Tuesday, July 2, 2019

7/3/19 #JustReflecting ft: Oschino Vasquez "Art just fell in my lap"


Art just fell in my lap: Oschino Vasquez


Written By Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR)

If you know me then you know how much of an influence the music group State Property was for me during high school and college. The body of work each member was writing back in the early 2000’s really made me appreciate rap music that much more. When I found out District Bar and Lounge was featuring Oschino Vasquez for June’s Art is Culture event during Third in the Burg, I had no choice but to pull up. What was dope for me was the fact that Oschino made himself available to converse with me about the things in his life that have made him who he is today...so don't mind Oschino because he's Just Reflecting.

A.C. the MaYoR: What keeps you hungry and creative as an artist?

Oschino Vasquez: When you are striving to be something, people get frustrated and want to quit. The part I love is that chase. I love the hustle. I love the grind. If you don’t have that you’re going to be frustrated and want to quit. I got signed to Roc-a-Fella Records in 1999. Mind you I come from the gutter, being f***** up, and not having parents.  Once I started tasting a little bit of success I said man I can’t go back to that, that life hurts to bad. Art just fell into my lap.



A.C. the MaYoR: Correct me if I’m wrong but you have been snapping with the paintbrush and canvas for what two years now give or take, right?

Oschino Vasquez: I tapped into painting about a year and a half ago but I’ve been drawing all my life. Somebody asked me to paint a picture and when they said what price they would pay me, I said let me try this real fast lol. I tried it and it worked. There was a rumor that said it wasn’t me painting this work. That’s why I come to places like District Bar and Lounge and paint in front of people. People’s reactions are always...yo he really sat there and did that. You see how that Mike Tyson painting turned out. That jawn looks professional. Mind you I did that jawn fast. Usually, a painting like that would take time to complete. I started and finished that jawn in three hours.

A.C. the MaYoR: How profound was growing up during the Mike Tyson era?

Oschino Vasquez: There's a lack of superstars now compared to back in the day. You had Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson and they made people stop everything and watch them. Jackson had crazy tours. Jordan was winning championships every year, and Tyson was knocking everybody out in fifty seconds or less lol. There was no social media so everybody had to use cable just to watch the fight and pay. It was different then, everybody thinks they’re famous now.



A.C. the MaYoR: You have been in the music industry for over two decades now, and as one of the OG’s who comes from an era where you spit what you live, how do you feel about the direction music has shifted too? I know for me it’s important not to shun youngbulls who express themselves in an “unorthodox” way.

Oschino Vasquez: Do you remember Das Effects “bum stiggedy bum stiggedy bum, hon, I got the old pa-rum-pum-pum-pum” they weren’t really saying anything crazy then and their music was popping. I don’t mind mumble rap. If somebody’s Black, from the slums, and is taking care of their family then that oversees everything else. Now I don’t listen to all of it but still. When I came home from prison Future was popping and it took me a while to finally catch it, I’m an old-school bull so I was saying it was trash, but working at the barbershop the other barbers kept playing it. It then started to grow on me and it started to make sense. It wasn’t about the lyrics but the vibe. Even Young Thug had a couple jawns and I started saying this is a vibe, so my ear began to change and I started to understand better. I have six sons and they also let me know what it is.



A.C. the MaYoR: How do you add today’s vibes with yesterday’s originality in your music?

Oschino Vasquez: I did a project called 50’16s last year and I did fifty beats. A couple of the beats were some new school beats. Mask Off, Slippery and a couple of Drake’s jawns are on it. I did that with some beats from the ’80s and 90’s to show my sons that I can get on any type of beat lol. The only thing that I really feel is missing is not enough conscious rap. The way sh!t is going on now, more people should be talking about it.

A.C. the MaYoR: You think there is a real void for content with a message?

