DEEPER THAN RAP: R-MEAN

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA | R-MEAN

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA | R-MEAN

INTERVIEW: KB TINDAL

R-MEAN DUBBED THE ARMENIAN ASSASSIN BY THE ONE AND ONLY SWAY CALLOWAY, AFTER BODYING THE MIC AT SWAY IN THE MORNING, HAS BEEN PAYING DUES FOR SEVERAL YEARS. HONING HIS CRAFT AND RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH ARTISTS THAT CAN ONLY MAKE HIM BETTER, SUCH AS LEGENDARY HEAVYWEIGHTS METHOD MAN, B-REAL, AB SOUL, JOE BUDDEN, EMILIO ROJAS, THE GAME AND MORE. THE LA BORN, AMSTERDAM RAISED EMCEE STAYS TRUE TO THE CULTURE IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE WORD. BUT IT WASN’T ALWAYS THAT WAY, R-MEAN, ALSO KNOWN BY HIS REAL NAME ARMIN, STARTED OUT AS A GRADUATE FROM UCLA. HE THEN WENT ON TO BECOME A PHARMACIST BUT DURING THAT TIME, HIP HOP KEPT SCREAMING HIS NAME. AT AN EARLY AGE, AFTER BEING INTRODUCED TO THE CULTURE AND THE ART FORM BY A FAMILY FRIEND, AS WELL AS BEING ENLIGHTENED TO 5 HIP HOP ALBUMS THAT WOULD EVENTUALLY DEFINE HIS PURPOSE IN LIFE, R-MEAN WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME A CONSTANT VOICE FOR HIS ARMENIAN CULTURE AS WELL AS A REPRESENTER OF PURE, BAR HEAVY, CONTENT SUBMERSED, VIVID LYRICAL IMAGERY MUSIC. HIS QUEST TO BRING KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS TO THE GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY THE OTTOMAN GOVERNMENT TO THE ARMENIANS IN 1915, WHERE 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 ARMENIANS WERE SLAUGHTERED IN THEIR ANATOLIAN HOMELANDS (NOW KNOWN AS TURKEY) IS AN ONGOING AND GROWING ONE ACROSS THE COUNTRY DUE TO HIS EFFORTS.

HIS MEAN MONDAYS LIVE FREESTYLE AND SONG SESSIONS, WHICH WENT STRONG EVERY MONDAY FOR 64 WEEKS SINCE 2017, WERE ALWAYS MET WITH ASTOUNDING ACCOLADES AND WAS RECENTLY ADDED TO B REAL’S DR. GREENTHUMB SHOW. IN TRUE VALIDATED MAGAZINE FASHION, WHERE THE OG’S VALIDATE THE YOUNG OG’S, R-MEAN ALSO APPEARED ON WU-TANG CLAN’S THE SAGA CONTINUES ALBUM ON “G’D UP.” RECENTLY R WAS ON CHRIS WEBBY’S RAW THOUGHTS TOUR. THE TOUR HAS BEEN WEBBY’S BIGGEST SELLING INDEPENDENT TOUR TO DATE. R-MEAN SHARED THE STAGE WITH WORDSMITHS LIKE CHRIS WEBBY, ANOYD, AND ROOK. HIS PENTAGON LA CLOTHING STORE AND BRAND ALSO BASED OUT OF LA IS ALSO ON THE RISE AND HE RECENTLY OPENED THEIR SECOND LOCATION IN NOHO. VALIDATED MAGAZINE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO R-MEAN AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO HAVE SUCH A SKILLED AND FOCUSED CRAFTSMAN THAT STANDS FOR HIP HOP AND HIS ARMENIAN CULTURE WITH EVERY BREATH, BLESS US WITH THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW.

PRIOR TO THIS INTERVIEW THE PENTAGON LA NOHO STORE WAS NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS. R-MEAN ALSO PAYS A GREAT AMOUNT OF HOMAGE TO NIPSEY HUSSLE AND HIS MUSIC AND HIS BUSINESS BLUEPRINT. WE SEND OUR CONDOLENCES TO NIPSEY AND HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS AS HE HAS SINCE PASSED AFTER THIS INTERVIEW WAS RECORDED.

VALIDATED: WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR RAP NAME?

R-MEAN: I WAS BORN IN LA BUT I WAS RAISED IN AMSTERDAM IN THE NETHERLANDS IN EUROPE. I LIVED THERE FOR 18 YEARS AND THEN I MOVED BACK AFTER GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL TO PURSUE MY MUSIC. I MOVED BACK TO LA AND ALSO ENROLLED IN COLLEGE. I’M OF ARMENIAN DESCENT SO I’M LIKE AN INTERNATIONAL TYPE OF DUDE. MY RAP NAME R-MEAN IS REALLY JUST MY REAL NAME. MY REAL NAME IS ARMIN. WHEN I WAS LIKE 13 OR 14 I THOUGHT IT LOOKED KIND OF COOL TO SPELL IT LIKE “R-MEAN.” THEN WHEN I STARTED RAPPING A FEW YEARS LATER I JUST KEPT IT LIKE THAT AS MY RAP NAME. SO IT’S JUST MY REAL NAME SPELLED DIFFERENTLY.

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP AND THE CULTURE?

R-MEAN: I’VE BEEN INTO MUSIC FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER BUT I GUESS I WOULD SAY MY FIRST REAL INTRODUCTION TO HIP-HOP WAS AROUND 10 OR 11 YEARS OLD. A FAMILY FRIEND THAT USED TO COME OVER, HIS MOM USED TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH MY MOM SO HE WAS PROBABLY LIKE IN HIS 20S AT THE TIME. HE’D COME OVER AND HE NOTICED HOW I WAS KIND OF GRAVITATING TOWARDS RAP MUSIC BUT I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW SHIT FROM SHIT SO HE SAT ME DOWN ONE DAY AND HE’S LIKE, “YOU KNOW, I SEE YOU LIKE RAP, IF THAT’S THE CASE YOU KNOW YOU GOT UNDERSTAND REALLY WHAT THE CULTURE IS ALL ABOUT AND WHAT HIP HOP IS ALL ABOUT.” SO HE WROTE DOWN A LIST OF FIVE ALBUMS. HE WAS LIKE, “YOU NEED TO CONQUER THESE 5 ALBUMS.” AND IN THAT LIST, THE FIRST ONE WAS GANGSTARR, HARD TO EARN BECAUSE GANGSTARR WAS LIKE HIS FAVORITE SHIT. THEN THE OTHER ONES WERE NAS, ILLMATIC, RETURN OF THE BOOM BAP BY KRS ONE, MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS BY A TRIBE CALLED QUEST AND ENTER THE 36 CHAMBERS BY WU-TANG CLAN. MAN, THAT WAS INSANE, THAT SHIT REALLY CHANGED MY LIFE AND MY WHOLE PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT REAL MUSIC WAS. I COMPLETELY FELL IN LOVE WITH HIP HOP AND UNDERSTANDING THE MUSIC AND THE CULTURE BEHIND IT AND HE WAS ALWAYS THERE TO GUIDE ME. HE INTRODUCED ME TO LIKE SNOOP DOGG AND DRE A LITTLE LATER BECAUSE HE SAID I WAS TOO YOUNG FOR THAT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, BUT YOU KNOW THAT WHOLE GOLDEN ERA, THE 90S WAS REALLY HIM TELLING ME EVERYTHING AT A YOUNG AGE SO I GOTTA GIVE CREDIT TO FARID, HE WAS AN IRANIAN CAT.

VALIDATED: GROWING UP, WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WAS PLAYED IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD AND HOW HAS IT INFLUENCED THE MUSIC YOU CREATE?

