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If you are not already jammin’ to A Meazy, The Real Ned Flanders 2(#TRNF2), it’s probably because you haven’t given it a fair listening because you think A Meazy is just another local rap artist. Don’t worry though. A Meazy made a legitimate and timeless album, like good albums are supposed to be. It’ll wait for you to catch up.
I took my first listen, from an album release party invite that my good friend and Meazy’s manager Exavier Russell gave me. Russell had been pub’ing his boy to me for a while, but the release party was a great excuse to catch some live music and figure out the buzz that was loud and noticeable soon after the album got released.
That was in the summer, a summer in which Meazy blazed a trail all over Denver sharing his music and teaching folks to “Mind Yours” the flaming hit from #TRNF2 that sticks in your brain from both the hook and the message of, mind your business, stay up out of mine and make sure you get about your business.
“Who Ain’t Got No Business?” (Mind Yours)
In reality, A Meazy is beyond just a rapper, he is a music-loving hit-making songwriter with an ear for both soul-stirring beats and lyrics. In #TRNF2, Meazy pays homage to every musical influence inside of himself, creating an album that flows like a musical journey, not just a collection of rap songs. When I chatted with Meazy about the album in the summer and what was playing in his personal music library, he said he was listening to Adelle, ‘because she had his ear for some reason at the time’. Now, he’s so deep into minding his own music business, Meazy says he can barely find time to listen to anything but new beats and the songs that must be stirring and straining to get out of that creative mind of his.
“Right now, I just dropped a new freestyle called Meazy Shuttlesworth….62 bars, you know, just straight rapping. It’s just part one, I’ll be done with part two in, probably the next couple of weeks- just to bring another element to it. A lot of people forget that I can actually rap, you know what I mean. So, I wanted to put something right in people’s faces”, said Meazy, responding to a legion of critics hesitant to tip their hats.
When you create an album that’s so well put together, having no haters would make you think you messed up a bit. In #TRNF2, Meazy clearly displays his wealth of musical interests and an unwillingness to box himself in. At the time of the album’s creation, Meazy was going through some serious personal problems that he was clearly able to release his music. “It (all of the problems) helped me get in touch with all the good things that were happening in my life. I was able to separate myself from all that and create real music”
#TRNF2 gets in touch with some of the good things of Denver too, featuring nearly every hot rapper known to the Denver rap scene, and a few hard-hitting vocalists who Meazy willingly throws to center stage on song after song. #TRNF2 is a fearless music journey. Based on my recent conversations with Meazy, the journey continues. He shared with me what’s happening now and what’s coming up next for interested fans like myself.
“I’ve got a new album that I’m doing to my single “Mind Yours, that’s about to drop as well. I’ve got a couple shows that I doing here and there. Besides that, I’m just working, I’m just writing, working on some new songs. I do have a couple EP’s coming out with a couple of artist in town that I’m not going to give away just yet, but we’ve been working on some sh__ together, just to surprise people. To keep my name out there. That’s really it. There are other things going on that I can’t really speak about yet because they’re not all the way solidified yet, but it’s some pretty big moves. Just trying to stay on it”
For most of us, when it comes to listening to an actual album from start to finish, that habit sort of died with the CD era. Unless you’re doing that first purchase listen, most of us by singles or only load the handful of songs that we can endure from an album and scrap the rest. #TRNF2 is not just good music, it is truly my new #1 go to album right now, finally replacing that Maroon 5 CD my kids bought for me a couple of years ago, which also had hits from start to finish.
I listen to a plethora of musical genre’s all the time, but to listen to one album from start to finish is, frankly, some old school stuff.
I won’t describe Meazy as old-school even though he tucks his shirts in and wears a bow tie. I would, however, dare any old school rap music lover- especially those of you mad at the trap game- to tell me you can’t jam to #TRNF2. The album is not only jam-packed with good music (16 hits and an intro), it has a little something on it for anybody and everybody to enjoy. Even the songs that may not be your personal music style of choice are undoubtedly very well written, produced, and with a statement worth hearing.
