One of the more illusive and fascinating artistic paradigm shifts has secretly been taking place in the underground hiphop world. The rapper and producer Travis Yâhuw has decided to surface again with an upcoming project. Albeit, the South Carolina native still wants to remind us of his previous experimental piece; This Is What I See: Monachopsis his debut before he releases his new album Shadow Boxing In The Ocean dropping perhaps around the end of 2020. A bizarre, rap EP with psychedelic tidbits, a very original collection of sounds.
Lisa: Define the mission of Travis Yahuw.
Travis: To spread the Living Words (YâhuwSHUâ is Yâ-hwéh), the Original Paleolithic Hebrew names of the Power of the Universe and His Human camouflage. Provide premium hiphop from the south of America, South Carolina to be exact. Teach kids to be themselves and find themselves in truth. Teach the world to not heed evil emanations that they may think are their own thoughts but instead are evil forces working to destroy them. Provide wisdom, unadulterated truth, good times, elevation, insight, emotional and spiritual connections.
Lisa: Describe the musical frameworks your “Monachopsis” EP explores. And the cover artwork is very interesting. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
Travis: The sound of this EP was purely based on being free, so if it sounds off beat at certain points it’s purposeful. I used sounds from different decades like the 60’s psychedelic deep weirdo hippy inspirations, 80’s Minimal wave type synths we often hear on classic N.E.R.D. synth from In Search Of UK version and US version,Tame Impala,Toro Y Moi, Mac Demarco, James Pants, Odd Future and 90’s hiphop inspired drum patterns in addition to the 2000’s. While at the same time flipping it in such a way to make it feel familiar yet very distinct to the point of bizarre originality. The artwork points to that which might strip our freedom away as well as abstract imagination. Some would refer to it as “red-pill” for me, it’s what I see especially on the té-lie-vision. In the words of Pusha T if you know you know.. Hahaha
Lisa: Have you managed to make any new discoveries as the time passed during your creative process? Do you think that at some point of that process your writing approach changed much?
Travis: I discovered that I’m hardwired to write more unorthodox or syncopated. When I don’t I often think I could’ve wrote much more creative! Even if others loved the songs. Another thing I discovered is that my verses come out best when I use numbers and symbols while writing. For example, I write the four beats at the top of the pages and underline the two and four. Doing this, along with underlining the exact words or letter that match the snare drum and the kick drum. Took time to perfect it. The writing on my next album which will be out soon On streaming platforms will be much better, the growth will be noticeable and prominent.
Lisa: What types of change do you feel your music can initiate?
Travis: That’s easy, free thought! Outside the box, spiritual growth! Promote individuality, having your own style/sauce. Self improvement as well self-reflecting. My art isn’t for anyone with a loser’s mindset they won’t gain anything from just compare it.
Lisa: Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a song?
Travis: Rarely, usually it’s all an organic process my senses guide me as well as Pure emanations. Once a piece is finished it’s usually original and does not follow templates of current trends. Often rhyme patterns come to mind first before I even made the beat!
Lisa: I really loved your song “Side Effect Of Gnostic”. Can you tell me more
about it? What’s it about, and how did you get inspiration to write it?
Travis: Its about my life, being the black sheep, the outcast, being different. For instance, growing up I preferred to skateboard instead of shoot hoops or play football and was teased for it. I knew as a child I wasn’t like most kids my mind was in a different realm. I’ve seen strange things and had crazy experiences like getting into a tussle with a another kid over something that was mine and that kid going and getting their dad who was a dealer with gold teeth that sprayed me in the face with a water gun even though I Just a child! It left a mental scar, I never told anyone because I didn’t want to incite any violence amongst adults. This happened in the 90’s back when new 2Pac songs was on the radio. Other experiences include seeing metaphysical beings in my bedroom and hearing them. In present day, I’ve experienced gang-stalking where people just stare at me for long periods of time, some jealous of me, some dress like me, meanwhile I’m just staying in my own lane and being laser focus while working or reading. Some whisper to each other “he’s nervous or he’s scared” when I’m not at all, their just over analyzing. It’s weird but I’m used too it. Excuse my tangent, the song is very encrypted meant for those like-minded Truth seekers or anyone attracted too it. I’ll leave most of it a mystery and allow others to discuss it’s lyrics. It’s like interpreting a Basquiat painting. I speak about my flaws like my huge forehead, the haters hating etc. Lastly, I speak on behalf of those who are different and comfortable in their own skin. A-alikes!
Lisa: What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Travis: I have to get used to free styling on the spot. I meet lil Boosie’s manager Carlos Cartel (Not sure if he’s still Boosie’s manager) He was/is Lil Baby’s manager if I’m not mistaken and free styled for him. He played some beats for me, which wasn’t truly my taste but I still rapped over them and forgot my writtens. I was hard on myself afterwards, but was glad I got to have the experience. That was the biggest surprise. The challenge would be continuing forward crafting solid albums that age like Johnny Walker Blue label. The older the better, my sounds are designed to grow with you, can’t capture it all with a few listens.
Lisa: Describe your approach to recording.
Travis: Very direct! I remember the entire song from studying the lyrics, so reciting the lyrics is usually quick, often first takes. If I don’t like the way I pronounced something or etc I’ll delete and start over. Extra touches come to me on the spot after all the lyrics are done.
Lisa: What non-musical entities and ideas have impacted your music?
Travis: Unadulterated knowledge I acquired from books and research seeking answers. Life experiences, can’t forget those!
Lisa: What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in
forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?
Travis: I’ll answer this in the order you asked. What’s old is new. You could have archived songs or instrumentals that could change your life, if you put them to use, it’s like the rapper Lil Baby said, all it takes is one song! Keep writing and keep producing, master your swagger. Don’t be afraid to be yourself either, that’s where many shy away from. Regarding the business side, when starting out, make sure you copyright and register your work so you can receive royalties. PRO’s and MRCO, Composition and Sound Recording Copyrights, take care of all this and find a distribution site to partner with so your songs can get placed on streaming services, now you have your own business.
Lisa: What is your view on technology in music?
Travis: Tech has come a long way, it’s easy to develop your own studio now since DAWS can be installed on notebooks and MacBooks. They are portable. You can pretty much learn to do it all yourself thanks to YouTube tutorials. I’m learning to mix my instrumentals and record own vocals.
Lisa: What are your plans for the future?
Travis: I am going to make decent funding off my work in due course. I plan to make the most relatable and enjoyable albums in underground hiphop and stay independent, not sell out. I want to put out art that people live too and grow with. If you’re feeling low, depressed and need to bounce back I got you. If you want motivation to take action with goals I got you. If you’re out with your people and you want to listen to some cool songs create a vibe I got you..
Travis was also featured on Quality Control Music (QC) mixtape, you can check it here: https://www.datpiff.com/-Who’s-Got-Next-Vol.-III-mixtape.985993.html