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interview FASHAWN (November 2009) | Interview By: Jose Ho-Guanipa

   What's it like to only be 20 years old and have some of the top producers and rappers in the game showing you their support? Ask Fashawn, the Fresno California native has been hard at work securing his place as one of the leaders of the new young talent on the West Coast. With cosigns from Evidence, Alchemist, DJ Muggs, Large Professor, and Planet Asia, he recently released his debut album Boy Meets World. We got to sit down and talk to him about overcoming adversity, socioeconomic issues and the Fresno hip-hop scene.


As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to jose@dubcnn.com.

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Interview was conducted in October 2009
 
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Related Media & Links
Fashawn - Album Release Show (Video)
..........................................................................................
Fashawn // Exclusive Video Interview // Dubcnn
Download The Video Interview Windows Media
Download The Dubcnn Drop Windows Media

Press Play to stream footage (Fast Connections Recommended) 
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Whatís up yíall itís Jose with Dubcnn. Iím, here with Fashawn, whatís up man?

Fashawn: Whatís going down, chilliní at the Wizards of Poetry Tour at the Key Club 2009, should be a crazy show.

Dubcnn: First off tell us about your story, who you are and where youíre from, because a lot of people donít know what you had to overcome in your personal life to get where you are now.

Fashawn: I was born in the city of Fresno. Thatís a real beautiful place and at the same time a real dark place, they had the highest murder rate in California at one point. Thatís where I came from and I was basically raised without a father and without a mother, she was addicted to drugs. I basically raised myself, grew up real fast, matured real fast because of that. I got into music, that was kind of my outlet, my escape at the age of 12. Linked up with planet Asia at the age of 16. He took me on the road with him across California. From there he introduced me to Evidence, and I started working with him, we did this record called The Far Left, this record called Our Way, he introduced me to Alchemist. My lifeís been crazy ever since. Fast forward to 2009, I got my first album coming out, but even prior to that I got tapes with Mick Boogey, Terry Urban. Iíve been grindiní for awhile. You might see my name in your iPod, you might not know it but Iíve been here for a few years.

Dubcnn: When people think about California they think about LA and the gangbang culture and the bay and the Hyphy culture. Whatís Fresno like, whatís the culture?

Fashawn: Well since Fresnoís in the middle, itís like both mentalities mixed into one. A lot of my friends that I grew up with were from Oakland and LA. Itís like both of these mentalities mixed with this simple way of living. You can tell the difference in the lifestyle when you drive from LA to Fresno, youíre like ďWhat the hellĒ, itís like a whole other world out there. But itís cool, a lot of dope MCs come form there, like Killer Tay, Planet Asia, Diego Red. Itís a great place, itís like no other place in California.

Dubcnn: Howíd you get started into the hip-hop game, who introduced you to it or what introduced you to it?

Fashawn: Iíd have to say my big brother introduced me to hip-hop as far as the music. I linked up with this DJ in my hometown his nameís DJ Hecktik. I was 16 when I met him, and asked him to manage me. He took me under his wing and thatís when I started to hone my craft, building records and building my catalogue from there. Thatís how Fashawn became Fashawn.

Dubcnn: You linked up with Planet Asia and it snowballed to where you are right now. When you first met Planet Asia, what did he see in you that motivated him to take you under his wing?

Fashawn: I think he saw that I was a student of the same kind of hip-hop that he was, like the Rakims, the Kool G Raps, the Wu Tangs, the Ice Ts. He knew that I was the kind of artist that had that kind of appreciation for it and you can hear the influence of that in my music. I think thatís what really made him take me under his wing, and of course I was a fan of him. He was a big influence growing up. It was crazy seeing someone rep Fresno like that around the world. I guess he saw me as the next one out of the town. The young cat coming up hungry, the same hunger that he had coming up.

Dubcnn: Youíre pretty young. Youíve gotten a lot of support from some pretty big names Alchemist, Muggs, Large Professor, Planet Asia. How does it make you feel to get respect from these big names in the game?

Fashawn: Itís priceless, not many MCs have that, especially MCs my age. Itís a great feeling that they salute what Iím doing, not only them but my peers as well. Itís a good feeling Ďcause those are the people I look up to, those are the cats that paved the way for what Iím doing and the whole new wave of artists. If it wasnít for them I wouldnít be here. Thatís the best feeling in the world, better than any check or anything.

Dubcnn: When people listen to your music, one thing that people always say is that youíre very articulate and well spoken, that you rap like someone ten years older. How did you develop that?

Fashawn: Iím influenced by intelligent MCs, so probably from that. Just listening to people like Rakim, Talib Kweli, and Tupac. People who carried themselves strong and that spoke their mind and was real decisive with their words. Thatís the kind of person I am, Iíve always been that way. I always read books and made sure I was articulate so I could communicate with people from all walks of life.

Dubcnn: Letís talk about some of your music, I know in one of your songs Ecology you talk about society and everyday life stuff. Youíve been around it, how do you think that stuff affects people and how do you think people are able to overcome that even if theyíre regular people, not just big stars?

Fashawn: I see it affecting people, being a person thatís from that condition. I know that sometimes people feel like thereís no other outlet. Especially right now, unemployment is ridiculous (over 10%). Most of the people I know do not have jobs at all. I have to say we gotta create our own jobs. Thatís what I did, through my music, I created my own job. People arenít hiring, so thatís the only way we can get out of it. If you canít get hired be your own boss, employ yourself. I know itís hard for all my people, but you gotta survive and get yours. A lot of people ainít willing to help, if people donít have that much money in their own pocket how can they help the next man? You gotta really be strong in these times.

Dubcnn: Tell us about the album, the albums coming out really soon. Whoíd you get to work with, whoíd you collaborate with, all that stuff?

Fashawn: The album Boy Meets World is my first LP. It basically took me twenty years to make. Itís my whole life encapsulated in 15 or 16 songs. Exile produced the whole thing. I worked with Exile because itís not just the banginí beats, itís like a movie a movie score. Itís incredible. I got Planet Asia on it, I got Blu on it, I got Aloe Blacc on there, my homegirl J. Mitchell, I think itís just good for hip-hop to bring a fresh perspective to the game. I canít wait, it comes out October 20th and Iím real excited about that.

Dubcnn: Thanks for your time. Before we sign off is there anything you want to say to everyone out there?

Fashawn: Shout out to Dubcnn for always supporting me since day 1 and shout out to all my people out there that fuck with Fashawn, I really appreciate it.









 


..........................................................................................
Related Media & Links
Fashawn - Album Release Show (Video)
..........................................................................................
Fashawn // Exclusive Video Interview // Dubcnn
Download The Video Interview Windows Media
Download The Dubcnn Drop Windows Media

Press Play to stream footage (Fast Connections Recommended) 
..........................................................................................


 
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