interview by kevin farr
“Hey, you gotta move yo shit. The neighbor’s have yo car towed.” I looked up and seen it was Azmah. One of the six members in The Individuals also known as “In the Visualz.” “The neighbors be callin tow trucks and shit.” “Iight.” I said as if I was in conformity with my superior. As I found a spot on the street to park I was thinking that they would be uneasy, based on the fact that I was bit late, it was already 11:30pm.
When I walked in, I was pleased to see they weren’t looking at their watches like a manager at the Piggly Wiggly with a receding hairline and tiny specs hanging on the tip of his nose waiting to fire you the first chance he gets. It wasn’t what I expected, but what I hoped it would be. Hip hop heads roaming about their headquarters miscellaneously. They jumped into a quick photo shoot with a photographer from the magazine so I chose to take the time to get familiar with my surroundings while they thought about what pose to do next. Pictures of Bob Marley adorned the wall along with other hip-hop memorabilia. Glossy flats, stickers, graffiti, a potato sacks with “puntas del oro marijuana” and a sign by the door that says, “Wait! Did you turn off the mixer?”
fter dropping the EP ‘Mental Criminals’, The Individuals are ready to back do’ the underground with the upcoming LP ‘Smoke Singles’. With all the members representing different geographical areas they bring a unique flavor to the table like Somalian iced tea.
“Me and our D.J. Ironic is from Sac [Sacremento]” says Rezarnz. “They from I.E. (Inland Empire)” noddin his head towards Uforic, Z.G.S., and Azmah. Azmah continues to explain how the individuals became The Individuals.
“I came down here for one year by myself. I noticed that the hip-hop scene was tight down here so I went back to I.E. and brought them out here (referring to Uforic and Z.G.S.). We were working at a telemarketing spot and that’s where I met Switch Griffens. I was still going to State (San Diego) and I met this cat in the dorms talking about Rezarnz. Then we all kicked it. We never officially said we were a group we just started doing music together. Then we realized it had to be that way, all of us uniting, forming The Individuals. I’m not gonna lie. I was working with feelings after I heard the EP ‘Mental Criminals’. I thought The Individuals were being a little stingy with the repertoire. The more I heard the more I wanted.”
With the help of production by Z.G.S. IntheVisualz’s make a lot of crews sound below average. “I haven’t found a certain style yet so I touch everything that’s why you hear all these different sounds” says Z.G.S.
“I’m a perfectionist but not by choice.”
What’s the first four letters in the word individual? That’s right. Holla if you hear me. “Indi”. Not only does this six-member crew cut records, they have set up an infrastructure to turn their dreams into a reality. IntheVisualz are launching new projects under their newly established Eye Sight Records. “Everybody contributes financially” explains Azmah. “I do a lot of the business stuff. Rez does the marketing and promotion. Uforic does the web site and artwork. Z.G.S. takes care of the music. We don’t mix it up because then it’s not organized.”
This crew is definitely making moves as they brand other projects with that Eye Sight influence. With Switch Griffens also being a member of Wicked Minds, and having a network of affiliations with the likes of Dialectx, Jay One, Deploy, L.O.A., People Like Us, Harsh Reality, and Mantis, The Individuals are definitely spreading their hustle. Z.G.S. also talks about the advantage of being indie, “We didn’t want someone above us having creative control.” “ We have our own label and we have five brains right here. We can make decisions on our own.” He continues, “When people come in and deal with our camp they see hope. They see us doin’ it and they believe they can do it. We paint that picture for ‘em.”
This is a crew that is in it for the long haul. They have two projects they’re dropping this year. First, Azmah and Switch will drop, ‘The Drifters’ in September and follow up with the full-length album ‘Smoke Signals’. If all y’all reading this article remember nothing else remember this, these individuals ain’t bullshitin. They’ve only been together for roughly three years yet have surmounted a massive tree branching out in all direction. While everybody else is at home making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, these cats is full time hip hoppin. “You can be patient”, explains Azmah, “But if you don’t do enough you will regret it. Don’t wait till tomorrow to do what you can do today. If you follow that, you’ll never run out of things to do. You’ll be one step closer to your goals.”