R-MEAN: I DIDN’T GROW UP IN A HOUSEHOLD WHERE MUSIC WAS REALLY A BIG THING SO EVEN WHEN I LOOK AT MY FAMILY RIGHT NOW, I MEAN, PEOPLE LIKE MUSIC BUT NOBODY WAS REALLY INTO MUSIC THE WAY I WAS FOR SOME REASON. I’M STILL TRYING TO FIGURE THAT OUT BUT I DID GROW UP IN A SINGLE MOTHER HOUSEHOLD. MY POPS PASSED AWAY REALLY YOUNG IN HIS 30S WHEN I WAS 1. ONE OF MY BROTHERS WAS THREE AND MY MOM NEVER REMARRIED SO IT WAS THE THREE OF US. HE HAD KIND OF LIKE A SUDDEN DEATH LIKE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SITUATION WHERE HE HAD A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT THAT WENT WELL BUT WHILE HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL DURING THE RECOVERY TIME AFTER THE SURGERY THEY MISS CALCULATED THE DOSAGE ON ONE OF HIS MEDICATIONS AND WHEN THEY INJECTED HIM HIS BLOOD PRESSURE SHOT UP AND HE DIED OF A STROKE LIKE ALL OF A SUDDEN. FROM WHAT I’VE BEEN TOLD IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE HE WAS ABOUT TO BE RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL SO BASICALLY WAS IT WAS LIKE A REAL TRAGEDY IN THE FAMILY. I REMEMBER MY MOM AT AN EARLY AGE SAYING SHE DOESN’T REALLY LISTEN TO MUCH MUSIC ANYMORE BECAUSE A LOT OF HER MEMORIES WERE OF MY DAD AND SHIT, BUT WHATEVER MUSIC THAT WE DID HEAR IT WAS MORE ETHNIC MUSIC BECAUSE MY PARENTS WERE ACTUALLY BORN AND RAISED IN IRAN. WE’RE ORIGINALLY ARMENIAN BUT THE ARMENIANS, BECAUSE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, WE’RE SPREAD OUT ALL OVER THE WORLD. THE GENOCIDE WAS IN 1915, SO FOR SEVERAL GENERATIONS ALREADY, SEVERAL ARMENIANS HAVE BEEN BORN AND RAISED IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. MY PARENTS BEING FROM IRAN THERE WAS DEFINITELY LIKE PERSIAN MUSIC OR ARMENIAN MUSIC AND THINGS LIKE THAT, AND I THINK THOSE INFLUENCES ARE DEFINITELY IN ME. I TRY TO BRING DIFFERENT TYPES OF INSTRUMENTATION AND JUST DIFFERENT ETHNIC VIBES TO THE REAL HIP-HOP SHIT THAT I MAKE AND THAT’S THE BEST WAY I CAN EXPLAIN THAT.

VALIDATED: WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS WAS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO FOR A LIVING?

R-MEAN: I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN INTO HIP HOP AS A FAN SINCE MY EARLY TEEN YEARS. I START DOING IT AS A HOBBY IN MY LATE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS AND I MOVED TO LA AFTER GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL AND I KNEW THAT MUSIC WAS MY NUMBER ONE PASSION IN LIFE BUT AT THE SAME TIME I ENROLLED IN COLLEGE. I WAS JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO HOW TO REALLY START A MUSIC CAREER IN A CITY WHERE I DIDN’T KNOW ANYBODY, IN AN INDUSTRY WHERE I DIDN’T KNOW ANYBODY, ME BEING FROM MY BACKGROUND THERE’S DEFINITELY NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN HIP HOP AND I WOULD SAY IN 2019 IT’S DIFFERENT BECAUSE HIP HOP IS SO UNIVERSAL. THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS IN THE INDUSTRY PLAYING DIFFERENT ROLES. BUT I STARTED IN THE LATE 2000’S OR MID TO LATE 2000’S AND IT WAS DEFINITELY DIFFERENT BACK THEN. I WAS JUST TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT. I WOULD SAY FROM THE MINUTE I MOVED TO LA AROUND THE AGE OF 18 I DEFINITELY KNEW THAT THAT’S WHAT I WANTED TO DO FOR A LIVING BUT IT TOOK ME SEVERAL YEARS TO REALLY FULLY COMMIT AND NOW LOOKING BACK, YOU KNOW THERE’S ALWAYS A QUOTE I SAY FROM WILL SMITH, HE SAYS “WHEN YOU HAVE A PLAN B YOU SUBCONSCIOUSLY ALREADY DIDN’T FULLY BELIEVE IN YOUR PLAN A.” I TRULY BELIEVE THAT RIGHT NOW. AT THE TIME I REALLY DIDN’T FIGURE THAT OUT THAT’S WHY I WENT TO SCHOOL AND I GRADUATED FROM UCLA. I ENDED UP TAKING SOME TIME OFF AND THEN I WENT TO SCHOOL AGAIN. I WENT TO PHARMACY SCHOOL AND GRADUATED AND BECAME A PHARMACIST BUT THAT WAS THE REAL TIME WHEN I REALIZED IT. I WAS WORKING AS A PHARMACIST AND I’M LIKE MAN THERE’S NO WAY THAT THIS IS WHAT I WANNA DO, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, I THINK IT’S A REALLY RESPECTED PROFESSION BUT THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE SO A FEW YEARS AGO, I WANNA SAY ABOUT 4-5 YEARS AGO, I QUIT WORKING AS A PHARMACIST AND I FULLY COMMITTED MYSELF AND THAT’S WHEN I REALLY STARTED SEEING THE CHANGES AND STARTED SEEING MY CAREER PROGRESS THE WAY THE SHOULD.

VALIDATED: BEING FROM ARMENIAN CULTURE CAN YOU BREAK DOWN THE GENOCIDE AND CRIMES THAT TOOK PLACE IN 1915 ON YOUR PEOPLE BY THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND HOW YOUR OPEN WOUNDS MOVEMENT TIES INTO THAT AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?

R-MEAN: YES SIR, SO IN A NUTSHELL LET ME EXPLAIN. IN 1915, WHICH IS DURING WORLD WAR I THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE WHICH IS MODERN-DAY TURKEY, COMMITTED GENOCIDE ON THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE BY MURDERING 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 ARMENIANS SYSTEMATICALLY, MEANING IN AN ATTEMPT TO WIPE THE ENTIRE RACE OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH, AS WELL AS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF GREEKS AND ASSYRIAN’S THAT WERE CASUALTIES AS WELL. THE REASON THAT WE STILL SAY OUR WOUNDS ARE STILL OPEN AND WE STILL TALK ABOUT IT AND FIGHT ABOUT IT AND PROTEST ABOUT IT IS BECAUSE TILL THIS DAY AND HASN’T BEEN RECOGNIZED AS GENOCIDE, MEANING THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT HASN’T BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED. AND THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HASN’T RECOGNIZED IT EITHER BECAUSE OF POLITICAL TIES WITH TURKEY, EVEN THOUGH IT’S A PROVEN FACT IN HISTORY. MOST COUNTRIES HAVE RECOGNIZED IT LIKE CANADA AND MOST EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ETC., BUT TURKEY ITSELF HASN’T RECOGNIZED IT AND AMERICA HASN’T RECOGNIZED IT THAT’S WHY WE SAY OUR WOUNDS ARE STILL OPEN. SO WHAT I DID, WAS SIMPLY WRITE ONE SONG CALLED “OPEN WOUNDS” AND MY TYPE OF MUSIC IS ALWAYS THE TYPE OF STUFF THAT I’M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT THAT PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN MY LIFE. PRETTY MUCH EVERY ARMENIAN IS RAISED LEARNING ABOUT THIS. GROWING UP AS LITTLE KIDS WE USED TO GO TO MARCHES WHEN I STILL LIVED IN AMSTERDAM AND EVERY APRIL WE GO TO MARCHES AND PROTEST, YOU SEE IT ALL OVER THE WORLD. ARMENIAN’S GET TOGETHER AND WE PROTEST ABOUT THIS ESPECIALLY IN LA. IT’S REALLY BIG NOW BECAUSE LA HAS THE LARGEST POPULATION OF ARMENIANS OUTSIDE OF THE ACTUAL COUNTRY BUT YOU SEE IT ALL OVER THE WORLD SO WE’RE ALL KINDA RAISED WITH THAT PASSION ABOUT THE CAUSE. I REALLY JUST DID ONE SONG THAT’S ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BUT I REALLY WROTE IT IN A WAY WHERE I FEEL LIKE IT’S RELATABLE. IT’S UNIVERSALLY RELATABLE BECAUSE WE ALL GO THROUGH TYPES OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THAT SONG DID REALLY WELL AND KINDA BLEW UP, ESPECIALLY IN OUR COMMUNITY BUT THEN WHEN WE RELEASED THE VIDEO WITH THESE T-SHIRTS THAT SAY “OUR WOUNDS ARE STILL OPEN” THAT’S WHEN IT REALLY TOOK OFF AND THAT’S WHEN WE REALIZED THAT WE REALLY HAD SOMETHING TO SPREAD THIS MESSAGE WITH AND RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT OUR CAUSE BEYOND, YOU KNOW USING HIP-HOP OR USING FASHION, USING SOCIAL MEDIA AND JUST REALLY DOING IT IN A COOL YOUNG WAY WHERE THE YOUTH IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY, BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE WORLD CAN REALLY RELATE TO IT AND CONNECT TO OUR CAUSE AND JOIN THE MOVEMENT SO THAT’S PRETTY MUCH WHERE WE’RE AT.

(CARDI B WAS RECENTLY SEEN SUPPORTING THE OPEN WOUNDS MOVEMENT) PHOTO COURTESY OF R-MEAN’S INSTAGRAM PAGE

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VALIDATED: WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT THE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY THAT TOOK PLACE SPECIFICALLY IN THE ARMENIAN CULTURE STILL AREN'T RECOGNIZED IN THE GOVERNMENTAL HISTORY BOOKS PER SE?

