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The Gospel of Hip-Hop

 July 22, 2022 at 4:00 PM PDT

S1: Welcome to the KPBS Summer Music Series.
S2: This note is placed June 30th to 6/19 , I think.
S1: In this episode , renowned deejay , event curator and music producer D.J. Artistic talks about giving back to the community to help others shine and about his exciting new project.
S3: Oh , we call upon the names of our ancestors , give us wisdom and show us the way we the people , we take back the power. And we demand justice today.
S1: Young and. Hip hop artist Indian K talks about his long and winding road through foster care in prison and how he changed that negative experience into positive music that inspires the community.
S2: It's about no way it was self respecting the less protected , not women raising kings and queens , you biggie. You may feel that way in the world because in today's society they forget about us. They tried to steal the culture and hope you never know where.
S1: That's next. Welcome to the KPBS summer music series. San Diego's own Music Discovery podcast that features encore presentations of our best in-studio performances and interviews celebrating our diverse music scene and beyond. I'm your host , Kurt Conal. Hip hop artist Indian K is a member of the Rincon , Louisiana Tribe of American Indians. He spent the early part of his childhood here on the tribe's reservation in Rincon. His life has taken him on a long and winding road through foster care in prison and back into the community as a respected musician. Through it all , his lyrics remain positive and full of hope. Alison St John interviews Indian Kay. But first we begin with his song Go Win.
S2: This is for my kids. Show me the.
UU: Love I missed. This is for the pain. Make you appreciate life in a little dance. This is for holding on to what grip of this field in this year. Nothing to st kill me ness with no fighting demons. This mountain of hope. This loss dances down a purpose just for the dream to reality. This for the mind. It's from the heart. It's for don't see light in the dark. Jesse for this song , at this point , the world. Wink , wink , wink , wink , wink. On the other hand , we go. Keep pushing , keep moving , keep on growing. We , we , we don't love. And I take the deal with the band. We , we , we , we. On the right. We go. Keep pushing. Keep moving , people. Bright we. Waiting on the horizon. I take the good with the bad. We don't the other. Um. We. Indian.
S4: Indian. Kay , welcome to Midday Edition.
S5: Thank you , guys. Thank you guys for having me. I appreciate it.
S4: You're from the Rincon Band of losing your Mission Indians , and you lived on the reservation until you were 11.
S5: Every time I leave there and go to the city. I felt like out of place. But I'm kind of used to it. It was more like a homely , a homely feeling , you know , being on the rise. And then in the city , it's like real fast paced. Everything's fast paced. Even back then on the Reds , you can feel it. Fall back. You can fill time , not stop. But you feel it like , slow down. That was the difference right there for me. Yeah.
S4: I'm beginning to realize why. Two of your albums are called Duality and Duality two.
S5: I battle myself. I'm a street guy. But I also know the love of being part of my people , you know , so it's and it's not a battle of like , I'm trying to choose good or evil. No , I choose good. But I still have an understanding of the other side of the you know.
S4: We're going to listen to a song now called Little Indian Boy , which is off your album Duality. Tell us who it's for.
S5: I made that song for my son. I have three kids , two girls , one boy. And I know what it's like to to be on the rez and be part of the crowd. That's like , oh , they're not Indian enough because they don't live here. And I also know what it's like to be in the city and hear people from the rez be like , they're not Indian enough. You know me. I'm all right. My son , though , he I don't want him to have a hard time. So I made the song for not just him , but it's for all its for everybody. Like , as long as you find your identity.
S2: That's Lil Wayne boy let me walk with you talk to you know you city live in Philly last because other people get to hate you when you tell them you ain't been home. But those reservations ain't home. Most of us detached from our origins , so it's more about an intimate knowledge of how we adapted to the city , like holding on to our pride. But because we've rocked Dickies and Chucks , we ain't native enough. Kill that noise. It's about. No , it was self respecting the layers , protecting our women , raising kings and queens. You biggie. You may feel that way in the world because in today's society they forget about us. They tried to steal our culture and hope you never know it right this up the books and keep ball rolling. Someone said Let's keep tradition alive , but we got to see and adapt to the times. Finding them had this hard but we got to try to Indian for.