“I pride myself on being versatile. I don’t like to put a label on my music. I like to touch on all subjects, Meazy describes his musical style. He added, “I live by the quote- the best things in the world are the most available. My goal with every song I make is to make it available to somebody”. To achieve availability, Meazy simply pours his own life into every song.
Born in North Dakota, Alex Jiles moved to Denver as a toddler when the parents split up. In Denver, the East Side streets would become the nurturing ground. Momma’s West Coast rap music and grandma’s jazz became the soundtrack playing in the background of his life. His natural athletic ability made sports like football an easy magnet and big parts of his early days, but the music was always the passion.
All of those early experiences remain strong in his life and his music. By fourth grade, A Meazy, the former Lil’ rapping cat named Afro Man (he reworked his hair into braids and his nickname into A Meazy when he learned someone already made it under Afro Man) was fully sick with the rap bug and he knew it then. When he talks about it hindsight, he sort of scolds little Alex for the years that he didn’t take his gift seriously.
Now he is beyond serious, and Darius Campbell would be proud. Campbell was the childhood friend so gifted in the art of freestyle rap that it would inspire A Meazy to follow in his lyrical footsteps. Sadly, Campbell passed away right before Jiles went off to South high school, but he recalls the last conversation he and Campbell had together.
“He said to take this sh__ serious. I just see something in you”
By the time A Meazy became a sophomore, he met up with another rap friend named Taurean Nelson, and they formed a group that still exists to this day, though both artists are currently doing solo projects at this time.
Now there is no questioning what he plans to do with his gift or that he can make it happen from Denver. In fact, Denver rap legend and personal friend of Meazy’s, Trev Rich (Trev does a feature on #TRNF2 along with Danae Simone on “Consistency”), just signed a music deal with Cash Money records, the famous parent company of Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money label.
“I think that Trev making that move for the city is huge because we’ve never actually seen it happen before. I’m sure it’s happened, but a lot of people that come from here don’t claim Denver, and Trev’s all about Denver, you know. It’s a big deal for him as a person. I wish him the best. At the end of the day, Trev has the right people to get him the right deal. I’m hoping that’s what happens because for him to be the first to come from here, it has to work out for him because all eyes are going to be on him. This is a chance for him to take care of his family”, said Meazy in regards to his good friend.
“As for me, I would prefer to go the nontraditional way- the independent label. But I’d be lying to you if I told you Jay-Z came at me and wanted to sign me (that I wouldn’t listen). It would be hard to turn something like that down”, added Meazy.
Those days are behind us thanks to A Meazy, who often brings a live band to his affairs but never leaves you without knowing you’ve seen a show. Those basic Denver rapper days aren’t totally gone yet, but they’ve been elevated to a new level with #TRNF2 and the summer of Meazy, which I am certain has pushed every serious artist in the local rap game to get back in the lab and work. But don’t worry. If you’re bringing something to the table, A Meazy is happy to eat right along with you, creating a reputation for bringing his own fire while promoting the best of Denver in his shows and on his album. For me, as a native of Denver and a pre-teen when rap went mainstream back in the 80’s (code for an old guy), writing about Denver’s first major label rap artist along with Denver’s hottest up and coming artist is a bit surreal actually. I was admittedly a little skeptical to go to the album release party because I had too many experiences with the Denver rap scene in which a bunch of dudes lip sync and crip walk on stage to tracks that might be a little loud.
“I’m humbled by all the love that I’ve gotten, I just want people to know that I’m not stopping. This is just the beginning for me”
As for his message to the next generation?
“Nobody can stop you but yourself. Nobody can beat effort. An effort is something you’re given that you have to have control over. The more effort you put in, the more people are going to recognize you. If you are going to do it, don’t do it half-assed and expect people to respect you”.
A timeless message from a timeless music maker. Denver’s very own A Meazy.
QUOTE FROM NANCY PHOENIX, THE OWNER OF STATUS INDUSTRY APPAREL.
“Throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find the happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” Dale Carnegie