Today is definitely a new day in hip-hop. It seems everything on the radio has an 808 and a clap, rhyming "crunk" with "drunk", "sipping on Patron". Everyone is a thug. Everyone is a soldier. The other end of the spectrum, of course, is the underground where many of us true hip-hop fans are forced to turn when we are looking for some substance in our music. But why is it the underground has been cursed with this association with poor production and lackluster flow? Why can't an artist have a hot beat AND lyrical content? Why can't a hip-hop artist have lyrical content AND a hot flow?
Meet A.S.N. A Boston born, Brookline raised hip-hop artist. A Local 7 Union Iron Worker. A father of three. This is not the gangster rappers we are so used to hearing. Not a drug dealer. This is the 'everyday working man'.
Twenty-four year old A.S.N., started rapping before the age of twelve, selling tapes for $5 in elementary school. Producing beats by his Freshman year in high-school. Dropping his entirely self-recorded, written, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced album at the age of twenty and playing his own street team with it.
After years of being in and out of the court system finally landed him in Middlesex County House of Correction for nearly nine months in April of 2005. Taken away from his family, A.S.N. realized it was now or never. Either cut the bad habits or end up in and out of jail your whole life.
"I was in a jail cell listening to the radio and hearing cats I grew up rapping with on 88.9 and 94.5. Meanwhile the people I ended up hanging out with were either in rehab or jail. The ones who weren't probably should have been. That snapped me out of it. I came home and had a whole new mentality."
Since then A.S.N. has performed in countless shows and battles all across New England with some of the most relevant names out of Massachusetts. He has been featured on mix tapes along side Jay Z, Nas, Lil' Wayne, Kanye West, Fabolous, Immortal Technique, Joe Budden and Jae Millz. He became one of the only regularly booked hip hop acts with Good Vibes Only's monthly R&B nights with SonsOfSam (BET, American Idol, Urban Music Award winner), Crystallite and Kay Biggs 57. As time passes, the list of accomplishments just continues to grow.
This past June A.S.N. released his studio debut 'The Evolution' which featured Roxbury native, hip hop veteran Edo G, up and coming R&B sensation Lee Wilson (BET, MTV, The Vibe), super-producer J. Cardim (Fat Joe, Saigon, Sheik Louch & Mims. Also winner of the M.I.C. Producer of the Year Award), Raf Moses (Jake the Snake, Ed Rock, G Eyez), Eddie Bones of the Skitzofrenikz (Terminology, Ed Rock), Mike Bishop, Micide and T Bes.
Where the album truly shines is in it's content. A.S.N. is just the initials of Amir Statlender Nedjadi, and how appropriately so because, as there is no real alias, there is no real attempt at any exaggerated image. This album is his real life. From his troubled past to his bright hopes for the future as well all of the struggles in between, A.S.N. drops a very well-rounded project. Finally something for people to relate who don't want to settle for living the 'street life'. This is hip hop for the majority of us who haven't ever killed anybody and don't plan to. The people who struggle to pay the bills and don't turn to robbery or slinging drugs. Despite his checkered past, A.S.N. speaks of the pain associated with his friends' addictions, the trouble of violence today, and his desires for the better. But just as with the seriousness of everyday life, A.S.N. is well aware of the need to forget about it all for a while and just have a good time as he does on '24 Six', 'Fantasy', the up-tempo 'Young Mamaz', and 'Happy Hoes'.
Tight beats, a broad spectrum of subject matter, intelligent lyrics and an agile flow show that A.S.N. has progressed very far in his own evolution, both musically and mentally. Say good-bye to filler lines and the seperation of the banging beat and the relevant lyricist. Hip hop has evolved. Say hello to A.S.N.