S4: That was Little Indian boy by San Diego artist Indian K of his album Duality. You were passing on knowledge to your son , but tell us a little bit about how you grew up that taught you these lessons.
S5: My mother and my father were you know , they were they were involved in street like my my father more so gangs by his own choosing me. I bounced around a lot between family not really stable by the time I was 11. I'm in Phoenix , Arizona and grew poems. And we're not talking like Orphan Annie stuff. We're talking like adolescence , I guess coming out of juvenile prisons , juvenile halls , the misfits , I guess. And we had to make choices to survive.
S4: And yeah , you grew up in in a group home and you ended up in the criminal justice system and ended up locked up. But that experience , that prison experience really turned your life around , didn't it ? Tell us what happened in there.
S5: I like to tell people , you know , prison is going to it's going to do one or two things. You you're going to realize that you're okay with living the life you live. Are you going to say , I don't want to live like this ? And before I went to prison. But I was still on the run. Mm hmm. I met a beautiful woman , you know , beautiful woman. And I'm not talking looks and stock in her soul. Beautiful woman. And I actually violated my parole at the time she got pregnant. So I went back on a parole violation. She's pregnant. I'm like , oh , my gosh , I'm going to miss the birth of my kid. That right there , that was that was a big moment. That was the big moment I said. You're done. You're not doing this anymore. Because if I'm not raising my kids , then I'm just like my father. And no disrespect to my father , I love my father , but I just repeat the cycle. Insane. I just repeat the cycle.
S4: Did you meet any other people that you could relate to from your own culture ? American Indians , also. You know who who sort of became brothers for you while you were in there. Yeah.
S5: Yeah. I met a lot of good brothers. Like , all my brothers are good. You know , we're allowed to sweat inside and , you know , we eat together and I won't lie. I wouldn't have known sweat lodge. I wouldn't. I wouldn't have known a lot of our structure if I didn't go to prison. Like just as being , you know , American Indian. Like , I experienced more of my culture being locked up than on the outside , which I always looked at my culture as being proud because my father's always told me that. But experiencing it , I was like , Yo , we're like , we're better than this. Like , what am I doing ? Why ? Why is my first sweat lodge inside of freakin penitentiary ? Like.
S4: Kind of paradoxical , but , hey , that's what saved you. In a way.
S5: It did.
S5: So it's just our place of worship.
S4: You know , San Diego actually has more reservations than any other county in the United States.
S5: I've ran into people that will ask me , you know , where I was from. And when I told them my tribe , they were like , Where's that ? And I had to be like outside of Escondido. And they still kind of didn't know. And that's all right. Because out here , I noticed our dresses are pushed back into , you know , the East Valley , into the mountains. So they're kind of like hidden from the city. But one thing I do want people to know is like , this is our Indian land right here. This is it's good to know your surroundings. It's good to know the original people from here. And we're here. Like , that's that's it. Like , I don't I don't really push the Indian part as crazy , but , you know , just , I just want people to know me. Like , even after all this time , we're able to still have intact a culture of belonging , a feeling , a an understanding of who we are.
S5: If we can't respect one race , then all lives don't matter. I think that , you know , it's an injustice. There's a there's a divide. There's there's racism. Like there's racism. The same stuff that happens to white people on a lenient level , a black person would get killed , a coloured person would get killed. That's just facts. It's proven you can look it up. It's not there's no there's no racial equality. That's why we're fighting for racial equality.
S4: Indian K have a fabulous day. Is great to talk with you. Really great.