R-MEAN: THAT’S A POLITICAL ISSUE. I DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED RIGHT AFTER WORLD WAR I, BUT I DO KNOW THAT THE TERM GENOCIDE DIDN’T EXIST YET WHEN THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE HAPPENED SO IT’S THE FIRST GENOCIDE OF ITS KIND IN THE 20TH CENTURY AND EVERY OTHER GENOCIDE THAT CAME AFTER IT, IT’S ALMOST LIKE WHEN SOMEONE GETS AWAY WITH SOMETHING UNPUNISHED IN THE NEXT PERSON THINKS THEY CAN DO IT AS WELL, SO NOW YOU HAVE HITLER IN 1939 IN WORLD WAR II HE’S ACTUALLY BEEN QUOTED SAYING, “AFTER ALL, WHO REMEMBERS THE EXTERMINATION OF THE ARMENIANS,” MEANING THE TURKS GOT AWAY WITH WHAT SO MAKES YOU THINK I CAN’T DO IT AS WELL, AND THEN WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE JEWISH HOLOCAUST TO RWANDA TO CAMBODIA AND ALL THESE OTHER GENOCIDES THAT HAVE HAPPENED, IT’S ALL A POLITICAL ISSUE. TURKEY NEVER ADMITTED TO IT AND TURKEYS A VERY RICH COUNTRY AND THEY HAVE A MASSIVE CAMPAIGN EVERY SINGLE YEAR SINCE THEN TRYING TO HIDE THE TRUTH AND THEY’VE WIPED IT FROM THE HISTORY BOOKS, THEY DON’T TEACH IT IN SCHOOLS, IN THEIR HISTORY CLASSES AND THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR GENERATIONS FOR OVER 100 YEARS. SO IN RECENT YEARS WITH TECHNOLOGY BEING THE WAY IT IS, ARTISTS DOING THINGS LIKE I’M DOING WITH OPEN WOUNDS, WITH SOCIAL MEDIA YOU CAN ALWAYS GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS AND IT’S DEFINITELY BEEN COMING TO LIGHT MORE THAN IT WAS 40-50 YEARS AGO SO THAT’S THE GOOD THING BUT I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT BESIDES TURKEY THE UNITED STATES HASN’T RECOGNIZED IT BECAUSE WERE POLITICAL ALLIES AND I KNOW THE US HAS MILITARY BASES IN TURKEY AND TURKEY IS KIND OF LIKE THIS SEGUE INTO THE MIDDLE EAST SO AMERICA HAS HAD THEIR OWN REASONS FOR NOT RECOGNIZING IT.


VALIDATED: HAVE ANY OTHER ARMENIAN CELEBRITIES COME ON BOARD TO HELP YOU GET THIS MESSAGE OUT THERE EVEN MORE?

R-MEAN: A LOT OF CELEBRITIES HAVE COME ON BOARD SO MY THING WAS WHEN WE CREATED OPEN WOUNDS I WROTE THIS SONG WHICH WAS VERY POWERFUL AND IT’S JUST ONE OF THOSE RECORDS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS IN THE STUDIO AND I KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO TOUCH A LOT OF PEOPLE, EVEN NON-ARMENIANS BECAUSE IT’S SO RELATABLE AND YOU CAN JUST FEEL THE PAIN IN THE MUSIC SO THAT’S WHERE IT ALL STARTED, THEN WE CREATED THE VIDEO AND WE CREATED THIS T-SHIRT THAT SAYS OUR WOUNDS ARE STILL OPEN AND THAT T-SHIRT BLEW UP EVEN BIGGER THAN THE SONG AND NOW WE’RE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF T-SHIRTS LATER AND IT’S KIND OF LIKE A NEW HIP DOPE WAY OF SENDING A MESSAGE BECAUSE, IN 2019, KIDS LIKE TO JUST WEAR SOMETHING DOPE WITH A POWERFUL MESSAGE OR LISTEN TO MUSIC THAT HAS A MESSAGE AND IT ALL KIND OF CAME TOGETHER. SO ONCE WE SAW THAT IT’S ACTUALLY WORKING AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE SUPPORTING WE WERE REACHING OUT TO INFLUENCERS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE HIP HOP COMMUNITY STEPPED UP. I WOULD SAY THE FIRST BIG NAME WAS GAME. HE DIDN’T ONLY WEAR THE SHIRT, HE TOOK A PICTURE WITH IT AND POSTED IT ON HIS INSTAGRAM. WE FIRST STARTED OPEN WOUNDS IN 2013 AND EVER SINCE THEN ALMOST EVERY YEAR GAME HAS POSTED IN APRIL WHICH IS THE COMMEMORATION MONTH, APRIL 24TH TO BE EXACT, SO GAME AND THEN METHOD MAN WAS ONE OF THE FIRST ONES TO WEAR IT ON STAGE AT A SHOW THAT I OPENED UP FOR HIM AT AND AFTER THAT SO MANY PEOPLE FROM CARDI B, POST MALONE, LOGIC, DMX AND YOU KNOW IF YOU GO ON MY SOCIAL MEDIA YOU SEE ALL THE CELEBRITIES THAT SUPPORTED AND IT’S A LONG LIST OF PEOPLE BUT WITHIN THAT WE ALSO REACHED OUT TO ARMENIAN CELEBRITIES A LOT OF ARMENIAN CELEBRITIES WITHIN THE COMMUNITY HAVE HELPED LIKE ARMENIAN SINGERS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULDN’T NECESSARILY KNOW ABOUT, HOWEVER THE ONE ICONIC AND LEGENDARY GROUP SYSTEM OF A DOWN SYSTEM WHO ARE A MULTI-PLATINUM GROUP FROM THE 90S AND 2000S AND THEY KIND OF HAD THEIR OWN WHOLE CAMPAIGN AT THE TIME. THEY’VE DONE SONGS, THEY DID A WHOLE DOCUMENTARY MOVIE ABOUT IT CALLED SCREAMERS IN THE EARLY 2000‘S SO THEY’VE ALREADY DONE THEIR OWN PART AND THEY DEFINITELY SUPPORTED US AS WELL. WE GOT THEM TO TAKE PICTURES WITH IT, ALL FOUR MEMBERS AND ALL THE DRUMMER JOHN HE WORE THE SHIRT DURING ONE OF THEIR BIGGEST CONCERTS THAT WAS BROADCASTED ON ROLLINGSTONE.COM AND THEN THE OTHER ARMENIAN CELEBRITIES ARE THE KARDASHIANS AND WE’VE REACHED OUT TO THEM, I’VE GOTTEN THE SHIRTS TO THEM AND WE HAVEN’T SEEN THEM SPECIFICALLY POST OR WEAR OUR SHIRTS JUST YET HOWEVER, I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE BECAUSE THEY’VE ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT IT, THEY’VE DONE EPISODES ON THEIR TV SHOW ABOUT IT, THEY ALWAYS TWEET AND POST ABOUT IT TOO, SO EVERYBODY’S KIND OF SPREADING THE MESSAGE USING THEIR PLATFORM IN THEIR OWN WAY WHICH IS REALLY THE WHOLE POINT ANYWAY SO IF IT’S NOT MY MOVEMENT IT’S THEIR OWN WHICH IS GREAT, BUT I CAN DEFINITELY PROUDLY SAY THAT WE STARTED SOMETHING VERY NEW AND FRESH IN THE COMMUNITY THAT REALLY TOUCHED THE YOUNGER PEOPLE AND THE YOUTH AND GOT THEM INVOLVED A WHOLE NOTHER WAY THAN BEFORE AND THE PROTESTS AND THE MARCHES AND THE COMMEMORATION THAT WE HAVE EVERY YEAR EVER SINCE OPEN WOUNDS REALLY TOOK OFF HAS DEFINITELY INCREASED IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ATTEND AND IT HAS DEFINITELY INCREASED IN THE NUMBER OF YOUTH THAT ATTENDS MOST IMPORTANTLY. AND PART OF IT IS ALSO ME GOING TO DIFFERENT SCHOOLS AND NOT ONLY PERFORMING THE SONG BUT LIKE TALKING TO THE KIDS AND DOING A SPEECH ABOUT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY OF COURSE ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BUT JUST ABOUT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN GENERAL BECAUSE IT’S SO MUCH BIGGER THAN JUST THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.

VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR INFLUENCE AS AN ARTIST IS SHEDDING MORE LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT AND BRINGING IT TO A YOUNGER DEMOGRAPHIC AND WHAT HAS THEIR RESPONSE BEEN LIKE?

R-MEAN: EVERY TIME I VISIT SCHOOLS PARENTS JUST COME UP TO ME JUST THANKING ME BECAUSE I GUESS I’VE RE-INTRODUCED THE SUBJECT IN A DIFFERENT WAY AND IN A MORE HIP AND COOL WAY AND A MORE INTERESTING WAY TO THE YOUTH THAN BEFORE. WE USED TO GO TO THESE PROTESTS AND COMMEMORATION EVENTS AND IT WOULD BE A LOT OF SPEECHES AND A LOT OF POLITICIANS TALKING AND THINGS LIKE THAT WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT BUT IT’S ALSO KIND OF BORING IN A WAY WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG. SO HEARING IT IN A RAP SONG IS DIFFERENT. THEN WE’VE GOT ALL THESE RAPPERS WEARING THE SHIRTS AND WE’VE GOT GAME ON THE REMIX OF “OPEN WOUNDS X” WHERE GAME DROPS A VERSE ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE. THINGS LIKE THAT, WHEN WE INCORPORATE IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY TO TOUCH THE YOUTH AND JUST SPREAD IT OUTSIDE OF OUR COMMUNITY WHILE RAISING AWARENESS IS REALLY AMAZING.


