interview: a conversation with indianapolis based hip hop group native sun
By Sound Check
September 29, 2015
Every so often a group like Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and the Hydroglyphics will pop up on the music scene. One group who has been making a name for themselves for over 15 years is a group which goes by the name of Native Sun. They hail from the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, which has given birth to artists such as R&B pioneer Babyface and Hip Hop group Mudkids. AfroPunk blogger, Brandon Jackson, had a chance to sit down with them to discuss their sound and love for the music.
By Brandon Jackson, AFROPUNK Contributor
Members – Brandon Meeks/Bass & Productions/ Richard “Sleepy Floyd”/Drums & Productions/
What brought you guys together?
BY-Sleepy and I met down in Bloomington at school around 2005. We met through mutual friends and we both have a love for music. Sleepy’s friend used to have parties at his house and we all used to freestyle and just vibe together. We had little sessions where we would get together and play music. From our first meeting we decided to come together with a group.
RF- I ended up meeting Brandon at a gig we were playing at back in Indianapolis. Brandon started connecting with me and Bobby and we just started building our sound..
How have you as a group maintained your integrity as a group? How have you maintained togetherness as a group in the midst of an industry that is changing?
To us we’ve always been focusing on doing our own things. We all never were the ones that followed a trend. We’re not trying to be a follower but to do what’s authentic to us. We always recognize that the same music that we fell in love with as “hip hop heads” is the same music that we try to recreate just with our own spin on it. That type of music never really dies. It’s kind of like shoes, the old skool Converse or Jordan’s are always going to be classic, it will never really go out of style. As far as the music, we don’t want to be considered old skool but we want to be considered something that has never left. At the end of the day we feel as a group that we can set the standard and we can set the bar.
How do you rise above being “just a group from Indianapolis”?
(Brandon)I think for us is just to lock in with the people and identify with the people who we play for. (Sleep) When we started playing no one around here was doing what we were doing. I think the draw is that we were coming with something different. We just try to keep everybody involved.
What can people expect when they attend a Native Sun performance?
People will get a high energy performance of what they want to hear and what they need to hear. We try to say things that people can take away. Our performances become a cultural experience.
What was your Hip Hop Moment in your Life?
Bobby- Growing up in Cali my older cousin was a DJ. My cousin would come home and cut records. Over at my cousin’s house he put me on EPMD, NWA, and those artists that laid the foundation for Hip Hop music. I was an avid reader as a kid so I loved big words.
Brandon- I remember when the movie Juice came out I really wanted to get into music.
Do you guys have anything in store for 2016?
We all are working on individual projects but we’re still connected as a whole. We’ll be releasing some new stuff. Sleepy-I’ve been doing some production stuff that I really want people to hear. We’re constantly working on the next thing. We constantly try to stay moving and keep it going. .
I just like when people say they had a good time when they came to our show. I love when people say they enjoyed the music. We just want people to say they love our music.
To learn more about Native Sun please visit www.nativesunlive.com.
Photo credit: c-stylephotography
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