Haitian Music Industry: Underground artists Pt.2

underground-artists-logo


Source: Unknown

For those of you who’ve read my first article: Haitian Music Industry: Underground artists  some of this article’s content will seem pretty familiar. As for those of you who are new to my blog and are reading about this for the first time, here are some of the things you need to know about the Haitian Music Industry and its underground artists.

The Haitian Music Industry

Source: Steven Baboun

The “Haitian Music Industry” consists of a lot of talented artists. However, music listeners, are missing out on a lot of Haitian artists because they don’t get as much exposure. Granted, regardless of the genre the artist chooses, it is always hard for them to instantly make it. However, I feel that certain “Underground” artists don’t get the encouragement nor the credit they deserve. We live in an era where real talent/hard work is overlooked, yet mediocrity is supported and applauded.

Whether it’s as a rapper, or a singer, there are artists who deserve a shot and I believe it  should be given to them. We need to start encouraging real talent, artists who are on the come up, who’ve worked hard but have never been supported by our Haitian media outlets, or by people who have real social media platforms they could’ve used to help them but chose not to. And most importantly, I want the upcoming generation to stop supporting popularity and support real talent, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Unlike the previous article, I decided to see what some well known artists had to say about the industry, its underground artists and one of the answers stuck with me.

I strongly believe that the Haitian Music Industry lacks structure. It needs a lot more structure, and I think the Haitian Music Industry needs some kind of law to protect its artists, as far as them owning rights to their craft. That’s very important. As for its underground artists, there are  a lot of super talented underground artists. I even think that they will surpass the current generation if they don’t come up with new heat and variety. This new style of music and this new generation is really looking to take over, making it hard for the old generation to keep up.
I don’t think the industry is doing much nor is it giving them the shot they deserve. However, these new artists need to continue to put the work in, make good music and create a name for themselves.” – James Lamothe (Pjay)

In the mind of our underground artists

Today, I had the chance to interview 6 amazing underground artists. These artists are some of which I admire and been following for a while, so I took the liberty to interview them. They are passionate, talented and driven. Read along to find out a bit more about them.

ReylexKiSouBeatLa

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

Reylex: My name is Alex Pierrot, but my stage name is ReylexKiSouBeatLa or I simply go by Reylex. The name was given to me by one of my best friends, Peezy, who thought I was a great producer at the time. With “Rey” meaning “King” in spanish and “Lex”, coming directly from my first name, he came up with the name “ReyLex” which, I thought was dope. Later on, another good friend of mine, “Balalatet”, well known as “Dj Bullet” gave me a shout out for producing one of his songs, in which he referred to me as  “Reylex Ki Sou Beat La”. I found it so cool that, I then legally changed my stage name from Reylex to ReylexKiSouBeatLa.

Muhreah: Which music genre/category do you think you fall into? Have you ever explored other genres?

Reylex: After more than 10 years in the music industry, I can gladly say that I am a Haitian Afropop artist. I have explored other genres such as “Rap/HipHop Creole’ and even “House music” at some point in my life. However, my love for Afrobeats, the drums and the rythms, is unconditional.

Muhreah: Why exactly did you choose to pursue a music career? How long have you been making music for?

Reylex: I started making beats in 2006 and used to take piano lessons when I was a kid. I was never interested in being a singer or rapper until I left Haiti. Music was the only way I could express myself and I was actually having fun doing it. However, I’ve always been passionate about it and never stopped. I have made a name for myself simply by being productive, consistent and different. I have worked on my craft and even worked with most artists in the HMI, for free. Yet, I still felt like something was missing, and that is how I started making my own songs, creating my own sound, to then realize that what was missing, was in me and that I was what I was looking for in the HMI. I am beyond thankful for my friends, family and fans who have been supporting me and because of them, I now finally believe in myself and have decided to focus of my music career and go full time.

Muhreah: What are your thoughts on the HMI and what do you think could be done to give underground artists a better chance at the spotlight?