VALIDATED: HOW DID YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD INFLUENCE YOUR SOUND?

R-MEAN: I THINK NOWADAYS THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY RESTRICTIONS ON YOUR AREA ANYMORE AS FAR AS SOUND BECAUSE THE INTERNET HAS CROSSED ALL BORDERS, HOWEVER, THERE ARE ALWAYS LITTLE ELEMENTS OF ARMENIAN SOUNDS IN MY MUSIC. ACTUALLY “OPEN WOUNDS” IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THAT WHERE WE USED A TRADITIONAL ARMENIAN FLUTE , IT’S CALLED A DUDUK FLUTE THAT WE USED AS THE MAIN INSTRUMENT AND BUILT THE BEAT AROUND IT, BUT ALSO ME GROWING UP IN AMSTERDAM EVEN THOUGH I’M FROM LA, I LOVE LA, I MOVED BACK TO LA, I LIVE IN LA AND I LOVE LA MORE THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN THE WORLD BUT ANYTIME SOMEONE HEARS ME RAP THEY’RE SURPRISED WHEN I SAY I’M FROM LA. THEY THINK I’M FROM NY OR THE MIDWEST AND THAT I ATTRIBUTE TO GROWING UP IN EUROPE BECAUSE ESPECIALLY IN AMSTERDAM IF YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT IT NEW YORK USED TO BE CALLED NEW AMSTERDAM SO THE ENTIRE CULTURE OF AMSTERDAM IS DEFINITELY MORE NEW YORK THAN IT WAS LA I WOULD SAY, AND THE HIP HOP CULTURE AND THINGS THAT WERE BIGGER THERE IS DEFINITELY MORE NEW YORK THAN LA. SO WEARING TIMBERLAND BOOTS AND NAS BEING MY FAVORITE RAPPER, OR ME BEING SUCH A WU-TANG FANATIC, THAT’S ALL LIKE MORE AMSTERDAM INFLUENCES THAN ANYTHING ELSE.


VALIDATED: I KNOW NAS AND EMINEM ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES BUT HOW DID THEY OR ANY OTHER ARTISTS INFLUENCE YOUR FLOW, DELIVERY, PUNCHLINES, STORYTELLING, SUBSTANCE, ETC? WHAT DID THEY BRING OUT OF YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW WAS IN YOU?

R-MEAN: DOPE QUESTION, I ALWAYS CREDIT NAS AND EM AS MY TWO BIGGEST INFLUENCES BUT OF COURSE, THEY WEREN’T THE ONLY ONES. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTO LYRICISM AND I’VE ALWAYS BEEN LIKE A TRADITIONAL HIP HOP PURIST SO I JUST LOVE THE CULTURE AND THE ART OF RAP, THE ART RHYMING AND EVERY ASPECT OF IT. SO, ME GROWING UP IN LIKE THAT SHADY, AFTERMATH ERA, OF COURSE, EMINEM WAS THE ONE AND I THINK HE’S BEEN A HUGE INFLUENCE ON ANY LYRICIST OR ANY SPITTER THAT CAME AFTER THAT. JUST THE WAY HE WOULD PUT WORDS TOGETHER NUMBER ONE AND NUMBER TWO HOW HE WOULD SHARE HIS PERSONAL LIFE AND REALLY POUR HIS HEART OUT AND HE ALWAYS ATTRIBUTED THAT TO TUPAC, AND I’D PUT PAC IN MY TOP 3 INFLUENCES AS WELL. JUST THE WAY HE WOULD TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT’S GOING ON IN HIS LIFE AND COMMUNITY. THEN NAS JUST HAS THAT STREET KNOWLEDGE AND THE STORYTELLING AND THE PAINTING OF PICTURES ON A WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL SO I GUESS YOU KNOW IT’S ALWAYS A COMBINATION OF THINGS. WE AS ARTISTS, WE ALWAYS SOAK UP THINGS AND WHEN YOU’RE A FAN OF HIP HOP YOU LISTEN TO DIFFERENT THINGS. I THINK THAT’S THE CASE IN EVERY ART. I BELIEVE I’M A MELTING POT OF NAS, EM, PAC, PUN AND A LOT OF THE LYRICISTS BECAUSE BACK IN THE DAY I USED TO REALLY LOOK AT THE WAKE UP SHOW FREESTYLES AND I WOULD BE AMAZED BY A CANIBUS OR CHINO XL OR A CROOKED I. I REALLY WANTED TO BE ABLE TO RAP AT THAT LEVEL. THOSE PEOPLE INFLUENCE ME BUT THEN PEOPLE LIKE 50 AND THAT WHOLE G- UNIT ERA INFLUENCED ME IN A DIFFERENT WAY. HE WAS BEING MELODIC BUT AT THE SAME TIME, HE WAS STREET YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING. SO YOU KNOW WE’VE JUST GOT TO TAKE ALL THESE INFLUENCES AND MAKE IT OUR OWN.

VALIDATED: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR CITY'S CURRENT HIP HOP SCENE?

R-MEAN: I THINK LA AND BASICALLY JUST THE WEST COAST IS PROBABLY NUMBER ONE RIGHT NOW. LIKE OBVIOUSLY THE SOUTH AND ATLANTA HAS BEEN RULING, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT LA, FIRST OF ALL, TDE MY FAVORITE TEAM IN HIP HOP, EVERY SINGLE ARTIST IS AMAZING ON TDE. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? I'M A HUGE KENDRICK FAN, OF COURSE, AND WE LOOK AT NIPSEY AND WHAT HE'S BEEN ABLE TO DO. NIPSEY IS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY TOP FIVE RIGHT NOW AS WELL. VICTORY LAP, IS MY FAVORITE ALBUM OF LAST YEAR, BUT NOT ONLY JUST MUSICALLY, BUT JUST THE WAY HE MOVED AND HOW HE MOVED WITH INTEGRITY AND HOW HE WAS ABLE TO DO IT HIS OWN WAY. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? INDEPENDENTLY NOT COMPROMISING THE MUSIC OR THE BUSINESS. AND IN A WAY WE, ME AND MY TEAM, IS KIND OF FOLLOWING THAT BLUEPRINT OF THE MARATHON YOU KNOW, WE OPENED OUR STORE JUST THE WAY HE DID AT THE MARATHON CLOTHING STORE. WE OPENED THE PENTAGON LA BECAUSE WE WERE SELLING A LOT OF MERCH INDEPENDENTLY AND WE ARE ABOUT TO OPEN OUR SECOND LOCATION. WE’RE IN THE PROCESS, WE JUST SIGNED THE LEASE. WE'RE GOING TO OPEN IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS. SO NOW WE GOT GLENDALE AND WE GOT NORTH HOLLYWOOD. HOPEFULLY WE'LL EXPAND MORE. BUT LIKE NIPSEY IS AMAZING. SO I THINK THE WEST COAST IS REALLY KILLING IT. OF COURSE YOU KNOW, WE GOT BLUEFACE AND YOU KNOW I BELIEVE EVERYBODY IS KILLING IT.


VALIDATED: WHAT SACRIFICES HAVE YOU MADE IN ORDER TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM OF BEING AN ARTIST?

