Interview with Taiwan's Warren Fox
Posted Feb 2 2010
You ever go to Doobiest?
The store. Doobiest, like Funkdoobiest. It’s a hip-hop store.
I haven’t been there.
I’m probably going to head over there later. It’s interesting because there’s this guy there, DJ Chicano.
Oh, I know Chicano! He’s my man.
He’s been like legendary to me for years because I thought he was Mexican. I was like, “man, there’s this Mexican dude chillin’ in Taiwan, making all these mixtapes and whatever else.” I found that he wasn’t, but what surprised me was how many people here are into Chicano hip hop. I’ve talked to a few people about it and they kind of got what it was about, but didn’t realize how deep some of the gang affiliations were. I had to ask them if they really knew what they were representing.
That’s kind of the reason I almost feel like I’m obligated here, as a middleman, to tell them what the meaning of the music is. In a sense, what’s the real meaning of hip hop, which is supposed to bring people together. And the stuff that they’re hearing in recent times, that brings about this East Coast/West Coast stuff, that’s not real hip hop. Like all the nonsense it gets into with the gangs, “I’m banging this, I’m banging that,” or whatever, it’s just nonsense. I know they like the way it sounds, but if we get out here and create our own industry and get music that’s banging and sounds good, that doesn’t have any of that b.s. in it, then we’ve kind of completed our purpose and we kind of saved people from the drama. If they hear it too much they’ll eventually start thinking “this is my life, this is what I’m going through” and they’re not. And that’s how dangerous media is because it does control how you think. If you sing a song enough times, even if you’re not exactly sure of the lyrics, you know what the intent is of that song.
I think that’s the craziest part to me. I don’t know when it was decided that hip hop was related to gangster. That’s dumb. There was a time where it was good music. It was feel good music. They (Run DMC) had a song “you talk too much, you never shut up.” N.W.A. was really like the first ones to really throw that out there and it just caught on. I love ‘Pac and everything, but they transcended that message to make people believe that I have to somehow be a gangster in order to do good music. How’s that connected at all? It’s like the same as Napoleon having to be a good lyricist, or Ghengis Khan. It’s not related to your job. You’re either a gangster, or you’re a rapper. I have a really hard time believing that the two of them can go together. There may be a few exceptions, there’s no way in the world that all of you at home are gangsters and are rappers. Let that nonsense go.
I know one factor is that it’s because it makes money. It’s that whole chicken and egg thing. Is it because people buy it or because people get sold it? The thing I tell people is, Lauryn Hill sold how many albums? So people can buy positivity.
Yeah, but why did she stop though? Because so many people put pressure on her to change. That’s the thing. The industry is nasty corrupt and people will take what you give them. they won’t take what they want. People will take exactly what you give them.
Because they don’t know what they want.
There’s an exact same significance between hip hop and martial arts. I can do martial arts and hip hop, feed it to the people and at first they’ll be like, “I don’t know what to think about it” and later on go “ooh, I love this song.” And they’ll be walking around, “yeah, I’m a real hip hop artist and they’ll be wearing headbands and carrying around swords just because that’s the influence that you give them. So my idea is if media’s going to influence people so much, no matter what, why not influence them to do something positive? If they’re going to walk around singing the lyrics of your song, why not go around singing things that are going to be positive?
It’s all kung fu. Everything has to take time in order to get it done. There’s nothing that’s going to be done in a hurry so you’re basically choosing your lifestyle. The point is, to be brave enough to believe in your direction. We all have a lot of different ideas that sit in the back of our mind and we’re going out, living somebody else’s lifestyle for the reasons of money or for the reasons of pressure or whatever reasons we can have. But if you’re brave enough to believe in your own direction, then you can eventually find the answers that you need for your questions. We’re all programmed differently. Right now I think that the power of media is so influential that people are just lost. They’re so lost that they don’t even know they’re lost. They’re so blind, and they’re so busy, and they’re so worried and they don’t even know what they’re worried about. They’re so stressed and they don’t even know what they’re stressed about. Like in Taiwan they got to get into the best school in order to get into the best job in order to get the best wife and the best whatever and they drive themselves bonkers. Suicide is high. And why? Because nobody’s happy. If you could sit down and ask yourself a few simple questions, like ‘what makes me happy,” if you can answer what makes you happy, you’re halfway there. Most people don’t even know the answer to that question. The second answer is “how do I get to that?” If you have to quit your job, if you have to leave your country, if you have to leave your girl, or find a girl, or whatever gets you from a to b, then be brave enough to go your direction and you’ll be successful, guaranteed. No matter how much money you make. No matter how many opportunities you make, if it’s not something you feel passionate about or don’t believe in, you’ll never be successful. That’s the cold truth.
It’s so much about surrounding yourself with the right people who are like minded. It’s harder in some communities, and I’m definitely going to acknowledge that, but it’s a thought process, it’s psychological. Am I going to empower myself or wait for someone to do it for me? Wait for somebody to give me a job. To sign me to a record deal. It’s not just going to happen. Puffy’s not going to hear you on a corner freestyling. That’s not how it works. That’s the fantasy.
That’s what they sell you. I mean think about how many people go to acting school to be actors. You got millions of people every year graduating from these schools that run to Hollywood or Miami or wherever they think they’re going to get it off the ground and how many of these actors have you seen on TV in these movies? How many of these actors do you really see? You got Brad Pitt, you got Tom Cruise, who’ been doing it for the last 20, 30 years. You got Bruce Willis. For an action role they’ll probably pick Matt Damon. For this role they’ll probably pick Tom Hanks. It’s the same cats. So the reality is that it’s royalty. It’s just like royalty. If you were not born into this family there was very little chance that you will suddenly wake up as a duke or wake up as a prince. That’s the kind of reality that people have to swallow. But the good side of that is that we can build our own kingdom. The good side of that is if we stop looking past our neighbor, if we start looking more at each other, in the eye, and start seeing what other people want, we’ll start realizing that what we want is connected. My goal and your goal is completely connected. But if I run into you and I push you out of my way, I push myself farther from my own goal. That’s the joke. We trust more the people we see on TV, that we don’t know anything about, more than we trust our neighbor, who lives right next to us, that we see everyday. I know more about Tom Hanks than I do about my neighbor. But if we can unify with each other and learn to trust the people that are next to us, we’ll see how much we’re related and we can have our kingdom and we don’t need their help anymore.
I don’t need Puffy to sign me on. It may be underground. It may be low key or whatever, but we’re all getting by. We’re all doing what we want to do. Isn’t that kind of the goal? Who really needs trillions of dollars anyway? Ain’t that a little excessive? If I have enough to take care of my family and live my life, maybe have some nice shoes, a car whatever, that’s’ good enough for me. I think that it’s funny that they want us to be proud of being greedy. Which is why our economy is suffering anyway, people going out and buying a bunch of stuff that they don’t’ need. Greed has somehow become like a commodity. Like people on Wall Street. “I want two million dollars this year. I want three million. I want ten million.” It’s insatiable. You’ll never ever be satisfied with money. It’s like sex. It’s like food. Instead of trying to have more of it, having a whole bunch of that, think about the things that you actually need. You may need a lot of stuff. If you want to be a DJ, you may need this turntable, you may need this studio. You may need some expensive things, but if you know what your goal is, then you actually have limitations. You actually know what you need instead of being greedy to the point of when you just keep consuming and you’re consuming yourself.
Keep up with Warren at his blog: