As a waypoint between New York and Boston, New London isn’t someplace typically associated with hip hop. 21 year old Hayze is out to change that. Established hip hop artist Apathy first picked up Hayze because, “He sounded mad different from anything I was hearing at the time.” Now after two video collaborations “Creepmode” and “Life is Hell”, Hayze has been signed to Man Bites Dog Records and will soon be releasing his debut The Smoker’s Section.
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East coast hip-hop is often bemoaned by mainstream media for two reasons: Either the “old guard” is too reluctant to stray from its gritty roots, or newer artists experiment with sounds that do not suit them. Enter Hayze, a 20 year-old artist from New London, CT. who provides an exception to this conundrum. Capable of both complex, multi-syllabic rhyme schemes and hypnotic, sing-songy hooks, Hayze is expected to turn heads with his debut The Smokers’ Section, due out 3/7/2013 on Man Bites Dog Records.
Despite his considerable skill, making a name for yourself in a state with half the population of New York City and a town more famous for whaling and submarines than beats and rhymes is no easy task. “It’s so hard getting heard in a small-ass town like New London,” said Hayze, who despite the geographic disadvantage remains upbeat about his prospects. “I just gotta keep grinding. The quality of music is there, I just have to keep moving.”
One person with a vested interest in Hayze’s ascent is fellow Connecticut native and veritable underground legend Apathy. For an aspiring artist like Hayze, a co-sign from the Demigodz/AOTP spitter is about as impressive as it gets. “One day, I was working [Smoker’s Section] and Ap happened to roll through and listen to some of my stuff,” explained Hayze. “He was really feeling it, and since then we’ve done some good work together.” Two such examples of the pair’s impressive chemistry are “Creep Mode”, which features a frenetic, head-nodding Apathy-produced beat and Hayze’s quiet-yet-confident flow, and “Life is Hell”, which sees the two going back and forth over multi-faceted production and a hook centered around the classic Inspectah Deck line.
While Hayze is perfectly capable of going bar for bar with lyrical heavyweights like Apathy, he also possesses a penchant for low-key, stoner-centric anthems. “One thing about me, I really be staying super smoked out,” said Hayze with a chuckle. “[Marijuana] really helps me make those kinds of songs. One thing I hope people do when they listen to The Smoker’s Section is smoke hella trees to it, so they see where I’m coming from.”
But to pigeonhole Hayze as either a rappity-rap bar technician or a blunted, substance-averse “weed rapper” would be unfair and belie his well-roundedness as an artist. “When people hear [my album], I hope they see that it’s different than pretty much anything out right now,” said Hayze. “Putting Smoker’s Section together is probably the greatest accomplishment of my life thus far, and I think that’ll show.”
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