R-MEAN: MAN, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE I FEEL A LOT OF THE YOUNG ARTISTS DON'T REALIZE HOW MUCH SACRIFICE IT TAKES. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? BUT I'VE ACTUALLY GOT A SONG CALLED “SACRIFICES.” (SACRIFICES & INSHALLAH ON MEAN MONDAYS - HTTPS://YOUTU.BE/USAJ1PBSQ8M ) I TALK ABOUT, UH, YOU KNOW, NOT SEEING YOUR FAMILY AS MUCH. I TALK ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH, YOU KNOW, MY BROTHER'S KIDS AND I AIN'T GOT KIDS MYSELF, BUT I'M AN UNCLE, THE TWO NEPHEWS AND A NIECE. I TALK ABOUT FRIENDS, LIKE A LOT OF MY FRIENDS THAT WERE KIND OF NOT FROM THE MUSIC WORLD, YOU KNOW, IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, I JUST DON'T HAVE MUCH, I WANT TO SAY MUCH CONTACT, BUT I JUST DON'T SEE HIM THAT MUCH ANYMORE BECAUSE WE JUST HAVE VERY DIFFERENT VIEWS OF LIFE AND DIFFERENT GOALS IN LIFE. AND I ALWAYS SAY FOR YOU TO WANT TO ATTAIN SOMETHING VERY EXTREME, LIKE, YOU KNOW, MAKE IT IN THIS MUSIC GAME IS VERY EXTREME AND IT'S VERY DIFFICULT. A UNI TAB, EXTREME SACRIFICES, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? SO, UM, THE EASIEST EXAMPLE I CAN GIVE IS, LIKE I SAID BEFORE, I GRADUATED COLLEGE AND THEN I WENT ON AND GOT MY DOCTORATE, AS A PHARMACIST. SO THEN I WORKED AS A PHARMACIST, BUT THEN I DECIDED, NAH, THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO. SO I QUIT AND I GAVE A SIX FIGURE SALARY UP, LIKE GUARANTEED SIX FIGURES AT THE MINIMUM. THAT'S IF I WOULD JUST WORK AT LIKE ONE OF THESE CHAINS LIKE CVS OR RITE AID OR WHATEVER. I GAVE THAT UP TO DO MUSIC AND REALLY NOT MAKE ANY MONEY IN THE BEGINNING, BUT JUST KIND OF SOMEHOW SURVIVE AND I HAD TO DOWNSIZE FOR AWHILE. UNTIL YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE MONEY OFF THIS MUSIC AND THE MERCH AND JUST FIGURE OUT HOW THIS WHOLE INDEPENDENT GAME WORKS. I'M A NEW ARTIST, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I'VE BEEN IN THIS GAME FOR A MINUTE. SO I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE, JUST DEDICATE 100%, THAT TAKES 100% COMMITMENT, 100% DEDICATION. MONEY WILL COME LATER AND YOU WANT TO PARTY AND ALL THAT, MAN, THAT'S COOL, BUT HAVE YOUR VISION ON 20/20 YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING.


VALIDATED: I MET YOU BRIEFLY ON CHRIS WEBBY'S RAW THOUGHTS TOUR, HOW DID YOU END UP ON THAT TOUR WITH A BUNCH OF ARTISTS FROM CONNECTICUT AND WHAT WAS THAT INDEPENDENT TOUR EXPERIENCE LIFE FOR YOU?

R-MEAN: MAN, THAT WAS AMAZING MAN. SHOUT OUT TO CHRIS WEBBY AND THE WHOLE TEAM. I DID THE WEST COAST LEG OF THAT TOUR. IT WAS ABOUT 17 OR 18 CITIES. THAT'S WHEN WE MET. WE’RE ABOUT TO GO OUT AGAIN IN APRIL. HE'S DOING THE RUN IN CANADA. WE'RE DOING ABOUT 20 CITIES ALL OVER CANADA AND I'M GOING TO BE ON THAT AS WELL. SHOUT OUT MY BROTHERS ANOYD AND ROOK THAT WAS ON THE TOUR AS WELL. SO YEAH MAN, THEY’RE ALL FROM CONNECTICUT BUT REALLY THE WAY I GOT ON IT IS JUST ME LINKING WITH WEBBY. ME AND WHERE WE'VE BEEN HAVING A RELATIONSHIP FOR A FEW YEARS NOW. I MET HIM FIRST ON SWAY, NOT SWAY IN THE MORNING, BUT WE WERE ON MTV’S RAP FIX TOGETHER ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO. SWAY WAS DOING THESE END OF THE YEAR CIPHERS. HE WAS DOING IT ON SWAY IN THE MORNING TOO. THEY CALL THEM DOOMSDAY CYPHERS. THEY’RE REALLY KNOWN NOW AND I'VE BEEN ON THOSE A COUPLE OF TIMES AS WELL. BUT HE'S DOING THE MTV RAP FIX CYPHER AND ME AND WEBBY ACTUALLY ENDED UP ON THE SAME CYPHER AND HE HAD LIKE 20, 25 MC’S THERE AND IT WAS LIKE FIVE DIFFERENT CYPHERS. IT WAS A CRAZY EXPERIENCE, ME AND WEBBY LINKED AND YOU KNOW, I KNEW ABOUT WEBBY JUST BECAUSE HE’S A VERY BIG INDEPENDENT ARTIST. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW HOW BIG HE REALLY IS, BUT HE DID A 50 CITY TOUR IN THE UNITED STATES AND HE’S PACKING EVERY SINGLE SHOW. I'M TALKING ABOUT 500 TO A THOUSAND PEOPLE AT EVERY SINGLE VENUE. AND NOW WE’RE ABOUT TO DO CANADA. I KNOW HE'S BEEN OUT TO LIKE EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA AND SHIT AS WELL, BUT HE’S LITERALLY GETTING HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF STREAMS EVERY YEAR. SO YOU KNOW, WE MAINLY CONNECTED NOT ONLY AS PEOPLE, BUT THE TYPE OF MUSIC WE MAKE AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE’RE BOTH LYRICISTS. WE BOTH MAKE HIP HOP WITH SUBSTANCE AND WITH A MESSAGE AND IT'S JUST THAT MUTUAL RESPECT AS MC’S AND AS ARTISTS. SO WE DID A RECORD TOGETHER CALLED “BABYLON.” WE SHOT THE VIDEO WHILE WE WAS ON TOUR, THAT DID REALLY WELL FOR ME. SO IT ONLY MAKES SENSE, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? SO SHOUT OUT THE WEBBY AND THE WHOLE TEAM.


VALIDATED: AS A HIP-HOP ARTIST, WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE HIP-HOP CULTURE?

R-MEAN: DOPE QUESTION. WELL AS A HIP HOP ARTIST I’VE ALWAYS SEEN HIP HOP AS THE VOICE OF THE STRUGGLE, THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE. I FEEL LIKE ORIGINALLY, THAT'S HOW HIP HOP WAS CREATED. SO NOW HIP HOP BEING SO UNIVERSAL AND ALLOWING SOMEONE LIKE MYSELF TO BE A PART OF IT, I THINK NUMBER ONE IS MY DUTY TO TELL THE STORY OF MY PEOPLE, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? I ALWAYS FELT LIKE HIP HOP IS THE STRONGEST FORM OF SELF EXPRESSION AND AS LONG AS YOU KEEP IT TRUE TO YOU AND WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU’RE FROM AND EXPRESS THAT, YOU CAN BE A PART OF THAT CULTURE. AND THAT'S, THAT'S HOW I FEEL LIKE I'VE BEEN RECEIVED WITH OPEN ARMS. NOW I'M ONE OF THOSE DUDES THAT'S A REAL HIP HOP PURIST AND I JUST LOVE THE CULTURE FOR WHAT IT IS. I'M ACTUALLY ONE OF THOSE DUDES THAT KIND OF GETS ANNOYED WHEN, YOU KNOW, THE NEW THE NEW AGE RAPPERS TALK SHIT ABOUT, ABOUT OUR LEGENDS, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I'M ALL GOOD WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE TUPAC’S MUSIC OR BIGGIE’S MUSIC, BUT I GET IRRITATED WHEN YOU DISRESPECT IT BECAUSE I'M JUST FOR THE CULTURE. SO I FEEL LIKE MY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO KEEP THAT UP, YOU KNOW, TO KEEP THE ART AND LYRICISM UP, TO KEEP SUBSTANCE WITHIN HIP HOP UP. AND I FEEL LIKE THE GAME IS GEARING BACK TOWARDS THAT ANYWAY. IT'S JUST THAT HIP HOP HAS BECOME SO BIG NOW THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENT LANES WITHIN THE SAME GENRE. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? WHETHER YOU WANT TO CALL IT MUMBLE RAP OR WHATEVER. AND I APPRECIATE ALL OF IT BY THE WAY, I'M A FAN OF ALL OF IT, EVEN THOUGH I MAKE ONE TYPE OF MUSIC I APPRECIATE GREATNESS IN ALL SORTS OF HIP HOP, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? SO HOPEFULLY I CAN GIVE BACK THE SAME WAY THAT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO MY LIFE.


VALIDATED: WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND MEAN MONDAY'S WHERE YOU DROPPED A SONG EVERY MONDAY FOR WELL OVER A YEAR NOW AT THIS POINT, AND HOW CHALLENGING WAS THAT FOR YOU AS AN ARTIST?

