Back in 2003 BLESTeNATION had some underground mixtapes filter out into the hip hop world that made them the talk of the town. Hayley Woodgate interviews the group via email in reference to their new album MBugout City, the evolution of their sound, and McDiesel Chicken Plumps??!
The three members FAFU (Producer & DeeJay), Various, and Werdplay were on top of their game. Being hunted by major record labels and enjoying the high life, their hard rhymes had earned them. Weaving their way into the industry BLESTeNATION created songs for film soundtracks, porn stars, and big time artists. The next step was what so many bands associate with the entertainment life: women, drugs, and hard play. At one point, it sounded like the life most young guys wouldn't argue with but when it took over the music and only loss ensued, it became time to assess the damage and begin the repairs.
They learned quickly how life can revert on itself when they got lost in their world of gold and glamour all in the name of excess. What began as a meteoric rise to their magical kingdom soon found them swimming in their own sordid rubble of fights between fellow band members, sexual misconduct, and over the top drug use. Their game plan soon changed when record labels and musicians alike turned their backs on the talented hip hop group. No matter how good the beats and lyrics, if no one is listening then it becomes a lonely descent into the musical maelstrom.
After playing out their rebellious deeds, BLESTeNATION realized that without any ears paying attention, their music faded out to silence. So they rolled down their sleeves, pulled up their pants and began rising out of their self dug egotistical graves to bring back to the fans what their journey was all about… mad hip hop rhymes with fresh beats! Their new album MBugout City is due out for release on April 13th and for a taste you can grab their 19 track mixtape MBC Digital free from their MySpace blog. Here's what the band had to say about themselves and their music.
Can you give a brief description of your group BLESTeNATION for our readers?
FAFU: Three dudes who make music as an outlet for our frustrations. We don't make any one kind of music, we just take in all of our influences old and new and process them through our own crazy methods and whatever comes out is what we make. We're all from different areas and have different backgrounds in music and life in general so we combine it all to come up with our own 'mbugout' sound.
Various: I'm a nine foot tall Mongolian. I have both eyeballs pierced and a tattoo of a smaller version of my face over my whole face. Pretty much your average rapper.
Werdplay: I would have to describe BLESTeNATION to the readers as high energy arena rap with a perfect balance of genres combined to create a special musical experience for everyone, from a newborn baby to an old person and everyone in between. This music happens to be made by a trio of intro/extroverted weirdos on drugs.
How has the music evolved since you started in the music business?
FAFU: Well music itself is constantly evolving. The music business on the other hand seems to be de-evolving. Is that a word?
Various: I feel like we progressed a lot. Music in general has changed a lot though. We just do what we do and what we like. Which is folk funk.
Werdplay: The music we have made has evolved with each song I believe. The process of its evolution is so subtle that I feel as though it really blurs the line from the beginning to our current abilities as musicians and performers. I mean, if you were to take the first Bleste song and then the very last one we tracked, you could see the huge difference between the two.. but if you sat down and literally went through a timeline of songs dating back to long john time ago, it would be like watching your child grow. All of a sudden you got a first string full back on ya hands when it seems like just yesterday you had a little baby. BTW it would be probably yesterday or even two days ago… that's how many bleste recordings there are.
You have a new video release ‘My Big Wheel’ which gives a few good laughs. What is the story behind the making film clip?
FAFU: You'd have to ask Werdplay about that one. That's his song.
Various: Werdz can answer this. I wasn't there.
Werdplay: "My Big Wheel" is actually a Werdplay song and not a BLESTeNATION song. It is included on the MBC Digital mixtape but is taken from the album Ryantology which is my solo record now available on iTunes. It is a song produced by Chuck Inglish from the Cool Kids. The video was directed by Samtubia Edwards. That dude is not only great fun to work with but a genius at the very least. He took my ideas and ran with them in the exact same direction I was running. It's all around good chit mayne.
Your new CD is set to drop soon. What can we expect from the BLESTeNATION trio?
FAFU: Good music plain and simple. Our sound is big. A lot of hip hop, rock, and drug influences among other things. After this album drops we start shooting Mbugout City the movie, which is being directed by James Cameron and I think they've already locked in Kirk Douglas to play me. I'm not sure about the other casting but I heard that Pauly Shore is going to play the villain which is cool because I think we get to beat the shit out of him at the end. Hope I didn't spoil it for anyone out there.
