MJ here with I Am Hip-Hop Magazine London! For those that know MJ know I am quite the music critic and it’s rare that I really appreciate and become a fan of music that is sent over to me on the regular. However, on one of those rare occasions Chicago based producer Nextwon reached out to me with a request to listen to “Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars”, released by Hip Hop duo DS9. My immediate reactions were relief, excitement, and feeling overall impressed! Joining me for this interview is Nextwon and MC Trauma better known as DS9.
MJ: I have so many questions and want to learn everything about DS9. Let’s begin with some history. We all know the chemistry between producer and emcee is critical in the music industry! How did you two link up? Talk a bit about the relationship, some challenges as well as the successes.
Nextwon: I met Trauma a few years ago through another MC from NJ (Light) that I was working with at the time. I was throwing him beats for a project that we were getting together and Trauma heard some of them. He hit me up and wanted to jump on some tracks of his own. We started collaborating and that’s basically the beginning of DS9. Although the whole concept of DS9 & “Dead Planets & Dwarf Stars” didn’t come until the project was almost completed, it just happened organically. Being in two different parts of the country is not always an ideal situation, but it works for us. When I create a beat, there is always a vision in mind. Trauma has a way of bringing those visions to life almost effortlessly. It’s almost as if we are vibing in the same room. I have a yet to work with an MC that hits my beats the way he does.
MC Trauma: After we met through our mutual friend the rest has been history! The chemistry is undeniable!
MJ: Why Hip Hop? What is it about the culture? What is it about the lyrical and instrumental expression that drew you both in, as emcee and producer?
MC Trauma: For myself, there was never anything else for me I always loved Hip Hop. It was a no brainier.
Nextwon: Hip Hop has been part of my life since a very early age. I’m an older head (41), so I was around to see and experience the beginning of Hip Hop becoming the force it is today. From the first time I heard Run DMC, Eric B & Rakim, and Boogie Down Productions I was hooked. It was so infectious and I just couldn’t get enough. What intrigued me the most was the production side of the music. The different breaks, the different drum patterns, the scratches, the way the different melodies drove the song, and the way the samples were chopped and looped. I needed to be part of that. I mean, I can appreciate a lyricist all day, but if that first note of a beat doesn’t grab me, I can’t focus on what the emcee is trying to say.
MJ: Share with us the evolution of MC Trauma to where you are right now in your career.
MC Trauma: A lot of practice, hard word, and dedication! I wrote my first rhyme in like the sixth grade. I just kept working on it every day!
MJ: Nextwon as a producer do you ever feel any pressure? Like I mentioned earlier the chemistry has to be there. The production has to flow in perfection with the track, hook, and lyrics.
Nextwon: Although there is always pressure to make good music, I didn’t feel it much while making this album. It felt right and came together seamlessly because our styles blend so well. We hope that our audience will feel the same.
MJ: I salute DS9! I’ll be honest I hit replay on “Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars” quite a few times. Utilize this time to let everyone know the who, what, why, when, where, and how of it! What expectations do you have with this album release?
Nextwon: Thanks! We appreciate that. We want our fans to hit replay on the album like you did. We want them to be on that journey with us. We want them to be submerged in the stories that Trauma is telling.
MC Trauma: I was really feeling Nextwon’s beats. I did my thing, a few joints, and I thought it was a real ill combination.
MJ: DS9 captures a uniqueness where listeners and fans can not only feel the music but become one with it, as if on a whole other hypnotic universe! In your own words as a duo, what are you trying to convey to listeners through your clever delivery?
Nextwon: “Dead Planets & Dwarf Stars” is journey through space and time. It’s seen through Trauma’s eyes and painted over my canvas. DS9 was formed to tell the story of beats, rhymes and life on Earth while on a journey to the other side of the universe.
MC Trauma: I want to make some body feel the way I felt the first time I heard “Bring the Pain”, and “Time for Some Action” etc.
MJ: I’m always curious about industry names! Where does the name MC Trauma and Nextwon derive from?
Nextwon: I used to tag Nextwon with my crew, Out for Fame, back in the day in Chicago. S/O to Felen, Irok, Rome Merc, Sever & Fluent R.I.P. (he passed on a couple years ago). The name just stuck with me when I began deejaying and producing.
MC Trauma: Well, after I battled this one cat I heard somebody say, “Damn you traumatized him. I liked the way that sounded, always stuck with me, and hence MC Trauma.
MJ: I’m a huge fan of the visuals! DS9 brings to light and disposes some harsh truths about the world we live in. Talk about some of those visuals.
Nextwon: Trauma could answer this question better than me, but I will touch on it a bit. The main visual is police brutality to people of color in this country which Trauma touches on in “Blu Swine Social Club”. Also in “End of The Day” Trauma tells a story of right and wrong and the consequences you face from your actions.
MC Trauma: Practice! I have a lot of rhymes! If nobody ever heard Nextwon’s beats, you can just listen to them with no vocals. I just add to it like the whip right off the lot, but add some rims and it’s a little better.
MJ: Fans always like the fun facts, so play along! Name 3 artists in your personal playlists. Name an international hot spot you would like to tour in the future? If it wasn’t music what would Nextwon and MC Trauma be doing? Who are some influences in your careers and your lives?
Nextwon: 3 artists in my playlist are Thundercat (my favorite non hip hop artist right now), Tribe Called Quest (my favorite group of all time), Run The Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike are killing it right now, best in the game), and honorable mention to DS9 of course… We would love to rock Amsterdam and see what kind of party that would be, and a tour of Europe would be dope… Well we haven’t made it yet. We both still have daytime gigs…My biggest influences in my life have been my wife and my son. They keep me grounded and help me see the bigger picture in life. Musically I would say RZA, Prince Paul, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and JDilla. I’m a fan of all genres, good music is good music.
MC Trauma: RTJ, Ds9, and Eyes Low are in my playlist…To tour anywhere would be dope but I would say England because they show me so much love… As far as music GZA, Red, Meth, and Pharaoh. Personally my grandfather is a huge influence in my life, he is a hardworking man!
MJ: What’s next? What upcoming projects are developing for 2018?
Nextwon: We definitely will be working on a follow up to “Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars” within the next year or so. I’m planning on heading to Washington State to work on some tracks with Trauma in his neck of the woods. For myself, I have several projects in the works with WOLM, Light the Emcee, Reign Supreme, Byrdversion 1, & Mankind. I also am working on a follow up to my solo album “Ghosts” which debuted in February 2017 on Collective Resonance. S/O to Damien Connell and the whole Collective Res team!
MC Trauma: I’m focused on working on this follow up to “Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars”. It has to be epic!
MJ: As we wrap up is there anything else you would like the world to know about DS9?
Nextwon: Check out DS9’s debut project “Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars” out now thru Collective Resonance. You can find it on Bandcamp, ITunes, Spotify, Google Play, SoundCloud, and most other digital music platforms…Just one click away https://fanlink.to/deadplanetsanddwarfstars. I want to give a special s/o to Mishap, RenRok, Suggie Sug, and Memory Loss for their contributions to the album, much love to y’all. Also a special thanks to Damien Connell for his continued support and welcoming us into the Collective Resonance fam!
MC Trauma: For those out there that don’t know us remember this. Ds9 is Hip Hop, not rap mixed with this or that, just straight up Hip Hop!
MJ: Thank you both again for taking time out for MJ, much success to DS9!
Nextwon & MC Trauma: We thank you MJ and I Am Hip Hop Magazine for the interview, much appreciation and love!
Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars Album: