Interview With Independent Hip Hop Heavyweights P-Rawb & Big O

Peace P-Rawb & Big O, much respect on your guy’s latest project “The Complexity”, our entire team really enjoyed that record and we are honored to have promoted it on UGHHBLOG! Let me ask, how did you guys meet and why did you guys decide to make music together?

P-Rawb: Much love and thank you all for the time and we really appreciate the kind words. It feels so great to hear things like this! We’re honored to be a part and grateful that the receptivity just in general has been so well received. It’s kinda wild, O and I met online, I believe through Soundcloud around like 2011ish? Ha, O probably knows exactly when. I randomly ended up on his page since I’m always digging through beats and really loved his vibe instantly, O has a great way to bring out the cerebral aspects of an artist. Big O makes music that makes an emcee want to organically write to. I mainly roll with two producers, my Jerzadelphian partner and best friend Shane Great and Big O. I do collab from time to time with other great artists like DC the Midi Alien and was recently featured on a Statik Selektah track “Brock Vs. Lashley” – go check that out, it’s that good ol’ Boom Bap!

Big O: Thank you so much for all of the love you guys over there have given us for this project! It’s truly an honor to be on your radar. Me and P crossed paths on Soundcloud back in 2010 and we started talking about working on music on facebook. Our first track we recorded was called “The Mission” and it was released on my soundcloud. What drew me to working with P was his work ethic. He was so dope and fast with the record that I had to continue to keep working with him.

Are you guys both from South Philly? I personally have never been out there, please describe the independent Hip Hop scene out there so we can paint the best picture possible.

P-Rawb: My early years were spent in different parts of philly, West, North, and Center City. You can definitely say my teeth were sharpened early on coming through a city like Philly. After Philly went over the Ben Frank to South Jersey in a town called Blackwood. O is originally from down south, it’s dope because I’ve spent time in my life around Pensacola/Alabama/Tampa so I very much understand different grooves and rhythmic patterns O uses, he’s got a crazy eclectic catalogue now, it’s really impressive. When I first met O, I think he had several beats on his SC, and now think he has over 25 official projects laced and just getting started, any major should be reaching out to him with fat money, 100. As far as the independent scene in Philly, it’s always been active and is currently thriving, there’s easily a dozen artists I can name that all belong at the top easy. #phillyvstheworld

Big O: First and foremost, thanks P for the kind honest words homie! That’s in fact true, I’m not from Philly… I’m from the south. Born in Birmingham, AL, grew up in ATL. From a child to a teen I’ve always been moving between ATL and B’ham. Once I graduated from high school, I moved to ATL and from there I moved down to Orlando, FL to attend college.

Is this a duo to stay? You guys planning on releasing more music as a duo?

P-Rawb: O and I have always met on a completely organic plane, I think he and I are always elated to mash up and express what we feel. We honestly do exactly what we want, independently. From the dusty crates, digging, chopping, mixing, writing, all the way to the stage, it’s all us! I’m mad proud of that, why would anything stop? We’re just starting and this is just the introduction of what’s to come.

Big O: Oh hell yeah, we are definitely here to stay. Our chemistry is too strong and organic to just give y’all a “one off” album. We got some new music together coming out and brainstorming for a follow up to “The Complexity.” However, there’s no due date and no real information we can give you guys right now, because you can’t rush greatness.

What were some of your guy’s earliest memories in hip hop? Maybe as a kid, you saw something and told yourself, “I want to do that”?…. This question is for both of you.

