Location: Inglewood, CA
Urbansteez.com: So Tell everybody where you're from and what you represent musically?
I'm from Inglewood, CA. The City of Champions. And the real Inglewood...a lot of people claim to be from Inglewood and they live on the Los Angeles outskirts of Inglewood. Just because your house is close to Slauson Ave doesn't mean you live in Inglewood. I live off Centinela and Beach, zip code 90302...Mapquest it *laughs*.
Urbansteez.com: Lol yea real talk!! Describe your sound?
Shawn: A lot of people will take this question and say 'oh my style is different...its a mix between this person and this person..blah blah blah' but in reality, of course your sound is going to be different because its you who is making it. Musical sound is like a fingerprint, everyone who does music is different. Sure there may be similarities, but nothing identical.
Like, instruments haven't changed. They haven't invented new instruments last time i checked, yet music keeps progressing; that's due to new people finding out new ways to use these instruments.
I just try to do things that most people don't do. I have a song called "Position" that is dedicated to my mom, and within the beat i used a John Mayer sample (oh yeah I do all my own beats by the way). But on top of the John Mayer sample I have 808 drums. For those of you who don't know, 808s are the type of drums that bring in the bass, that are mostly used for like club songs; the shit that rattle your trunk-the Lil Jon shit.. So its like i have a song dedicated to my mom, I sample John Mayer--so it couldn't get anymore soulful, then i add 808s to it. Like come on, no one else is doing shit like that right now
Urbansteez.com: Being from Inglewood, what have you learned in the streets and how did you manage to have your unique sound being from the west coast?
Shawn: The one thing about Inglewood is that there are so many different levels of people that live in the same city, from poor to rich--and you don't get that in a lot of other cities; that type of diversity. So growing up, I was in like a upper middle class area, but a lot of my friends lived on the other side of Centinela, which is basically where all the bloods are. I hate to interject, but you know that scene in the movie "The Wood" where they're walking in the liquor store to get gum, and as they're walking in a dude who's standing outside the store says "what up blood?" then like the main character takes his hat off...*laughs*...yeah that store is literally like that, and its 3 blocks away from where I lived.
But I say that to say growing up I was around everything. I was a nerd so I was at school on time, I did my homework, and after school I'd walk home and watch cable. But on the weekends, I would ride my bike to my friends houses and they would live on the south-side of Centinela, so I would see all kinds of stuff. But that just helped me realize that I didn't want any part of that; like they are my good friends, and good to keep around just incase i need some muscle at some point, but when it came time to write music, I could only talk about my life and what I personally have done and not what I've seen.
Urbansteez.com: Well said!! Tell us what's new , what you have lined up for us?
Shawn: Well i dropped an EP entitled "No One Knows You". It's really dope, and I'm not just saying that because I did it. Like, if someone else made this EP I'd be like, "damn...I wish I would've made something like this. How does he do it?!" So I'm pretty sure every other person is thinking the same when they hear it too.
No but, the EP is really good, and I urge everyone to get it if you like new fresh music. I think what people are confused about is the whole meaning of "Hip Hop". There are so many talented artist coming out right now, but truthfully I'm not feeling too many of them because I think they all have this mindset of "you gotta be true to Hip Hop, and bring Hip Hop back to where it used to be" and all that bullshit. But, its like "why?" Like, why do I have to rhyme over soul samples and wear a Jansport backpack full of CDs that I handout to be considered "Hip Hop"? So many rappers are set on trying to recreate "Illmatic" and "Reasonable Doubt" its ridiculous.
Let's take Hip Hop where it hasn't been before. That to me is the true definition of Hip Hop; and thats me. Thats my EP. Hip Hop. I rhyme and produce my own music. That's Hip Hop.
Urbansteez.com: What's in your stereo right now?
Shawn: Me. Oh and N.E.R.D. That 'Seeing Sounds' record is really good and really well put together. And then some European music like Peter Fox, Schiller. My girl is like broadening my musical horizons; have me listening to Radio Head, The Perishers, Nina Simone, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson...all kinds. Oh and, believe it or not, I'm still listening to Kanye's "Freshman Adjustment" mixtape that came out in '02. The second best mixtape ever, under The Drought 3.
Urbansteez.com: That's wassup!! Who in the future would you want to collaborate with and why?
Shawn: No one really. Not that I don't want to, but trying to do songs with people in the past has shown me that I should just stick to myself, and if I want to work with someone, i'll just sample their acapellas and throw them on a hook.
That's only because people don't value relationships anymore. I sent songs to all kinds of artist because i really wanted to unite Inglewood because we have so much good music coming out of the city. And they pretended like they were enthusiastic about it then I never heard from them again, so fuck it. I work with myself.
You not gonna see me in a "The Game" situation, where I have a song like "This is How We Do" with someone who used my be my friend, now I hate him and i still have to go out and perform 'our' song together and look like an idiot. No way.
Urbansteez.com: In your opinion where is hip hop today?
Shawn: Hip Hop is a lot better now that I'm getting the notoriety that I think I deserve. And Charles Hamilton as well.
What I mean by that is, the era of the regular rapper is over. Rappers who do nothing but rap, and don't produce they're own stuff are wack to me. Not the ones who are already in the game because they don't know any better; however, the ones coming up in the game now who just show up to the studio like "ok I'm here, what songs do you have for me?" That shit is wack, and is almost done for. Really, how hard is it to take a piano class or two and learn some damn scales and make your own beats? Like really, show the listener that you actually put time and effort into the music. Not just wrote three verses and went home and played Xbox.
By 2010 the regular rapper will be extinct.
Urbansteez.com: I can dig that, learn every aspect of your craft.. Tell us your celebrity Crush?
Shawn: It used to be Lauren London. Now its my girlfriend...haha.
Urbansteez.com: Good answer lol!! Im going to get a lil personal, so people can see your vision...Give me you definition of " Wifey"?
Shawn: Someone who will be there for you at all times no matter what. If you told her that you lost it all and have to go flip burgers at McDonalds and she wouldn't even think twice about it, just pack the boxes and move from the house to a one room apartment, that's "wifey".
It has nothing to do with looks or anything like that, because at the end of the day all you need is someone to be there for you.
Urbansteez.com: So how can fans and business heads reach you?
Shawn: Fans can hit my Myspace page at myspace.com/ShawnChrystopher They can visit ShawnChrystopher.net...or they can even personally send me their messages via AOL Instant Messenger, screen name: ShawnChrystopher. I check the messages as much as I can, and i get a lot of love from people.
Urbansteez.com: And how , where and when can we go cop that LP ?
Shawn: You can get my debut EP "No One Knows You" at ShawnChrystopher.net, my myspace page, Big Cartel.com, AmazonMP3, Rhapsody, IMEEM, and it will be available on iTunes first week October for all you Apple users. I had to get clearances on some of the samples before I put it on iTunes, but we're all good now.
Urbansteez.com: Any Shot Outs?
Shawn: My mom, my lil sister, my grandma, my crew D.I.B. (Do it Boys), my girlfriend...I love you...umm Jesse Fredd Jr. from LRG Clothing, Zaire from Mile High, Mels at Married2theGame.com, Josh and Justin over at The4thQuarter.net, and everyone else who supports me as a person and as an artist.