Planet Asia Revolves [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – It’s hard not to like Planet Asia – he thinks concretely and is prone to hard-headedness, yet his disposition is easy-going and generally kind. He exists in hip-hop as a strain of its original intent and spirit, to bring people together while at the same time putting forward a political message that both instructs and entertains. His goal is to improve things for those around him, which essentially boils down to seeing everyone fed: Gold Chain Military is the movement that surrounds him, coming out with an array of projects with names as menacing as they are charming – Black Belt Theatre, Durag Dynasty, Bruce Lee. HipHopCanada had the privilege of interviewing him when he crossed the border for some Canadian love. His upcoming solo album is with the Vancouver-based Wandering Worx so we expect his face to start getting familiar around here. In the meantime, he told us a little more about his clothing line, his mathematics, and of course his unspoiled style.
“I’m rhyming till I’m 70 years old and I’ll still slap the shit outta your favorite rapper.”
HipHopCanada: So what’s the latest with you? What have you been working on lately?
Planet Asia: I’m working on a lot of things. Boats, Based on a True Story, Black Belt Theatre, Durag Dynasty, all kinds of stuff. They’ve all got different production: Durag Dynasty is produced by Alchemist, and that’s me, Tri-State, and Killer Ben. Black Belt Theatre is my solo album coming out later this year or next through Wandering Worx out of Vancouver in Canada. And my first female artist Rogue Venom has two solo albums coming out. And then I’ve got this Boats movement that I’ve got going on with the clothing line and music that I’ve just created; it’ll be out at the end of the month or so. It’s a movement, it’s a religion. You’ll see in a minute. Boatsbrand.com. You’ll see all the different flavors; we got different varieties of flavors. We coming with the leather jackets in the wintertime, we’ve got female clothes, all that.
HipHopCanada: Tell me a little more about your work up in Canada with Wandering Worx.
Planet Asia: The connection is through Rel!g!on cause he’s the CEO of the label. We just started talking all the time, we just decided to link up cause I wanted people around me who would be supportive of what I was doing. He’s a dope producer, his shit is crazy. He’s sample-based but also technology, it’s the old with the new. He has a lot of high frequency mixed with the raw sample style. He’s like that new age producer of today. He asked my what I was working on, I told him I was working on an album called Black Belt Theatre and I had just started it and he wanted to be a part of it so I put him down with it. On that album I’ve got features from Raekwon, Paul Wall, Camp Lo, Willy the Kid, Fashawn, Strong Arm Steady, Mista FAB, beats from Dirty Diggs, Soul Professor, Oh No, the list goes on an on. I don’t do a lot of collabs so I wanted to get a lot of collabs on this album.
HipHopCanada: Who’s your fave?
Planet Asia: I think it might be Paul Wall or Raekwon. But the Camp Lo one I could see getting real big for some reason. I don’t know. I got a couple real good standouts. I got a joint on there that I like real real tough, it’s me solo and it’s a great song for the ladies. You know I be on my lady joints too. One of my favorite songs is with Rasco and Chace Infinite, called “Bruce Lee,” produced by Soul Professor.
HipHopCanada: What’s the goal that you base your career around?
Planet Asia: The goal is to make sure that my whole camp eats.
HipHopCanada: So in a more abstract sense, what’s the central ideal?
Planet Asia: Everything revolves around mathematics. Every time you drop a line you count it in bars – 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 48 – and it’s like that in life too. You can’t have two without the one coming first.
HipHopCanada: There’s a trend among some of the more experienced rappers these days to bring a newer MC on the road with them to draw a crowd. Have you ever felt like you needed to do that?
Planet Asia: I do it cause I want to not cause I have to. People like me in all different age brackets from 14 to 43 I just do me and I think that young people understand what supreme swagger is – some swagger goes rancid, but none of the cats I look up to spoiled, they’re still in the game packing shows. I don’t look old so these kids don’t know what age I am.
HipHopCanada: You’re interested in a lot of different hip-hop artists, but what’s your personal preference when it comes to lyrical styles and content?
Planet Asia: I like street shit. Anything that’s related to the streets cause that’s where I come from. No disrespect to anybody on the outside. Street music. Raekwon, Nas, more up my alley. BCC cause they keeping in the original article. Sean P, all the cats from my era that’s still making it. Cause they swag don’t go rancid, it’s not about age, that’s some European shit to throw that into hip-hop. When you get mature they wanna throw you away, they don’t want the young people to learn from the elders. All that age factor shit is some bullshit in order to try and destroy our culture. I’m rhyming till in 70 years old and I’ll still slap the shit outta your favorite rapper.
HipHopCanada: You performed at Rock the Bells recently with a lot of heavy names…how did that feel?
Planet Asia: We all know each other; some faces you ain’t seen in a while so it’s like a hip-hop family reunion. That’s what that’s about.
HipHopCanada: Notice any differences in Vancouver from across the border?
Planet Asia: Not too much, the only difference is the foreigners – whether you’re talking about Chinese or Indians – but other than that it’s the same. There’s more foreign influence, here you have black dudes that’ll be in a hip-hop club and still have an African accent. And it’ll be a lot of them with difference accents whether it’s an Islander from the Caribbean or from England, that’s the only difference. You got dudes out here that rhyme and you can’t even tell if they’re from Canada or the U.S.
HipHopCanada: We gonna see you back here soon?
I hope so, I love Canada. I would love to be here all the time.
Interview and photography by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada