Mawule (R&B) out of Denver, CO on video for “It’s Not You” and plans for 2018

R&B artist, Mawule out of Denver, CO recently released his new video for well recieved single, “It’s Not You.” After a chat about his earlier released single, “Anything,” we here at THISISWHEREIAMALIVE were excited to have him back on to talk about the latest and greatest with Mawule.

1. As mentioned before in our previous interview, you tend to use music as a creative outlet to speak out about social issues. In this video you took a rather strong approach to sexual assault, tell us a little more about the steps you took to conveying this in your new video for “It’s Not You?”

I work in higher education at the University of Denver and took advantage of my resources. I asked colleagues who work in victim and advocacy centers to listen to the music and share ideas that come to mind if they were to envision a music video for the song. From there, Director Garrett Hayes and I took their ideas and used it to develop the storyline and visuals in the video.

2. About how long did it take to film, edit, and polish the video altogether?

We started in March, didn’t finish until early June. Critical evaluations of scene footage and dialogues led us readjust the storyline and re-shoot to makes sure that our message was understandable and salient.

  1. How did you approach the filming of this video differently than other video?

We collected feedback, conducted research, and engaged in dialogue with people who had been in these situation to get their thoughts. We wanted to produce work that would not trigger people and still make an impact.

  1. If you could do one thing differently on the video, what would it be and why?

Director Garrett Hayes and I both agree that we would pay more attention to the couple on the couch and build out their story. We wanted to bring awareness to emotional abuse but do not believe we effectively communicated that.

  1. To give credit where it is due, how was working with Garrett Hayes of Square Visions Media? It’s always a blast working with Garrett Hayes. This video was a lot more challenging compared to the “Black Is Beautiful” music video we first published. With this video, we learned a lot more about each other at times when visions and ideas clashed in the shooting process. I think we both challenged each other, learned how to be better communicators and provide better support for each other when we work on future projects.
  1. What’s your favorite scene from the video?

All the rewind scenes. I think anyone who watches this music video begins to experience that “ah ha” moment when they see the scenes rewind. I believe at this point is where the message becomes more salient to the audience.

  1. Any more plans for the rest of 2017, or surprises your listeners can anticipate in 2018?

Pushing the “It’s Not You” music video will wrap up my music work for 2017. However, I am currently working with Garrett Hayes and two otherfilmmakers Johnathan Nicholas and Tim O’Connor on a three part series music video that will jaws dropping for my unreleased songs “Save Me”, “Stay”, and “Closure”. We will be preparing these videos for release in March 2018.



REVIEW: “Sips Tea” by Uni-G (Bronx area hip hop artist)

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If you haven’t heard of him by now, you’re not too late. Uni-G is an independent artist and rapper. He recently released “Sips Tea’ and there’s more to expect. His full album “Welcome to my Universe” is coming out January 13th, 2018. So let’s take an in-depth look at this song.

“Sips Tea” has an alluring rhythm to it– it’s somber, eye-opening and a song that makes you nod your head. This song has tapped into something that is very special. It has the perfect formula for what makes us feel inclined to dance and move. On the surface, we hear a catchy piano riff. The riff is the cornerstone of the song. In the lyrics, Uni-G is exposing the hypocrisy that is found in today’s younger generation. He also reveals the unrealistic expectations that people are held to and also hold others to– all while doing it in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The subject matter isn’t just another rapper proselytizing rather Uni-G is shining a light on what is going on in our communities and leaves it up to you to make the judgment.

One of the highlights of the song – and probably my favorite – is when the drum kit is brought in. The beat he chose could not be more perfect for the song. Instead of choosing a typical trap beat like most rappers in my experience would, à la Lil Yachty, Uni chooses an old school drum set to play a (seemingly) simplistic classic beat. It’s constructed to perfectly lay in-between the vocal take.  Everything is immediately intensified with this beat and I found that the song is taken to a euphoric height to where ear is almost overwhelmed. Stunned, I didn’t know what to focus on first, I can clearly hear the hypnotic beat and the way the flow perfectly fits over it. Albeit, It may have been the subject matter or the intense performance that Uni delivers, or perhaps both. It was as if I saw a shooting star. It happened all too fast for me to realize what had just happened. I found myself listening to it on repeat quite often.

This is the complete opposite of mumble rap – Uni has, dare I say it, set a new bar for every single rapper that is coming up like himself. His vocal performance demonstrates his superb talent as a rapper in such an overt and obvious manner. The conviction in his voice reminded me so much of Eminem’s “8 Mile”.

As a song this has immense quality to it: you can tell they built it from the ground up and did everything by hand. The production is astounding and meticulous. By the way, did I mention he produced it as well? The beats are choreographed extremely well throughout the song which is something I’m a massive fan of. The entire song revolves around a simple yet dignified piano riff.

It’s a hit or miss moment in rap when an artist chooses to revolve the song entirely around an instrument that’s usually outside of its genre like guitar for example. Once you hear this, you’ll instantly realize that it is no longer acceptable for a rapper to not have real bars and get by. This is the death of Mumble Rap and Uni-G is the one that killed it. This artist is bringing back a new level of talent to rap.

The bar has been raised. “Sips Tea” is a staple in his career and a wonderful piece to add to Uni’s collection as a rapper and artist. Stay tuned for his upcoming album entitled “Welcome to my Universe” which releases on 1.13.18. Personally, I (Rick) here at THISISHWHEREIAMALIVE are excited to see what this artist does next. 

Written by: Rick Rand

Edited by: Lia Davis