About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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w/ Beautiful Bodies ('15)


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Rocko The Intern

July 2010 - January 2013
Artist Of The Week – Cavalier
Monday, May 25, 2009

Cavalier is the type of artist who is impossible to sum up in just one sentence, or even one paragraph. To call him just an emcee would be shortchanging him. To say he’s trying to make a difference almost marginalizes the actions he’s taken and continues to take. A lifelong Brooklyn-ite, Cavalier says he remembers a time when “you only lived in Williamsburg if you were Puerto Rican or Hasidic,” adding “I was living in Crown Heights during the riots but before Japanese take-out.” His debut record, The Breaking, gave him a nice buzz despite a small press run and his free downloadable mixtape, MC Killa, has helped him to continue to grow his fan base. This week I sat down with Cavalier to find out more about his work, his thoughts on Brooklyn’s changes throughout the years, and the interesting way in which he’s been compared to 18th century revolutionary Thomas Paine.

Adam Bernard: The word Cavalier has a number of definitions, which one do you feel suits you best?
Cavalier: Many dictionaries define Cavalier as an adjective describing a haughty, arrogant attitude. Perhaps that may apply, but its historical significance can be traced to the knights of King Charles, or connects to some of its other related root words that plainly mean a knight, specifically one who rides a horse. I follow many codes, as a knight does, and believe in justice. There is also lesser known significance regarding Cavalier Moors, which also holds deep relevance with me. My motivation and inspiration in becoming an emcee definitely matches well with the archetype of a knight in many facets. I fight the good fight not just because I am a soldier, but because I am a believer.

Adam Bernard: You are not only a solider and a believer, but a Brooklyn native. From what I hear, however, you’re not a fan of the hipster infestation that has changed the landscape of the borough. Tell everyone about the Brooklyn you grew up in versus the one that exists now.
Cavalier: So much has changed in Brooklyn, but I do not want anyone to get it twisted in assuming that I represent one, purist standpoint in Brooklyn, or Hip-Hop for that matter, where there is no room for anything new. People have just become culture vultures. They want to move to Brooklyn, but do not seemingly want to be a part of it. One of my neighbors is Jah Jah from Ninjasonik. He has an ill song about being a “tight pants wearing ass ni**a.” Although I am not, I FUCKS with that because I know for a FACT that he be out here riding around doing him, tight pants and all, he didn't just bandwagon a dick-riding trend. That is what I am against - bandwagonism. All I want to see is authenticity and sincerity again. There are so many blurred lines in Brooklyn now in the hurricane of cultural warfare, gentrification, and just overall understanding. I used to order my food through a bulletproof Plexiglas. Now on some of the same blocks I wasn't even allowed on as a kid, the Plexi is gone and I can get sushi and bean curd. It’s not that all the changes are bad, but the casualties get swept away without concern or consideration. It also happens in the music.

Adam Bernard: How do you see it happening in the music?
Cavalier: With all these sub-genres people are acting as if they are doing something brand new, like their seemingly fresh electro-tight pants shit isn’t just an homage to 80’s, Bambaataa-esque, Furious Five inspired fashion. The refusal to acknowledge the roots damages the culture as a whole. We have reached a point where the blogosphere has hyped itself to believe it supports organic music when they are just as riddled with politricks as the so called "industry" media outlets. Everything has become a cot damn "target audience" to trick people into thinking their shit is original just so that something can be marketed to them. It has snowballed to the point where fans are alienated. They think they don't like Hip-Hop anymore mainly because they forgot what it was and think what it has become is something else. A part of me wants to resurrect the chain snatching mentality for all these fashionable dookie gold chain rockers that would have gotten clapped at out here circa '93. But hey, maybe that's just the Brookdale Hospital in me.

Adam Bernard: How would you describe your music and your style as an emcee?
Cavalier: A credible music blogger described me as a "rap maximalist" when he explained that I dropped as much into a song or verse as possible. I would have to say that would accurately describe a lot of my approach, particularly on my debut record, The Breaking. Life's issues are often not black and white, so I did not describe anything that way, instead I let the emotion of my tracks and a relentlessness in the lyrics drive my point home. This is not the only way I rap. Although it may have become a signature part of my style, much of the music I made after that record and with my artistic peers shows that, like life and emotions, techniques and approaches can and will change. I have a lot of range. Sometimes it seems that emcees are afraid to show their range these days, perhaps many of them have gotten so caught up in the style wars that they do not have any range to show.

Adam Bernard: Tell me about the line of t-shirts you have on your website. You say some really interesting things through them.
Cavalier: The Chief t-shirt and logo was inspired a few years ago when I would look around and see all of NYC, and many other places for that matter, rocking Che Guevara images on their chest and many of those who it adorned having no real idea who Che was. It made me question iconography, maybe idolatry, altogether. I took that motif and matched it to my community title, Chief. Being that I am also a member of the stoner counter culture I knew that the word "Chief" under that image would be an interesting pun. The Master's t-shirt was inspired by a dude named Eric B, a head shop vendor of sorts usually set up on 14th street just a ways down from the Virgin Megastore. He did a PSA on NROtv's public access show discussing the dangers of smoking Dutch Masters and cigars in general. He kept referring to them as "Vanilla Dutch slave master cigar wraps" and went on to say "Dutch masters whooped the slave's asses, they the first police. You might as well buy blunt wraps that say NYPD on it." That stuck in my mind so heavy that it motivated me to create a pamphlet called "The Chieflette" where I discuss related topics and others that pertain to the marijuana enthusiast. I decided to keep The Chieflette as a physical piece of printed propaganda when distributing it. Krayo from Iller Than Theirs / Nuclear Family told me that pamphleteering was a lost art and that it was a great American tradition similar to that of Thomas Paine's Common Sense, the pamphlet that helped spark a revolutionary attitude against Great Britain in our fight for independence.

Adam Bernard: Have your politics ever gotten you in any trouble?
Cavalier: My politics have not gotten me in trouble, so far, but I do not deal with politics as much as I deal with the spirit world. Take that as you will, but the spirit of the people and the music we make is much more compelling to me than ever changing "political" pomp and circumstance. Politics is merely a mask.

Related Links

Website: cavwins.com
MySpace: myspace.com/cavwins
Facebook: Cavalier
Reverbnation: reverbnation.com/cavalier
Bandcamp: cavalier.bandcamp.com
Free Mix-CD: radiobelly.com

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