S5: You , ma'am , I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
S2: I trust they didn't think we'd make it this far due to the haters. Big bro. What goes up keeps going. US. Money. Missions. Hungry. Had two kids hit tuition. Told me I was different. Top shelf sipping craft beer. The homies laughed and stepped up. Not just know my parents and my passions pass in these doors. By these doors like they are full time. I switch lanes , get into the paper , the moves right moonlight show me I'm a star. But no what ? James , show me. I would rather be a planet solid foundation. No shame is saying I love off When nights was rough it was just me and big breath nights get rough with coast dope love went top flight it ain't the same job but we the same dog but we the same dog. I'm just going to live my life. My life. This is dreams being brought to reality. Reality.
S1: Coming up , we hear from deejay , event curator , producer and pillar of the San Diego hip hop community. DJ Artistic. Welcome back to the KPBS Summer Music Series. Renowned deejay , event curator and music producer D.J. Artistic has earned a reputation as a community builder and architect of the San Diego hip hop scene , who for over two decades has curated events that help artists grow and shine. His contributions to San Diego music are immeasurable. Here's Midday Edition's Jade Hindman.
S6: D.J. Artistic is a four time San Diego Music Award winner , including for Best Deejay. He is also an artist producer in his own right and has toured with underground hip hop legend , Abstract , Rude and San Diego all star hip hop group deep rooted alongside legendary acts like Souls of Mischief and Public Enemy. D.J. Artistic joins us now. Welcome to you.
S5: Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor.
S6: Great to have you.
S5: So I think my earliest influence might have been Jazzy Jeff. And The Fresh Prince is a deejay. I'm the rapper. Yeah.
UU: Yeah. And I just started like this.
S2: You know , 89.
S5: It's in the atmosphere right now listening to that album and hearing Jazzy Jeff labor Union Square , like cutting up the records and not knowing how he was doing that.
UU: And then going back with.
S5: That transport back to the sound just captivated me. And also having cousins that were boys and girls breakdancing or doing Canada graffiti. And I wasn't a good dancer or a good artist or , you know , a good singer. So deejaying was the next thing that I kind of gravitated towards.
UU: Because I got down with that one.
S5: I remember using my friend's equipment , like in middle school. And then when we graduated middle school , we actually got a technique 1200 turntable , which is like still an industry standard and working on that. And then in ninth grade , my dad set me up with some turntables , a mixer , some speakers built a little deejay coffin in my room. And that's kind of how it started for me with deejaying.
S6: And you mentioned your father got you your first turntables. Tell me about him.
S5: And he later on started a record company and had a studio up in the North County area. So who would have known that ? A kid dreaming about being a deejay , ten years old. His dad would have a record company in a studio when he's in high school.
S6: How did you get your name ? DJ Artistic. Abstract.
S5: Abstract. Ruud gave me that name. DJ Artistic. We're actually out at an industry event. I was living with him in L.A. my first time at like an industry event when he was signed to Grand Royal , the Beastie Boys label subsidiary of Capitol Records. And he introduces me as DJ Artistic is Deejay , and that's how that name stuck with me. And my my real name is Arthur the third. So , you know , it worked in both ways.
S6: I work. So you go and you toured with abstract Rude as his deejay , but you also produced the song 2132619 adjacent 213 being the L.A. Area Code and 619 San Diego. Tell us about that era.
S5: Yeah , that was a really great time. We were inspired by a lot of things that were going on in L.A. from the underground , as well as inspired by a lot of things that were happening and things that we were doing here in our San Diego underground. So that so culture was connected , you know , through the freeway , through the zip codes , and from having him as a friend in high school and actually going to middle school with his cousins and then meeting him later on and finding out that he's this amazing writer and artist , we just would connect from meeting and middle school and high school. And then as we grew up , the teens , he was doing more music than I was and we connected. And one of my mentors , Deejay Fingers , gave me a record , said , Hey , you could do something with it. I sampled it and made a beat out of it. He liked it , we recorded it , and next thing you know , he's calling me saying , Hey , the record's coming out on this compilation. And so it was like a dream come true. It just kind of happened out of nowhere.
