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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Jealous Guys on S.F., Production Versus Lyrics, and Being a "Life Insomniac"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 9:13 AM

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San Francisco's The Jealous Guys, composed of young producers/rappers Ayinde and BizYCasa, combine hip-hop beats and clever lyrics with haunting, ethereal chords to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Their recent single "Genesis" was produced by Jeremy "Zodiac" Rose, formerly of The Weeknd, and is accompanied by a music video dedicated with love to their home city of San Francisco. "Genesis" is but the first of four singles that will released, with their accompanying music videos, as an EP later this year under the title Audiobook. The duo recently spoke with All Shook Down about their upcoming EP, working with Clams Casino, and how their music represents S.F. The Jealous Guys perform Saturday at Som Bar with Clams Casino, Main Attrakionz, GuMMy†Be▲R!, and DJ Roost Uno.

When did you guys start making music together? Casa (C): We really didn't have a plan of making music in our lives, period. I've been friends with Ayinde since I was 3; we have never been out of each other's lives. In the end of our high school years, we started messing with music. We have always been big on books and literature, so we just translated that into making music. The name "The Jealous Guys" could be interpreted a myriad of ways. How did you guys decide on this? Ayinde (A): We were just thinking of a name to keep the honesty in the music. We came up with The Jealous Guys, which doesn't mean that we're specifically jealous of other artists, but rather we have the raw emotion it takes to make music. We aren't trying to be cliché rappers. We just wanted our name to reflect what it takes to come up from the ground. You guys are also known for the catchphrase "Life Insomniac." What is the meaning to you guys? C: That's something we came up with to sum up one of our main viewpoints, which is that in life, you have a lot of opportunities to do many things, yet sometimes people decide not to follow the path they want to go on. You might have parents that want you to go school, but what if that's not what you really want to do? For us, we had an opportunity to do music and that's what we chose to do. We are not going to sleep on the opportunities life gives us. It's basically doing what you're passionate about, because if there's only one life, why would you waste it on something someone else wants you to do? A: Casa came up with that movement. We had a plan one day to start our own record label, and that's how we came up with that title. But what it turned into was a movement. When we walk down the street, people yell it out their windows. You guys mesh together many genres, but hip-hop and minimal beats seem to be a common thread. What's the creation process like when making your tracks? A: We wanted to come up with our own lane. Once we started making the music and people started hearing it, they were like, "Look, maybe you should take these beats and put it over this." To the world we're rappers, but to ourselves we're writers. We listen to so much different music ... Arcade Fire to Hall and Oates to Marvin Gaye. We asked ourselves how we could make those instrumental sounds into a hip-hop sound, while putting lyrical content over those beats. C: We've been really fortunate to be in contact with a lot of great producers of different genres. They related to our music and there was an instant click. On Friday you'll be performing with Clams Casino, who produced your track "Brainwashed by London." How did you guys meet? A: We met him through the Internet. He heard the music and hit us up, so we sent him our music. We've always liked his sound; we just never knew he would be able to hear our sound. So we sent him our tracks and that was that! How important is production and the beat versus lyrics? A: We're so picky. I don't want to sound clichéd or cocky, but we can honestly almost rap over anything. But it's all about how we can make our production sound like us in a song. We live by the convent "the life you live is the song you sing." If you sit there and get lyrical while not worrying about the production, the song isn't going to work. If you sit there and think about making a song, and mess around with hooks and writing process, you then can make an actual song. The lyrics just come. To me, Casa is amazing. People quote him all day because he has that energy and wordplay. For me, I just like hearing it. After I hear his lyrics, I say okay, I have to go about it in a good way as well. We're dynamic because we've never touched a beat unless we know it's for our sound and us.
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Christina Li

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