Today we are chilling with a underground rapper who has been on the grind on the East Coast heavy since 2007. We first heard of “Shawn Blayze” on Tha Advocate’s 07 mixtape, “Point Of No Return”, and then it snow balled from there. In 2008 Shawn Blayze dropped his debut mixtape “Watch For Me.” Now 4 years later, in spring 2012, an evolved Shawn Blayze is back with his new mixtape, “Feature Presentation” (Hosted by Tha Advocate).
HipHopLEAD: Lets get to the basics. Some people may not be familiar with your artistry yet so lets start with the basics. Where did the name come from?
Shawn Blayze: Freshman year high school, me and a few of my boys in my circle were chillin’ and basically came up with the idea to start referring to each other under alias’ in the streets and Blayze came about for the fact that at the time all I did was smoke (laughs). Then I evolved that to be my rap name and threw my real name in front.
HipHopLEAD: Where are you officially repping?
Shawn Blayze: I’m repping 845, “Tree City” Beacon, NY first and foremost. Loyalty Movement. That’s all my peoples I rock with and have close ties too. Shout outs to my peoples in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh as well. I’m repping all of us.
HipHopLEAD: When did you first start rapping?
Shawn Blayze: I wrote my first rap in 8th grade. It was actually towards a female who tried to play me (laughs). I don’t remember it but my ace Peezy could recite the whole thing to this day. From there it just gradually took off from just freestyling in ciphas when we got faded to eventually really putting effort into writing and recording.
HipHopLEAD: We first heard you on that 2007 mixtape from Advo. How did you actually end up on the tracks “The N.E.W. Pt. 1″ and “Art and War” freestyle?
Shawn Blayze: Around that time was the first interaction I had with Advo. He heard some tracks I had on the Internet, liked what he heard and asked me to get on. Rest is history.
HipHopLEAD: We actually got the first visual of you on the 2010 “I Run This” music video. That record and video were serious! In your verse you spit “He’s the reason I beast, yall can blame him”, reffering to Tha Advocate. How exactly did you guys link up? And how did he get you into making music?
Shawn Blayze: My right hand man A.H. knew Advo personally and basically set it up. I was doing a lil’ bit of music before but after linking with Advo, it brought a whole new approach and hunger towards the music. He was the first person I worked with outside my circle that was really about something. That fueled me and ideas for tracks would come to the table and we’d knock it out how we do best.
HipHopLEAD: Now you are ready to drop this new mixtape, “Feature Presentation”. Before we get into the aspects of the tape .. how would you say you evolved since the first mixtape, “Watch For Me”?
Shawn Blayze: I feel like there’s more hunger with this new mixtape. You’re going to hear more maturity in certain aspects being that my life has changed in certain aspects. As far as my rhymes go, you’ll see that my delivery and punchlines stepped it up from the last mixtape. Just trying to get better and better and different each time around.
HipHopLEAD: Why the 4 year gap before you decided to drop the new mixtape?
Shawn Blayze: Life. Things were going on that had me putting music to the side momentarily but never for good, cause I’m here. Promise no 4 year gap this time around.
HipHopLEAD: How would you describe this new mixtape?
Shawn Blayze: I describe it as truthful and creative. I try not to put out the same material and show no substance. I touch up on all different topics and view points. And what I rap is fact. There’s no gimmicks and b.s. with my music. No lying, deceiving. I’m not going to front and write stuff that isn’t me or isn’t what I’m doing or would do if it’s not the truth. What you hear is actual fact thru the eyes of me and my peoples cause I speak for them as well who don’t express thru music. This one will be unforgettable like I said on the intro track.
HipHopLEAD: Tell us about some of your favorite songs off of there?
Shawn Blayze: I’m gonna want to write about every song cause I’m feeling all of them (laughs). But to name a few..The intro track “Feature Presentation” just sets the mood that I’m not playing with this mixtape. It gets you amped off jump. “We On That” is just another fire collabo with me and Advo. Title speaks for itself on how we coming off. “Till Death Do Us” with Kash Kredit and Jeide Prince just displayed how tough and diverse the team is. “Time Will Tell” with Whodini on the hook shows me going deep with real thought and insight. True lyricism. “You Need Me” is a monster with punchlines. Something to show I can do that. “Giving Into You Again” was a real one on one talk to hip hop and really shows the love and realness I bring to it. I can go one (laughs).
HipHopLEAD: Out of all those favorites .. which is your favorite song of all?
Shawn Blayze: I’m a have to say “Time Will Tell” featuring Whodini. I felt I displayed myself as a real artist with that one. I put thought into my verses and really wrote some real life stuff that many can relate to in some way. It just wasn’t a random 16 put to a beat and hook.