S2: 213 to 6 1980 878756766. Obsessed almost fucked into game makes us think someone must have just said this note to this 2232 619 I think. No one knew really why you politically identified with your environment ? Did the High Court want to overthrow the Overlord ? Likely to the States after which you got no ruling ? Yeah , but Newport. Yes.
S6: Yes. Now , you also joined San Diego all star hip hop group , Deep Rooted , who won several San Diego Music Awards. Tell us about that experience.
S5: Yeah , we're friends. You know , Joe has you know , I work together. Mr. Brady and I had worked together. And then , you know , I was introduced to Bree , the vocalist , through Brady and Joe. And then we're from the era of dance scene. So we had a few dancers , Urban Dynamics , and I was always doing my thing and curating events , and we're always doing things separately. But after they formed the group Deep Rooted , they pretty much came to me and say , Hey , Art , we want you to get down with us and be our deejay. And that's kind of how it formed from a relationships of just doing hip hop from all the years and us having the same common goal , pretty much having the same music influences and wanting to contribute to the culture with all the passion that each one of us possessed , we just put it together and created deep rooted and want to do our part to carry our tradition and keep the porch lit.
S6: Here's the song Fade Away , produced by DJ Artistic and performed by Deep Rooted and.
UU: Fade away. I realize this isn't the.
S3: I don't think it is. Oh.
UU: Oh. By the time I realized that these are the times they hold , it.
S3: Used to be.
S2: But I still can't let it go. Plant the seed in the dark yarn. And if so , I'll wear my heart on my sleeve. That is so part of the plan. I know. Doggone that it.
UU: Must never have a police officer always called me. Oh , never , ever since I was raised by a black woman. Never proof of that. I take this to my nigger stand in the street.
S2: Script it on a memory board and play what a strip say may be. And then , of course , they just list place in history , symbols , smoking and. Built on methane , but never what we have over us. So when it's me against the world , somebody who can trust from the cradle to the grave back to the SS and see what they say. But what they going.
UU: To wet up. They like. Line the. He is a. Oh. I realize this is a good time. The hope is you look.
S2: Like a kid and play a haircut all the time. But the vision of my grandma. I hope it's just. Still caught in the moment. Heart to heart with Philip through this music as just saw within. Yeah , mister. Just by the music. When everybody catch you up on your feet. Somebody. Lack of rainfall usually comes down to a form of possibly supermarkets because I can't take it any longer. KM Smoke up the roof of a Range Rover just like that. And given that no starter notebook given life to this music like organ donor , it's just scratch ways to take for life like the time when you feel the when your trees. Raffone the global economy. Lack of money on the block fits well on.
UU: There's no way. Oh , come on. I realize this isn't the times.
S3: I know it's a phase.
S6: Very nice. After becoming a deejay and touring with Abstract Rude , you decided to begin curating events starting in the 1990s with the breakthrough followed by the scene in the 2000 and most recently hip hop battle.
S5: And so a few of my mentors played in bands and things like that and had a venue and thankfully that they believed in what we were doing and they were part of the arts and culture and knew what it was like not to have a place to do your music. They opened up their venue to me and so I took the opportunity and created a platform for all aspects of the culture B-Boy and or dancing , graffiti or art , deejaying , rapping or emceeing , making beats. And we had a platform to keep an extension of the culture because for us , hip hop is so important. It helped us to get through so many things. Some of it is our older brother or our parent or our role model or something that we can find solitude and to get through things. So I just wanted to give back because it gave me so much. So that was the focus of creating and curating an event for everyone to benefit from our seeing. Hmm.
S4: Hmm.
