There’s a new EP from MC Whiteowl and beatmaker FATCATHAYZE 156 on the way soon, Fill In The Blanks. Until then, we’re proud to premiere the video for the latest single, Keep Calm, with guest raps from L.I.F.E. Long. Watch above, then read our short interview with the crew.
Tell us about the new EP, Fill In The Blanks. How did that come about?
[MC Whiteowl]: Fill in the Blanks is a concept that invites the listener to become a participant in the project. Hayze and I make music that sticks to the traditional script of Hip-Hop that we were both raised on. The beats are Boom bap and Hayze digs for these records. I write all of the lyrics and there’s a formal message buried in everything. We know the message that we’re trying to tell folks, but they don’t always get it. Peep the track Credit, and understand that we’re passing down vital information in these times.
But buried in the lyrics are a lot of puns and detailed word play. Keep Calm is a party track, but there’s still a message. In terms of the creative process, and the music, people assume that Fill in The Blanks is simply a formal invite. What we’re saying though is; “hey, we made this and we know it’s dope. Listen to it and enjoy and make your assumption”.
Hayze and I began working on this project almost immediately following the release of our last EP, Beatz Rhymez Drugz. That project sparked a nice buzz and we had a chance to do some things that we both always wanted to do. We were guests on both the now defunct Halftime Radio Show, and Rap Is Outta Control with DJ Eclipse. I used to intern at Wild Pitch for Eclipse, so to be featured on the Halftime Show was definitely something on my bucket list. We were also guests at ShowOff Radio with Statik Selektah.
[FATCATHAYZE 156]: We definitely feel that this is a cohesive body of work—thankfully everything just fell nicely into place. From subject matter, direction and the overall sound, everything clicked – it’s very well balanced.
I’m always intrigued by the creative process behind emcee/producer projects. How do you guys work – in person, or via email?
[MC Whiteowl]: We work in person…we’ve been friends since 2014. I heard his music first. His beats are dope, but after further research, I realized that he had worked with the group Cause & Effect (Mighty Buda and Shabazz See)—these guys make great music. Hayze and I are both New York heads. We were probably both downtown in Manhattan in the ‘90s, a couple blocks away from each other and we never knew it. We share similar views on many things. Hayze makes the beats, I think of the song concepts and write the rhymes, and DJ Fred Ones does the engineering and the cuts. Hayze and Fred are my family, and I can count on them to stay focused. And they’ll always be honest with me if something isn’t sounding right. I like to spazz out in the studio, and I can depend on these brothers to keep everything properly structured.
[FATCATHAYZE 156]: Whiteowl and I work live and direct. We don’t live too far from each other which makes it easy for us to link and make music. We’ll link and I’ll play a snippet disc in the whip. Whatever he likes, I’ll send ‘em over the track so he can start penning his lyrics. In most instances I’ll play joints in the studio and have ‘em write on the spot. We usually get a good vibe goin’ this way. Once he’s ready to hit the both, we’ll interrupt our trusty engineer from his union break so he can get working [laughs]. Huge shout To Fred Ones! He plays a huge part in our creative process, and one of the few engineers I trust with my sound.
MC Whiteowl; you’ve worked a lot with Statik Selektah. Do you go back a long way, or is it a working relationship that’s developed more recently, as your fan base has grown?
[MC Whiteowl]: I was first introduced to Statik in 2013 by a mutual friend. He’s a phenomenal deejay and an extremely talented producer. He produced the track Rollin on my first solo album, Higher Intelligence. I hit ‘em up last year and I was very lucky to work with him on another three joints; One Chance, Slave, and No Interference, which will all be featured on my upcoming solo LP, Born Yesterday.
What’s next after the new album?
[MC Whiteowl]: My solo album, Born Yesterday, is finished and I’m just finalizing the cover. There’s production from Statik, Hayze, DJ Fred Ones, Wann Sklobi (Certain.Ones) and Jakk Wonders. I have some dope guest features lined-up too, including Akbar, Bobby Craves, L.I.F.E. Long, Mook Neto, Rhinoceros Funk, and Serge Boogie.
[FATCATHAYZE 156]: I have an instrumental album in its mastering phase, as well as a compilation in the works (among other things). Both projects are set to drop before the end of the year.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about the new video for Keep Calm. It looked like a fun shoot. Are those real beers though?
[MC Whiteowl]: The video was shot live in NYC, and The Dead Poet on Amsterdam Ave. And yup, the beers were real—no O’Doul’s over here. Shouts to everybody that made it possible, especially K.C., John, Emzkey 1, Hayze and L.I.F.E. Long. Blessings and Hip-Hop to all. Shouts to Grown Up Rap! Hit me here to pre-order physical copies of Fill in the Blanks, and my solo project, Born Yesterday: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[FATCATHAYZE 156]: It was a great day indeed with my brothers!