Consider the last time you went to a hip-hop show. Did you remember laughing? Not laughing at an MC's feeble attempt to move the crowd, but genuinely laughing at the insightful commentary on display. If you can't remember, you might want to check out MC/Comedian Awdazcate (pronounced "audacity").
Born Rashawn Childress, Awdazcate grew up on Chicago's South Side and developed his taste in hip-hop by watching artists like Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers and Slick Rick. His study of golden era hip-hop gave him the inspiration he needed to lyrically hold his own, but it was comedians Sean Monroe and Bernie Mac that gave him the material he needed to take his art to a different dimension. It's simple if you think about it-mixing hip-hop and comedy-but it takes a true talent to make a surly hip-hop crowd come together through laughter. Centerstage found this fusion intriguing, and thought it would be an experience to speak with Awdazcate about his work.
How did you get the name Awdazcate?
I got the name for just being brutally honest. I agree some things are just ill-timed, but if you don't say it, then people would just live with things and think it's all right.
When did you first start getting into hip-hop?
I got into hip-hop in 1988. I watched the “Vapors” video and said “wow, let me get a hi-top fade and do this!” Big Daddy Kane, De la Soul, Jungle Brothers and Slick Rick were some of my biggest influences.
You’re a comedian, too. Who were your favorite Chicago comedians and how has their art inspired yours?
Yes I am a comedian, and my favorite Chicago comedians are Sean Monroe and Bernie Mac. Their comedy is everyday life, everyday struggle and that's me when I do my music, etc...
You have a new mixtape out.
Yes, Fresh out the Box. It's basically about new music, new girls, new shoes and a new day-anything new that's fresh.
What about Chicago has helped your sound?
It’s saved my life. Staying in the house and hearing house music, old dusties, blues, slow jams etc...It really opened me up to new sounds and directions.
Favorite spots around town?
I’m in Bronzeville right now, and my favorite spot to let loose is usually at House of Blues, Sub-T or any bar. Ideas come at all times and that's why my music is different.
Chicago's hip-hop scene is very diverse. Do you have anyone locally that you'd really like to work with?
Well I've worked with Ang 13, Juice, Pugs Atomz and Phillip Morris so I got those bases covered. I'm really cool right now on the collabs, but look out for Me and Tall Black Guy, Que Billah, B-Vax and Elevation on My Last Album AudioCity.
What future projects are on the front?
Smokers Jacket with Pugs Atomz and My Last Album AudioCity it will be one of those albums you gotta put up there as a classic. I'm going out the same way I came in: HARDCORE! I am also writing a comedy, so stay tuned.
Awdazcate hosts The Cold Sweat on Friday, January 23 at Subterranean w/DJ Trew, the Comeups (Maker, Intel & Pickel) and special guests; free before 10 p.m., $5 after.