Shwayze: The Laid Back Chill Type

ShwayzeIn the backseat of a car somewhere, manager in tow, sits a money hungry artist, plotting on their next publicity stunt. Not too far away, chilled out in someone’s apartment nearby, sippin’ on a few beers, taking a few hits of mary jane, you can find a few cool people doing what they love: making music. Take a step inside and you’re likely to find Shwayze, the Cali “stoner music” rapper, chillin’ out. An interview with Shwayze about music, the benefits of being the “only black kid in Malibu,” and weed, proves that there are still some cool dudes in the music industry.

BallerStatus.com: So, what’s up?

Shwayze: Good question (laughs). Right now we got the reality show we’re shooting through MTV, July 23rd. It’s called “Buzzin'” and it’s pretty much about everything — us touring, us with the radio, my whole crew. It’s me, my boy Cisco Adler (he’s my producer), my boy and Warren (tour manager) and my manager Jordan Schur. It’s about the rising and the merging of a new artist, so it takes you from the beginning to where we are now. I don’t know where we are, we’re probably still at the beginning (laughs).

BallerStatus.com: So you blew up first in Cali, right?

Shwayze: Cali of course. That was our foundation. We started out playing shows locally. We played hundreds of shows, so when we got signed we already had a good fan base. And the record was already recorded, which was cool because we recorded in my boys Cisco’s crib and that’s how it started. But these last couple of months have been the craziest, how much work we’ve had to do. I see a lot of difference in the shows now too, there’s a lot more people.

BallerStatus.com: How broad is your fan range now?

Shwayze: It’s broad, I was out in NY the other day and the song came on the radio, so it feels good. We’re getting some love from the east coast as well.

BallerStatus.com: Yea I’m in the Bronx. I first heard you on Z100.

Shwayze: Yea that tricked me out. That definitely tricked me out.

Official “Buzzin” Video

BallerStatus.com: So yea, that’s gotta feel crazy. You’re making this “California chill” and “west coast stoner music” and then you’ve got stations playing your music on the east coast.

Shwayze: There’s no east or west. It doesn’t matter people are going to like it because it’s chill music. I think that’s pretty cool people are responding to it that way. I love NY too, it’s one of my favorite places, so the fact that I got love out there, that’s dope.

BallerStatus.com: Yea, that’s definitely cool. I lived in California when I was younger, but I was too young to experience the music scene like that. How is it there? Is it pretty musically segregated or do you have people listening to anything and everything?

Shwayze: The way I was, I think Cali is the same way. I used to listen to everything. I went through phases. I’m ADD, I’m a Gemini and like I’ll listen to something for a long time and hold onto it and I gotta hop onto the next one. Like when I first started listening to music, I listened to the oldies like James Brown, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, you know, everything like that. Then I got into Bob Marley and Sublime, like the “stoner-chill feel good music,” then I got into rock. And then I got into hip-hop like Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Wu-Tang. I have a whole bunch of influences. So yea I think everyone in Cali definitely listens to everything. I think it’s a wide range. Some of the people who like classic rock are also big listeners to Wu-Tang. So yea, I think it’s definitely a melting pot. I think that’s happening everywhere, even on the east coast. When we do shows people like my stuff and then they also like Nas or something like that.

BallerStatus.com: Yea, and music is changing. People are coming out of their one genre and are being exposed to new stuff. Since you were exposed to all of that, and now you’re making this music where you’re rapping on top of a different style, do you feel like you opened it up for people who wouldn’t normally listen to it?

Shwayze: Yea I think so. I’ve gotten nothing but love so far. I think people are liking it. We’re all making music. It’s all about getting inspired. I do that all the time, so if I can do something like that for someone else, I’m hyped.

BallerStatus.com: And how did the Pontiac commercial happen?

Shwayze: Ah man, it fell on the table somehow. Pontiac wanted a fresh new look and they heard our song and they liked it and they came over and approached us. We were like “Hell yea, of course,” and they had a cool concept for the video.

Cisco just walked in and said he’s buying hundreds of old school boom boxes and putting them on our stage for Warped Tour and sh** like that.

BallerStatus.com: Sounds hot. I definitely wanna check you out.

Shwayze: You’re in the Bronx? Yea we’re coming to NY. Check out our MySpace (Myspace.com/Shwayze) and come check it out.

