Hip-hop homecoming | SteamboatToday.com

Hip-hop homecoming

MC Souleye joins BLVD for first show back in the 'Boat

Margaret Hair

Former local MC Souleye returns to Steamboat Springs with his band, San Francisco-based live electronica group BLVD.

— In the past two weeks, MC Souleye has rehearsed more with his band than he has in the past two years.

After trying to maintain their musical relationship long-distance, Souleye – born Mario Treadway – moved to San Francisco in September to join longtime collaborating trio BLVD in its hometown, cutting the artistic distance and diving headfirst into new material.

On Saturday, the band brings its blend of live electronica and hip-hop to Mahogany Ridge, in a mini-homecoming for the once-local emcee. Souleye talked with 4 Points about moving to the city, feeding off his surroundings and making a name in the mountains before moving on.

4 POINTS: How has your moving to San Francisco changed the dynamic of the band?

MC SOULEYE: When you get to work with a band on a day-to-day basis, you create this synergy with each other person.

And just being able to absorb and experience the city after being in Steamboat for a little more than three years – Steamboat is a lot different than the city. You can do a lot more introspection, whereas here there is that inspiring creative chaos.

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4 POINTS: What do you think will come out of the new surroundings?

SOULEYE: I think there’s always a time and a place, and sometimes in your life, it’s important to go outside of your comfort zone to expand and to grow.

As a musician, I’m at a stage in my career where I feel like it’s very important and necessary to be in the city and be involved in the fast-paced movement; especially as the world is going so fast, it’s important for me as an emcee to be able to relate to different aspects of life.

4 POINTS: Which atmosphere do you think you’ll prefer in the future – Steamboat or the city?

SOULEYE: I feel like I was able to really relate to the energy of Colorado, and I feel like I can use that to go into the city. : (On the new album) I wrote all the lyrics while living in Steamboat, and it’s cool to think the lyrics were surrounded by mountains and this was the energy he had surrounding him when he wrote it. On the next (album), it’s going to be the energy of the city. We’ve done a couple of tracks, and I can already listen to it and feel it in myself.

4 POINTS: Tell me some about “Music for People,” the CD you guys have coming out.

SOULEYE: It definitely captures what we were going for – we were going for a live feel. : I think it came out amazing, and it shows a lot of potential. A lot of the songs, to me as the writer of the lyrics, they have really open-ended opinions. I try to keep them unbiased in a way, so even if it’s a song about my emotions or my relationships, I try to keep them relatable. They’re not really songs about me as a person but about me as a human.

4 POINTS: What do you think is the benefit of keeping things open-ended like that?

SOULEYE: It provides the listener more of a feeling of acceptance and being able to relate.

I feel like in hip-hop a lot of the rap songs are kind of more like somebody expressing – let me see how to phrase this – it’s kind of like the lyrics that I wrote are kind of open to all ages as well. There are no curse words in the album. I tap into spirituality at some times, but at the same time I’m not trying to push a certain religion on anybody, because I feel like when you’re listening to music, and you’re dancing, and you’re at a party, you want to have fun. So I try to keep my lyrics fast, so they’re more like an instrument rather than a front man.

4 POINTS: Anything else?

SOULEYE: It’s really cool that I got to cultivate and really create my art while I was in Steamboat; this band that I’m playing with, I met them while I was living in Steamboat. It’s cool to always know that Steamboat was where I wrote all these songs and really created the energy.