Los Angeles’ Fairfax Avenue is home to many of the streetwear industry’s rising and already established brands. Names like Diamond Supply Co., The Hundreds, Hall Of Fame, RVCA and others have flagship stores on the very same block; and celebrities frequent many of these stores to re-up on new gear. But, the block breeds more than just fashion, it’s also a melting pot for young rappers.
In 2011, two of biggest success stories of the year came outta the Fairfax area. We’re sure you’re familiar with the names Odd Future, and Kreayshawn. Both acts, who rose to fame over the last couple years, started out right there, hanging out and doing what kids do. Now, another young group of kids are creating a buzz for themselves, and hope 2012 will be bigger than 2011. Their name is the Chill Black Guys, or CBG for short.
The trio of fellas are comprised of Jay Ughh, Young Hawaii Slim and Corzillah. Since they begun releasing music together in 2011, they’ve built a loyal online following, all of whom have flocked to watch a series of self-produced music videos and their sole mixtape, titled CBG The Mixtape (download here ). Since then, they’ve been doing shows non-stop … and don’t plan to slow down until they make it.
Right before SXSW, we caught up with CBG in L.A., where he talked about everything from their journey in music thus far, and revealed that they were actually surprised at how fast things have begun to move for them. During out chat, they gave us a little insight into their past, telling us about their musical influences, the road each walked before coming into music, how CBG intially formed, and why fans have been drawn to their movement.
So… if you haven’t heard of the Chill Black Guys, here’s your introduction. If you have, then get further acquainted.
Let’s start off by clarifying who’s in the group. We thought the group was a duo, consisting of Hawaii Slim and Jay Ughh, but Corzillah is also a member. Tell us about how you guys came together and just clarify who the group officially consists of?
Young Hawaii Slim: I met Julian (Jay Ughh) in San Francisco — we just clicked out there. We really didn’t do music. Like, we would make tracks, kinda bullsh** f*** around, but weren’t really serious. A year ago, we made [a song called] “Chill Black Guys (CBG).” I would just sit on the Internet and tell everybody to “Watch the video, watch the video,” and people were f***in’ with it. So, I’m like “Yo, we got something.”
We moved [to Los Angeles] and kept it going from there. [Corzillah] and Jay Ughh grew up together, skating in West L.A., so it was only right for Jay Ughh to bring his partner along.
Before the group formed, what you guys were doing separately?
Young Hawaii Slim: Me, man … (laughs). I’mma keep it 100, I was f***in’ up. I was … not doing good sh**. I was jacking n****s, selling drugs, f***ing around trying to skate; just bullsh***, not really serious about anything. Then, I blew my knee out and got serious about music (laughs).
Jay Ughh: Before this CBG sh**, I was doing DTF with my homies … Down To F*** crew. It was just some fun sh** in high school. That kinda had a big buzz to it, but it ended with creative differences. Then, I was just working for The Hundreds (clothing company). Those fools showed a lot of love, and then I was out in San Francisco and that’s when I met [Hawaii Slim].
Corzillah: Before the rappin’ sh**, I was doing retail. I had a job working for Nike for like hella long. That was never really tight, never what I wanted to do. I was always f***in’ with [Jay Ughh and Hawaii Slim], always in the streets running around, being active. Just doing what kids do — skating, chillin’.
What acts influenced you musically, growing up?
Corzillah: Musically, for me, I’ma super West Coast head. I f*** with Westside Connection — WC, Ice Cube and Mack 10. But, I listen to hella Three 6 Mafia, like hella Mafia music. I like to hella music from the Bay.
Young Hawaii Slim: I grew up listening to Snoop Dogg. My mom would play Snoop Dogg day and night. Like I would wake up to my mom passing me a joint and being like “N****, get up, go clean the bathroom.” And, it just be like Tha Eastsidaz playing in the background loud as f*** (laughs). When I got into my own music, I started listening to like Living Legends, Scarab, and like the 3 Melancholy Gypsys. I was really on some underground, backpack type of rap for a minute. Then, my homie was playing Andre Nickatina — he had a Dre Dog CD. After that, I kinda got hip to Bay sh**, my partner put me onto Mac Dre. But umm, I’m highly influenced by Soulja Slim, rest in peace.