BallerStatus.com: Definitely. So I know you joke that you were the only black kid growing up in Malibu. And that’s definitely a bit exaggerated. Has anyone ever come up to you like, “Yo man, I lived here too?” (laughs) Or “Hey I was in your class!?”

Shwayze: (laughs) I said it’s like growing up there weren’t that many black people in Malibu that lived in Malibu. I know that for a fact. But there’s a lot of black people who live in Malibu now.

BallerStatus.com: Yea, but it’s cool that way. I grew up being the only white girl around whatever group I was chilling with, and it opens you up to a lot of different music.

Shwayze: Exactly I think I represented because there’s so many of us as kids who have been the only nationality in the whole town. It’s a funny thing, it’s a whole bunch, like black in all Hispanic places. I get messages from black kids in the suburbs all the time that are like, “Bro you’re my hero. I lived the same life as you.” It’s so funny when I hear that. When I was making the music, I wasn’t really aware/ I wasn’t really thinking there’s so many kids just like me. You just have to know who you are and just be hyped on who you are and not get confused.

BallerStatus.com: A lot of people feel like they have to go with a certain way.

Shwayze: Exactly. Oh, did I tell you when my record comes out? It comes out August 19th, so make you sure you get it (laughs).

BallerStatus.com: I’m definitely getting it. So do you ever mess around in the studio or think about rapping over some hip-hop beats too?

Shwayze: Yea you know what, I’m going to come out with a little tape of just me rapping on my favorite beats. Right before the record comes out. It’ll be on Lime Wire and stuff like that.

BallerStatus.com: Anyone in particular you want to work with?

Shwayze: Pharrell. I’ve been fortunate to work with Will.i.am, he did a remix of “Buzzin,” but I’d like to do a full track with him. I wanna work with Dre, some of the people from the Chilli Peppers. I wanna work with everybody. I wanna branch out, not just rap. I wanna produce, do everything.

BallerStatus.com: I’ve read in a few places people compare your sound to Gym Class Heroes. Do you take that as a compliment or are you like “What? Nah, that’s not what I’m going for?”

Shwayze: I take it as compliment. I’m not hatin’ on them at all. They have some hits, they’re doing their thing. And Travis is another kid, he’s rappin and he’s mixing the rock, that kinda stuff. I’m not mad. I think we definitely have our differences and I think people will definitely like our music. We’re not jockin’ anyone’s style, but if we’re being compared to Gym Class, then I’m not mad at all. They’re dope.

BallerStatus.com: Yea and it’s always Gym Class Heroes mixed with something else.

Shwayze: Exactly, so if we have a little of Gym Class flavor in there then that’s cool man. I’m down with Gym Class and they’re actually on this tour we’re going on, and I kicked it with Travis and they were like, “Yea we’ll be your big brothers on the tour, we’ll make sure you guys have a good time.” And Cisco actually is getting a studio on the bus and so we’ll be doing a little Warped Tour mixtape. We’re trying to get all the bands from the tour to come and collaborate on it.

BallerStatus.com: So, are you a club person, or a stay at home and chill person?

Shwayze: I’ll go to the club, I definitely like going every once in a while. I’m definitely more of a chill, come back to the crib, jacuzzi guy. But at the same time, when I go to the club I definitely know how to do the club thing.

BallerStatus.com: Okay, so here in NY, it’s about dutches and more recently blunt wraps (laughs). What is Cali?

Shwayze: You know what, I just smoke out of bongs (laughs). Our bong just got broken yesterday, so we roll papers. We got the Zig Zags, but I try not to smoke blunts because it has a lot of tobacco in it. But if someone has a blunt then I’ll smoke it, which is a lot. So I do smoke blunts a lot, (laughs) but I don’t smoke cigarettes or anything like that. If it’s right in front of me, but my choice is bongs or papers.

BallerStatus.com: Yeah I used to do the Black N Mild thing.

Shwayze: Yea the smell of the Black N Milds kinda kills the smell of the weed.

BallerStatus.com: (laughs) So anything you want to talk about that we didn’t cover?

Shwayze: Shout out to MySpace ( Myspace.com/Shwayze). The record comes out August 19th, make sure you go out and get it, self-titled Shwayze. And the reality show July 23rd. The next single is called “Corona and Lime.”

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