BP Interview of EL YEYO of the D.E.Y.

[BrownPride.com] - First off, go ahead and introduce yourself for those who don�t know who Yeyo is, tell us a little about your backround?

[YEYO] - My name is YEYO, the son of YEYO, the grandson of YEYO. I'm a real person, not a character. I was born in Cupey, Puerto Rico from a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother. I come from a revolutionary bloodline, my father is a direct descendent of the great Cuban poet, freedom fighter and liberator Jos� Mart�. This is where the responsibility for my work and my people comes from. You will hear it in my music and see it in everything I do. Everything must have a purpose. I grew up in a musical household, my father plays percussion, drums, guitar and an ill piano and my mother would sing to everything my pops did, she used to sing in a choir. I started writing poetry at the age of 9 and soon after discovered hip-hop and married the two together. I started DJing at 13 when I bought my first turntables. I put out countless mix tapes, started my own rap group the Shanghai Assassinz and dropped our EP "Viequez" in 1999. The EP was dedicated to the struggle between the people of Puerto Rico and the US Navy over military controlled land that was getting used to train soldiers and destroying the whole eco system of the island at the same time. The movement worked and the Navy had to return the land to the people. That EP gave me the opportunity to travel and meet a lot of people that would become super influential in my life. In 2003 I moved to Miami, Florida where I dropped a mix tape, started working on new music and a new project called "La Conekta" where I wanted to compile music from the very best Latin hip-hop artists from the whole Latino spectrum. The idea was to create a united Latin Hip-Hop market where we can share the music of all our Latin countries as well as the Latinos in the United States and Europe creating a huge market for the Latin Hip-Hop movement. In 2005 along with my partner Divine we started working on a bilingual hip-hop project, it quickly got the attention of several A&R's in the industry and one of those A&R's came to us with the idea to add a girl to the formula, we agreed and decided to get together for one weekend in my house so we could vibe and record in my studio to see if it could work. In that weekend we recorded 4 songs. Two months later we were performing those songs for the heads of all the SONY labels, after the second song they stopped the show and said "welcome to Sony!!!" We got the chance to do a song with Paula De Anda called "Walk Away" which became a top 10 Hit World Wide. We dropped 1 single in the U.S., "Give You the World" which got us MTV's Discover and Download and Descubre and Download on MTV Tr3s at the same time, first time ever that had ever happened! With The DEY I got the chance to work with Timberland, JR Rotem, Stargate, Swizz Beats, Trackmasters, Red One, Scram Jones and other great producers. Our album dropped in Japan and the Asian Markets and it took us on tour through places I never thought I would go and be successful in. It opened my mind to how big the world is and how many markets there are. People in the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore where singing my verses back to me IN SPANISH!!! It changed my life. Now that I'm back in the States, I have a plan to drop two albums at the same time one in English and one in Spanish. First I'm dropping an EP called "Life of a Warrior" to set up the albums. The EP dropped worldwide December 22, 2009 and is available in all digital media stores.

[BrownPride.com] - Why a solo project?

[YEYO] - It was always in the plans, we were always thinking of the Wu-Tang effect how different members dropped their albums and expanded the Clan's fan base even more. Then, when we drop our next album as The DEY we will have an even bigger fan base.

[BrownPride.com] - Now I kind of met you via some mutual friends of ours from out of Argentina, the Rap group Apolo 11. At the time you were working on a project called La Conekta, this was before The D.E.Y. came to be and I see that your still deep into the concept of that project, what can you tell us about La Conekta and what it means to you and Latinos in general?

[YEYO] - La Conekta has become a life mission for me. Now it has become way bigger than just music. I want La Conekta to become the movement that will erase the lines between all Latinos, where we celebrate our culture and celebrate a united Latino community. I'm putting together La Conekta compilation series where we will release and distribute original music from artist of all types of backgrounds with one thing in common, our language!!! The first edition is dropping 2010 with the next installments dropping shortly after. It needs to be clear that the Latin Urban movement is a serious movement with quality artists and great music. It needs to get exposed to the masses and I'm working on putting together a coalition of key Latino players in order to ensure that this happens. Check out www.laconekta.com and myspace.com/laconekta for details. Big shout out to Buyer, Gera, Topo and the whole Raptores records Argentina family, Apolo 11 - No Para!!!!

[BrownPride.com] - What would you say is the biggest difference between YEYO the solo artist and Yeyo the Y of The D.E.Y. is there a different message?

[YEYO] - There�s a huge difference! There are no limits to what I can do. When you are in a group you have to come up with the concept of the songs together and if you bring a concept to the table you have to wait for your partners to agree to do it or not. You can't force them to do a song they don't want to do. By myself I can say things and talk about subjects that I wasn't able to in the group. The direction of The DEY under EPIC Records was almost exclusively for the Pop market, they didn't let us release Spanish songs or hard hip-hop songs, and that's the magic of the group because we are able to walk across these borders and do the pop songs and the hard hip-hop songs and the Spanish songs! The message of my music is always the same, Love. It could be an angry rebellious song but it�s coming from a perspective of love. There can't be love without war. I believe that with love comes peace, happiness, equality, understanding, compassion, etc. You can bet I will be dropping some knowledge on the verses; I'm from the school of lyricism! If you understand Spanish, check out "Babilonia" featuring Locos por Juana on my EP "Life of a Warrior" out December 22, 2009.

[BrownPride.com] - What are your thoughts about today�s online business and how can an artist take advantage of the Internet?

[YEYO] - WOW, the Internet is essential and vital for any artist. If you want to be successful, you need an online presence. With so many people wanting to be artists and having their artist�s pages as well online you really have to concentrate on your material and making sure your music stands out by being original, otherwise you will be lost in the endless ocean of dreams. You need to be on myspace, facebook, youtube, twitter, wordpress, etc. and have a good design for your backgrounds, and people want to know where you�re from, what you like, what you do, how you do it. It�s crazy�

[BrownPride.com] - Now your parents are Cuban and Puerto Rican, which are two Islands that have a history of politically oppression each in their own way? How has being the child of these two cultures influenced your music?

[YEYO] - It has influenced me greatly! They taught me to work hard for what I want and to be responsible in my music with what I say and how I say it. My father branded in me how hard it was for him to leave his country to start over in a new one from scratch. From little they showed me to think outside the box and be independent. A strong independent person can survive anywhere.

[BrownPride.com] - What would you say is the biggest missing link between a Latino making commercially good urban music and the media outlets to expose it are today?

[YEYO] - Plain and simple we need hits, lots of them. We need quality artists out there making noise letting the corporate side of things know that Latin Urban music is a force to be dealt with. We need to understand the business side of it and those companies need to make money and portray an image that our music has to fit. It has to be a collective effort, artists have to bring quality product and the media has to open a lane for this genre to flourish. It can live in the same outlets that play American urban artists as well as the Latin Reggaeton and pop artists. Urban music is now considered Pop music world wide!

[BrownPride.com] - Anything you would like to add for the people reading this interview?

[YEYO] - I want to thank them for taking their time to read this and invite them to check out my website www.elyeyo.com. I want them to be proud of their culture and heritage and let that identify them as a special component of a united Latino community all over the world. Together we are powerful, live like a warrior!!!

Interview by Danny B.

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