Category Archives: Bonus Cut Films

Bonus Cut Films Presents: An Interview With Jahshua Smith

jahshua

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When Jahshua Smith (FKA JYoung The General) is on stage, he commands it. He makes you listen to his words and what he has to say. When he’s in front of an audience, he doesn’t hold back and you can tell that he’s doing something that he loves. As an audience member, it becomes impossible not to move your feet, throw your hands up in the air and nod to the beat. After seeing how polarizing and energetic he is on stage, you might assume he would be the same way off it. However, when you sit down and talk with Jahshua, he is one of the more quiet and retrospective artists we have spoken with. As one of the founding members of the BLAT! Pack, Jahshua Smith uses hip-hop as a worldview and applies it to the work he does within African-American history, teaching literacy skills to youth and the music he makes.

We held the interview at the Record Lounge, an independently owned record store on Division Street in East Lansing, Michigan. The store is exactly how you want a record store to be: there are crates of vinyl everywhere, and hidden gems lurk within the stacks as posters, stickers and flyers are plastered on every corner of the space. It’s the kind of place that you could spend hours on end. Having grown up in Detroit, Jahshua eventually left for the Lansing area to attend Michigan State University. He chose the Record lounge for the interview because as a student, it was a place he went to discover new sounds and hangout with friends.

We cannot thank Jahshua enough for his interest in sitting down with us and we look forward to our next encounter.

Many thanks to Heather Frarey, the owner of the Record Lounge, for allowing us to do the interview in her place of business.

Directed by: Gus Navarro
Production: Daniel Hodgman, Gus Navarro and Phillip McGuigan
Camera:  Phillip McGuigan and Julian Stall
Editing: Phillip McGuigan and Gus Navarro
Songs: “Obvious” and “Censored” by StewRat

 

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Hip-Hop, Feminism and Community Engagement: The Women of the Foundation

via 5egallery.org

via 5egallery.org

By: Nicole DiMichele, Philip Mcguigan and Gus Navarro

Based in Detroit, Michigan, the Foundation is a women’s hip-hop collective that operates out of the 5e Gallery in Corktown. The 5e Gallery is a space where artists teach, celebrate and expand on hip-hop culture and how it can be used as a means of liberation for youth and adults alike. The 5e prides itself on being a safe space for everyone to come and learn about and hone their craft, whether it be learning how to MC, produce a beat or break dance. Despite the heavy emphasis on masculinity within much of hip-hop, the members of the Foundation work tirelessly as a unit to continually create avenues for women to make their voice heard and engage in community within the Detroit hip-hop scene.

We were fortunate enough to sit down with four members of the Foundation, Miz Korona, Nique Love Rhodes, Insite The Riot and Jaci Caprice. These incredible women could not have been more welcoming to us and gracious with their time. When you talk with them, it is so clear that they care for each other on a level of friendship that is grounded in warmth and love. It was an honor to be around that and to hear what they had to say about the various issues related to the art they produce and community projects they are a part of. In the interview we discussed various issues such as community engagement, education, gentrification, feminism and hip-hop, feminism and the ways in which these things related to their experiences within the Detroit hip-hop community. Based on this interview and our own visit to the 5e Gallery, it became clear that the Foundation is one of the only safe spaces for hip-hop artists that exists outside of normalized heterosexual and binary gender identities.

Given the continual drive towards gentrification in Detroit, the Foundation and The 5e Gallery are a vital piece of a community that was in existence long before the supposed rebirth of the city. Taking that into consideration, we feel that it is important to highlight the grassroots movements in Detroit that are doing important work, while at the same time lying in tension with the corporations and young professionals that are flocking to the city, ultimately perpetuating the marginalization of people, predominantly those of color, who have been living there for generations. Given our interview, we strongly believe that the corporate world and the grassroots world could work together to achieve a more sustainable movement to bring the city back. By combining the monetary resources that corporations have access to and the knowledge and experiences of the established grassroots movements, Detroit could be an example of a type of gentrification that is not oppressive or destructive, but rather inclusive and ultimately equitable.

 

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Bonus Cut Films: The First Roundup (Hir-O, James Gardin and Jamall Bufford)

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In the past couple of months, we here at Bonus Cut have steadily put in time and work to build our film series, Bonus Cut Films. With this series, our main focus is to bring interviews to life, by filming and documenting the lives of important hip-hop artists in the community making an impact and difference.

