In an area where rap and hip-hop is nearly non-existent, a rapper is trying to be heard and recognized amidst the pop, punk and indie music scene. Aaron Williams, better known as Aliso Black gives us his take on Orange County's hip-hop scene (yes, it does exist!), his musical influences and what we can expect at his upcoming shows.
OC Weekly: How did you get the name “Aliso Black”?
Aliso Black: I live in a small town called Aliso Viejo which is probably less than
8 percent black. I know everybody that is [black]…at least I think I do. An older cat
from Detroit named Craig would yell out Aliso Black! Every time he
would see me at this bar I'm always at, so I just ran with it.
How would you describe your music to those who aren't familiar with it?
My music is really all over the place, and I hate it myself sometimes
because believe it or not I'm a neat freak. So when I look back at my
catalog it seems real messy! Normally I sit down listen to instruments
and in minutes they have pulled something from me..I will say this
though about my my music; it's aggressive at times, vulgar as well as
positive and fun. I am truly unorthodox when it comes to making music. I
don't care but do at the same time. It's weird.
What does your music represent?
My music represents love of self and the people that are lost without
it, like I am. A lot of the times we know what's good for us but we're
still on a path of destruction. So anybody that feels that type of void
in their life..I hope my songs about dealing with my own struggles
inspire them to conquer what they're up against and have respect for
What are your influences?
My influences to make music come from all the greats like James Brown,
Curtis Mayfield and guys like that. I know my genre of music is
different from theirs. There's so many incredible black artists and to be
a part of that would be incredible. Rap wise, I am huge fan off Redman
he's sick with it. I always played his stuff growing up and still do.
What's your take on the rap scene in OC?
My take on the rap scene in OC is that it's an untapped market waiting
to be recognized. I know the scene would flourish if there were more
outlets for artist to showcase their talents. In my dealings most DJ's
out here spin a Top 40/Techno mix at these clubs around the county no
DJ's are really in the street doing mixtapes etc..which is a great way for a
new artist to be heard and when big names come to town promoters are
more concerned with their own agendas than breaking what's here and
having their own MC's & DJ's come out consistently. These might be
the same issues of any place..I don't know but these are some of the
problems I see on my side. I commend anybody though that is still
pushing the envelope to be heard, stay creative, and creating outlets
for others under these circumstances.
Do you feel the scene is under-represented?
I don't feel it's underrepresented. That would be disrespectful to
myself as well as people here & before me that are true to this Hip
Hop culture and live in Orange County..but like I said I feel there is a
lack of opportunity out here that comes from other places besides the
artist. Those are the areas which I think need to develop more and build
on relationships with each other as well as neighboring cities and
states to say hey look what my county has cooking. Every up and coming
artist doesn't have a huge following..that's why they need to perform to
earn those fans..so they should be able to barter there way into these
shows by helping promote set up etc…for a chance to perform..the
debate on that from artist to promoter perspective could go on and on
but to help the “OC Rap Scene” a common ground needs to be meet.
What others artists have you worked with/opened for?
I haven't really worked with any high profiled artists before. Although I
have been on the same show bill with some and opened for guys like
Talib Kweli, Strong Arm Steady, Yelawolf, KRS One and most recently “THE
CHEF” Raekwon which is going down May 3 at the Detroit Bar in Costa
What can we expect at your upcoming show at Detroit Bar with Raekwon?
You can expect some hard lyrics, high energy…maybe a freestyle or two
and few buckets of chicken going around during my set on May 3…anything else you'll just have to wait and see for yourself!
You've been performing at Detroit Bar a lot lately. How did that come about?
Yes I have been performing at the Detroit Bar in conjunction with Club
Mercy a lot since the beginning of the year. We killed it at the
Yelawolf show and since then it's been on…they have reached out in a
way I am not a custom to and it feels good to be recognized. They are
responsible for bringing some of the premier acts to Orange County and I
cant say enough about the intimate setting the Detroit Bar provides
with the audience..I enjoy the place and working with Club Mercy.
How many albums/EPs have you completed?
I have one EP that I created in 2007 called Psych Ward Present Aliso
Black..Patient 413. I have also released a few mixtapes since then but
would definitely like to put out an official LP one day.
What do you think you bring to the table when it comes to rap/hip-hop?
I believe I bring a piece of reality, contagious energy and a reason to believe rap is still the voice of the people.