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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Artist Of The Week - Slept On Fam
Monday, May 28, 2007

Most artists meet up during a cipher at a show, or in a club, or on a street corner. We’re in a digital age, however, so it’s no surprise to hear that Slept On Fam met under none of these conditions, but rather through the internet. Thanks to the world wide web Slept On Fam is a world wide group with Wargasms (top left) being from South Carolina, Configa (top right) in the UK, Arsenal (bottom left) hailing from New York and C-Gully (bottom right) calling Florida home. The team has one other member, Konseetid, who's from New Jersey, but hasn't been able to record much since joining the US army. Configa is the lone member of the group to have released work before this project as he was previously known as MC Unique and his second album, The King Of Linguistics, was mentioned on MTV.com alongside the 8 Mile Soundtrack and Christina Aguilera on its release date. Since he’s put down the mic he’s changed his name and now that’s he’s Configa and he’s rolling with Slept On Fam the accolades are really starting to pour in including a Group Of The Year honor at the second annual Get ’Em Magazine music awards, where Slept On Fam beat out Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia. Today I’m sitting down with three members of Slept On Fam to discuss the issues that come with being so spread out, what they’re looking to achieve with their album, Audio Crack, and why they feel Slept On Fam is the perfect name for their group.

Adam Bernard: You're from all over the place. How did ya'll meet and become a group?
Wargasms: Slept On Fam started with three MCs who connected on an internet rap website, myself, Arsenal and Konseetid. Configa also heard me on the internet and hit me up about connecting on a project, I told him about Slept On Fam and that we needed production, we checked out his tracks, and from there we were all in agreement that Configa would fit perfectly with our vibes. With us being hundreds to possibly thousands of miles away it was difficult at times to make sure everyone was on the same page, but we built a really strong connection throughout the course of this album and I think the chemistry shows in our product.
Configa: After Konseetid had split we felt the need for a third MC. I was, and still am, on my self imposed mic hiatus, although I do have one interlude and one verse on the album I really wanted this to be about me as a producer and nothing else, so we drafted in another cat that the guys knew from the website, C-Gully. With Gully on board Slept On Fam was official.

Adam Bernard: How difficult is it to record and perform with group members so spread out?
Configa: Crazily hard, as you may imagine. The actual recording of the album wasn’t as bad as you may think, though. I’d lay a beat or concept down, and one of the guys would spit the first verse and the rest would follow, or someone would request a specific type of beat and I’d be flexible enough to supply that for them to rip and then mix the vocals all down. Quite a lot of our songs come from me just hookin up a sampled chorus in the beat and the guys just get into the concept that I’ve helped to create. Another nerdy fact that I ain’t told anybody before is basically all of the songs that we completed went on the album. Regardless, it was still near enough two years hard work for the 20 bangers that you hear. Trust me, if we had the capital, we’d be touring right now, spreading the word even further than we have already.
Arsenal: The toughest part is not being able to do shows. Building a fan base is hard enough, but if you can’t even do shows to bring people out and get behind your movement it’s really difficult.
Wargasms: There are a lot of opportunities we cannot take advantage of because of our distance. We've been invited to perform at music festivals and attend other major events which have just been impractical for us. We know that we don't have the capital to take a heavy blow on a gamble, so we have to prioritize and make sure the things we do invest our time and money in are likely to be worth the investment.

Adam Bernard: What do you feel makes each of you unique within the group?
Configa: Different areas, different styles, different personalities, different backgrounds, but all meshed into the love for the same real Hip-Hop that we bring to the table. As War once said we’re “too smart for radio, and too hood for backpackers.” I really don’t think there’s a group out there like us that can float between concepts and vibes the way we do.
Wargasms: We are very different people with vastly different backgrounds. I'm a southern black guy, Configa is a British white guy, Gully's Cuban and has touched down all over the eastern United States, and Arsenal lives up in the New York and New Jersey and is white and Dominican. My style is usually authoritative, angry and moody, Configa's vibe is often reflective and feel-good Boom Bap, Gully is energetic, aggressive, Arsenal is complicated and witty. That's diverse. We embody the diversity of the Hip-Hop culture. What is I think is special about the group is that you never know where a Slept On Fam song is going to take you. We can all take you to the same place, or we can take you four different places with the beat and the verses while still making the pieces fit.

Adam Bernard: You released Audio Crack in 2006. What was the concept for the album and what are you hoping to achieve with it?
Wargasms: Audio Crack is referring to the addictive quality of music. There’s been certain music over the course of my life that I have heard that I think has played a major part in shaping who I am. Music I can’t get out of my system and that every time I come back to the music, it is as potent as the first time I ever experienced it. That's audio crack.
Arsenal: And we want it to be one of those albums that stays in your car and you got bumping from your ipod for months. We want it to be one of those joints you don’t get tired of. The album goes in so many different directions it can keep your attention, and you can find a track to relate to on there regardless of your mood so you’re always going back to that crack to get what you need.
Configa: I couldn’t sum it up better, just addictive music man! The album cover is just a play on the whole concept, like we’re dealing a CD! Some kid is burning his Ipod on the inside artwork!

Adam Bernard: Finally, if you stop being slept on what are you going to do about the name of the group.
Arsenal: The name will always be relevant. It’s a mind-state that us as rappers need to keep regardless. Yeah we can blow and all that, but some people let that get to their head and affect the music. We'll always keep the mind-state of the underdog, the slept on artist who puts 100% in every track they drop, every verse, every line, everything. That way the name always works.
Wargasms: And Hip-Hop itself is slept on. It isn't dead, it's slept on. People don't even know what Hip-Hop is anymore, because they never get to experience it. The Hip-Hop we grew up on hasn't lost its power, it's just lost its audience. I think that as long as we make that type of Hip-Hop music, we will remain under appreciated. We will not be as universally heard, because the music industry isn’t pushing Hip-Hop to Hip-Hop heads. They are pushing a bastard byproduct of Hip-Hop to novelty fans. That's where the money is, and that isn't going to change. We are going to keep making Hip-Hop, so we are going to remain slept on.
Configa: You could say we are deliberately alienating a large chunk of the listenership to, use an old phrase, “keep it real,” then let it be so. One UK journalist after biggin us up actually said “could repel as many listeners as they attract.” I actually took that as a compliment! I know exactly who we’d repel, the 50 Cent listeners, Young Jeezy fans, etc., and attract those who respect no frills Hip-Hop, the people who remember the classic sound we endorse, or kids who have turned off their radio and really know their shit and respect what rap music s’pose to sound like.

For more Slept On Fam check out sleptonfam.com & myspace.com/sleptonfam


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:50 AM  
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