Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Q & A with Avatar Young Blaze
With his latest video Avatar Young Blaze takes some time away from the streets and relaxes off that fine Cali Kush before taking some aggression out on the bloggers who just don't seem to buy dude's stories. You should.
I first started hearing about him sometime last year, maybe once prior to that but he has been out here in Seattle making a name for himself in two circles. The streets will never let Avatar's name be smeared. In rap circles he is starting to capture more attention and with just cause.
I hit up his manager about doing an interview, discovered that he no longer calls Seattle home, but was invited to converse via email. If you thought this was just your average 21 year old knuckle head you are only kidding yourself.
TML: Who is Avatar? Where were you born, when?
Avatar Young Blaze: Avatar is the embodiment of a concept, being music, destined since birth. I was born in 1989 in Tallin, Estonia although my mother is full Russian & father is full Ukrainian.
TML: How long was Seattle home? Where did you live here?
Seattle has been home since I was a toddler, my family moved to New York, which was suppose to be our destination, but then they decided to follow some relatives and move to Seattle. I lived in surrounding areas outside Seattle up until 8th grade when my pops passed away, my mom moved to the inner-city. I grew up in the Central District, went to Garfield high.
TML: When did you get into rap? Who were you listening too?
I got into rap around the age of 9 years old, the first CDs I listened to were Bone Thugs N Harmony's Eternal E. 1999 & Eazy E's Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton.
TML: You father was a painter, was this his livelihood? If not what did he do? Your mother?
Yes my father has been an artist since he was a kid, he went to art school in St. Petersburg, Russia & practiced art everyday. It was definitely his passion & livelihood. I think that's where I get a big portion of my creative side. My mother started as a bank teller & worked her way up, she is still in the banking industry.
TML: When was the last time you were in Russia?
The last time I visited Russia was about 4 or 5 years ago, although I've been to Ukraine & Estonia in the last couple years. I was actually booked for a show in Moscow this past April but the ash cloud didn't permit that. I plan on going back very soon.
TML: How did you get down with Oldominion? Did you ever record verses on any OD associated projects?
I first got introduced to Oldominion through Sleep. I went to one of his shows because I was always a fan & he spotted me out the crowd & randomly pulled me on stage and I started rappin. I was like 13 years old. OD showed me alot of love and taught me alot about not only music but life... Shout out to Bishop I, Anax, Snafu, Pale, Barfly, Karim, Onry just to name a few.
TML: What Seattle rap are you fucking with today?
As far as local kats, I'm fucking with my dudes Reese, Carey Stacks representing that Shadow Company. Framework, 151 (free 151) and Eighty4 Fly.
TML: Prefered chronic strain? Prefered blunt wrap?
You can't really beat that OG Kush, but lately I been on that Alaskan Thunderfuck, that shit is crazy. When I went to Amsterdam I smoked some Super Silver Haze which exceeded new heights. Far as preferred wrap, I usually smoke them one layer swishers but lately I been on them papers just to switch it up an give my lungs a break.
TML: What was your first released mixtape or album?
The first project I ever dropped was called The Russian Roulette Mixtape, I was about 14 or 15 years old, only pressed 200 copies.
TML: How long have you been operating out of LA? What's your network like out there? Do you view Seattle as your home town?
I been in LA since the beginning of the year, definitely been getting my network on. Seattle will always be my hometown no matter if I'm in Cairo, Egypt or Atlanta, Georgia. Seattle made me who I am today.
TML: Have you and MTK worked together in person?
Me & MTK got a couple joints in the archives, you'll be hearing them soon shout out to MTK he get it the fuck in
TML: What did you want people to walk away from Warm Blooded Cold Heart thinking?
I wanted people to get a more in depth understanding of me, to see that I have another side to me, not just the street shit. I'm a well rounded person and my music is commonly put in that gangster rap category when I can make any type of music and still remain true to myself.
TML: Do you see yourself in the tradition of gangster rap?
I don't want my music to be labeled or put in one category. I'm Avatar. My own genre.
TML: What was your introduction to the street life, how would you characterize your activities?
I been in the streets ever since I was about 12 years old, my uncle Oscar (RIP) was doin' his thing & I basically got introduced to all that at a very young age, it ran in the family. By 14 I was packing pistols & selling drugs, hangin & bangin'. My pops was gone & mom was always out of town so I looked up to dudes I seen in my neighborhood. I was definitely misguided, and my fathers death affected me so tough I kind of went to a dark place.
TML: How did your brother get a 17 year bid? How old were you when this happened? What is his name?
Dave Blaze, he's in Clallum Bay, been down about 4 years so I was 16 when the situation happened. Long story short he shot somebody in the head, but it was out of self defense, we were at a Franklin High dance, an issue presented itself & what happened happened. He's working on his appeal right now, so I'm preying he gets some time cut off, because he got hit with a whole bunch of enhancements that he shouldn't have got charged with.
TML: How old were you when you first were arrested? Where did you spend your time in jail?
In 8th grade I was going to a middle school in Bellevue, I got arrested for 2nd degree robbery in front of my whole school, they took me to juvy and I spent about a week in there, my mom bailed me out and got me a lawyer, I ended up getting the case dismissed. She said she would never bail me out again, and she wasn't lying.
TML: Is rap a medium you feel can convey a message about a way of life misunderstood and misconstrued to create fear?
Yes. To me, Rap is modern poetry. It's first and foremost emotions expressed by the artist through lyrics and music. There is a lot more pain than fear. Fear is just a derivative.
TML: Can your experiences in the streets provide you an opportunity to speak to other people in similar situations across urban america and worldwide?
Yes, Definitely. I would also like to add that I've been in the rough neighborhoods beyond the borders of America, and believe me, the ghetto's of Kingston, Jamaica and Kharkiv, Ukraine have lots in common with the streets of U.S. in terms of human experience.
One thing I really want to get across is, the streets are in no way shape or fashion sweet... unless you legitimize yourself, there's only two ways out - that cell or that casket. I am in no way shape or form trying to glorify.
Man I've been asked this before. Im here to tell my story. Not only my struggles. My ups and downs. I just choose to escape through music. The problem is there's been more downs than ups in my life. To answer your question I'm not here doing this to save muthafuckas I'm here doin this to save myself and my family. Thats all I got. What I tell others when they ask me how can I be as clever and hard working as you is huff gasoline, it ensures they never will be.
There were many artist, I'm not talkin about rappers - I'm talkin about artists, growin up in my world you had to have something to turn to, something that would take your mind off reality. My father escaped through the canvas, my mom was a singer. I'll tell you right now. Art is everything. Art is all around us. The way you walk, dress, talk. I don't let people I don't know or respect influence me. I live my own life, I speak my own life. This shit is just natural to me. I've been doing this rap shit since I was 9 years old before I even knew what rap was to rock and jazz beats. Its just my way of poetry, my way of expression. This is real shit. This is no chosen way of life. He deals the cards. I play them. I'm just releasing my thoughts my everyday life. I got nobody else to talk to. This ain't rap or hip hop, r&b or rock. This is Avatar Young Blaze, Avenue Avatar whatever the fuck you want to call me, I do what I like, I say what's on my mind, and that's it. It is what it is.
I wanna thank Rico of Shadow Company for helping make this happen and Avatar for the time! You can download Avatar Young Blaze latest mixtape Russian Revolution here.