There is a resurgence of Art in these ol’ maligned forgotten spic brown blocks. Making a new Rich Port, a subtle exploitation of an immigrant of collateral is made a U.S. citizen—one with a brown asterisk all exposed to the Arts. Decades later, when the creativity accumulated in Brooklyn’s mid-30’s to the late 50’s streets, the four elements poured out. Brothers engaged in all or some somehow, some way, every day. Myriad gifts to Herc and Bam that once came through montuno horns piercing through conga tumbao stabs in clave appearing again. They been break’d along food stamp booklets that swirl through the Park’s mic maze’d pathways, past graffiti’d bodega outposts and be live and direct inside DJ’d brownstone caverns. Most mingled it with the hustles of the corner fattening their ghetto pass too heavy making it invalid as a ticket out. Today, rap thrives and Hip Hop suffers a special poverty and Sunset Park, Brooklyn has a well fare of fighting artists emerging. In this Sunset Series, this Sunset Style Writer presents Sunset Park, Brooklyn’s newest legacy of artists with stories and tracks, talent and tales all premiering in these pages of matrix respite…
A Brotherhood entitled 603 survived by spillage. Thoughts spilled on verses, pumped through sampled arteries and nourishing drums that reverberate through ventricles. This is the life of the adventuring artist Arewhy the God, absolutely a Hip Hop renaissance man. He’s more than a connoisseur of the cannabis who has filled his chalice of talents with all the elements in the most upgraded form. Primarily involved as a producer, of the gloriously found sample and right drum chosen, he now mans and directs the Brotherhood 603 in BK’s Gowanus Projects. In addition to that, under Arewhy films he directs Hip Hop videos with a refreshing ghetto landscape while he stays in touch with the world he Arts towards via the theory of Facebook social media. A natural leader, Arewhy, as MC, engages the booth with verses that continue to grow in technical skill because they are undertaken with care to concept execution.
As Arewhy and Thanos of Brotherhood 603 lead the infantry bar charges through Colonna’s beats on the Countdown Til Napalm, they made one of last year’s best albums. This year, as they release free collectives aka mixtapes of original material, Arewhy shares the successfully wild diversity of Warlock Unleashed. As this return to my Sunset Park roots begin, I built with Arewhy at their Brotherhood 603 Studio, a small, perfectly efficient and dynamic studio that produces an incredible quality of sound. Here are some of the cuts I produced from this build…
AREWHY: My older brother he was my influence. He goes by the name of Rymes. So he was the first to put me onto any kind of Hip Hop. I remember when I was 8, 9 years old and I’d be going through my father’s vinyls. I’d be listening to Motown records while my brother was putting me on to Eric B & Rakim. Of course, graffiti came into my life. Started experimenting with markers and shit. Now back then if you had an older brother that wrote graf you’d be “Little” whoever he was. So I wasn’t with that Little Rymes shit. So I took the first two letters from his shit and rock that. I was still giving him love but it’s Arewhy.
SUNEZ: And the spelling of it?
AREWHY: That came after years of me writing the RY1. It was always RY 1 so I wanted to add some flavor to it. So I spelled out the words. Now when I tell people my name’s Arewhy they don’t get the two letter thing of it first. That was my tribute to my brother instead of being Little Rymes. Then when I was about 12 years old my brother introduced me to Ill Bill. They weren’t Non Phixion. They were a group called Dead Celebrities. A lot of people don’t know they were a Rock band before they did Hip Hop. When I met them they just came out of the whole Rock shit. What’s crazy is that a lot of the Necro shit today, he still does a lot of Rock shit. Even Ill Bill. Some of their albums they’ll remix their single as a rock song.
SUNEZ: Never got into Necro.
AREWHY: Yeah. He’s too gore. For me what I like the most about Necro is his production.
SUNEZ: Word. You can kill as many people as you want but when you start talking about raping. I can’t–
AREWHY: I know.
SUNEZ: I don’t care how many chicks you bang out. G rap does it in a way that’s funny but Necro. I could never get into it. But he’s really a great beatmaker. That beat on Cuban Linx II. And he said that was a throwaway?!
