The more that hip-hop becomes recognized via mainstream, it simultaneously becomes much more of a sport underground. Real revivalists will focus on bringing back the feeling of what was so pivotal during the inception of rap all the while making it feel modern and contemporary. Ultimately, an artist is only as powerful as his core fanbase and the audience deems he or she is. Artists will not reach their full potential without the support of the market, listeners and supporters.
There are certain pockets of New York and surrounding areas that are home to artists who deserve attention. Arguably, these artists deserve more attention than mainstream cats because they do not have as much awareness and their musical output is just better — plain and simple.
Hailing from Queens is an artist by the name of THERAVADA. He is emitting major wavelengths and sonic radiation in the underground New York hip-hop scene. Growing up with the name “Xen” always put an outcast cloud over his head and he dealt with hardships in school. He went through different periods of his life where he despised his name and eventually went on to identify heavily with the fact that he was different from everyone around him. As far as contact information goes, Xen is the only name we know and he chooses to keep it that way. He sees himself as a “Madonna” or “Yanni” figure and decides to keep his last name discreet to protect his family. TheRavada is adapted from a form of Buddhist enlightenment traditions and he often stylizes his name to THRVD.
When Xen was around eight or nine he really started to gravitate toward hip-hop. Although not a huge Eminem fan, It was extremely informative for him to hear the way Eminem deconstructed the hip-hop genre with his own lyrical approach and uninhibited agenda. His siblings and friends put him onto different tracks from the likes of Eminem and Nas when he was a youngster. What really grabbed him by the shirt collar was hearing Nas’ “Ether” track. Being a QU native, Xen’s friend would playback that record over and over again to break down the bars and let the lines resonate deeply while analyzing their meaning and significance.
Ultimately, Xen would become fully enthralled by the hip-hop scene as he realized that it meant something different to him than what it meant to his siblings and himself when he was younger. Rather than liking hip-hop because it was cool to listen to at the time, the art form gripped his soul and affected him in an unexplainable manner.
Those close to him were always able to tell that thi was destined to grace the stage. Early on, at basketball tournaments, if there were ever an open microphone, Xen was able to capture the attention of an entire room. With a certain type of bravery and bravado, magnetic energy radiated from within throughout his life progression. One of the closest friends and collaborators that TheRavada has goes by the name of Rob Chambers. These two have known each other for quite some time and have been extremely influential for the cataclysm of each of their respective careers.
Rob Chambers is also a Queens native and began making beats in a haphazard, experimental way. He actually first got his production tread on the PS2 game, MTV Music Generator which would provide a collection of samples that were able to be compiled into rough versions of beat selections. In ninth grade, Chambers learned a lot through observation of his classmates that were frequently using the program “Reason.” Through this process, he was able to absorb bits of information pertaining to sounds, tricks and ways to make renditions absolutely crispy. He went onto invest a large chunk of his savings into Logic Pro before eventually moving onto higher quality and more efficient production programs.
Nothing happens randomly
TheRavada enjoys chopping it up on the DJ deck at house parties in a completely DIY manner. People oft inquire about what type of software he is using, but he takes great pride in using multiple YouTube tabs and chopping songs on SoundCloud to create beat decks, soundbytes and captivating a room with infinite energy. Xen actually taught himself how to make beats and never truly visualized himself as an emcee. Sure, he saw himself as a leader and someone who could make an impact but rapping was more of an enjoyable hobby for him, not his mainstay.
Some would consider TheRavada an equal opportunity cynic who brings a refreshingly grimy strand of hip-hop to the table. With that being said, he also has a certain uplifting presence that unites community members and those are in tune with his efforts. He is able to continually refine elements of his crafts to recreate and reinvent himself in order to accentuate his God-given abilities.
With gritty lyricism and top-tier bars, ThaRavada frequently subverts conventional methods in exchange for an experimental, experiential and idiosyncratic approach that is not held back by any type of traditional constraints.
TheRavada frequently collaborates with members of Mutant Academy, Rob Chambers, Paul Harris (Russia) and Sugar Montana (Holland/Netherlands) His feature projects play off his birth name in the form of Xen Griffey, Xenny Hardaway and his most recent 91 track deliverance, Xennis Rodman. To get a grip on what real Queens and underground New York hip hop feels and sounds like, tune into this man Xen and his 2000 Entertainment imprint.