Saturday, January 31, 2015


Who are you? Where Are you from Etc?

Yolonda Lavender
Kalamazoo, Michigan

2.Now Miss lavender, how long have you been a vocalist? not to show age but what year did you start?

Started singing when in the church choir when I was 5. Started singing professionally in 2005.

3.What was the moment you fell in love with music or earliest recollection of music?

Music has always been a part of my life. My family is very musically inclined. I remember my dad teaching me Rappers Delight and making beats on the table at dinner time. I remember there was always something playing while we would be cleaning up or just around the house. Everything from gospel, soul, r&b, etc. Music has always been a part of me!

3.Who are some of your influences and what have you adopted from each into your signature style and brand?

My mom sings and she is a huge influence.
I'm really inspired by artists who have found a way to maintain who they are and not lose that while doing what they love. Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Galdys Knight, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Sade, all those legends and I really relate to Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone,  and those who used their art to motivate change, talk about something with substance and assist people in keeping their head up and being confident at a time when it was difficult to do so. 

4.I wanted to congratulate you on your graduation, and i notice you do alot of work in the community within our culture and heritage, In your surroundings what are some things you can see that needs to change as far as community unity etc?

Thanks! There's a lot that needs to change but the one thing I want to encourage artists to do is be mindful of their impact. As an artist you have a responsibility everytime you get behind that mic. Be intentional about using your artistry to empower, uplift, educate, inspire change and create good vibes and energy. That's so important!

5.What is the local scene like where you live ?

t's great! We've got an amazing art scene in Kalamazoo. It's a city that embraces art and I'm grateful for that. My wish is for the embracing of diverse forms of art, diversity in art and supporting local artist to increase.

6.What was the moment or event that you noticed or realized you have a talent for your craft that you wanted to pursue you gift?

One was when I was 14 and the choir director at church said that I needed to be in the adult choir because at that time youth were not allowed to sing in the adult choir. So I knew then that God was using me and the gift He gave me. Another was in 2007 I think. One day I went to the studio with my label mates from Truth Tone Records after they had been asking me repeatedly to come, lay down some vocals and just try it out. I finally went. I remember stepping in the booth, putting on the head phones and immediatley being hooked! From that point on I started to record more, perform more and the rest is history. 

7.What inspires you o create and does the local scene affect your creative process?

I'm inspired by what happens all around me every day. Sometimes that involves the local scene and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I create based on topics like love, family, relationships and sometimes I create based on my frustration with police brutality or the prison industrial complex or disparities in education and health and sometimes it can be as simple as me being proud of how nappy my hair is or loving the color of my skin. What's around me inspires me.  

8. What are some of your current projects and where can we find them?

iTunes has my first EP Soul Artistry and my first full length album The Genres of Me. Both are also available on Amazon, Spotify, Rhapsody and CD Baby. 

9.What are some of your future projects and which ones are you looking forward to most?

By the end of March I plan to release a project that's going to be live remakes of songs I've previously recorded. I'm super excited about it! I've work with some amazing musicians from around the country and it's gonna be dope! I wanna do a Christmas EP and also by the end of 2015 another full length album because I've been writing SO MUCH and have been experiencing SO MUCH that I've gotta get matched with some music and get out!

10.Which do you feel the most excitement or captivated by performances or recording ?

Performances for sure because the energy of the people is right there and we just feed off of one another. It's amazing! Also for me, the stage is the equivalent of a couch in a therapists office. That's where I get it all out. For me that's exciting and I'm grateful for it. 

11.What is your creative process like? I am a producer but love hearing the creative process from artist to producers?

My creative process is that I just do it! I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and just write something that wouldn't let me rest. When something happens I document it right away. When I just need to release something I just record it in the moment. Sometimes I write to beats, sometimes I write lyrics and find music that fits it. Sometimes I convey to a musician or producer what I feel or want and they nail it. It all just depends. But I've learned to just do it and let if flow, not to stifle that process is important. 

12.Do you represent any companies or labels? if so who are they and how long have you been established with them?

Truth Tone Records is an independent label based out of Kalamazoo, MI that was established in 2005. I've been rockin with them since the beginning. My cousin Kevin Lavender Jr. is the CEO and we're all a family. For us it's about so much more than the music. We're intentional about using the art for engagement with youth, community and so much more. 

