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For CZAR Josh, his sophomore project has been about more than creating a collection of records.

The Culture Villains emcee had a greater intent than simply making bangers.

On the mixtape LongLiveUs, Josh works through personal discovery in regards to faith, politics, and society. He recently gave FiveTwenty a deeper look into the project and the process of its creation.

The Beginning

“Honestly, it was originally supposed to be a collection of singles,” explains CZAR Josh.

“When you hear the first half of the tape, that’s how it feels. It’s very fast-paced. Very upbeat, sonically. Every track just hits you.”

“How I approach music and art overall is with connectedness in mind. I think in concepts and stories. What do I want the listener to leave with? That eventually took over and caused the tape to morph into something that sounds like a full, cohesive project.”

Concept

“The main concept that arose kind of went hand in hand with where my heart was at.”

“Politically and socially, it was tough for me and a lot of my family and friends. As black people, going from 2019 into 2020, it was a lot. I felt like no one cared about us. Especially many (not all) of our non-black counterparts in the Church.”

“I would see [them] make concessions and excuses as to why the taking of life, specifically black ones, was justifiable or okay. We read the same Bible. Life is precious. It motivated me to not go the usual artist trope when it comes to protest music or activist music. Making a song to ‘go against oppression’ or to ‘stand up against racism’, I wanted to take it a step further.”

“We, just like every other shade of human being, were made in the image of God. So not only do black lives matter, they are valuable. They have meaning. They have depth and are complex, multifaceted, and defined. Beautiful; Joyous; Happy; In Love. I wanted to highlight the actual life in that statement. For far too long, the world has defined us by our death.”

Culture Villains

“CV is a creative incubator. It’s a safe space for everybody to be authentic to themselves and express themselves.”

“It’s an honest place, as an artist, to go and truly hear what you need to hear and get better. CV helped mold the direction of the tape, how it sounds. The visuals and cover art direction, the order in which you experience the music. It helped to organize and execute all the crazy ideas that come into mind.”

LongLiveUs

“It’s leaps and bounds ahead of what I’ve put out before.”

“Lyrically, it’s a lot more mature and honest in approach. It’s just real music, from somebody going through stuff.”

“Sonically, it’s crazy! I incorporate a lot of my musical influences from southern hip hop, to rock and metal, and to soul and house. All my favorite types of music are represented here. It feels full and well-rounded. Probably the first time a lot of my supporters will hear a full-figured project from me.”

“I love Do My Thang! That’s my baby. I wrote that entire song front to back, so I’m just proud of that in terms of songwriting.”

Copacetic, Heights, Whatchu Know, Dime N a Nickel, I love those songs because they kind of sound like, and represent, the shift I’m making sonically in my music. They’re fun songs. I really love the whole project.”

“For the project, all the features were selected off of vibe and if they could fit the template I already had.”

“All of these songs I wrote myself except Regal, so feature-wise, it was whoever made sense and fit the mold.”

“Production-wise, Enzo [Gran], Killawatts, and Avila are all guys I trusted to create this sound I wanted to craft. They were my immediate go-to’s.”

What Comes Next?

“A lot of content related to the project for sure!”

“Song breakdowns, music videos, etc. Then after that, I have even more music in the vault…I’m going to be around for a long time after this!”

What are your favorite tracks from LongLiveUs by CZAR Josh? Check out the album and let us know in the comments!

Atlanta rapper CZAR Josh releases his mixtape  LongLiveUs. Featuring Phil J., Kham, seni., Big Yae, and Zach Paradis.

Atlanta is known for being the hub for modern hip hop that originated with the likes of Outkast, The Dungeon Family, and more.  There is a wave of new buzzing artists that are carrying the mantle in their own ways. CZAR Josh is one of those artists. Continuing the legacy while creating his own niche.

With his mixtape LongLiveUs, CZAR is reaching a whole new audience and opening up more eyes to his nostalgic yet original sound. The tracklist includes production from Enzo Gran, Killawatts, and Avila. On the heels of announcing a joint partnership with RMG Amplify, the Culture Villains artist uses LongLiveUs as a deep dive into the black experience.  CZAR Josh touches on issues of coping with trauma through addiction, systemic oppression, and racism but also shows the resilience of black people through love and the hope that the community always finds joy at the end of the storm.

CZAR  states that the 10-track mixtape is, “An ode to a Bebe’s Kids line that ‘We don’t die, we multiply.’ That’s the black community in a nutshell. No matter what the world throws at us we live. No matter the obstacles, we live. We have joy. That’s the mixtape.”

Tracklist:

  1. Heights (2:50)
  2. Regal [feat. Kham & seni.] (2:48)
  3. Bout Time (3:16)
  4. Whatchu’ Know (3:05)
  5. Dime N’ a Nickel (2:16)
  6. Black Taxes(3:15)
  7. Copacetic [feat. Phil J.] (2:46)
  8. Do My Thang [feat. Zach Paradis] (3:28)
  9. East Georgia Minded [feat. Big Yae] (3:37)
  10. LongLiveUs (3:19)

Hip Hop collective Culture Villains has assembled for the first time since their iTunes charting compilation album, ‘Preseason’.

