If you’re perusing iTunes for some new music, you’ll likely come across their current No. 1 album – Shwayze’s self-titled debut. Shwayze is a duo made up of rapper Shwayze (aka Aaron Smith) and singer/songwriter/producer Cisco Adler. The duo has been making waves in the music industry, and after a run on the Warped Tour and a hit show on MTV, they are bringing some reputability to Malibu. The last rapper to come out of Malibu was B-Rad, played by comedian Jamie Kennedy in Malibu’s Most Wanted, but the Shwayze boys want to bring the haven of weed and women to the mainstream. The boys sat down with The Miami Hurricane to discuss college girls, DJ Tiesto and why MTV is no longer just about The Hills.
The Miami Hurricane: First off, I have to ask – what’s the deal with DJ Skeet Skeet? I’ve never seen an interview with him, and he just seems to stay super quiet on the TV show.
Cisco: He’s our DJ when we play live. He’s part of the family, but as far as the creative process, it’s just Shwayze and I.
Shwayze: He is the man.
TMH: Speaking of DJs, I’ve seen a YouTube video with a kid named Thomas Blueberry claiming he used to be Shwayze’s DJ. What ever happened to him?
Shwayze: Blueberry’s still chilling. We just split ways a few years ago but we’re still homies. But he wants to get into his acting career.
TMH: I was listening to the album in my car and after track 12, I heard 56 tracks of white noise before the bonus track. Why?
Cisco: Why not? Yeah I just wanted “High Together” to be a secret song and to test your patience.
DB: When I bought the album I listened through it with a friend, and he said all the songs sounded the same. What would you guys say to my friend?
Cisco: I don’t know. I wouldn’t have anything to say to him. We have a sound like any great band.
Shwayze: I would say listen to it again. It’s the formula of someone singing and rapping, but all the songs have their own vibe. And I would tell your friend he hurt my feelings.
TMH: Shwayze, on “Corona & Lime,” you say “Girls in Miami – string bikinis, and bump techno by DJ Tiesto.” Is that a good thing or a bad thing, and do you personally like the girls in Miami?
Shwayze: Girls in Miami are hot. There’s everything from Cubans to hot Latino girls. And DJ Tiesto, that’s a good thing. I like DJ Tiesto.
TMH: Cisco, on hooks you have this way of singing that makes it sound like the lines rhyme, even when they don’t. How do you do it?
Cisco: I don’t know, man. It just comes out of my head that way. I think whatever I feel, and I think sometimes the melody is stronger than the rhyme.
TMH: When I was in Best Buy – your album was in the Pop Section. On iTunes it’s under Hip-Hop/Rap, and I read on a blog that it’s under the Alternative umbrella. In what genre would you guys classify the album?
Cisco: The word alternative is so cloudy. But in the truest sense, it’s alternative. I think its genre-less, but it incorporates a lot of different sounds.
Shwayze: I think it’s all of those. It’s popular music, it’s alternative with the guitar, and my rap makes it hip-hop.
TMH: How hard is it to stay sincere and keep making quality music when you have a show on MTV?
Cisco: Umm… I thank God MTV took a chance on us, and wants to show what’s really going on. The Hills is not really what’s going on – it’s a glamorized soap opera. We’re about smoking weed and getting laid. They took a chance and it’s cool and it’s bringing music to the channel, which they lost with shows like The Hills. We made a choice to make the show real, and we don’t want to fuck this up because it’s really organic.
Shwayze: MTV talked to us and we decided to make a show only under certain terms. We told them we were going to do what we want and they could just capture us. I think we got the best of it.
TMH: You guys are the first people I’ve heard make hip-hop with a guitar on every track and a singer on every hook. Do you think that innovative sound was the reason for the quick and positive response?
Cisco: I think that it’s dope because people didn’t know of the sound. I think hip-hop is really missing a melody in most of its songs. So, why not throw in a melody and drop a sick flow? I think the hooks are strong and I just really like big hooks. We just got together and made music we wanted to listen to, and it just came out like this.
Shwayze: Yeah, I think so. I think it’s easy for kids to grab onto. We got to connect with the music, and we’ve been pumping this out in California for a long time, then we finally spread to the rest of the country. The timing and incubating it for a while led to the snowball.
