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SoulStice

What’s the science behind your name? Or Is there any?



There are a few points of meaning behind the name. My name was

originally, “Solstice.” The two zeniths in the sun’s position

relative to the earth. In my opinion, music is the zenith of expression. The summer and winter solstices are the longest and shortest days of the year and mark transitions in the seasons. Winter/Summer, Long/Short, Beginning/End…all yin/yang combinations. The universe is in a constant balance between yin and yang. I try to maintain that balance in myself.



In 1997, I won the Annual Mid-West “Who’s the Illest” competition in Champaign, IL. When they printed my name in the paper, they spelled it “Soulstice.” I was pissed at first, but it stuck with me…I liked the way it enhanced the meaning I was originally going for.



What do you think of Mainstream Hip Hop?



I don’t hate on mainstream Hip Hop at all. If it’s got a tight beat, then I’ve probably been at the spot dancing to it at some point. Personally, I find that my taste in lyrics keeps my own collection of mainstream stuff pretty minimal. But that’s not to say that I’ll pass up good music just cuz it made the pop charts.



My biggest gripe is that I don’t feel that most mainstream artists speak for the majority of hip hop artists or headz…at all. The problem is that too many cats are only exposed to mainstream stuff and think that that’s all Hip Hop can be. They hear mainstream lyrics and think that’s the voice of Hip Hop! Hip Hop’s got A LOT to say, and most of it can’t be heard on MTV or BET.



How was your upbringing?



Regular man. I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. So I was exposed to the Chi-town flavor, without the a lot of the negatives that are usually associated with city life. I mean, some people in my neighborhood were still on some ignorant shit, but nobody really got hurt…usually. My parents, two of my favorite people in the world, made sure my brother and I never got involved in that lifestyle. My school was half white and half black, so I’ve always been open minded on that tip.



What inspired you to become a hip hop artist?



Man, it seems like Hip Hop’s always been a part of my life. Don’t get me wrong, when I was little I used to listen to Michael Jackson, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder…what my parents listened to. But when I first got up on hip hop – must have been around 7th grade – the whole art spoke to me. My friends and I started rapping with each other after that, and that was that. I still freestyle with my brother, Cayse, and my guy Durant (in addition a *long* list of emcees, of course).



I look around at this generation of young black people and I see Hip Hop as an important part of the culture. Not to say that Hip Hop belongs to black people exclusively, but I feel confident in saying that it’s interwoven into black culture. I’m just a part of that culture.



What other hip hop groups do you listen to?



Right now I’m listening to a lot of The Roots, Common, Taleb Kweli, Dead Prez, Big-L, Redman, 7L and Esoteric, Jedi Mind Tricks, GZA, Goodie Mob, Jugga the Bully and a lot of local artists. Essohess, Antimatter, Psalm, etc….some of the coldest cats I’ve heard may never see a record deal…



I also listen to a lot of other types of music. Herbie Hancock, Miles

Davis, India Arie, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Radiohead…if it’s good

music, then I’m usually absorbed by it.



How would you describe your music?



My music’s an extention of myself. I try to make sure what I write is

speaking FOR me, and TO somebody. I’m not trying to eat off of making music, so I don’t consider my music to be a product. It’s art…I’m just trying to make music that I’m feeling that people can listen to and say, “Yeah, I’m feeling him on that,” or just sit back and appreciate a tight metaphor.



How would you describe yourself?



I’m just trying to figure a few things out and have some fun in this

life before I move to the next. I’m the kind of guy that’ll try anything once and if I like it I’ll do it to death.



What are your future musical plans?



To make music, man. I’ll be making music, no matter what. Everything else…deals, contracts, distribution…are all really just a matter of how many people will be listening to that music. Overall I’m just trying to make a lot of music and get it out to as many people as possible.



Out of the songs you’ve created, what is your personal favorite, and why?