Jay Ughh: Me, I’mma say DJ Quik. I was more into the smooth type of rappers and sh**. My all-time favorite rapper, Mase Harlem World, best album ever. Straight up, hands down.
What was it that really made you feel like: Alright, this rap sh** is it?
Young Hawaii Slim: As far back as I can remember, it was probably 8 years old. I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. I don’t know what the f*** I could’ve been rapping about back then, but I was trying to rap. Me personally, I always kinda like f***ed around with it, but never got serious about it because I was skating. I blew my knee out. After that, I dropped a mixtape, complete with the crutch. After that, people were just like “Your songs is tight.” It was just freestyles, so I dunno, might as well keep going from there.
Corzillah: We just used to make songs everyday after school [me and Jay Ughh], just ’cause, just for sh**s. Little did we know, it was hella practice to get us to where were at now.
Jay Ughh: I used to be in the bathroom, in the mirror, just reciting all my favorite songs. Like, before I get into the shower and when I get out the shower. I always knew I was gonna be some type of artist.
2011 was a big year for you guys, specifically the second half. Tell us about when things began to take off for you guys, and how much things have changed for you in the past year.
Jay Ughh: I believe we did this strip club performance with Ninjasonik, and that was like the night people saw that we could really rock a stage. After that, that’s when the views started climbing, climbing … people started hitting us up for more shows, and the ball started rolling.
Young Hawaii Slim: Yea, I’d have to agree with Julian. Right around that time, we were doing shows and people would come, and it’d be turnt, but then that show just really put the stamp like “These motherf***ers got something.”
Basically, me I just nerd out. Spaghetto (director/filmmaker), I love her. She made our videos, and I’d sit and nerd out and ask everyone and they mama to look at our videos. From that, I go out and random people come up to me like “Hey Hawaii? Hey, what’s up? CBG?” It’s almost like, “be care what you wish for.” Just sitting there, doing that and making it happen, now people f*** with us.
Corzillah: For me, it’s personally like an honor. I kinda came in late, even though I was always f***in’ with my n****s and always supporting, but I just feel honored that I was actually able to come in at the time I came in. It’s gotten to the point where it’s unimaginable. The bond between us three, and the chemistry and how we work, everybody’s drive and motivation matches. It’s been epic, it’s been great.
But, if you haven’t been to one of our shows, the shows will really make you a believer. The music speaks for itself, but you really gotta come out and turn up with the family real quick. That’s what really got it poppin’.
Young Hawaii Slim: I wanna add something. Most rappers get up there, and they try to rap too cool or try to be like, Mr. My P**** Don’t Stink. N****, we know that you can rap. Obviously, I’m here because I listen to your music, but now I wanna see you perform. I wanna see what type of performer you are. Do you got energy? Or are you just a wet, flaccid nobody up there? I wanna see some energy.
Online, CBG is really getting notice, especially from the fans on Twitter, Tumblr, etc. What is it like to see your music kind of explode so quickly, and was is something yo expected?
Young Hawaii Slim: I dunno. Speaking for me, it’s surreal. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast. I don’t wanna say, “Oh I knew it was gonna happen, y’all n****s shoulda been f***in’ with us.” But, I believe in us. We can’t fail, we not gonna fail. At the same time, it’s happening so fast. It’s happening faster than I can even keep up with it.
Jay Ughh: Honestly, I felt this sh** in my bones. After “Nope” dropped, I felt it. I felt like sh** was just gonna pop for us. I feel like it’s only gonna get bigger. I’m not gonna say “I knew it was gonna happen,” but I felt it coming.
Corzillah: I’mma keep it 1000, I forgot the question. (laughs). Oh yea… I think hard work pays off. Persistence, grinding and having a statement and pushing that sh** is the most important thing. People can respect that and support that.
For those who haven’t had a chance to see or hear you yet, can you tell us how you would describe your music? And, what CBG is all about?
Corzillah: I bring the chill swag, saucy element to the thing if you can understand that. My whole lingo and pronunciation of things, my demeanor, is just chill.