13.What separates you and your brand from every one else as an artist?

I am the art. It's a direct reflection of who I am as a person. I could never be in it for anything that's not genuine because that's not me. I'm gonna write songs that reflect what's happening around me and it's going to be relevant to the climate of our world and I'm gonna do it in a way that makes people think about themselves, what role they're playing and what they can do to make some things happen. And I'm putting out art that allows that to happen for a grandmother of 12 who lived through the Civil Rights Movement and a 12 year old young lady who needs to know that she's valuable, worthy and can do and be anything she wants, and everyone in between. 

14.What if more than one is the message you work to convey to the world and your fans?
ove. peace. and God. 

15.What are some jewels that you would like to pass along for aspiring artists that you have learned in your career?

Be true to you. If you're not in it for the love then please don't do it. 

16.How can we stay connected to you?

FB,(Yolonda of Truth Tone Records) Twitter-@YosSOULARTISTRY, IG,@yossoulartistry YouTube-yogilavender Reverbnation-Yolonda Lavender Soundcloud-Yolonda Lavender 

16.Do you have any special thanks or shout outs that you'd like to give feel free to do so?

My family especially my parents for introducing me to music early.
Truth Tone Records
my fellow laborers of the art, keep creating!
all those who support me and my work...thank you!
7.Any final thoughts or words to the readers?
Love God, love others, love yourself.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


1. Whats good family, Now I know how u get down at your chosen craft but for those who may be unfamiliar feel free to introduce yourself?

 I first want to thank you,  for the opportunity for this interview,  and I'm honored brother!  My name is DJ T Soul,  I have 2 shows on Smashmouth FM, Every Sunday from 4-8 pm est,  I rock "Lost Vintage Soul" for that throwback,  rare, and popular Soul music from 60's,  70's and 80's!  And every Tuesday,  I have "Beats, Rhymes and Life" from 9-11 pm est. I rock that True School,  boom bap, Soulful Hip Hop! 

2.What was the moment you feel in love with music? 

As far as I can remember fam! I was always intrigued with the music aspect of things,  example, I'm a 70's kid, so when my dad would bring home Marvin,  Earth, Wind and Fire, Ohio Players,  etc, I wanted to know who was playing the instruments,  produced it, and so on, this was at a very early age! So there isn't one moment,  it's a collage of moments! 

3.How long have you been a DJ not to show age but what year did you start? 

Hahaha, I'm proud of my age, I'm 44! Been dealing with DJ ing off and on since 1986. The first that rulled Hip Hop was the DJ! So I always admired the DJ, and back then they rocked the crowds all night! Shout out JMJ, Flash, Caz, Grandmaster Dee, Jazzy Jeff, Theodore,  Terminator X, Anice(Trenton NJ), Scratch, Kid Capri, Charlie Chase, etc! Those names are Legends!

4,What is the local scene like where you live currently? 

I love the scene here in NC, there is a lot of True School artists here that are talented, really talented! So many functions,  that I can't keep up,  hahaha, but that's how it should be! The only thing I wished for is for all of these artists would link up and support each other. Other hip hop artists from North Carolina include L.E.G.A.C.Y., The Away Team, Darien Brockington, Edgar Allen Floe, Chaundon and Cesar Comanche (all of the Jusus League collective), as well as Kaze, Ski, Travis Cherry, Troop 41, Lazarus, Thee Tom Hardy, The Beast, Bryce Snow, Harvey Blount and The Nobodies. Brotha Soul and Supastition, and of course you know of Jamla Records, Big Remo, Act Proof, Rapsody,  Soul Council,  9th Wonder,  and others. Kooley High, J Cole,  Watkinz Da General,  Idriys Da God,  many others that I'm forgetting,  so the scene is loaded and beautiful! 

5.In your opinion what is the difference between a rapper and MC? 

A rapper is an artist without substance,  just writing bs, and want to blend in with the rest. An emcee, is what the God Rakim said,  "Moves the crowd" has substance,  has the ability of the art of moving butts! 

6.What are some of your pet peeves about the state of hip hop currently?

