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New Artist Spotlight: Cee & Bekah

by Travis on September 15, 2008

I’ve often stepped up to the plate and admitted that I’ve been guilty of ignoring overseas hip hop artists as much as the typical hip-hop snob American does. It’s something I’ve been trying to correct, since obviously, just because an artist or group isn’t from the U.S. (or North America, as I readily accept the Canadian artists) that there isn’t talented artists found all across the globe. In my attempt, I ran across this next group thanks to my man Sean Deez of producer Remote and Kevin Nottingham fame. Cee & Bekah hail from the land of down under, which this site has always had a lot of ties to in some way or another anyway. When Cee passed along the duo’s first mixtape, “The Soul Movement Vol. 1″, I was immediately drawn into the unique sound of Bekah’s soulful contributions and the charisma and attitude of the MC, Cee as he brought a certain swagger to the mic. Even when the duo rhymed over a recycled beat, they were able to turn it into their own song, which is always a great quality to have for an enjoyable mixtape. We’ve kept in touch over the summer and told them when they were ready to drop the duo’s second mixtape, The Soul Movement Vol. 2, to hit they man up.

Finally, they are ready to kick of their North American invasion by releasing The Soul Movement Vol. 2 to the masses. The duo gives you a good dose of their soon to be patented “Soul-Hop” sound. The duo is in select cities across the U.S. and Canada, doing shows, popping up on radio interviews and just raising hell, ala Run DMC. We will have their interview with the already familiar G.O.D. Hour later this week, as they chat it up with Citizen and his crew (more news from Citizen and the GOD hour to be coming later this week) and you can also catch them on DJ Hyphen’s show in Seattle, that they did tonight (last night, but their will be links for it).
Finally, after countless emails, a few MSN chats, and at least three months, we were able to hook up and Cee & Bekah and discuss their sound, Australia, their goals and an important question of where the better weed is at….deep stuff….First though, check their projects….

Cee & Bekah – The Soul Movement Vol. 2

http://www.sendspace.com/file/y0vuiu

and in case you missed it, here is a link to pick up Soul Movement Vol. 1 (which I highly recommend)

http://www.soundfoundation.com.au/artists/cee_and_bekah/the_soul_movement_vol1/

Their Blog: http://ceeandbekah.blogspot.com/

Their Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/ceeandbekah

WYDU: What’s good guys? How’s life on the bottom part of the world? Can we get a proper introduction for those unfortunate cats that haven’t heard of you two yet?

Bekah: Hi I’m Bekah. I’m the vocalist.

Cee: What’s good Trav? Life out here is slowly getting better now it ain’t winter no more! The sun’s out, finally, and of course, we’re leaving just as it starts to get nice lol. Oh and I’m Cee aka Cee-Feezy aka Cee-Fizzle aka Big Cee, the MC/journalist/manager of both Cee & Bekah and The Movement Fam crew. I also enjoy wine tasting, nude hiking and kangaroo wrestling.

W: Ahhh, gotta love that ‘roo wrestling! It’s not often in the wide world of Hip Hop that you find a duo with a set up such as yours, meaning the MC and a singer. Tell me the origins of how Cee & Bekah came together…

Bekah: We’re both very passionate about music. When I first met Cee, he was just getting into the artist side of things. Once day we decided to make a mixtape together – that went better than we thought and we have never looked back.

Cee: That’s pretty much the gist of it. We’d both been working together on the odd occasion in the past. I was in a couple of groups and we always got Bekah on a track, and Bek was doing her solo thing mostly back in the day. When we lived in Toronto, Canada in 2004, we decided that we should do a project together, which turned out to be ‘The Soul Movement Volume 1’, and we clicked so well that we decided to make it a more permanent thing. And the fact that there isn’t really anything else like us out there made us more certain that what we’re doing could really make some noise across multiple genres – or our own genre, ‘Soul Hop’.

W: Not that it should matter, but inquiring minds want to know…word on the street is that you two are romantically involved (I guess the mixtapes give it away). How does it that work in the group dynamic?

Bekah: Yes the songs do give it away! We try our hardest to not let the personal side of the relationship interfere with the music. So far so good. It’s definitely risky doing what we’re doing but we love making music and we work so well together. It does have its moments where we might not be as patient with each other as we should, but we get over it pretty quickly.

