Kalamazoo Lively Arts – The Last Gasp Collective

Kalamazoo Lively Arts – The Last Gasp Collective

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– [Narrator] Support for
Kalamazoo Lively Arts is provided by the Irving
S. Gilmore foundation. Helping to build and
enrich the cultural life of greater Kalamazoo. – Mixing classic instruments
with hip-hop and soul, the Last Gasp Collective is
bringing new and lively music to the Kalamazoo art scene. We sit down with a few members to hear about its
history and roots. ♪ Now take your last gasp
before the thirst make you talk ♪ Now cut your heart
and breath them out ♪ And breath yourself
before they used out ♪ So let be hated
naysayer can shame us ♪ Spread your wings baby, baby ♪ And feel the wind beneath it ♪ You can achieve it ♪ Please believe this ♪ Our one and only do right exam ♪ Architect with a master plan ♪ Now go and get it ♪ It’s hard not to let
this stress get to you – It wasn’t even a collective
when it got started. It was me and Drew and we
called ourselves Beat of Sun. That’s his last name and my
last name fused together. Jack Sun. Mabita, we took the Beat of. Beat of Sun, and it
was just us like, had to make beats like on
FL studio, Fruityloops. And then he’d sing on them
and I’d sometimes rap on them. And it started, just your
typical people in your bedroom with the interface recording
stuff from the closet and then yeah. – We didn’t even have
interfaces or recording stuff in the closet to start off with. I remember him sending
me beats on my cellphone and I recorded it right
back in my vehicle. I’d sing it in my
phone and send the file back to him through some
Dropbox we used to use. It was so, like not
very technical at all. But that’s how it
really, really started. ♪ So I’ma ride it till
the wheels fell of it ♪ At least that’s
what the old folks say ♪ Nowadays we roll
up all our problems ♪ And hopes that it blow away ♪ I’m blackened by my business ♪ Can’t tell me to say no target ♪ Shoplifting at the Target ♪ You talking about hard times ♪ Don’t get me started ♪ I’m 24 years old
and I still get carded ♪ I’ve been trying to
make a name for myself ♪ Since I can remember ♪ But still that
snot-nosed, nappy headed ♪ Country choir boy
from Calvin Center ♪ I’ve been feeling like a voice
that can’t be reckoned with ♪ Try not to let
your left hand know ♪ What your right
hand working with ♪ I did it ♪ Three years in college
did without a single credit ♪ I caught at me finding
myself from my fucking card ♪ I’m pathetic ♪ I’m just trying
to change the world ♪ Through a very copacetic ♪ So I got my head dreaded ♪ I always was hard headed ♪ Won’t let them
sell me no dream ♪ I gas me up like like unleaded ♪ Won’t let them
sell me no dream ♪ I gas up like unleaded I say – I would describe
the collective sound as primarily like
RnB or soul music. And hip-hop as well,
very hip-hop based. And then the gospel
influence is undeniable. So some hybrid of
those three genres. – Nothing sounds the same. Every song has a different
feel or different sound to it. ♪ I can’t even work enough
to go to school steady ♪ Wasted a semester ♪ Wasted my cash
driving to class ♪ Damn I was mass spam for years ♪ On an hourglass but ♪ There’s nothing
left here to show ♪ But that’s so oh whoah ♪ Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah – We were just making
music for fun originally because we just
thought it’s something that we’ve always
done growing up Just we were raised
in the church and we decided to continue
making music that way and performing. So we were used to
it a little bit. But we evolved
probably when we first came to Kalamazoo. And Jay moved up here for a job. – Selling cars. – Selling cars, yeah. He met some buddies up here. And we changed our name. I really hated the
name change at first. I remember like
it was yesterday. We were at a bar. And they said we’re not
gonna be Beat of Sun no more. We’re gonna be Last Gasp. I said what is that? But I like it now. – Because we wanted
it to be a collective. Like once we came
here, we met a bunch of different artists, a
bunch of different people we saw had the same
passion and the same dream to be performing artists
and get paid to do it. So all right, okay we
want to include them too so it’s not fair to them
if they’re running around with our last names. – At that point, it wasn’t
just the two of us anymore. It was a bigger picture. ♪ It can get so difficult yeah ♪ It can be so difficult ♪ Yeah ♪ Now the trapping is on a rage ♪ The conscience that we pace ♪ Can’t stop making beats that
sound just like this blaze ♪ I’m like a runaway slave ♪ My parents pray it’s a phase ♪ Don’t tell me to remind
you of the limits and days ♪ How quickly we all manage
to abandon our innocent ways ♪ Our ancestor was near
the doors of the cave ♪ And then too much changed ♪ ’cause look at you
a brother encaged ♪ Wonder why the politicians
all answer all our questions ♪ So vague ♪ Don’t trust
democrats, republicans ♪ They all in cahoots ♪ Plain in disguise
in designer suits ♪ Let’s try to
save our who lives ♪ Just a sign to the saying ♪ So I will not compromise ♪ The part which
kicks to comprehend ♪ At the top about a grandma
with my mama at the bottom ♪ Now I’m 23 and I’ve
got all the same problems ♪ I’ve been so
caught up in the air ♪ I know me no more ♪ You see my kid of six months ♪ Trying to hurt me to my core ♪ Unless he rap like this ♪ Tell you the truth
I couldn’t tell you ♪ Why I act like this ♪ And no somehow
someways you wonder ♪ We’re gonna rock with this ♪ But like a storm I
saw lights that sign ♪ To the rock with this yeah ♪ But ain’t no business
like show business ♪ Where they bought it was sold ♪ Done the range go change – We come from a very small town or a couple small towns that
are right next to each other. Cassopolis Michigan. So It’s not much there. There’s a school,
there’s a gas station. There’s McDonalds. And then there’s a bunch of
factories and corn fields. So if you’re not a
farmer or a teacher, just a normal
working class person, there isn’t too much
to foster your creative and artistic sides. So we came here to a larger city and a more urban environment. There’s things in
place, open mics. Grant funded programs
that just allow people to get out their creative side. So we just took advantage of it. We were forced where we came
from to play instruments and sing out of pure boredom
and nothing else to do. And we just made what we
have out of what we have. But then we came
here and it’s like oh we can really do this. They’re supporting this. – There’s no appreciation
for it there. – Yeah, they appreciate it here. So like that gave us even more like go do this, go get them. And then we, open mics, we just
started running into people and yeah it went from there. And meeting different vocalists, meeting guitar players,
meeting piano players. People who like I love making
music more than anything in the world, it’s like
my number one thing to do. And I would meet people
who like shooting video as much as I like making music. Or I would meet someone
who liked drawing as much as I like
creating music. So that was like amazing. I was like see, we can
make this happen, man. You draw the cover, you
shoot the music video, I make the music. And like we can make
our own thing here. So Kalamazoo made me
realize that that was doable and not some
far-fetched crazy thing that they tell us in the
country not to even think about. ♪ Baby thou save me in the end (applause)

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