Shwayze, the quintessential ‘windows-down-on-Pacific-Coast-Highway, laid-back Southern Cali' rapper, relocated with his son and new wife (model Shelby Keaton) to Manhattan where he has recorded a ton of new music for two upcoming and independent releases: Shwayzed and Confused EP on November 13 and a full-length summer album slated for May 2013. Three albums and a handful of mix tapes deep since he released Buzzin’ with long-time collaborator Cisco Adler, Shwayze has refocused his energy into what he calls “the best thing I’ve ever done.” We caught up with him before he departed to Amsterdam to record music with LMFAO’s Sky Blu to talk about his upcoming projects.
TCC: Your style has always been synonymous with chilled-out Southern California living. How has living in New York for the past few months manifested on the upcoming releases?
Shwayze: You definitely hear different influences lyrically and musically. I’m still making that really dope pop music. I think the one thing that has rubbed off on me has been the whole hustlin’ mentality of the city. I’m a get up and go type of guy. In Malibu, you have to drive 45 minutes to get to the city. In New York, there are all of these cool studios, cool musicians. It’s really an alive city and I get inspired by it. I recorded all of Shwayzed and Confused in New York. I like to think that I brought the West Coast to the East, but there is definitely some East Coast flavor in there.
TCC: Since a successful debut in 2007, how have you grown as an artist?
Shwayze: That whole first record was a collaboration between Cisco and myself and we made it with no pressure. It was just two homeys making cool music together. We came together and made something that was new and refreshing. I was a little insecure about it coming out because I thought all the rappers and hip-hop cats were going to hate it because I’m some black kid from Malibu. But when the Shwayze album came out, the reaction was great and we got a lot of love. Cisco and I were constantly making music so we quickly made a second and third record.
I think the cool part about my new music is that I finally got to take my time and chill for a second. I did the whole album on my own independent label, Feel Good Entertainment. It brings me back before my first record, before I was signed. I would go out and play shows all over California and do everything myself. There is so much more passion and love in it. When you get signed, you have all these people working for you and you kind of get detached. I’m back to being hands-on everything, from every mix, to the producers I’m working with down to the album art. This is really my baby. I’m so excited for this new music to come out because it’s next level.
TCC: I heard the newest single off Shwayzed, ‘Love is Overrated.’ Where were you coming from when writing this track?
Shwayze: It’s really inspired by L.A. where people are so quick to say, “I love you, babe,” and go hook up with somebody else. Or when girlfriends say they love each other and go talk sh-- behind each other’s backs. I think if you have true love, there are no words to describe that. The word becomes overrated because it’s overused.
TCC: People are being too careless by throwing the word around without any meaning.
Shwayze: Exactly. I see people that are dating for two weeks and say “I love you” and then there is somebody new next week. True love, like the love I have for my son, it’s definitely not overrated. When you say it all the time, it loses its value.
Shwayze went on to describe how the song title had a mini-backlash on Twitter but he relaxed his followers when posting a picture of himself with his son in his lap with the caption “Love is underrated.”
TCC: It sounds like you have a big 2013 on the way.
Shwayze: Yeah, I got the EP coming out on the 13th and was planning on releasing a full-length record in January. Then I thought, “I’m constantly putting out music. I’m going to wait until the summer and release my full-length Shwayze record.” It’s funny because I’ve never had a perfect summer release. It’s always been a little late or a little behind. This time, I’m going to drop it in May for the ideal summer time album. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I did it all without major label support under my own Feel Good Entertainment. If the opportunity comes to take it to a label, I’ll take it but independent is the way to go for me right now. I’m happy to give the fans some new music. I think it’s long awaited.
Complex.com will be premiering the Shwayzed and Confused EP on Tuesday, November 13 for 48 hours and then it will be available on iTunes. It has tracks produced by The Cataracts, Paul Couture and Sky Blu of LMFAO makes a guest spot on the first track, ‘Bolt.’ You can download it here.
If 'Love is Overrated' is an indicator of what's in store for Shwayze fans, they don't have to worry about losing their Cali star in the Big Apple. It's an upbeat track perfect for drinking during the day and macking lovely ladies at night. With any luck, he may become one of the most talked about artists in 2013.