R-MEAN: I STARTED MEAN MONDAYS AT THE TOP OF 2017. SO AT THE END OF 2016 I HAD JUST DROPPED MY NAS AND EM TRIBUTE MIX TAPE AND I WAS REALIZING, THAT TAPE ACTUALLY DO VERY WELL FOR ME, BUT I WAS REALIZING THAT EVERY TIME I WAS DROPPING A PROJECT, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE JUST CONSUME MUSIC DIFFERENTLY, NOW IT'S LIKE TWO YEARS LATER RIGHT? BUT AT THAT TIME I WAS LIKE, YO, PEOPLE ARE JUST CONSUMING MUSIC DIFFERENTLY. PROJECTS ARE NOT BEING CONSUMED AS PROJECTS ANYMORE. AND I'M MORE OF A PROJECT ARTIST, MEANING I LIKE TO PUT TOGETHER A BODY OF WORK WAY MORE THAN JUST THROW OUT SINGLE SONGS. I UNDERSTOOD AT THAT TIME THAT IT WAS TOUGH FOR ME TO SWITCH GEARS AND KIND OF TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH, UH, BECAUSE I WASN'T REACHING AS MANY PEOPLE AS I SHOULD, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE SOME TYPE OF MAJOR LABEL BACKING OR A WORLD TOUR OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO WORK THE MUSIC, YOU KNOW, AN ALBUM CAN DIE OUT REALLY QUICK, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? AND I JUST FELT LIKE, YO, PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT I JUST DROPPED FOR LIKE TWO WEEKS AND THEN THEY'RE MOVING ON WITH THEIR LIFE. SO THAT WAS REALLY FRUSTRATING WHEN YOU, YOU KNOW, POUR YOUR HEART OUT AND POUR, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING OUT INTO A PROJECT FOR LIKE A YEAR OR SIX MONTHS, BUT THEN PEOPLE ARE OVER IT SO QUICK. SO THAT'S WHEN I DECIDED, IT WAS THE END OF 2016 AND I DECIDED, YO, WHEN JANUARY, 2017 COMES, I'M GOING TO JUST START DROPPING ONE SONG EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I WENT INTO IT NOT AS PREPARED EITHER BECAUSE I DECIDED KIND OF LAST MINUTE. SO I WAS CREATING THEM REALLY IN REAL TIME. I HAD A FEW SONGS OF COURSE, BUT I WAS CREATING IN REAL TIME AND DROPPING THEM EVERY MONDAY. THAT WAS THE CHALLENGING PART BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE TYPE OF HIP HOP THAT I MAKE IS NOT REALLY THE TYPE WHERE YOU JUST WALK INTO THE BOOTH AND KIND OF JUST SAY WHATEVER COMES TO MIND AND KIND OF SWAG IT OUT ON A RECORD. YOU KNOW, THE TYPE OF MUSIC I MAKE A LOT OF TIMES HAS A LOT OF THOUGHT BEHIND IT. IT'S STORIES, IT'S CONCEPTS, IT’S DIFFERENT THINGS SO YOU KNOW, I SPENT EVERY WEEK EVERY DAY IN THE STUDIO FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR OF 2017, AND I THINK WE DID A REALLY GOOD JOB. WE DIDN'T SKIP A SINGLE MONDAY. AND WHAT HAPPENED WAS I STARTED BEING ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLATFORMS. YOU KNOW, IT STARTED WITH HOT NEW HIP HOP SUPPORTING ME AND THEN, YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT BLOGS AND STUFF LIKE THAT STARTED PICKING IT UP AND TWEETING IT OUT AND I STARTED BEING IN PEOPLE'S FACES ON A WEEKLY BASIS. THAT REALLY OPENED A LOT OF DOORS FOR ME. A LOT OF PEOPLE WITHIN THE INDUSTRY, EVEN JUST IN LA, FROM YOUR LA LEAKERS AND YOUR CHARISMA’S AND THE BIGGER DJ'S, THE BIGGER TASTEMAKERS, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT A LOT OF PEOPLE STARTED REACHING OUT AND THAT'S KINDA HOW WE DID IT. AND THEN I STARTED PUTTING THE SONGS INTO WHAT I CALLED MEAN MONDAYS, VOL 1 MIXTAPE VOL. 2 MIXTAPE THAT WE DID WITH CHARISMA THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. THEN WHEN THE YEAR WAS OVER I DECIDED TO CONTINUE. SO I DID ACTUALLY 64 JOINTS IN 64 WEEKS. NOW WHILE I WAS DOING MEAN MONDAYS, A LOT OF PEOPLE, LIKE I SAID REACHED OUT AND ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WAS THE LEGENDARY, B-REAL, SHOUT OUT TO THE BIG BRO. HE REACHED DOWN AND HE WAS LIKE, YO, I SEE YOU DROPPING A RECORD EVERY MONDAY AND HE WAS ALREADY FUCKING WITH ME. LIKE I MET HIM A COUPLE TIMES. HE INTERVIEWED ME COUPLE OF TIMES ON B-REAL TV AND I FREESTYLED FOR HIM, AND YOU KNOW, HE WAS REALLY IMPRESSED. SO THEN WHEN HE SAW WHAT I WAS DOING WITH MEAN MONDAYS, HE'S LIKE, “YO, WHY DON'T YOU BRING THAT TO B-REAL TV ON MY SHOW?” HE HAS A SHOW CALLED DOCTOR GREENTHUMB SHOW AND HE'S LIKE, “IN ADDITION TO DROPPING MUSIC EVERY WEEK, WHY DON'T YOU DO SOME TYPE OF VIDEO CONTENT, LIKE A PERFORMANCE OF THE SONG OR A LITTLE MUSIC VIDEO TYPE THING OF THE SONG OR WHATEVER FOR THE SONG YOU DECIDE ON FOR THAT WEEK.” SO WE STARTED DOING THAT AT THE TOP OF 2018. SO EVEN THOUGH I STOPPED DROPPING NEW MUSIC SINCE, UH, YOU KNOW, MARCH OR APRIL OF 2018, I STILL BEEN DOING THE MEAN MONDAYS ON B-REAL TV ALL THE WAY UP UNTIL NOW. SO EVERY MONDAY WE STILL DROP LIKE VIDEO CONTENT WHILE I'M WORKING NOW ON AN ACTUAL PROJECT. BUT I MIGHT BRING MEAN MONDAYS BACK AGAIN. AS FAR AS DROPPING MUSIC TOO, IT'S ALL ABOUT CONTENT THESE DAYS, YOU KNOW, SO WE’RE WORKING.


VALIDATED: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HIP-HOP BEING THE MOST POPULAR MUSIC GENRE AND DO YOU FEEL THE MESSAGE IN THE MUSIC NEEDS TO BE STRONGER THAN WHAT IT CURRENTLY IS?

R-MEAN: MAN, I'M REALLY EXCITED THAT HIP HOP IS THE MOST POPULAR GENRE. I THINK HIP HOP IS JUST THE MOST POPULAR AND MOST INFLUENTIAL CULTURE PERIOD. IIN 2019, HIP HOP IS SO UNIVERSAL EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD. IF IT’S NOT MUSIC, IT'S IN THE CLOTHES, IT'S IN THE WAY WE TALK AND IT'S IN THE WAY WE WALK. YOU GO TO H&M THERE'S TEE SHIRTS THAT'S INSPIRED BY HIP HOP. THERE'S JEANS THAT’S INSPIRED BY HIP HOP. AND YOU GO TO THE FUCKING MIDDLE EAST, YOU GO TO ASIA, YOU GO ANYWHERE AND THERE'S RAPPERS. EUROPE, EVERY COUNTRY HAS HUGE HIP HOP SCENES. SO HIP HOP IS JUST SO BIG RIGHT NOW SO IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THAT IT'S THE MOST POPULAR GENRE OF MUSIC. NOW AS FAR AS THE MESSAGE, YOU KNOW, I'M ALWAYS AN ADVOCATE OF HAVING SUBSTANCE IN MUSIC. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I UNDERSTAND HAVING A GOOD TIME AS WELL. YOU KNOW I'M A REAL GEMINI BY THE WAY. AND UM, I'M KIND OF A TRUE GEMINI, SO I LOVE TO HAVE A GOOD TIME WHILE AT THE SAME TIME I MIGHT GET REALLY, YOU KNOW, GET MY ACTIVIST ROLE ON AND GO DEEP INTO THE SUBSTANCE. SO I APPRECIATE ALL OF IT. AND YOU KNOW, OF COURSE THE MAINSTREAM IS ALWAYS GOING TO PUSH THE, WHAT WE CALL, YOU KNOW, THE MORE DUMBED DOWN MUSIC THAT'S EASILY DIGESTIBLE. AND YOU KNOW, THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS. BUT I FEEL IT’S ALL GOOD BECAUSE WITH TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY AND JUST THE WAY WE CONSUME MUSIC, ANY TYPE OF MUSIC IS OUT THERE FOR ANYBODY THAT WANTS IT. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? AND I DO FEEL THAT LYRICISM AND SUBSTANCE AND ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING IS COMING BACK. AND AS LONG AS THE OG’S IN THE GAME ARE ADVOCATES FOR THAT, THAT’S A GOOD THING YOU KNOW? WE SEE HOV DROPPING A 444 AND EVEN THIS LAST 2 CHAINZ ALBUM, HE'S TALKING SOME REAL GROWN UP SHIT ON THERE. LIKE, YOU KNOW, I THINK THE, THE GENERAL SENTIMENT IN THE CULTURE IS DEFINITELY BECOMING MORE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT THE MESSAGE IS. SO EVEN THOUGH EVEN, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE DENOUNCING USING LEAN AND SHIT LIKE THAT, YOU KNOW, I FEEL LIKE THAT PHASE KIND OF CAME AND WENT. ALSO, IT'S NOT THAT DOPE NO MORE, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? SO I THINK IT'S TURNING TOWARDS A GOOD WAY, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE MAINSTREAM, IS ALWAYS GOING TO PUSH SOMETHING AND IT'S UP TO US ARTISTS TO MAKE BETTER MUSIC. AND I THINK THE GAME IS HEADED TOWARDS THAT DIRECTION.


