We turn our attention out West for this edition of RH First Look. While L.A. and The Bay take the majority of the Sunshine State’s Hip Hop shine, emcees do also hail from Fresno, a city that can count Planet Asia amongst its native sons. Continuing in that tradition is Fashawn, a highly talented comeup, with skill and wisdom beyond his years.
“No one believes me when I tell’em I’m 19. It’s crazy,” Fashawn told RubyHornet. The young gun is becoming quite the accomplished veteran, after dropping multiple mixtapes and collaborating with artists such as Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Mick Boogie, U-N-I, and Planet Asia. Last week Fashawn dropped One Shot One Kill, a mixtape that, “makes all my other mixtapes jealous.”
Fashawn will now be turning his attention to his debut LP, Boy Meets World. In preparation we thought we’d meet this young cat from Cali that everyone’s talking about. Here Fashawn talks about growing up Fresno, the way it has impacted his approach to music, and clues us in as to why some of our favorite artists are welcoming him in with open arms. Read on and a closer look at another rising star.
RubyHornet: Do you remember the first Hip Hop song/album that got your attention?
Fashawn: “Today was a good day” by Ice Cube. I think I was about four years old when that came out. My big brother brought “The Predator” home one day and I’ve been in love with Hip Hop ever since.
RubyHornet: What is Fresno’s Hip Hop scene like? LA and The Bay kind of get the limelight, what’s happening in the No?
Fashawn: Fresno is on the verge. There’s so much talent here, but we never get the mass media attention like your Compton’s or your San Francisco’s. I feel like we’ve been overlooked for too long now. It trips me out how people from all over the world love my music and then when they find out where I’m from they don’t even care anymore. I’m starting to believe no one can deny real talent. My city is definitely behind me and I’m proud to say I’m from the F.C.
RubyHornet: “It goes H for my humble beginnings” Can you expound on that line, what was it like for you growing up in Fresno?
Fashawn: I grew up in a lower – class family. I was born right after President Regan left office. An 80’s crack baby they say (laughs). I was raised in a single parent home. My biological father was in prison half of my childhood, and I didn’t first meet him until I was fifteen years old. I had to spend some time in this place called The Craycroft Center, which is like a group home. During all of this adversity growing up I still enjoyed growing up in the San Joaquin Valley. Life was never easy for me, but I think going through all those hard times only molded me into the young man you hear today.
RubyHornet: On that same note, I see your name popping up around the web, you’ve done The Wake Up Show, how do you maintain a sense of humbleness as your star continues to rise?
Fashawn: I know what it’s like to have nothing. The attention doesn’t really affect me. I’m still the same kid I’ve always been, and I still hop on the bus to get to the studio. I might be a local celebrity or an internet star, but at the end of the day I’m just a kid with a dream.
RubyHornet: So, “One Shot One Kill”…What’s the deal?
Fashawn: “One Shot One Kll” makes all my other mixtapes jealous. I got Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Planet Asia, Thurzday of U-N-I, Exile, Soul Professa, Frednukes, Moore Money, Hecktik and others. It’ll definitely hold you down until this album I’m working on with Exile is ready to drop.
RubyHornet: You have a song with Evidence from Dilated Peoples. What was it like working with him being that you are from Cali and DP’s been putting it down a long time on the underground scene?
Fashawn: It’s crazy because I’m a big fan of Dilated Peoples, Rakaa, Alchemist, DJ Babu that whole camp. To be able to chill with Ev at his crib was pretty cool. He really embraced me out of respect for my skill and now I consider him family, because he didn’t have to do what he’s done for me. About how “Our Way” came about is crazy cause at first I didn’t think someone like Ev would get on the track. P.A. told my manager to hit him and just play him some tracks. When we eventually called Ev he checked out my myspace and literally like thirty seconds later called my manager back and said he was down to do “Our Way” under one condition though. I had to hop on his album. So be expecting some more joints with me and the Weatherman.
RubyHornet: Your bio says that you’re working with DJs/Producers Exile, Mick Boogie, and Terry Urban. Those are some well-respected heavy hitters. If you could step out of your body for a second, what do you think it is about you that attracts that high quality of producers?
Fashawn: I think my taste in music. The fact I’ve been the best kept secret for the past couple years, and I’m only 19. No one believes me when I tell em I’m 19. It’s crazy. The fact that I take risks with my music is what keeps it interesting. I have a respect for the culture of Hip Hop that I think a lot of these up and coming rappers don’t have. Have you seen some of the acts these labels are promoting these days? (laughs) I’m a breath of fresh air. So that’s why I think people are starting to take notice.
RubyHornet: Planet Asia is listed as one of your influences. Do you think he get his just due and the shine he deserves?
Fashawn: I think anybody from where I’m from gets overlooked. Period! He’s definitely in my top 10. He’s a vet and should definitely be acknowledged as one.
RubyHornet: You’ve been recording at a very fast pace, are you worried about putting out too much before the release of Boy Meets World?
Fashawn: Fast? (laughs) I feel like I don’t record enough. No. I’m not worried though. I think it just builds the anticipation for the album. I’m glad the mixtape is here, it gives me a little more space to focus on Boy Meets World.
RubyHornet: Lastly, for many of our readers this may be their first exposure to you. What are three things you’d like people to know about you when listening to your music?
Fashawn: I’m a lover of all kinds of music from Carole King to Eric B & Rakim. I do believe in God. And I liked Pac better when he was “The Rebel of The Underground”.