The collective has collaborated with sync-focused production company MSCMKRS to create a self-titled EP containing 5 hard-hitting sports and cinema-themed tracks produced by Quentin Coblentz, Jessie Chambers, and Ian Moore. Songs can be licensed for sync directly through the record label and publishing company, BMG.

Tracklist:

  1. Winning Again [feat. Kham, CZAR Josh, KJ Carter, & Big Yae]
  2. Respect [feat. CZAR Josh]
  3. All Out [feat. Kham, CZAR Josh, KJ Carter, & Big Yae]
  4. Born For This [feat. Kham & KJ Carter]
  5. Get It Going [feat. Big Yae, CZAR Josh, & KJ Carter]

CZAR Josh releases an ode to black love with, the Phil J. assisted single, Copacetic.

Ahead of his upcoming mixtape, ‘Long Live Us’, the Enzo Gran produced track is a smooth, soulful trip into Josh’s indulgence into authentic and unapologetic love. CZAR paints a hopeful picture of romance while Phil J.’s silky vocals croon over addictive guitar riffs. By the track’s end, hope is brought to listeners that black love is not filled with trauma, but a blissful union.

CZAR Josh releases the inspirational track Bout Time ahead of his upcoming mixtape, ‘Long Live Us’.

The Enzo Gran produced track finds Josh grappling with the addictions of alcohol and people-pleasing, in the midst of a dark depression. By the track’s end, CZAR Josh brings hope to listeners that they can overcome adversity life sends their way.

 

Can we talk about what gives us life?

That is the question posed by CZAR Josh as he announces his upcoming mixtape.

A socially charged trailer was recently dropped, via YouTube, in preparation for the project that is titled LongLiveUs. The trailer displays a montage of black culture ranging from the Civil Rights era up until the social justice movements of 2020.

CZAR Josh has taken a two-year hiatus from music and is three years removed from his debut EP For Your Heart. That streak was broken, however, with the release of the single “Regal” earlier this year. His upcoming single, “BoutTime”, can currently be pre-saved. It drops on October 8th.

Josh is collaborating on the next single with the black empowerment brand Nappy Ave. The partnership is resulting in exclusive apparel that highlights the song. Consumers will be able to gain access to the exclusive merch by downloading the record after its release date.

Supporters can also text “LLU” to 404.737.4117 to get a preview of what’s next.

Connect with CZAR Josh

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Regal is the first CZAR Josh release of 2021. The Killawatts produced track finds the artists boastfully celebrating their culture, accomplishments, and skill.

Features: Kham, seni.

If you’ve been hunting for those bars, well, we have good news for you… it’s Open Season

Nomis teamed up with a slew of CHH heavyweights including Joe Ayinde, J. Crum, CZAR Josh, Thomas Iannucci, and Shiwan to show everyone that the essence of hip hop is not dead.

Ayinde and Iannucci joined forces for the song “Illyinde” late in 2018 and “Open Season” feels much like a sequel. Of course, every good sequel needs some more friends along for the ride. Iannucci gave FiveTwenty some insight on how this new song came to be.

“Some months ago I had been listening to a lot of indie CHH and, because I like those sorta things, I tried to come up with a list of the best up and coming lyricists out there. I feel like the music industry often doesn’t give shine to lyrical skill nor is it supportive of up and comers until they have quite a buzz. I’m always trying to support the underdogs.”

“In any case, I tweeted out that, in my opinion, no up and comer could hang bar for bar with Joe Ayinde, J. Crum, Kay Sade, CZAR Josh, or Shiwan…except possibly myself. The six of us are all friendly and the thread was pretty cordial; several of us had been kicking around the idea of a supergroup at one point, which is where that idea came from in the first place.”

“Nomis, who is a friend of Joe’s, saw the tweet and respectfully disagreed.”

“He said that he felt he could easily go bar for bar with everyone mentioned, and anyone else who cared to get it. He was happy to prove it if needed. I hadn’t heard his music before, but after he said that I quickly streamed ‘Rhodes to Rome’ and was not disappointed. It was then that I suggested the best way to prove this would be for all of us to get on wax. Everyone agreed but it was Nomis who took initiative to actually make the song happen.”

“He reached out to us all privately, came up with a beat and concept, and brought “Open Season” together. Unfortunately, Kay wasn’t on the song – yet it came out amazing. We might have to do a second with her on it!”

[For the record I am 100% here for this. So Kay, I bet you won’t do it (but I’ll be happy to have you prove me wrong). We will see though.]

As Iannucci described “Open Season”, it is an “aggressive, battle-style approach that challenged the six emcees to bring their best or get overlooked. Let’s dive in and see what they were able to do.

Joe Ayinde

The kick hits and the keys get tickled as an introduction to madness…and then comes Joe. “Peeling off in the whip like the skin of a slave, I’m timid cause/ I remember when in my venomous days my sinning was/ centered on a seemingly infinite phase/ but I find God in the now and give Him the praise, Glory” Listen, maybe Joe is CHH – maybe he is not, but the same way he declares that he is not worried about figuring out Kanye’s beliefs on this track, I’m not trying to figure it out. All I know is that I’m 20 seconds into the song and it feels like the mic has been dropped. Ayinde has the bravado and the skill to back it up. He is quick to challenge anyone in the rap game that wants to go, and the sauce he’s cooking with sure smells good bro!