HipHopLEAD: What obstacles and real life experiences made you come up with the content for “Feature Presentation”?
Shawn Blayze: Life itself on that the day to day is the experience. What I see, feel, been thru or going thru on the day to day is what I write about. So it’s all going to be real. My interactions with friends, family, females, to the night life, to my interaction in the streets hustling and all that you’ll get plus more.
HipHopLEAD: Any features worth mentioning on the upcoming mixtape?
Shawn Blayze: Definitely. Tha Advocate, Jeide Prince, Kash Kredit, J.D. Artist, Whodini, Nika, J.R. Raspy, The Phenom Cartel and Jeff Burna. That’s all my features and I appreciate all of them for being a part of this mixtape.
HipHopLEAD: If by some chance music doesn’t pan out for you what will you be doing 5 years from now?
Shawn Blayze: Something productive and positive where I’m living comfortably. Something where I won’t need to constantly look over my shoulder wondering when police or stick up kids going to run up and catch me sleeping with a pack. Success is the only option.
HipHopLEAD: We heard a leak from your mixtape on Digital Dynasty 17 (Hosted by Jaz O). The song “Time Will Tell” was crazy deep. Is this the type of tone you are going for over all on the mixtape? That real life type of music?
Shawn Blayze: I feel everything I spit is real life just from different points of views and energy levels I guess you can say. That track is the deepest on the mixtape but I got something to say on every track that’s real life to me.
HipHopLEAD: You spit the line, “Music’s my outlet, my therapy”, on “Time Will Tell”. Some people from the outside looking in might not understand how exactly recording a song can soothe the soul. Can you tell us personally how exactly it can be a form of therapy?
Shawn Blayze: I look at the beat as my therapist (laughs), asking me what’s on my mind. Asking me why am I sad, mad, happy or whatever the feeling is. I turn around and tell the beat whatever I feel it’s asking from me. Each beat ask something different and I get in the booth and answer. I feel better afterwards cause it’s good to let things out and express yourself. Some people don’t have people to talk to. I’m blessed to say I do but I choose music a lot of the time to relieve what I’m feeling inside. It relaxes and calms me.
HipHopLEAD: Any plans for dropping an official album after this mixtape?
Shawn Blayze: Everybody in my circle is pushing me to go that route and I think it’s time to start putting that in the works. It’s something I’m a definitely take my time with but there will still be mixtapes coming while this is in the works. But we bout to start making it happen.
HipHopLEAD: Here at HipHopLead.com we like to ask our features some questions that really are out of the norm.We do this because it gives the fans a broader outlook on you. So lets get it cracking …. Being a dope East Coast emcee how do you feel about Wacka Flocka and Gucci Mane as hip hop artists?
Shawn Blayze: Awww man (laughs). I don’t knock anybody hustle cause they’re making money but there are a lot more talented artists’ dying to get a chance and they have to turn on the radio and hear them (shakes head). I’m not hating, but I’m not impressed being a fan of music and hip hop.
HipHopLEAD: Who are your favorite top 5 rappers of all time, dead or alive?
Shawn Blayze: Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, 2Pac, Big Pun.
HipHopLEAD: Name an album you can listen 100 times and not get sick of?
Shawn Blayze: Illmatic.
HipHopLEAD: What is a normal day like for Shawn Blayze?
Shawn Blayze: During the day I take the time to check the fam. Got to spend that time while they’re here and not regret it later. But when that sun drop it’s linking with my boys and hitting the night spots, sipping, getting up with some females, or hitting the studio. I’m a laid back type fella.
HipHopLEAD: Back To The Norm……. Before we get ready to bounce out of here do you have any music videos on the way for any records off the mixtape?
Shawn Blayze: “We On That” I’m looking to be the first and then after that “Time Will Tell” and “You Need Me” I’m looking to do too. From there we’ll see.
HipHopLEAD: Name 1 song you’ve done that will have the HipHopLead.com viewers hooked!?
Shawn Blayze: “You Need Me”. I feel cause of the energy and punchlines. Plus how I flipped the hook but I don’t want to give it away.
HipHopLEAD: Thanks for hollering at us and in closing give any shoutouts….links to your sites….F.U.’S or whatevers clever
Shawn Blayze: Shout outs to Tha Advocate, After Hours, Jeff Burna, Kash Kredit, Jeide Prince, J.R. Raspy, Nika, J.D. Artist, Whodini, the whole Loyalty Movement. That’s all my peoples, Worm, Peezy, Jay, Na-Ledge, Hated, Boogie, Roc, Macho, Ryan, Cook, Stevaz, Lu Gunz, Wolfpack, etc.. Ya already know who you are.