Eddy Baker and Sky Lexington Chilling with Chris Travis & Ethelwulf at the Video Shoot for “West $ide Dirty $outh Klash 1991”

Each Raider Klan member certainly brings his or her own flavor to the gumbo of music created by the Raider Klan collective as a whole, but there are definitely regional twists in the flavors of the music concocted by California BRK member Eddy Baker, and his primary collaborator and producer Sky Lexington (an emcee/producer in his own right, who distinct vibes for his solo music separate from the work he does with Baker) who relocated to Cali recently.  Amber London hails from Texas, so well outside of the California border, but Texas has always been strongly cross-influenced by California, and much of Amber’s music, which has at times an authentic g-funk vibe to it, recalls artists from the 90’s artists of the West Coast, Southwest, and of course Texas.  There are a few other members of Raider Klan who have cropped up out West of the Mississippi, from Seattle’s Key Nyata to The Pack’s Stunnaman, but Eddy, Sky, and Amber have been mainstays for some time and have earned the reputation as three of the most respected and talented artists in Raider Klan.

I caught up with Eddy Baker and Sky Lex to talk about the recent release of their mixtapes Edibles and NC-17, what it was like having the Klan come out to Cali, the new rift with ScHoolboy Q, the Black Panthers, the growth of the Raider Klan movement, break down some Raider Klan terminology, unusual influences from the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.  I separately interview Amber to talk about her influences, female rappers, how she uses youtube as a source of inspiration in her music and videos, and what it means to be the Original Goddess of Raider Klan.

[Editor’s note: Amber London was interviewed sometime in July, whereas Eddy Baker and Sky Lex were just interviewed on August 27th, so some of the variation in their responses reflect how quickly some things have changed or developed over the course of the last month, for instance on the Raider Klan album/mixtape]

To read more on the Raider Klan check out this article on them as well as Part 1: Memphis (Ethelwulf, Chris Travis, & Yung Raw) and Part 2: NYC (Grandmilly, Matt Stoops, Big Zeem)

“West $ide Dirty $outh Klash 1991” Eddy Baker featuring Ethelwulf (prod. by Sky Lex)

JB: What projects do you have coming up?

Amber London:

Right now I’m currently just working on a mixtape, it’s called Nature of the Phonk, everything is just kind of up in the air right now.  I’m just kind of going with the flow, but that’s pretty much what’s next to come out.  In terms of beats I pretty much work with any and everybody who sends me a beat if I like it, then I’ll put it on the tape.  I’m hoping to work with Purrp and Konflict OD and just a lot of random people.  DJ Two Stacks actually sent me a beat.

Sky Lexington:

I just released my solo project and it’s out right now and basically it was just a mash off all the stuff I did throughout the year, and something like four new tracks, and it’s all produced by me and there’s a couple tracks on there produced by Metro Zu too.  And that’s NC-17.

Eddy:

 Edibles is like my first mixtape, I guess it ain’t my first mixtape since I’ve been a part of the Klan, because I dropped a mixtape in like 2010 called The Bakery, it’s like my first mixtape in a minute really, it’s my second mixtape I guess, but I consider it my first. You feel me?

JB: Well didn’t you have the Saul Silver EP too?  

Eddy:

I had the Saul Silver EP too.  But this is my first official Klan project since we’ve been organized and shit.  So yeah, this is my first project and Sky produced it, I’ve got one track produced by Purrp on there, I got a beat from my homeboy Clayton Samus.  And it’s basically just that Cali shit – smoke a blunt music in your whip in the good weather.

JB: What track did Purrp produced?

Eddy:

It’s a song called “Muney Jordan,” it’s actually one of his old Muney Jordan Silver Surfer beats.  It’s like old, it’s like gotta be on the NASA Tape Purrp or even before NASA Tape Purrp.

JB: Well because Purrp used to go by Muney Jordan, right?  

Eddy:

Yeah, yeah Muney Jordan 23.

JB: Eddy, talk about the cover art for Edibles.

Eddy:

Yeah I got inspired – I mean I’m the only West Coast Raider and the whole sound of the tape is Cali shit, I grew up on that Cali shit – so I wanted to kind of modernize The Chronic‘s art and make it Klan.  Just throw in some Raider Klan shit, that dark shit, but pay homage to Dr. Dre because that’s an influential album.  Added some of that trippy shit, still make it Klan, still put my own little twist on it, but you know I’m paying homage to the West Coast to the forefathers.

JB: Is Eddy Baker your real name or is that a tribute to your skills baking edibles?

Eddy:

It’s a tribute to baking edibles, it’s a metaphor.  I used to bake edibles in high school and shit and kids used to call me the Chef, but like I didn’t like that name “The Chef,” it’s like too fucking foreign, so I was like just call me “Eddy Baker,” it’s a metaphor for edible baker.

JB: Talk about where you’re from and where you live now.

Sky Lex:

Yup.  I started coming to California last year in July.  It was basically because me and Eddy, connected through the net.  We had been cool through the internet for a long time, probably since mid-2010.  You know in today’s music you know how artists just click up or whatever, link up through the internet, it was just something simple like that.  I had done the same thing with other artists before, but there was just something different about working with Eddy.  Something natural, like he sent his track back within a day, it wasn’t really like any confusion with the collab or anything.  So that of course made me want to do more music.  And we just kept talking.  You know we had the same interests as far as artists that we messed with, and had a lot of mutuals out in the LA.  You know, like they didn’t know that we knew each other, but we knew the same people.  Mostly Odd Future kids, not the main kids, but just around the Odd Future circle.  Eddy was already out here doing his thing.  So as soon as I said I was going out to LA, we just basically linked up, and we’ve been linked up out here ever since.

Eddy:

I’m from a place called Ontario, it’s like thirty minutes outside of LA, like I grew up in LA too, like in Inglewood, and Leimert Park that’s where all my family’s from.  And I lived in Kentucky too for about two years, in my eighth and ninth grade years, so like I’ve been everywhere, I’ve got love for the south.  I think that’s why Raider Klan – it ain’t really out of the ordinary to be stuck with a bunch of southern niggas.  It’s like shit, the south goes deep in my roots.  You feel me?  Those years going to school in Kentucky, fucking travelling to Alabama, Louisiana, all that shit, Miami, all my family is actually in Miami so I got family out there in like Hollywood, Florida, Dade County and shit.  So like I’ve been everywhere, but California like Ontario, California, Southern California that’s where I’m from originally.

