With the signing of CES Cru, Strange Music’s roster got even more elite and the pair of Kansas City emcees are ready to take their game to the national stage.
We talked with the fire-spitting duo to get their take on why Strange Music was the right move for them, what they plan to do with their new position, and the pressure of living up to the high-expectations set by the King of Independent Hip Hop.
Why was signing to Strange Music a good move to CES Cru?
Godemis: I think it was the right move for us because I consider us to be a pillar in Kansas City hip hop. We’ve been grinding for a long time–a decade give or take a couple of years. You know we’ve always been fans of Tech N9ne and Strange Music and what Travis and Tech were able to put together. I think it’s a good fit for a lot of reasons. It seemed like simple mathematics. Before any of the talk or anything like that started, a couple of my friends would say “Why don’t you guys ever try and sign yourself to Strange Music?” or “Why haven’t you made any effort to let these guys know that you exist?” Tech just caught us at a show so it just seems that the rest is history. I think it makes a lot of sense because it’s just a good look–I’m super-excited.
Why do you guys think it was a good move for Strange Music?
Ubiquitious: I think it’s a good move for them because we definitely bring something to the table. Maybe a different perspective, a different writing angle. I think that we have a different angle that may not be present on the label just yet. I like to think that we come from an original perspective. So hopefully that’s going to open some new doors for Strange that haven’t been opened. I’m certain that they’re opening up the doors for us as well. Maybe the combination of those two things could be something new and explosive for the label and certainly for us.
Did you guys ever have a chance to celebrate your signing?
Godemis: Uh…in a way but I think that the real celebration is going to come after our first effort on Strange–the first album and videos. Once the push is made and it’s received well–which I’m pretty confident it will be–I think then it might be the time to pop some bottles and do all that shit that rappers talk about, but yeah so I guess the answer’s “no, we haven’t.” In my mind nah we haven’t really celebrated yet because it’s not time–not yet.
What do you guys bring to the table that you think no one else does right now?
Godemis: That’s a good question.
Ubiquitious: (To Godemis) I know that is a rough question. (Answers) I think our duality, our dynamic rather, is something special. We definitely can represent ourselves as individuals but when you put us together it’s like a whole ‘nother entity, if that makes sense. Ubiquitous is one thing and Godemis is another thing but then CES Cru is even a third thing that’s not the first and the second, and that’s something that you don’t really see–not just on Strange Music but in the game. There’s only a couple of really strong duos in the game.
From an insider’s view you can see Tech is very excited to have you guys on Strange because he feels that he’s going to have some of the hardest spitters on his team. I think to him it’s just as exciting, if not more so, than any business sense that comes from this deal. It’s almost like D. Wade getting excited that Lebron is coming to Miami. Do you guys view rhyming as a sport?
Ubiquitous: All day. It is kind of a sport. I’m very competitive with it. I feel like coming up on a track against somebody that is of a higher caliber–a better writer, a better rhymer, whatever it might be–certainly is encouraging and inspiring for me. It drives me to do me to my best ability. It certainly is very sportsman-like. With that said, the highest pressure and most exciting track that I’ve ever had the privilege to be on in my career is thematic that I’ve been making with Tech. That’s dope and I can’t wait to be doing more of it.
Godemis: And the same goes for Krizz and Kutt and everyone else that we haven’t had the pleasure of working with–I’d really like to work with Lynch. I understand that may be impossible, but you know everybody on Strange Music I’ve had the pleasure of working with has been some of the best music that I’ve ever made. I’m really super-anxious to make more especially now that it’s official.
To you guys what’s more exciting: being on the label and having a label be able to push your music or the actual people you’re going to be making music with?
Ubiquitous: What’s more exciting?
Ubiquitous: Why do I gotta pick? (Both laugh)
Godemis: Yeah! I think it’s interesting you phrase the question that way but I think both of those things are existing at the same time. It’s like bi-winning.
Ubiquitous: Yep! “I win here and I win there.” Bi-winning. We’re excited for both things and I don’t know if I can put one over the other. I know what it’s like to put our music independently. I know how that feels. I’m really interested to find out what it feels like to still release music independently but in a giant machine of a factory that is an over-blown version of what I was doing in my living room, you know? That is exciting but having access to the roster is real dope too. We fully plan to utilize that for the coming record.
Knowing how excited Tech is to have you guys be a part of Strange, do you feel any pressure to live up to expectations.
Godemis: Uh…yeah. This is Godemis and I’m saying that’s a definite “yes” for me. Not to sound cliche though but the best music comes out of that. For every song that we’ve already done for Strange Music, as well as they’ve been received, there was a lot of pressure during the making of those. The pressure aint nothing though. I’m not really worried about it and I welcome the pressure but I definitely feel it.
Ubiquitous: Yeah I feel the pressure, I like the pressure, and like he said it brings the best out. I really am enjoying the pressure and I can’t wait to up that–to see what the higher-echelon of that feels like because the music that’s been coming from that pressure has been beautiful.
Of course you know Strange Music does a lot of touring, are you guys looking forward to that aspect of being on the label?
Ubiquitous: Dream come true.
