As the industrial age comes to a close and year 2000 babies become adults, a new generation of thinkers arise from our communities. Since the late 1880’s, Altadena, Pasadena, and South Pasadena have developed their own sense of character and esteemed heritage.
We’ve recently asked the Pasadena community if they’d be open to such a change. And a lot of more than half of them said “No”. After the initial response we received, we believe that Altadenans, Pasadenans, and South Pasadenans more or less agree on each city keeping their own identity. But, the young minds of today challenge that tradition with a simple question. Should Altadena & South Pasadena be Incorporated into one Pasadena?
Cast your vote below and feel free to explain why you feel it would or would not be a good idea. At this time, there is no commissioned initiative to change these cities. This is strictly for discussion purposes and to encourage community engagement.
Today’s local music scene in Pasadena, California is alive and well. Mistah Wilson caught up with
Pasadena Hip Hop pioneer Paco Swartz for an exclusive interview about Music, His Detroit Roots, and How He’s Managed to Stay focused through Adversity. In this interview, Paco touches on how his spot was the ‘dojo’ for a lot of the Pasadena artists from his generation. Giving Glory to God for still being here, Swartz also speaks on growing up in Pasadena and attending Washington Middle School. Paco mentions the adverse conditions of students who attended Washington Middle School, or the “Thunder Dome” in comparison to schools in different districts who didn’t have that obstacle.
Paco Swartz pays homage by crediting Pasadena rapper GrinCH for taking him under his wing and encouraging him to play sports as oppose to getting caught up with the streets. Paco reveals that he is “classically” trained in music when singing, arranging, and performing. He learned from popular opera singer Versie Mae Richardson who ran the Boys Choir at Alkebu-lan Cultural Center. Paco honors Versie Mae for being a great influence on his life.
Paco describes his work with Pasadena Vet G Laf on his latest project and how they go all the way back to the Boys Club. He also talks about working with artists like Mike Towns, S Claz, Black Santa, Hardway, Riko DENAro, Tone Grizzard, Harold Blu, and a whole lot more. Paco talks about how he and Pasadena artist Noy grew up in the same neighborhood and the latest update on “Da League”, a group consisting of Paco Swartz, Ethan Avery, & 12 Sinatra.
What makes this interview special is the fact that Paco is a true product of Pasadena. Many Pasadena artists of today are people Paco went to school with. And a lot of them you actually see on the forefront of the scene.
In this exclusive interview with Paco Swartz, we drop
“Wake Up” by Paco Swartz ft. Tommy Bunnz
“Energy” by Paco Swartz”
“Can’t Let Go” by Paco Swartz ft. Kampaign
“Shots Rang” by Paco Swartz
*Note: This is a throwback exclusive interview with singer Moniquea featured in ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue9. The full length interview is no longer available due to forfeiture of thawilsonblock.net)
Mistah Wilson: Who are some of the artists both in the city and beyond that you’ve worked with?Moniquea: From Dena, to name a few, I have worked with: Ted D. Bear, Broadway, Quaz, Ekim, Kloudnyne, Dulo, SD, Mike Towns, XL Middleton, Reality Jonez, Philthy Phactor, Priceless, Paco Swartz, Faith, Evri, Rebecca J, The Hundred, Noy, etc. Beyond Dena, to name a few: Ric hard, A.J. from tha K, Dis Most, Hunnid Roundz, Tax Free, Bogie Corleone, Ms. Shannon, HomieHomie, Burris Ave., Young Loon, Big Doty, etc. Not to leave any others out… These are just the names that I can come up with off top.
Mistah Wilson: When I see you perform I can tell that you’re a seasoned singer. Who are some artists that inspired you?There’s a wide-range and there are many: Erykah Badu, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Deniece Williams, Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Robert Smith (The Cure), Mary J. Blige, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Bobby Womack, Bobby Blue Bland, Tyrone Davis, Johnny Taylor, (I grew up listening to a lot of Blues in my household – very much influenced by many male Blues artists), Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.
Mistah Wilson: On ThaWilsonBlock, we believe in ENCOURAGEMENT. It can be vital to our success. What would you say has encouraged and motivated to be the artist that you are?
Moniquea: Knowing that there are people out there who believe in me; and are interested in what I have to offer the world of music… That alone gives me the greatest encouragement and motivation. It’s comforting, and it’s a blessing to know that I have genuine supporters out there.
