I got a chance to catch up with Los Angeles-based emcee Geo Brown, who is a strong part of the "New West Movement" that is taking over Southern California's underground hip-hop scene. Geo has been working hard behind the scenes with Noni Spitz, Bishop Lamont, and several other artists in the fluorishing rap community that is known as the South Bay.
Crooked Straight: There's a lot of people that have been watching you closely since you started doing shows and appearing on mixtapes. What should we look for in the near future from you?
Geo Brown: I stay working. I'm currently putting the finishing touch on my street album titled "No Fall Back," which is an original production based project. The title is true to life for me. For me to say "No Fall Back" is me saying it's 'this or nothing,' not saying that I'm not capable of anything else but this is where my heart is. The project is gonna be crazy, I got some real fresh features on it. I got my boy Mykestro, Stressmattic of the group Federation, Mike Ant, Chevy Jones, and a few others. I really wanted to collab with artists that would compliment my overall theme to my album. I'm not with just doing a song with an artist just to say I did a song with them so everybody complimented the record they were featured on. Also, I recently did a song on the Tupac Assassination Soundtrack to the Tupac Assassination Movie. That's out in stores everywhere and on iTunes Music. I also did a song on my boy Bishop Lamont's Caltroit Metropolis dropping soon. I'm scheduled to drop a mixtape titled "Back To The Future" thats gonna be me and my big homie Noni Spitz. "No Fall Back" is scheduled to drop mid-spring towards the summer. So look out for all that.
Crooked Straight: It sounds like you've been moving with a lot of the right people. Are there any other artists that you have been working with besides the ones you just mentioned?
Geo Brown: The people I've been working with are Bishop Lamont, Mykestro, Bad Lucc, Stressmatic of Federation, Chevy Jones, Mike Ant, Noni Spitz, Prime, Indef. Also as far as producers, Dae One, Dame Taylor Diverse, Numba 9, Jared "Jedi" Moore, man I could keep going.
Mike Ant, Bishop Lamont, Geo Brown, E-40, Taje
Crooked Straight: So what else do you have planned for 2008?
Geo Brown: I got success and progress on everything planned for 2008, I really wanna see my company IGM (Infinite Grind Movement) really take off. Theres a lot of things me and my crew wanna see happen. I wanna focus on seeing the west coast progress and do big things. Its been a long time coming but the time is now. Just trying to make money out of music. Fuck working a nine-to-five!
Crooked Straight: You say that it's been a long time coming for the west coast. How do you feel about the overall health of the hip-hop game right now?
Geo Brown: Man, hip-hop is on life support. I can get off on so many issues right now but I would rather speak on it briefly and keep pushin'. Basically there is too much of one element in the game. It's okay to have your dance records, it's okay to have your street records, it's even okay to have your non-rappin' lame records, but at the moment there is just one big category of generic music. Only one region has a light, thats not a good look at all. And I'm not just saying that because I'm from the west coast, but damn...I mean don't you think there is plenty of talent in other places? What, the east coast stop having dope lyrics? Did the west stop making real street, true-to-life, good sounding music? No. But they wanna make it seem so. Anyway, I think all of that is the problem, too many songs about the same thing. No diversity. The labels have lowered their standards to make a buck.
Crooked Straight: I feel what you're saying, and I agree that the game seems stagnant right now but how can hip-hop music pull itself out of this state of mediocrity?
Geo Brown: I think the fans of hip-hop need to demand more. Don't settle for this garbage that you're being oversaturated with. Take a stand against it, request that real shit. Get in tune with the underground scene, a lot of people hear the word "undergorund" and get turned off. There's all types of underground music, it just means these are the undiscovered talents that don't have major deals or deals period. Understand that 'good music is good music.' Give these up-and-coming artists a chance. Coming up on the west coast is hard because everybody does this (raps) and really shouldn't. When they hear your music its never "Damn this is dope," it's more like "Man, who did that beat? Aye, I rap too." So that gotta stop.
Crooked Straight: So what differentiates yourself from other emcees? What are you doing to get ahead of the pack?
Geo Brown: I never do anything else but music, no matter where I am I think about a line to put in a song or I'm thinking of a hook. When you draw from inspiration you never stop. When I'm not focused on either of those two, well I'm thinking of different ways to market myself. I might go out or even hit the club but I'm getting to know the owner and the DJ's to do a show or something.