Amber London:

I feel like Texas is a big big part of how I became a rapper and you know it comes out in my music you know I feel.  It makes my sound different and it’s just another puzzle piece to the different Raider Klan members that we have.  I can do any sound that I want, but the Texas sound is one that I want to exert more, so people can understand and get exposed to how it really is.  And not just the lean and syrup part, but there’s other aspects to it too.  I think I’m the only Raider Klan member from Texas.  There’s one guy called Klan Slim and you know Purrp supports him, and we support him or whatever, but I think I am the only member from Texas I’m not sure.  We’re deep so I don’t know.

JB: Sky, where are you from in Michigan?

Sky Lex:

Muskegon, Michigan, it’s like fifteen minutes from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  That’s the same city that Floyd Mayweather’s from.  It’s basically like West Michigan, it’s nowhere close to Detroit.  A lot of people think I’m from close to Detroit or whatever, but it’s actually on the other side of the state, it’s closer to Chicago.  We have more of a Midwest feel to where I’m at.

JB: How did you get involved with Raider Klan and how did that really happen?

Amber London:

I was just a fan of Purrp from just being a fan and following him on twitter and just being an absolute fan of him, and we just chopped it up on twitter one day, just like randomly.  We didn’t plan it or nothing, it was just random.  Like I was tweeting something and he replied to it and I was like “OK,” and I sent him one of my songs or whatever.  And he liked it, he just like really, really liked it.  It was “94 Cool Shit,” and I already had the 90’s thing going before I even knew who Purrp was or Raider Klan was.  So I think that’s what made him like it, because he knew that this was something I’ve been doing also and it was authentic and real.  So he asked me to down and I was honored.  And this was not even a year ago now, I’m gonna say about eight months ago maybe.  So I probably joined around November of 2011, so it hasn’t been that long.

Sky Lex:

With Eddy, Eddy’s got his own story and I’ll let him tell it, but I came from Michigan and came out here to Cali and Eddy was already in Raider Klan when I came out here.  And you know I was already into SpaceGhost like from twitter and like from just being a pure fan at first.  Then, you know how stuff happens, but you can’t explain why it happened.  I used to listen to SpaceGhost a lot, but when I came out to Cali, Eddy already knew SpaceGhost personally.  So it was like, “wow,” you know.  I used to listen to this dude’s music and then Eddy actually knows him.  We just all cool we’re all friends.  So of course, with Eddy knowing him, he talked to SpaceGhost like you know Sky’s out here and he’s tight on the music.  And me and SpaceGhost met and every since then – because I already had a lot of the qualities of the Raider Klan before I was in the Raider Klan.  Like I always rocked black, I always paid homage to the legends and stuff of the 90’s and whatnot.  So a lot of the whole feeling was mutual before I was in Raider Klan.  So once I was in Raider Klan, it was just like I found my home.

This was way before Raider Klan was anything big, or before A$AP, all of that.  This was last year, like right before Purrp went to New York.

JB: So at that time there weren’t really that many rappers in Raider Klan right?

Sky Lex:

No, not at all.  I think Eddy Baker was one of the first few rappers.

Eddy:

I mean honestly, I got involved with Purrp – I mean he calls it divine intervention – you know there’s so much shit that went to it, but around the NASA Tape era and shit like that, I used to skate and shit and my homies actually put me on to Purrp’s music, and I didn’t even know Purrp lived in Miami at first, when I heard the NASA Tapes.  And I hit Purrp online and shit, just on some music shit, and we just ended up linking you know just talking a lot and he just put me down with this shit and I’ve been down for a long time now.

JB: Because Raider Klan is basically like a crew or family right?  And there’s a lot of people who don’t have anything to do with the music in Raider Klan right?

Sky Lex:

Yeah, a lot of friends, mutual friends.  Then it’s like you got a friend in New York, and I might not have friends in New York, but you’re like, “hey go hit up my friend Matt,” you know while you’re in New York.  And then just from having a mutual, you know, you just link up with him and you all become friends.  That’s exactly how it happened.  And the internet played a big part because of communication you know.  If I came out to Cali and didn’t have the internet, who would I have been able to communicate with, you know.

Amber London:

Yeah the internet plays a big role, you know it’s been a big role for a minute, not only for us, but for Odd Future for Lil’ B anybody coming up.  The internet, twitter has a big part in it, youtube especially.  But it plays a big role in our careers and how we’re trying to develop as artists.  And people see us and everything so it plays a big part.

JB: On that point, Amber, you mentioned youtube and how it plays a role in how you develop as artists.  How do you think youtube plays a role in how you develop as artists?

Amber London:

Well, just basically being able to see things.  You’re able to look at videos, you’re able to find inspiration on youtube, I know I have.  There’s no other ways, I know BET doesn’t show old 90’s videos, so they don’t show anything to help inspire, youtube you can just search and get inspiration through music.  Looking at old videos, or looking at inspires you, or listening to whatever artist inspires you.  That’s pretty much the only way to do it.  Because MTV, BET, VH1 don’t really show a vast majority of music.  As an artist, you want to search and listen to music and that’s what helps you make songs or whatever, or get inspired period.

JB: Just listening to you talk about that, one of the things that comes to mind is the video for “Low MF Key.”  Obviously you went with a lot of 90’s imagery.  I’ve seen people compare it to Menace II Society, what were some of your inspirations for that video?


“Low MF Key” Amber London (produced by SpaceGhostPurrp)

Amber London:

Boss’s “Run, Catch, Kill” was definitely a primary one, I almost kind of wanted to re-do it.  Because she had all girls in her video, like no men in there really.  And it was black and white and it was just really inspirational to watch her video in 1992, and I wanted to re-do it.  And also Set It Off was a big inspiration, also Menace II Society.  It’s funny because everything just came together with it.  Nothing was forced or over thought, like I didn’t even think about it that hard.  It just came out like that, but those were my inspirations.


Boss “Run, Catch, Kill”

JB: Do you guys skate?