Cee: Yeah, that’s it. We’ve been to
gether much longer than we’ve been doing music together, but it was always a shared passion, which is probably partly why we’re together in the first place. As Bekah said, our relationship doesn’t affect the group or the music, or at least in a negative way. If you listen through our songs, we’ve pretty much detailed our entire relationship in there, although not everything you hear is non-fiction haha. We occasionally spice it up for entertainment value.

W: What’s it like working on song concepts and such? Is it Bekah coming with the hooks and Cee doing the verses, or do you both come together to build on the ideas?

Bekah: We both will brainstorm ideas for every song. We’ve done that from day one. We prefer to have a solid concept before writing a song; it’s so much easier knowing what you want to write about.

Cee: Generally, when we select a beat, we choose the vibe or topic on it straight away. We usually write our own verses or parts separately and then come together to record, and often we write hooks and bridges together. Because I’m an MC and Bekah’s a vocalist, the way we go about writing a track in general is different, so we need to allow for that and sort of compromise. Sometimes the generic, braggadocio stuff is not Bekah’s steez, yet those are the tracks where she bangs out the illest hooks!

W: You describe your sound as a “Soul Movement”, what exactly is “The Soul Movement” and how is it different from the norm that Hip Hop heads are force fed?

Cee: We call our distinct style ‘Soul Hop’, and ‘The Soul Movement’ is what we want to create. For us, soul is possibly the number one influence in our music and we wanted to bring that back via a Hip Hop standpoint. We’re different than straight up and down Hip Hop as there’s no hardcore posturing, no bullshit, no talk about rims and chains and whatnot (unless it’s facetious), but you will get soulful melodies, tight harmonies, dope flows, real topics – just some fresh music that everyone can relate to. For example, I was a tad embarrassed to play Volume 1 to my parents due to some of the content, but I’m proud to show them Volume 2 as I feel it’s something they will enjoy – and they love it.

W: Listening to Vol 1, I thought there was some dope songs, and even though a couple tracks were over other people’s beats, y’all did a good job at making them YOUR beats, which is an important thing with mixtapes. What’s the “formula” for that kind of thing?

Cee: Man, the whole mixtape thing is our training ground as a group. Doing the songs over jacked beats has helped us find ourselves and our direction. Basically, we feel that we have a solid taste in music, which I think is reflected in our beat choices – something we get complimented on a fair bit. People seem to feel it. We don’t just go with the usual shit that every other cat rocks, like the newest 50 joint or whatever. Fuck that. We choose generally left of centre beats that folks wouldn’t expect and either flip the hook of that track into some new shit, flip the topic or just do something totally different on there. Sometimes these sorts of things are hit and miss, but in this day and age of disposable music, a mixtape verse can be your favourite song (I think Phonte said that in a track) so we take it as serious as we would an album.

W: Gotta know if the story on the track “Cuban Sunset” was a true story…

Bekah: haha YES. It was a true story. I have never been so scared in my entire life.

Cee: Yes sir. Not one word was exaggerated. It was probably worse in real life than it was on the song. Definitely one of the scariest moments I’ve ever experienced, and I think it resonates with people coz that joint is by far the most popular off Volume 1.

W: Let’s discuss The Soul Movement Vol 2, what can listeners expect to find on it?

Bekah: We touch on so many concepts on Volume 2; it’s very different from Volume 1. We have grown so much as artists since the first mixtape. When you hear Volume 2 you’ll know what I mean. It’s a lot more on the Soul vibe.

Cee: That’s it. Volume 1 was written from when we lived in Toronto in 2004, going through all of that, coming home, all the shit we went through then. So it was from a totally different viewpoint that we wrote Volume 2. We’ve been home in Melbourne for a few years now, settled down, copped a crib, a studio, more direction in life. We’ve gotten more serious in a lot of our topics, and we’ve gone into the political thing a bit on a few tracks, which is something I’m quite passionate about. We’re really proud of this mixtape as I feel it more accurately reflects where we’re at musically, and it is also a closer feel to what you’ll find on our EP and album.

W: Who do you got working with you behind the boards and as guests? You roll with a crew, The Movement Fam, which you’ve brought up already. What’s up with the people you keep company with?

Cee: On Volume 2, we’ve got a few cats on the boards. We have my man Whisper on ‘Anything For You’, a dope soul beat; my man Revelino on Bekah’s solo cut ‘Chosen One’, which was written and produced back in 2003 but we freshened it up for 2008; the homie Styalz Fuego on The Movement Fam cut, ‘Scream At Ya Muhhfuckin’, a head nodder; the kid Infinite Archetype from Perth on our relationship joint ‘Gone’; and my dude KrisblaiR from Toronto on the collab with Jessica Kaya (sister of Canadian MC Eternia), ‘Tomorrow (I’ll Be Gone)’. As far as guests, we got The Movement Fam of course (Notion and Tommy Gunnz), GMC, Tommy Carson, Luke Vexx, Theory, Motley outta the UK, my man Arte Y Lenguaje from Colombia, the dude Day Diz from Austria…it’s an international affair, baby! Even my man KidEight from the UK did the artwork!