AREWHY: When I was managing Psychological Records he showed me that beat. That was a beat cd he gave to Ill Bill. It was that unreleased album that never came out. The Secret Society album. I don’t know if you ever seen the cover. It was like aliens and Area 51, fucking crazy.
SUNEZ: So you remembered that beat when you heard Cuban Linx II.
AREWHY: “Gihad” on Cuban Linx is the same as it was on the beat cd.
SUNEZ: Now, you’re inspired to be a producer. How did this all further evolve?
AREWHY: I always said if I wanted to ever get in this game, I want to be a producer. I never really saw myself writing rhymes. To be honest with you I started writing rhymes when my brother Thanos started writing rhymes. He was using the dictionary and really going in. The first time I ever tried it [Infinite] Automatik came—and this was before he was doing Christian rap. He was on his street shit. He’s writing a verse and he had writer’s block. He’s like, ‘yo, I need help with a line right here.’ I’m like, ‘yo, fam, that’s not my thing.’ But he said just give it a try. So I did and it worked. What I gave him worked. He liked it and used it. I thought then I ought to give this a shot. I then started writing rhymes then. But during that time I was with Psychological Records, when I seen Necro do his thing with the fucking keyboards. Changing basslines with the guitar and all that. And there’s just something about a dope sample. I love it. I always tell dudes it makes my soul scream. That’s my definition of it. If you could picture what that’s like that’s how I feel, kid. No lie, there’s times I’m here by myself and I hear samples and yo, my dude, I just be like I’m like Rick Flair, my nigga. I be like “Wooooo! I love i!. What a feeling!” If I had to choose it’d definitely be the production.
SUNEZ: I see that. What equipment you started out on?
AREWHY: When Music Generator came out. That was the first time we made beats. That was in 1999. MTV dropped this and with this you could use the Playstation to make beats. On the first one, you could sample but only one short little sample, 3 or 4 seconds because the memory card had little memory. When this came out, you could sample cds, anything. We started making some crazy wild beats. We were making beats that niggas thought we were doing it on the MPC 2000. They thought we had the Triton. We were telling them, ‘yo, we’re making it on the Playstation.’ Since we were able to sample shit, we were able to put our own kicks, snares and high hats that Dre, Swizz and other producers were using. It’s fully able to make beats and have them in full radio ready quality…Using the generator really helped us learn all this shit. Now, we use Fruity Loops 7, 8 and 9. We using Reason, Recycle, M Audio Keyboard. I even got an MPC 2000.
SUNEZ: Your love is producing? What drives the versatility in these other pursuits?
AREWHY: The more things I can learn to do on my own, the less I have to go to other people. Even when you offer people money they take forever to do it.
“What is that about?/Give me an explanation/how Boricuas killing Boricuas in this fucking nation/them niggas raided our land/government invasion/then they renamed the Boricua to a Puerto Rican/it was the Port of Riches before you niggas was there/but you took everything that was there/not it’s the Port of Despair/now when I walk through a suburban neighborhood they all stare/like I’m the bum but you took my gold/how is life fair?!” – “Words From The Heart”
WARLOCK UNLEASHED Mixtape
Mathematically, meager music is often deconstructed to reconstruct a revisionist corruption. So we escape manipulating corporate mangers with music reconstructed through an anti-corruption construct to revise and put once locked vision to unleashed war. Simply, Arewhy makes music with the special precision of reckless abandon. He deserts formats violently in his production—not the ethics but the scores expected. On Warlock Unleashed he can double time over bass bounce styles (“Hands On The Wheel,” “Phantom Face”) or give gritty commentary over ticking high hat toughness laced with sinister horn wails [“Believe (The Truth)”]. He’ll perfectly samples movie clips in exorbitant lengths or honor Ol’ Dirty Bastard through Ason’s own ideas spoken yet listened to so rarely.
Arewhy’s hardcore is a wildly coherent nature that is inspired by a wide range from the late 90’s Large Pro through RZA legacy through the last tough techs of the 00’s. An MC developing, his production gifts catapult his verses as specific concepts and themes are willed to finish. Warlock Unleashed is a prelude to a solo producer/MC that embodies Hip Hop—rebelliously sharing his latest ideas in any way that will honor the craft.
