Interview w/ Monsoon

What area of the city are you reppin'?
I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. I started out in the Wild 100's and then when I was 14 I moved to the Englewood area. I lived by Stoney Island about where Common grew up but I didn't stay there long.

What made you want to pick up a pen and paper and start writing lyrics, was there a particular person, event or turning point in your life?
I started writing raps when I was 13 years old. I really got it from my big brother Ty Barnett, he's a actor and comedian now but he taught me about writing bars. I used to write stories before that, so I just incorporated the story writing aspect into the rapping and it was on from there.

Who were your biggest influences?
My biggest influences are my brother, Phonte from Little Brother, Andre 300,  and actually some people who I work with outside of music.

Hip Hop is an extremely powerful means of expression. If there is one thing you could change not not just through Chicago Hip Hop, but Hip Hop in general, what would it be?
People bringing the passion back into the music and being more creative.

Tell us about your latest music video "B.R.Y.C.E./EL Train Flow" It obvously is substance driven, what was your imagination behind the concept and visual?
The concept behind "B.R.Y.C.E./ EL Train Flow" is just a father and his son hanging out and the father talking to the son about music, and that conversation about music transitions into a conversation about life, because the music is the voice. "EL Train Flow" is pretty much an ode to Chicago Hip Hop and our public transportation system. Some people didn't know why it's called the "L Train" so I played with that. It's called that the EL Train because it's the elevated train and that train has given plenty of people the opportunity to navigate through the city and see it from a higher level. So when I say "EL Train Flow" it's an elevated flow, a flow that's on a higher level, a growth mindset.

With the lack of positivity in hip hop today, how do you feel collectively we can make a difference, and bring some hope to the future?
I think we can make a difference by being honest and creative. The thing about truth is everybody has their different truth which relates to them, some people are not telling their truth...they are telling someone else truth. We have to remember that we are artist and we should have something that we are trying to say.

What’s the advantages and disadvantages of being an Indpendent and unsigned artist with a message?
I believe the advantage to being an independent artist is 100 percent creative control. The disadvantage is you don't have the same access to the radio stations and certain venues that a mainstream artist would have.

What are you looking to do with your upcoming project? Videos? Tour?
I honestly just want to create a classic album that everyone can get something out of. It's definitely more videos in the works. I'm currently talking with the team about hitting the road and also doing some shows here in Chicago.

What can we look out for from Monsoon in the near future?
The new project "B.R.Y.C.E: Beats and Rhymes Y'all Can Enjoy" will be getting released. I'm back in the studio with my crew, The Network Crew working on some new music, and selling my merchandise on line

Twitter: @thatdudeMonsoon
Instragram: @Monsoonstaraw

Facebook: Monsoon Staraw