[The Organ]

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 path?

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 with?

A: Molestation, 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 not. Ha.

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 stands for.

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.


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