10 July 2009

Feature Friday: Curt@!n$

Take late 90's East Coast lyricism, avant-garde Los Angeles fashion, Huey Newton's sensibilities, and that guy that sat behind you in Art History, and you'd have Brooklyn born Curt@!n$. As an East Coast born artist now living on the West Coast Curt@!n$ has an unkommon perspective on hip-hop. He's a product of the digital age where a simple myspace page or zShare acts as your marketing and distribution. The days of getting "signed" to make records are over and Curt@!n$ has embraced that. He's taken time out of his schedule to wrap a bit with Unkommon Kolor's The REAL Jeremy Biggers about art, the Internet, and fashion.

Unkommon Kolor: We know you’ve probably answered this a MILLION times, but explain to the people out there that don’t know, how you chose your rap pseudonym.

Curt@!n$: "Curtains" simply means the show stopper. My whole energy is attention grabbing. Its a spectacle going on when im involved, so the name Curt@!n$ fits perfectly.

UK: Your delivery, cadence, and subject matter all resemble Pharoahe Monch and Nas, who are your influences artistically (musically and otherwise)?

C: I'm influenced by movies and books. Hip-Hop wise I would say Jay-Z, Kanye, Outkast, LL Cool J from day 1, Ice Cube...theres so much.

UK: That's what makes a true artist. Pull inspiration from EVERYWHERE. You quit rap on more than one occasion. What got you back on track to produce your art?

C: Its a drug...Im addicted to creating. I can't be dormant for too long, I gotta be out there making some dope shit and when I just quit, I kind of get the itch back sooner or later.

UK: I think all artists go through that "It's just not fun for me anymore" period where they "quit", only to come back to it weeks later. We hear you have been friends with Lupe Fiasco since high school, how do you think you’ve helped one another lyrically and stylistically?

C: I dont think we've helped each other at all. We're both incredibly talented artist and we find our own pocket and master that. He inspires me greatly I would say with his accomplishments.

UK: Oh ok. Much like us here at Unkommon Kolor, we hear that you are an amazing artist. Do you have any of your visual art online?

C: Nah, my art is somewhere on the back of some random sheets of paper. I need to do some pieces and do a gallery show or something. I got some dope ideas in my head, I just need to find that energy to get it out. Visual arts is like doing music, its a full time gig, you can't half ass it or its not gonna be what it needs to be. I respect the craft and until i'm in a position to dedicate some time and energy to it, ima just keep doodling on paper.

UK: PREACH!!! Art is so much more than a hobby! How is painting a picture with words different from painting (drawing) with traditional mediums? How is it the same?

C: For me they are one in the same. Its all in the message and how you put it out there. I'm very metaphorical so with my music and with drawing, i'm gonna find a dope metaphor and try to be as creative as possible.

UK: Kanye called you a “Fashion Genius”, who are your favorite brands/ designers? How would you describe your style?

C: I'm not too brand heavy, I'm more into pieces. Like Levis Vintage and Dior do the absolute best denim. American Apparel make the best plain t shirts, I think Gucci as a brand may have the best collections. But I like just mixing and matching pieces from different collections to come up with my own little concoction. Style wise, I would describe my style as a portrait of shattered opulence. I like wearing my pieces out, rips in my shirts, stains, dirt, I love it. It makes a $400 jacket more interesting. I think. I'm on the verge of completely changing the pace with my personal style. Totally just blacking out in more ways than one.

UK: "... I might wear black for a year straight..." We can dig it. As a product of this digital age, do you feel the internet is killing music or helping it?

C: The Internet helps life in general. It helps you weed through the bullshit and get straight to the point. Musically it helps fans filter out garbage from good shit and it helps great artists who don't have that platform to get their music out to a place to build their brand. I love the net. I'm always online.

UK: Just don't get too tech happy and go all autotune on us. While your "The Great Adventures of Dope Boy C: WHSL REBEL RADIO" mixtape is lyrical, it’s a collection of fun, almost party records and The Great Adventures of Dope Boy C: Dope for President is a lot heavier and more politically charged. Is there a reason for this artistic duality or is it simply a reflection, social commentary of what’s happening in the world right now?

C: Well "Dope For President" is where my heads been at forever. I'm heavy on political bullshit, religious bullshit, socialism, all that so thats where my head is 90% of the time. "Rebel Radio" was more of the bait to get people on my side and get them into the whole CurT@!n$ movement. I could make an album like Dope For President all day.

UK: Speaking of which, do we have a date set for the release of your debut album “A Beautiful Mind”?

C: In a perfect world, my birthday, August 18th 2010.

UK: Dope! We can't wait! Anything you want to leave us with?

C: Dope for President!

For more info on Curt@!n$ contact him on his site:
http://highsocietylife.com/ or his myspace: http://www.myspace.com/curtains