It has been a privilege and honor to share these stories and work with these artists, and we couldn’t be where we are without them. In other words, if not for these feature artists, there would be no Bonus Cut Films. A big thank you to Omari Hall, James Gardin and Jamall Bufford.

More thanks need to go out to our film crew as well. These individuals are the lifeblood of Bonus Cut Films, who continually put in the work to get everything down and cut, and if there’s one group of people to congratulate for the success of Bonus Cut Films, these guys are the ones. A big thank you to Phillip McGuigan, Julian Stall, Ian Siporin, Nicole DeMichele and JP Navarro.

Below you can view all of Bonus Cut Films’ videos to date.

Omari Hall (aka Hir-O)

Omari Hall (aka Hir-O) is a producer from Detroit, Michigan. As one of the city’s rising hip-hop artists, Hir-O has branded his music with splashes of electronic swells, jazz, soul, live instrumentation and other realms of music that all come to form a cohesive hip-hop force. His projects with DaJaz1, Doss The Artist and Red Pill, along with his instrumentals such as The Voyage Home, reflect the true prowess and versatility of his work, and with future projects coming in 2014, Hir-O is a name you should remember.

James Gardin

If you’re at all familiar with Michigan hip-hop and Michigan music in general, then the name James Gardin (fka P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.) is commonplace. As one of Lansing’s premier music icons for the last decade, James has shown how to get down, how to dance, how to properly enjoy a live show, how to fight for a cause and how to live in general. More than that though, James has fueled the hip-hop community beneficially in other ways. Working with Michigan State’s MRULE and various other youth programs to donate art workshops, not to mention spending time in South Africa teaching kids with HIV/AIDS music and uniting them through it, James has never stopped being an influential and important figure in his community.

Musically, James has opened for the likes of Talib Kweli, The Cool Kids, Grieves and The Pack. He was also recently named one of Rapzilla’s Freshman of 2014.

Jamall Bufford

Jamall Bufford (fka Buff1) is a hip-hop educator and artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. As one of Michigan’s premier artists, he has worked in Athletic Mic League and The Black Opera. He has also worked with Black Milk, De La Soul, Elzhi, Eminem, Guilty Simpson, Invincible, One Be Lo, Slum Village and many more notable acts. Jamall’s songs touch on nostalgia, hope, freedom and spirituality.

These days Jamall spends most of his time at the Neutral Zone Teen Center in Ann Arbor. As the center’s music coordinator, Jamall is the adult advisor for the MC Program and Bside Concert Promotion Program. Teaching local teens the art of writing, MCing, performing, battling and going about life, these kids come out of Jamall’s program with a greater sense of confidence, stage presence, writing ability and many more life skills.

Stay tuned for more Bonus Cut Films features!

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Bonus Cut Films Presents: An Interview With Jamall Bufford

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Jamall Bufford (fka Buff1) is a hip-hop educator and artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. As one of Michigan’s premier artists, he has worked in Athletic Mic League and The Black Opera. He has also worked with Black Milk, De La Soul, Elzhi, Eminem, Guilty Simpson, Invincible, One Be Lo, Slum Village and many more notable acts. Jamall’s songs touch on nostalgia, hope, freedom and spirituality.

These days Jamall spends most of his time at the Neutral Zone Teen Center in Ann Arbor. As the center’s music coordinator, Jamall is the adult advisor for the MC Program and Bside Concert Promotion Program. Teaching local teens the art of writing, MCing, performing, battling and going about life, these kids come out of Jamall’s program with a greater sense of confidence, stage presence, writing ability and many more life skills.

Check out the interview below, and listen to his most recent album Victim of A Modern Age (2013) at the bottom.

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Bonus Cut Films Presents: An Interview With James Gardin (Part Two)

20120108-20120108-LU2Y1568

If you’re at all familiar with Michigan hip-hop and Michigan music in general, then the name James Gardin (fka P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.) is commonplace. As one of Lansing’s premier music icons for the last decade, James has shown how to get down, how to dance, how to properly enjoy a live show, how to fight for a cause and how to live in general. More than that though, James has fueled the hip-hop community beneficially in other ways. Working with Michigan State’s MRULE and various other youth programs to donate art workshops, not to mention spending time in South Africa teaching kids with HIV/AIDS music and uniting them through it, James has never stopped being an influential and important figure in his community.

Musically, James has opened for the likes of Talib Kweli, The Cool Kids, Grieves and The Pack. He was also recently named one of Rapzilla’s Freshman of 2014.

