Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Astonishing the Hip-Hop world!

Astonish joins the veteran hip-hop collective, the Molemen, as their youngest burgeoning emcee. Originally from
Humboldt Park but now residing in Old Irving/Jefferson Park, Astonish embodies Chicago’s capacity to produce a street-smart lyricist with enough intelligent swagger to hold his own in the midst of both the thugs and the backpackers.

Having been reared in a diverse musical environment, Astonish gained a unique eclectic auditory experience that has helped him develop his balanced approach to music. Between the old-school soul records of his grandparents’ era, his father’s penchant for NWA, and his own musical delving with everything from Usher to Nas to Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Astonish’s rhymes convey a multitude of topics that reflects this musical heritage.

After gaining a street buzz as a younger teen, Astonish felt that he needed to restrain himself from putting out tracks without a proper network behind him to ensure that his first album wasn’t lost in a flood of underground releases and never heard. By biding his time, he was able to cultivate his craft and eventually gain the ear of the Moles, quickly earning their acceptance with his sincerity and the quality of his delivery.

With nearly six years of devoted rhyming under his belt, Astonish is in a solid position to quickly establish himself as one of
hip-hop’s newly tiered breakthrough artists. One of his songs, “Broken Dreams”, focuses on his strong impulse to take advantage of the opportunities presented to him while they are still available, and not to let time pass him by. Having joined up with the legendary Molemen collective at the young age of 21, it is clear that he is wasting no time in taking advantage of a very strong opportunity to allow his dream of becoming an internationally respected emcee to be realized.

HipHopInformant: How long have you been involved with Hip-Hop?

I been Rhyming since I was 12 but tryna’ pursue it as a career since I was 16. I just finally got my break this in May of 2006 when I signed wit Molemen Records.

HipHopInformant: What influenced you to become involved in Hip Hop?

I have a few influences that made me wanna’ do this. Of course the music I was listing to inspired me to wanna’ do this but also the things that I've gone thru or seen people go thru that influences the type of music that I make.

HipHopInformant: Where are you from and do you think that influences the way you rhyme?

Astonish: I’m from Chicago. Chicago definitely influences the way that I rhyme cuz’ that is where I draw my inspiration from. Chicago has its own style, slang, and swagger and it definitely shows throughout my music.

HipHopInformant: Do you think that Hip-Hop as it is a good influence to the youth today?

Astonish: I wouldn’t say its a good influence, but its definitely a reflection of what’s going on in the world. I don’t think Hip Hop is appropriate to use as a tool to influence the youth. Hip Hop, in most cases, is the story of a n##a going from nothing to something and is the harsh reality of how we live in poverty stricken communities. I don’t think its up to hip hop to teach the youth in every record, I think people should listen to hip hop and try to correct some of those problems that almost every rapper talks about whether they glorify it or not.

How do you think the way you rap differentiates from other rappers?

Astonish: It differentiates from other rappers because I’m telling my other rapper can tell MY story with my outlook on things going on. A lot of rappers think alike in some cases but how u put it out to the world is another story. I don’t try to preach about things on a positive angle all the time cuz’ things aren't always positive.

HipHopInformant: Are there any artists that influence you?

Astonish: I think everyone who does music has been influenced by another artist. I’m influenced by a lot of people like Nas, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Common, Kanye West etc.. but my favorite artist of all time is Big L.

HipHopInformant: Where do you want your career in Hip-Hop to go from here?

Astonish: As far as it can possibly go...I just wanna’ keep making good music that people appreciate.

HipHopInformant: Do your tracks represent what life experiences you’ve had and what you’ve been through?

Some of my music does but I also write about things that I’ve seen people go thru also.
What does your track “Can U Hear Me” mean or represent?

Astonish: "Can U Hear Me" is basically my introduction to the world and in it I just express what I’m feeling about music and how its affecting what’s going on in today’s culture and explaining what I’m tryna’ bring into the game.

How did you come up with your name?

Astonish: My rhyming partner from my RnA click gave me the name and it fits me well because a lot of times people didn’t expect me to rhyme as good as I do. So every time I spit a rhyme people would be in awe to hear something so ill out of something they didn’t expect.

HipHopInformant: What does the future hold for Astonish?

Hopefully the future holds a lot. I’m gonna’ keep putting out music, doing tours and videos so hopefully they world will accept me and finally be able to hear my voice....but for now "they don’t really hear me tho’".




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