J. Crum

Next up is the villain from Omaha, Nebraska – and as we saw on his “battle” with North Carolina emcee Mitch Darrell, Crum knows how to craft a verse. “I don’t believe your twisted face and all your fake bravado/ I’m from the place that shake ya voice up like an old vibrato/ Who really wanna start a war vs. me and mi hermonos/ they former felons all they smiles look like El Dorado” I can’t verify that Crum is speaking about his fellow “Open Season” emcees, but with some of those smiles…maybe. I really am loving Crum’s vocal inflection and the way he rides the hits at the end of his verse is a perfect segway to the hitter on deck.

Nomis

We now have the man that we should all thank for this track, at least according to Iannucci. I’m going to be honest, while I’ve seen Nomis across social media, much like Thomas I hadn’t dove into his music up to this point. Allow me to be the first to apologize and promise to work on correcting that moving forward. Within a few bars, it is easy to see why Nomis believed he could hang with some of CHH’s most gifted lyricists. “(An East African sun) That solidified my decade as a Dread Knight/ We celebrate the living while we recognize the dead might/ see life a little different if you bled  might seem like/ the mission’s actually possible, Red Light, Green Light (Toast)” From Tower of Babel references to Bron and the travels of Dame Dollar, it feels like Nomis seized this opportunity and ran with it.

CZAR Josh

“Open Season” gets blessed with its second Villain, and you can believe that this royal wordsmith is CULTUREd indeed. Listen, Josh already dropped one of my favorite tracks of the year with “IDWCMH” so I know what he brings to the table. But dang bro, did you have to do it like this? “They ask, Benz or Beamer?/ I be like, “neither, I’m a dreamer”/ Coolin’ in Louisiana, drippin’ like Katrina/ Word to my shawty, she creole and got that flava/ Righteous in her heart, but prone to ratchet behavior” What we take away from this kids, (I’m a teacher, deal with it) is that we will pray for Josh’s girl and anyone who tries to out rap the CZAR. At this point in the song “Open Season” has gone from a problem to not even fair and there are still two more verses left.

Thomas Iannucci

My Hawaiian brother has chops, but after hearing the first four verses I knew Thomas had to get real ill on this one. “I do not have friends, only admirers/ if you want this smoke, you need fire first/ I bring the fireworks, you more Fyre Fest/ and now you’re screwed like Ja Rule with the IRS/ But I digress, think it’s time for you to call it/ man you took so many shots you look like an alcoholic” With that first line I feel like I need to confirm the status of the relationship Thomas and I have. I mean regardless, it is true none the same. I’m a big fan and I love the continued growth I see out of Iannucci on each and every track. Since winning that random award that he rarely talks about, Thomas has truly leveled up his approach and put in the work to be squarely in the discussion of the culture’s top emcees.

Shiwan

When you’re the closer you cannot buckle under pressure. According to Shiwan, he was really the only choice to wrap this instant-classic up. “Only God gave me lyrics, I’m letting the flow swirl/ I’m like Jay mixed with K-Dot and Drake in a cool world/ and I ain’t talking about climbing to stay up to parkour/ I’m like turning on the grill, get the fire and charcoal” I guess if you can’t take this heat you should probably listen to something else. Shiwan definitely fulfilled his role and cemented “Open Season” as one of 2019’s best.

There really is not much else that I can write that would do this song justice. All I can say is, for those of us (yes, myself included) who clamor for hip hop at its roots, here we are. If we can’t run the numbers up on this and show not only CHH, but hip hop at large, that we have lyricists – then we have no room for complaints or social media posts about “back in the day”.

If you haven’t heard it, listen now:

 

I Don’t Wanna Comb My Hair and I don’t have to!

Okay, that isn’t quite the point, but this song will have you feeling good none the less.

Culture Villains are setting up for a big 2019. “IDWCMH” by CZAR Josh is one of two singles that is setting the stage. The other being “Roll the Dice” from the newest CV member Kham.

Both singles will be featured on the upcoming collaboration album ‘Preseason’.

Former (?) CHH artist John Givez re-emerges within the culture on the hook, which is exceptional.

In a spirit of complete honesty, the first time I listened to this track I was not blown away. I thought, “eh, it’s not bad.”

However, the track grew on me the more I listened to it. Not only that but my homeroom class has adopted it as an anthem of sorts (I’m that teacher who cranks up music in between periods). Now I can safely say that “IDWCMH” has become one of my early favorites of 2019.

Perhaps I was just distracted the first time I heard it. That happens with four kids running around.

I love the laid back, slightly lo-fi feel of the track. The guitar sample on the production is a true vibe and the feel definitely stands out against the CHH landscape. The overall mix is solid and the vocals ride on top of the beat well.

I’m excited to hear more out of CZAR Josh and the rest of Culture Villains this year and you should be too.

“I do it for me, I do it for God, reverse that order/ cause He’s where I get my healing from and how I’m moving forward”