Rapper Five Steez has followed up on February’s release from a developing project, with another song titled ‘The Story’. The track, produced by DJ MTM, features him telling the tale of an independent Hip Hop artiste over a military-style drum track, with vocals cuts that speak to being an underdog in the chorus.
‘The Story’ starts with a “kid with a dream” who “knew the life he wanted to live since a teen”. Five Steez contrasts the main character’s stages in life, rapping that his mother “used to hide his tapes ‘cause they explicit / now, she tell her friends how on stage, yo, he rip it”.
Five Steez says, “The beat for this just felt perfect for a story about a hero. I wrote my verses, but I didn’t hear myself on the hook. I felt the track needed cuts and DJ MTM came with his ideas and skills to seal the song.”
The song’s chorus speaks to being underrated and being “ready for the payment”, making it quite fitting for a project that Steez says will be called ‘The Story of The Underdog’. The body of work, which is still in its infancy, is expected to be complete in 2017.
This unannounced release aside, Five Steez is slated to put out ‘Momentum Vol.3’ with DJ Ready Cee this year, as well as two EPs.
Five Steez is an independent rapper who began capturing attention in 2010 with his ‘Momentum’ mixtape series alongside DJ Ready Cee, and later his 2012 debut album, ‘War for Peace’, which received great reviews from various outlets, including iTunes. In 2014, Five Steez followed up with the EP, ‘These Kingston Times’ – listed by World Hip Hop Market as one of the year’s best international Hip Hop releases.
Me, The Sickest Drama (TSD) and Inztinkz went in on 'Triumph' for my upcoming 'Momentum Vol.3' mixtape with DJ Ready Cee. Look out for the mixtape dropping soon. And also, The Council project, 'Nothing Else Matters', later this year.
Independent Hip Hop artiste Five Steez is sharing music from a project which could manifest as a full-length album next year. In doing so, he has released ‘My Life, My Craft’, a song in which he chronicles his love for music and his own artistic pursuit, over lush melodies provided by long-time collaborator, Bravo.
On the track, Five Steez takes the listener from his early childhood memories of Hip Hop through to his own endeavours, including successes and struggles as an independent artist. “Little did I know, this music would be mine / I grew up over time and knew I would be signed / but not quite,” he rhymes.
Steez tells his story with just as much honesty as braggadocio, never wasting a line – not even in the song’s hypnotic chorus.
“I’ve had this record for a while,” says Five Steez. “It’s on a project I’m working on called ‘The Story of The Underdog’, which I don’t imagine being released until 2017. I got tired of waiting and just wanted to share this with the people who have been on this journey with me.”
This unannounced release aside, Five Steez is slated to put out the ‘Momentum Vol.3’ mixtape with DJ Ready Cee this year, as well as two EPs. “This year, I’m dropping the most music I ever have in one year,” he says.
Five Steez began capturing attention in 2010 with his ‘Momentum’ mixtape series alongside DJ Ready Cee, and later his 2012 debut album, ‘War for Peace’, which received great reviews from various outlets, including iTunes. In 2014, Five Steez followed up with the EP, ‘These Kingston Times’ – listed by World Hip Hop Market as one of the year’s best international Hip Hop releases.
Rapper AWKWORD connected with Nigerian-born Canadian producer Teck-Zilla, Nigerian songstress Maka and French DJ J Hart to recruit an All-Star cast of emcees to join him on the 'I Am' Global Posse Cut, including Latasha Alcindor (USA), Holstar (Zambia), Wakazi (Tanzania), Five Steez (Jamaica), Modenine (Nigeria), The Assembly (South Africa), and Third Eye (Malawi). Aptly titled 'I Am', the song features 9 emcees sharing truths about their lives in their respective home countries across Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. The song will appear on AWKWORD's '2016 EP 'Mid-Flight' and the forthcoming Best of AWKWORD mixtape.
My most random release yet. Incomplete and unmixed. Was actually supposed to be a collab, but got scrapped. I can still hear it fitting on my developing project #TheStoryOfTheUnderdog. Just wanted to share these words and this vibe with the people at this time. #TSOTU
What a great way to start the year! Yannick Reid (aka The Therapist / TP) captured some images of me and my partners in rhyme - Nomad Carlos, The Sickest Drama and Inztinkz. We are going by the name, The Council, and we are currently working on a project of which I am proud to be a part. You will hear it later this year. Check out the first single here.
Five Steez, The Sickest Drama (TSD), Inztinkz and Nomad Carlos have joined forces to release music as The Council. The group’s first offering is the song, ‘Council Arts’, from a currently untitled, developing project. On the track, the MCs trade verses over a hard-hitting boom-bap beat with a rich female vocal sample.
Leading the charge, Five Steez tells listeners they are “dining with kings that’s rising like Ming”, and his dynasty “rhyme in the ring like Tyson would swing”. The Sickest Drama follows up nicely, depicting the Kingston backdrop where “triggers squeeze” and “niggaz bleed”, leading him to think “yard is the Middle East”.
Inztinkz (also the group’s producer) chooses to unleash an “onslaught”, over his own beat, in which he addresses a “miniscule likkle fool” who does not know the rules of engagement. Nomad Carlos then closes off the track in fine fashion, telling people to “watch out for them shapeshifters” and those “more pussy than eight kittens”.
The Council’s members are also the organizers of Kingston’s premier Hip Hop event, Pay Attention, and partners in the local scene’s most revered space, Gambling House Recording Studio. While the upcoming project is still in its early stages, they say listeners can expect high-calibre lyricism and production all around.
When people ask me about my creative process, it’s usually hard to describe. My routine answer is that “it depends”. You may ask, “On what?” And that is where the rabbit hole begins. I’ve written songs in two hours (‘Yard Nigga Rap'), a couple weeks, and even many months by writing the verses, or the hook, whenever inspired. I don’t like to rush my music, but I have no problem doing a verse or complete song spontaneously. It’s just that the end result could vary. Songs like ‘Untold Stories’ and ‘Slaving on the Plantation’ weren’t written in one sitting. In fact, ‘Untold Stories’ began from the first verse I wrote in 2008. Nomad Carlos, who I imagined would continue the narrative, opted not to get on the track so I wrote the other verses and the hook over time and completed it in 2010.
My writing process is still just as varied on my latest EP, ‘These Kingston Times’, as it was on ‘War for Peace’, which was released in August 2012. Some of these songs were written in one sitting and others took weeks or months as I only wrote for them when moved to do so, and I even wrote verses and hooks that I eventually discarded.
What I have changed in my approach is the recording process. Most of ‘War for Peace’ was recorded from late 2009 and 2011 at my home and Nomad Carlos’ house. At home, I would be my own recording engineer, which is something I’m very much used to doing. I even mixed the songs on ‘War for Peace’ except for ‘Blazing’ (recorded and mixed by Kabaka Pyramid) and ‘Growing Pains’ (recorded and mixed by David ‘Dawit’ Kennedy’).
For ‘These Kingston Times’, I had been recording since March 2014 at the revamped Gambling House Recording Studio, which is now under new management, of which I am part. Stephen Bravo – one of my partners in the studio and my DJ – has been the recording engineer for all of the sessions (and now that I think about it, the first producer that ever gave me a beat about a decade ago). It has been a new energy when I’m in the booth because of the new environment and team around, and that is always welcome.
Production wise, I always aim to pick dope beats. It is that simple. When I first conceived the concept of ‘War for Peace’, along with its title, I knew it would have been my first real original project to be marketed to the world, hence, I chose my two favourite local producers, Damien and Inztinkz, to handle just over half the production. Since releasing the album, dozens of producers from all over the world have reached out and flooded me with hundreds of beats. So, I was able to curate beats from a wide selection that I felt matched what I believed ‘These Kingston Times’ should sound like. In the end, beats from Damien and Inztinkz did not make this particular EP. And finally, Bravo, who would have been absent from ‘War for Peace’ if it were not for his co-producer credit with Dahj on ‘Rebel Music’, has a track on ‘These Kingston Times’.
While there is so much more I could share, I hope this provides some insight into my creative process in the event you were wondering. Who knows how it will change or evolve? We’ll see. I just intend to always make enjoyable Hip Hop music worthy of listening for years to come. I sincerely hope you feel it as much as I do.
Salute Coppa Stone for the opportunity to talk a bit about myself and Hip Hop in Jamaica for Bass Culture Islands. Read the feature here or click the image above and you'll get some history on the local Hip Hop movement.
Now into the month of May in 2015, Jamaica's premier Hip Hop event, Pay Attention, which started in April 2012, has officially passed the third anniversary mark. It has been an interesting journey, to say the least, and I have no regrets about how it has turned out. There has been a lot of progress, lessons learnt, ups and downs and even back-and-forth among my partners as we have worked on creating this one-of-a-kind experience for the local Hip Hop community. We have come a far way and I believe we have achieved much of what we set out to do.
For a movement that the average Jamaican did not know existed, our event alone has captured reasonable attention in the local media. From JamaicansMusic.com (Jamaican Hip Hop artistes leaving you with no option but to pay attention) to the Jamaica Gleaner (Jamaican Hip Hop commanding attention) to The Star to Hype TV (November 2013 Highlights) to CVM at Sunrise to KLAS ESPN 89 FM and Hot 102 FM, we've received exposure in every form of media - print, television, online and radio. It may not be everywhere or in the most popular outlets, but Hip Hop in Jamaica has never gotten so much of a spotlight, and much of it has centred around Pay Attention in recent times.
We have also succeeded in building a stronger local Hip Hop community over the past three years. Rappers and crews are not as isolated as they once were and they are learning that there is strength in unity. What is beautiful about the unity being developed is that the common thread among all is simply a love for Hip Hop and the shared experience of being a rapper in Jamaica. All sorts of styles, perspectives and personas are welcome; but we endorse microphone skills!
We have seen many amazing performances, a packed venue at times, as well as local celebrities and personalities in attendance. We have connected many people and helped to forge new friendships, collaborative relationships and business partnerships. We have even turned doubters into believers who now profess their love for the movement and their faith in its talent.
This is no time to pat ourselves on the backs, however. We have come a far way, but we still have farther to go - not just Pay Attention as an event, but the local Hip Hop scene as a movement. There is more ground to conquer, locally, and most definitely, internationally.
We need more events that cater to our audience and community for us to truly have a 'scene'. We need more bloggers, photographers, vidoeographers and other people who will play essential roles. And our local Hip Hop artistes also need to put in the work - hone their crafts, study the business and move professionally in branding, marketing and promoting their music. The world is at our fingertips with the internet and much progress can be made if it is used correctly.
Will Pay Attention continue for another three years? Does it need to? Time will tell. But what I do now today is that we have a bright future. And it will take much more work to get there. I'm prepared for it though. Are you?
Let's make the world Pay Attention!