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Now On Interview

October 6, 2008

In a city where sunshine and silicone reign, Hip Hop group Now On are showing Californians how Michigan puts it down. Initially, the trio of Jackson Perry, Haircut and IX Lives were living in Ann Arbor: where the closest thing they had to a beach was Belle Isle, snow boots were used during 10 months per year, and widespread success was just an aspiration. But the group’s big move three years ago has them bringing substance to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles.

It all began with each member performing with separate groups; Haircut with Athletic Mic League, Jackson Perry with Funktelligence, and IX Lives with Ace Deuce Clique. Crossing paths while performing at the same venues, friendships led to the three collaborating until their collective chemistry prompted a permanent partnership. Fellow Detroit artist and friend, Buff1, coined the rapping/singing/producing trio “Now On”, which is an abbreviation of their motto: “Live from Now On to the future.”

With several quality full-lengths already padding their discography—“Eye Level,” “From Now On…,” “Don’t Call It a Mixtape”—the group dropped their new LP, “Tomorrow Already,” last week under A-Side Worldwide. Jackson Perry and Haircut (IX Lives couldn’t join the interview because he was attending a college business course) connected with MichiganHipHop.com to talk about changing locales, loving home, and the importance of voting.

How did three born and raised Ann Arbor natives become so well connected in the Detroit music circle?
Jackson Perry:
IX Lives was born in Detroit, but we all were raised in Ann Arbor.
Haircut: Michigan music as a whole is pretty small. Lots of cats from Detroit would come for shows, and we would get to know a lot of people and collaborate. It’s like a family.

What are the differences between working and living in Los Angeles versus Detroit?
JP: I kind of feel like I’m on vacation all the time. I go outside, look at the sky and say, “I can’t believe I live here.” It’s motivating and easy to get started each day. I go to the beach, come home and grind. I’m motivated year round. Detroit is an uphill battle in the winter.
HC: When I wake up in Michigan and see snow on the ground and it’s 30-degree weather, it’s hard to be motivated. And there’s so much opportunity out here.

So why do you love Detroit so much?
HC: Detroit will always be my home. No one else has more soul.
JP: I love how people rep Detroit so hard!
HC: No one has more hometown pride.
JP: Out here they have Detroit bars where people can watch the games like the Lions (I don’t know why…)

Was it easy adapting to the L.A. music scene?
HC:
It takes getting used to, but it’s easy to love.
JP: Very easy for me.
HC: When we first moved out here we were shown a lot of love from artists heavy on the scene.
JP: The hardest thing was missing people back home, but the Internet keeps us connected.

What is the difference between L.A. and Detroit music scenes?
HC:
People out here are looking for something to do. They’re looking for shows and parties. In Detroit sometimes it feels like you have to drag people to shows.

How would you describe your genre of music?
JP:
Transcendent. We are genre defining and defying.

Are there any other artists out there that are similar to your style or genre?
JP:
Nope!
HC: We have a unique sound that we haven’t heard anywhere else. There are other artists we are influenced by, like J Dilla, Phat Kat…
JP: Soul artists, even the Beastie Boys, Far Side, and Parliament Funk helped me learn how to write melodies.

Now On is made up of two Caucasian males and one black male. Has the group ever had to deal with discrimination or stereotypes because of the diversity of its members?
JP:
There really hasn’t been any discrimination as far as music. The only time was when Eminem started to blow up, and an A&R in Ann Arbor told me I needed to shave my head and dye it blond and then we’d be famous.

How did you respond to that?
JP:
I grew my hair out.

What individual talents does each of you bring to Now On?
JP: IX Lives is like the old wise teacher. He always has an anecdote for every situation. I bring leadership and my business savvy.
HC: I bring the fun!

If you were a superhero group, what music-related super powers would each of you have?
JP:
Every time I spit a rhyme a million dollars come out of my mouth.
HC: Anytime my music is played women take off their clothing.

There are three unique collectors album covers for “Tomorrow Already,” each with one of you sitting on a bed, a different style of radio on the floor, and a nude woman standing in the window with her backside to you. Who was behind this idea?
JP:
All of us. We were the minds behind it.
HC: It goes with our theme. I’m leaving something behind. I’m about to get up and leave, there’s a broken boom box on the floor and there’s a beautiful woman there who I just enjoyed the night before. (laughing) And now I’m ready to move into something new! I’m digging a hole for myself here!

Were the three of you involved in the casting? What were the requirements these women had to meet?
JP:
Absolutely. They had to be willing to get naked.

Did you each choose which girl you wanted featured with you on your cover?
JP:
The girls chose us.

Were there any post-casting auditions (wink! wink!)?
JP:
Naw. It was all business.

What should returning fans look forward to on this newest album?
JP:
Growth.
HC: I think people don’t really get a chance to know us as people, as individuals. [On “Tomorrow Already”] our personality and character traits really come out. You get a feel for who we are and what makes us unique.

Why should potential fans pick up the album?
HC:
Because it’s fun and different. People need a change.
JP: It’s fucking dope! People will be pleasantly surprised.
HC: Even people who don’t like hip hop or rap will like Now On.

The first single from the new album is “The Willows”. What is the meaning of “The Willows”?
HC:
The wind in the willows is the sound of impending danger; a signal to other artists cause we’re coming for your spot.

Haircut, in the first verse of “The Willows” you say, “Big Proof assassinated but they covered up the plot.” What did you mean by that?
HC:
That is a controversial line. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about that… When it went down it seemed fishy. It’s hard to believe that the statements that came out afterwards were true having known the guy. I’m leaving it at that.

What is the meaning behind the video?
HC:
Make your own interpretation of the video.
JP: It’s like a painting.

There’s about one month left until presidential elections. Are you registered voters?
JP:
Absolutely.
HC: Of course.

What should a person look for in a leader?
JP:
Obama!
HC: Obama for president!
JP: It’s a tough situation because I don’t see everything I want to see in a leader. I don’t consider myself a Democrat even though I always vote Democrat. But I see more qualifications of the type of leader I’d like to see in Obama—confidence, intelligence, and more of an energy that I can see in his eyes.
HC: It’s the lesser of two evils. We need a leader who thinks for himself and does what’s best for the common good—NOT lining the pocket of his oil bearing cronies!

Why is it important for our generation– a hip-hop generation– to vote?
JP: It’s important for everyone to vote, but especially the hip hop generation because hip hop has always been about the voice of the streets. Letting your word be heard and your word be law. If we’re going to stand behind the main reason hip hop has thrived we have to be involved politically.

Get your copy of Now On’s album “Tomorrow Already” at www.myspace.com/nowon or www.asideworldwide.com.

4 Comments »

  1. Steven says:

    these guys f’n rock. they just put out the best album of the year it frustrates me that theyre not superstars yet.

    October 7th, 2008 at 2:47 am

  2. D Ro says:

    real hip hop right here. love the new record.

    October 7th, 2008 at 4:04 am

  3. Jay+ says:

    These guys have they’re own style and its fuckin’ dope. The new record gets better every time I listen to it. Definitely a must cop.

    October 15th, 2008 at 10:19 am

  4. Another Good People Feature… Now On | HubertSawyers dot com says:

    […] Peep the rest here. […]

    December 30th, 2008 at 11:19 am

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