November 8th, 2012
ATR News Exclusive Interview:
A hip-hop artist with a passion to fight the New World Order one verse at a time! ATR News recently had a chance to sit down with one of hip-hop’s brightest new artists, DJ Jaswa. To set the stage for this interview, let us take a look at an excerpt from his Reverbnation.com biography:
Born Joshua Hunter, the name Jaswa was handed down to him from a fellow Dj and long time best friend while the two were doing dj competitions and working the party scene together. Originally an instrumental musician, he released Version 1.0 in January of 2010. While remaining mostly an ambient instrumental album, he began showing his lyrical skills and interlinking his political views with his art. After releasing a non-profit mixtape later that year, he began crafting his flow and started writing his first label release EP, “Waking State”. He continues to write and perform,constantly pushing forward in his quest to bring social change and revolution.
ATR: Jaswa, thank you for taking time to sit down with us here at ATR News. First off, tell us a little about yourself and your style of music.
JASWA: I first started doing Dj work in High School and one of my best friends who used to work with me coined the name “Jaswa” for me as a DJ name. I have to give my boy credit for that part. Jaswa laughs. I’ve had every job known to man, but through it all I did DJ work. I decided to do an instrumental album in 06. By the time I released it in January of 2010 it had almost as many lyrical songs as it had instrumentals and very heavy on the political side. I guess I would call it “Political Hip-Hop”? I feel that by the time I released Waiting State I had evolved more as an artist and began to includes songs about my life, mistakes, just real true music that meant something. If I had to classify it now, I guess “Truth Music” could be applied? I wish I could just say “Hip-Hop”, because to me that is what I am making. “Hip-Hop” doesn’t mean what it used to.
ATR: Indeed, and what made you want to start making hip-hop?
JASWA: The short answer to this question would be, “Because I can’t sing.” A more in depth look at it would be something like, “I’ve always loved hip-hop. As far back as I can remember hearing it I loved it. I’ve always written poetry and to me good hip-hop music sounds like a well read poem versed over a beat.” I respected artists who were trying to make change with their music. Who talked about real issues, who were teachers. I feel like that is something that is largely missing these days in radio play hip-hop. I wanted to connect my political activism with my music to deliver the message to a larger audience.
ATR: And who would you say were your biggest musical influences?
JASWA: Treach, N.W.A, 2-Pac, Sage Francis, Immortal Technique for sure. Jedi-Mind Tricks, Snoop Dogg, I mean cats like Dj Shadow as well. Anything that is original and pushes the boundaries of the genre at the time is in it’s own way influential.
ATR: Do you make your own beats?
JASWA: On Version 1.0 (My first album) I did every single bit of composition on it. I wrote, composed and performed every single bit of it. Might be why it took me almost 5 years to complete. Jaswa laughs again. Lately it has been about 50/50, depending on if it is a collaboration piece with another artists, or if I’m too short on time to make it. I will on occasion get beats from a few producers and good friends of mine. My man Ninja-Scroll, another cat who does truth music, produced and did the beat for my first real successful song ,”Alive”. He used to be part of Zu-Ninjas, which comes from that Wu-Tang camp up there in NJ , he did the production for Zu-Ninjas and rapped some on their stuff. Legit good dude man, helped me out a lot. Shout out to my boy Efreezee as well, Eric has always been a big help when I’ve needed tracks for projects.
ATR: Are you signed to any label, or are you strictly an independent artist?
JASWA: I’m currently straight indy artist. I have recently rejected offers from 2 indy labels, and honestly until I can get my own full line production together and launch my own label, I don’t see me signing to anything. Every contract I have seen has been highly restrictive and lop-sided. I think in this modern era, we no longer need big record companies. We as artist have the exact same resources now that they do. The Internet is a massive marketing tool at our disposal. There are thousands of places to get disks pressed at, and if we become businessmen and are willing to work for it, the opportunity is out there to do it yourself.
ATR: Indeed, I myself have seen big labels suppress pure artistic expression for their own greedy profit. With that said, what are some of the challenges that you face as a solely indy artist?
JASWA: Well, I just told you some advantages, but there are disadvantages as well. Largely a big issue when it comes to touring, and getting to play shows to start off. However, outside of getting your foot in the door at places you normally could never book to play, they don’t have that much to offer that you can’t find elsewhere. Although with a good booking agent, and with enough talent, you can avert that as well. Getting your name out there to start off with, that’s been probably the toughest part for me.
ATR: Well we at ATR hope we can expose you to our audience, and they in turn get you out to even more people! With all the trends you see in the world and in the music industry, where do you see hip-hop going in the future?
