Wednesday, June 18, 2008

U-N-I Interview



Los Angeles was been slated with the stereotype of “gangsta rap” since the early 90’s and there was recently been a resurgence of the region’s hip-hop that is looking to change this. I remember seeing the “K.R.E.A.M. (Kicks Rules Everything Around Me)” video on YouTube back in December and saying to myself that these two dudes right here (Y.O. and Thurzday of U-N-I) could definitely help bring back the true essence of hip-hop’s music that has been lost in the bling era. The true essence of hip-hop of having fun and living life can be seen and heard in their “Beautiful Day” video on YouTube as well. Together, Y.O. and Thurzday make up the hip-hop duo of U-N-I and are gearing to drop their second installment very soon. With over 4 million plays on their Myspace page, their music is being heard all over the internet. I was able to sit and have a good conversation with these two dudes out of Inglewood, and ask them a few questions regarding their music, their next album, and other shit about them as individuals.

What’s up with you cats, man? Introduce yourselves to the HipHopRemix.com world. How did you two meet and why did you pick the name “U-N-I?”

Y-O:

We met at St Bernard High School in 1999 in the courtyard [during] freestyle battles. We recognized each other’s talents and decided to move as a unit. We both played [basketball] ball too.

Thurz:

We came up with the name U-N-I after being inspired by The Roots “Illadelph Halflife.” They had a song with Common titled “U.N.I.verse at War.” It fit us as a first person statement where myself and Y-O go against all contenders while maintaining an “universal” goal in our music to not be “boxed-in” to 1 sound.

There’s been a huge resurrection of hip-hop going on in the Los Angeles area as far as with acts coming out such as Custom Made, Pacific Division, J*Davey, Blu, and as well as you guys. How do you guys feel about the recent wave of hip-hop music that is coming out of your hometown area?

Y-O:

Cali is where it’s at. There’s so much talent out here and we’re proud to be recognized in this new movement.

I seen in the “K.R.E.A.M.” video that you cats had a good deal of about 100 pairs of shoes in the main scene. For all of the sneaker heads out there, how many pairs of sneakers do you both have? What’s your favorite pair of sneakers?

Thurz:

I kind of lost count. My favorite kicks at the moment are my Lobster SBs. Them joints are fresh…I’m kind of upset I couldn’t get the special package from the Concept store in Boston, but it’s all good.

Y-O:

I’m probably approaching 200. My favorite kicks right now are probably….hmmm….I’m going with my Jordan IV’s

When I seen the “Beautiful Day” video on YouTube for the first time months ago, it definitely reminded me of Pharcyde. It was a feel-good joint, and I felt that I could relate to you cats. A lot of the hip-hop now that is coming out is about material things that most people won’t ever able to afford; it’s a breath of fresh air to hear some hip-hop that I can actually relate to. How do you guys feel about the hip-hop scene right now (both mainstream and independent)?

Thurzday:

I feel that a lot of independent artists are receiving more love than mainstream artists. Folks are tired of being force-fed the bullshit music on the radio, so the independent scene serves as a refuge for folks who want some authentic shit, and that’s what we provide. With “Beautiful Day,” we wanted to showcase a nice day in our city over a laid-back track with our own flavor.

Y-O:

A lot of mainstream artist are on their way out, and you definitely know that when you see cats like Nelly biting scenes and concepts from our music video. I think the independent scene is more creative.

Now, man…I gotta ask this! When you made the song, “Fat Girl,” did you guys have anybody in mind when writing it, or were you just making the song just because?

Thurz:

That song was inspired by our good lady friend. We won’t say her name, but the skit before the song is a true story. We started freestyling over the beat about our big ladies and we made it into a song. Lol!

Are you guys currently in the process of signing to a label, or are you going to stay independent?

Y-O:

If somebody comes with a correct offer, we’d definitely take that into consideration.

Thurz:

…Until then, we’re going to keep producing quality music and pumpin’ it out to the internet and streets.

I know that a lot of cats will look at the album title of your first installment and say, “What the hell?!” What made you cats come up with using the title, “Fried Chicken and Watermelon?”

Thurz:

Basicly, black folks are stereotyped as loving fried chicken and watermelon. The West Coast is seen in a similar light of being stereotyped as 1-dimensional and stuck on that gangster tip. The title is used to catch your attention and break the stereotype.

Y-O:

We represent a new movement and we showcase that with our street album.

My favorite song by you cats right now would have to be “Supreme Song.” Will it be on the next album that you guys put out, and when is the next album coming out? What producers and emcee’s will show up on the LP?

Y-O:

“Supreme” is going to be on our 2nd installment titled “A Love Supreme.” It’s being totally produced by Ro Blvd. We’ll hopefully be dropping it in the 3rd quarter of this year

Define your music in one word.

Thurz: Innovative

Y-O: Fuckin sick! LOL

Who are your top five all-time emcee’s and producers?

Thurz:

  1. Emcees
    1. Redman
    2. Black Thought
    3. Common
    4. Jay-Z
    5. B.I.G.

Y-O:

  1. Producers
    1. J Dilla
    2. Premiere
    3. The Neptunes
    4. DJ Khalil
    5. Just Blaze

Are here one of you working on any side projects? Are you guys sponsored by any clothing brands? How would you describe your clothing style?

Thurz:

No side projects. We’re down with Lemar & Dauley and Orisue.

Y-O:

The best way to describe our style is “comfortably fresh.”

Will you guys be going on tour with anyone this summer?

Thurz:

We might be doing something with Aloe Blacc real soon. Stay tuned in

If you guys could work with any artists, bands, composers, etc, (dead or alive), who would you both want to work with?

Thurz:

I think our ideal collab would be J Dilla on the production with a feature from OutKast

I would like to thank U-N-I for taking the time out of their busy schedule to conduct this interview with me; make sure to add them as a friend on Myspace and check out their first installment, “Fried Chicken And Watermelon” (which can be purchased on their Myspace page).

-Kevin Robinson, Jr.

Connoisseur Group Movement

Blog Archive

Labels