SUNEZ: Tell me about “Can You Feel It?”?
AREWHY: Vast Aire used to record a lot of shit here. One time, he came with a beat cd from Melodious Monk. Vast Aire was supposed to do a song with Kenyattah Black on that beat but never did it. The beat cd just stood there. One day I hear it and was like, ‘it’s fire!’ So I ask Thanos and he tells me it’s Aire’s. I hit up and ask him. He says, ‘take that. That’s for you.’ I said, ‘Word!’ I didn’t think he’d give up a beat that hot. On the beat the sample of “Can You Feel It?” was already on it. So I already knew what to talk about on it. The theme of the record I said “I Am the Coke.” “Can you feel it? I am the Coke.” Hear my music and get high off of it like a drug.
SUNEZ: “Puerto Rock”
AREWHY: I’m gonna keep it 100. That was inspiration from my Pops. He loves the Salsa. He still watches the live shows and all that. He listened to a lot of that Eddie Palmieri, Charlie Palmieri, Willie Colon so that’s why when we sampled it we needed to sample some Fania All Stars shit. We grew up with that too. I had to let people know where we’re coming from. I’m sure they know if they go to the [Facebook] page and I’ll post up pictures when I’m at the Puerto Rican parade. So they know but we ain’t never spit it in a song for them. So I thought it was time to let them know where we’re coming from with that. We even used a Larry Harlow song on that and sampled the vocals at the end. At first, we were skeptical about spitting Spanish lines but we were like fuck it. There’s been plenty of MCs to spit in Spanish before but we ain’t never did it and didn’t know the reaction we’d get from it. People liked it. And we was talking about the shit that we talked about was all for real. Stashing the weed in the cereal box. My brother was talking about ducking the cops at the Puerto Rican parade, smoking blunts—that was for real. We’ve sampled a lot of Bolero songs but never any Salsa records until then.
AREWHY: I try to be versatile with these songs when I put these mixtapes together. When I heard the sample—I sampled the actual Phantom of the Opera theme music. I put it into the program and I chopped it up. I put the sample together a little differently. When I rhyme on the beat I don’t really pick the flow. It’s more just how the beat speaks to you. I always tell people the beat will give you your subject matter.
SUNEZ: Organizing and running Brotherhood 603 Studios, what are some of the things you find help you and others as MCs drop the best verses?
AREWHY: One of the best things you can do is try to memorize your verses as much as possible. Believe it or not but reading it off paper makes you use more breath. I don’t know how. It’s weird. When you memorize your verse you’re able to spit your shit more straight through and more fluidly. When I write a verse I just keep repeating it to myself over and over. I practice spitting it.
SUNEZ: You go into the booth with it memorized.
AREWHY: That’s the goal. I still step in there with the paper just in case I forget a line. But for the most part the best thing to do is memorize it.
SUNEZ: What happens when its just written, you got other brothers here and there is a hypeness and unique energy and you can’t wait to memorize it?
AREWHY: Most definitely. That happens plenty of times. Some of the songs on Napalm are like that. “Biomusic” was like that. I just let out a lot of frustration. I was like, ‘what the fuck is with this tight jean shit?! Niggas is kissing dudes in their lips. These are the rappers we respect now?!’ When I wrote that the energy was just—I had to go in the booth right now. I didn’t wanna lose that energy. I think that happens a lot. I think about 50 percent of every project is like that.
SUNEZ: How did “For the Kids” develop with Cappadonna?
AREWHY: We got hooked up from this kid named Deucebug I think it was. He used to come here for studio time and he had gotten his hands on a verse from Cappadonna. He bought the verse—he used to buy verses from Cappa. So Cappa eventually heard Thanos beat. What’s crazy is that he did the song with me then used the same beat for a completely different song on his album. When you listen to The Pilgrimage album, “Good Grind” feat Cheddar Bang is the same beat. It’s cool. I’m happy I got to do a song with him anyway. I sampled Ol’ Dirty. Everything that I sampled from Ol’ Dirty was about the kids and I’m all about the kids. I love kids. I love my son and my daughter and I love being around them. They just bring you up. And it worked well. Shout out to Cappadonna and his manager Born Divine.
