I grew up in what was arguably the greatest time in hip hop music,
influenced by some of the greatest to do it such as KRS-One, Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, and other artists who really peaked in the early to mid 1990’s. The first hip hop cassette I every owned was LL Cool J’s “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” I fell in love with hip hop and began writing my own songs as early as 6th grade – @BonafideAlien
Live Interview August 4 at 6:40pm et
Episode #347 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/08/04/episode-347-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW ALIEN
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Alien (hip hop artist)
I grew up in what was arguably the greatest time in hip hop music,
influenced by some of the greatest to do it such as KRS-One, Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, and other artists who really peaked in the early to mid 1990’s. The first hip hop cassette I every owned was LL Cool J’s “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” I fell in love with hip hop and began writing my own songs as early as 6th grade.
“Feel This” and was originally recorded with my band “Harvust.”
“Feel This” was written quite some time ago.
But in my opinion it really is a timeless track, potentially more relevant today than ever. It’s basically about freeing yourself from the stress of life while at the same time being aware of what is going on socially, politically, and spiritually.
My friend Austin came up with the lead riff and it had a smooth reggae feel to it,
and the lyrics almost wrote themselves. I have always been a socially conscious and spiritual person and the rhythm seems to have been built for that sort of content, so I just wrote it with that energy. It was recorded in a dusty studio in Germantown, Philadelphia PA. I had a record deal with an independent company and it was supposed to be part of our first album. Unfortunately, the record label found themselves in over their heads with too many projects, and stopped recording with us. The company realized they were not doing much for us, and released me from the contract. I learned more about the music industry for sure by experiencing that. Here is a link to
the song, “Feel This:” https://soundcloud.com/daniel-babij/harvust-alien-feel-this
I try to create a sound that is lyrically charged,
with melodic delivery and the appropriate energy. Some of the material I do is more comedic, outrageous, fun. But a lot of my material touches on the spiritual, social, and political climates that we live in. I use a lot of metaphors and also try to teach things that I have learned to others. I want to people to break out of the boxes they are in and try and rediscover things about the world they live in. I want my material to challenge and positively change perceptions about culture, race, and other issues that are dear to many of us. The music itself evolves from the original east coast style hip hop sound. People like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, The Alchemist, Beatminerz, etc, are all producers whose sounds I really love and seek to build off of (not bite), as far as style.
I am originally from Trenton, the capital of New Jersey…
I now reside in Hamilton Township which is just outside of Trenton. The music scene here is small in scope but the talent is official! There are talented artists from various genres, and you can catch shows at some of the local bars and other venues weekly, but attendance isn’t great. There’s just not enough energy and promotion between artists and venues here. It is tough to draw a crowd as we do sit uncomfortably between hot spots like New York and Philadelphia. But the greater Trenton area has the talent to contribute.
Well, I feel that the name of the game from a record companies’ perspective…
is of course money. I believe as a result, the art suffers as companies’ push what they believe appeal to the most surface level of peoples senses. Whatever looks pretty and sounds shocking is pushed more so than what I would call “socially conscious and responsible” music. A lot of large labels appeal commercially on a global scale, and promote that type of music. I am not saying Top 40 music is all the same or no good, but what I am saying is that the Top 40 does not seem interested in making any room for the ideas that myself and others promote. Like perhaps, thinking for yourself. Majors are interested in building cycles of consumers without worrying about what exactly they are consuming.
I think one of the pros that can wind up being a con is having a lot of fan support…
and interest but not knowing how to best keep that going to the point where it materializes into steady shows, records, and yes, income, because after all, artists must eat too. I think you have to have a lot of endurance and balance to pursue a career in music. You have to be grounded and disciplined in the work itself. You can have all of the talent you want, but without a good work ethic, you will become stagnant. The trick is to know who you are, know why you do what you do, and reflect on that when you forget!
Talk about the differences in your marketing strategy…
to support your preference. I like the idea of releasing a couple singles before an album. This way, people can get a taste of what they can expect. For marketing purposes too, having singles available gives time to build some credibility with your audience. You can also begin marketing other products like apparel or art once people get a feel for you.
It’s sort of a double edged sword!
I love the fact that you can advertise to countless people and speed up the networking process, but at the same time a lot of material gets shared that you aren’t financially compensated for. I will state honestly that money is not my first pursuit but as I said earlier, artists have to eat too. Ultimately, social networking is a good thing because you do get a chance engage with your audience in ways not possible before.
Wow. That is a tough one.
In spite of the fact that this is an interview focused on my music career and I have a few hip hop icons in mind that I’d love to sit down and talk with, I’d have to say the person I’d want to talk to the most is Jesus Christ. I think I’d get such a clearer perspective on so many things! I’ve always been a critical / free thinker, I love reading Ancient Philosophy and history, but no one taught like Christ.
He is the most controversial figure in history!
That alone is intriguing. I admire the way He didn’t follow socially acceptable norms in certain cases. I admire His love of the poor, His willingness to teach those who were regarded as “less than human” by a religious majority. His dedication to His mission. His humility and strength.
Absolutely! There are a lot of awesome artists out there.
But the mainstream is flooded with imitations. Artists influence artists in most cases, and too many upcoming artists are being molded in a trendy, materialistic, “look first listen later” type of image. I like party music and love songs, but I don’t think there is enough reality. Everyday people don’t relate to living like some of these artists tell them they should. We need more socially responsible performers. Music is too powerful of a teacher to be misused so much. I’m here to help stem the tide or at least try to level the playing field.
This is another hard one to answer!
But if I had to pull one from the archives of inspirational quotes, it would have to be the one that I’ve held onto the longest: “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to reform.” – Mark Twain That’s wild! He is telling us to stop following the crowd. Think for yourself. Hey, if the majority is on the right track, and it’s the track you want to be on, then go for it. But, if you are just going with the flow for the sake of being part of a popular majority, then you may want to analyze your situation. The majority is not always correct, and I think there is plenty of historical evidence to back that up! Follow your intuition my friends.
Versatile on the microphone, Alien brings a powerful lyrical presence and energy that engages his audience. With passion for the craft, he seeks to create an environment that he and his audience can simultaneously relish in.
Born in Trenton, NJ, “Alien” (Daniel Babij), who for the large part of his vocal career has been known as “DFlow”, continues to the pursuit of furthering his art. He has been writing / performing hip-hop (as well as reggae) since the early 1990’s, and has evolved into resourceful song writer.
Alien’s love for hip-hop began in his pre-teen years as he began writing bars as early as the 6th grade. MC’s that he looks up to and finds inspiration from are KRS-One, Rakim, Black Thought, Nas, Aesop Rock, and others. Fashioning his style under the umbrella of Northeastern hip hop, he sinks into melodies with persistent wordplay and a harmonious relay. Currently, Alien is working on compiling beats for upcoming recording sessions. While being a father of young children, Alien balances familial relationships with a 9-5 job while operating a DJ company. He seeks to use his talents to not only remain true to himself, but provide advice, guidance, and support to other artists and people in general. You can follow the latest news and updates @BonafideAlien on Twitter.