Milk.xyz Takes LA: Cypress Moreno is "Tapped In"
This past Friday, Cypress Moreno (producer to Freddie Gibbs, Shoreline Mafia, and 03 Greedo) teamed up with Red Bull to celebrate the growing Latinx and Hip-Hop scene in Los Angeles. Along with LA artists Kalan.FRFR, Bino Rideaux and Feefa, Moreno took over The Mayan.
Breaking down the boundaries of English and Spanish language music were artists like Miami’s La Goony Chonga and Houston’s Doeman. The night was filled with special guests and emcees that pushed the crowd’s energy on an upward spiral until the show closed out around 2 AM. Milk sat down with a few of the artists before they took the stage to get the down-low on the event and what the LA music scene means to them.
So what does this event mean to you?
I guess this event is like my rookie debut. Earlier in a different interview I said it was like a playoff game. It’s a well put together show, and it’s just my debut that so happens to be in my hometown.
And working with Red Bull, were you able to curate who is coming in?
Oh definitely. Shout out Brian too and Red Bull. He made things very easy for us to curate the line-up that I really wanted to showcase. From like the event name to all the openers, special guest, production, everything.
So who are you bringing out and why?
It’s supposed to be a surprise but I guess I’ll tell you. So I’m bringing out artists I believe in, artists who I work with, artists I met throughout my career my journey. The Show’s called Tapped-In, so it’s artists from New York, Oklahoma, Texas. I have some special guests from Detroit. The Bay Area is going to be well represented and of course LA. I’ve been traveling the last two years so I’ve just been tapped in. As far as artists I’m bringing out, it’s a lot of artists like Lil Cadi, Cream Da Villan, Lil Mexiko, Lil Mr. E, Su’Lan, RIP Mac Dre/RIP Nipsey, Hussle Conrad, Drego & Beno, Feefa & Kalan, Azchike, 1Takejay.
How would you describe the current hip hop scene in LA?
Current pop scene in LA…I feel that over the last two and a half or three years I’ve been pretty instrumental. I’ve been around or in it, or a part of it, either one or the other or all three. But I’ve seen people like Drakeo the Ruler basically just kind of pave this new way for the mind of the city. I’m constantly just kind of experiencing this new LA.
What would you say makes you excited about the LA hip hop scene?
What makes me excited is that I’m part of it. I’m actively engaged. I’m working on making music with a lot of my favorite artists who so happened to be friends. So I think the timing is great. I’ve done like a lot of homework, especially when it comes to the genre of Hip-Hop. So I think it’s a really good time and place for what’s going on right now in the city. There’s a really big spotlight on LA right now. And I feel like we’re representing very well.
Did you always know since you were young, that this was a part of you?
I wouldn’t say I knew like right from the junk. But when I kind of break it down, I look back on it. I definitely see how my, role models and my influences helped shape me to be the DJ producer I am right now. It really just started with having young parents. My dad named me after Cypress Hill. So he was you know, big hip hop fan. A lot of what he played in the car, the house was Snoop Dogg, DJ Quid and Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, just West Coast hip hop. He played on Tupac too. And my mom, she loves to dance to Spanish music, freestyle 80s music so this was just my surroundings. Now that I’m a little older and I can look back and just pinpoint certain things and see how my surroundings helped me get here. But another big influence was a radio. I remember being a little kid and being fascinated with CD players in radio so any CD I got my hand on I would put in either my Walkman or into the car and just sit in a car and listen to music.
When did you kind of start to take this as a serious profession?
I took this seriously once I stopped going to college. I went to University of Arizona for a year. It was just kind of expensive so I came back home didn’t really have a backup plan. But Djing was a hobby that I was playing with at the end of high school. It started off as a hobby then I took it seriously once I stopped going to college. I enrolled in recording school, ended up finishing recording programs in 14 months. It’s been pretty much, working ever since. Even when I was going to school, I was just you know, DJing. That was was my job, even though the parents always told me go get a real job. That was my job.
Now you’re like, “Look at my real job now!”
Nah, they still want me to get a real job.
What’s your favorite spot in LA?
My grandma’s house definitely, to chill. It’s not very far because it’s right by my barbershop, so it’s convenient. I say my barbershop to just because it’s still like humbles me. I still gotta go wait in line, might wait two hours for my barber.
