Diversal - Trip Blog

8/13/2018 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Day 21 - 12th Interview - Cullah 

Previewing his music via social posts of his project Cullahsus released April 27th, 2018, I was expecting a first impression personality to reflect those vibes on that project, which was energetic, funky, upbeat, etc. (It's really good, y'all got to check it out..) Not only that, just stream through his videos on Youtube, a mix of chill, fun and upbeat, funky vibes, with hiphop lyrical flows and some of that soul-sanging.  When meeting Ian McCullough who goes by the stage name Cullah, he was surprisingly very calm and collected, poise, soft-spoken but with a lot to say, and extremely intelligent.  From the historic forested and rolling hills of Wisconsin, to its deep germanic roots, and the earliest breweries in America and Milwaukee, and much more, Cullah was full of interesting facts, one after another.  He was also full of wit, joking around with me for possible pun-titles of his album project next year set to release on April 27th, 2019…’Spectacullah, Cullahtavation, Cullahflower...'  Spoiler Alert.. he’s already chosen Spectecullah, so stay tuned.  

 

We first met at Colectivo Coffee, but then decided to do the interview across the street, right off the water. While getting to know Cullah a bit more while walking there, through his answers during the interview and then afterwards as we kicked it a little bit shooting some pool at nearby bar called Vintage, although very poise and calm, there’s an undenying fierce energy for his passion for music.  

 

I asked what genre he considered himself, and it was hard to pinpoint one genre he resonated with, rather, he accredited many genres being influences over the years, from electronic, to hip-hop instrumental, to folk, blues, parsimonious funk, drum n’ bass, uptempo, downtempo, and more.  He did mention a cross-discipline or cross-fusion of multi-genre and Future Blap.  Check out his Soundcloud and you be the judge. 

 

 

Beats and Open-sourced

When he’s not laying down raps on stage over funky and groovy AF vibes, Cullah is also a talented producer, producing his own beats he’s flowing on, and they’re good.  Just check out his catalogs at https://cullah.com.  

Prior, he was also a computer engineer, and actually makes a correlation between music and code, stating music should just be like code, open-sourced.

 

“...It’s information, just like code.  Music should be free and accessible….”

 

Via Creative Commons, all his albums are open-sourced, as he believes in the beauty of royalty-free music, which is how he builds his fan base—collaborators using his music on their own projects, usually film, credits his name, people here it, and he gets new Spotify listeners, about 20k listeners per month to be exact. That’s correct two, zero.. 20 thousand.  

 

“People get access to them, you get YouTubers with Influence, people hear about it, then they go on my Spotify, and then thats how I pay rent”  

 

Come to find out through several stories of people recognizing him, and the name, Cullah, he’s also pretty popular, especially around town. While playing pool someone recognized him from a performance at an open-mic years ago.  We ended up playing doubles…and of course won.

 

 
 
 
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But back to the music.. 

Milwaukee Music Scene

He discussed the scene out in Milwaukee, saying there’s a lot of talent there and 'things are changing', yet many creatives he knows are leaving and going to larger cities like NY. But there's definitely a scene and opportunities for artists are changing for the better. While there’s a lot of Punk Rock, he’s seeing a lot of success and shows being sold out in the hip-hop community and Americana Folk, two genres (of many) he fuses together within his own music.

 

2019

When asked what his goals are he responded about Spectaculluh releasing next year and also mentioned his open-sourced goals. ”I’m planning to release free music every year. By 2020 I’ll have done an album a year for 50% of my life. That’s my next goal..”

 

If you like to support Cullah for upcoming projects, check out his Patreon Page.  https://www.patreon.com/Cullah

Media

August 12th - Chicago, Illinois - Xavier Keyz 

I first met Chicago-native R&B singer Xavier Keyz  back in 2015, through AnywhereButHome (ABH) singer/rapper from Northern Virginia, who I would interview apart of the DMV area later on in this trip.   We and another Chicago-native hip hop artist, R.O.E., caught up at Heartland Brewery Co. downtown NYC after an event held by Xavier's friend Ryan Leslie.  I didn’t attend the event, but them three did and had a chance to chat it up a bit with Ryan.  The motivating vibes carried to our discussion at the brewery as we ate and talked our about each and one of our grinds and goals. 

