Interview: Hip=Hop Duo Releases Exclusive Project “Dead Planets and Dwarf Stars” (@NEXTWON8141)


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  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:

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MJ Savino

MJ Savino

MJ is Hip Hop Blog­ger, Pub­li­cist, Book­ing Agent, Act­iv­ist, but fan first and fore­most. “Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the cul­ture”!

About MJ Savino

MJ Savino
MJ is Hip Hop Blogger, Publicist, Booking Agent, Activist, but fan first and foremost. "Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the culture"!