Reylex: The HMI is almost nonexistent. As far as I know, we only have a few famous artists or bands who get mostly booked in Haiti or countries (cities) where most haitians live. Even though music is an universal language, I strongly believe that we (artists) should at least try putting songs out in different languages other than creole, to reach out a broader audience and focus on our images; meaning putting out more visuals and making sure that we look good and professional on social media AND on paper. Every artists should have at least the basic knowledge about how the music business works in other countries and their work should be ready (copyrighted and associated with a publishing/performing rights organization) just in case their record becomes a hit song. I believe in creating your own spotlight. You just have to study your crowd/ audience and know your fan base. The HMI is really just a term, for now at least. Do not rely on it to become successful. Therefore, underground artists have to promote their own songs, show productivity, creativity and be consistent. It is indeed hard without having sponsors which makes it even harder to make music full time and give it your best. You just have to believe in yourself, trust the process and DREAM because believing in the HMI and trying to be famous is not enough. The internet is a great tool and we just have to use it well; we can reach out to other artists and take a chance. You just never know.

Muhreah: What are your future goals as an artist?

Reylex: Besides putting out dope songs, my goal as a producer is to introduce new, unique “never heard before” sounds/ genres to my fans. I want to make relatable songs on afrobeats and feature dope french and african artists like MHD, Dadju and Mr eazi. I also would love to collaborate with Diplo and I am working on that as well.

Muhreah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded? Why?

Reylex: I honestly love all my recorded tracks as they each mean something. However, my favorite project would have to be Afrotrap Part 1 – Baz Bel Tet simply because that’s how I got introduced to afrotrap. And now, here I am! Reylexkisoubeatla , a Haitian Afropop Artist/Producer, haha.


GINO

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

Gino:  I’m Luigi Casseus (Gino) . I’m a rapper and mix engineer. I’m 21 years old and I’m currently getting my masters in Entertainment Business at Full Sail University.

Muhreah: Which music genre/category do you think you fall into?

Gino: I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every mainstream genre, pop, house, reggae, Afro but I find myself more when I’m working on hip hop projects.

Muhreah: Have you ever explored other genres?

Gino: It was hard for me not to, because my team (Kazitexx) is filled with people that have such different tastes, musically. Some prefer Compas, other hardcore Hip Hop or reggae music etc. Frica, one of my closest friend is one of the few people who has influenced me the most. He’s constantly pushing my boundary and encouraging me to try new things. He’s the one who really introduced me to Afro, and ultimately got me to work on the African lady record (San Konplexx Mixtape).

Muhreah: Why exactly did you choose to pursue a music career? How long have you been making music for?

Gino: I didn’t choose it. I was raised in a family that was musically oriented. My dad is a piano player and played in many different bands when he was younger. He built a studio for the band that he manages till this day in the early 2000s. That is where I was really introduced to REAL music production. I’m talking, the process of making a beat, writing a verse, finding a hook, recording and mixing. Thats where I got my sense and ear for music. I kinda had no choice. It came naturally.  I honestly can’t remember how long I’ve been making music for. But I know I really started taking music seriously about one or two years ago, after Kazitexx got a record deal with Point Records, a Los Angeles Based label. Prior to that it was more of a hobby, I just did it because I could and my music sounded decent.

Muhreah: What are your thoughts on the HMI and what do you think could be done to give underground artists a better chance at the spotlight?

Gino: Honestly… I’m a very patient guy, I believe if your art is good it’s going to attract its own audience. But as far as the HMI goes, we need more scouts, looking for talents and things that are different and give the public an opportunity to decide whether they like it or not.

Muhreah: Can your fans expect a mixtape or an album anytime soon?

Gino: 2019!! I have at least 20 songs just waiting to be released. I haven’t decided if it’s going be EPS, Mixtapes, or albums that I want to drop as a following to “BOURGEOISIE SAL”. But they can expect a lot, cause I’ve been working lately and I have lot to prove.

Mureah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded? Why?

Gino: I like all the tracks I’ve recorded, but for the sake of that question I’ll say “Goals” from the San Konplexx Ep. because that was a perfect reflection of my lifestyle, mindset and experience at the time. Safe to say that’s the reason why it connected so well with the public when we released it.

