Rapisalive.com Center stage vol. 1 issue #1 white noise


WHITE NOISE: Shadowless

In a sit down with the artist known as "Shadowless", he gives us incite on his journey through the underground hip hop scene and tells us about how he came up with his rugged sound that many of us have come to like here on RIA. With his music he proves that he is that "Darker" side of the underground Hip-Hop scene as he jokingly classifies his music in a class of it's own calling it "Dark-Hop"! Take a journey with the artist "Shadowless"!

Sha': Tell us about your journey. 

Well, I started writing when I was in high school. I was definitely influenced by a lot of dark hip-hop, classic hip-hop, underground and alternative metal. Through the years I wrote and recorded demos and mixtapes, but nothing serious. Eventually I decided it was time to make my first original album. I worked with producers such as Bad Mind, Bizarro Bill, Quantum Leap and Raj Parmar. That lead up to the release of my debut album "Shadowless" last year, and here we are. 

Sha': How did you get your name? 

Shadowless symbolizes being a prescence without being seen. I was always the kid in class people forgot about. I was always the quiet kid who kept to his group of friends and myself mainly. When I started writing music, I felt like I had a to say, so that combined with who I was at that point in time ended up being "Shadowless". 

Sha': What attracted you to the rap game?

I was attracted to the art form rather than the game. I haven't made rap my career choice, it's more of a serious hobby. I don't charge money for my music, but I make it a priority to put out quality material. I'm a creative person and I knew I wanted to make music, so it was more or less the act of creating music in the studio that intrigued me more than wanting to become famous, even at an indie level. 

Sha: How would you define your music? What motivates you?

I couldn't really define my music, it's a mix of classic/hardcore hip-hop, alternative style overtones with a darker theme, without being horrorcore or straight hip-hop. I think I've been able to do something different. The album is definitely original, which is what I was going for. 

Sha: How is it being an underground artist?

It's satisfying creating an album from start to finish. A lot of people make mixtapes and demos, but making an album from scratch really gets the creative juices flowing, you're not making a track, you're making a song. Like I said before, I'm not in this for a career, so I haven't experienced the underground lifestyle as much as some other artists have, but it's a great feeling knowing you've put your heart and soul into something people enjoy. That's why I do this. 

Sha': Is mainstream your goal?

No. It was never a goal of mine to become famous or sell millions of records. Not ssaying it wouldn't be nice, but there's a lot of strings attached with that lifestyle, you're almost giving away your privacy and anonymity. There are pros and cons to everything in life, I'm happy with where I am now and where I see myself in the future. 

Sha': With so many acts, how can you be different?

My style has a dark element to it, not only through the lyrics but the entire sound. I wanted the album to be heavy without doing death rap or horrorcore. I wanted to do something new. I also add a level of alternative rock/grunge esque overtones throughout the album as well to add to the vibe. If they wanted to invent a sub genre they could call it "Dark-Hop" haha. I don't like to label it though, it is what it is. 

Sha': What are your expectations for your career?

Even though I'm not making music a business decision, I still plan to put out quality albums. It's something I do for fun, but I take it extremely seriously. It's like a second job, only I don't get paid. I don't think I'd ever join a label, I like to have complete, creative control over everything. 

Sha': Who are your influences?

KoRn was the first music I ever heard in the 4th grade. I was fascinated at the level of energy they had, and keeping it melodic as well like a chamber orchestra. I was a metal head before I was into hip-hop, so that rubbed off on me first. On the hip-hop side, I liked a lot of Necro, Non Phixion, G Rap, KRS, DJ premier, a lot of the older Boot Camp Clik stuff as I got older. I really enjoy the 90s sound, really grimey and raw sounding. 

Sha': Who is your dream collaboration?

If I could record with anyone, I'd love to do a song with Goretex of Non Phixion, or Munky/Jon from Korn. Imagine both on the same track? Haha, that would be awesome. It would have to be organice because I would never pay for a collab, and would want to have the session in person. It probably won't happen. 

Sha': Where do you see the future of hip-hop?

I don't think we will ever be able to recapture the historic progress of the 90s, so that aside I would hope that more musicians went back to a more pure, bare bones sound. Most of the shit you hear now a days, underground and mainstream, has been so overproduced with effects, tons of features, club hits, etc. The whole sound has changed, which is disapointing. There are still a lot of heads holding it down as usual though, so it's not all bad. 

Sha': What can we look forward to from you?

Right now I've been promoting the album a lot on different websites, internet radio stations etc. I want to get out there more, but realize there's a limit as to what I can reach in terms of a lack of funding for promotion, live shows etc. I'm cool with that though, it's all part of the journey. Who knows what the future will hold. More music will probably come sometime next year. 

Thanks for the interview man, I really appreciate it. Props on the upcoming Magazine!

