We all have our struggles and the need to share them once in a while. Musicians are no different. Some of them try to create awareness about environmental problems or mental health. Some of them sing of broken hearts. Some of them are ready to lead a revolution with every track. ExZac Change and Matisse chose to fight day-to-dayness and the frustration of the nine-to-five routine. The winners of Rap Gods March 2019 Tournament are here to remind you what life is really about.
Baby Got More Than That
For a vast majority of people, Pacific Northwest hip-hop starts and ends with Sir Mix-A-Lot’s imperishable hit “Baby Got Back”. That’s not exactly fair considering what an enduring underground movement it is. Driven by sheer enthusiasm this genre keeps ongoing, sometimes bringing into the world Grammy-winning artists such as Macklemore.
Spokane’s duo of two emcees is a graphic example of what’s Northwest is all about, but that doesn’t remove its distinctive creative identity. This laid-back, old-school hip hop combined with humorous and naive skits is a perfect soundtrack for leaving all your troubles behind. Probably, that’s how ExZac Change and Matisse felt, leaving their boring jobs and dedicating themselves to music.
One of their records is called The Escape Plan, and that’s exactly what hip-hop has become for these guys. After working as door to door salesmen for a while they realized that there must be more to life than this. “We conceived the idea after one too many shitty days at our 9–5 jobs” — Iyzlow Matisse recalls, “and just wanted to use the music as a way to escape that, metaphorically and in reality, if it does well.”
This subject has eventually become the essence of their music. In many ways, they ridicule the concept of an involuntary daily grind with the help of the eloquent metaphors, such as an image of men trying to escape the rat race. And all of that with a lip-smacking flavor of weed that runs through their whole work. A big fat joint is the very picture of their inspiration and the whole attitude towards life.
Work Hard, Play Harder
That said, ExZac Change and Matisse do know how to relax, but when it comes to music, they keep it strictly professional. You can see it with the creative progress they went through from their first record to their last album.
With The Great Outdoors, they broke the new musical ground, the more complex and refined one — both instrumentally and vocally. Their secret is to create music you want to listen to yourself. “I have always said, I make music ‘cause I didn’t like the shit I was hearing, and I wanted to hear some dope shit.” — Matisse says. “If you made it for you and you think it’s dope, chances are others will too ‘cause it’s real. Don’t get caught up in following trends for fame… Do you.”
The sincerity of music is a key point for the duo that hasn’t got into music for the sake of fame. Answering how he thinks the scene could change for the better in his town, Matisse anticipates people taking time to hone what they do.
“It isn’t just an issue in my town,” — he emphasizes, “part of the issue with hip-hop on a grand scale is too many people picking up a mic ‘cause it’s cool to do, not ‘cause they actually have shit to say. Take pride in what you do and let that show in the music. Any idiot can rhyme some words and get stage time. No Bueno.”
The Proper Dream
To sum it up, it seems that ExZac Change and Matisse achieved The American Dream — but a better, purified one. You can be anyone you want to be, and do anything you want to do, and no amount of other people’s opinions can ever stop you. Just always keep in mind what life is really about and never waste it on the sings you don’t love. Amen.