R-mean is just a humble kid working hard chasing his dreams. He was blessed
with a talent and he's trying to use it not only to his advantage but to help
others as well by having people relate to what he's saying. R-mean is an emcee
who's all about breathing some fresh air back into the game cuz Hip Hop is in
need of it.
How was it growing up in the Netherlands?
Europe in general is cool cuz the government takes care of its people more than
over here. I was born in Cali but we moved out there before I was even a year
old cuz my dad started a business over there. But then he passed away when I
was only one, but my mom still chose to stay over there just cuz as a single
mom life would've been a lot harder in the States. So from that perspective
is was good, but I always felt LA is my home though. In Holland there's a real
defined distinction between who's Dutch and who's not. It's not a melting pot
like out here. Every race can say they're American, know what I'm sayin'. But
as a foreigner in Holland you get discriminated against and I always felt that
a lot as a kid. I love my people out there to death though.
How was the
Hip Hop scene over there?
I moved back to LA in '98 and up to that time hip hop really wasn't that big
out there but it was fresh. That was another reason I always felt outcasted
cuz I was one of the only kids at school with baggy jeans bumping wu-tang in
my walkman. So the scene was real underground and small but it was good though.
Cuz whatever scene there was, was all about the real shit. The raw shit. I remember
going to all these underground hip hop parties and shows like Jeru the Damaja,
Das Efx, The Liks. And it was all love. Nobody was trying prove something. The
crowd was just showing love. I don't think I ever been to a show in the States
that was that pure. All that shit influenced me into the way I see hip hop today.
What made you come to the states?
Well, like I said I was born here and I always felt this is my home so it was
only a matter of time till we would move back. But my mom wanted us to graduate
high school so we stayed there till after I graduated and came back.
What album do
you look at as making you fall in love with Hip Hop?
Hard to Earn by Ganstarr - without a doubt. That album litterly changed my life.
It taught me what real Hip Hop was. From then on it was all Hip Hop for me.
When did you
begin to fully focus on Hip Hop?
I been Hip Hop for as long as I can remember but I think I was about 13-14 when
I got that Gangstarr tape and from then on Hip Hop was the main thing in my
life. I started digging deeper into the music myself and discovered KRS, Tribe,
Wu and all that and I realized that was it. This was all way before I started
emceeing myself though. See nowadays everybody and their mama rap but it wasn't
like that back then, especially where i grew up. I never really thought I could
be a part of Hip Hop in that way till one day I was listening to the "Paparazzi"
instrumental from Xzibit and for some reason I started writing some shit to
it. For a while I actually kept it a secret cuz I felt embarrassed but when
people finally heard me they said it was actually not that bad. But it wasn't
till I met Blind (my producer) out here in LA that I really started taking it
seriously. By then I was already like 19.
Where are you based out of now?
I'm in LA man. Glendale to be specific. Bringing some lyricism to the west coast,
What have you
released so far?
For a few years I been releasing some shit locally but it wasn't until about
2 years ago that I dropped a mixtape that got my name out locally. The 'Back
on Track" Pentagon mixtape Vol.1 And then just recently I dropped my first
real project. My debut album "BROKEN WATER". It's all done independently
by ourselves, so there's only so much we can do without help from major companies
but out here in LA it's been creating a mad buzz already. The album is just
straight fire honestly. It's real personal and it shows a lot of different styles
but it all comes back to raw Hip Hop. Real lyrics, sick beats, but still with
good hooks and good song concepts. See I'm all about the real shit but don't
get it twisted, I'm here to sell records. I just gotta do it the right way.
I gotta stay true to myself and I feel I owe it to Hip Hop to do it the right
way. Quality music is quality music and I know if one day God willing the right
people hear my shit it'll blow up. If not I'll just keep doing what I'm doing
right now cuz I'm loving the love I'm getting from the underground anyway. Like
Big L said "I love to hear cars cruise by bumping my shit!"
are you working on now?
I'm doing a lotta things right now. I'm really pushing the album but I just
keep recording left and right. I'm working on an album with my man Teo right
now. He's a reggae vocalist who brings that real '70s roots reggae and when
we blend that with Hip Hop the sound just becomes so unique it's unheard of
in Hip Hop. Besides that I'm just trying to hit up the mixtapes and work with
a lotta different people. My drops been getting mad play on LA's top Hip Hop
radio station POWER 106. On my debut I purposely did not get any emcees as guest
appearances cuz I felt I had to prove I could do a classic without the help
of nobody. Now that that's done I'm moving on. I been cool with Chino XL for
a while now so we gon' be doing some shit together real soon. And in the meantime
I'm trying to hit up the labels to take this shit to the next level.
Who is Blind and how did you link up with him?
Blind is my producer. His cousin was an old family friend of mine and when he
heard me rapping one day he hooked us up. Me and Blind started Pentagon with
me on the mic and him lacing the beats. He fell victim to a drive-by shooting
in Pasadena, CA back in '92. He got shot in the face, chest, and back and completely
lost his eyesight. After that he got into making beats.
Who else is in your crew?
After a while Teo , the reggae singer, joined me and Blind. He's not only a
singer though. He's involved in every aspect of the creativity and all three
of us just work at everything together at whatever we do. R-mean, Blind, and
Teo is Pentagon. A sick emcee, a Blind producer, and a very unique reggae singer
put together makes a crazy team dawg. The game is ready for something fresh,
something new. And that's what we gon' bring.
do you look for in a beat?
I don't think I can exactly pinpoint what I look for but it just needs to spark
a certain emotion as soon as I hear it. I love that dark grimy shit. That's
my favorite shit, but I also feel the lighter stuff as long as it's bangin'.
do you want to work with?
Right now I'm working with my man Blind who has the more raw sound and my man
Humbl' Sohl who really brings a more industry sound though still real hard.
So I got a crazy production team already. But I would obviously love to work
with all the great ones man. Of course Dre - the best in the history. It would
be a dream to work with Premier. And then of course Alchemist, Havoc, Pete Rock,
Scott Storch, Kanye really anyone who has hot shit honestly.
Where can Heads
check out your music?
My website is www.r-mean.com. I'm also on www.myspace.com/r-mean.
Yall can listen to the whole new album at www.cdbaby.com/r-mean. And hopefully
right here in the audio section of hiphopgame.com nah-mean!
Just big up to everyone who's been supporting R-mean and Pentagon. The fans
been showing mad love lately and that's real.
Throw your fives up! One.