Hey Greenies, Semi checking in. HailMaryJane.com got to kick it with Fresno based rapper, Fashawn, before his performance at SmokeOut 2012. Not only is he a lyrical "Phenom"-enon, he's also a pretty chill character. When we met up again at the SmokeOut Festival he passed the j our way so you know we had to return the favor later that day at his trailer.
During our interview, HMJ's Babycorn and I, grilled the former XXL Freshman and got details on everything from his first time smoking to his friendly competition with Wiz Khalifa. He nostalgically takes us down memory lane while sharing his excitement for rocking the stage with Talib Kweli and looks optimistically into the future when speaking on his upcoming album. Check out the interview and pics from SmokeOut after the jump.
HMJ: Have you ever been to a SmokeOut Festival before?
Fash: Actually, no, this is my first time being here. Glad to participate in it.
HMJ: You were at the SmokeOut for Safe Access protest yesterday right?
Fash: It was cool, really cool, just to see everyone out there marching in the name of Mary Jane. I ran into Tommy Chong, that was cool. I got to see him sing in front of the federal building. It was like his message to the feds, it was really dope. Supernatural was there, B-Real, Kottonmouth Kings, and all the patience and supporters. You know, it was good vibes. It felt like what I missed out on in the 70s. It was like a taste of the hippie era.
HMJ: So are you excited about SmokeOut?
Fash: Yea, I can’t wait to smoke out with the people! It’s gonna be fun. I’ sure it’s going to be one of the funnest shows I do this year. I’ve never done a festival that had an emphasis on smoking marijuana.
HMJ: So what was your favorite show so far?
Fash: I can’t say one but if I had to probably my album release show for my first album in Fresno. I brought Talib Kweli out all the way from Brooklyn, brought him to Fresno for the first time I believe. I got the chance to have one of my heroes come and rock with me in my home town, so it was a pleasure. That was one of the most memorable moments.
HMJ: Speaking of heroes, is there anyone on the SmokeOut line-up that you’re excited to meet or see?
Fash: I’m excited to kick it with Korn. I’m excited to see my buddy, Wiz, and give him a congrats on his engagement. Sublime with Rome, DJ Rusko, everybody... I’m excited to be here. Hopefully Cheech shows up, I know Chong is going to be here. So if I can get a picture with Cheech & Chong then I could die a happy smoker.
HMJ: So when did you start smoking?
Fash: Sad to say 12 years old. It’s a long story. I was on my way to school and I had to have been in like 5th or 6th grade. A graffiti writer by the name of “Freeze One” was doing a piece on the side and for some reason he offered us a toke of the joint. That was the first day I met and fell in love with Mary Jane.
HMJ: You toked a joint, nice. What is your smoking preference?
Fash: My preference is papers for sure but I’ve been bonding with my bong lately. His name is Muhammad, I had a bong before, his name was Mustafah. I broke it, rest in peace. But yea bongs and papers, that’s what I like.
HMJ: How has life changed between 2007 to now, with the EP & Boy Meets
Fash: It’s a transition from a guy who’s really in the studio working hard to a guy that’s on the road trying to win over states and cities every night, just really developing my performer. Now I just feel like I’ve developed myself into a full fledged artist, a entrepreneur if you will, in everything I’ve aspired to do in a small sense but I still have a long way to go. As far as from 07 to now I think that’s been the progression. I’ve gotten a lot more respect and more established. I remember when I got the XXL hit for my album, I was in the studio with Alchemist and Ev and they were like welcome to the club man. I felt like it was another step in my career. So yea it’s been a lot.
HMJ: Time does fly. How did you feel when you became one of XXL’s Freshman 10?
Fash: I felt awesome about it. I just felt like they embraced me as a total package and not just a guy that belongs in some small section, you know? It was like yo “You deserve to be on the cover”, and I thought that was a big salute. I felt proud about what I had done up to that point. So nothing but positivity. I remember seeing Biggie on that same cover, and Pac and all my hereos.
HMJ: You mention Biggie and Pac, and we know of your love for Nas and Talib but are there any other artists who influence you?
Fash: Definitely my peers, like Curren$y, Wiz, Kendrick, and others but of course the OG’s like Ice Cube, B-Real, Cypress Hill, Alchemist, Primo, Nas - still doing his thing, Jay-Z, a lot of people. The list goes on to a lot of genres, I’m just inspired by greatness.
HMJ: Are there any producers you’d love to work with, if you had your pick?
Fash: I’d love to work with Pharrell, that’d be cool, or Skibeatz, he’s dope, Battle Cat, and a lot of people. I’m trying to think of who I haven’t worked with because I’ve gotten the pleasure of working with a lot of my favorite people already. Oh, Chucky Thompson and Anthony Davis too.