 I have a number of pet peeves,  hahaha, one is people are so quick to label a new artist king of throne without a proper body of work! Nah, you have to put in work to claim the throne,  another thing is this Iggy bs about people being upset about white artist getting all the love and Hip Hop has a long history with Great White artists in the game! Don't get me wrong the Iggy bs is not on my radar,  I don't get down with that bs, but now I'm hearing white are now benefitting from Hip Hop as pertaining to artistry,  I'm confused because I rock with Moka Only,  3rd Bass, Paul C (RIP), Brother Ali, Beastie Boys,  EL P, Action Bronson,  RA, the rugged man, and these artists are True School Hip Hop! Period! 

7.Who are some of your influences as a DJ? 

Anice, Babu,  A-Track, Rob Swift, Cash Money, Scratch, Mix Master Mike, Roc Raida,  Qbert, Father Shaheed,  Terminator X, Jazzy Joyce, Tim Westwood,  Marley, Marl, Red Alert, Awesome 2, Stretch Armstrong,  Bobbitto,  Pete Rock, Premier,  Tony Touch,  JMJ, Caz, GM Dee, Jazzy Jeff,  Theodore,  Kid Capri,  Bambaataa,  Kool Herc!

8.What are some things that you find artists today are lacking? 

Originality!  You can be dope, but different at the same time! That is why The Golden Era from 1986-1996 you had so many dope, creative music! It was like a competition between producers to see who can be original,  and the emcees wanted to simply be the best! Don't get me wrong, you still have some that still do that but not getting the spin like it should. 

9.Explain the concept of the team you put together which I am a member of called the 5ive DV's, How did it come about? 

Well on my show Beats Rhymes and Life,  I interview the artists that I like, with you included and eventually some of the artists hung out during show in chat room and bonded, and this ties in with last question,  because I wanted to composed of a super group of producers that also emcee, and each individual brings something new, refreshing and dope to the table! We are bringing that Boom bap, Soulful Hip Hop to you every day,  all day!  The 5ive DV's consist of Nate OG,  Idriys Da God,  Watkinz Da General,  Reklist aka Rekonize and last but not least J Blacco! So be on the lookout for us some time this year with a new project for 2015! We did have a holiday project called "Soulful Greetings" you can get it here, if you haven't got it yet!

9.Who are some of your favorite artist?

 Phonte, Von Pea, Mindzeye,  Carolina Dirty, Amiri, Spectac,  5ive DV's,  Soul Council,  Madlib,  Pete Rock, Premier,  Rapsody, Edgar Allen Floe,  Alchemist,  Elzhi, Black Milk,  Rena, Daru, Def Dee, Moka Only, Jon Rogers, Mr Brady, ELPJ,  SkyBlew,  J Bels to name a few. 

10. Any advice for those aspiring into your chosen field? 

Stay true to yourself,  don't be influenced to deter by anyone. Have to be willing to work hard at your craft, don't expect anyone to help you out, and expect to fall, it's about how you pick your self up! This game is a roller coaster ride, the  music is the easiest part, it's the business side that make an artist want to quit,  especially if they are making music of quality and substance. Don't stop, keep rocking!  Keep Rocking! 

11.Any special thanks if so place them here? 

Yes, you for giving me this opportunity,  My hometown of Trenton NJ,  home Poor Righteous Teachers,  all of NJ,  NY, PA, DC, VA,  Portland, Oregon,  all of NC, especially the RDU area! 5ive DV's,  My Smashmouth FM family,  DJ Daddy Raw, DJ Mpress,  DJ Dre Wills, DJ Ghost, Doc Strange and DJ 2 Fast, DJ RIC E Smith,  DJ Thomas Krowne,  DJ Luv Dlux,  DNA Sports, DJ Infinite,  DJ Taktixx,  DJ Daddy Dre, remember to check every day for the best in Soul,  and Hip Hop,  every night there is a live show and we have music running 24/7 on website. Also shout out to DJ G Lo aka G Money!  And course my family,  all across the board,  if it wasn't for them there wouldn't be no me!

12.What is True School Hip Hop to you and how do you define it?

 Simple answer.... Look into the mirror...What do you see? If you don't see Hip Hop,  then your not Hip Hop!  Real heads know what I'm talking about!  Peace

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


1.Whats good family, Now Im a huge fan and am blessed to do this interview. Now I know how ill and dope you are with you gift but for those who may be unfamiliar with  your work , feel free to introduce yourself?

Thank you fam...this is B-Side here. I am an Emcee, lyricist, father, film buff and music head, amongst many other things.
2. Now B-Side, thats an ill side and i can see the reason for the name but for those who may not know how did the name come about?

