Aaron California: 'Don't be afraid to break the mould.'

We were fortunate enough to interview artist Aaron California.

When did you realize that you had a passion for music?

When I was a kid, my pops used to take me with him to pay the bills and whatnot and he would always have some music playing. I noticed that, it didn't matter what kind of mood he was in, music would always put him in a good mood. It was crazy for me at the time because he would go from being angry or something to suddenly smiling and bobbing his head. I noticed shortly thereafter that music affected other people similarly and I just thought that was amazing how music had such an impact on people, and I think that's when I caught the bug.

Who are your main inspirations as an artist?

There are a lot of artists that I listen to and take inspiration from. My new EP, The 2 Straps Chronicles: Chapter 1, takes heavy inspiration from a lot of old school, boom bap types of hip hop such as Mos Def and WuTang, but some of my previous releases were more along the lines of Lil Peep and I have a lot more music coming soon that's a bit more Tech N9ne in nature. I think, when it comes to the type of music I create, it all depends on my mood in that moment.

What would you like to achieve as an artist?

To help people and to change the typical subject matter of hip-hop. I am 100% sober from alcohol and heavy drugs and that wasn't always the case, so I understand how deeply addiction can affect people. I think that pop-culture (primarily hip-hop) has a tendency to glorify substance abuse and it's sad how many kids end up addicted to some trash that they would've never even tried had it not been because Lil What-his-name said it was cool. I want to make it cool to be sober. I also grew up in a part of California that had really high crime rates and gang violence and I've seen some friends turn to a life that wasn't meant for them just because they wanted to be as "cool" as the rappers on the radio. I want kids to feel like it's cool to just be themselves regardless of what the rest of Hollywood says. If I can help even one person with the content of my music, then I've accomplished enough.

4) What is your most memorable moment while being an artist?

Opening for Bone Thugs! That was a lot of fun. It was in Ventura at the Ventura Theater a couple of years back. My close friends, B-Poz (@bpoz805) and Odizo (@officialodizo), invited me to be a part of it somewhat last minute so I shared some of their time and only had time for one song. I ended up doing a song with B-Poz called "Anarchy" which had some political tones and spoke against oppression and it was honestly received way better than I expected! The crowd was vibing to it and when I got done there were so many people who wanted to chop it up and it was just a really great time. To top it all off, one of my all time favorite rap groups and inspirations were right there watching the whole time and vibing to it and a gang of my homies came to support. It was a great night.

5) Who is the biggest artist you’ve worked with?

I think probably Lox Chatterbox (@loxchatterbox) He is a close friend and mentor and he honestly has helped, and continues to help, teach me a lot about songwriting, production and the rap game. I don't have any official releases with him but we've worked on a lot of unreleased material before and he is truthfully one of the most talented individuals I've ever met.

6) Tell us a little more about your recent project?

My recent EP, The 2 Straps Chronicles: Chapter 1, is a 4 track, boombap EP that I feel shows the era I came up in through the vibe and what I think about today's rap game through my lyrics.

7) What should we be looking forward to from you in the future?

I've got 2 new music videos in the works right now as well as a few collab tracks and another EP coming either before the end of the year or early 2021. Stay tuned!

8) Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Don't be afraid to break the mould. The world loves to tell you who or what you will or won't be but don't be afraid to give your soul the priority. Be kind and stay safe!

Listen to The 2 Straps Chronicles, Chapter 1 here: