Passionate and insightful with talent ranging from writing to pretty much everything out there briefly captures the empowering essence of “The Creatrix Haus”. The collective is composed of artistically as well as intellectually equipped individuals hailing from the inner boroughs of the bustling New York City.
The group expresses themselves through nearly every medium of art in an unapologetic manner, which secures them an appealing and admirable crudeness. Inspirations vary from one of the most revolutionary rap groups Wu Tang Clan, English post-punk band Bauhaus, critically acclaimed film director Quentin Tarantino and literary movement the Beat Generation.
Their goal is as laudable as them. While desiring to bring back a feeling of unity among artists in the area as well as abroad, they also want the youth to feel comfortable expressing themselves in means of how they want, without hesitation or fear of what others will say/think.
Check out the engaging interview with artists Kewalnam, Jared, Mack, and Marcii where we discuss the collective, their work, principles, and more below.
“I believe our greatest weapon right now is our creativity.”
Before going into depth with things, what’s the story behind coining the collective ‘‘The Creatrix Haus’’?
KEWALNAM: We started as the BLKKK KINGS, a name we carry with us still to this day, inspired by the principles of hip hop and high level artistry. We all have our different fields of creativity that we bring to the table and we all make sure to become masters at our crafts, versus just jumping out the window. Bauhaus is a huge influence for me, so when I thought of the name a while back I wanted to use it for us.
MACK: Our story is a simple one. We all know each other from different points in our lives and we all have individual goals and dreams and voices of creativity. We all have friends and family we are close with and hung out with on a regular basis but we gravitated more towards each other because of our love for art and interests in success and we saw how we as a dedicated bunch can help each other realize our dreams.
How did “The Creatrix Haus” come about? Were you all previously acquaintances and decided to collaborate with your creative endeavors or what jump started the beginning for you all?
JARED: I would say that we all connected on a chill Brooklyn vibe, but once we all realized just how similar our mindsets were it was only right that we work, build, and grow together. Trying to accomplish anything on your own is a task in itself, and although we are in different fields of work (i.e. books, music, art, and etc.) we learned how we can benefit each other and work together.
KEWALNAM: I met Mack in high school. Been friends ever since. Through him I met these other gentlemen. Been a team ever since. Think it’s like 8 years, I don’t know. We all have pretty much the same beliefs as far as what we want to accomplish. It’s like working with family.MACK: I’ve known Jah since elementary school, Turk is my older brother, I met Marcii when his cousin brought him to the block and we been cool ever since and Kewali I met my senior year at a second chance school after I got kicked out my previous high school the year before. We was on a different wave than everyone else. Since I’ve met him he’s been writing and he’s always had a very intense passion for it. Marcii has been rapping since I met him too and he was always a laid back kinda guy but to this day every time I’ve seen him he has new raps for me to hear.
The collective is based throughout the contrasting boroughs of New York City. Every location has good and bad aspects. What are some factors you all love about New York? What are some factors you are all not so fond of?JARED: The same reason I love New York is the same reason I hate it [laughs]. In New York there are so many opportunities and people that can push you to new levels but there are equally as much people that can distract you and sway you off of your path and what you truly believe in.
KEWALNAM: Man the New York we wanted to experience isn’t around anymore. There’s still that energy from the 80’s-90’s just not as prevalent. Brooklyn and the Lower East Side are where I’m mostly posted up. As far as what I don’t fuck with… fuck 12 all day.
MACK: The thing I love about New York is the energy. NY is the melting pot and you can have so many different experiences every day with so many people and it gives a certain level of energy that is unmatched. What I dislike is separation or segregation of the different communities and with gentrification showing no signs of slowing down we are losing a lot of culture and the flame that fuels that energy is being extinguished.
It is mentioned that the collective communicates with the same sentiments as Wu Tang Clan. Wu Tang was known for speaking their mind on societal issues through their art and not in an attempt to compare “The Creatix Haus” to them entirely but would it be appropriate to also deem this group sort of like activists as well?JARED: As of right now my art is just pictures of things I enjoy. As I grow and build a bigger audience I will use that to promote growth and taking a chance on yourself. Two things I feel are lacking these days, but I also feel there is a right way of going about communicating this, so I want to do that in the right way.
KEWALNAM: We are very aware of ourselves, very aware of where the world is right now. I believe that we are taking steps in that direction. We have an initiative myself and Mack have been working on. I think I’m going to start it off with my book tour, and travel to different cities not to read, but to talk to the inner city artists and motivate them. I believe our greatest weapon right now is our creativity.MACK: There are different social issues we would like to address in our art for sure. Some of those issues were present back then when the Wu was doing their thing and I’m sure they spoke on it. Being students of the game we’re seeking to figure out what new approaches can be taken to resolve these issues.
MARCII: I won’t go as far as labeling us activist as of yet but we are definitely one to be extremely vocal about our thoughts.
What are some principles/propositions that the collective as a whole obtains?
KEWALNAM: Integrity. Family first, building each other up and holding each other down. We believe in legacy, in creating something that lasts longer than we do, in raw expression. No time for the cute shit. If you feel it say it. If it’s in you express it. We believe in balance, we believe in chaos.
MACK: Dedication, determination, keeping it real, holding each other down, building each other up, and just being real friends to one another. We’re more than just a group of artists and we can never forget who we are as individuals and I’d say these are the things that we hold close to our core.
