and hopefully the message is clear for healing. We're in this constant world wide awareness. There's a lot of problems out here, but it's not as big as out there.
Third world countries in general, I like to speak on that a lot, because most people don't really understand the different struggle besides their own. The gangsters out here, they're saying it's hardcore, whatever. But if you go to Africa, you might see a little kid, nine-years-old, who will shoot you in your back, check your pockets for a wallet, then walk away. So what's hardcore?
The genre in music that I've always been into, that helped me see things clearly message wise, was reggae. Reggae was pretty much, almost my religion. I would say it's my culture. To live positive, be free and not have any hold on you. It's very liberating.
I really got deep into that. Then I turned into hip-hop, which was more about expressing yourself in a way of who you are, versus, singing songs of freedom and reggae. I mixed that in with the speech pattern of hip-hop, trying to tell people to unify. It's beautiful to put it all together like that.
I started working on that and I got into bands. I started writing music and everything. When I was 18, I moved up to San Jose. That was when I really wanted to take the challenge and I did. I started a cypher on downtown Santa Clara Street, which is still happening now. It was at Johnny V's. That was like 2002.
Before all that, I was trying to challenge my hip-hop. They didn't have too much reggae (in San Jose). I would see these battle sessions, and I'm broke, 18, coming from Monterey. I noticed a lot of battle rappers didn't rap too on beat. I practiced every time to stay on beat, stay on beat. When you sound like you're on beat, people respond. They don't know what you're saying most of the time, but they'll catch those lines here and there. I'd win a lot of them, lose a lot of them, but I knew that was a potential way to make money as a musician with no job. It helped me get up in the music scene.
I know all of San Jose. I know a lot of people in San Francisco, the East Bay, all just because of the music. A lot o f people would trip off that. I would take friends up there with me, and see people out there and just be like, ‘Hey, hey, hey.’ And my friends that I would bring with me would be like ‘How do you know everybody?’
You can't be an MC all the time. You got to be cool with everybody. You've got to be a person. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm a better MC than you, whatever. It's all about respecting your grind. You got to respect the hustle.
As far as 40831, I was affiliated with Undahoggs because I came back here and I was planning on doing a scene down here. I was thinking about ‘Okay, who do I look for?’ I didn't see anybody. But I saw Undahoggs, and I knew those guys from a long time ago. I got in contact with them and I saw them at a show. I had their number. I contacted them, and they were down for it.
Then, I said ‘I'm gonna do my own thing. Whoever's down, come with me on it. And it's Realization.’
That was important to me, that name. Because everyday, you realize something. You have to go through life realizing something everyday. You have to realize something every day, and whatever the consequences for certain things you realize, you've got to remember it. That's the realization.
You don't repeat the same failures or refuse to accept things that are not good in life that you have no control over. You've just got to balance yourself and be at peace with yourself. I'm very critical with that. All my spare time, I'm hanging out, I'm goof ball. But with music, I get really serious.
In 2008, I told myself that I am not going to sit around for anybody anymore. I'm going to take this and move it. I'm going to push myself in a way I've never pushed myself before. I did my own fliers, my own photos, everything to make it happen. Certain members who were in it at the time helped me out. It got to the point where the (local media) called me and certain people called me like ‘Hey, I want to know more about your show.’ I was like ‘Who is this?’ and they were like ‘I got your number on a flier.’ I'd be like ‘Oh yeah.’
A lot of people would tell me (about the first Realization songs) ‘There's so many styles here and there, where is everybody going with it?’ I just said ‘Hey, I got to focus on this album.’ The “Mind Shipped” album, that was very conscious. That was something I liked to work with. But we never had a band, so I told myself we have to get a band to play as Realization. So we scooped up a band as well. The band is active right now. They've been doing live stuff for the Realization project.
Then I started thinking, I want to put a solo album out and that leads into the Central Coast Underground. I decided to put the band together and we did shows with PLG. I did everything and we went everywhere. We went from San Mateo to Santa Barbara. I did everything.
So I said, ‘You know what, I'm going to do my solo album.’ Because if I could do my solo album and book my own stuff wherever, I could create something where it would be an alliance in a bunch of places. To let them know I'm down here in Monterey, with everybody in CCU, and see if (outside artists) want to network down here with people as well.
Its a cemetery down here. But I'm not going to give up on it. I said I'm gonna put out this solo album and let it speak for Monterey, to bring out the swag we have over here.
The songs are all different. You have the political (song), one that's dark, one that's all swag and let me do my thing. To throw that all around everywhere, people are hearing that. It's kind of like medicine.
To have those guys (CCU) come and be involved, and do whatever I want to do makes it 100 percent better. It just makes it better because then you see a movement. Monterey never had a hip-hop scene with San Francisco artists coming down on a periodical basis. That's what I'm trying to do.
With that solo album and that idea going, I said CCU, Central Coast Underground. I said ’Nan, I want to build an alliance out here to represent in the Bay Area.‘
I called Joint Venture. I said ‘Hey, you mind doing a show so I could check you out, because I'm starting this CCU thing.’ That night, literally, I was impressed because there's nobody out here that sounds like them. Because they're way too undergorund for anybody to be listening to (out here). Right away I said they got to go to San Jose with me. I said okay, we'll rock a couple more shows. It was them and Solis Cin from San Jose that I called at the same time. I called him to come and do this because I wanted him to come out and make his name in Monterey. He's been taking full advantage, coming to shows.
The more exposure they get, and now a lot of people are starting to know. Solis Cin started playing Mortimer's. That place was so empty before, but now it's like crackin'.
The business loves it, they say we love this energy in there, you guys have to do this more often. I said yeah, this is CCU.
I said I'm taking these two guys who helped me start CCU. Everybody loved them. I proved myself wrong, that there was nothing out here? That was nonsense. There's a lot of stuff going on out here as far as talent.
For those guys to believe in me, I'm glad they did that. They saw the Pep Love, Heiroglyphics, Z-Man and Tash and Realization play out there (in San Jose). They realized that's where they want to be. It's bigger than what it is out here. We just have to get out there.
Posted by Marc Cabrera at 3:30 PM