 

So after three years it was good to finally catch back up and like the other two artists, R.O.E and ABH, Xavier Keyz has been working, growing his fanbase, selling merch, and performing outside of the U.S, doing international tours across Europe and Asia. He’s performed so much that now his time has been devoted to not only working on future projects, but also setting up his own Masterclass where he’ll be teaching the art of performing live, overcoming stage fright and more—so stay tuned for the knowledge and insight he's about to drop. 

 

Xavier Keyz style of music is mostly R&B and hip-hop, but demonstrates some of that pop/dance sound as well checkout some of his tracks below. 

 


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Link up, Interview

When we linked in Chicago it was only right that I greeted him sporting his fitted-branded hat I bought a few years.  He got a good kick out of it and it was a good seg-way to kick off where we left off, talking about the grind.  He’s got his hat now in different colors, which you can select and buy here.  He choose to do the interview where, according to him, his love for music began, Kenwood Academy his old high school. 

 

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Ironically it just so happened to be the day where his school was having a reunion block party for all the classes.  So after the interview we walked around the ticketed area in the parking lot, which he caught up with some old friends and then ended giving me a brief tour down memory lane inside the school. 

 

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The need for grub was real, so he recommended we check out one of his favorite spots to eat at, an authentic Jamaican Cuisine call Ja’Grill, downtown Chicago.  People… this place DOES NOT DISAPPOINT.  I got his recommendation which was their ribs with their jerk seasoning, and damn they were amazing, the flavor was juicy to all types of levels, and the meat slid off the bone and everything as they say a characteristic for some good ass ribs.  It was a nice hot day so we sat outside in their seating area, the atmosphere was right and the prices not bad, definitely not bad for the quality and amount. 

 

 

A week prior, Chicago made national headlines with a spree of shootings and killings, a reason why I didn’t want to stay in Chi-town overnight, but Xavier mentioned that the violence is only in some parts and that the city is often overshadowed by the negative media.  The area where he lived, went to school at and where we ate at was safe.  The funny thing though, while we waited for food, we heard shouting down the street that got everyones attention.  A fight was about to happened, a guy got out his car, while people were holding him back yelling at another dude. I kept the camera rolling… Police soon came though and broke it up, so all good. 

 

While we left, walking back to the garage, we stumbled across an art show tucked away in that same plaza.  The art was friggen ridiculously dope, and actually symbolic to anyones experience driving around and taking in the artistic nature of Chicago. Sculptures and wall murals decorate the colorful city.  The artshow was hosted by Chicago Top 5 with Connect Gallery.  See below.

 

 

TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY

 
 
 
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Media

Day 19th - 20th: August 11th Interview with The Lobby. 

Next stop, Detroit Michigan for the 10th interview, a creative collective known as The Lobby comprised of Freebxll WillDemigod, Freebxll RomeKerwin ClemensMilf Melly, and Joseph Cook.  They got a certain wave that’s addicting and catchy, wavvy hip-hop with a lot melody, bounce and energy.  While some of the members have dropped solo projects with a bunch coming up, such as Milf Melly’s recent ‘Milf Tape’, and Freebxll Will’s upcoming project ‘King Of The Free’, collectively they've released a few singles so far, but much in the works. The track, 'Love Lost' below is one of them.  But do you feel this?? 

 

 

 

Living in NYC for the past 5 years my mind was use to a certain time perception when looking at distance on maps.  So when meeting up with them at their studio in the metro area I miscalculated where I was in relation to them and ended up being almost two hours where I needed to be.  They had a show that night starting at 8pm and it was already 4/5pm, so we had to put the medal to the pedal.  Luckily I didn’t get stopped, however several states later my luck with that would run out, but we'll get to that later...

 

I made it there in good time for us to do the interview, and just kick it a little bit with them.  The energy was dope, and they had me listen and feedback on some tracks they were working on.  See below.  

 

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After vibing heavy, we left and I followed them to their show Vamp Night hosted by CrowdFreak, a promotion service that book artists to get on shows and sometimes open for big acts.  We got there early on, but little did I know, it was the spot where Eminem notoriously did that rap battle on stage made famous in 8 Mile, The Original Hip Hop Shop. 

 

 

The spot was dope, artwork hanging in both rooms, DJ spinning bangers, host cracking jokes, red cups getting refilled, and just chill vibes.  With over 30+ Artist on the ballot to perform, It was pretty lit throughout the night.

 

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