Sky Lex:

Well yeah. Like I’m not a big skater, but I skate just for transportation, just to get around.  Like I’m not going to thrash or anything.  But I guess the majority of Raider Klan are skaters.  And a lot of the people who aren’t rappers in Raider Klan are skaters.

JB: Do you think there will be a Raider Klan tape or album at some point?

Amber London:

Yeah, hopefully in the future.  We haven’t really sat down and discussed it, but definitely in the future there will be a Raider Klan mixtape.  I mean I have already started sending some tracks to some people so we can start putting that together.  That’ll be a nice project, all of us together.  We should do that, by the fall I think.

Sky Lex:

That’s in the works right now.  Like all the production is being made up, all the ideas, and concepts, and all the collabs are being mapped out right now.  But very shortly that will be out.  I can’t give you the exact date, because nothing is set in stone.  But it’s coming like before the end of the year.

JB: Now you moved around, did Eddy move around?  Because one of the things I’ve picked up talking to a lot of the Raider Klan members is that it seems like a lot of you have moved around.

Sky Lex:

Well, Eddy, I think he moved to Kentucky, like growing up and stuff, so he hasn’t lived in Cali his whole life, but he was born in Cali and he spent the majority of his life out here.

JB: It’s just one of the themes I’ve picked up talking to a few members of Raider Klan that it seems like a lot of you have lived in multiple places already.  I think that’s interesting because a lot of your music is very eclectic in terms of influence, and pays homage to a lot of different regions and eras stylistically.

Sky Lex:

Right, different areas yeah.  We pay homage to the g-funk era, we pay homage to the trill south, the old underground Memphis era, and we pay homage to New York, like back in the day with Tribe and Wu-Tang and that real golden era hip hop.  So yeah, you’re definitely right about that.

JB: Do you think the fact that you moved around, helped you to pick up these different influences too?

Sky Lex:

Oh, yeah definitely.  For me personally, I’ve traveled a lot throughout my music career.  So just going different places and experiencing different things and I’ve come to the point where I feel like that’s what makes a great artist, a person that’s experiencing every different culture, and knows every different type of person, and they can relate to all these different people around America, if not the world.  They can make a great classic, because everybody can understand your songs you know.

JB: If somebody didn’t know anything about Raider Klan and didn’t know who they were, how would you describe it to them?  Or what are some of the common characteristics?

Amber London:

I feel like we all have old souls, we all are very much individuals and unique in our own way, and we’re all different.  You know we’re not trying to be like one another at all.  We’re all extremely different artists.  We just have a common mindset in terms of our inspirations and what makes us want to make music, which is pretty much the 90’s just different people.  We’re just different and very rare and we just think different and we all come together and it works in a weird way.  It’s not forced at all, it just works.  So it’s interesting.

Eddy Baker:

First of all, it’s about being a rebel.  It’s about doing shit that nobody else is doing.  It’s about preserving the past and keeping it relevant.  We do underground music and shit, but the whole movement is just being an outsider.  All of us have some type of common shit that happened to us that brought us to this Raider Klan shit.  It’s just a movement, it symbolizes just being a rebel and being blackballed and preserving the past and staying strong through all that.

I would say that I think the Raider Klan is like a fraternity.  All my gods everywhere, all my gods in New York, all my gods in Atlanta, all my gods in California, all my gods in Texas and Memphis.  It’s just all my niggas, you know?  I can’t really just say the music is the only reason I’m part of the Raider Klan, some of my best friends are in Raider Klan before I was even in the Klan, it’s just a family, it’s a brotherhood, like Sky that’s my big brother, fucking Ethelwulf, Chris Travis those my brothers, those my cousins.  Country cousins you feel me?  We all family and shit, so I would say it’s more like a family than anything.  It’s more like a fraternity than anything, but it’s about preserving the past and being rebellious fuck everything.

Sky Lex:

I would call Raider Klan basically a movement as far as like I wouldn’t even put it Raider Klan in the category of music.  Because it’s bigger than music, I would call it like how the Black Panther movement was, in the 70’s and whatnot.  Because the thing about Raider Klan a lot of people don’t really understand, we’re affiliated with like so many different cool people that are not Raider Klan.  Like we’re a strong movement by ourselves, but just like the Black Panthers were like real cool with the hippies… like a lot of people don’t know that, they think the Black Panthers were just doing all this marching and rebelliousness just by themselves, but they had to have the help of the hippy community you know.  And it’s basically like Raider Klan, because we’re kind of like the blackballed industry kids.  The whole music industry is like blackballing us to the maximum right now.  You’ve got people like TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) and A$AP, and these are like the top groups in the industry, and they’re the one’s that are like “Fuck Raider Klan.”

So we’re like those ones that are coming from the ground up, but the people that are down with us are like, ‘you guys are just as great as these people that they’re broadcasting out to the mainstream.’  So it’s just that support as far as a whole movement, and the music is just one element of that.  There’s so many different elements like as far as skateboarding, and spray painting, and even bikers – like riding bikes as far as motorcycles and stuff – there’s so many different things in Raider Klan that people haven’t even seen yet.  Like through time it’s going to reveal like the main theme of what we’re trying to bring to the table.  Basically we’re just trying to bring how super groups used to be back in the day.  A lot of groups today don’t have no substance really behind their movement as a group, like back in the day a lot of the groups had substance behind their groups.  Like they started a whole movement of people to do what they were doing.  You don’t really get that anymore.  You get songs, and you know it’s a hot song, and they’ve got an image and see Raider Klan is basically like anti-image.  We don’t give a fuck about image.  So that’s what kind of makes us unique.  Like we don’t have one particular thing where you can say, ok this is Raider Klan.  There’s not just one theme that describes everything Raider Klan.

JB: Just to go back for a minute to something you said.  Everybody knows about the whole situation with A$AP and there’s really no reason to talk about that at this point I don’t think, it’s really been fully explained at this point, but you mentioned TDE and said you feel like TDE is blackballing you from the industry as well?

Sky Lex:

Well I mean, at first you know I thought it was just A$AP or whatever.  But the other day there was a tweet, from ScHoolboy Q.  A fan hit him and Q had said something about A$AP or whatever, a new song was out or something, and a fan hit him and said, ‘Fuck A$AP, it’s about Raider Klan,’ or something and he tweeted them back like ‘Fuck Raider Klan, it’s A$AP to the death,’ or some shit.  And then somebody tweeted him back like damn I lost a lot of respect for you for downing Raider Klan.  Because we’re not famous, I mean we’re getting out there, but we’re not rich, we don’t have a lot of money, we don’t get a lot of shows, we’re not big people, you know?  But at the same time, it’s like geez we’re that powerful to make an impact on an artist of that caliber.  Because I mean, they’re pretty big right now, you know.

JB: I know Q is close with Rocky.  You know, they’ve talked about doing albums together and things like that so, it probably more than anything is Rocky’s influence on him.  

Sky Lex:

Right.  I mean it’s not a personal beef with Raider Klan and TDE or Raider Klan and ScHoolboy Q or nothing like that, it’s just the fact that they actually said that to the point where – and I don’t know how the other TDE members feel about the whole situation or nothing, so I can’t just say it’s all of TDE – but it’s to the point where it’s like ‘wow,’ we’re big enough for them to say, “Fuck Raider Klan.”

A lot of people take it as a negative, but I actually take it as a positive, because it says we have that big of an impact on him.  At least he didn’t say, “who the fuck is Raider Klan?”

JB: On the subject of beef, Amber, it seems like the Klan has been in a few little brushes, with Soulja Boy, A$AP, Mike Dece, there’s been a few little situations, and some things get said on twitter and what not, but it doesn’t seem like you all really get that involved in these things.

Amber London:

At the end of the day I’m confident in what I do, so I can’t honestly speak negative on them.  Like if you really know what you’re capable of you don’t have to speak down on nobody.  If you really know you’re the shit and you can do what you want with your life then you don’t have to speak down on nobody, but if you’re insecure and intimidated that’s when you want to say negative things about people.  But that’s all I can say, when people say negative things about other people I just assume they’re insecure or intimidated.  Those are the only two things that come to mind.  I don’t feel the need to speak negative unless I feel insecure or intimidated, that’s the only time if I’m being honest with myself.

And the beef stuff is crazy because I’m just regular, I’m just a regular girl, I still work.  I’m just a regular girl making music, we’re all just doing what we love to do.  So all that negativity I don’t feel like I’m in any place to be involved in it, I’m not out there making songs with Kanye, I’m just right here.

JB: Talk a little bit about yourself as a producer, because it feels like when you produce for yourself, your production has a completely different vibe to it, then when you produced for Eddy for instance.

Sky Lex:

It’s basically like, they’re my beats or whatever, I’ve been making beats since I was in the 8th grade, so I’m real comfortable with my beats.  So even though a lot of people might think, ‘Ah, damn, this is a weird beat,’ I probably think it’s the best beat in the world you know.  So basically just like the beats that I like to rap off of that I make are a little more different and more complicated for like your average Joe to rap off of, so most of the time when I play the beat for a person, they’re like, “Ah, I don’t want that beat.”  That’s the beat that I like the most.  And I usually use that for myself, otherwise I’ll just make a beat on the spot and just use it right off the rip and it just comes out the way it comes out.

When I produce for like Eddy it’s just a different vibe.  When I’m producing for Eddy, I’m producing for Eddy, and I have to block out my own personal interests of how I produce a song when I’m working with Eddy.  Like if we’re sitting around listening to a Dipset song and he says, ‘I want to make a song like Cam,’ or something.  And I’ll be like, ‘OK,’ and I’ll think of something in my head and go on Fruity Loops and whip up some stuff, and it might not exactly sound like a Dipset song, but it’ll have the elements of what he said he wanted on that song.

For instance, one of the songs on Edibles called “Hold It Down,” was an old DJ Screw sample, but he said, “I just want some old school smooth shit.”  So the first thing I thought about when he said “old school smooth shit,” was DJ Screw.  Whatever he says, I just dig into it, listen to the certain sound that he wants on a song and then I just make a beat right then and there.  And usually that’s how it goes.  And like I just usually pick the weirdest beats that I make for myself, so that’s why it comes out like that.

JB: Eddy, for you talk a little bit about working with Sky and why you two seem to have such a good working chemistry?

Eddy:

Me and Sky we met online, we met on Twitter like almost two years ago.  It was just on some shit like I had to drop my mixtape and he was a producer and he hit me up on some beat shit.  He gave me a beat, and asked me to be on his mixtape, his Neckmob mixtape, this was before he was in Raider Klan and it was hard as fuck.  We did a song called “Give Me Neck.”  It was crazy to find a producer that could compliment me.  That compliments my style so he sent me the song and right when I heard it, I automatically knew what I was going to do like, ‘bang’ I basically just freestyled my verse and after that we just kept in contact and shit.  He ended up coming to California, when he came out here it was like shit niggas rolled up a blunt and I think we met up on Fairfax (Ave), and that was the first time I met him on Fairfax.  Out the frame, nigga had that loud, and we smoked a blunt and chilled on Fairfax for like three hours just talking about everything.  We had so much shit in common.  We ended up partying that whole week, and he came back to my house and he probably stayed in my house like two or three days and we made a little EP.  You know, just partying and kicking it with each other. We’re alike, we’re so different, but we’re so alike, like musically we’re on the same shit.  It’s hard, like I don’t even know like why we make good tracks like that.  It’s some weird shit, I don’t know, it’s just greatness.  You feel me?  Divine intervention again.

JB: Sky, who are some other artists that you’ve produced for or that you are working with that you’re excited about?

Sky Lex:

Basically Raider Klan.  I mean I’ve got other industry people that have called me for beats and stuff.  I don’t really want to put them out there like that, because they haven’t purchased beats from me yet, so I don’t want to make it out to be something that it’s not.  So until I work with that person, that time will come, and everybody will see that.  But I kind of don’t really work with too many people because there’s too much confusion.  I’ve worked with different artists out in LA, you know in the underground scene, but it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.  So like basically I just stick to the people I know, and the people I talk to every day on the phone.  Which is basically, Raider Klan, because we’ve gotten to the point now, where so many people hate us that we don’t really go outside the box anymore, all we need is each other.  Because we’ve got so many secret styles that if I can’t an Eddy Baker type of song, I can go to Key Nyata and get a nice smoother verse, I can go to Ethelwulf and get a crazy killer verse, so there’s really no need to work with other people.

