Los Angeles-based emcee F.Y.I. presents the HighTopBully-directed music video for “Trust Me”, the Dale Danja-produced single from his new EP F.Y.I. Invented Green. F.Y.I. first gained notoriety in 2010 as part of trio Those Chosen on their EP 5ive (Spotify), produced mainly by Grammy-Award winning super-producer, IZ Avila. In 2012 F.Y.I. collaborated with Ab-Soul on “Dopamine” (Bandcamp), which appeared on his first solo mixtape Yo! The Places You’ll Go which hit #1 on CMJ’s Hip Hop Charts (Bandcamp). That year he also dropped an exclusive freestyle for HipHopDX (Youtube). F.Y.I. says he was inspired to write his new single “based on my observation of the culture and how it’s become so commercialized and watered down that people are starving to hear an emcee that they can trust to be raw and express themselves totally with NO false pretense fake sh*t.”
What do you think surprises listeners the most about you?
That my music is as polished as the current mainstream artists that they may compare me to. Also, that the records are balanced with bars and content, yet still creative and fun at the same time. I’m not like a lot of these indie rappers that are usually in one of the two extremes in indie rap circles. Usually, they are super underground lyrical miracle type rap or super club thug gangster sipping lean drinking mumble Worldstar type rap. LOL. It seems a lot of times with the indie scene it’s either or right about now.
What do you feel is the strongest line you’ve ever written and why?
That’s a hard one to answer. That’s probably a better question for the listener because it’s based on their interpretation and how it makes them feel when they hear it. I write to make people feel what I’m going through or my idea of how something should be or to relay a message. As I see it, each line on my songs builds off each other and each line is designed to be strong in itself. That’s what builds a great song and gets your message and mood across on a record. So it really depends on what the topic was at the time and what I was expressing on the song. I got some lines that I’m definitely a fan of though. Off the top of my head, the lines I said off “Kill Game” from my latest tape, F.Y.I. Invented Green – “They don’t want you with knowledge / Building robotics / More money for felonies / No degrees to college / Malt liquor is pimping a product / Colt 45 shot to your conscience”. Yeah, that’s just one example, but that’s why my lyrics are available to every song on my websites – http://fyipsalms.com or http://fyipsalms.bandcamp.com because I pride myself on being a lyricist so people can check out the words and know for themselves what I’m breathing on these records.
What’s a life motto you try to live by?
Message Over Mayhem and being Human. Those are the mottos when it comes to my music, but the key one I follow personally is found in the scriptures and the verse is 2 Corinthians 5:7 – “For we live by faith, not by sight”. That’s the key to my everyday life.
How does Mid-City LA differ from the rest of the city?
It’s a real melting pot. Don’t get me wrong, Los Angeles is diverse culturally, but it’s still segregated to an extent. Pockets of the city will have your Latinos heavy, then blacks is over here, then white folks is mainly over there somewhere, and Asians will be in this particular little area. That’s not the case with Mid-City. You got all races, living side by side, so it just brings all that flavor together. It’s dope. You got folks with some coin living right next to working class people. You see it at the grocery store, on the streets, etc. It’s also close to the hub of the creative epicenter of the city which is Fairfax Village where a lot of events, artists, studios, and streetwear heads congregate so it’s a nice pocket to reside in.
As a rapper who has been on the LA scene for several years now, how do you feel about the scene’s evolution since then? Good points and/or bad points?
The evolution is interesting. Since the internet era which started in like ’08-’09 there have been artists to break out coming from the city. It’s dope to see artists that were “local acts” starting to splash outside the general area and become regional or national acts. There’s been a lot of homegrown pride that has come out of this new era which is dope and inspiring. The scene is known and folks recognize that we got flavor coming from the west. I’m glad that I’m part of that and able to make my splash in it. The bad side to the rise in recognition is a lot of out-of-towners set up shop in the city because of the weather mainly, and to get instant love from so-called “curators and gatekeepers” of the scene quicker than the homegrown artists. This is played and these so-called curators need to be called on they shit. This does not happen a lot but it does happen, real spit. For example, there definitely needs to be more LA artists on the major radio stations, at least on the late night mixes, and more LA-based promoters promoting homegrown talent. Shout out Xzibit for hosting Open Bar Radio and letting LA artists see some light, but other LA stations need that too. Also, LA has a sound that some artists embody and you feel LA when you hear it. Whether it’s a more real hip hop sound or not is not the point – it’s just a feeling you get when you hear it. There’s been a wave of artists coming from LA that sound like they lived in Atlanta all their life which is not the play. The city has a light on it in regards to this new generation and I feel it’s my duty, as should other artists, to tell our stories and share our sound to the world, not graph off other cities or copy sounds. But overall, I’m proud to be a part of what’s popping in my city and want to keep moving the needle.