When it comes to hip-hop, cadence is everything. Well, maybe not everything, but a rapper's flow is a damn big deal. Whether you're making a club banger or flexing your lyrical chops, delivery makes or breaks a jam.
Phoenix emcee Sar KAZum knows this, so he looked to hip-hop heavyweights like KRS-One and Nas for inspiration when he first started penning rhymes. "I always tell people I'm the result you would get if you mixed Eminem, Jay-Z, and Kanye into one," he says.
A courageous boast to say the least, KAZ is putting his sound to the test with a new record appropriately-titled, F**K a Label: EP, scheduled to drop later this month (the album will be available via his site). The Texas-native gets us up to speed on what's good in an email interview.
Up on the Sun: I see you're from El Paso, how long have you been in Phoenix and what brought you here?
Sar KAZum: Yup. Moving to Arizona was never even planned. When I was a kid my parents and I came out to AZ to watch the Cardinals football game against the Cowboys at Sun Devil Stadium in December 1996. After being here, I really loved the city and vibe, plus there was way more opportunity for advancement and everything. So I convinced me parents for us to stay out here and not go back that winter. That's pretty much what happened. I love El Paso, don't get me wrong, but I was just tired of living in the projects, so Phoenix was our way out and I've been living here ever since.
What drew you to the rap game? Who are some of your influences and how would you describe your flow?
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I've always loved music. [It's] my life. It's what keeps me sane. Truthfully, I never thought I would actually be doing it. It all kinda just happened on it's own...I never wanted to rap, never wanted to make beats, and I especially never wanted to learn all that technical studio engineering stuff; but I was forced to learn it all, so I did. It all kinda just came natural to me once I focused and tried it. My influences when I first attempted to write my first bars was Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Rakim, KRS-One, Nas, and Canibus. So that's who I wanted to sound like when I first started rhyming, which was around 1997. Eventually, I started listening to Jay-Z and Eminem a lot, and those two are probably my biggest influences "sound wise" overall. Don't get me wrong; I also love Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, and the list goes on and on, but Em and Jay were the one's that highly influenced me to do what I do. Nowadays, everybody who's already highly successful in the music industry as of right now, are my current influences/competition. Because that's where I wanna be. And when it comes to my sound, style, flow, and content; I always tell people I'm the result you would get if you mixed Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye into one. Sometimes I'll be more on a lyrical/hip-hop tip and other times I'll be more on a commercialized or mainstream tip. Regardless of what sound I'm doing, I'm always big on wordplay.
How does the city, the community; you're environment affect your music?
It all just really depends. I'm not too big in getting caught up with what's going on around me [in regards to city and state current affairs] because there's already lot's of local music artists speaking about it and doing a great job. I'm more about the people, the general audience, and the music fans within the city, community, and environment. I make my music for them. I'm always doing my research and asking people around me, "What kind of Sar KAZum music do you wanna hear?" For my latest music project titled: F**K a Label: EP; the fans wanted to hear me do my thing over hard southern influenced beats with a heavy mainstream/radio friendly presence. So I leased a bunch of exclusive beats from Wiz Khalifa's old producer, Johnny Juliano, and that's what I gave 'em.
Can you catch us up with the new record? How's the recording process coming along?
I dropped F**K a Label: EP on July 17, but it was just a real quick press-up to feed those who have been asking me for music for a while. Since then, I went back in on the project and re-touched up all the mixing and mastering and I'm currently adding a few more songs to it and re-dropping it later this month for the real online/street push.
Man, the recording process is crazy. I'm seriously a one man army. I own my own recording studio and I do everything by myself with no help. You should see me in the studio; I'm running around in there like a chicken with its head off. But I get the job done....eventually. Anybody who's interested in hearing what I got so far can check out my music at Soundcloud or Reverbnation.
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What's the story behind, "Like Dat!"? Can you talk a little about the making of the track?
Man, that song is loved by everybody. When that song comes on people just wanna shake it and dance. People who got a copy of my first press up from my most recent release always stop me and tell me, "Hey, my kid won't stop playing that song," or "Me and my friends had track number five on repeat all the way to the club and back." It's a great party song and lots of party animals can relate to it. It's just a fun sounding song I guess. I created that song because I'm always around all my female friends and they're always like, "KAZ, when are you going to make a song that I can dance to?" So one day I was stupid drunk and got home from wildin' out in the club and just came straight into the studio and popped on my Quincy Jones headphones and wrote it. The rest is history.