Today we’re excited to unveil part two of our interview with the man himself! Check out the video below, and don’t forget to check out James’ pages and music!

Listen to James’ latest single “Selah” here 

For more on James Gardin:
James Gardin on Soundcloud 
James Gardin on BandCamp 
@JamesGardin on Twitter

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Bonus Cut Films Presents: An Interview With James Gardin (Part One)

via blatpack.com

via blatpack.com

If you’re at all familiar with Michigan hip-hop and Michigan music in general, then the name James Gardin (fka P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.) is commonplace. As one of Lansing’s premier music icons for the last decade, James has shown how to get down, how to dance, how to properly enjoy a live show, how to fight for a cause and how to live in general. More than that though, James has fueled the hip-hop community beneficially in other ways. Working with Michigan State’s MRULE and various other youth programs to donate art workshops, not to mention spending time in South Africa teaching kids with HIV/AIDS music and uniting them through it, James has never stopped being an influential and important figure in his community.

Musically, James has opened for the likes of Talib Kweli, The Cool Kids, Grieves and The Pack. He was also recently named one of Rapzilla’s Freshman of 2014.

Today we’re excited to unveil part one of our interview with the man himself! Check out the video below, and don’t forget to check out James’ pages and music!

For more on James Gardin:
James Gardin on Soundcloud
James Gardin on BandCamp
@JamesGardin on Twitter

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Bonus Cut Films Presents: An Interview With Hir-O (Final Installment)

via blatpack.com

via blatpack.com

Omari Hall (aka Hir-O) is a producer from Detroit, Michigan. As one of the city’s rising hip-hop artists, Hir-O has branded his music with splashes of electronic swells, jazz, soul, live instrumentation and other realms of music that all come to form a cohesive hip-hop force. His projects with DaJaz1, Doss The Artist and Red Pill, along with his instrumentals such as The Voyage Home, reflect the true prowess and versatility of his work, and with future projects coming in 2014, Hir-O is a name you should remember.

Today we’re excited to bring you the third and final installment of our interview with Hir-O as part of Bonus Cut Films, a series that looks into the lives of various hip-hop artists across the globe that have impacted and shaped this culture for the better.

If you haven’t seen part one, you’re going to wanna do that. Click here to watch.
Part two you can view here. 

Below is the final installment of our Hir-O feature:

Film Credits: 
Writing and Script Design: Daniel Hodgman, Gus Navarro and Justin Cook 
Directed By: Gus Navarro 
Production: Daniel Hodgman, Gus Navarro and Phillip McGuigan 
Camera and Sound Design: Ian Siporin, Julian Stall and Phillip Mcguigan
Editing: Gus Navarro and Phillip McGuigan
Songs: “Commonwealth” by Hir-O / “Angel Outlaw” by Hir-O/ “Waiting On A Train (instrumental)” by Hir-O

Many thanks to Omari for inviting us down for the interview. 

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Bonus Cut Films Presents: An Interview With Hir-O (Part Two)

via blatpack.com

via blatpack.com

Omari Hall (aka Hir-O) is a producer from Detroit, Michigan. As one of the city’s rising hip-hop artists, Hir-O has branded his music with splashes of electronic swells, jazz, soul, live instrumentation and other realms of music that all come to form a cohesive hip-hop force. His projects with DaJaz1, Doss The Artist and Red Pill, along with his instrumentals such as The Voyage Home, reflect the true prowess and versatility of his work, and with future projects coming in 2014, Hir-O is a name you should remember.

Today we’re excited to bring you part two of our interview with Hir-O as part of Bonus Cut Films, a series that looks into the lives of various hip-hop artists across the globe that have impacted and shaped this culture for the better.

If you haven’t seen part one, you’re going to wanna do that. Click here to watch.

Below is the second installment of our Hir-O feature:

Film Credits: 
Writing and Script Design: Daniel Hodgman, Gus Navarro and Justin Cook 
Directed By: Gus Navarro 
Production: Daniel Hodgman, Gus Navarro and Phillip McGuigan 
Camera and Sound Design: Ian Siporin, Julian Stall and Phillip Mcguigan
Editing: Gus Navarro and Phillip McGuigan
Songs: “We Are Not Like Them (instrumental)” by Hir-O / “Best Rapper (instrumental)” by Hir-O

Many thanks to Omari for inviting us down for the interview. 

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