Muhreah: What are your future goals as an artist?

Gino: I want to make my way onto the international market and prove to others that it is achievable. I have seen too many Haitian artists try and give up, that shit makes me want to go harder.


D-FI Powèt Revòlte

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

D-Fi: I’m D-FI Powèt Revolte, a rapper who’s a part of a collective of revolted poets.

Muhreah: Which music genre/category do you think you fall into? Have you explored other genres?

D-Fi: I make hip hop music/ conscience rap. I’ve never tried to, because I don’t think I could. However, I often listen to other genres in order to get inspired. e.g: blues, soul, reggae, raboday and rock.

Muhreah: Why exactly did you choose to pursue a music career? How long have you been making music for? 

D-Fi: I used to make music just for the fun of it. However, it turned into a passion that I’ve been scarifying a lot for. Music gave me the will to resist, to go on. Music makes me feel alive, so I just let my passion guide me. I’ve ben making music for 12 years now.

Muhreah: What are your thoughts on the Haitian Music Industry and what do you think could be done to underground artists a better chance at the spotlight?

D-Fi: Like many others probably have told you before, the Haitian Music Industry lacks a lot of structure. Some might even say it’s nonexistent. Therefore, I can’t really talk about the Haitian Music Industry. There is no strategic way you could utilize to discover the underground artists. Unless, we overturn the system completely and try to build one with the structure needed.

Muhreah: What are your future goals as an artist?

D-Fi: As of right now, I’m trying to build my own music label with my producer, who’s also an associate.

Muhreah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded? Why?

D-Fi: There are a few. However, I don’t think I can choose between Auto-Psy, Levanjil geto a, and Lot Bo Barye a.

Muhreah: Can your fans expect a mixtape or an album anytime soon? 

D-Fi: I’m not sure, haha. In the mean time, they can enjoy my latest album Kwonik On GetoYout which came out in June 2018 and is available on every platform.


FIP

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?
FIP: My name is Stephan Philippe, but everyone knows me as FIP. I’m 23. I was born in Delmas, moved to Canada when I was 19. I’m apart of a group named “Kazitexx”
Muhreah: Which music genre/category do you think you fall into?
FIP: Well, I make trap music. When I started rapping, trap wasn’t a thing. It was very foreign to me and I wasn’t really open to it. Around 2011, I started listening to American rap and I guess I started to familiarize myself with the different genres. However, when I moved to Canada I started experimenting and fell in love with Trap. Trap allows me to truly be myself, it’s all about the vibe.
Muhreah: Have you ever explored other genres?
FIP: I used to rap, like old school rap. However, I also used to write Konpa songs cause I liked to serenade the ladies.
Muhreah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded? Why?
FIP: The best track I’ve ever recorded was Flex. I was with two guys I consider to be geniuses. That song was a hit. We barely promoted it so the feedback we got from the fans was really unexpected. I love that track.
Muhreah: What are your future goals as an artist?
FIP: I want to take my music worldwide. I want my lyrics to be on everyone’s lips, regardless of the language difference. That’s what I want to do with what I create.

Kenfs le Lyriciste

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Kenfs: My name is Saint Kendy flower. I was born at Port de Paix, and I’m a rapper.
Muhreah: Which music category do you think fall into?
Kenfs: I strongly believe that I fall into the Hip/Hop / Rap genre.
Muhreah: Why exactly did you choose to pursue a music career? How long have you
been making music for?
Kenfs: I started rap in the years 2009 – 2010. I chose to rap because it helped me express myself. It helped me tell my story.
Muhreah: Can your fans expect a mixtape or an album soon?
Kenfs: I am currently working on an album. Besides that, I’m also working on a production to help other artists to produce, and they’ll have great project coming from this production.
Muhreah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded? Why?
Kenfs: Goodbye is the title to the best track I think I’ve ever recorded. I believe it made a great impact on my career.