JASWA: That is a loaded question to me. I’ve seen its steady decline since the late 90’s into a “bling” era of people rapping about nothing. There are some dope artists out there, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t on the radio. That makes it hard to say it’s getting any better. I would like to see for the future people standing up for real music, realizing they are just being dumbed down and distracted from what matters. I’d like to see more people with depth and content move to the forefront and unite people
the way hip-hop was originally intended.
ATR: I couldn’t agree with you more. Seems like if you’re not singing or rapping about sex, drugs, or how much money you have, then you’re not making music. It’s sad to see the great decline in American music today. The all mighty dollar has taken the place of talent in the music industry today, at least in the mainstream. Now let us change gears and talk about the politics in your music. Give us the what, when, and how of your awakening to the reality of our world and our Geo-political situation.
JASWA: Well it was the same way most of us did, an alarm clock. Let me explain though. I was in the US Military in 2000, I was hearing chatter on base that we were trying to mobilize into the east. The path at the time was said to be Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea. Kinda scary how close to that it has been. We were just waiting in 2000 for SOMETHING, anything to give us a pretext for war, I got out of service in early 2001, when the second plane hit on Sept. 11th, I knew exactly what I was seeing. It was strengthened by a “plane” hitting the Pentagon, and one that vaporized into a ditch. I started researching shortly after that. There is more to it, but to just sum it up, there ya go.
ATR: Yes, 9/11 was definitely a turning point and an alarm clock for those of us who were paying attention. So what do you feel, personally, is the greatest threat we face as humanity as a whole?
JASWA: Human greed. Never underestimate how greedy the other guy is. It drives us to kill, colonize, plunder, “democratize”, other people and make it sound like justice, or even help. It’s a sick twisted thing and until we somehow evolve away from it, it will forever be our downfall.
ATR: Well, we almost hate to ask this question, but the topic can’t be escaped. What is your take on this year’s Presidential election?
JASWA: The election turned out exactly as I had predicted it would. Does politics feel scripted to anyone else? I could name a long list of things about Obama I don’t agree with. However, it pales in comparison to the list of things I have against Mittins. Without getting into a heated political assault here, I’ll move on. I think honestly both these guys are puppets, bought and paid for by wall-street and the banking oligarchy. The only ones I can’t say are for certain on the take are Gary Johnson and the crazy lady who used to have a T.V. career in the 80’s to early 90’s. I mean Rosanne isn’t evil, she has certainly spoke out about Illuminati and the New World Order, but something in my gut says she is bat-shit-crazy. Johnson, I love a great deal of his ideas. I think the guy is sincere and if this was a perfect world he would be President. That is if some of his ideas, as a good friend pointed out to me, were possible. I have to say I like the guy though, if Paul couldn’t play, they should have at least supported this guy. They didn’t even let the poor man in the debates and he was on the ballot in almost every state! Enough of a rant, That’s my take on the 2012 Election. I imagine it’s all rigged anyway.
ATR: While we’re on the subject of the NWO and the Global Controllers, why did you choose music as your weapon to fight the agenda of the New World Order?
JASWA: Music connects with people on a deeper level than speech alone. Nothing moves us or has a more profound impact on our human experience in the way music does. I loved music, I always have, it only made sense to use it as a means to convey the truth to people. To unite others through it, the chance to have my words make an impact on someone’s life. I just felt that music would work better than standing at the fountain in town square with a mega-phone… not that I’m object to trying it.
ATR: So what do you have on the horizon that your fans should be looking out for in the near future?
JASWA:Fans? You mean this incredibly kick-ass and diverse group of friends I’m building? Jaswa laughs. Seriously though, I’d take this movement over fans any day. To those people, I would say, I’m currently finishing up the long overdue EP by Clandestine Radio, my side group with Alien Ultra. Been doing a lot of work with Ntrinziq, and some new producers. Just dropped one with Ovadosepeace out of Australia. Waking State is coming, I promise, I just didn’t want to force it. I’ve got a few new tracks I will drop during the holidays as gifts. Keep your heads up and keep fighting.
ATR: We are all definitely excited about Waking State dropping! Thank you so much for spending time with us here at alabamatruth.com, and we would encourage all of our listeners and readers to take the time to support artists like DJ Jaswa and others that are also fighting the Good Fight for freedom and Liberty. Any last comments or thoughts for our audience?
JASWA: To keep management happy; You can join us at www.reverbnation.com/thedjjaswa That’s homebase. I’m also on Facebook search dj jaswa. I know my video for “Alive” was posted on here for a while, you can connect to my channel, and to some of my other videos there. I want to give a huge thanks to you guys for taking the time to do this, I’m honored. Big up’s to Alternativementality.org, to the folks over at Threyda (some amazing art here), thanks to everyone who has been a part of this journey, I hope it never ends. Also big thanks you’s go out to Knucklebones radio, everyone in the truth radio family, my fam over at freedomizerradio.com, and you.