Here's a few tracks from Shadowless for you to hear, in case you've never heard his music:

Tell Us Why You Mad Son!: Tha Q

So, I finally got the opportunity to catch up with Q. Carter aka Tha Q. As most of you already know he's targeting a lot of individuals over the years with some kind of self motivated hatred towards other artists and music appreciators; myself included! But you know how the saying goes, "there's 3 sides to every story! There's my side, your side, and then there's the TRUTH!" Many of us have formulated our own opinions about Q based on his random outbursts and the shots he's taken, but no one has had the opportunity to get his side of the story. So that's what I'm here to do, to see exactly why he's so damn mad all the time!

Sha': Tell us about your beginnings.

Q: Good question mane...I'm assuming you mean my beginnings in music and rap. Well, I can tell you that as far back as I remember, I've loved Hip Hop. It's a culture that seems to call to me...It's like that relationship you finally stumble upon and you find it tough to nearly impossible to break off, no matter how much difficulty you face. I was a child of the mid to late 80s and early 90s. So, my perspective is different from a lot of the kids on RIA and in Hip Hop in general right now. I had this favorite uncle who was all into the Run-DMC adidas sweat-suit thing...I mean, looking back he was pretty fly. I idolized him. He turned me on to LL Cool J, Run DMC, and Public Enemy back in the day. Me, him, and my cousin would sit around freestyling to instrumentals on cassette tapes (Wow! Do the kids even know what those are now? LOL) I didn't start writing my own rhymes until much later though, post high-school and college. It wasn't until my senior year in college that I discovered the late-great Notorious BIGs album "Ready to Die". OMG...I couldn't stop playing that joint. I had Warning, Machine Gun Funk, and Suicidal Thoughts on Repeat for hours...upon hours...I had heard other rappers to that point...But, it was something about Biggie's flow and delivery that gave me chills and really inspired me to start rapping myself. And so, in 2001, I attempted to make my first rap song. I didn't even have a recording program. I think I used Sound Recorder in windows and some generic beat I found. In any case, I made the song and posted it on a rap site called Ruthless back then. The one thing I remember looking back was that even before I got "good" at rapping, other people could see potential in my even then. However, I made the mistake of listening to too many critics, particularly the negative ones. And, in 2004, I stopped rapping altogether when someone said I sounded "Gay" because I had a slight lisp in my voice--i.e., sibilance. I was devastated. And so, for over a year, all I did was produce other people's songs and stuck to writing keystyles on a site called 411hype. Then, one day, this one dude was like "Bro, you should be rapping, not writing keystyles." It was then that I remembered how much I absolutely loved rapping and started doing it again. I worked hard. I went to my local library and picked up books on how to remove a lisp or decrease the amount of "Ssss" in your words. I hopped back on track in 2005 and haven't put the mic down since. Something else that revolutionized how I rapped was when I stopped trying to sound like my idol, Biggie, and just started being myself on track. That's when I started getting mad love and respect and when my music took off for the better. 

Sha': What does music mean to you?

Q: Music is very significant in my life. Music is the one consistent in my life I can always count on man. It's been there for me through some really painful and diffucult times, from highschool to college, and even now. The old saying in true: Music DOES INTEED calm the savage beast. I tend to be like Tupac more than Biggie as it pertains to making music--i.e., I like to write and spit prolifically. With that said, I also tend to post up everything I make, the good, the bad, and the straight up wack. So, some people mistake this as me being inconsistent or not caring. The opposite is true. Most emcees, especially those on rap sites, post a track once every couple or few weeks. And, those that they do post up are usually their pride and joy, tracks they've spend hours writing, mixing, and producing. I'm the opposite. I like to grab the mic, write a verse, spit it, mix it down, and post it up in a few hours. Literally, I can make a song from conception to reality in 2 hours. On top of that, many of the songs that people have come to love from me were done that way. When I'm at my best, it's a hit. When I'm not, it's just another exercise in experimentation. In any case, I find it annoying when people don't understand where I'm coming from and use those moments as an opportunity to insult me or shoot me down. That shit is wack. Excuse the French. But, that's like telling a man when he's angry that he has an anger problem. That's ludicrous. If I post up a song for the sake of just sharing what I created, I feel that people should judge it on its own merit, and not use it as a launch pad to give me 1001 bits of advice, mostly useless anyway, on how I should rap. To the average person, that's no big deal. But, remember, I came from a place where I was told that I could never be a rapper in the first place because I was A) Too old, B) Sounded Gay, C) Was wack D) Blah Blah...So, maybe my reactions come across as a bit over-the-top. But, that's just me protecting my emotions and my spirit man. I was put down so much early on, I HAD TO FIGHT to get where I am. And, my view is: I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone take me from my place of confidence. So, to me, music is my outlet. It's one way I can reach out to the world and stay in touch with my own humanity.

