Hip Hop is an art form. Good Hip Hop feels good to your soul. Great Hip Hop is timeless, and genuine at its core.
The 49ers, representing Delaware, create timeless Hip Hop. Confident, dynamic, creative, and humble at the same time, these two talented artists provide music that simply pleases your ears each and every time. They have traveled across the world, spreading their love of the art, and receiving that same love back from every one they touch. It’s only a matter of time before the 49ers truly become a household name.
I bounced a few questions in the direction of Jas Mace, one-half of the 49ers. We talk about their musical journey, and where it will take them in the future…
You guys have a very unique career perspective; you are a Delaware Hip Hop group that has strong ties in a completely different part of the globe – Japan. Can you tell us about your Japanese connection, and how it came about?
Basically, there is a guy at Goon Trax who searches the Internet for foreign artists that he thinks would do well in Japan. If he likes what he hears he forwards the songs and info to their A&R, and the A&R makes the final decision. Back when MySpace was poppin’ he came across our page. He liked our songs and bio and the rest is history, as they say.
One of the things I’ve always respected is your willingness to represent your home state headquarters, Delaware. Did you feel a need to showcase your state and the talent from there, or was it just natural to let people know where you’re from?
For me it’s sort of both. I feel as though Delaware always gets over looked, so we have to rep for our folks at home. You always hear shout outs and they skip right over Delaware (laughs). It goes from, “Shout out to NY, Jerz, Philly, Bmore, DC, etc.” and we be like, “damn y’all just forgot about us huh?” But it’s okay. Being the underdog makes the victory that much sweeter. It also comes natural because you want to express how you came up and your surroundings. Basically, what made you into the person you are and your environment is a major factor in that development.
This whole music thing started for you guys around 1995. Looking back on the last 15 years, what are some of the good points – and bad points – on this journey that stand out to you?
I think the biggest thing for me is appreciation I get from the fans. Some of the comments I get through email, and I the comments I see on You Tube and other reviews on the web is great. It’s the reason why I do it. To try to write things that others can relate to and hopefully help them along the way. I’ve also met a lot of great people because of this music. Friendships that I probably wouldn’t have formed otherwise. The major bad point to me is the music business. It ruins a lot of things and really taints your perspective. I couldn’t definitely do without the business aspect of music.
The 49ers are the prototype of a do-it-yourself group. When you released your 2nd full-length The Ultrasound in 2009, it was your first release that you didn’t entirely produce yourself. Did you set out to be a self-contained unit, or was it out of necessity?
We didn’t really see the need to go outside of our immediate family for beats. Our camp was all producers and rappers. So, everything we needed was in-house. Plus, production is something we love to do. We love to be involved with everything 49ers related from the early stages of production, artwork, song selection, mastering, video production – everything. You know what they say, if you want something right, do it yourself. However, expanding into other markets inspired me to reach out to others and feature more collaboration. I really wanted to experiment with other sounds, outside of what others were used to hearing from us.
Here is something I like to ask groups – what do you think contributes to the chemistry you have together? What are the differences in styles between you?
Well, before Tec and I were the 49ers, we were best friends. We weren’t introduced through music, but through little league baseball (laughs). We’ve been through a lot together, and when you have mutual experiences with someone it creates an unbreakable chemistry. Even though we disagree at times, we will always be the 49ers no matter what happens. Our styles are similar because we have grown up with each other and have an influence on each other. However, there are noticeable differences between us as well. I think Tec is a more up-in-your-face, I’m-a-kill-you-with-metaphors emcee. I’ve seen Tec battle some of the greats – chew them and spit them out. He’s really a dynamic, universal emcee.
How have the 49ers changed musically since the days with The Outfit? What things have not changed since then?
I think we’ve grown up and matured since The Outfit days. We were still in high school when we recorded The Soundtrack to Life. I think my style has matured and my lyrical content and concepts have expanded. Some of the more raunchy lyrics that I’ve written were during that era. I probably wouldn’t write anything like that any more. Some were tasteless and irresponsible. But it was fun. I still haven’t changed my love and hunger for the music. That will always be there.
For those that don’t know, you are the leaders of a conglomerate known as The Crazy 88’s. Tell us a little bit about who the 88’s are, and what we can expect from them in the future.
The Crazy 88s are a group of producers and emcees from Delaware. Again, we were all friends before we started the group. Some of the members I met in elementary school. We all rhymed and produced and did shows at similar venues so we decided to create a super group called the Crazy 88s. We are all working on solo projects now. As you know, working with a group of 10+ people it can become a little hectic scheduling wise. But, we are hoping to drop a 88s album sometime in the near future. In the meantime, make sure you check out our projects individually, which are ultimately like 88s albums because we always feature each other on songs.
I understand you guys are working on your next full-length album and a collaboration effort as well. Tell us about those projects, and what we can expect from them…
We have a lot of things in the works right now. We have finished recording our next release called Musaic, as in mosaic. That should be released in March or April if all goes as scheduled. We are also simultaneously working on two collaboration albums with artists from Japan. One collaboration album is with a Japanese hip-hop group called Stilla-mode. They have grown to be an extended family of the 49ers. They are like our brothers out in Japan (laughs). The second is with a producer named LEMS and his artists that are referred to as ZDW?!. They are a great unit out of Japan and we are excited to be collaborating with them. In addition to all that, we are working on [other] various collaborations. Tec is working on a solo project, and I’m also working on a solo project called My Life for Music.
Your career has literally taken you around the world. What has this music – and the opportunities that have come from it – meant to you over the years?
To me it has meant everything. I have sacrificed everything for music and I have no regrets. That’s why the name of my solo album is called My Life for Music. It’s sort of a trade. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice, then don’t even act like you want to do it because if you are really serious about this music you are going to give up so much. But, at the same time you are going to get so much back in return. Traveling and building friendships with people around the world, creating great music that will be listening to and appreciating for a very long time, and just the whole experience of music as an art form from the writing and production side.
Where can we go to find out what’s going on with the 49ers?
We have a blogspot at the49ers.wordpress.com. You can also check us out on iTunes, youtube, myspace, facebook, lastfm, and any other media outlet on the Internet. We will be there, believe that (laughs).
Jas, thank you so much for taking the time – we appreciate it…
Thank you! You know I always appreciate y’all and enjoy Repeat Offenders music as well. We need to link up and do some more shows together real soon! Keep making that authentic hip-hop fellas! Peace.