Meerak

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?
Meerak: My name is Kareem, I am a college graduate. I have a Bachelors Degree in Accounting and a Minor in Economics. A lot of people also know me by my artist name is Meerak, which is my name backwards. It was given to me by my cousin and also by Chabin.
Muhreah: Which music genre/category do you think you fall into? Have you ever explored other genres?
Meerak: I fall into strictly the hip-hop/rap genre. I have rapped on Afro trap, dancehall and kompa beats but I wouldn’t say that I explored those genres.
Muhreah: Why exactly did you choose to pursue a music career? How long have you been making music for? 
Meerak: I wouldn’t say I chose to pursue a music career since I mostly do it part time and it is not my source of income. I work a full time job and a part time. I have been doing music since back in high school but it used to be in English but in 2009 that’s when I started doing rap in Kreyòl.
Muhreah: What are your thoughts on the HMI and what do you think could be done to give underground artists a better chance at the spotlight?
Meerak: My thoughts on the HMI is that there are few record labels, which is not good. There’s no copyright laws and no system of protecting and ensuring artists’ rights, the HMI has grown into a motionless arena with no profitability for artists. There’s no legal structure or plan on how to operate. I’m not 100 percent sure but I’m pretty sure that contracts are now always honored and when they are not, there’s probably no one that the artist can go to. The Haitian government needs to enforce copyright laws and with the help from royalty collection agencies, it can help ensure that future artists will have a mean of survival. In Haiti, you can sample a song without having paid the original artist for coming up with the song.
Muhreah: Can your fans expect a mixtape or an album anytime soon?
Meerak: Oh definitely yes, it has been long overdue, a lot of people that believe in me have been asking for it. So I owe it to myself first and to them. I am in the process of finalizing my joint mixtape with ST’F. Fans can expect it to be out soon. We are making sure that it is the best project that we could have done together. Some people have heard about 70-80 percent of the tape and they are excited about it, so that’s definitely motivation to keep going and it is pure hip-hop.
Muhreah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded/produced? Why?
Meerak: There are many songs, released and unreleased but the one that speaks volume to me is called Capois Lamort with ST’F and BriganJP. It is one of the best track I’ve ever recorded because we are reciting history and at the same time we are telling people to never give up no matter how hard a situation is. Keep going, keep striving, keep pushing yourself. You fall, get back up. Can you imagine if Capois Lamort had given up on the first cannon ball that was shot at him? On a crucial battle. Capois Lamort  will also be on the mixtape but it has been remastered and sounds even better now.
Muhreah: What are your future goals as an artist?
Meerak: As someone who does music, I just want to be known as a professional worker who does music, I would love to participate in cyphers and other events that may come but I definitely want my music to uplift people.