Countdown ‘Til Napalm LP
Black thoughts, Brown heritage, green smoke and sanded tracks, the concrete woodlands of Brotherhood 603 have a diverse complexity that wonderfully exploded on Countdown Til Napalm. The only military themed hardcore Hip Hop album that is worthy of Killarmy’s best works, France’s Colonna shipped quality overseas into Gunset Park’s barracks. The precision work by Thanos to mix and master the collective that included features from Smoothe da Hustler and Vast Aire. The cleverness of the album is its revealing that there is no excessive use of metaphor; instead, merely intense bars on the lifes they live serve as chronicled maneuvers of surviving soldiers under their own orders.
AREWHY: The Countdown til Napalm beats are so boom Bap and gritty Thanos wanted to produce something more commercial. I told him I understand and I’d like to do something like that where we could do something more commercial-ish. Overseas what I’ve learned building with a lot of the kids from UK and France, Canada—they just love underground Hip Hop. They like that grimey shit. They don’t care about that Wayne shit or anything else we’re brainwashed here to like here in New York. So I was like, ‘we need to give them that real shit.’ Not to say that the commercial route we wouldn’t give them the real shit. The only commercial part about it would be the beat but the shit we’re saying would be substance.
AREWHY: We had Smoothe the Hustler come through and we were playing tracks for him. Me and my brother already had our verses on the song. But he hears the song and is like, ‘this is dope! I wanna get in on this!’ So of course, we’re gonna be like, ‘shit, yeah, man! We’ll move a verse over and we’ll loop the beat and extend it. No problem. That’s how a lot of that shit happens. You would think we’re going through beats and saying this guy sounds like he would be good on this. No. We actually let people decide what beat they want to be on. A lot of times if you just give a beat to a dude and he don’t like it he’s not gonna give you a verse. He ain’t feeling it. The fire isn’t gonna come out. The beat don’t move him like that. When I get features I try to get them to come through and listen to the beats or if not I’ll email you the beats. And you pick. They’ll pick some shit they’ll feel and it’ll be something that works.
SUNEZ: Tell me about “C-4”
AREWHY: When we heard the beat it had the vocal sample in it. I’ll keep it real with you, it doesn’t sound like she’s saying “C-4.” She’s saying something else. But when we heard it, we’re doing a military themed album. So we just called it that. So when we wrote it we decided to make every line rhyme with C-4. So when I did my verse I said, ‘My life’s up and down like a seesaw/ I wanna spread my wings so I can see more.” Everything is with C-4.
SUNEZ: You and Thanos have some highlighted solo features. Was that intentional?
AREWHY: When I first heard that beat—that was one of the beats my brother didn’t want to get on. What’s funny is that the solo record he has on the record I didn’t like the beat for that one (“Genocide”).
SUNEZ: Then there’s an ill solo on “New York Cooperator.”
AREWHY: I put together a story of somebody snitching on us. So it’s me basically being in a crack house and I get snitched on. So it’s me trying to get out of the house as the police are coming. When I heard the beat it gave me that feeling like “Run” [Ghostface Killah] when I heard it. So I want to flip something like that, a story of being in a bad predicament, wrong place at the wrong time shit.
FROM THE PORT OF RICHES TO THE PARK OF GUNSET
“I’m a Brooklyn nigga/Sunset Park apocalypse/spark these guns anonymous/nigga, when the drama hits/the last of the Mohicans/Arewhy and Thanos/who are the Puerto Ricans…” – “Brooklyn Nigga”
SUNEZ: Tell me about repping Sunset Park, Brooklyn?
AREWHY: That’s one of our goals. To get the hood on the map. You got Charlie Hustle who is more mainstream but you never hear him say Sunset. I think if you got the leverage you should use that to rep it….We try for that. I filmed a few things in Sunset showing we’re there. I want to go to other hoods to. I also want to go to 5 Points before it’s shut down. It’s important people know where we’re from. I had kids who didn’t know what 603 was. They’re asking if we’re from New Hampshire. They said that’s the area code for it. I’m like, ‘nah, it means 60th [street] and 3rd [avenue]. So even the name 603 has direct connection with where we’re from.