Oschino Vasquez: There really isn’t enough mainstream artist that are really talking about what is going on. It is almost worse politically and racially now than when I was coming up. You see every cop to suspect shooting now that phones record everything. Cops were killing people before but we weren’t seeing it. The Rodney King incident happened in LA so cameras were more common because of Hollywood, but in Philly people didn’t have cameras. 

A.C. the MaYoR: You spoke on a lack of substance when it comes to mainstream music and many would say there is a lack of genuine Black leaders. You did a painting of Malcolm X and Nipsey Hussle being a split image of each other and building a plan together. When I found out that Nip didn’t survive being shot my entire mood changed that Sunday evening. As a Black man working to empower your hoods, how did that make you feel?


(this image can be found on Oschino Valsquez Instagram. We did not capture this)

Oschino Vasquez: I felt like I knew him like my own brother. When I saw it though, that destroyed me. His efforts are not going unnoticed at all which is a must. Nipsey became a Martyr faster than anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. It was like Nip came, gave his message, and then left. For him to be from the gutter and impact the world the way he did shows “them” how much power “we” have.  

A.C. the MaYoR: When it comes to music and art, people who are born and raised in Philly have always influenced other states and cultures. XXL the magazine just released its 2019 Freshman class and Tierra Wack made the list. How dope is it to have a Philly artist make the list this year?

Oschino Vasquez: Tierra Wack’s bars and flow are crazy. The crazy thing when it comes to Philadelphia...I don’t think it really matters. Philly is full of competition and is a BAR CITY! When a person sees an accomplishment from another artist, their first thought could be them thinking they were supposed to be on that list. That’s one mind state of Philly rap though. For an older person like myself, I see it as all love because that’s a great accomplishment. Most people that make that Freshman class go on to do great things.

A.C. the MaYoR: I’m glad you mentioned the mind state some people have even being in a big city like Philly. My hometown is Harrisburg, which is smaller than Philly, New York, LA, etc. For years it has seemed hard for support to truly stick, and a lot of us are stuck in the hand over fist mentality for some of the same reasons you just mentioned some people from Philly are in. I am 32 and even in my 20’s, I was extremely vocal when combatting my opinions with some of my peer's negative vibes. I understand now that many of us speak from personal experience, both good and bad yet not enough of us realize experiences only last as long as we allow them too. Thank you for connecting your big city experience with smaller city experiences.

Oschino Vasquez: Here’s what you have to understand, a person who comes from little to nothing and sees you having everything they wish they had, I feel as though has no right to hate if they lack working towards something. A person who puts himself or herself out there can fail in front of the world and many are afraid of that embarrassment. If a person is putting themselves out there and catches some shine then they deserve it. It is really easy to hate. I can hear people talk about all the shots Lebron misses but Lebron is one of the best to ever do it. Black people...we go through a lot so sometimes we just have to forgive each other and help each other.



A.C. the MaYoR: How can we as Black people get ahead of the curve and conquer the dumb sh!t together?

Oschino Vasquez: It always takes a person that they respect and that person has to have bread (money) for the majority to listen because people respect a person who has bread. It takes a person who people can trust because they been through something similar that get their attention. If one city does it and is successful like Atlanta as a city is doing it then everybody else can copy it.

A.C. the MaYoR: You mention Atlanta having the blueprint. The wild thing is and I’m connecting Harrisburg’s potential again, my senior year of high school, 2004 to be exact, Atlanta was super lit and I began to notice that many of my peers were starting to do their thing here as well. Even back then, I knew we had the potential as a small city to make a big impact culturally and creatively despite being frowned at because we weren’t from Philly or Baltimore or even New York. I can honestly say as a city where the population is majority Black, we are chipping away and what I saw Harrisburg being capable of when I was seventeen years old is coming to fruition hence you standing right here in front of me allowing a Black-owned publication to create content on you because a Black-owned restaurant invited you to showcase your craft with the owners patrons, King. Oschino, I thank you for taking the time to chop it up and reflect with me.




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And Until Next Time...Let's Remember This Time!!!

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