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VERSIS: I JUST WANTED TO TALK TO YOU

When Colin Palmer was a music-loving high school student, his Mac crashed and his aspirations of being a producer were channelled into the written word, and so Colin became Versis. The teen MC found a lane early. Before he was 21, he clocked credits with a wide array of collaborators like Dibia$e, fLako and Mar. Versis went quiet for several years before re-emerging, transformed, in 2015 with copeæsthetic, a project much meatier, moodier and introspective than anything previous. I FaceTimed with the 24 year-old to speak about the life processes that led to copeæsthetic, surviving the sea of scenes in L.A., and mental health. This interview by sweeney kovar. By

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ANDERSON .PAAK: JUST COMMIT

Malibu is by no means Anderson .Paak’s debut, but to the wider world, it’s probably something of a revelation—a full-length follow-up by the surprise stand-out on Dre’s Compton. But .Paak has been a fixture in L.A. for years, with deep and real connections all across the city and a polymathic capability (drummer, singer, rapper …) to fit in any place he can make the space. Malibu’s release this month caps off a blow-out year that fast-forwarded .Paak from local notable to worldwide up-and-comer, and as usual for .Paak, he’s made the absolute most of the timing and the opportunity—it’s a pocket epic of an album, positively bristling with detail and personality and presenting .Paak as an artist ready and able to go anywhere. This interview by Chris Ziegler and sweeney kovar. By

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WHITE BOIZ: THE ORIGINAL CONVERSATION

At the beginning of 2015, my good friend Eric Coleman from Mochilla confided that Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra Creative Partners and Krondon of Strong Arm Steady were finishing an album. I asked what they were calling themselves. Coleman paused before answering: “White Boiz.” In a world where being “Black” is constantly being dissected, what does “White” mean? The rhyme is never without reason. After years of discussions and debates, Shafiq turned on the MPC and Krondon stepped in the booth, both committed to bring the core of their conversations to wax. The result is Neighborhood Wonderful, out now via Stones Throw—a hard-hitting hip-hop LP equal parts high science and street corner content. So just how does high science and heavenly glory translate into rap music? I spoke with the two Master Teachers to find out. White Boiz perform on Thurs., Nov. 19, at the Regent Theater with Peanut Butter Wolf and more. (Win tickets here!) This interview by sweeney kovar. By

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KAMASI WASHINGTON: I’M REACHING FOR SOMETHING

Raised in a pocket of Black L.A. that carved out a place for forefathers and history, Kamasi Washington was able to channel his universal teenage restlessness into laser-like focus on his instrument. He honed his craft with childhood friends like the Bruner brothers and Terrance Martin and while studying in UCLA was already touring, using his powerful horn to back up Snoop Dogg on his way to performing with Chaka Khan. He has various projects and innumerable live shows to his credit already, but for many his most recent release—the 3-LP The Epic—is an introduction. When I spoke with Washington about the vibrancy in Black L.A. jazz, his own journey in music and the impetus behind his Brainfeeder debut, I’m reminded that masters transcend their instrument. We’re living a moment of transcendence in American music and that gift is irreplaceable. Kamasi Washington performs Saturday at California Plaza. This interview by sweeney kovar. By

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COZZ: I’M A MYSTERY TO MYSELF

It was never truly dead, but hip-hop from the West Coast has recently risen to a stature it hasn’t enjoyed in years. One of the young artists looking to make a mark is South Central’s Cozz. Since last summer Cozz has been a Dreamville artist. But what does it mean for a young man from South Central to go from trying out his first bars at 16 to signing a deal at 20? I got the “Dreams” rapper on the phone to talk about what he learned from attending high school a few miles south and a world away in Manhattan Beach, the impact he’s looking to make and how it feels to be finding yourself while knee-deep in the rap game. Cozz performs Sun., July 19, with J. Cole and more at Staples Center. This interview by sweeney kovar. By