JB: Yeah, like today I was trying to make a list of everybody in Raider Klan, just in terms of rappers, and I was up to like twenty two different rappers or groups, and I’m not even sure I got everybody.

Sky Lex: 

It’s actually, to me and Eddy – like we’re consider OG’s of Raider Klan, because we were around before most of the popular rappers that are in Raider Klan got on – we were like more low key though, because we didn’t really rush anything.  But now it’s like there’s a lot of new rappers in Raider Klan – it’s not saturated of course, because we’re just a part of a whole movement, and we embrace anybody that’s around us on a daily basis and raps, like ‘oh, yeah, he’s Raider Klan,’ – but it’s just to the point where like even the top members of Raider Klan, like Amber London and what not, Amber she’s one of the biggest Klan members in terms of a rapper or whatever, but she respects me because I’m like a big bro, at the same time she’ll like meet a new Klan member and she’ll come to me to see exactly if this person is official, like “who is this guy, he says he’s Raider Klan, is he Raider Klan?”  Because she doesn’t really know all of the members you know.  We’ve actually sat and watched every member come along, so if Purrp didn’t confirm it with us, then they’re not official.  So we just look at them like “what the heck?”  They’re just out there repping 2.7.5.  But like a lot of people get called out.  That’s kind of what we’re here for is to call out the real members.  Because there’s so many different people.

Eddy:

Twenty-two?  Feels more like a hundred and twenty-two (Laughs).  We’re getting a lot of artists.  I think it’s a good thing and a bad thing, it has its pros and its cons.  I love it because it keeps us all working and like being part of Raider Klan, it ain’t going to get you no record deal.  You ain’t gonna just be the biggest rapper, you’ve got to grind.  Like we’re underground, so it’s all about who can survive in the underground.  Raider Klan, we’re all gods and goddesses, and like twenty two members strong that’s less motherfuckers I’ve got to ask for a feature, or less beats I’ve got to go out of my crew to go buy.  I mean I love it being so many members, because it’s like my family is getting bigger.  It reminds me of Wu-Tang just based on the fact that Wu-Tang has Northstar on the West Coast they have London dudes, they have Japan.  And that’s Raider Klan, we got Raider Klan ATL, we got Raider Klan New York, so I mean I love it.  I’m not really worried about being lost in the whole mix of stuff, or lost in all the artists, because I feel confident enough in my music that it’s going to get heard.  More power to all the Raiders, shout out to the whole Klan, shout out to everybody.

JB: What is the significance of 2.7.5.? 

Sky Lex:

275 is just a code that we use, like BRK, and I mean there’s a lot behind it, but I can’t really say, it’s like a secretive thing.  We have a lot of secret glyphics, but like people took it, because we let everybody know what it means.  275 is just a thing within the Klan that everybody knows about.  It’s kind of just like a secret thing that we keep to ourselves, that only people in the Klan know about, just to keep the fans interested.  It definitely comes from graffiti though.

JB: Talk about the concept of Blvcklvnd.

Sky Lex:

Blvcklvnd is just Carol City Miami.  That’s the original place where Raider Klan was created.  The motherland of Raider Klan basically.

JB: Is the choice to make lo-fi music for you, more to pay homage or more just a reflection of the recording set-up that you have?

Amber London:

To me, it’s not really my style, it’s how I have to record, because I can’t afford to go to no major big ass studio.  So I just record in my friend’s closet and we do it like that, but I feel like makes it more raw.  That’s what hip hop was.  When people started rapping they weren’t rich, they were just recording with what they had to record with and people appreciated it for what it was.  But now people are so into image and so into everything being perfect and just pretty that they just forget about the music and don’t appreciate the music anymore.  But I feel like lo-fi really makes people appreciate it.  If anybody has any appreciation for hip hop  then they will appreciate the lo-fi and understand where we’re coming from with that, rather than say, “Eww I can’t understand it, I can’t hear it.”

I mean I just love making music, and even if I wasn’t known tomorrow and I was a nobody, eve if Purrp never put me in Raider Klan or never promoted me I would still be making music.  And I love making music for myself and I always wanted to make a mixtape for myself.  Like I want to have my own mixtape and I didn’t really care too much about how it sounded.  I didn’t want it to sound like complete crap where you absolutely couldn’t understand me, but I feel like when people over-exert the other parts of music where they want to make sure it sounds perfect it kind of… I mean I’m pretty sure they love the music that they do, but it seems like sometimes they don’t, and so they have to make up for it with other stuff like making sure it sounds perfect, or doing other stuff like making sure it’s radio friendly, or whatever it is.  But I truly enjoy making music period.  So I think that’s why the music comes out so good and that means giving my all into whatever studio I am in.

Eddy:

I mean, me being from Cali and shit, I grew up from lo-fi music as far as like Ice Cube and shit.  I wouldn’t say The Chronic or 2001 that I was bumping those in lo-fi.  But now, like I said, we’re all about keeping the past alive and lo-fi kind of captures that grittiness.  We ain’t rich, you feel me?  Like most of us don’t record in no thousand dollar studios or some shit, most of us are at home doing this shit.  I think that’s why people feel us, because that lo-fi shit you just feel the words. You don’t have all the fancy engineering and all the fancy extra shit you just hear some kids spitting what they know.  It’s that grittiness, it’s that realness and I think that’s why people fuck with us.  We make the most out of nothing, you feel me?  It’s just so trill, you know that lo-fi shit just captures that grittiness.  Not a bunch of effects, it’s just “Bam,” in your face, you feel me?  And I love doing lo-fi just because I was born in ’91 and it’s dope to listen back on it and think that shit sounds like it’s out of 1994.  So that’s always great to me, I love the sound of it.  I know like if I listen to Ethelwulf’s shit, or Chris Travis, a lot of these Memphis boys, they always drop in like old ass Memphis songs in their shit and it’s crazy, it’s like we’re recreating an era, just by making the music we’re making, making our sounds.  And I love that.

JB: A lot of the producers in Raider Klan stick with a strictly lo-fi vibe, but Sky, I wouldn’t classify all of your material as strictly that way.  Some of your beats definitely have a more modern vibe to them.