S5: Then they go on and find out at the end of the night if they are the producer of the night and they win cash. Same thing happens with the answers dancers are doing two on two crew battle or a one on one open styles battle , and they advance Apollo style fashion with judges. And at the end of the night , who's ever the winner gets cash ? We also have a DJ battle where DJs battle do their tricks , techniques and scratch. And at the end of the night , whoever advances , they get cash. And we have live performances. It's really dope. It's what hip hop is all about.
S6: Yeah , sounds like it.
S5: We're not doing that anymore. We do encourage you to support everyone. But , you know , in the fashion they hip hop , if you're wack , you can go ahead and boom. But it is a nonviolent , multicultural event. But we don't stop you from booing if you don't think they're up to par. Okay.
S6: Okay. All right. No sweeping them off. All right. You know , before North Park became the hotspot. It is today , you were packing dive bars and really creating a scene.
S5: And to know that you can work across different lines in different genres for the better of the community. I think that's my biggest contribution , is showing unity , providing a platform for everyone to benefit from without wanting anything back from it. And we got to work together to ultimately continue to have our city and our culture recognized internationally like so many other markets.
S5: I like to see someone on stage and then six months later they've gotten better and better and better. And so believing in people and seeing things in people that they sometimes don't see in themselves , because I've had people see things in me that I didn't know that I had. And I'm just trying to return the same kind of energy that allowed me to be talking to you today on your station.
S6: You know , during the pandemic and last year's outcry for social justice. You briefly stepped away from curating events to get creative and start a music collective called The Solidarity Band. Tell me about that.
S5: Yeah , I really thought that because I was in the community and I worked with so many people that my message during that time would be encouraging dialogue , listening with compassion , understanding and respect in the name of solidarity. And because I knew so many musicians that work with so many people , it just came up to me to create the Solidarity Band where I bring in so many people so that we can heal and we can use it as our therapy and we can talk about different things and different perspectives and maybe have a different ideology , but still be able to coexist through music. And so the Solidarity Band was formed for musicians and artists to come together for the common goal of us all uniting for peace , unity , love , understanding , compassion and respect.
S6: This is Break the Chains , written and sang by Crown. XO is part of the Solidarity Band Collective who.
S3: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. We've been marching on. We're hearing souls , and the spirits have filled every step. We'll be marching to Victorious one for Sandra reason. We can't stop her yet. It's our duty to fight for our freedom. America , now's the time to choose. We must love and support one another. We've got nothin to lose. Oh , break the chains. Break the chains , branches. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chain. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chain. Break the chains. Break the chains. Break the chains break. The chains break. Break the chains. Break the chains. We are marching for liberation. Let black people before him give us housing and fair education. No more police brutality. Oh , ho , ho. We call upon the names of our ancestors. Give us wisdom and show us the way. We the people. We take back the power. And we demand justice today. Come break the chain rape chains.
S6: All right. That was Crown XO with Break the Chains as part of the Solidarity Band Collective.
S5: We needed to do something. We couldn't sit on the sidelines. Being creatives and being artists and not do something to help us unite. So we wanted to come together and make music that gave people a hug and understanding because we're all in it for one common goal unity , peace , respect , understanding. Compassion all in solidarity.
S3: I mean.
UU: I mean , I feel like. We.
S3: We. I.
UU: I. I'm. I.
S6: That was the Solidarity Band Collective with Colin Ingram on drums , Bubba Ruiz on electric guitar , Chris Cooper on keyboards , Ray Malone on vocals , Paul Cannon on acoustic guitar and Joey Noorani on bass. You know , you've won the award for Best DJ by the San Diego Music Awards , and your events company is called San Diego Best Deejays. Tell us what your company specializes in.
S5: Private events , corporate events , grand openings , live music , entertaining anything that you need to make your vision come to life for your event. We can handle it from sound , lighting , silent disco , whatever you need. We can provide you a high quality five star entertainment.
S5: And that stage is also shared by Kaleo Nash , Deejay , Main One , DJ , Tramp Life and myself. DJ Artistic along with DJ Demon.
S6: All right. And now , you know , I've got to ask , you have several vehicles that you use for your purpose , whether it's your events company or deejaying and in writing. I mean , talk to me about about your purpose.
S5: So I don't give up on my people. And I believe that if you tell someone for 30 days that they're done the 31st day , they'll believe that they're dumb. If you tell them that they're great the 31st day , they'll believe that they're great and the seeds that you plant will grow. And so I'm just trying to plant good seeds in people to help them accomplish their goal , because people have done the same thing to me , and it would be selfish not to give it back.
S6: All right. I've been speaking with event curator , deejay and music producer D.J. Artistic. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today.
S5: It was a pleasure and honor and a privilege.
S6: Go to KPBS dot org slash summer music series for the full interview and for a video interview of deejay artist Roy.
S2: What's up ? 20 people in the place , the beat , gather round for a movie and just to help. See , I really don't know when you expect it from me , but I was born and raised right over the beach. See me , Elmo. He's got some type of rap song. Put the whole thing back on the map , old man. Radio stations play a whole lot of crap. Just like I'm hungry at the table. You beat me , scratch. So this one's for the people. And by the way , even going to the battle won't come out unscathed. See , my only regret is that our party never gave enough back up for life to say stuff right along with us as we left the shack. For anybody who put it down , we never forgot. So we give it all we got because that's how it was taught. And it only takes a second.
S1: Just the spark because I'm up. Thanks for listening to the KPBS Summer Music Series. To catch a new episode every two weeks , subscribe wherever you get podcasts and for performance videos and more great artists visit KPBS Jorge's Summer Music Series. John Decker is Interim Associate General Manager of content. Lisa Jane Morissette , operations manager. And Megan Burke , senior producer. I'm Kurt CONAN.
S2: They barely get enough of this , but there are fans of R&B , most hip hop , and we hum dark skinned baby and catch a sun drenched sunset. Once the tracks laid that you some make come back from a sleep that the people don't know how to behave.
UU: What has been so. Now , if that didn't do , to tell you the truth , I'm a little proud.
S2: And if you run now , I'll be called to do so. Called them things you want to do. But you'll be sold in the 21 season for battle because of the project. Golden State. Similar myth. Now that we're settled into the thousand that we got to represent somehow. So this talent in the ghetto that we'll have to employ with a number of these to destroy. I'm no I'm the real McCoy I'm chocolate.
UU: All people like that on the job. I'm no the real McCoy. I'm chocolate. I like all that so I'm okay.
S2: Oh , I'm afraid. Oh , my God. Stop playing on my good on the job. I'm no homeboy. I'm the real McCoy. You want to make noise ? Back door , boys ? Make no. B girls makes no work. Work it out. Work it out. Yeah. Oh. Like she was at the money with the jealous lie , and it really wasn't professional , but we about. We was hanging out at the club before we could drive with big afros like Jackson five o coming up the house. They making it home safely. Boys in the place just had to show my face. So that's it. I just go for my instruments on this outfit and we got it to make up to my homeboys to do this to a microphone. Thank you. My fiance's co ac alone just stepped in a roll. Now we know the play was in here. The party was sold to some people. I'm the real McCoy. I'm shocked at all. I like it. I'm a joy. I'm a baby. I'm the real McCoy. I'm chocolate all over like it all the joy I'm a big boy. Oh , oh , yeah , baby. Back to the fallen soldiers in hip hop. Oh , no. The fallen soldiers across the world are struggling. Right. Easy.

Renowned DJ, event curator, and music producer DJ Artistic talks about giving back to the community to create opportunities for others, and his exciting new project that focuses on solidarity through hard times. And, hip-hop artist Indian K talks about his life experiences in foster care and prison and how he changed negative experiences into positive music to inspire the community.

Credits: Produced and hosted by Kurt Kohnen, Jade Hindmon, and Alison St John. Megan Burke is senior producer.