HMJ: Looking at your Boy Meets World album, you do a little bit of story telling and you do some subject hopping in your flow, which do you prefer?
Fash: It really depends on the direction I’m headed in because I look at every project like a different book, like a different sound and a different story in a mix of the big story I’m telling which is about my life. I enjoy it all I feel like that's what makes a complete project. That's why I decided to call that my first album as opposed to everything else prior to that. I feel like it was a complete body of work with story telling, miscellaneous rhymes, dope rhymes, battle raps all that. Classic albums consist of all that to me.
HMJ: So what's your favorite type of weed to smoke?
Fash: My favorite type of marijuana to smoke, not just one, because I smoke all types of weed. Blue Dream is great. NY Sour Diesel is the best Sour Diesel hands down. OG Kush, but Grizzly City Kush is my favorite of course that my strain. Yea, Grizzly City Kush reigns supreme above all. That's all I can say, it's my favorite one.
HMJ: And where would we find that?
Fash: Grizzly City Kush is exclusively in Grizzly City at the moment and it's a funny thing me and my buddy Wiz we were joking on tour one day, like; "I'm going to get my own strain of weed", and "I'm going to have my own papers and tools". I actually beat him to the punch and got my own strain but he has his own papers at the same time so the day we connected, it was great. Shout out to CVC (Central Valley Collective) which is in my hometown. Free CVC!
HMJ: If you had to pick a motto or a statement for your life, which you might already have, what would it be?
Fash: My life is my art and my art is my life... My life is my master piece in the end. That's what I'm painting, it's not just day by day there's another scope to it. At the end I want people to look at it like this is a masterpiece and interpret it however they want, but it's my reality and my truth at the end of the day.
HMJ: So what's 2012 looking like for you?
Fash: Busy as shit!
HMJ: Anything set in stone that we can look forward to?
Fash: This is what you should look forward to: Champagne and Styrofoam Cups. Right now we're debating if it should be an album or a mixtape because I really took the mixtape approach to it but the quality of the music is like album quality. So we're debating on what to do wit that right now but that's coming in the Spring/Summer. Can't wait till y'all hear that. Been working with Exile a lot took a break from that for a second and that's actually what gave birth to Champagne and Styrofoam Cups. I stopped touching Exile's beats for a minute. We worked really hard on the album and got to a zone where we were just doing a lot of really hard core music; but, you need a balance, so we took a breather. Luckily, we got a chance to do Styrofoam Cups and it's dope. I think that's going to be my next album, like my follow up to Boy Meets World. I think it's that good.
So there's that and I got an album with Murs I'm working on, it's 50% done, produced by K-Salaam & Beatnick and that is incredible. They're doing like Lauryn Hill's next album, they are amazing producers. We're trying to put that out before Rock The Bells. I'm just constantly working. I got the 36 day tour with Andre Nickatina, he's a OG in the game.
HMJ: So do you think you'll be performing at Rock the Bells?
Fash: Chances are, if Murs is going to be there I might try to sneak in and do something, a song from the album or hopefully at that time we'll have a whole slot for the album.
I also have the Antidote project coming. I don't know if you remember I did this project with Alchemist and we actually went back to the studio and recorded some more joints in the tradition of beat breaks and stuff like that. But it really sounds like we never left so what we decided to do was to put it out and add the new joints we recorded recently but do it a little more creatively. It's actually going to come in a wrapper and it's going to be pages that are like these are the lyrics that I've written on actual paper and pictures of me and Alchemist with tour stuff and memorabilia. It's going to have a piece of vinyl on the back with the exclusive new songs, we're going to put them on a 45 on the back on the book so it's gonna be cool. Hopefully it gets the spotlight it deserved the first time. We put it out for free right before the album and the album, well it was kinda like a big deal. Which was a good problem to have.
HMJ: So stepping away from the music, what is your dream? What would you like to see for the marijuana reform?
Fash: I would love for it to be legalized as medicine and not just this plant that's here to destroy everyone and make people lazy. People actually need this for medicine and other things. If marijuana wasn't here, I don't know, we'd probably be a lot more irritated people, a lot more killings, a lot more aggression. I just want to see it legalized and be on the shelves next to Marlboro's and all that poison that's killing people, legally. I just think it's more beneficial to people than things like vodka or tobacco. Marijuana is no big deal.
HMJ: So is it safe to say you'd like to see it taxed like wine & tobacco.
Fash: Yea, of course, I think all that would call for a lot less drug wars and a lot less marijuana related crimes and turn a lot of hustlers legitimate instead of petty drug dealers. That would be monumental.