Vermont-based duo The Aztext present “Everyday Sun”, produced by Rico James and featuring singer/songwriter Xenia Dunford. The duo of Pro and Learic has several albums under their belt (discography) including their 2007 album The Sacred Document featuring Mac Lethal and One Be Lo (Spotify). The Aztext has collaborated with !llmind & Shuko, Craig G, Wordsworth and Romanian emcee Skilltester Stabbone (watch the “Break It Down” music video). Currently, The Aztext are working on their fifth full length EP. “This song is meant to make people feel good,” Pro explains. “A summer jam meant to warm the soul.”
Describe Vermont for us, as a place to live and a hiphop scene.
Learic: I was born and raised my first twelve years in Washington, D.C., so I definitely was a city kid when my family moved to Vermont. However, after going to middle school and high school here, and then returning after 4 years in Brooklyn, it’s impossible not to appreciate the uniqueness of its vibe and craft approach to a myriad of industries. From Church St. marketplace to the Waterfront, Burlington is a beautifully designed city. That’s where I cut my teeth as an MC over the years, and it is a close-knit community in general, but musically especially. As a hip-hop scene, it grew from a handful of artists 25 to 30 years ago, to a burgeoning community of MC’s, producers, DJ’s, B-boys, and graffiti artists. Truly, every element of hip-hop is celebrated here, and it’s really inspiring to see how it’s all come together over the decades. There are also so many different styles and sub-genres of hip-hop, and as much as people come together and collaborate, I feel like everyone keeps each other on their toes to see who can come out with the next great album, or showcase the best live set. You can find talented artists all over the state, which really gives Vermont a diversity of sounds, because each city or town has its own story and vibe.
What are the benefits of being a duo?
Pro: Two minds are always better than one. In the studio, it’s great to have a second set of ears to ensure each delivery is clear and intentional. During the writing process, you’re less likely to get writer’s block or take the easy way out on track concepts or hook melodies. All that said, the most powerful benefit of being in a duo is during the live show. When a duo is well practiced, the MCs almost become one on stage knowing exactly which words to punch for each other and what force to deliver punches with. There’s a lot of power in that dynamic as a performer, but the true beneficiary of that dynamic is felt in the audience.
What’s your favorite non-rap album of all time and why?
Learic: My favorite non-hip hop album, and just my favorite album in general, is Abbey Road by the Beatles. It’s the Illmatic of non-hip hop albums. Sonically, it’s a masterpiece, and the songwriting is spectacular. Every song is placed perfectly, and the album just flows together so well. ‘Oh Darling’ is a standout track to me, but it’s a perfect album, in my opinion. This is when the Beatles truly hit their stride.
What do you think surprises listeners the most about you guys?
Pro: That we are from Vermont. Even though hip hop has been around for almost 50 years and is extremely prevalent in recording studios and headphones all over the world… there is still a tendency to pigeon hole Vermont as this quite little nothing state where hip hop couldn’t possibly exist. And while it’s true that Vermont tends on the quiet side; the hip hop scene is alive and thriving here as Learic described above.
Tell us about the upcoming EP. Who’s involved and how will it differ from the new records out these days?
Learic: The upcoming EP is produced by Es-K and Nastee. After four albums together, having worked in separate groups since that time, and sort of doing our own thing for a little while, it’s really inspiring to reunite with such talented producers, and get back in the studio to create music together again. We have always taken songwriting very seriously, so if people are looking for songs to relate to, or make them think or feel something specific, or even just vibe to a dope beat, we plan on giving them all those things. We like to provide specific experiences with each song, and that is what we set out to do here.