A Wax & YG Hootie
The Brick Squad Monopoly is headed west through Interstate Traffic. One of the most exciting, talked-about crews in Hip Hop, led by star rappers Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame is showing its California branches through a collaborative album, courtesy of Compton's YG Hootie and Pittsburg's A-Wax. Southern and Northern California connect on Interstate Traffic, which features BSM's Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka, coming through BSM / Illburn Records this Spring. After appearances on six-figure-selling releases like Flockaveli and Ferrari Boyz, YG Hootie paired his buzz with Bay Area independent titan A-Wax, who boasts 200,000 CDs sold through his own regional distribution network. Although the two rappers have built careers nearly 400 miles apart, a similar resonant message unifies the streets of through music. "Me and Wax, we've both been grinding hard, there's not a lot of perks to what we do," admitted YG. "It takes a lot of heart and perseverance to keep going in giving the streets what they want. I feel like this album is going to be a triumph for us." Wax added, "It's been refreshing. I've worked with nine or 10 different artists on collaborative projects, and this one is the easiest." Although they hail from different neighborhoods in worlds where affiliations draw broad lines, A-Wax and YG Hootie were able to hone a common style and sound. "The chemistry was immediate, we didn't let other peoples' opinions sway us," notes A-Wax, who previously gained recognition as a hopeful on Akon's Konvict Muzik roster. With Wax's cemented groundwork in the Rap game, Hootie recognized game, "We've got a lot of street ties, and know a lot of the same people, but I've always had respect for A-Wax." With this powerful union, back in Atlanta, Brick Squad's franchise players took notice.
"When Waka was recording Flockaveli, we was really out in Cali, riding through Compton, making sure people was respecting what Brick Squad was doing," recalls Hootie of his career turning point in 2010. "The fans that I've gained through those albums has been priceless. They feel the music, but they also feel the lifestyle." Partnering with one of the most fan-accessible organizations in Rap, A-Wax asserts, "I think Waka's one of those rare cases where a major artist is really in-tune with the streets." With a powerful radio and video presence, that seems to be the case. Flocka will bring the energy on Interstate Trafficking's "Work," as Gucci Mane contributes his trademark stylings on video single "Make Room For The Goons." Although there is a goon-friendly rawness in the music, Interstate Trafficking cares about their audience in telling their deeply authentic stories. "My whole thing with this music is a Scared Straight approach: I'm a convict, I have gang tattoos, and it may look cool, but you might not know the cost of it all - what happens in prison and what happens on these streets," says a thoughtful A-Wax, who spent half of his teenage years behind bars in an adult prison. "I want people to know that you shouldn't lose your life as you know it simply to learn that you miss it." However, at a time when so many artists fabricate a speckled past, this duo asserts they are the real article. "In the early '90s, you had to be authentic. If you were a fraud in the Rap game, you were outed - overnight. If they caught you doing some fake stuff on Monday, nobody worked with you on Tuesday. It didn't matter if you'd won Grammy's or not. Now we're in an era where it doesn't matter," continues A-Wax, "While there are a lot of people running around with some real street stories, things not meant for interviews." With song premises perhaps not intended for interview, Interstate Trafficking carries that reality-rap message from yesteryear with a big sound demanded by contemporary crowds. "We not go platinum or diamond, but Interstate Traffic is going platinum in the streets; people respect it on a whole other level," Hootie claims. As A-Wax puts Pittsburg, California on the hip-hop map, YG intends to uphold the rich history of his own city. "Kendrick Lamar is actually a friend of mine, a lot of people don't know that," begins YG, talking about the Hub City's musical revival in recent years. This has been the birthplace of Dr. Dre, The Game, DJ Quik and the aforementioned teenager, Kendrick Lamar. "He represents the opposite spectrum of Compton than I represent. He's the good kid from the mad city. That's his life, and it's all real. My perspective is the underworld. I don't think we've had a public reputation for that since Suge Knight and Death Row. I want to give Compton the proper representation." This spring Interstate Trafficking will bring legitimacy back to the Rap landscape. Two local legends join forces with mainstream’s most colorful for a new road-trip to the streets of California.