By The Minister of Information JR
If anybody won musically this year, out of the Bay, it is the poetics of Champ Green, who just dropped his “Agape Elephant in the Room” project yesterday. The heavy metaphor-laden wordsmith is also one of the frontmen for the newly formed super-rap group, called Grandnationxl, also out of Oakland. Champ also has been in the studio, conjuring up tunes, with his “pleasantly plump” brother and producer Dj Twelvz. Judging strictly from his output, Champ Green has been putting blood, sweat, tears, and labor into his pen game and his microphone game over this pandemic-stricken, covid infested, shelter-in place year. With Champ Green and his comrades out here constantly moving from studio to studio, Bay Area art and music has not suffered; although we have been locked down as a society for a better part of the year, with no end in sight.
Lovers of dope Hip Hop and the northern Cali sound, at the least, have a beautifully sonic crafted score, to think, plot, and execute to, in this new reality that is emerging, and that we should be helping to craft. Champ Green is a beast on a beat, and if you’re not familiar, you need to tap in to his music, and if you are familiar, you still need to absorb and share this giant’s interview while he is in his artistic elementary-adolescent years, beginning to move into his prime. Mark my words, Champ Green will be the Dean of Bay Area Hip Hop one day, possibly right after the Bay’s game-spitting, lyrical kingpin E-40 retires his jersey. Check out the words of the Agape Elephant in the boom-box.
The Minister of Information JR: You done drop-kicked the local Hip Hop scene this year, when and how did you get into rhyming?
Champ Green: I got into rhyming when I was a kid, maybe 4th grade or something like that. However the rhymes wasn’t evolving until I got in the 9th grade. I had a advanced English class and the teacher gave an assignment on reciting 2 poems. I was feeling hella defeated cause they was long poems. I can’t even front, my mom was the catalyst for bringing the rhymes out of me. She was like “hey, say the poems like a rap” boom the light bulb went on!
The Minister of Information JR: Your wordplay and metaphor game reminds me of E40, who were some of the artists that influenced your style?
Champ Green: There’s a ton of ‘em. I couldn’t just pinpoint one but as a kid I would say Erick Sermon, Biz Markie, Scarface, Wu tang, Too Short, Richie Rich, 40, NWA… the list goes on and on. My musical pallet has a appetite for all types of hip hop pioneers all the way from KRS 1 to MC Eiht, Run DMC, to Hiero then back to Chubb Rock, Ol’ Dirty, then MC Breed, and Keith Murray. To be honest with this Hip Hop, I am all over the place. It’s like a buffet for me to get full on.
The Minister of Information JR: Can you talk about the super-group that you are a part of? How did it start?
Champ Green: Fasho, the collective I am apart of is Grandnationxl. Kevin Allen aka “Erk da Jerk” was the catalyst for putting it together. He wanted to work and create with other dope artists, who he respects and appreciates, to vibe out and make some dope music. I got a call from my buddy, producer/engineer “SK” aka Slapwagon for a “friends giving” party, and after that it was on! We kept making music every Thursday. I mean imagine a whole bunch of artist whether a producer or rapper or singer, just cooking it up. It was a real eco-system. Community is currency.
The Minister of Information JR: Tell us about y’all’s music? How’s it different from your solo music?
Champ Green: The group project is a plethora of great artists and musicians touching the project, sculpting, and fine tuning, vibing, hella heavy real-iron sharpening iron-game. Mine’s is scaled down a tad bit, just beats, and rhymes with one producer, Dj Basta who also is in Grandnationxl. His sound is very raw, stripped- down almost like a blank canvas, created for the artist to paint and illustrate. This project is custom-made just for me.
The Minister of Information JR: How would you describe your unique rap style?
Champ Green: Heavy metaphoric game in rare form. My style is underground railroad game, for the masses. I consider myself an Oakland historian, authenic, organic, and euphoric at the same time. I’m a potluck of game, a smorgasboard with the extinction cord.
The Minister of Information JR: Can you talk about your newest work? When does it drop? How does it sound?
Champ Green: My new project dropped on Christmas. It just a nice body of work; creative, artistic, and straight to the point. It’s a fresh breath of air. On the treal side, just heavy game, in rare form. Its the gift that keeps on giving any cat that’s looking for that crockpot or fresh out the oven-game. I promise your in for a treat.
The Minister of Information JR: What kind of beats work best for you? Why?
Champ Green: I love soulful samples. It pulls on my heart. It allows me to deep sea dive in my memory bank, and withdraw some heavy game, gift-wrapped in a story. I always loved soul music anyways, especially the ones i am not familiar with, that I get introduced to by rhyming on them. It makes me do my homework on the music. It helps me tap in more and get in tuned.
The Minister of Information JR: Can you talk about your music with Dj Twelvz? What does that album sound like? When does it drop?
Champ Green: That project is dropping in February. It’s the sequel to our first project, “The Pleasantly Plump” album. It’s definitely different then my “Agape” project. 12 has and different sound, not as sample heavy. The project wit 12 is a roller-coaster, I would say. The “Agape” project is a smooth ride; just raw, stripped beats, and heavy rhymes. The project with Dj Twelvz makes me tap in, artistically and creatively in a whole different way. As you know, we fat boys. So with the fact we’re big, we also are confident and embrace who we are, so we give big love and express that through our music. It’s fun still, heavy game, but 12 is a visionary, and likes to explore on sounds that are not the the norm, which makes me tap-in lyrically.
The Minister of Information JR: How has being from Oakland affected your rap style?
Champ Green: In so many ways, the game, is our influence. Who we are as a people, and what we stand for, for example the Panthers. It’s just our rich culture. I reach back for that, and spit it through a microphone. I also am inspired by the everyday people from Oakland. I call them unsung heroes, the average everyday people, who go to work like the Dads, who put food on the table to provide for they family, or the mamas and grannies who pray for their grandkids, the bums and the dope-fiends who give you some game to run with. I use all that game. That game is like my gumbo roo, that’s is the game I season my water with. That’s the flavor.
The Minister of Information JR: How do you want to be looked at as an MC, when your career is done?
Champ Green: Very humble, but one of the best to do it in rare form, while still uplifting his people simultaneously. Also I’m gonna let the resume speak without me even having to say anything. I just want to use my power to empower, to motivate, educate, and demonstrate. I wanna be remembered as evolving, and problem solving with big love on the table!