TMH: You guys are really inspiring, because even though Cisco had grown up in music, you guys basically just broke onto the scene together in the beginning of the summer and by the end of the summer you drop an album that’s No. 1 on iTunes. How does it feel?
Shwayze: Dude, it’s crazy. The fact that I look on iTunes and it’s the No. 1 spot, it’s just crazy. Once you start, time seems to pass because you’re doing a lot of shit constantly. Then there’s a couple times you look back, like when you look on iTunes like right now. But you don’t want to do that too much; you have to think about what you’re doing to next.
TMH: Do you guys have as strong of a fan base anywhere else in the country as California?
Shwayze: It’s getting there. We just did Warped Tour, and it was crazy to see the response. In Chicago we got the biggest showing on the main stage. Every place is a surprise. But I think the audience is definitely building.
TMH: Shwayze, it also seems that you don’t get into any of the hip-hop bullshit, whether it be beef with other rappers, or try to prove your circumstances when you were growing up. How important is it for you to stay away from all that?
Shwayze: I’m not really part of that scene. I wouldn’t start a beef or have a conflict. I try to chill and just be cool. I do talk about where I grew up, but I saw everyone around me with money so I didn’t really care. I just chill and stay out of drama. I try to have fun.
TMH: Do you guys feel you reach mainly a college demographic, or a younger MTV generation? Either way, what demo do you guys aim for?
Shwayze: I think we do anything from 15-year-olds to old ladies that are like 45 licking my stomach. That happened at Warped Tour, I just felt some old lady licking my stomach. But yeah, college kids of course. I can’t wait to go on our college tour. At college shows we’ve done, we have more frat guys bumping our music than I could ever imagine.
TMH: Shwayze, who are musicians (in any genre) that truly inspire you?
Shwayze: Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, 2Pac, A Tribe Called Quest, Andre 3000 and James Brown, of course.
TMH: What city has the best girls, hands down?
Shwayze: California overall, that’s my home. Second to Cali, I would say New York, then Miami.
TMH: What is it about college girls that makes them throw their inhibitions out their dorm-room window? And have you guys ever capitalized on such circumstance?
Shwayze: Dude, I’ve been wondering the same thing. That’s what I’ve been asking myself. I think that it’s just their last chance to be young and have fun before they get too serious. That seems like the reason why everyone just goes out and has fun in college.
TMH: Hypothetical: You’re going to a house party at UM after a show in Miami. What do you wear, and who or what do you take with you?
Shwayze: I’d probably be wearing my performing outfit. I would take tequila of some sort, and a lot of beer with me. Corona and lime! Then, we’ll see what happens and what articles of clothing come off.
TMH: A lot of kids in college go through what seems like a lost phase when they’re in college. How important is it to find yourself and stay true to that?
Shwayze: A lot of people know that I smoke now. But I never used to smoke weed at all, then I went to junior college and I started smoking weed. It was then when I first realized that I love smoking weed, and that eventually I had to leave college and get started on what I needed. Pretty much stay focused and don’t be discouraged. Accept that you’re unique and don’t focus on others.
TMH: Shwayze, do you really smoke as much as you say you do in your songs? And if so, do you mostly get inspired to write when you are high?
Shwayze: You know what, I don’t do anything too much. I smoke every day though. But I’m sure there are bigger smokers. I’m not the type of person that smokes and just dies. I don’t like anything to control me like that. But I get very creative and start thinking about world peace, that’s what we’re all supposed to be doing, right?
TMH: What are three words you guys think of when you hear University of Miami?
Shwayze: Weed. Women. DJ Tiesto.
TMH: Would you guys ever want to perform at the University of Miami?
Shwayze: Of course. I love Miami. I lived in Miami right when I was making this record, for a month. I love Miami.
TMH: Shwayze, a lot of artists don’t like being asked this – but do you think you could do a 4-bar freestyle about UM.
Shwayze: I would dude but I need to be in the right mood – I’ve got to be vibing and grooving. But when I come down to UM I’ll bust a little freestyle for sure.