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„They called half of me illegal alien.“ – Fashawn Interview

„They called half of me illegal alien.“ – Fashawn Interview


Im Backstage-Bereich vom Flex läuft über Fashawns iPhone ein Beattape von Flying Lotus. Exile, Saga und Red Pill sitzen neben Fashawn auf der Couch und sippen an einer Flasche „Aniversario“ Rum, während er sich einen dicken Ofen baut. Wir werden freundlich zu einem Stamperl des Rums eingeladen und nehmen den Jungs auf der Couch platz. Red Pill verträgt wohl deutlich mehr als Exile, denn dieser hat schon leicht glasige Augen während er mit uns spricht. Die Stimmung ist entspannt und wir beginnen vom Smaltalk langsam ins Interview überzugehen.

Fashawnatiker thomki hat The Ecology hier für euch reviewt.

Fotos: Marlene Rosenthal
Interview: Wanja Bierbaum (edHardygirl14)
Mitarbeit: Marlene Rosenthal & Thomas Kiebl (thomki)

The Message: As a child did you ever dream of going to Europe for a tour?
Fashawn: Oddly enough, yeah. Oddly enough.

How does it feel right now?
It feels very surreal. It feels like a manifestation, like a prophecy, or like I’m supposed to. Like I’m manifesting my prophecy. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. But still feels surreal. I can’t believe I’m back in Vienna. I mean just to be able the first time, but you know, fuck, I’m back, like that means somebody liked what I did the first time, you know.

Your new album is called “The Ecology”. Can you describe to me the meaning behind the title?
It’s really, the ecology for me. It’s like the study of one’s behavior. Depending on the environment and the people around it. It’s not just you know talking about the actions but what provokes those actions. How you know a certain environment can mold a certain kind of person. And I think that’s the universal concept anyone can relate to. So I needed a title that was big enough, that would play as a big enough umbrella for all of that – for these concepts to fit under. Whether I want to talk about love – from a standpoint of a father or just from a homie or you know love for his block. I thought anything I could fit under that title, so it was the most appropriate title for the kind of music that would be created.

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So what do you think about the global ecology today?
It’s definitely molding a very unique generation. Just the times, what’s going on everywhere, from America to out here with all the new refugees coming in. The ecology of what’s going on now. It’s shaping a different kind of intellect on a big scale, you know what I mean. I’m just happy to be someone who gets the opportunity to document that through his music.

So you talked about refugees?
I will after this tour. (laughs) Definitely.

How do you feel about that? 
It’s interesting man, cause you know I’m half Mexican, right, so they called half of me ‘illegal alien’. You know, that’s what they called me in America – in a cliché way. And the way I can relate to it, I understand what it’s like for families to migrate to a certain place and face a certain opposition from the powers there be. We definitely identify with it in America, for sure.

You had a rough youth, if I may say so. In “Life As A Shorty” you talk about being a child. What did you enjoy about being a kid?
Oh man, actually now that I think back, I enjoyed everything about being a kid, even the bad stuff. Every scar has a story, you know what I mean.

Do you have some particular beautiful moments to remember from that time?
I remember, like my mom would put smiley faces on the burgers, like with the ketchup. The only time she would cook for us she would make some burgers and she would do the smiley faces and hearts and stuff with the ketchup. It’s times like that, just Thanksgiving. Like having nothing in the crib, like obviously nothing, and that day comes and it’s like a feast. It’s like, yo, “How did you make this happen mom?”. (laughs) By herself too, you know, no dads, nothing, no man to support her, nothing, no job. So it was a beautiful balance, for sure.


So how would you prepare you own kids for this ecology we talked about before?
That’s a great question. I’m still working on being a parent. I’m just trying to learn what is like to be a parent – which is really complicated. And I’m still trying to maneuver through this artist thing. But for my daughter I try to give her everything I didn’t have. Which is financial security, actual security, (laughs) a loving father, someone who’s there when he can be. I just try to instill the type of consciousness that I have and the type of wisdom that I have at 26. I try to find a way to feed that to her. It might not be through music, it might be through, I don’t know what it might be through …

 …lets say love?
No, through my actions. Through my actions, of course. That’s how I plan to mold her ecology. Hopefully she doesn’t have to, as long as I’m alive. She won’t have to go through all the stuff I had to go through to learn the stuff that I know now.  As long as I’m here.

