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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fly Candy (The Men that Fly Women Adore): Concise of 211 Entertainment

By day he's a clean cut, easy going Cornell alumn who works in sales. By night, Kenan is better known as a 'Concise', a producer and rap artist, who may one day give Kanye a run for his money. Forget college drop out. This ivy-league underground hip-hop sensation makes college sexy. He and I recently chatted about his thoughts on music, inspiration, and of course, women.

Ike: So how does an engineering major at Cornell become a hip hop artist?

Concise: Good question. I was doing hip-hop during high school and stuff. I got into engineering by default based on the fact that I was good at it. Pretty much in high school I was really good at math and science. Engineering kind of fell into place.

Ike: You were producing in high school?

Concise: Yes. Middletown, where I grew up, there's a bunch of talent out there for some reason. My boy showed me the framework for making beats and I pretty much taught myself. There are beats that I made in high school that people still want to use today. There were always people recording, younger people, older people, and I would make beats for them. I wasn’t making any money or anything I was just doing it strictly out of the love it.

Ike: So 211 was formed at Cornell, how did that come about?

Concise: I basically brought my music to my boys. When I was in high school I made beats for local artists and I kind of got a buzz around my town and when I first arrived at Cornell I had a cd full of beats and I showed my boys, which happened to be K Words and Cheekz and a bunch of other people.

Ike: Speaking of 211, any connection with the beer?

Concise: It’s funny that you know about that. Kevin’s [K-Words] room was 211 in Risley Hall and that’s how we got our name.

Ike: You're pretty prolific, how do you stay inspired?

Concise: I listen to so much music That’s a good way to get a temperature check on what you’re doing. You have to constantly be digesting stuff and engaging different ideas. You can’t sit in your own world. My dad was always playing soul records so that influenced my work. Marvin, the Supremes, Sade, Anita Baker. I love all of it.

Ike: So explain 211Entertainment to me; the concept, the sound, and the performers.

Concise: After freshman year, we [K-words and Concise] introduced different people to the group. I met Slangston Hughes on the track team. We kind of vibed and he was making tracks in high school. He was mad talented and that’s how he got involved. We met IZZO, the white dude, at a free style battle. We started moving more as a unit. We put out an album. That we don’t even talk about. It was called chapter 2 verse 11. We were just excited be making something so it was cool.

Ike: Wait, would you let me hear one track?

Concise: You could here one track. There's one song on there that's cool.

Ike: (smile) Okay, keep going.

Concise: It used to be Concise and k.Words, now we go as Jackie Rob. We are known as the duo sort of like Outkast…. Izzo was sort of like on the commercial, party tip. Slangston Hughes was original, on some fusion, punk-rock, hardcore early nineties rap with a fresh twist. and we could all spit.

Now 211 it sort of like myself, K-Words, Slangtston Hughes. We pride ourselves in trying to be different, walking that fine line between being down to earth and larger than life. A lot of stuff is influenced by soulful smooth sounds like funk and r&b and also edgy stuff like punk rock. It’s all based on the stuff we sample and the music we take in. True to life is the musical culture of 211 Entertinament. 211 is the umbrella company. It may spread into different things… fashion, tv, promoting parties.

True to life reflects a philosophy about life. Being well read and educated and meeting different types of people. We speak on a lot of aspirations and the plight of under priviledged black people. A lot of it is very opinionated views… I try to personalize it. I don’t want anyone to be able to say my verse and have it apply to them. A lot of stuff that's out now is very cliché, microwave factory. You can take rapper A's verse, rapper B's second verse, and rappers C's beat and rearrange it sort of like Mr. Potato Head and come up with the next song.

Ike: I have to ask this. Do you have groupies?

Concise: I don’t like to call any girl a groupie per say but there are fans…. We’re not big enough to have straight up groupies, but we def have girls that feel the music a little extra than others… It comes with it.

Ike: So what type of woman stands out in the crowd then?

Concise: The first thing I notice is overall appearance, gear. I’m really big on eyes and shoes. It’s hard because I like different types of women, but I’m really big on girly girls; ladies who are very classy and sexy. And physical attributes, like toned, I’m an athlete and I like to see that reciprocated.

Ike: Wow, I notice you didn't even mention personality!

Concise: Oh! I thought you were just talking about appearances. No, personality is a lot more important to me. If I can chill and be funny . If I can get a long with a woman in that sense.

Ike: So what are your plans for the future?

Concise: Some of the stuff we have on lock stash is crazy right now. I feel we are the most talented rappers out there now. I’m really feeling ourselves. I feel like the music speaks for itself. But there’s not too many people out there that can mess with us.

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