For a while I couldn't decide on an MC name. I went thru a couple early on but none of them stuck...shoot, I was Lil B before Lil B, haha. One day it just kind of came to me...I was heavy into vinyl and finding rare music. The b-side usually had the unreleased gem or the dope remix on it..."Rebel Without A Pause" and "How I Could Just Kill A Man" were both b-sides for example. Plus my first name is Brian, so I figured it described me: dope, super exclusive and a gem you really had to dig deep to find. So, boom...B-Side.

3.Now what was the moment you feel in love with music aka your brown sugar moment?

As far as hip-hop, I grew up in the 80s so I always heard it, but I felt like it spoke to me most the years of 1994 and 1995. Everything dropping was so ill and so different at that time. It wasn't afraid to say fuck the trends and do what it wanted. I felt like I was a part of it and was consumed by it. I think people who came of age between 1987 and 1995 are kind of spoiled and we have high standards for hip-hop.

4.How long have you been an MC not to show age but what year did you start?

I wrote my first rap when I was 9, and I'm pretty sure it was about the Ghostbusters, but it was just on some trying it out shit...although I will say the verse was probably neck in neck with Bobby Brown's verse about the same topic. I started writing raps right after Illmatic came out, like mid-1994, because I had a good vocabulary and wanted to see if I could do it. But I was terrified to actually do it in front of people for a few years. I think around 1998, my best friend Ro-D kept telling me I was dope and I should stop being so shy. Once I started seeing the reaction to my stuff, my confidence went thru the roof and I stuck with it.
5.Who are some of your influences and what have you adopted form their style to incorporate into you signature style?

Man...Nas, Biggie, Jeru, Gang Starr, Ice Cube, PE, Big L, Wu-Tang, Redman, Lord Finesse, Alkaholiks, Cypress Hill, Scarface, Beastie Boys, MF Doom, KRS, EPMD, Main Source, Boot Camp name it, anything from that era really, those are just off the top of the head. I kinda studied their rhyme schemes and cadences but figured out how my voice, delivery and breath control worked and gradually grew into my own individual style. Then once I started hearing more Detroit and Michigan MCs, I knew they were super-lyrical with ridiculous energy and I had to be dope as hell to even walk on to a stage. That's the mentality I keep, and that enables me to stay on my toes and never half-ass a verse. I listen to a lot of soul and funk too: Curtis Mayfield, Parliament Funkadelic, Stax, Motown, Sade, Hi Records stuff, etc. So I like my beats to be hard boom bap, soulful or funky.

6. What or when was the moment or event that you realized or felt you have this talent and that this was something you wanted to pursue? 

Probably the first time I heard a crowd say "OOOOOOHHH!!!" at a punchline, and when I saw people making the ugly face while I was spittin. That was pretty much it. I still love that feeling.

7.What is the local scene like where you live?

Busy. Filled with incredible talent and a fair amount of bullshit.

8,Does the local scene affect your creative process at all?

Somewhat. I keep the mentality of shining on every verse. But now I'm more concerned with competing with myself and translating what I want to convey up to my own personal standards. I try to think of how to speak to and for people everywhere instead of just here. But it definitely keeps me humble and grounded.

9.What inspires you to create?

Happiness...anger...frustration...cockiness...parenthood...struggle...all colors of the spectrum we call life. Just the ability to use words to affect a mood.

10.If you could lock in the lab with any artists or producer for a month for a project who would you choose?

I've always wanted to do a project over Large Professor beats. Premier of course. Dilla, rest in peace. Buckwild, the original Bomb Squad. Producers from here would be J. Mack,
Black Bethoven and Slautah off the top of the head. DJ Los too. MC and Mr. Cliffnote have already done plenty together, and it's always gold. We'll continue to do so. Also, can't forget Foul Mouth...he's a dope MC and producer, and I always have a good vibe working with him. He's looked out a lot on this upcoming project. I've always wanted to work with Special Ed, Breeze Brewin from the Juggaknots, a few other cats I can't think of right now.

10. Now we are both from Detroit but what are somethings that you like to reveal about the people from our city and the city in general?

We have the best emcees, producers, poets, and pretty much everything else here. It's a gold mine of talent. It runs deep. I'll put us up against anywhere else and we'll shine.

