Brand new interview with Playa Rae by

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Jan 4, 2003
What's good Siccness. We've just conducted a very informative and thorough interview with one of the most important figures out of San Jose - Playa Rae himself.

Check out the interview on BayUndaground's Interviews Section and be sure to read the review of "Facetime" project by Playa Rae, Trey C and Tha Critic.

Here's just a part of the interview:

[ ] : Rae, please introduce yourself to our worldwide audience.

[ Playa Rae ] : I'm Playa Rae born and raised in San Jose, CA. - artist name givin' to me by Mac Pacino of Mac & AK out of East Palo Alto. I'm Latin (Mexican & Puerto Rican), never been a gangsta, always been real and keep my vibe and those around me on the positive side as much as possible. I state that because a lot of folks feel you gotta be a gangsta to rap these days, that's not true... only true if you try and portray that lifestyle... then you better for sure be one.

I own and operate Monstaville Music as well as the Southbay's #1 Music Media Site 408INC. At the end of the day, you can say I'm a businessman trying to build something positive from the streets and city I grew up in.

[ ] : Let's start off with where it all began. Tell us when and how you launched your rap adventure? What was your first performance?

[ Playa Rae ] : It started for me on Delbert Way in a small apartment in West San Jose. I connected with an old friend from my graffiti days (Rob) who was helping another artist (K.O.D.) put out his first CD. We ran into each other at the "Killa Sharks 2" record release party in San Jose at Ceilito Lindo's. I was doing a lot of graphic design work and web shit while I was attending trade school. We exchanged #'s and pretty much joined forces and I helped out with what I knew on the graphic side and then learned the music side by watching them and taking mental notes. I had a musical background already from my father who was a vocalist in a few bands. I just hadn't taken it serious myself nor did I really know anyone in the music shit that would show me how to get started without charging me.

I did a few things for locals, built the first Crazy Times website for them and some event fliers and shit. Musically my very first experience in the studio was a fluke. I had been at a house party with a few friends and the artist my dude Rob was working with (K.O.D.) was freestyling over a song by the R&B cat named Avant. I jumped in and freestyled a singing hook that folks there were kinda buggin' on. Anyway, they had someone remake a similar beat... he wrote verses and next thing I know I'm in Sand City (Central Coast) laying a hook in the studio for the first time. It was kinda crazy for me. After the hook... the engineer said I had a dope voice... actually said it sounded like it would be dope for rapping, 'cause it made me sound 6 Feet Tall (lol, I am 5'5"...) Anyway, they said drop a verse... I had never dropped a verse nor written one before but they showed me how to count bars and all that and I ended up laying my first 12-bar verse in about 10 minutes.

That really is about how I got started rapping. My best friend Johnny "Loonatic" Rodriguez was an aspiring rapper but passed away in 1995... I got his face tatted on my writing arm and I tell everyone I only got good at rapping, because he blessed me, not because I was born into it. I never wanted to rap or had any desire to do music professionally.

My first performance was at The Usual in San Jose on a Thursday Night with about 75 people there and I was addicted to being on stage from that night on. Brickhouse Entertainment I believe was the promotion company name.

[ ] : Who inspired you to rap and make music? Who are your biggest mentors? (not necessarily from music industry)

[ Playa Rae ] : As I said earlier, my best friend was an aspiring rap artist who went by his street name "Loonatic". He was a Crip from the East Side of San Jose crew called HWC (Hard Way Crew). I feel he left me the gift to rap because I never had it until he left. He was shot in '95 in a gang shooting off McGlaughlin Ave. while we were visiting a cousin of mine. We just happened to be at the very spot the funk popped off between some Uso's & Cambodians and when it was all said and done... my car was hit 13 times, a bullet was 8 inches from my head that nearly hit me as I was trying to pull him through the driver side window. That night is forever in my head. That is my Inspiration to do right and to do well in music still to this day.

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