CB The Hitmaker

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

CB: My name is Christian Bercy but everyone calls me CB or CB the Hitmaker. I was born and raised in Haiti and I moved to New York in 2010. I am an ARTist and I focus on music production, beat making, songwriting, rapping, and designing. I’m part of a music group called Baz Bel Tet and professionally, I am an Associate Product Manager at a health IT company.
Muhreah: Which music genre/category do you think you fall into? Have you ever explored other genres?
CB: I don’t want to associate myself with any genres or categories, because I can produce/make any type of music that I want. However, I make a lot of trap, hip hop, afro and Afrotrap. As for other genres, back in the day, I used to make a lot EDM and R&B.
Muhreah: Why exactly did you choose to pursue a music career? How long have you been making music for?
CB: I started making music 12 -14 years ago. I was bored one summer and decided to get into music production. I started with djying but realized that I sucked at it. Therefore, I decided to start producing beats and then I became this dope ass producer. I was influenced by the legendary Scott Storch and the trap King Zaytoven. I would always work on a new project and go to my bestfriend’s house. From day uno, Redge has been supportive and very critical. He always gives me advice on how to perfect my sound. He tells me when my beats are good and when they’re whack.
I was introduced to rap by Stephan Celestin aka Pi2. I was rapping at about 14 or 15 years old. And I still am to this day. I am by far, one of Lil Wayne’s biggest fans. But I think my biggest inspiration was when I was in high school and my schoolmates used to freestyle every Friday (Freestyle Friday lol) next to the lady that used sell “Fritay”. They used to go in with sick rhymes and sick punchlines. They battled each other and videotaped it. I always wanted to battle someone to show that I was better than them, so that is when I started writing and recording myself. I kind of stopped writing to focus more on beats. I went back to my pen when Reylex, Redge, Brenx, Richy and I went to Stony Brook University. We used to hang out everyday and one day we decided to make a track for the group just so we can blast it on campus. Our first “unfinished” track was actually a Trap song not afrotrap. Shit was fire, Reylex, Brenx and I made the beat hahaa!
Muhreah: What are your thoughts on the HMI and what do you think could be done to give underground artists a better chance at the spotlight?
CB: I think this industry is very complicated and it needs a lot of improvement. Yoo, there are a lot of great artists out there but the lack of support is not helping them at all. My boy told me that the other day:
“Baz si te gen ankadreman vre man, apres production ou fe pou Big Fa a epi beat sa baz ou ta supoze gon trophee wi nan HMI music awards”.
The HMI is very biased, so the best advice I can give someone is to keep releasing projects and be positive. One day, you might make it, you never know. Stay true to yourself, be different, and try to be innovative. For a producer it is very hard in the HMI, because a lot off artists refuse to pay. They always want free shit ( excuse my language). The artists need to support the beatmakers in order for us to eat. The HMI needs certain platform to support beatmakers and underground artist.
Muhreah: Can your fans expect a mixtape or an album anytime soon?
CB: Check out Bèl Bout Tape on all the streaming platforms. However, right now, I am focusing more on production. I am working with a lot of artists in the HMI industry ( G Shyt, Cator, Steve sJ Bryan, Redge CH, Kazitexx, Ogun, Bigfa, Reylex, Balalatet and, oh them niggaz that did that track called Taliban and Jak Ketan. Shit, them niggaz straight fireeeeeeeee). I have other people that I am working with soo, stay tuned.
Muhreah: Tell us the title of the best track you think you’ve ever recorded/produced? Why?
CB: Bèl Bout is my favoriteeeeee track that I ever recorded. I was able to be myself and go in. Reylex and Brenx told me to go all in and I went all in. I was able to show what I am capable of doing and I took my time to write this verse. I listen to this track every dayyyy. It is also my go-to track whenever I need to be motivated.

Muhreah: What are your future goals as an artist?

CB: As an artist, my future goal is to get to the international industry, where the money is at. The HMI needs to step it up, honestly. My goal is to work with some of the top artists in the african, french, american, and latino industry. Also, I want Baz Bel Tet to feature MHD, the King of Afrotrap.

underground

Source: Unknown

Below, I’ve attached a list of songs from more underground artists/groups I unfortunately did not have the chance to interview. Enjoy!

  1. Sarah Jane Rameau – Hotel Room
  2. PKSO – Lojik Pam
  3. Synedad x Steves J Bryan – Ya pa
  4. Yo Way x Young rich skiller – Jiggy
  5. Fre Gabe – Ti Kal Nan Temwanyaj Mwen (Ft Stanley G.)
  6. 2pat – Bannann dous
  7. Wouligan – Plas Yo Pa La
  8. Next level – Particula (Ft Ray Raymond)
  9. LilBirdLeii x Young Belushi – IN2U
  10. DaviDor – DaviDor X Edk – Gade Yo (Prod By DaviDor)
  11. Joe dwet file – Jaloux cover
  12. Djemfresh – Efo Kap Fet
  13. 45 Soldiers – Adieu (Ft Baky Popile)
  14. Peet The Ghost – HÉROS
  15. PMD – Ah oui j’ai change
  16. Drazy – Map fe kob

Writers Note

A big thank you goes to:  Reylexkisoubeatla, GINO, D-fi Powet Revolte, FIP, Kenfs, Meerak and CB for being nice enough to answer all the questions. To all of you currently reading this, Thank you! Hopefully, by the time you’re through with this article, you will find new music to add to your playlist.

This was, The Haitian Music Industry: Underground artists pt. 2

Written by Muhreahwrites.

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