VALIDATED: YOU'VE WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BEST ARTISTS IN THE GAME WITH THE LIKES OF THE GAME, WU-TANG CLAN, JOE BUDDEN, SCOTT STORCH, METHOD MAN ETC. WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THOSE EXPERIENCES THAT MAKES YOU A BETTER ARTIST AND WHO DO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH IN THE FUTURE?

R-MEAN: YEAH, MAN, THOSE EXPERIENCES WAS AMAZING. UM, I FEEL LIKE I’M AT A LEVEL WHERE I COULD BE WORKING WITH, WITH ANY OF THOSE CATS, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? ANYBODY MAINSTREAM OR WHATEVER, UH, LEGENDS AND I COULD HOLD MY OWN. I FEEL LIKE I'VE PUT IN THE WORK AND I'VE DEVELOPED MYSELF AS AN ARTIST TO A LEVEL WHERE I'M AT THE SAME LEVEL AS THEM. TALENT WISE, OF COURSE, NOT ACCOMPLISHMENT WISE. SO IT'S ONLY RIGHT THAT I'M IN THE SAME ROOM AS THESE CATS AT THIS POINT. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? GAME WAS THE FIRST, I WOULD SAY DEFINITELY THE VERY FIRST, YOU KNOW, BIG NAME ARTIST TO EVER ACKNOWLEDGE ME AND WORK WITH ME. UH, I WILL ALWAYS SALUTE HIM. WU-TANG, THAT WAS LIKE A CHILDHOOD DREAM COME TRUE. AND BEING ON A SONG WITH METH AS ONE OF MY TOP, TOP, TOP FAVORITE MC’S OF ALL TIME. SO THAT WAS AMAZING. AND GETTING TO KNOW HIM AND KNOW HOW DOPE OF A PERSON HE IS IS AMAZING. AND HIS SCOTT STORCH, YOU KNOW, I'M WORKING ON MY NEW ALBUM AND I'VE BEEN IN THE STUDIO WITH SCOTT A LOT. MAN, ONE OF THE GREATEST, MOST TALENTED PRODUCERS THAT I’VE EVER SEEN WORK. I'M DEFINITELY LEARNING A LOT SOAKING UP GAME FROM EACH ONE OF THEM. UM, BUT AS FAR AS WHO I WANT TO WORK WITH IN THE FUTURE, YOU KNOW, IT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE, IT'S JUST A LOT OF DOPE MUSIC OUT RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW, ON EVERY LEVEL BUT SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT COME TO MIND RIGHT AWAY, I MENTIONED NIPSEY EARLIER. I MENTIONED KENRICK EARLIER TWO OF MY FAVORITES OUT RIGHT NOW. UM, I LOVE A LOT OF LIKE DOPE SINGERS LIKE THE WEEKND AND CHRIS BROWN. I LOVE DIFFERENT GENRES OF MUSIC TOO. LIKE I WOULD LOVE TO DO SOME SHIT WITH DAMIEN MARLEY, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING, AND WORKING WITH LEGENDS, YOU KNOW, OF COURSE NAS AND EM LIKE THOSE ARE THE GUYS THAT I GREW UP ON. I WANT TO DO SOME SHIT WITH IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE. WE'VE SPOKEN, SO I WANNA WORK WITH HIM, WITH DJ PREMIER. WE'VE SPOKEN ABOUT IT ALREADY. I'VE BEEN IN A STUDIO WITH ARAABMUZIK. HE PLAYED ME SOME BEATS, SO HOPEFULLY, YOU KNOW, WHEN THE SITUATION IS RIGHT. HE'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE NEWER PRODUCERS. SO, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A LOT OF TALENTED CATS OUT THERE, MAN. AND THIS NEW ALBUM THAT I'M WORKING ON, I CAN'T REALLY SAY OR NAME EVERYTHING JUST YET BECAUSE IT'S STILL IN THE WORKS, BUT THE WORLD'S GOING TO SEE SOME SHIT, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?


VALIDATED: YOU CURRENTLY HAVE THE PENTAGON LA STORE IN LA WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND THE STORE NAME, WHO ARE YOUR PARTNERS IN THE BUSINESS AND WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE BRAND?

R-MEAN: SO PENTAGON LA IS MY INDEPENDENT LABEL EVER SINCE I REALLY STARTED DOING MUSIC, THAT'S WHAT WE CALLED IT, SO IT’S A ME AND ALEX KODO WHO’S MY MANAGER AND BUSINESS PARTNER. AND THEN A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER, OR YOU KNOW, A FEW YEARS LATER, MY THIRD PARTNER TINA CHULDZ JOINED AND IT'S A THREE MAN ARMY. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? THOSE ARE MY BUSINESS PARTNERS. PENTAGON RECORDS, WHAT IT REPRESENTS IS THE PENTAGON, LIKE THE PENTAGON IN WASHINGTON WHERE PLANS TO GO TO WAR ARE MAPPED OUT, UM, WE TAKE THAT AS A METAPHOR TO THE STUDIO BEING OUR PENTAGON, WHERE WE GO TO WAR WITH THE COMPETITION. A MORE DEEPER MEANING TO THE PENTAGON IS THE FIVE ANGLES WHICH REPRESENT THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD, EAST, WEST, NORTH, SOUTH, AND THE FIFTH ANGLE, WHICH IS GOD WHO GUIDES US THROUGH EVERYTHING. SO IT REALLY STARTED WITH PENTAGON RECORDS. WE’RE ACTUALLY CURRENTLY LOOKING AT A COUPLE OF OTHER ARTISTS, BUT OBVIOUSLY I'M THE MAIN ARTIST. ONCE WE STARTED SELLING LOT OF MERCH AND THE OPEN WOUNDS MOVEMENT TOOK OFF FIRST. WE WERE ALREADY DOING MERCH, BUT WHEN THE OPEN WOUNDS MOVEMENT TOOK OFF AND THAT BECAME SO BIG IT BECAME ITS OWN THING. SO WE HAVE AN OPEN WOUNDS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION RIGHT NOW WHERE WE BASICALLY USE HIP HOP, FASHION AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THINGS LIKE THAT. BUT OPEN WOUNDS BLOWING UP AND US SELLING A LOT OF MERCH, THAT ALSO INCREASED ALL OUR OTHER MERCH SALES AND IT KIND OF LED US TO CREATE NOT ONLY MERCH AS FAR AS LIKE R-MEAN MERCH, BUT ALSO JUST LIKE A CLOTHING LINE. SO WE STARTED WITH A KIOSK AT A LOCAL MALL AND WE OUTGREW THAT SO WE MOVED ON TO AN ACTUAL STORE IN LA BECAUSE YOU KNOW, THE VISION IS TO, TO EXPAND TO ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT CITIES. SO HOPEFULLY THERE'LL BE A PENTAGON NEW YORK, PENTAGON BOSTON, PENTAGON VEGAS, PENTAGONON MIAMI, PENTAGON TORONTO, PENTAGON FUCKING ARMENIA OR RUSSIA, AMSTERDAM, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? SO THAT'S KIND OF THE VISION. WE ALREADY JUST SIGNED A LEASE FOR. THE SECOND LOCATION IS ALSO IN LA, SO THAT'S THE PENTAGON ON LA IN NOHO. THE ORIGINAL ONE IS IN PENTAGON, LA IN GLENDALE. AND WHAT IT IS IS BESIDES IT JUST BEING OUR STORE AND BESIDES IT CARRYING OUR MERCH AND OUR CLOTHING LINE AND OUR OPEN WOUNDS GEAR, IT'S A PLACE THAT CARRIES ARTISTS RELATED MERCH. SO WE CARRY MERCH FROM LOCAL ARTISTS, DIFFERENT ARTISTS THAT WE WORK WITH, DIFFERENT ARTISTS THAT COME AND DO THEIR EVENTS, THEIR LISTENING PARTIES, IN STORES AND SHIT LIKE THAT. BUT WE ALSO HAVE LIKE OVO GEAR, FUCKING PABLO KANYE TOUR MERCH AND THINGS LIKE THAT. SO IT'S AN ARTIST'S VIBE AND IT'S EVEN MORE OF A CREATIVE SPACE THAN IT IS JUST A STORE. SO WE DO A LOT OF, YOU KNOW, ART GALLERIES, POETRY READINGS. WE’VE HAD PODCASTS COME AND DO LIKE LIVE BROADCAST FROM THERE. WE HAVE LIKE CYPHERS. THE CYPHER EFFECT CAME AND FILMED A CYPHER. IF Y'ALL WANT TO COME INTERVIEW SOME PEOPLE, YOU’RE FREE TO USE THE SPACE. SO THAT'S WHAT WE DO. WHEN YOU WALK IN, THE PENTAGON LA, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT ARTWORK ON THE WALL. YOU KNOW, THE ORIGINAL PENTAGON LA IN GLENDALE HAS THE RECORDING STUDIO IN THE BACK BECAUSE THAT'S KIND OF OUR HEADQUARTERS. SO THAT'S KIND OF A VIBE WE’RE TRYING TO BRING TO THIS COMMUNITY AND EVERY CITY WE GO TO, THAT'S WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO.