P-Rawb: I have been around Hip Hop my whole life, my mom being a musician in Philly herself I was always exposed to various genres of music, from Buju Banton to The Doors, Eagles to Tracy Chapman, she really explores all music. I was immersed in Hip Hop from a very early age and I’m a golden-era cat so it was nothing for me to be pop-locking in a circle in some Cross-Colors jeans with a rabbit foot hanging out my back pocket, hsha, having fun. That’s what I always remember, that togetherness, the togetherness of Hip Hop is something I cherish, you really see it when you invest in it and move with it. Also why I’m so proud of O and I for sticking it out, we truly love this culture, it’s a life-saver for us both. I performed “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty By Nature in the 5th grade talent show with my homie Erik Cuenca, we had everyone’s hands in the air, I was instantly hooked! I’ve always wanted to just be around Hip Hop in some fashion or capacity. Also, my brother Dave being an emcee himself, and my big bro Armanni Reign are two of my biggest emcee inspirations, they made me wanna emcee, true lyricists.

Big O: I first got into music when I was around 6 or 7 years old. As a kid, I used to create beats on lunch tables and old U.S. post mailboxes on street corners for people to freestyle over. I remember one day when I was at my granny’s house, she had Michael Jackson’s Thriller album playing on her record player & I started scratching it like I was a DJ. I paid the price for it because my granny smacked me upside the head for damaging her record. That didn’t stop me from wanting to get into music and I started making beats on this trash ass program called Ejay back in 2000. Dr Dre’s – “The Next Episode” was the track that really influenced me to start making my own beats.

Do you both find most of your fanbase familiar with you from your old projects, or do you feel that you’ve been discovered in recent years more so on the merit of your collaboration with one another. Please detail.

P-Rawb: Any “fanbase” for myself has always fluctuated depending on the project. I started with my fam out west “LA’s Finest” and had our own thing, my childhood friend and music fam Shane Great have a duo called “The Jerzadelphians” and we definitely garner certain folks into our vibe, he’s amazing by the way and also any label with intelligence would be seeking him. O and I have been blown away by the love and support on The Complexity, and have absolutely picked up a new charge of momentum with this project specifically. All ego aside, we felt that this was blessed, knew that this project was blessed specifically from the start, and are just grateful to see it unfold. O and I have our own thing, we are very proud of that for sure.

Big O: I definitely agree with P on this one…. it all depends on the project or artist I decide to work with. I’ve been making beats since 2000 and I’ve been dabbling in every style from trap to boom bap. However, when I decided to start making Lo-fi hip hop, I noticed my fanbase started to grow outrageously. Nowadays, people discover me through my beat tapes and get excited for whoever I’m about to collaborate with.

Being from Philly, we are pretty unfamiliar with the underground scene out there! But there has to be more artists who came out of Philly right now that are super dope. If so, please give us a few names.

P-Rawb: Man, I got so much pride and get amped for all my Philly fam, emcees get busy where I’m from and you either sink or swim you know. We got many artists, legends, and grinders, a few. Davon, Frankie Vado, B-Ske, Mike Voss, Skrewtape, Traverse, Stevie Franks, M11Son, Gen The God, Mad Squablz, Pharron-Gliss, Chill Moody, my fam Leggy Bangers absolutely crushing it, J Mag, Dante Knoxx just dropped more art, man Philly/South Jersey is chocked full of cats that been putting in years of effort and are shining in their own and it’s dope to see. The list is endless, also shouts to Wayne Campbell too! JL Jupiter too and all the illest content creators from our hood, props and love, keep bang’n ya’ll! Johann Sebastian, all the dj’s man, I can’t list them all, Expo, you too! Endless fam, we got talent. Shane Great, know that name.

What is your approach to releasing music today in 2021?

P-Rawb: Honestly, we really just do what we want, always been the approach. We like to tune out the white noise and boil it down, you know, dig into the macro a bit. I’ve always called it the “Pure Point”, that place, inside, where nothing else can touch it, the core. O and I came from that place and met there, so we move when we’re moved, so whatever moves us in 2021, will be the same stuff that moved us in 2012, timeless. We’ll make something timeless if and when it’s time, simple.

Big O: I couldn’t agree more with my brother P on this one. It’s all about the perfect timing and not wanting to rush greatness. Releasing music nowadays as a buzzing independent artist is a blessing because you fully control it and move at your own pace to make sure your art is complete and up to YOUR standards. Once something is complete or on the verge of being completed, I always map out which publications I’m gonna send it to and how many playlists I can send it to.