And The Movement Fam is the crew. It’s Bekah and I, my brother Notion and Tommy Gunnz. We official as fuck now man. Straight up. Watch out for all of us, I’ve never been so confident about my music and the people I’m surrounded by before. This is it, man.

W: What’s the goal with the Soul Movement Volumes? Are you shooting for the full fledged album deals in the near future?
Bekah: Absolutely. Our aim is to take Cee & Bekah as far as we can go with it. We live, breathe and eat music and there’s definitely plenty of albums in the future. You won’t get rid of us that easy!

Cee: Hahah yeah man, the main goal of the mixtapes is to experiment a bit with the Cee & Bekah style and how we work together, before getting into a full length. It’s also dope to have something to give the heads all around the world for free, nahmean? We’re actually maybe half way through our debut EP, ‘The Precedent’, and started collecting beats for our untitled debut album. We’re really excited to get moving on the album and EP, ‘The Soul Movement Volume 3’ is actually totally written already, just gotta record it and boom, the EP shouldn’t be far behind.

W: What’s good with the Australian Hip Hop scene? What’s the sound and the movements down there? How do they compare with the American scene?

Bekah: I’m not saying a word….

Cee: Lol Bekah and her hating again. The Oz scene is up and down. There is no ‘typical’ sound, but I guess there is a majority, and that certainly isn’t us. It’s been hard coming up in Australia making our kind of music when the majority of folks in the Oz Hip Hop scene seem to want to hear songs about beer and BBQ’s, which isn’t our shit. It’s very young compared to the US scene; Eternia once said to me she felt it was like NY 20 years ago out here, in the sense that we still have a lot of MC battles, DJ battles, b-boy comps, graf scene etc. In order to make it out here, we’d need to have a full band – there’s only been a couple success stories in Hip Hop in Australia, and most of those acts don’t really expand outside the country. We’re trying to do it international from Day One; that’s where we see ourselves going, which is why we’re concentrating on the wider market so much. But hopefully the Australian scene will continue to grow and build.

W: So y’all coming across ocean to hit up North America, what are on the plans for the US Invasion? Are you going to sample some of the finger things of American life while you are over here, such as the sticky icky icky? hahaha…Who has the better weed?
Cee: Hell yeah! We’re leaving tomorrow as I write this! Vibed as hell man. We’ve got a bunch of radio spots lined up, some studio sessions, a photo shoot, a whole gang of networking, some damn shopping haha, and hopefully a show or two if it pans out. We just wanna show the folks in the US and Canada what we can do down here, solidify a lot of our connects so we can make even bigger moves the next time around.

Hahah ah man, I only really got to sample the sticky in Canada last time. I met an Aussie dude in Vegas who scored some green out there and we gave it a go (shitting ourselves coz of the psycho laws about drugs and shit lol), and it was weak as fuck. But I won’t let that deter me from trying other shit – I need to be convinced, people! So if you have that bomb that can prove that the US has it over Down Under, scream at ya boy!

W: So what does the future hold for Cee & Bekah?

Bekah: The future holds many albums, many shows and international tours.

Cee: Yes indeed. We’re finna drop Volume 3 in the next 6 months maybe, then the EP and the album. We are thinking of relocating to London, UK, for a couple years in order to be closer to Europe and North America, where we really wanna crash the market. We wanna see how this US trip pans out and then take it from there, but I truly see big things, if the present response is any indication.

W: Any last words for the future Cee & Bekah fans out there?

Cee: THANK YOU to everyone who has held us down. Massive shouts to you Trav, and the whole Wake Your Daughter Up blog, y’all have been so supportive from the moment we touched base and I can’t thank you enough for all the help you’ve provided on this trip and with our music. Much love. Please check out ‘The Soul Movement Volume 2’, which drops online Monday 15th September 2008 (today), swing by the MySpace and website for more info and come say what up! Oh and Notion’s mixtape ‘World Domi-NoTiOn’ drops in conjunction with ours, so please check for that too!

Bekah: Thanks to everyone for all their love and support, it’s much appreciated.

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