Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Artist Spotlight: FollowTheKicks Introduces OZ

Hip hop and Kicks go back since the beginning of time. Artists like Run DMC, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh paved the way for a long standing relationship between hip-hop and the shoe game. Today, artists like Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Kanye West and Rick Ross have taken their passion for sneakers to another level by creating their own shoe lines.
OZ is a hip-hop duo consisting of Sonya aka Sonya Blade/S. Blade/Young Sheba Nefertiti and Alexander aka Al Green/Al Great. There are many ways to describe the sound of OZ, but their music exudes nostalgic, classic hip-hop with a futuristic and modern twist.
The duo formed in 2010 based off their love for music. Alexander came to California with dreams of starting his own record label and was convinced to step into the booth for the first time. After listening to the track he wrote to it and recorded it over and over again. Although Alexander admits the track came out horrible, "It felt good to record," Alexander said. "I never did that before, but I'm a perfectionist so I tried it over and over and over again so I could be better." After a few months they started recording their first mixtape "IVL Presents OZ". In 2012 they dropped their second mixtape known as "Two Fly". "I still love the first mixtape, but in the second one we grew up a little bit and made better songs in general," Sonya said. "Our second mixtape is more mature and focused on content with a different sound to it."
With college education on their backs, Oz's music speaks the truth of their reality. Each song on their "Two Fly" mixtape reveals glimpses of their character in each verse.
For Sonya, music is something that always came naturally. "I started singing as a little girl and tried to do it professionally at 15 in a Bay area group called Delyte," Sonya said. Musically, Sonya admits to being inspired by Lauren Hill, Aaliyah, Wu Tang, Michael Jackson, Ruff Riders, Fugees, Nas and the list goes on. She stayed as a member of Delyte for 3-4 years before heading to college and eventually venturing out on a solo career in 2008. "I never stopped pursuing music," Sonya said. "It has always been my passion and my focus." Alexander describes Sonya's tenacity as a rapper/singer to be very "pitbull ish". "Sonya's crazy [wild] as f#%k," Alexander said. "She's the mean little dog like a chihuahua that thinks she's huge.But in all honesty, we're both crazy. Our flows are either chill or very very aggressive."
At 5'6 and a petite frame, Sonya is not ashamed to rock her Eritrean/Egyptian heritage and can often be seen with big, naturally curly locks.
Hip-Hop not only inspired their music, it has also been an influence on their shoe game as well.
As a native from the DMV, Alexander said his shoe collection is a Frankenstein creation of bits of style from rappers and the neighborhood he grew up in. Growing up, Alexander said he wore New Balance, North Face, Helly Hansen's and Air Bakins; It was a time where the shoe game was more creative and out there versus the LeBron James wearing generation he's observed that now populates his neighborhood. Like his take on the shoe game, Alexander confronts each verse in an unconventional manner. "My approach to music is inspired by unorthodox people like Styles P, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and the list goes on," Alexander said. "I basically like people that do different sh#t with their music."
When running errands or in need of a quick shoe to throw on, Sonya admits she can't live without her black/silver Air Jordan 5's. For Alexander it's his Nike Air Stab's in a lime green/grey makeup or his Air Jordan 4 "Bred's" that he can always count on in a hurry.
2013 is a year jam packed with hot new shoe releases like the Air Jordan 4 "Lightning", loads of "Black History Month" and "Year of the Snake" releases. For Sonya the Bred 13's and the crimson 3's are pairs she definitely plans on copping, while Alexander looks forward to the Crimson 3's, Aqua 8's, Maroon 6's and Bred 13's.
So what can you expect from OZ in 2013? "In 2013 we're putting steroids into this music starting with the 1st quarter," Alexander said. The duo is currently in the studio working on their third album/mixtape "Heatwave". They're also putting out their first video for their single "Two Fly" along with solo projects.
You can check out OZ's music at https://soundcloud.com/ivlpresentsoz/sets . As always keep it locked to FollowTheKicks for sneaker news and updates.