What advice do you have for someone who looks up to you?
My advice for someone who looks up to me would be to be themselves. Work hard, focus. Follow the golden rule.
What’s coming for 2020?
A lot of Cypress Moreno/Catch 22. Catch 22 is my label. So definitely a lot of releases a lot of music. A little bit more touring, but I’m going to focus more so on Cypress Moreno, me as artists. I’m going all out with my label. I have hundreds of unreleased records so I expect a lot of this music to finally get put out the right way. That’s really what I’ve been waiting on–timing, good distribution situations. Right now I’m still completely independent and that’s kind of like a gift and a curse. I like having control and say over when I can drop this music. I see a lot of artists that have been in some bad situations where they really don’t have creative control and that’s what I want. That’s what I’ve had coming into this game–just full control. I’ve always been Cypress so I definitely want to show the world who I am to my music.
How does it feel to be a part of a lineup with fellow peers and Latino artists? Do you have any favorites you are looking forward to seeing perform?
I think its super dope to be apart of a show alongside so many other Latinx artists. I only know of one of the artists on the line-up but definitely looking forward to discovering new artists and their music.
Your previous artist name was Twiggy Rasta Masta, what inspired the name change?
Twiggy Rasta Masta was just my Tumblr url back in 2012, when I started releasing music so it was sort of an impulsive decision at the time. La Goony Chonga was inspired from a song I made in 2014 and was more fitting for me & my brand.
What was creating your album Dinero like? What was the process like, what did you keep in mind while making this album?
I had a really great time creating that album because it was my first album in all spanish. It was also the time when I really discovered my own unique sound and came up with my “formula.” The process really all starts with the beat for me. Once I hear a beat, I know immediately if it speaks to me or not… How ever that beat makes me feel is the outcome of what I create.
What inspired that album was the fact that my Spanish singles were doing so well and the amazing feedback I received from my fans. I knew that creating that album was needed not only for my fans but as a statement to the world that I was serious about taking on this lane.
How has living in LA shaped your music?
Living in LA has inspired my music is some ways in terms of the Mexican slang I have incorporated into some of my songs. I was raised in Miami around my Cuban culture so most of the lingo in my songs derive from there. Being that I have a big Mexican fan base, especially in LA, I wanted to include their lingo in my music to make it more relatable. For example, in my song “Mi Vida Loca” I use words like “chingona” & “chillona.”
You coined the word “Treggaeton” as your music has reggaeton and trap influences. How did you go about finding your sound?
Yes, I coined that term back in 2016 when I released my first Spanish song called “Buena y Guapa.” My original sound in English was already a trap like sound. I basically just worked with the same producers and just switched the language. I didn’t want to sound like every other Spanish song on a Latin beat. I wanted to do something that wasn’t really done before. Treggaeton was the perfect name for it because it had the trap beats with the reggaeton type lyrics.
Any upcoming projects we should know about?
Yes, My 2nd Spanish album “Dimen5ion” produced by JHawk Productions will be released 11/15, which conveniently happens to be on the same day as the Red Bull show in LA! This album showcases my unique sound but on a much more elevated level. I have been working on this project all year and I’m super excited to celebrate this and perform all my new songs.
How does it feel to be a part of a lineup with fellow peers and Latino artists? Do you have any favorites you are looking forward to seeing perform?
It’s a blessing to share the stage with all of these great artists. Shoutout to Cypress and his team for having me and DYNA Music Group here. I really fuck with Bino and Youngster’s music heavy and of course my man Feefa.
What was it like growing up in Houston, Texas? How has it influenced your music?
Houston is a whole different culture, especially when it comes to music. I grew up during the whole run of Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, and Paul Wall so that was definitely very inspiring to see them go from hustling their music in the streets in Houston to going platinum worldwide.
How have you seen your music change since being in LA?
I’m actually still residing in Houston full time but I’m back and forth to LA frequently. Constantly traveling to LA has definitely taken my music a step further and made my shit more groovy fuckin with the West Coast
What have you noticed about the collaborations and projects you have worked on here?
I’ve noticed that the industry is really out here. I did a record with A$ton Matthews out here and that shit went crazy! Shout out to Velous who produced it. The world isn’t even ready for the collab project that me and Cypress have coming in 2020.
Your music and visuals often discuss growing up Latin in the United States, what message do you have for your listeners?
My message for my listeners isn’t just for the brown or Latin people it’s for all my listeners. Be at peace with yourself and at war with the world. Go get everything you came for and more. I heard Nipsey say that and that really embodied my musical message.
What is your songwriting process like, do you have a routine for when you write?
To get ready to write I workout, I talk to my close homies (Mike C, Sal, & Esco), I think about my godchildren, I remember why I started doing music in the first place. Then I get a fire beat and let God do the rest.
So, you grew up in LA, how was it?
Yup, it was dope. Most people, when they say they’re from LA, they’re usually from one part, but I grew up all over. I grew up in Compton, Carson, Los Angeles. I spent a lot of time in Watts.
Favorite spot to eat in LA?
Louisiana’s, there’s a bunch of those, it’s a chain. They got the best fried chicken.
Best place to make music?
Best place to make music is my mom’s garage. We be catchin’ bars in there. That’s where I started making music, so I’m just most comfortable making music.
Best place to chill?
The projects. I be in the hood, that shit comfortable cause it’s what I’m used to. Wherever my homies at, that is a vibe. That’s all I can say.
What is your relationship with the other artists that are playing tonight?
They all homies; like me and Feefa, we met not too long ago, but we good friends, we got music together. Cypress been my boy since the beginning, you know since I started making music. Cypress always been around helping me get my music out, and putting me on shows and stuff like that. I went on my first tour with Cypress, he deejayed the whole tour with Shoreline [Mafia.] Bino [Rideaux].. me, and Bino got so much music going on. Chris [O’bannon] and I got records together. It’s home, so everybody’s cool around here.
How did you get into music? When did you start to take it seriously?
I start taking music seriously like 2016-2017 because I was kind of done playing football. I focused more because this is what I wanted to do. So I put my full attention, and give it all the love, and get it all the dedication that I can get, to see what I can get out of it.
As far as music, I’ve always been in love with music. My grandma used to play music and sing music to me. So I always had a love for old music. My mom was always up on music. I used to sneak and watch music videos and shit like that.
Has there been a moment in your career so far that kinda stunned you?
Honestly, everything. Every moment is like that. Every show, I be surprised that they actually singing the words. Every time I shoot a video, when it come, I’m like, “Damn that’s cold.” Just seeing other rappers talk to me on Instagram, DMs and stuff like that; seeing other rappers listen to it.
Maybe the biggest is when I met Stevie Wonder. I was doing a show, we actually did a show together. That’s my grandmother’s favorite artist, that’s like my whole childhood. I was overwhelmed, he grabbed my arm.
So what are you working on it now?
Right now, I’m working on another project. I’m shooting a lot of visuals from my old project. I’m never not working, so I have a lot of music. I probably got like 100 songs in the cut I’m working on; really learning the ins and outs behind dropping a project, you know? I’m signed to an independent company with my brothers; it’s called FCE. We kind of started from the ground up, I’m like the first artist, so the fact that it’s actually working, and we’re getting results out of this shit. It’s crazy.
When we wake up, we’re like we gotta do this, and this, and this. And it’s getting accomplished on a level where we can compete with artists who have full machines behind them, and not to compare myself to anybody, because everybody has their own destiny, you’re going to be what you’re going to be. But the fact that you have established labels that have been doing this shit for years, and years, and years — the fact that we can keep up, and even compete — this is a competitive sport, I look at everything like a sport. We can compete at the level of those big companies and those big names. It’s just crazy that we just people with dreams, and we making it happen.
What advice do you have for someone that looks up to you?
Be yourself, always keep it for real. For real, for real.
What is coming in 2020?
Some big projects, some more seriousness. You gonna get all them in 2020. I’ve been a little one-sided; you know, I haven’t dropped a lot of music. I waited a whole year and a half almost to drop any project since TwoFr. I just dropped Leak the Tape, but that wasn’t even what I’ve been working for, you know? Everybody makes music, but what I’ve been working on… I can’t wait.
Header Image Courtesy of Red Bull.
Stay tuned to Milk for more LA music moments.