Mistah Wilson: What kind words would you give to a young aspiring singer?
Moniquea: Pray and believe that you will make it to where you want to be, learn the business, stay who you are, don’t give up, don’t stop pursuing, always give it all you can, be appreciative of those who love, support and believe in you; and pray to stay humble no matter what happens.
Mistah Wilson: If you got any shout outs, lets hear em’. Thanx for taking the time out of your busy busy schedule for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock, Moniquea! It’s been great!
Moniquea: Indeed… First off, shout out to ThaWilsonBlock! Thank you so much for interviewing me and allowing me to share a part of me with your readers. Shout out to my Crown City Entertainment family, Rehab Muzik family, all my family members, friends/fans, fellow artists; the cities of Pasadena, Altadena and the whole wide world!
If you know anything about Pasadena, know this: the local music scene has been striving to unite and nourish a sense of stability for artists native to the region. Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen great local shows and events cease due in part to the decline of local, native culture. Many people from Pasadena live elsewhere today. It’s an interesting statistic as we fight to build a scene that’s constantly changing. Don’t get it twisted, the pride & culture surrounding DENA, Pasadena, Altadena cannot be hacked. People who grew up here love this place. But, for those who still live here, it’s been a challenge to revive what Pasadena is already known for. It’s local music scene…
Inspiration for the #BringingItTogether movement and Mistah Wilson’s mission to help unite the local music scene comes from events like Nic @ Nite when 72 North (venue) was still in effect. Phat Cat’s Live @ The Loft really brought out the local music community. It was huge for local music in Pasadena. Natives appreciated being able to enjoy a good time in Hen’s Teeth Square where The
Sidewalk Cafe is. We can’t forget about Perry’s Joint!, either! They’ve kept the local music scene open on Tuesdays for years and should be acknowledged for their commitment to the Pasadena / Altadena community abroad. The Old Towne Pub and The Coffee Gallery has been known to be amongst the most consistent venues for local music.
What do we mean by the “local music scene”? As far as Mistah Wilson is concerned, the local music scene that they are trying to accomplish is focused around the local, native artists. The artists who grew up here, have stories here, and live here. The Pasadena Music Scene will always serve as a general platform for any artist to be involved in, but it’s the inspiration that has come from the local native artists who helped form the vision for today’s and tomorrow’s scene. It was for radio shows like 210West, DENA DONS, Disco Ministries. Rugged rap groups like Rough City and FuelHead. Discovering music from Snake Pits & Belle Rose. Fast forward to Bing Bing’s era (2008 – present) and you had artists like Paco Swartz, Black Santa, and 2-Hye holding it down. The Rose Family. Blak Axx & LeMatiq. Pasadena has always had a music scene, we’re just bringing it together.
The third event in the #BringingItTogether Photo Shoot series gave more than expected. A step up from the previous 2 events, Mistah Wilson & Co. assured that the 3rd event would not be held in an outside venue (park). After being rained on in November’s shoot, it was imperative that the next one be inside. And artists in attendance were in for a sweet surprise.
In collaboration with Pasadena artist & entrepreneur Maca, Blurry Vizion Media, and True Spitters, they were able to pull off more than just an Open Mic. Accompanied by the Drum Circle, Rahsan was a great host as he led drummers into the first quarter of the evening. It turned out to be another rainy night, ultimately affecting the overall turnout. However, artists, musicians, and poets still showed up to be a part of Pasadena’s local music scene.
The event was planned around the photo shoot & open mic. Maca and Blurry Vizions provided a
well-put together stage area with DJ Jut (Jutting Out Radio) & Lamont Vintage on the 1’s & 2’s. Artists who performed got a whole lot more than just an opportunity to reach people, they received quality content of themselves that they could use for their own press kits.
For this event, Mistah Wilson wanted to try something new…The Gold Carpet. The idea to use a different color carpet was so that the event wasn’t confused with some type of fashion show like the red carpet. Wilson wanted to choose a color carpet that represented community. The purpose of the Gold Carpet was to create a new standard for the local music scene. It was meant to help give artists a sense of purpose. That we as individuals stand on common core principles and values. The Gold Carpet means that we are for love, peace, & unity. By participating in the Gold Carpet photo shoot, you are taking a step in the right direction by helping to influence our future as a community in a positive way. The Gold Carpet is meant to
redefine what it means to be an artist. An artist not just being an artist, but a valuable member of their community.
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