It’s hard to pick favorites, it’s like picking between children! I don’t

know man, I go through a love/hate thing with every song I make. When I’m writing it, I’m really feeling it…when it’s first recorded, I’m always picking out places I could have improved my delivery, places where the lyrics could have been tighter and all that. Then, after I listen to it a few times, it grows on me again. It’s an inevitable process.



I can’t choose between recordings, but I will say that my favorite song to perform is “Too Much” – by The Complex (SoulStice and Essohess). It always gets me hype…



Where can fans listen to some of your music?



Some of what I’ve been recording lately can be downloaded from



www.banarnar.com



It’s run by S.M. Arson, a producer I’ve been recording a lot with lately. Otherwise, cats can hit me up at [email protected], and I can provide the latest info. I’m hoping to get more tracks on www.hiphophotspot.com in the near future.



Have you ever rocked events, if so, what was your favorite event you rocked?



I’m always rocking one event or another. I’ve performed at almost all of the venues around campus (University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign), bars, clubs, major events, openers, etc. The largest venue I’ve performed in to date is Champaign’s Cotton Club, which I’ve rocked 3 times with my group, Bionic Six. It’s a pretty tough crowd, consisting of about 2000 cats that just wanna hear ‘that hot shit,’ and will boo if you’re not bringing it.



No, we’ve never come close to getting booed.



Have you ever found Jesus?



God is everywhere, like air. You don’t have to look for air…you just

breathe it.



How long have you been rhyming? How do you see hip hop, and you? Do you see Hip Hop as a religion, art, culture, a career, job, or just a hobby?



I’ve been rhyming for eight or nine years now. I definitely consider Hip Hop to be an art, but it’s art with a thick culture.

I do it cuz I enjoy it, so that would make it a hobby too. If I could

ever make a job outta Hip Hop, that would be great…so I guess that would make my answer ‘all of the above’. Except religion…that would make me a pagan, wouldn’t it?



Basically, Hip Hop is a collection of voices with a hell of a lot of say.



Do you have any hip hop quotables that you live by? Any song lyrics ever touched you?



“It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine.” – Common

“I’d rather be a lion for a day than a lamb who lives forever.” – Canibus



As a independent artist, how do you find the music industry? What resources online have lent their support to you, and your music?



I have to say that as an independent musician I see the music industry as a huge wall, one hundred feet tall and twenty feet thick casting a looming shadow. The reality is that it’s extrememly hard for someone that’s not already affiliated with the industry in some way to even get your demo listened to, much less to get a deal. These days it’s definitely a better route to just do everything yourself, move your own music and then try to get distribution through smaller labels.



I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my online “career” hasn’t been just as

important to getting my music out as my offline efforts. Frequenting message boards and getting feedback on lyrics, entering into on-line tournaments, etc., all help keep my lyrics sharp. It keeps you writing ALL the time. In addition, websites like mp3.com, hiphophotspot.com, and iuma.com, give independent artists a chance to get more exposure than just pushing your CD to your friends and people at shows.



Going on-line is also a good way to network with other artists that are serious about making music. I’ve driven to Indianapolis to record with PBM, and flown to Atlanta to record with Jugga the Bully just based on the strength of the relationships we established on-line…reading lyrics and swapping mp3’s.



Do you have any shot outs you would like make?



No doubt…



Shouts go Essohess, Opuzit (and Cortez, where my ABBOTT cats at??), Amanda, Veritas, Antimatter, Psalm, DJ Artwerk, Joe Castro, Sephiroth, Manny, Jugga, Butta, Tsurad the Pharise, Rod-One, Doomsday, Kory Calico, Mpire, PBM, Hodari, Mike and Molly’s, The Courtyard Cafe (Susan Pile), Farah, N.S.B.E. – UofI chapter, DaveyD’s emcees, Sethro’s emcees, the Rap House, WBML – 89.3FM, WEFT – 90.1FM, C.E., Illosophy, J-Mill, Remi, everybody that comes out The Complex, Veritas, and Bionic Six shows and buys our CD’s, or downloads our mp3’s. Peace to everybody that holds me down that I didn’t mention, you know I love you…



Interview By DaHipHopPlace.Com