AREWHY: 60th was actually the last spot in Sunset I was at. I grew up all of my life on 39th between 7th and 8th then 40th between 8th and 9th. Then I moved to 57th and 4th. So I was always in the hood. Sunset is always gonna be in my heart.
SUNEZ: Tell me about the local talent you’ve worked with from Sunset.
AREWHY: There’s good and bad. I know dudes that are good and their mind is not in the right place. I don’t know if you heard of this dude CJ Gunz [sic]. He’s from 42nd street. A great MC, he’s fucking good. But he’s always in the street life sellng the weed. I smoke my weed but I don’t sell, drink or smoke cigarettes. But the street life fucks him up. My other man Killer Cosmo [sic]. He’s on “The Four POWs” [Countdown ‘Til Napalm LP] song. He’s mad talented but caught up in the street life, selling that yayo. A lot of good MCs out there but people don’t know who they are. I know because I’ve worked with them, somebody put me on to them. I wish everybody was on their game where they could do their thing properly because we would’ve been on the map already. I would love to do a mixtape and just get all Sunset heads. One mixtape and it’d be dope. I do a lot of promotion so I could get it some light.
SUNEZ: Definitely. It needs to be known. When I had met Posion Pen it was then I learned from him he grew up in Sunset.
AREWHY: People don’t know that cause he reps Nostrand. I linked up with Vast because he was living in Sunset. In the MySpace days my brother emailed him. I was living on 42nd street between 4th and 5th avenue and he was on 42nd between 4th and 3rd—right down the block from me. And I love Cannibal Ox.
SUNEZ: Tell me about working with Vast.
AREWHY: When we produced for Vast Aire’s OX 2010 [A Street Odyssey] album it was supposed to be a Cannibal Ox album but we couldn’t get Vordul Mega in the studio for shit. So it became another Vast Aire solo. It was dope though. I produced “Cannon of Samus” which was the Metroid sample [sic]. I co-produced “Battle of the Planets” with Thanos which was actually a diss to Cage. That helped us so much. When we had first got down with Vast that was when he left Def Jux. He had a fallout with El-P and this thing with him and Cage. Then Cage dissed him on his album Depart From Me. On that there was a record called “Nothing Left To Say.” That was a diss song to Vast Aire but no one knew. The song was out for mad long and no one knew it was a Vast Aire diss until one day Cage wrote a blog about it on MySpace saying it was. That was after the song had over a hundred thousand hits. So Vast was heated about that so he didn’t know until that blog too. Now me and Thanos are going through samples and we found a perfect one for him. I was like, “yo, you should do another “Scream Phoenix” Part 2 on this. He said, ‘Even better! I’m going to do Scream Phoenix 2 and it’s gonna be a Cage diss!’ Sure enough it was. He did that and he killed Cage on that. “Battle of the Planets” and to think me and my brother produced that and he has such a big following is huge.
SUNEZ: Ultimately my brother, does it all mean more now? Like when we grew up in Sunset, you’d walk all through 5th ave. from 45th to 53rd was breakers everywhere, ciphers rhyming on different brownstone steps—this don’t exist anymore. Do those ciphers mean more now where we can congregate and do Hip Hop?
AREWHY: Hip Hop is peace, man. Niggas that don’t understand, they just think it’s all violence. But it’s all peace. The way it brings dudes together. I love when we go to events and we all backstage in the VIP areas. We’re just chilling, laughing and having a good time, doing our thing and wanting people to like our music.
Without these words, we may lose the knowing of debt we owe to such renaissance men. An artist that I witnessed who had dig, chop, loop, fight write and brick by brick and chord by chord build a studio to house his family’s creations. Arewhy is a leader in Hip Hop integrity and so he shares a brotherhood with the music itself. Sunset straight from 60th and 3rd…
www.Youtube.com/arewhy (Brother Hood TV)