Sky Lex:

Yeah, I definitely make lo-fi music.  I just don’t believe in cutting myself short on anything, my mind is so open to music, because I love music.  It doesn’t matter what type of style or genre it is.  As long as it’s good music and I can feel it then I can make a song to it, or I can listen to it.  Like I listen to hard rock, and like none of my friends grew up listening to hard rock, but I’ll listen to Led Zeppelin shit, it gives me energy, it makes me want to do shit.  My friends will look at me like, “What the fuck is this nigga listening to?” That same day I might be listening to some 70’s Earth Wind and Fire, you know what I’m saying?

JB: What kind of heavy metal do you listen to?

Sky Lex:

I’ve been on Trash Talk lately, to be honest.  But I’m more into like Black Sabbath, the old heavy metal back in the day.  I like the vintage shit.  I like arena rock too.

JB: That’s interesting, because Ethelwulf also cited rock influences like Korn

Sky Lex:

Oh, yeah definitely Korn.  Staind, I grew up on Staind.  But I’m a big fan of the 70’s era, so like the psychedelic music gives me energy, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, those bands definitely had a big influence on me too.  I didn’t really get into heavy metal until my older years, until like my early teen years, like thirteen fourteen.  Because at first when I was younger, when I was like eight or nine I was listening to more like down south Master P, No Limit, 8Ball & MJG, Scarface, DJ Screw I was listening to all that stuff when I was real young because my sister, she had all those cds.  So I really didn’t have a choice.  But then when I kind of grew out of rap, I ventured out into other styles and genres.  And then I’m always going to love rap, because that’s what I first heard.

JB: Eddy and Amber, who are your greatest musical influences?

Eddy:

I’m from the West Coast, but I love East Coast rap, like I love lyrics.  So Biggie Smalls, Ice Cube is one of my favorites for storytelling, Cam’ron is one of my all-time favorites, I guess Dr. Dre as far as production-wise, but I mean lyrics I know a lot of people wrote for him, but I like his songs, Eazy-E, Game is cool.  Big Pun, like old Big Pun, that Loud Music shit, Wu-Tang, a lot of East Coast I would say, 50 Cent, Power of a Doller era.  I like that old 90’s shit, Eminem.  There’s so many, but I would say East Coast is a big influence, East Coast and early West Coast.  But Ice Cube was kind of like the first, my mother put me on Ice Cube, so like the whole “A Bitch Iz A Bitch,” “No Vaseline,” that era, that Amerikkka era, that’s my style.  Just kind of being gritty and saying whatever the fuck I want to.  That was like the goon Ice Cube, the nineteen year old I don’t give a fuck Ice Cube.

Amber London:

It’s a lot of people, because when I grew up I listened to pretty much a lot of people and my mom listened to a lot of stuff too.  So pretty much all the female emcees, they all had a very big impact into my rap.  All the rappers from the 90’s, I mean I can’t exclude one.  Lil’ Wayne’s early days had a big influence.  I started to get into Lil’ Wayne when I was a teenager you know in Middle School and got into BG, got into Dipset at one time, and Remy Ma.  I have a lot of influences, like even Alanis Morrisette, so it’s just a lot of different people.  And I think that goes for all of us.  Because we listen to so much.


Sky Lex “1996 Freestyle”

JB: Talk about when a bunch of the Raider Klan members from all over came out to Cali about a month ago to do some shows and hang out, what was that like?

Sky Lex:

Man that was probably like one of the biggest moments in Raider Klan history.  Because the thing about Purrp coming out here, is it was probably one of the most anticipated SpaceGhostPurrp shows in his career, for the simple fact that Purrp got a lot of his first exposure on a national level from the West Coast and with Odd Future.  Because they used to spin his music at their shows.  So a lot of LA people, they caught on to SpaceGhostPurrp before A$AP and before he had a big buzz and all that and they were just fans of him.  Even last year before he went to New York, he was supposed to come out to LA and do shows and stuff, and he just postponed it, because of the other things going on with his career.  So the fans out here were just like ‘We need a SpaceGhostPurrp show,’ so they’ve been waiting for basically like a year and a half for a SpaceGhostPurrp show, so to finally get it after all of this commotion and everything with the beef and his signing and his whole come up is now is at it’s peak, of the underground I should say.  Now the show is like even bigger than was anticipated.  But that experience was just electrifying you know.  All the support was up there.  All these LA artists that we all love and listen to and try to have a positive affiliation with, were all just up there supporting us.  Legends came out too, like a lot of respected artists came out, like Alchemist was there, Action Bronson, Freddie Gibbs, Odd Future, Kreayshawn, Stunnaman from the Pack and there was so many people.  The list just goes on.

Eddy:

That week was probably like one of the best weeks of my life.  Like I’ve been a part of Raider Klan for damn near two years now.  I mean just to have, I’ve been in California, so it’s different for me, I’m the only Raider out here – besides Stunnaman, and we just got Phlo (Finister) now – but it’s cool as fuck, you got Ethelwulf, Chris Travis, those are my bros and you know we’ve been talking and shit, but I’m a fan of them, so you know I’ve got my bros and my favorite rappers, and it was like a big ass frat house, like a lot of bitches, a lot of weed, a lot of music and just a lot of fun.  Like Purrp coming out here, we all got to perform at the LA show, we got to turn up at the Anaheim show with Trash Talk and Odd Future that shit was just insane.  Like I’ve been in LA grinding and shit, but just to have me team out here with me, like my Raider Klan brothers out here with me, I just felt ecstatic.  And it was like probably the best week of my life.

Amber London:

I was supposed to go, but plans got all messed up or whatever.  So I wasn’t able to make it out, but I definitely plan to go out to Cali sometime before the summer’s up, I just don’t know when though.

JB: Were you guys able to record any new tracks while you were all out there together?

Eddy:

Cali Smoke,” on my mixtape, me and Chris Travis and Sky recorded that then.  And me, Ethelwulf, Chris Travis, and Sky got some shit, but we’re just sitting on it.  We’ll probably release it, we recorded a lot of shit, but we’re just sitting on it.

JB: Amber, what do you think separates you from most female rappers these days?