Wow, your latest album “The Complexity” is a true BANGER in our books, one of our writers even ranked it 9/10! Tell us the story behind your recent project, And a little about the album cover concept!

P-Rawb: Man, first thank you! And whew, where to start. O and I changed over the plan/beat selection several times over at least due to various reasons. The Complexity is only 9 tracks but took us 4 years to make! If anyone knows about our work ethic, they would say that’s hilarious because we could probably do that in a weekend and produce something quality. But so much life happened while writing this, events and happenings had to take place to scribe this tablet it seems. To be written not all in first-person, but to dig in, and express that emotion without saying specifically what I was going through in life, that was important to me. No curses on the album either, you know, life-giving music. Something to shift, something different. The cover I drew myself, the pulse wave is like our heart line beating and sound wave, going into a myriad of inclusivity, colors and differences of life, beating all together, sharing. We all share a heart beat, but to dance together is a bit more complex, thus The Complexity of Life. Much love and shout out to my fam Bugout on the edits on the art too! Also a very impressive and diligent emcee! Peace Bugs!

Big O: Thank you SO much for the love you guys have given us for this album! It’s greatly appreciated and it truly makes us proud. Everything P just told you is 100% true about this album and it’s process. We started working on this album back in 2017 and I was already in between working on me and L.O.U. debut album “The Southside of Things” & my debut instrumental album “Between Memories & Choices.” It started out as an EP and the first track we recorded was “SoulScape (The Complexity)” and it was mixed down by Shane Great. Life got in the way like P said and we had to put it on hold for a bit. A year or so later we picked back up on the album and we decided to make it out as an actual album rather than an EP because P had a lot to talk about. We originally wanted it to be 12 songs for the album, but shaved off 3 songs and due to the updated content of the album with no cussing on it, I wanted to change the beats and overall soundscape of the album to give it more feeling and for it to connect with P’s lyrical content.

What can fans look forward to next?

P-Rawb: On a personal note, I’m in a very exciting place to have the freedom to create, collaborate, and just keep putting out quality content. We all march in unison naturally, expect to hear more music, stepping up quality like we always do, giving this gift and craft the love and respect it deserves and we’ll keep building for y’all, The People! We really do this for the love with the expectation of abundance in all forms, but truly we do this from the core, all we want to do is to just throw that one finger in the air at the end of the day. …and maybe to eat what we want.

Big O: For me, I have so much coming up that it’s crazy! From appearing on upcoming compilation beat tapes to releasing upcoming collaboration albums. Some of the things y’all can expect from me are my long awaited 3rd instrumental LP “The Mind’s Mirror” on August 6th, Me and L.O.U. new album “Journey of Choices: An Awakening Mind,” Me and Loki Loko new upcoming album “Waves” & a surprise release that I’m cookin’ up comin’ real soon! Y’all are definitely gonna hear the homie P-Rawb on the upcoming surprise album.

Lastly, we at UGHHBLOG always like to ask what your guy’s personal definition of “underground hip hop” is.

P-Rawb: Underground Hip Hop is a God-Given gift, the breath, the life and the movement of the people. Hip Hop is togetherness, Hip Hop is expression of the people and of overcoming. Anyone else who says differently doesn’t know Hip Hop and that’s on my word, keep your eyes open to the shifty ones. Don’t fall for the Okie-Doke you know! Hip Hop is love and unity, and Underground Hip Hop is the heart.

Big O: To me, Underground Hip Hop means freedom. Something that’s pure, raw and from the heart with no label politics or strings attached. One of the only forms of the culture where you can say what you feel with your chest out and speak about things that connect and resonate with the everyday person and struggle instead of constantly trying to cater to the casual listener.

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About Doomstwin

Senior Publisher for @UGHHBLOG // Been an Underground Hip Hop fan all my life and I'm dedicated to keeping the culture alive on a daily basis. Working hard every day and staying positive is what LIFE is all about.