History is scattered with the remains of great rap groups from the late 90s.
Unless you’ve been living under (a) rock for the last few years, you would know that the Lifesavas are a force to be reckoned with. Seemingly coming up from nowhere the trio of Versatyl, Jumbo The Garbageman and DJ Rev Shines from Portland, Oregon released their debut album ‘Spirit In Stone’ on indie powerhouse label Quannum to much fanfare and continual DJ support. Huwston digs deep with Jumbo to find out the politics of indie rap and how these guys would save the music industry.
Is there a pressure out there for you guys to be on the same level as everyone at Quannum, or have you found, being released on the label that you’re already there?
There’s no pressure being a part of the Quannum family. Quannum approached us letting us know that they were digging our complete package. I don’t think they would have got at us if we weren’t on that level. The beautiful thing about Quannum is that you can be on your own thing- cause everyone in the camp has respect for the other man’s craft. Achieving your own level is one of the Lifesavas theories. Do YOU!
Your album just keeps on trucking, it seems like its shelf life is infinite, which is great compared to a lot of indie hip hoop which dates quickly… what’s the formula for keeping it sounding tight?
We just make what we feelin dawg, ya know? We just make timeless music and build wit my dawgs around the globe who feel us. When you create a timeless project it will have “staying power” meaning it will get heavy rotation in people’s personal collections… feel me?!
Do you guys find that independent rap is dying a slow and painful death?
Indie rap is livin right now…I don’t speak of death to my own art that’s like talking retirement before you retire, you already done. Indie rap right now is on the up as far as sales and touring.
What’s wrong with hip hop today?
Well let’s see, I’m hip hop and the only thing wrong wit me is my bills is late. Word…hip hop is afraid of hip hop. Heads are too critical and everyone else is TOO critical. People are funny like that though. Screaming “we want the real and saying real is only one way?” Whatever man…like I said Imma DO ME. Feel it.
Do you feel a responsibility as innovators to push the envelope and push the boundaries of sounds that are classified acceptable by heads?
We push boundaries and will continue to push… we have too. Artist’s gotta be able show more than they 1st record or whatever record ya’ll fell in love wit ya know? Lemme make 6 albums, then you can hold me to a sound, a style, whatever. Nah, Imma still change it up, that’s the challenge. If everyone’s doing the same thing you supposed to come wit something fresh, reinvent yourself dawg! A message to all heads – LIFESAVAS challenge you to get open again, stop analyzing and just enjoy the music. If it’s hot, praise that jawn, wave the flag, don’t front in the same breath…fa real.
A lot of the funky, no-coast style hip hop that’s out and abut these days seems to rely on the gimmicy prankster image, what are your guys views on this?
I’m not sure what you mean by “Prankster” do you mean street cats, thugs, gangsters? If so, basically cats is makin’ music about what they livin’. Some are actors, some are studio P,THGS,G and some are just horrible. The truth is I really don’t care, long as we bringin’ what we bring it’ll balance out.
Spirit in Stone carved a new standard, are you road testing new material and what sort of reaction have you been getting. Do you guys pressure yourself to be more prolific?
We try some new songs out every show. Are you saying we prolific…thank you.
Being on an independent label have you guys experienced much of the crunch the majors are feeling right now?
Not really. Quannum is winning right now.
Where do you see the music industry heading?
The industry is falling apart so let’s put it back together.
As performers do you see a big part of the lifesavas experience as the live show or is more about what comes out of the studio for you personally?
I live for both…Right now I’m loving the freedom of recording…I’m not ready to be on the road yet. Once we ready to hit ya’ll over the head we on the road.
If the bookies are right, we are in for a serving on the upcoming tour by Lifesavas and DJ Z-Trip (of Scratch, Future Primitive and Uneasy Listening). Expect a night showcasing the past, present and future of Hip Hop music at The Rev, Brisbane on Saturday December 4th and Sunday December 5th at The Great Northern in Byron Bay. Lifesavas’ Spirit In Stone is out locally on Quannum/Jam, check out www.quannum.com for more.