Young Hawaii Slim: Me, I’m the wild child. I might elbow you if you try to get onstage with us, but it’s gonna be a accident. You just happened to be standing next to Young Hawaii Slim when he was turnt on stage. I’m not chilling on stage, I’m turning the f*** up.
Jay Ughh: I’m the chillest blackest. I skate, I kill … I pretty much kill it at everything I do. That’s where I come from, a family of winners, a long line of winners (laughs). As far as our music, if you’re in a good mood and wanna have fun, wanna just party … put it on at any party and everybody will just feel it. Just bounce around and have a good time.
You dropped the CBG Mixtape project together in November. Tell us a little about that project: putting it together, the content matter, etc.
Young Hawaii Slim: People, I’m so sorry it took so long. When we dropped the video, “Chill Black Guys,” everyone’s like “Where’s the f***’s the tape at?” I was telling these people for a year that the tape was coming out — had a date, pushed it back; had a date, pushed it back. We was almost like Memphis Bleek in that bitch, we was not about to come out (laughs).
But then, we just got serious. I was like “We’re putting out the f***in’ tape. This is the date, it’s coming out.” We had to go up in a few producers’ houses, chock them out, get the tracks and put it out, but we did.
Jay Ughh: The content, we just all came together and made some sh** we could all party to, straight up. And, some sh** my homies can feel because we got a lot of homies out there that skate, that tag, a lot that do a lot of different sh**. If all them could feel it, then I knew we did something good.
Corzillah: We would be the newest element coming out of the West L.A. region, just putting California on the map in a different way. I just think it’s something new, something innovate, and something fresh. It’s a breath of fresh air for a coast that needs it.
What kind of feedback did you receive from the project?
Young Hawaii Slim: [I would hear], “Oh my God, I downloaded your tape and I listen to it every day. I love it.” And, “Oh my God, CBG, when’s the next show? Can I come?”
Jay Ughh: My favorite is, “Can I be a Chill White Girl?” Or, like “A Chill Guy.” Yea, anybody can be a chill guy or girl. Chill ____ G.
Young Hawaii Slim: It’s random. Look, we’re here now talking to you because of it.
It seems the Fairfax area (in Los Angeles) is producing a lot of buzz, whether its in music, fashion, or even art. In your opinion, what is it about that part of the city that is so important, and why has it gotten so much attention?
Jay Ughh: All these major artists, they go to that area to get their swag, be fresh, kinda see what we’re doing — the younger guys that are from that area. I think that’s all it is. They come over there to see the swag and once the block produces some natural swag, everyone eats it up.
It’s easy, from Tyler (Odd Future) to Dom [Kennedy], Pac Div, Casey [Veggies] … hella n****s from the block just doing they thing.
How does it feel to see some of the people around you coming up?
Jay Ughh: It’s a dream come true. I never would’ve thought that in 2011 I’d see two of my homies getting nominated for [MTV] Moon men (Kreayshawn and Tyler The Creator), and one of them winning. 2012, everybody’s doing something. I’m just glad to be a part of this west coast movement.
Young Hawaii Slim: I’ve from Hawaii, and I lived in the Bay for like five years, and I’m new to L.A. Being over there [with Jay Ughh], it’s just like everyone’s coming up, doing their own thing. Even people you think is just over there sitting on they ass, just smoking trees, not doing sh*** is doing something. Like, even when you think a n**** is chillin’, they workin’. It’s tight. A lot of rappers go over there to get their swag. We’re over there, doing us.
Corzillah: That’s where we came from, where we’re rooted. It breeds a particular type of person that gives you … you just know, like when you know you really doing that, know that’s where you came from, and you know that’s what you really about, you have no choice but to just go hard, but to just do your sh**. It’s a natural instinct.
You buying it, we know the n****s that’s supplying it.
Tell us about what CBG has planned for 2012. What’s on deck?
Jay Ughh: Hitting the road, just trying to gain new fans, get some more exposure out there. Couple solo mixtapes, group mixtapes. A lot of sh** coming.
Young Hawaii Slim: The world Chico and everything in it.
Corzillah: Chill Black Everything. Hawaii has a tape coming out, me and Jay Ughh working on some mixtapes.