You skated a lot, right?
Man, you should see my chins. They are like, crazy.  I remember after a show, maybe like 2 years ago, I got off stage and this girl was like “Yo can I ask you something?”. I’m like, I thought she was gonna ask me something about my performance. She was like “Yo why are your legs so scarred?” And I’m like, that’s what she wanted to ask? Yeah I skate. I skate to this day. I got to do some skating in Hamburg on this tour.

You have your board with you on tour?
No, that was the ill thing. We went by this skate shop and they gracefully just gave us one just to skate that day. I’m punching myself now, I should have brought my board. There’s so many ill skate spots in Europe. Especially in Vienna too, like the architecture here. There’s a lot of skate spots that you guys don’t even know are skate spots. You can do so much with the streets. Cause I’m a street skater at heart. So this shit is like heaven out here. It’s definitely on the level of Barcelona.


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So how would you describe the connection between hip-hop and skating?
We all come from the streets. We were all looked at as pariah first, more than celebrities. We were looked at as outcasts, misfits, first. And then the commercial world accepted us. I’m talking about both at the same time. And then it became more acceptable and then people noticed the power of it and the uniqueness and how it connects every ethnicity and religion. Skateboard is for me the same as the microphone, or a beat, it already had a universal comradery instilled in it. As soon as I grabbed that board I was already connected to kids in Barcelona and Germany and wherever they have skate parks. And as soon as I grabbed that mic I was connected so many people who grabbed a mic before me.

What was the first dream, becoming a rapper or becoming a skater?
Skater. Yeah, I wanted to be a pro skater first. I kinda stumbled into rap. I was just kicking with my homies who was skating and free styling, who graffitied, a homie who beatboxed, had homies who DJ’ed. That was just the normal life, I didn’t understand what I was seeing – this is the 4 elements right here in front of my face. I didn’t know that until I got older. My cousins used to breakdance, I used to breakdance a little bit. I sucked, that’s why I chose my element, which was the microphone and the pen. But I went through every phase.

Do you think America is a place where a child’s dreams can come true?
Yeah. Absolutely. If they put in enough work. If they’ve got their eyes open. They can definitely accomplish anything that they have, any ambition – any aspiration they can accomplish it. I’m a testament to that. I’m a perfect example of that. I mean I was supposed to be dead 4 years ago, statistically, in America. So anybody can do it.

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What do you think about Obama – is he helping these kids?
I can’t say much about his presidential actions, I’m not too big on politics like that, but I believe his influence has done more for the black people’s self-esteem than his political actions. Just the influence alone, just to be the first person of color in that collection of presidents – the influence alone changed our minds. It instilled the biggest self-esteem in us. I’m just happy I could drop an album in each of his terms as president. “Boy Meets World” throughout, I remember writing “When She Calls” when he was giving his inauguration. I remember going back and forth from the TV during the writing. And then in the second album when I was molding this, I voted for the first time. Because of him. Not because he was black, just because I wanted to try this whole political thing out. It just happened to be a black brother running for his second term.

What’s your opinion about Kanye West?
I might run against him. (laughs) Nah, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. That’s great, I think …

Donald Trump said that Kanye admires him.
Kanye is not running for this presidency though? For 2020, right? I mean look if Donald Trump can even be mentionable in this candidacy, it’s like yo, or a kid named Deez Nuts, get the fuck out of here. And Kanye West can’t win? His influence is probably maybe two steps behind Obamas in America. Everybody love Kanye. Especially black people. That shit he said about “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”? He became like a spokesperson for niggas at that point. For black people, excuse my language. When I say nigga I don’t mean it in the derogatory way at all. I mean that never ignorant, getting goals accomplished nigga. Just the acronym, Tupac, you know what I mean.


So are there a lot of kids like you in Frenso right now who are like getting bigger, skating or rapping?
There’s a lot of talent coming up, far as skating and rapping side. I like to think it had something to do with that. A little bit.

Makes you proud in some way?
So proud. Shoutout to the kid named Preston Joy, arguably my favorite skater in town right now. My man Kobe, he’s a kid who’s actually in this „Skating On The Block“ video, he’s the kid. Or he was a kid at the time. He’s probably taller than me now. He was the kid I was throwing the packs to out the window. Good, but he’s an amazing skaterboarder. As far as the rap side Z Will that’s my dude. Of course my crew Omar Aura – who’s fucking charting in Europe right now. I am so proud of that guy. Otis Reed, he’s dropping a phenomenal project. Just as far as concept, that boy is on another level. Yeah, Fresno man, realest city. That’s my kingdom.

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