Interview: Hazard x Hawkins (HxH)
These days the hip hop industry is so over-saturated with cookie cutter beats that people constantly find themselves wading through mountains of garbage just to find the diamonds in the rough. Today, The Find Magazine brings you one such diamond.
Kareem Hawkins and Rodney Hazard are the east coast duo HxH. This January they released their EP State of Mind as a precursor to their debut album Wolfden (dropping 4/20). The EP is a great example of chillout hip hop taken to another level through the use of ambient/electronic production techniques. The unique ambiance is a nice change of pace from the more common boom bap/ jazz/funk sound. The production was split between the two producers/emcees, and tells the story of their departure from New York. Side A: The Chicago Sessions was produced in Chicago by Kareem, while tracks from Side B: The Miami Sessions were produced in Miami by Rodney. I highly recommend listening to this album in dim lighting, overlooking an urban coast.
Hazard recently took some time to talk to The Find about the duos music, check out the dialogue below.
Where are you guys from?
I [Rodney Hazard] am from Worcester, MA orginally and Kareem Hawkins is from Chicago. We both met at school over here in New York.
Who are your musical influences?
J Dilla, Madlib, Radiohead 9th Wonder, Little Brother, Kanye West, Pete Rock, Heavy D, Jay-Z
How about some other influences outside of the music industry?
Family. We really hold them close and gain a good amount of inspiration from them. We try to combine our sounds with the beauty of experience, so we are really influenced by the people closest to us.
What equipment do you guys use?
We use a lot of different things. Our normal setup is usually FL Studio or Protools alongside other things.
Word, do you guys record at a studio?
Normally, we work out of the Wolfden. Our home studio.
Could you tell me a bit about State of Mind? There is a nice variety of sounds there. Very interesting production style.
Appreciate it man. We really try to develop sounds that fit us and are unique. State of Mind is about Reem and I’s departure from New York. Reem went back to Chicago and I went down to Miami. During our stay we made a ton of beats that describe our experiences. Thing is, we made each set of beats separately and didn’t hear each others sessions until we got back. Chicago sessions depicts a scene of Chi City in early winter from Reem’s perspective. Miami Session’s depicts Rodney’s experience of Winter in Miami.
Word! The cover is appropriate. I can totally hear the difference in the album.
Thanks. Rodney’s the designer for the group… with Reem’s input as well.
What do you hope to achieve through your endeavors in music?
We want to be able to tour the world, and perform great music that everyone can enjoy for generations to come…
How long have you guys been recording music?
We’ve been producing music for 7 years and recording our own vocals for a year.
What about any musical background? Do you guys play any live instruments or are you strictly digital?
We’re mostly digital, but play by ear when needed. We go off the vibe of things.
That’s our crew.
What does it stand for? Who else is involved?
Well O.B.S.G. means Okami. Bead. Slang. Gang.
Blaze, Reszo, BRGNdy, Harri Wolf, Dublae, Hazardous Raisins, and ourselves HxH.
You’ll be hearing the rest of our collective very soon.
Word, so my last question is what your plans are for the future? Do you have a new album in progress now that State of Mind is finished?
Yeah, plenty of projects. We plan to drop another EP entitled Translate and we will also be dropping our debut album WolfDen on 4/20.