Amber London:

For me to be honest, the reason I really got into the 90’s was the way that I rapped.  So I didn’t rap like a typical girl rapper even from the beginning, so I was like ‘Uhh, I can’t relate.’  I couldn’t relate to the typical female rapper, so that’s when I started to like listen to the 90’s, I was like ‘Hey, I kind of sound like them.’  So I just figured out that this sounded better for me, so I figured out my sound and it just matched with the 90’s vibe better than the crazy other type beats people be getting on or whatever the mainstream beats.

But in terms of other female rappers specifically, I feel like we’re all different because we’re all different people.  So just me being myself makes different, because that’s really what I’m doing, I’m just being Amber.  I think just being myself and loving what I do kind of, really just makes me different, because I feel like all the current female rappers out now are different, doing different thing and have different images.

JB: Talk a little bit about “gods and goddesses,” – because for me the first thing it brings to mind, because I grew up on the music of the late 80’s through the 90’s – is the music of 5% rappers using terms like the gods and the earths and other math in their music.  But depending on who you ask it seems like different people in the Klan have totally different perceptions of what it’s about for you all.

Eddy:

I mean that goes back to the whole keeping the past alive, obviously Wu-Tang, they called each other gods and stuff, but I mean Raider Klan, we also have pyramids, we’re about black.  Black is such a powerful thing, that’s the whole movement.  So we call each other gods and goddesses and it goes back to the Pharaohs and shit.  We’re gods, I’m a black man, but I ain’t gotta call my nigga my nigga, I can call my nigga my god.  A bitch don’t gotta be a girl, that’s a goddess.  It’s kind of like to uplift each other, it’s just the way we talk to each other.  It’s just a slang, Raider slang I guess.

Amber London:

I do feel more empowered being in a crew that refers to it’s women as goddesses.  And I really thank Purrp for that, because it gave me the confidence that I kind of needed.  Because when he first brought me into Raider Klan I only had like four hundred followers (now over five thousand), I was like extremely low key, that’s why I wrote that song (“Low MF Key”) that song is like extremely personal, it really means a lot to me, because that describes my situation and my personality.  So that’s why I feel like for him to say you’re the Original Goddess of Raider Klan, it gave me a boost and I appreciate that and it fits me well I feel.

JB: Do you feel like there’s a different view of women in Raider Klan music, or in Raider Klan in general, than in hip hop culture at large?

Sky Lex:

In a sense, yeah, because see the thing about Raider Klan that we don’t do that the rest of the music industry does, is we don’t put females down.  We uplift our females to let them know their worth.  Because females are the mothers of the future, so we don’t want the females that are dealing with Raider Klan to be no dumb sluts, just dimwitted regular chicks.  We want them to know their power, know their worth.  So the women that we get to represent the women of Raider Klan have to have that power and know their worth as a woman first.  So Amber is not the most girly girl of them all, but just her aggressiveness let’s people know she’s not about no bullshit.  You’re not gonna get that cute prissy shit.  So it lets guys know this shit is kind of serious, this is not no play play shit.  It’s not no get freaky ass, I’ma show my ass cheeks type of chick.  She’s serious and she wants you to hear what she’s got to say.  Because everything out here is serious.  And that’s the thing too, is everybody is following a certain trend.  Most women that rap, rap just like Nicki Minaj, so you need somebody to come and let people know what started all of this. So they know what Nicki Minaj was listening to and the reason she raps the way she raps.  That’s kind of like the flavor that Amber gives off, she brings that essence from the 90’s and you know  a lot of our music it sounds 90’s, it it’s just the essence of it, because she talks about a lot of shit that’s going on today, but it just sounds so raw and so rugged that it just seems like it’s from the 90’s.

Eddy:

I mean of course calling women goddesses is uplifiting.  My Raider bros, we’re all about the women.  So I mean I definitely feel like it’s more uplifting, but me personally I curse a lot.  I use the word bitch, you know I don’t really call women goddesses all the time, because I do have different outlooks for different women.  But I mean for the most part, Raider Klan is all about uplifting our women.  Sky is more about the ladies, he’s really about that, that’s just him, even in his music.  I mean me, I definitely believe in the whole gods and goddesses shit, but I think it just depends for every person.  I can’t speak on everybody else, how they see women, but for me I love the goddesses, and throughout Raider Klan we definitely have a different outlook as far as we make our music for the women.  But like the main thing for me is some women are goddesses and some women are bitches, so I call them how I see him.  Me personally, Eddy Baker, I call the goddesses the goddesses, I call the bitches the bitches.  But I definitely believe that Raider Klan we are for the women and we definitely make music for the women and we definitely make music for the women to enjoy.

Amber London:

I feel like myself and Raider Klan in general, we’re bringing more of a raw real, like how you remembered it.  Like a reminiscence of what a woman in hip hop should sound like.  I just rap, I didn’t do it for image-wise and I wasn’t trying to be cute or pretty and I didn’t have a swag.  I was just rapping because that’s what God told me to do.  So I feel like that’s how it was back in the day, so that’s why I’m so able to give people a throwback feel.  I don’t how many women in hip hop now are doing truly that to be honest.

JB: Amber, what’s your opinion on hypebeasts?

Amber London:

Oh my god.  I don’t know (laughs) we need hypebeasts.  Like if you ever want to make it in life you need the hypebeasts to get up there.  But I feel like nobody in Raider Klan is a hypebeasts, because you have people who seek and they find and you have the people who are just given what they find.  Me I’ve always been a person who has been a head, I’ve always searched for music and I’ve always found out about artists before they got big.  Nobody had to put me on Drake, nobody had to tell me to listen to Wayne, nobody ever told me that, I always found them on my own because I’ve always been a little music geek so it’s kind of like that separates the leaders from the hypebeasts and the hypebeasts are just waiting for things to get big and then they want to jump on.  I just know there’s just two different personality types, there are hypebeasts and they can’t help it and then you have the people who are naturally music lovers who can like an artist without other people telling them it’s okay to like them.

JB: Talk a little bit about the whole situation with Trayvon Martin and why you all kind of got behind that situation.

