Questions and Introduction by Dan-O
Answers by Backwood Sweetie
It’s hard to hear everything out there. No denying it. The important part is being able to identify who is important when you hear them. From the first time I heard Christina Shauntay’ I knew I was hearing a major talent. A ferocious insightful mind digging into levels of political, social and personal realities over beats that knock. A debut album is always an introduction and this is one to remember. Deeply worthy of five questions:
1. It was gratifying to hear you on the Don’t Sleep On The Couch podcast talk about your lifelong commitment to writing (poetry and stories as well as hip hop). How does the writing and performance of the writing come together for you? Are you writing with your performance in mind? I ask because of the balance of depth and fun listening on Christina Shauntay’. You must have worked to achieve that balance between political, economic statements and generally moving the crowd.
A: The writing & performance of my writing are cohesive during my creative process, I’m an emcee! I have the ability to move the crowd and I have a good ear for beats that’ll make you nod your head at the very least. I found a way to infuse my thinking from a cultural standpoint with my personal lifestyle with powerful statements while riding different types of beats to appeal to different audiences.
2. How did Lenny come together and when did you make the decision to use it as the closing song?
A: I originally connected with K.R.O.W (Knowledge Reigns Over Wickedness) via Distrokid in December of 2020 and we immediately recognized each other’s ambitions and decided to work together. They are from Baltimore, Maryland.. not far from me. After recording “Garvey” with K.R.O.W, they approached me with Lenny and we released it in June on the anniversary of Len Bias’ death, June 19th. I decided to close with Lenny because it was important that my voice was heard closing out a song on my album with the last verse. It was also a way to remind my listeners of where I’m from.
3. Do you feel the “likeability” standard is higher for MC’s who are discussing political/social/economic realities than for MC’s in other lanes? Audiences will tune out the right message in the wrong tone(for them). Was that a consideration in constructing or editing Christina Shauntay?
A: I feel that there is such a variety of MCs out now, that there is something out there for everyone. There will always be a lane for real rap, relatable rhymes, and lyrical MCs. The ones who show originality and creativity no matter the topic stand out more in my opinion. While I considered the tone of my debut, I was able to deliver a song for everyone in variety and still have an overall cohesive piece of art discussing my reality.
4. Specifically, K.R.O.W. and Sage Walker are critical to the album. What do you see as the powers each brings? K.R.O.W. on Lenny and Garvey, Sage Walker on Cipher and Struggle.
A: I connected with them through social media. It’s so important to get to know the artist you are working with on a personal level and that’s exactly what they did. That led us to making another song and having great chemistry in the studio and online. I wanted the features to happen organically and they did.
5. What did you want your debut album to accomplish when you started it? Looking at it now, did Christina Shauntay convey what you wanted? What themes or discussions would you like to build from it on the next project?
A: The goal for my debut album was to reintroduce myself as an emcee, display my lyrical ability in a versatile way, and to connect with new audiences. I achieved all of those things and then some! “Christina Shauntay’” is a beautiful representation of who I am & what I’ve evolved into. On my next project, I’d like to continue to relate with my audience and present a new way of thinking, over dope beats!
Stream then Buy Christina Shauntay’ below: