"Heart of a B-boy, soul of an emcee...thoughts vivid like graffiti landscaped with a MP-C…I knew it was inside of me....I said I knew it was inside of me." – Sean Armstrong, Long Time Coming
On November 19th, DMV based rapper Sean Armstrong released his debut album, The Marble Cake Diaries and just like the title of one of my fave tracks, this was a ‘Long Time Coming’.
Sean is no stranger to this blog as I have posted about him and his music several times. The Marble Cake Diaries includes features from the likes of Tajai of Souls of Mischief and another LV Lair fave, pHoenix Pagliacci. Backed by the head nod worthy work of producers like !llmind, Da Beatminerz and members of the Jamla Records production team, The Soul Council: E. Jones, AMP and Khrysis, Sean Armstrong delivers a solid debut album.
Before I get into my faves on the album, I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to get you more familiar with Sean
…here’s how it went:
…here’s how it went:
Lady Vee: What is the meaning of your album title, The Marble Cake Diaries?
Sean Armstrong: Basically, if you look at a piece of marble cake and notice how the colors blend and swirl around with no real straight lines or “boundaries”, but it still looks appealing and tastes great, is kind of how my album is. These are stories of my life, raw rhymes, relationships, etc. that all kind of blend together like a marble cake. The Diaries part of the title kind of speaks for itself.
LV: If you had to pick a favorite song on your album, what would it be and why?
SA: This is actually a tough question because I have several favorites for different reasons but if I have to pick one, I guess I would have to say the single "Took Control". I had the honor of working with the legend, Tajai, from Souls of Mischief. Shouts to my girl pHoenix for the dope hook too!
LV: You’re a DJ, rapper AND a producer…what came first?
SA: DJing came first. I learned that when I was about 12 years old from my brother. A few years later came the emcee and a year or two after that I started making beats.
LV: If you HAD to list DJing, rhyming and producing in order of how much you love them, how would it go?
SA: Another tough question because they all give me a rush that I can't explain. I would probably list them in the order they came so DJ, emcee then producer.
LV: Who influences you as a rapper? A DJ? A Producer?
SA: My favorite emcee of all time is Masta Ace. He's super dope. The way he structures his rhymes and the wordplay and lyricism is just ill. My favorite DJ is probably Jazzy Jeff. So clean on the cuts and a great LIVE DJ as well. My favorite producer without question is DJ Premier. Do I need to explain why? Lol!
LV: Name an artist or group that people would be surprised you listen to…for example everyone knows I listen to hip hop, soul and R&B but are surprised to know how I love reggae like Buju Banton, Tony Rebel or even groups like Linkin Park and I listen to some pop and even some Marilyn Manson...
SA: I'm a HUGE Sade fan so I definitely have to list her here. I'm also a fan of Jamiroquai, Disclosure and Kenna just to name a few.
LV: Lastly, some folks say ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’. I personally don’t believe it & feel that people don’t look around enough for not only just hip hop but good music in general. If you had the task of changing the view of ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’, how could it be done? Is it really as simple as continuing to put out good music hoping it won’t fall on deaf ears?
SA: I think it is as simple as continuing to put out good music and spreading the word. I can't make it my job to step up on that "Hip Hop isn't dead" soapbox all the time, because really it's a waste of energy. My energy is solely focused on creating good music. Basically, I can show you better than I can tell you. It IS my job however, to make sure as a DJ and friend to others that I am playing and sharing good music as well, for those who don't have time to look, are not educated beyond the radio or are simply too lazy to search. I've also learned trough this project that it takes A LOT of effort to make sure it, as you said, does not fall on deaf ears. As artists, we have to make sure that once we create the music we put the same amount of work into promoting it.
Took Control Featuring Tajai of Souls of Mischief and pHoenix Pagliacci, Produced by !llmind
I just love the flow of this track! Everything from Tajai and Sean’s rhymes, pHoenix’s soulful vocals and !llmind’s beat meshes so well together. Talking about how Hip Hop ‘Took Control’ of their hearts and minds, it’s a great ode to the genre and culture that we love so much! Great choice for a lead single! The video is so fun too! See for yourself:
(Friendly Reminder: Don't forget to pause on the mp3 player on the bottom left before pressing play!)
Long Time Coming, Produced by E. Jones
On this track, Sean talks about how he went about pursuing his dream. Aside from the production E. Jones who I’m a big supporter of, I love the hook where Sean describes himself perfectly.
Get "The Marble Cake Diaries" on:
Find Sean Armstrong on: