San Jose rapper Antwon is no stranger to the IHEARTCOMIX universe. Antwon has now performed at several IHC and Check Yo Ponytail events from the West Coast to Austin, including a recent stop in LA with our good friend Pictureplane this past June. Before he returns to LA, this time as part of Le1f’s Tree House tour, Antwon was kind enough to take a minute to talk about Bay Area living, his provocative lyricism, and the deeper meaning behind 3rd World Grrl.
O S A K A: Describe the bay area rap scene as it exists today.
Antwon: There really is no cohesive scene in the bay area. I mean, the older rappers know each other well. It’s all sink or swim in rap with the bay area. I’m pretty much an outsider by choice.
What was it like growing up in San Jose?
I grew up in Sunnyvale 10 minutes outside San Jose. Pretty fucked up suburb living, but I definitely have a place for it <3
What are some of the records you identify with musically? Past or present.
(Buried Alive) Last Rites, (b l a c k i e) Spread Luv, and (Kid Rock) Devil Without a Cause jus to name a couple. I like a lot of different stuff. I usually don’t like a lot of whole rap albums lately, but a lot of great mixtapes are coming out. I dig like (Cheif Keef’s) Bang Part 2.
Your approach to rapping tends to be more relaxed; stripped of the iced out, crunk vibes while remaining very provocative and sexual. How did you develop your lyrical style?
I think at the beginning I jus wanted to rap fucking good and have fun with writing. I liked creative writing a bit, and I think it leaked over into my song writing. The first stuff I wrote when I was younger wasn’t my favorite cuz I didn’t find the voice inside me yet. I think Prince and Spank Rock made me want to be a more sexual rapper. I guess i’m jus glad I can still be myself and be sexy.
In Dark Denim specifically comes off as a highly personal record, a characteristic that seems to be lacking in a lot of contemporary rap music. Have you always had such an open personality? Was it difficult to translate that into your work?
I think its easier to be honest and open in music because i’m sort of closed off in real life. This jus is a way cooler way to express feeling so why the hell not do it like this. NWTS
There’s a wide range of production styles that you’ve featured in your music from Pictureplane and Teams to Clams Casino and Salem. How do you approach collaborating with a new producer for the first time?
FRIENDSHIP, GOTTA BUILD THAT CONNECTION.
How did you get involved with Greedhead for the release of In Dark Denim?
My homie Chris from Boston, who did SAFE, musta showed Hima (Heems from Das Racist) my stuff and lex (lakutis) said he showed Hima my shit; so when Das Racist was in SF, Himanshu asked me to do my next mixtape with them and boom.
What was it like becoming a puppet in your video for 3rd World Grrl?
Lol I must explain that 3rd World Grrl has a deeper meaning I think people think. It’s about women from 3rd world countries, but it’s actually about some there physically, but not emotionally. Kind of like their heart is in another world. ;)
Tell me about your in studio collaboration with Kerry McCoy from Deafheaven. What were the circumstances that came together to make that happen?
Converse asked me to do live session to hype the new store they were building in sf. I came to kerry with the idea cus thas my dawg. He was kinda like “what really,” but iunno he knew I was serious. So, we really practiced it and went and shut it down. I think a lot of people really bugged out when I did that. It’s not new to me to cross genres and if you actually lived through the 90’s you would be like “same”.
Who are the Nature Boyzzz?
Thas the squad thas basically everyone around me is a nature boy or girl. Nature world niggaz.
What do we have to look forward to from Antwon? New mixtape? Collaborations? Shows?
All of that stuff, duh. I’m not goin anywhere.
Any last words before you head back to LA this week?
Very excited. C yall soon. ♥
Join us this Friday as the Tree House Tour invades Los Angeles with Le1f, Antwon, Lakutis, Mess Kid, and Shadowrunners all performing live at Los Globos. In the meantime, check out Antwon’s latest video for, Dying in the Pussy, featuring Andre Martel from Shadowrunners.
Tickets are available HERE.
O S A K A