ARECEE LAYS IT ALL DOWN
By Andrea Grant
It's been a long
time since I have been this excited about a rapper.
His lyrics are clever, the voice of an Iowa kid too
smart for his own good. Of course he ended up in New
York. Arecee has a deep voice and a polite demeanor
that is unexpected, reminiscent of another era. But
he also stands his ground. He is sharp, drinks like
crazy and doesn't miss a beat. I even got to meet his
mom. Check him out at www.arecee.com.
He says: "Home
was engulfed with corn fields. I drank cups of well
water and the Beatles. Creating art and music and riding
my skateboard kept me from attending all of my classes.
Now I can't read but I do plenty of writing. My pirate
ship has docked in NYC. I go forth, make music and chill
in the background. Wear my eye patch with pride
Q: So talk about
your artistic aesthetic
how did you end up on this
A: What is the
meaning of life? That question has cursed my thoughts
ever since I can remember. I grew up in Iowa and like
all good little boys I was raised as a Christian and
I studied the Bible. However, my logic eventually caught
up to me and I began doubting and questioning everything
I was reading and being told. I sort of felt manipulated
I guess. I grew up getting into trouble at school and
not quite fully understanding my peers and elders. I'm
a skateboarder and an artist with different ideas. I
love to create...it keeps me going. I love to think
and do things outside of the box. That tends to clash
with conservative types in places like Iowa. Thank god
for places like NYC. How can you not pick apart the
processes of our daily lives??? HELLO PEOPLE. Knock
knock. THINK. QUESTION. DISCOVER. At least attempt...
When I went off to art school in Chicago I felt the
same way. I often integrated dark humor into my works
and felt looked down upon for not being "serious
enough" and making "real art". From the
police to the teachers to the parents, I always got
the same message...settle down and fit into the crowd.
Don't ask questions. That's bullshit. Fuck that. I'm
a rebellious teenager 'til the day I die. ADD meds are
just an extra bonus. :)
Q: You have a
lot of references in your songs that suggest being slightly
misunderstood. Do people get you?
A: I'm not sure
that I even understand my work yet. Life is puzzling
and I'm just spreading out the pieces. I'm just writing
about the things in my life within the constraints of
my songs lyrical structure. I'm trying to continue to
open myself up and release things on paper that I struggle
with in everyday life. I feel like I still have a long
way to go in expressing myself in the way I really see
things. But, life is confusing enough to live. Laying
it down on paper in a rap song and sounding lyrically
eloquent is another story.
Q: What about
the obstacles you have overcome or are currently struggling
breakups, assault and battery, addiction, death. These
are all things that people shy away from discussing
but these are all very real human experiences which
happen on a regular basis. A lot of these things come
out in my lyrics because these experiences affect me
on a very human, emotional level. Yes, it's dark. Perhaps
I'll make a happy record someday...wait, no...probably
Q: How is the underground scene right now? And how are
you feeling about being underground when hip hop has
gotten so commercialized?
A: The underground
scene is pretty lame. While the commercial stuff all
sounds the same, so does the underground. There's nothing
really new and interesting out there. I'm sure there
IS but I don't know where. As far as the commercialization
of hip-hop goes...I felt the same way when corporate
America took over skateboarding...betrayed. There's
something that feels special about being on the fringe
and moving into uncharted territory. It feels dirty
now though. Everyone is an emcee, producer, "hip-hop"
dancer, DJ, etc. I am not a hip-hop purist by any means
but I don't like the way the culture and the music has
been bastardized by the suits. When us white people
get a hold of something then it's pretty much over.
Ha ha. But really though...we have an art that once
was used to enlighten people but now is manipulating
people, keeping them ignorant, and taking their $$$.
However, in all honesty, I love the music and melody
more then I care about the lyrics and what the music
Q: Talk about
the album 'Beating A Dead Horse' which has that famous
logo on the cover
A: I do most of
my own production. I also do the album art, the website,
the shirts, etc. etc. I enjoy the idea that I can work
on a million given things in any single day. I don't
have to stay in one medium or focus on one particular
area. I don't get bored. I jump around and it keeps
my attention and doesn't burn me out so badly. But I
worry that I spread myself too thin sometimes. It's
a cycle, making a new beat inspires me to write, doing
album art inspires me to work on the web stuff. I need
it all to stay sane. I'm a control freak and I'm working
on giving some of my duties up so that others can be
more involved in helping me see more projects to finalization.
At the end of the day I don't want the music to suffer
from me spending too much time on album art or something.
Q: How is the
indie stuff working for you? Who is your fan base? Any
cool stories about where your music has hit?
A: My first record
was released from Iowa and I worked all the press contacts
for promoting the record. Now I have a label to do that
sort of thing. It's all about progression. As long as
I see progression then I'll feel good at the end of
the day. With my second release I moved into markets
other than America. I can't complain about that. The
fan base continues to grow and the records keep selling.
Sometimes I want things to be slower and sometimes faster.
But fame and money will always be less important then
the power of a great song and what that song does for
my soul. That sounds corny...but I do love the music.
At the end of the day it's still about the music more
then anything else. I actually have explained to girls
that I have gotten involved with, "Music is my
first love". If they aren't willing to accept me
being in the studio so much then they might as well
move on. I'm busy. Get over it. I'm
not exactly sure who my fan base is at this point though.
There are so many sub-genre's of hip-hop now with differing
demographic listeners in each sub-genre. I used to think
about demographics so much but I try to just think about
the music now and not
worry so much about the details. If the music is good
then it will find an audience.