Sha': What is the significance of your name?

Q: My name is short for IQ. I started out in 2001 with the name Havok IQ...Then, I realized that there was a Havoc from Mobb Deep. So, I just shortened it to Tha Q. Tha Q is really an alter-ego, a persona. That's why I find it difficult to just up and free style on demand when someone wants to hear me rap. If I'm just going about my business as me, myself (Mike), then, when someone says "freestyle", I almost have to get into character or sorts to do it. And, for me, that isn't something I'm willing to do on demand. Tha Q is confident, brash, bold, and cocky, not necesarrily unlike myself in real life, but to a higher degree. 

Sha': How you describe your music?

Q: When I listen to my own music, it's almost like an out-of-body experience. It's hard for me to fathom that I can actually create the great music that I do when I'm at my best. On paper, I would describe my music as East-Coast with a tinge of underground flair. In actuality, my music is fluid, it moves, it lives, it breathes, it is its own creature. When I drop a song that I've done my absolute best on, it's life changing. I'm being real here. I go back and listen to some of the songs I made and they're almost prophetic in some of the lyrics. I listen and I'm like "Damn, I said that?" My words are prophetic in a sense. If anyone truly becomes a fan of mine, and if they're willing to really listen to my lyrics, they'll see that I'm ahead of my time...by about 10 years in fact. So, I guess you can say my music is an exercise in temporal distortions. 

Sha': Does your music reflect your personal life?

Q: Most of the music I make reflects how I'm feeling inside at the time, even if the lyrics don't specifically reference what I'm dealing with at that moment. My mood, mode, and tone automatically comes out in my music, which is why it's tough to "fake" lyrics or song concepts just for the sake of making a buck. I don't think I could ever "sell out" or sell my soul because it's so intrinsic to who I am and what I do. I mean, what's the point of making music if it isn't a personal reflection of who you are and what you stand for?

Sha': Do you write your own songs?

Q: I absolutely write my own songs. I could never see myself rapping lyrics that someone else wrote and putting any meaning behind them. No disrespect Sha...because I know that you rapped one of my songs from waaaaay back in the day...But, that was different. That was during a time when I didn't believe in my own abilities and felt I needed someone else to bring my conceptions to reality. I appreciate what you did for me...but, I realize that no one can do for me what I can do for myself when it comes to expressing my true feelings and thoughts. 

Sha': Can you take us through your creative process when writing a song?

Q: It's weird man. When I'm at my best, I actually don't put much thought or effort into writing or creating a song at all. For example, the whole "MY NAME IS THA Q" singing thing just popped into my head while I was listening to Alanis Morissette's song "All I really want." That happens all the time in fact. I'll be doing something completely unrelated and my subconscious will give me ideas, lines, rhymes, and concepts for a song. Then, so I won't forget, I'll either jot the idea down or begin working on it immediately. When I'm at my best, lines, rhymes, and lyrics pour through me as if I'm a conduit, just a channel for something greater. It's only when I struggle, think too hard, or try to force something that writing, creating, and rapping becomes drudgery. Otherwise, my creativity pours though me like a powerful stream through tissue paper. There's no stopping it. That's also an important note: The subconscious mind is very powerful man...should never undervalue it. 

Sha': What song means the most to you?

Q: If you're referring to my own songs, the song that means the most to me is "Choice is Yours". That's a song that came to me through inspiration as I just mentioned in the preceeding question. I was literally sitting in my car one day, listening to the instrumental when the lyrics to the hook just popped in my head as easy as pie. I started singing "You betta know what you doing...You better know where you goin...you betta believe in self cuz no body else is gonna give you what you're holding." Then, a day later, one of my mentees was arrested for robbery and BAM...the song became an ode to him. It was so fitting and apropos it was scary. It was as if I wrote the song a day before knowing it was be used for something totally related, but incidental. So, for me, that song and any song that speaks to making it, overcoming adversity means alot to me. Also, the theme of flying takes precedence in many of my songs. I always dream of flying away or being at a place higher than I am right now. 

Sha': Where do you want your music to take you?

Q: I have 4 rap goals. PERIOD. 1- Get a song played on the radio. 2-Produce a mass-distributed album 3-Collab with Common and/or Jay Z & 4-Perform and the MTV VMAs. I believe that I am going to be a legend when all is said and done. It's never too late. Public enemy started in their early 30s...I'm in my early 30s...jay Z didn't explode until his 30s...though he started in his mid to late 20s...The point is, fate is fate...I believe millions will be blessed my my talent and the work of my hands...And, in the end, everyone will know my name. Q BITCH!. 

You can hear some of Q's music here:

What's Hot Right Now!

Rishi P - Moving On (feat Shadowless) [Album Track]:

Day & Night - New Q:

Sleeps - Occupied:

Alacran - My Mind (Prod. by EVO):



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