The Midwest is breeding a lot of new talent in the hip hop game. RAGELIFE is a dope example of this. The eclectic group made up of Oye!, P/1 and *hitmayng are set to put Wisconsin on the map. They have shared the stage with some of the hottest acts today such as Ludacris, Janelle Monae and Wale. We took a few minutes to catch up with the group and find out what RAGELIFE is all about….
You got your start at The University of Wisconsin. How exactly did you meet and become The Rage Life?
P/1 – Well, the start was before UW. Oye, *Hitmayng, and I (P/1) all were pretty deeply invested in art before we all got to college, I think that’s pretty safe to say. I met O because we were apart of the same cohort in the First Wave Hip Hop Urban Arts program at UW. O and I have known each other since before our freshman year. *Hitmayng popped up, for me, it seemed out of nowhere. We had a lot of mutual friends, and I had seen him Dj’ing around campus at different events. He kind of became the go to guy for a lot of people with providing the music. Over the years, me and O have done a lot of work together making hip hop theatre, and it wasn’t until our senior year that we started intentionally collaborating to make music. RAGELIFE came about when I got invited to compete in the National College Battle of the Bands. I had been making tracks with O, and we needed a DJ. I came across *Hitmayng in the library and fo rreal just asked him, “Yo, I got this competition going on down in Chicago, and if we win we’ll go to LA, you down to DJ for me?” He said yes, we won in Chicago, and RAGELIFE went out to Los Angeles, and the ball has been rolling ever since.
Your sound is not typical to what is going on in hip-hop right now. What influences your music?
P/1 – We are glad you feel that way. I think the main thing that drives our creation process is, we have a lot of intentional and open dialogue about what it is we are trying to create. Me and O will usually get some beats from either *hitmayng or Klassik, or one of our other producers. We’ll chill at the crib, roll some trees, and just listen. We often have conversations about the music we are listening to, and what we like about it. A lot of conversations about how to properly pay homage to our favorite artists, without imitating or biting. How do we set ourselves apart from ALL the other rappers in the world? RAGELIFE took a long time to conceptualize, because we wanted it to be completely ours, we didn’t want it to be really easy for listeners to draw parallels between us and other artists.
As individuals describe yourselves and what you bring to the collective sound of the group.
P/1 – I’m a hard dude to pin down, in any regard. I don’t like to be boxed in, I contradict myself a lot, and I often drive others to do the same. Sometimes its hard to know what I bring to the process as an individual, because we can often get into modes where we are all different portions of the same brain. I bring my commitment to lyricism. I’m not always going to write your favorite verse, but as a listener, you can trust you aren’t getting any filler, I don’t give up on my art like a lot of artists do.
OYE! – We all bring our own taste in music and influences to the table. I’m pretty wild and all over the place on stage and on the track in a lot of ways. Slippery flow, poetically ratchet. I have a background in theatre and try to keep the music as conceptual as possible. I’m always asking questions and trying to organize the creation process as much as possible. It’s very difficult to collaborate for a whole project but we really compliment each other’s styles and personalities well.
DJ *HITMAYNG – I don’t take myself that seriously. I just make and listen to a lot of music. I’m pretty all over the place musically. Today I listened to Migos, Norah Jones, and Shigeto. I think the music I make is reflective of my eclectic taste. Even if I didn’t make all the beats for the album, I played an important role in how the project sounds and the development of the live show. A few times over the last year I sent P1 and OYE a huge folder of random beats from other producers. A few of them ended up on the album and other projects.
What are your favorite tracks on the EP?
P/1 – I don’t do favorites, but if I had to choose but if I had to pick one, its probably ‘Swerve.’ We all flexed on it, *Hitmayng snapped on the beat, and that was the verse that I decided I didn’t have to “write” my verses anymore.
OYE– ‘Champagne Range’ is crazy. It’s a song that transformed and developed on stage. The video was a crazy experience too.
*HITMAYNG – Definitely ‘Swerve.’I really love the original Lou Bond sample. I hope my beat did the original justice.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR ‘CHAMPAGNE RAGE’
Finish this phrase, ‘If I was not making music, I would be….’
P/1: If I wasn’t making music, that would probably mean I never hurt my foot in high school playing rugby, which probably means I would have been playing D2 football at Morehouse or D3 at Bethel.
OYE: Probably the same thing I’m doing now but just one less thing on the plate. I’m a writer, performer and educator so I’d most likely just be getting more sleep.
*HITMAYNG – Unhappy. Incredibly unhappy.
What do you want the world to know about The Rage Life?
P/1 – You can trust us to make music that is quality, and we will more than likely rock a show better than your favorite rapper. We put in a lot of thought and time into every song- nothings ever just “thrown together”. There’s a specific method to our madness – on and off stage.
Make sure you check out their new self titled LP “RageLife”.”