“We’re all very unique individuals that are very comfortable with who they are and I think it shows naturally.”
As far as the upcoming release of TGFD and WIBATM , what should we be ready to expect next?
JARED: Right now I’m doing commissions behind the scenes. What I can tell you right now is that I plan on moving into animations but as far as dates are concerned I’m aiming for early 2018.
KEWALNAM: Well I’m working on BOOK III right now that will be eleven stories in one. Merch for both books, Mack and I gotta shoot videos for chapters. Marcii has music coming. Jared is working on an art book and his website. I have a few ideas for a podcast, and writing an idea for a television show. Everything in the group.
MACK: Me personally, I’m expecting an experience. Kewali’s writing is so unique that the words stick you. It’s like that album or song that’s connected to a memory or certain time in your life. You will read these books and remember who you were before, what your life was while reading and what changed for you after.
Kewalnam’s 2 books in 1 “Thank God For Drugs” and “Women in Black” releasing July 21st
I’ve looked at all of your work and listened to Marcii’s music and I must say that this is an overlooked group of individuals. How do you all plan on expanding and getting recognition? Or is being recognized not even a concern, rather creating and distributing as freely as desired the most signified?
JARED: To be honest it’s a balancing act between creating freely and getting recognition. We were never the type to create for people to like and just blindly agree with us. We create because this is what we enjoy and ultimately fulfills us. On the flip side we all have a story to tell and we believe that any and everyone can benefit from it.
KEWALNAM: Man honestly this is a funny question, because if we talked about how far we really were people would expect us to be even further. So we downplay our progress which isn’t always good, but keeps a level of sanity while you’re hustling. But umm, for me in my opinion when I think of these guys and what we’re doing…. I don’t know of another group of black artists coming from the NYC area that’s doing a quarter of what we’re doing, who even carry the same ambition we do. And that isn’t throwing shade at anyone, I love the artist community, but in every room we walk in they flock to us. The youth flock to us, they want us to give them game as if we’ve made it out. And it’s weird telling them that yo, we’re still hustling… the only difference is we didn’t start yesterday. I released my first book in high school, Mack has been doing this film hustle since before college, Marcii has been rapping forever. Jared has always been drawing. Recognition is on its way, and soon. It’s not something we’re seeking, it’s what comes with great work and consistent hustle. And we are great fucking artists, who are consistent. 2 books one day has never been done before, my third is already getting heavier, and my brothers are evolving and killing it daily. We’re the next ones out of NY, and only two of us rap.
MACK: Just putting ourselves out there more. Creating more content to release. Once the people see us or hear us they connect to us we just have to make an effort to reach more people.MARCII: I agree we’re very overlooked but every empire has a rough start. Even though I would say the creative side of it all tend to be most important, recognition is the next step. Who wouldn’t want to receive the fruits of their labor? (laughs) We’ve all been gaining the respectable attention in our fields and it’s very refreshing the way the public is gravitating to our art.
“If you feel it say it. If it’s in you express it. We believe in balance, we believe in chaos.”
It is mentioned that when you walk in the room the youth flock to you all. In what way do you all personally feel as if the collective encompasses prospect figures for them?
MACK: I think what we really represent is a real commitment to the culture and the ability to be extremely cool but never trendy. We’re all very unique individuals that are very comfortable with who they are and I think it shows naturally.
KEWALNAM: In my opinion for one, we’re not all rappers. We are creatives, who happen to all be in a group together, inspired by the same principles of hip hop but also come from an art background. For some of us film, for some art and design. So we put all those pieces of information and create, the way we create, the intention, and the outcome is what the youth see and flock to, it’s that energy. That energy that says that you can do more than what you think you could do. That’s what we represent, we represent possibility, how far you can fucking take it. Look at us now, wait till you see us at the end of the year, and the next…
“Sometimes you have to be a little selfish because if you aren’t doing anything for yourself who will?”
Is there a message each of you want the youth or even people in general to understand and if so, what is it?
JARED: The only message I would like to get across is do what makes you happy. Sometimes you have to be a little selfish because if you aren’t doing anything for yourself who will?
MACK: A message I’d like to share is about progression. Just be a student of the game and do your research and apply the knowledge you gain to your situation and move forward. Learn not just from your mistakes but from those that came before you. No one’s story is the same but learn how to navigate the world your working towards becoming a part of.
KEWALNAM: For me it’s to live without fear, we have 100 years on this planet. Use it wisely and stop giving so many fucks.
Let’s discuss the merch being released.
MACK: It’s gonna be dope and that’s all I can really say. Nothing trendy you know.
KEWALNAM: SEPTEMBER we start to release the first batch, after that the streets will be flooded. We have plans. Don’t want to spoil them.
Any closing statements, piece of advice, quotes, etc. you’d like to conclude with?
JARED: Take a second to think and find out what goals you would like to accomplish while you are young willing and able because time fly and the worst feeling you can ever feel is regret.
MACK: Learn to live, live to love.
KEWALNAM: Create your own wave, no matter how long it takes. Stop hopping from wave to wave and sit down and focus on building yours. Get off the internet, hit the streets and talk to people find out where they are at mentally and spiritually. Create to heal yourself and the world around you.
Click links for more of the collective below