The Whole 9 takes a trip up to New England, and chop it up with Vermont-based duo Pro and Learic, known together as The Aztext. They recently dropped a single titled Everyday Sun. Check out the interview below, and for more, check their website.
the9elements: You guys have been rocking together for over ten years. What do you think is the key to you guys’ longevity?
Learic: The key to our longevity as a group is just remaining good friends the whole time. We used to be roommates so that helped out with our productivity during the early years, but even when that changed, we still had music as a way to keep connecting. Meeting up became a way to process the various stresses of life and getting older, and turn it into songs for people to vibe to and receive their own impressions from.
Even after taking a bit of a hiatus as a group, and branching out to form different groups separate from each other, our friendship and brotherhood is what kept us our musical bond as The Aztext intact. That’s why getting back in the studio to write and record “Everyday Sun”, and begin work on our fifth album, as well as taking the stage again and having it feel like we hadn’t missed a beat, was such a smooth transition.
T9E: How do you feel about the Vermont Hip Hop scene right now?
Pro: The Hip Hop scene in Vermont is sonically diverse, supportive and well positioned for additional national breakouts. Currently artists like Es-K, Jarv, Loupo, and nothing,nowhere have achieved national and global recognition, and are only growing their listeners-base; but there is a large swath of Vermont artists whose national recognition is imminent.
Population wise, Vermont is not a “big” place; under that lens it’s incredible the amount of talent that continues to cultivate and export out of state.
T9E: How do you guys feel about the direction Hip Hop is going in in general?
Pro: Hip Hop is filled with sub-genres these days, and while I don’t personally gravitate towards all of them, I’m happy they exist. In general, I feel like listeners have been pretty spoiled in 2018, because whatever your taste, you’ve been treated to great releases.
Personally, I’ve gravitated towards the Evidence, Royce, Black Thought, Classified, and Apathy albums, as well as much of the Vermont made Hip Hop inclusive of artists listed above and many others.
T9E: What song of The Aztext do guys you recommend people listen to first and why?
Learic: I recommend that people listen to Learn to Talk first, off our first album Haven’t You Heard. We both used our verses as an opportunity to tell our personal stories and journeys on our way to becoming emcees, and how that led to our paths converging and forming our group, and ultimately being in the position to finally release an official album – in essence, how we “learned to talk.”
T9E: What’s you guys’ process for writing songs together?
Learic: We like to let the beat dictate what vibe the song requires and go from there. We usually like to try to come up with some type of hook first, even if it’s just a melody, and then have the verses correspond to that. Sometimes we’re in different writing modes, so one of us will write on the spot, while the other may want to sit with it for a minute.
Some of our more conceptual songs require a more in-depth approach at mapping the story, getting all of that patterned out so that the execution is seamless. We’ve always loved the challenge of turning a song into a specific impression for the listener to receive, rather than just rhyming on beats, even though that is fun sometimes.