Sky Lex:

Like I said earlier, Raider Klan is more than music.  A lot of these groups out, they’re just music.  They’re just image and music and they don’t really have anything about them other than music, or probably fashion (laughs), clothes for some, but it’s basically image.  Raider Klan we’re about more than that, because we’re not rich, we just come from the pure soul and this is all the stuff that we really want to do.  As far as with the Trayvon Martin situation it just takes us back to the Black Panthers.  There was such a personal connection because Raider Klan members are from Miami, and Trayvon is from Miami, so some people in Raider Klan knew Travyon’s best friend.  So it was just so connected already, so when it happened on a national scale, Raider Klan had that power to reach out to the masses to let people know what was going on.

We were kind of like the voice of that, because Trayvon was definitely in our age or whatever and he basically had the same voice as a kid in Raider Klan, like he was kind of like blackballed and pointed out, and he was not really a bad person at all.  And that was basically how it was, just like we’re not bad kids, but people make us seem like we’re this horrible person and just attacked us.  So basically us supporting that whole Trayvon movement, it was just like this is bigger than music this is like we support activism any way we can around us, a lot of us are activists in a way.  We speak our mind, we speak for the people.  We don’t really just speak from a Sky Lex point of view or Purrp, or Eddy Baker point of view, we speak from the whole community of the type of kids that we are.  So Trayvon Martin was basically one of our kids that got his life took over something that was major, and we had to speak out about it.  Basically it’s like, what would we look like if somebody called us out and tried to talk down to us – basically Trayvon was one of our brothers, we didn’t know him directly and he wasn’t in Raider Klan or nothing, but basically we felt like we were his voice after he left – so we had to make sure we put that out into the public and to the masses.

Amber London:

I mean really all of us are naturally – and that’s another thing we all have in common – have a passion for like injustice and police brutality, it’s in our personalities.  And I’ve always been like that, that’s nothing that Raider Klan inspired me to be, I’ve always been like that.  I used to get into it with my teachers, we used to debate, and they used to call me big mouth Amber, because I always spoke my mind didn’t want to listen to what they were talking about.  I’ve always been like that, so the whole Trayvon Martin situation just infuriated people like us.  It was also an inspiration, it reminded us kind of the Rodney King situation and that ties into themes from the 90’s so it was like something that was current that was reminiscent of the past and gave us something to really be passionate about and really be honest about and how we truly felt about the whole situation.  We weren’t using it as cool points for music, but actually we were seriously affected by what happened to him.  And it’s not just him like there’s people around where I stay and I went to school with a boy that got beat by the cops and they beat him and they caught it on camera.  So I’ve been around that and I hate it when cops do stuff like that or anybody in a position of authority.

JB: What are your five favorite Raider Klan tapes out there?

Amber London:

1)      SpaceGhostPurrp – Blackland Radio 66.6 (editor’s note: this has become very difficult to find a link to online in recent weeks)

2)     SpaceGhostPurrp – The NASA Tapes (editor’s note: these have become very difficult to find a link to online in recent weeks)

3)      Yung Simmie – XXL Freshman of 1993

4)      Denzel Curry – Strictly 4 My R.V.I.D.X.R.Z.

5)      To hard to pick one: Key Nyata – Two Phonkey / EthelwulfThe Wolf Gang’s Rodolphe / Chris Travis – Underground Series ’98 (editor’s note: Chris recently took this down with the upload of Codeine & Pizza)

Sky Lex:

1)      Sky Lex – NC-17

2)      Eddy Baker – Edibles

3)      SpaceGhostPurrp – Blackland Radio 66.6

4)      Amber London – 1994 EP

5)      Chris Travis – Codeine & Pizza

Eddy Baker:

1)      Eddy Baker – Edibles

2)      Ethelwulf – The Wolf Gang’s Rodolphe EP

3)      Chris Travis – Underground Series ’98

4)      Sky Lex – NC-17

5)      SpaceGhostPurrp – God Of Black EP

“When We Ride” Chris Travis featuring Amber London

JB: Sky, Blackland Radio 66.6 has to be the most named tape when I ask Raider Klan members what their favorite Raider Klan tape is, why do you think it’s so popular with Raider Klan members?

Sky Lex:

OK, here’s the thing about Blackland Radio 66.6, that’s kind of like, if you wanted to say that Raider Klan has a Bible, that’s kind of like the Bible of Raider Klan, that CD.  Like that CD is so epic it’s like it wasn’t even made in 2011, it’s like it was made back in the day, but it’s like kind of the CD that kind of drew everybody together.  Because of course everybody knows about the NASA tapes, and all the underground chopped and screwed stuff before that, but that tape, Blackland Radio 66.6, was like a tribute to all the OGs and the Legends.  It was just like everything that we all felt.  It talks about a lot of stuff that basically describes Raider Klan.  I mean when the NASA tapes came out, you didn’t really hear Purrp talk about Raider Klan too much, at least not as much as he talks about it in Blackland Radio 66.6.  So that’s kind of like him introducing his whole movement, before he even went to the East Coast or anything.  So like I said, that’s kind of like our Bible.

JB: And Eddy you went with Underground Series ’98 even though Chris Travis has taken that down with the release of Codeine and Pizza?

Eddy:

You know it’s funny I just called him and told him needs to put that shit back up.  I love that.  I mean I get it, it was a compilation tape and he was tired of people thinking that was his work, Codeine and Pizza was his first mixtape.  I mean I’m fuckin’ furious you feel me?  We’re gonna have a Chris Travis/Eddy Baker beef.

JB: (Laughs) Yeah I mean I was a little surprised he took it down, it was definitely a cool project, but he took down Hell On Earth when he put up Underground Series ’98 so I think that’s kind of his style, only one tape at a time.

Eddy:

Yeah exactly we all feel like our art is rare.  Rare as fuck.  We want to give you dope shit, but we don’t want to saturate you.  But yeah, I definitely want that motherfucker to put that shit back up, that shit hit.  You feel me?  Like I said, I got it on my phone though.

2.7.5. Eddy Baker Commercial

To read more on the Raider Klan check out this article on them as well as Part 1: Memphis (Ethelwulf, Chris Travis, & Yung Raw) and Part 2: NYC (Grandmilly, Matt Stoops, Big Zeem)

Comments
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  3. […] Prvyxrs, & Incvntvtixns. And my interviews with the Raider Klan members (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).  You can also download SpaceGhostPurrp’s God of Black free of […]

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