Godemis: Yeah, absolutely, I mean wow. That’s one of the hardest things to do independently is to get yourself out there and make yourself available. We’re definitely super-excited about touring and can’t wait to do that. We already got a little taste of it when we went out on the road with Mac and that was a lot of fun as well but that was like a trial run if you will. That was just a dress rehearsal for bigger tours to come–being on the road for longer lengths of time and playing for bigger audiences. So yeah, super-excited about touring and hitting the road.
What do you guys plan on doing production-wise for the next CES Cru record? How much will be Innate Sounds and Leonard D. Stroy and how much will be the new producers that you might not have had access to in the past?
Ubiquitous: That all remains to be seen. Whoever weighs in the heaviest for us. We’re looking to nurture the relationships that we already have going and give everybody a chance to submit and shine. We also have some new relationships opening up to us. We don’t know how much those are going to bloom or blossom–if they’re going to bloom fully or just be one-and-done’s, or whatever it’s going to be, but the door is open for everybody. We’re just going to see. It just depends who puts their nuts on things essentially.
Is there anyone in particular that you have your eyes on in hoping to have produce for you guys?
Ubiquitous: We’ll have Leonard D. Stroy in the mix, who produced our last record in it’s entirety. We’re probably going to involve his musical partner that he’s acquired since the production of The Playground, this gentleman named Hero Bust from Florida. That’s something that I can definitely see happening on the record. We are talking with Seven right now, that’s something I can definitely see. Other than that I don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to promise anything to anybody really, just yet, because it’s just too early to say. I am looking into maybe having somebody with a little clout behind their name from the industry weighing on the record but we’ll see how that goes.
What are the plans for the record? When do you want to start recording it? When do you guys want to see it released?
Godemis: I’d like to get cracking ASAP. Of course you want to get the music done so fans can get that music and then we can go on tour and perform that music. So of course I’m ready to get started ASAP but a portion of it, just because of the way Mike and I work, a portion of it has less to do with when you’re ready to do it and more to do about when it comes. We might be six or seven songs in and we might get stumped–we might want to take the album in a different direction at that stage. Sometimes that’s something you can’t force. Not to be too weird about the question but that’s honestly how it is. But I’m ready to get started as soon as possible. We’ve actually got the skeleton for a couple songs and have done a lot of talking about what the theme of the album might be an where we want to go musically, but that’s not always something you can have control of.
What are some of the ideas you guys have been throwing around?
Ubiquitous: Can’t even reveal that right now.
Godemis: Can’t even say.
For the existing fans of CES Cru, what can they expect to be the same about what you guys plan to do and what will be different about the next album?
Ubiquitous: For those who are super-familiar with CES Cru, I think they’ll have more of an enjoyable experience because they’re going to see the mutations of the styles of the past and be able to differentiate those from the brand new styles that we plan to present on the record. If you’re not into CES Cru, if this ends up being your first listen, which for some people it will, I think you’ll still be good for them but there won’t be as many easter eggs. They might take it on a different level of understanding but for the long-time fan it’s going to be something special.
How do you guys think you’ve both changed or improved as artists since the formation of CES Cru.
Godemis: I think writing is always changing for the both of us. I think at one point you reach a level where you know how to write a song and you know how to rap so then it becomes how will you rap, what will you rap about, what beats will you rap over and this sort of thing. I think that’s always changing and we’re always willing to do new things. There’s that aspect of it.
But the biggest thing I think we’ve improved upon is the stage show. We’ve probably done over a million shows honestly and we’ve definitely learned from every show because not every one has been good and not every one is phenomenal. I think Tech caught us on a great night. We were hot that night, not even aware how close he was or the views he had, we were just up there killing it but it doesn’t always go like. These days we have a handle on it and I think we’re ready to take it to a bigger audience.
Are you guys performing anytime soon?
Ubiquitous: No plans! No plans to perform boss.
Anything to expect in the near future from CES Cru that we should look out for?
Ubiquitous: There might be some things happening between right now and the Strange release. Probably a couple of different things: something from myself and something from Godemis: Matter Don’t Money and The D’Evil. I’m not sure when those are coming though. Hard to say, hard to say at this point Jeff.
Anything you want to say to your old fans and the Strange Music fans as well?
Ubiquitous: Thank you! Thank you in advance. Especially to all our old fans because it was all of your collective hands that pushed us up to the level that we’ve obtained now. Now that we’ve got steady ground we don’t need your hands to hold us up anymore and that’s a beautiful thing. Now we hope to grow that crowd even larger to push us up even higher. Thank you so much to everybody over the past years that saw us when we were nothing.
Godemis: That goes double for Godemis. I just gotta say thank you to all the fans and hater alike a big fat “thank you.” Not to sound cliche but yeah without them this aint possible. Man, we’ve done so many shows and been so many places with our names spelled wrong, you know, people not paying us money they’ve owed us and all these sort of different things but there’s certain people that told us to keep grinding and so we did. I just feel super-validated and super-inspired and I just want to say thank you to everybody.
– Interview by Jeff Nelson, Strange Music Senior Editor
Follow CES Cru on Twitter: @cescru
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffreyPNelson
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