Various: We've been waiting to release this album for a long time. You can expect dope rhymes, ill beats, to laugh, to cry, to have your life changed forever. Maybe not, but its a crazy record.
Werdplay: BLESTeNATION MBugout city FINALLY gets its day after tomorrow in the sun. People can expect a great record with no frills, no f**king stupid shit to take your mind off the music that is on the album. It's just straight up good song after good song. Blestenation is raw,talented,credible, and original. Upon listening to the record you will at the very least realize that yes…these three people SHOULD be making music. They are good…even if you hate us for whatever other retarded reason you have may, be it our sneakers or sunglasses or some shit.
You’ve worked with some big names. Which artists have been your favourites to work alongside?
FAFU: Pee Wee Herman was pretty much the most professional. Except he kept trying to get us to go to the movie theater with him and that was kinda awkward but you know, whatever. True story, every one of Nick Jonas's band members except one played on our album. How many rap groups can make that claim?
Various: My favorite artist we worked with was on Fuck a Mixtape Volume 4. He was a valet outside of a restaurant in LA, He says "Mbugout". I just feel like he knew what we were going for the whole time.
Werdplay: By far it would be Method Man. Rik Cordero as well. Shouts to three21media!
Of your own albums, which songs are your faves to perform on stage and why?
FAFU: I like performing all of our songs, but my favorite song to perform is probably MBC Commandments from fam3.
Various: There's a song on the album called Just Walking By. I like performing that joint. It's very high energy. We also have a song called "Show Us Your Tits," which is fun when we're getting the audience participation.
Werdplay: My all time favorite song to perform would have to be "Just Walking By" because it has a high energy fast paced vibe and a perfect balance of raw lyrical delivery and melodic chorus. I feel as though some of the earlier mixtape stuff such as TNT and One Turning Page get the best response amongst people just discovering Bleste. So it's a toss up between those three, depending on if you are talking about best crowd response or just what song I enjoy performing in general.
Any upcoming tour dates? And what should the fans expect from a BLESTeNATION performance?
FAFU: Yes we have a bunch of things on the horizon. Look out for Bleste on the road this summer with the Suburban Noize family. After that we're hitting the road with Miley Cirus.
Various: We should be on the road soon to coincide with the album release in April. We have a lot of energy on stage and love to get the crowd involved. Fans should expect to get caught in a pit if their close to the stage.
Werdplay: There are a shitload of upcoming tour dates and possibilities. Our label Suburban Noize is known for giving their artists plenty of opportunities by putting them on the road and letting them make their own fans as they see fit. That's the great thing about these guys. You can expect them to put us out there to do work. Tat's all we want to do. So yea I mean… expect us to utilize this privilege of being on one of the illest independent labels in the world to our full advantage.
If you could pick any artist/s living or dead to write a song with, who would it be?
FAFU: That's a tough one. Maybe Danny Elfman? Igor Stravinsky? It would be cool to do a song with Neil Young. I've always wanted to do a song with Jimmy Buckets.
Various: I would love to write a song with Bob Ross. He was the man.
Werdplay: Oh there are so many. As I sit here I will throw a name out: Tom Waits. That dude is such a genius from all angles. He's just so insanely talented, humble and creative. I'm also an actor as well so I am not only a huge fan of Waits as a musician but as an actor. If you aren't up on Tom Waits you need to be! Google that guy. He makes his own fucking instruments man. Watch Jim Jarmusch's Down by law and anything else with him in it. I also recommend Heath Ledgers last film The Imaginarium of Dr Pernassis where Tom Waits plays the devil. He's so good!
Any last words?
FAFU: Once I conquer this music shit I want to become a Scrabble champion.
Various: McDiesel Chicken Plumps
Werdplay: Yes. Id like to thank YOU for taking YOUR time out to interview us. I'd like to thank all the people out there that have supported us throughout the years. I'd like to shout out Sub Noize Records and all the hard working artists on that label who have helped build it to what it is right now to help provide us with a platform to reach more people than we ever have before. My fellow group members for sticking it out through the toughest of times to end up here right now. I'd also like to send a shout to all the major label dick suckers that gave up on us when times got tough. We still gonna make it happen… idiots.