VALIDATED: WHAT DO YOU WANT LISTENERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR MUSIC AND ITS MESSAGE?

R-MEAN: THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND IS INSPIRATION, HEALING, MOTIVATION. I THINK MUSIC IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL TO SPREAD A MESSAGE. I THINK MUSIC IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL TO MOTIVATE AND INSPIRE PEOPLE TO GO AFTER WHATEVER THEIR DREAM IS. AND I HOPE MY MUSIC PLAYS A ROLE AND I SAY HEALING BECAUSE, IF THERE'S ONE THING THAT I SEE IN MY MESSAGES FROM FANS IS THAT THEY SAY THAT THE MUSIC REALLY HELPED THEM GET THROUGH A HARD TIME. IF THERE'S ONE RECURRING THEME THAT I GET THE MOST IT’S THAT, AND THAT MEANS THE MOST TO ME BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE MUSIC IS THE STRONGEST MEDICATION. IRONICALLY, I BECAME A PHARMACIST AND I QUIT BECAUSE I SAID I RATHER HEAL PEOPLE THROUGH MUSIC THAN THROUGH MEDICATION AND THAT KIND OF REALLY BECAME TRUE.


VALIDATED: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS FROM YOUR MEAN MONDAYS SERIES THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE CHECKING FOR?

R-MEAN: I DON'T HAVE ONE FAVORITE, BUT IF I HAVE TO NAME A FEW, I WOULD SAY “BLACK CLOUDS” FOR SURE. THE SONG CALLED “FAMILY” FOR SURE. A SONG CALLED “SACRIFICES” FOR SURE. UM,”SMOKE SMOKE” FOR SURE OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. I THINK THOSE ARE THE ONES, AND I'LL PROBABLY THROW IN “TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS.”


VALIDATED: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GROWTH ELEMENTS THAT YOU SEE IN YOURSELF SINCE YOU'VE BECOME AN ARTIST?

R-MEAN: MAN? UH, I'VE BEEN DOING MUSIC FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS NOW. SO, UM, OBVIOUSLY THERE'S A LOT OF GROWTH PERSONALLY THAT REFLECTS IN YOUR ARTISTRY AND OBVIOUSLY WITH TIME YOU KIND OF DEVELOP AND FIND YOUR VOICE AND FIND YOUR STYLE. I THINK THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR EVERY ARTIST BECAUSE WE’RE INFLUENCED BY DIFFERENT ARTISTS OUT THERE AND SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW, A BIG THING WITH ME WAS I WOULD JUMP ON ANY TYPE OF BEATS THINKING, YOU KNOW, I CAN KILL IT BECAUSE I COULD LYRICALLY, I COULD RIP UP ANY BEAT. BUT NOW I'VE DEVELOPED MORE INTO AN ARTIST THAT REALLY UNDERSTANDS HIS IDENTITY AND UNDERSTANDS HOW TO MAKE RECORDS. SO I WENT FROM BEING A CRAZY SPITTER LYRICIST TYPE DUDE THAT WAS ESSENTIALLY MORE KNOWN FOR HIS SWAY IN THE MORNING FREESTYLES AND FOR MY APPEARANCES IN DIFFERENT CIPHERS ALL OVER THE INTERNET THAN FOR MY MUSIC, YOU KNOW, WITH A COUPLE EXCEPTIONS, LIKE THE “OPEN WOUNDS” SONG, LIKE MY SONG “LOST ANGELS” WITH THE GAME. LIKE THOSE WERE BIG RECORDS FOR ME. BUT BESIDES THOSE PEOPLE KNEW ME AS A SPITTER. SO MY MAIN GOAL, I THINK MEAN MONDAYS ALREADY CHANGED THAT A LITTLE BIT, BUT MY MAIN GOAL WITH THIS NEXT PROJECT IS, YOU KNOW, I'VE REALLY LEARNED HOW TO USE MY VOICE AS AN INSTRUMENT MORE THAN JUST GOING IN AND RIPPING UP A BEAT. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? I'VE BECOME A MUCH, MUCH BETTER SONGWRITER. AND I SEE WHEN YOU PUT OUT THESE SONGS AND IT JUST REACHES MORE PEOPLE BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE CONNECT TO IT AND IT AFFECTS MORE PEOPLE, IT'S SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL. SO I THINK I'VE BECOME A WAY BETTER ARTIST AS OPPOSED TO JUST BEING AN MC. BUT I'M STILL AN MC AT HEART OF COURSE, ALL DAY.


VALIDATED: DO YOU FEEL MAINSTREAM HIP-HOP ARTISTS ARE DOING JUSTICE WITH RAP?

R-MEAN: I THINK I TOUCHED ON THIS A LITTLE BIT EARLIER AS WELL. UM, YOU KNOW, I APPRECIATE WHAT THE MAINSTREAM ARTISTS DO. UM, I KNOW A LOT OF THE HIP HOP PURIST, UH, LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE NEW WAVE OR WHATEVER WE WANT TO CALL IT, BUT IF WE REALLY PAY ATTENTION, THE DUDE'S THAT'S REALLY WINNING AND AS DOING, DOING IT AT THE, AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE IN EVERY GENERATION, EVEN TODAY, IT'S STILL THE DUDES THAT REALLY RAP, YOU KNOW, IT'S STILL KENDRICK, IT'S STILL J COLE IS STILL DRAKE. UM, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? AND, AND EVEN, UH, WHEN WE LOOK AT THE YOUNGER, YOUNGER ARTISTS THAT ARE COMING UP, PEOPLE LIKE, UH, JAY ID THAT'S UNDER J COLE, PEOPLE LIKE REASON THAT SCIENTISTS TDE THERE'S, THERE'S JUST SO MANY DOPE ARTISTS, NICK GRANT, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING IS MY MAN, THERE'S JUST SO MANY DOPE ARTISTS THAT'S COMING AND THAT'S REALLY DOING RAP. SO ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE, YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT AS FOCUSED ON THE MC PART OF, OF THE MUSIC. BUT THEY HAVE GREAT MELODIES AND THEY HAVE GREAT, YOU KNOW, JUST CHARISMA ON THE TRACK. THERE'S A LOT OF GARBAGE, OF COURSE, PROBABLY MORE THAN THERE'S EVER BEEN, BUT I FEEL LIKE THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN GARBAGE. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? OUT THERE IN EVERY GENERATION IS PROBABLY MORE NOW, BUT THAT'S JUST BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGY AND BECAUSE EVERYBODY CAN PUT OUT MUSIC, UM, AND THIS KIND OF A MARKET FOR EVERYTHING BECAUSE YOU CAN JUST PUT OUT YOUR MUSIC AND SEE WHO GRAB IT, GRAVITATES TOWARDS IT. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK HIP HOP IS PROBABLY THE BEST SHAPE IT'S EVER BEEN. I'M NOT CALLING IT THE GOLDEN ERA, BUT I THINK IT POPS IS MASSIVE. IT, IT'S, IT'S, UM, IT'S UNIVERSAL. IT'S ALL OVER THE WORLD, AND IT'S GIVING A LOT OF PEOPLE AND OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOR THE BETTER. SO YOU CAN'T BE MAD AT THAT.


VALIDATED: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE OUR READERS TO KNOW? HOW CAN EVERYONE KEEP UP WITH YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

R-MEAN: I'M PLANNING ON FINISHING THIS ALBUM. THAT'S BY FAR THE BIGGEST ALBUM THAT I'VE EVER DONE. AND WHEN I SAY BIGGEST IT’S NOT ONLY THE MUSIC THAT’S BETTER, IT'S BIGGER NAMES, IT’S BIGGER PEOPLE BEHIND IT, IT'S JUST A WHOLE DIFFERENT INFRASTRUCTURE BEHIND IT. SO THE WAY IT'S GOING TO BE RELEASED, IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT, THE CAMPAIGN'S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT AND WE'RE DOING A LOT OF BEHIND THE SCENES MOVES IN BUSINESS AS WELL. THE PENTAGON LA STORE IN GLENDALE, WE’RE OPENING THE SECOND LOCATION AND NOHO. WE’RE CONTINUING TO GROW THAT BRAND.SO FUCK WOULD YOU BOY AT RMEAN ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA AND ON SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC IT'S R-MEAN WITH A DASH. FOLLOW ME, SUPPORT YOUR BOY. AND, I APPRECIATE YOU GUYS, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. PEACE…