Hip-Hop fans in Minneapolis may have found a new anthem from local artists FYM Kwelu, King Swank, Kion Rose & OAOJOOO, I know I did. If you haven’t seen the video, the rooftop meet up was one for the ages. Their single “WHATEVER” made waves on social media and it’s no surprise why. It all comes back to authenticity, something that this track and these artists are filled with, to the brim.
I spoke with those involved on the track to get some insight on the catalyst for this project, finding out that the song came to life on its own. Kion Rose, King Swank & FYM Kwelu were together in Houston to shoot a video for Kion. Insistent on recording something during their time there, Swank & Kwelu brought the studio with them to get a session in. As the night unfolded, Kion eventually gave in to the idea, but only upon hearing THAT beat.
‘I need to get on that, I need to get on that right now’ - Kion Rose
King Swank explained how he and artist Obi had originally made a different drill beat, other than the one in the video.
‘We were so lit that somewhere in the mix, that’s the one we chose’ - King Swank
As the beat played in the background, the energies had clicked. FYM Kwelu was the one to start things off by riffing hooks and intros to get a verse off. At this point, Kion & Swank are now curating their own verses.
‘We were just vibing, there were good vibes in the room so I freestyled on the beat a little… It was whatever we were doing, really, when you hear the song and I say I’m chillin in Houston, I was just chillin in Houston’ - FYM Kwelu
Kwelu went on to express how sometimes going back to a more primitive and simple layout provides the best sound on tracks, connecting communities to one rhythm. The 3 of them found themselves back in Minneapolis, now in the studio with local MC OAOJOOO. This is the moment where fate put the track together, with OAO hearing the drill beat for the first time. Next thing they knew, a fourth member was added to the creative process. Not meeting prior to this in any capacity, OAO meeting Kwelu was the final piece to the puzzle. The 4 artists mentioned how genuine the process felt, making it easy to get started on something exciting while working together.
‘The problem I have with JOs (OAOJOOO) verse is that it’s better than mine’ - Kion Rose
Once "WHATEVER" found its final form, the MCs knew they had something special on their hands. It’s always inspiring when you get to see a project come together on its own, driven solely on artists wanting to work with artists. One of the core and more beautiful things about Hip-Hop are the stories of multiple MCs in one accord, feeding off each other to up their cadence and deliveries. When one MC puts down the pen, the other picks it up, blending styles and swagger on one track.
‘It’s about the idea of community, I feel like there is a lot of conditional love from the trap scene in Minneapolis, there was more of the unconditional love between us on this track, doing whatever, being our best’ - FYM Kwelu
It’s that same honesty that made the video what it was, bringing out the block party to the rooftop in what was a contagious scene. The people of Minneapolis came together to celebrate life for this music video shoot. The cameras were rolling, the energy was undeniable. Unfolding in real ASAP MOB fashion, each artist had their moment to shine. Kwelu starts us off with the hook of the year, followed by back to back bars from Kion, Swank & OAO.
‘There was so much going on at one time for me, being that this is my first music video, this is the first visual I have out, the energy was just crazy and it was overwhelming in a good way… all the things we put into it from the police showing up to going to another location, that was a lot of people's efforts and time and it was all about collaboration… we were doing whatever because whenever we are our best selves we can do that, and if you think of yourself in that light you can do that, we want to get the point across in how many people it took and how honest it was’
In the spirit of creative movement as a community, the artists wanted to include other local productions and creators to be in the video as well. Highlighting a family reunion type of vibe, Hip-Hop fans in the Twin-Cities may have found their new anthem. It plays like an anthem, it looks like one and most importantly, it feels like one. Local scenes are inspiring because of stories like this. It produces honest work. Real people who make real art in real time. These creators are just getting started, with a year full of opportunity in front of them. Keeping tabs on supporting local talent has never been easier, considering the wealth of love and acceptance that comes with it. I know the city of Minneapolis, as well as myself, will be tapped into whatever these artists come out with next.
@waterwavetv on Instagram & Youtube
Writer - @joshuabadroos on Instagram
@OAOJOOO on Instagram
@eyesonkion on Instagram
@king_swvnk_ on Instagram
@fym_kwelu on Instagram