I decided to make a video for the song Xtra Large becuase I wanted to capture a piece of my history from an important point in my life. I wanted to offer people a glimpse into my real life story, growing up in the Lower East Side, the same place the Beastie Boys had come to pave the way for respectable white rappers like myself. First off, I want people to know that I made this music video before MCA passed away. The entire look and feel for Downtown 85 has centered around references made about the Lower East Side throughout Hip-Hop's history. When I first recorded Xtra Large, I sampled Basquiat talking about life as an artist and inserted it directly into the song. I've also referenced the Beastie Boys, due to their profound influence in my life. When I created artwork for the song, I took the Beastie Boys cover art for Paul's Boutique and added the Xtra Large logo. The cover to Paul's Boutique had been taken on Ludlow & Rivington, which is yet another reason I decided to shoot most of the video on the same corner - just blocks away from ABC No Rio, where I have made my silk screens for years. I wanted the video to capture something very special to me so I could share it with Hip-Hop and prolong the world I love from fading away.
Press Release: Aarophat Returns w/ "Invictus" on May 22nd
After releasing two collaborative projects as one-third of the Hip-Hop collective Third Rail alongside fellow artists D Strong and Wildelux and as a member of the Midwest Hip-Hop duo Black Noise with producer Illastrate, the Youngstown, Ohio MC has returned with his new solo LP, Invictus. The album title inspired by the William Ernest Henley poem was chosen to represent the "unconquerable" mentality put forth to create his 17-track opus. Invictus features production from C-Dubb, Illmind, Mok Vurban, Lex Boogie, NvMe Productions, Tone Beatz, Mac and The Audiologists, all contributing to a warm and grimy soundscape. Guest appearances by Dynas, Methuzulah, Wildelux, D Strong, Karniege, Majadi Baruti and soul singer Kendra Ross breathe both ebb and flow into the effort as Aarophat delivers what many are considering to be his finest work to date. The lead single, "PANIC!" is already spreading vibrations of triumph on mix shows worldwide and the anticipation for the long-awaited LP is rapidly rising.