Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner — their names have reached the notoriety of some pop stars, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. That’s the premise behind NY-based hip hop artist, JSWISS‘ fiery new single “Famous”, the storyteller’s potent submission to a conversation that sounds as loud today as ever in the history of the United States.
“Famous” is an exciting first recorded collaboration between JSWISS and producer/musician Marcus Machado (also under the producer pseudonym M.Drix). Machado is one of the most exciting, rising guitarists on the scene who has worked with the likes of Robert Glasper, Pete Rock, and Pharoahe Monch.
In a digital age when people in and out of the entertainment world will seemingly do anything for their 15 minutes in the spotlight, a fast-rising hip-hop artist proclaiming “I don’t wanna be famous” on record is ironic. However, when you listen beyond the surface, JSWISS, who’s shared the stage with hip-hop luminaries such as the God MC, Rakim, Big K.R.I.T. and EPMD, isn’t referring to the coveted fame of fans and followers, but the recognition of countless people of color who have unwillingly become trending topics as victims of police brutality and a oft-corrupt system.
“What struck me was the laundry list of victims names — from adults with futures still ahead of them to kids who hadn’t even fully developed an identity — known by millions throughout the United States and internationally, not for what they’ve done with their lives, but for what was done to them,” says the talented emcee. A broadcast journalism grad from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with writing credits in papers including the New York Times, JSWISS’ instincts to look at a story from different angles no doubt fueled his approach to “Famous”.