There’s something in the Detroit air that inspires individuals to make great music. In the 60’s, Motown was strong. During the 70’s, a lot of rock stars hailed from the city and in the 90’s came Eminem, Kid Rock, The White Stripes to name a few. Post-2000, there has been a significant amount of talented hip hop acts that rose from the Motor City. If you ask the four young men of Clear Soul Forces, they’ll credit the musical history and note the struggle to making something out of nothing, as catalysts for this movement.
On tour in Europe, the young yet confident rap group took time off their tour schedule to talk a little bit about their past, present and future. Coming off the success of “Get No Better,” which garnered over 2.5 million Youtube views, CSF has just released their sophomore album entitled “Gold PP7’s.” Flavor Flav once talked about how even the biggest names in the game release albums that only have one or two “true hip hop” tracks. Referencing Golden Eye, L.A.Z, Noveliss, E-Fav and Ilajide are all running out of the gates with Gold PP7’s on hand, killin’ it on every track. Are they the answer to hip hop? They sure think so. Take a moment and see if they’re the next in line to carry the torch for The D.
The story goes CSF the group was formed with the help of Royce Da 5’9 back in ’09. How did you guys actually meet though?
Ilajide: E-Fav is my cousin. I met L.A.Z through E-Fav, and I met Noveliss rockin’ shows at a random ass bar with the rest of us. And the rest is done.
Noveliss: When I met Ilajide, L.A.Z, and E-Fav were all together. I met them at an open mic at this bar a few years ago, and it was on from then.
L.A.Z: I moved from Colorado Springs to Michigan in ’06 and started attending Oakland University in ’07 where I met E-Fav. He was always biggin’ up his cousin who made beats, that he wanted me to work with, who turned out to be Ilajide. And we met on Thanksgiving ’08 and the three of us were just working on tracks and writing at Ilajide’s apartment. The very first show we went to together was on Super Bowl Sunday when the Steelers and Cardinals played. We met Noveliss through a mutual friend and just built from there. It was a mutual respect for each others’ craft at first, and then we met Royce who suggested we be a group and it was on since then.
Can you share any good advice or takeaways received from Royce?
Ilajide: “Keep going.” That’s what he always says.
L.A.Z: It honestly hasn’t been a whole lot of advice outside of him telling us to keep going, which sounds simple but its one of the best things you can tell somebody who’s still trying to come up out here.
Noveliss: Hell yeah, the good advice was that he told us to be a group [laughs]. That advice changed my life because before then, I don’t know that we would have ever been a group. I’m not going to say it was all Royce, but just that night in general, it was life changing.
A lot of talented musicians have come out of Detroit, whether it was the singers in the Motown era, a plethora of rappers and even rock stars. What is it about Detroit that brings out the musical talent in people?
L: It’s just the culture and the vibe of the city. It’s struggle season in the city right now but one of the main things about Detroit that makes it so special is the fact people have a way of making something out of nothing here and that same attitude carries over to the music scene. We just speak from a different frame of mind than MCs from other places.
E: Like you said, this is a city of legendary artists, we know what we come from and we all take the task of standing up to greatness seriously. We approach our music seriously all in our own ways. That makes for incredible music and we come from a place full of adversity that will make you hungry.
I: The fucking struggle. You wouldn’t know unless you were really here. Compared to where we’ve been in America, our city is like….the worst.
N: It’s just a place full of soul. You have hungry, talented people who want to get out of a bad situation, that’s where dreamers come from. And musically, you know how good you have to be, there’s history everywhere and that’s what your up against.
On the group’s Instagram profile, you guys refer to yourselves as “the answer to any question you ever had about hip hop.”
L: That’s true…. We make hip hop in our own image and that’s how we feel so, yeah….