11.What are some things you see that need work in the state of music right now and what can be done to improve them?

Hip-Hop has damn near become a parody of itself at this point. The standards need to be higher. We as artists need to be sure we are putting our best foot forward at all times. And that shit, damn it. Quit acting like you can't part with $5 to $10 and we owe it to you to give it to you free. We're giving your our hearts and souls here. Country and rock audiences still sell records...U2 and Taylor Swift don't put out free fuckin mixtapes.

12. What is your creative process like without revealing any sector seven secrets?

Depends. If it's topical, I like to write like I'm talking to you and figure out the rhymes as I go. If it's just bars, I figure out syllable runs and go with them, and try not to let any filler lines through. I don't write unless I'm inspired. I could write a few days straight, then not write for a month. But when I do, it's gonna be RIGHT. Quality over quantity.
What are some of your current projects and where can we find them?
Well, I have a mixtape I put out with Mr. Cliffnote called The SideNotes Mixtape Vol. 1. I have a solo album, Vertigo 1.5 available too. There's also a project I did called A Side Called B a few years ago, and it's's over all Tribe Called Quest beats and features like 30+ MCs from Detroit and the surrounding areas. Just look it'll probably be like, "damn!". I've done features with tons of artists as well, I'm gonna put together an anthology of them all real soon before I drop the album. You can get everything  at and it's free, but if you choose to donate, I won't be mad.

13.What are some of your future projects and which ones are you looking forward to most?

The SideNotes Experience with myself and Mr. Cliffnote. We've been sitting on it for a minute. But because of our meticulous standards, we're scrapping a few songs and replacing them with better ones. The music is timeless, so it will sound just as fresh when it drops. Production from DJ U.N.I., Mike Lamb, Geno XO, DJ Dez, John Wize, Pig Pen.
Currently, I'm almost finished with my album, The Essence. I'm definitely excited for this one. It will be my greatest work yet. It will be raw hip-hop how I feel it should sound, with a lot of great lyrics and songs along with introspective joints. I'm going from heartfelt to shit-talking and everything in between. There are features from Mr. Cliffnote, Dagda, Aztek the Barfly, Foul Mouth, and I'll be recording a joint with Tone Plummer aka Metasyons and Bareda aka Mr. Wrong this week. So far, I have production from Mike Lamb, Konnie Ross, Foul Mouth, DJ Los, Pig Pen, Ro-D, Slautah, Black Bethoven and a few others that just need to be solidified before I mention their names.

14.What is the message that you try or hope to convey with your art?

I guess I like people to hear what's on my mind and find the common ground with me. I go thru trials and tribulations just like everyone else and have a unique perspective on things. Plus, I'm sarcastic and witty, so there's plenty light-hearted moments too. But the sound is all raw hip-hop. I definitely feel I have a voice people need to hear.

15. Do you represent any companies labels crews etc? and if so who are they and how long have you been established with them?

My original crew is Uzual Suspex. It's me, Ro-D, D-Tock and Mike Lamb. Ro and Tock used to rap but stick more on the production side of things now, while Mike Lamb is a dope ass producer and musician. I've been friends with them 20 years, so they're like my day ones. SideNotes of course, Mr. Cliffnote and myself. We make good music together. And I've made great music with artists all over, X-Fam and many others. I make all my own moves, forge my own relationships and look out for those who look out for me. They know who they are.

16.Do you have any jewels for aspiring artist that you would like to share?
Be yourself. Go hard or go home. Always try to be better than your last verse. Know your history, and try to learn something new every day.

17.How do you define your brand and what separates your work from the next person?

My brand is B-Side. You're getting a working class dude with a daughter who goes thru ups and downs like everyone else. I know I have a unique and colorful way of describing things and situations. At this point I know I have my own lane and no one can do it quite like me. And I rap my ass off.

18. Any Special shout outs or thanks feel free to drop them here?

Everyone who takes the time to read this or listen to my music. All the producers and emcees who have contributed to my projects. You're all awesome.

19. Any final thoughts for the readers?

Support these artists. They're out here working hard. When you get a CD or download, you have no idea how much work went into it. Go to their shows. Tell a friend. and keep hip-hop alive. It's up to all of us.
20. How can we stay connected with you?
Twitter @313bside
Instagram @313bside