Q&A with Hip-Hop Artist The KwixMindedOne

KwixMindedOne Portrait by Salvador Rojas

Interview by ESkribe.Uno.Los Angeles

BrownPride.com : What could you share with us about the early Misol Tribe years?

KwixMindedOne: The Misol Tribe has always been a collective of crews. It started with the I.T.S. Crew, and (around 1999) the Lost Souls Tribe. I was in a group with Dario (Tizok) Debora and Everett, emcee name: Xic. We were paying dues rocking shows. From backyard parties to clubs, I liked to get into cyphers outside on the sidewalk at shows (and occasionally still do) and that's what hip-hop meant to me (still does). It's for the love of the art-form and total respect for the emcee inspiration. Also, when I do spoken-word poetry I understand its roots in the ancient Flower and Song ceremony. As a matter of fact, "I speak to the Spirits whenever I feel alone, and they answer back through indigenous poems." The words we use are very important- it represents who we are. We could do songs about fantasy worlds, or we could rhyme about what's going on around us. Real issues and good causes worthy of mention, that's what separates a hip-hop artist from a rapper; a writer from a lyricist. That's always been Misol Tribe philosophy.

BrownPride.com : What was your personal background in music?

KwixMindedOne: When I was eleven years old I started with an accordion (I was always interested in music). From there, I listened to everything that was out there: the Cold Crush Brothers from New York City when I was a kid to Arrested Development and Digable Planets in my teens. At the risk of dating myself, I give props to the �Yo! MTV Raps� era in my songs. You can bet there are hip-hop lifers out there that recognize it... When I went to college, I went to ELAC (East Los Angeles College), from '96 to 2004. There was a movement in the form of a musical revolution that evolved from artists that wanted to express their political views, actively. Quinto Sol, Aztlan Underground, Mictlan (now called Calle Placer- check them out), the Grounds Keepers and the Kalpulli were just a few of the bands involved with that. I took a keyboard class and studied Music History. I was fascinated by the Baroque Period, and learned from the classic masterpieces. At the same time, MECHA was putting together community fundraisers and the Spirit of Zapatismo was alive.

BrownPride.com : What was your major?

Album photography by Salvador Rojas

KwixMindedOne: Chicano Studies. I continued on to UCLA (University of Calif.in Los Angeles) and graduated in 2007. I went on to do social work; and, from 2009 to present- attend USC (University of Southern Calif.). I think it's important to keep reminding ourselves to be balanced. For example, one on hand I wear a gold watch & the gold KWIX ring (straight up hip-hop bling); on the other hand, I wear a turquoise ring and a woven indigenous bracelet. All have precious value to me, for different reasons. It's keeping all of them in mind, and not worrying about them (per say) but that state of awareness keeps a person balanced. That's with everything from making music to life in general... it's a state of mind.

BrownPride.com : Who have you collaborated with on songs?

KwixMindedOne: Recently, I've collaborated only within the circle, with A10 (Aaron and Rahten) and King Darius. On A10's Not An Album I was the only feature, on a track called Last of the Old School. Truth is: I was rushed because they were cranking out a song and video every week. I was there when Tizok filmed the I'm Just a Fool video (you could see me in the Rosslyn Lofts writing my verse in the background). Exactly 7 days later we were filming the Last of the Old School video. It was a faster pace than I prefer, but that's how they did it... with a forward momentum. And I've known King Darius for a long time now. I always wanted to work together on something. And I'm glad we got the opportunity to make that happen on his new mix-tape project. (F.Y.I. The Reign of King Darius album review is forthcoming...)

BrownPride.com : What are you working on now?

KwixMindedOne: Right now we're working on Fe Eva One's EP that is scheduled for release this summer. For those of you that don't know, Felicia "Fe" Montes is a female emcee, Sister is an original Daughter of the city and leader of the people. Since her roots in the female group In Lak Ech and Mujeres de Maiz her message has been about gaining knowledge and respecting rights of existence, justicia... and then there will be peace. Check out her Independence Day music video on LatinScene.com. It's a P-Flaxx Therapy session, Shorty's Sons Production. She has a book coming out and I've been working with her on the audio album soundtrack for her book. I'm such a perfectionist on the sound engineering that's why you know that it's gonna be done right. The thing is: It takes more time and I don't know about making the deadlines (Smiling)... Other than that, I have also been working on my solo EP titled "Transforming Words into Visions" which is a melodic rendition of a visual picture description inscripted in the minds of the listener, because I myself am a visual learner...

BrownPride.com : Damn! Homeboy that sounds deep! Dare I ask when that EP Transforming Words into Visions is gonna be released to the public?

KwixMindedOne: No. No release date set. I haven't finished the songs yet. I'm a wordsmith that's perfecting my craft every time I perform. That's where I see how the crowd reacts. I'm constantly refining my show and keeping my lyrics live. Sometimes I improve my verse or hooks with a modified word or phrase. Over the years I pretty much got my lyrics where I want them. Everything has been thoroughly thought out, it isn't just rhyming words over a 4/4 beat. It's about documenting life and ideas and being confident in knowing that you gave the best of yourself. I really would be happy just to perform my set and rock the shows. Honestly, riches and fame aren't motivations for me. Especially, when it comes to the music. Now that being said, I've built a pretty-good sound-quality recording studio as far as home studios go. Not for the purpose of making piles of loot, but I was on a quest for that good quality sound. It was for the crew, so that the Misol Tribe could have access to quality sound recordings. Of course, it's been a journey (not an overnight thing). There's been technical difficulties and device compatibility issues along the way. But now, with technological advances, I can say all the equipment works together. And that's a big thing to me, because I know what it took to make it work. One piece at a time. Even the cables and wires for the system add up to a few hundred dollars. But no one sees that until they start putting a lil recording studio together and begin to realize the cost involved. I have it just to ensure myself that what I'm working on is going to be in excellent quality when it gets to you. Whether it�s hitting your eardrum over the sound system at a show, or you're just chillin' out in your car listening to the CD (eventually when it comes out), you know that you're guaranteed to get that authentic sound.

BrownPride.com : One last question, if you don't mind a personal one, whose opinion do you seek when you need advice or a fresh perspective on your own songs?

KwixMindedOne: Two women, my niece and my ex. My niece gives me a fresh perspective because she in her early 20's. She has a younger view of my verse. I value that because she might be in an age group that's not of my generation, but very interested in the content of my music. And my ex knows me so well, she catches all the wordplays and double meanings in my lyrics. It feels good to see someone decipher a crypted message in the words of a song. I'll be the first to admit, there's a lot being said in each 16 bars. And a lot of it won�t be absorbed with the first listening. But after listening to it several times you begin to get a clearer picture of the message. The letters are profound and the beats are from the heart....Coming Soon! Transforming Words into Visions! Peace Out!

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