sunchild: Paragon, welcome to the Consciousness Lounge. Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who is Paragon and what exactly you do?
paragon: Thanks for having me sunchild.
Hey everyone I’m “Paragon” or Ross (which ever you would prefer really) and I am an emcee. Paragon is a fusion of that golden era 90’s hip-hop I grew up listening to and the new school hip-hop. I try to do a bit of everything but within my own standards. I don’t have a Maybach or a Mansion and I don’t sell drugs and I haven’t been to prison…I have spent a few hours in a holding cell though. So no I don’t rap about stuff like that…I rap about what’s real to me every day.
sunchild: I know that you are not just an emcee but a producer and musician as well; do you think it is important for Hip Hop and especially rap artists to be musical or do you think it’s possible to get by just on lyrical content and flow?
paragon: Well history has proven rappers can get by just rapping, but only a selected few have done it for a long period of time though. But for myself I feel it’s very important to be musical in my own right, it adds more dimension to my music and content. So either can work…its all about taking that next step.
sunchild: Do you think this gives you more of an edge as to how to approach your art form, by being well rounded musically?
paragon: I feel it does…it gives a greater variety and at times I’ve noticed, wider appeal to my music. Also balance is key to everything…you find albums/artists sound monotonous because their headed in one main direction and its not done in a variety of ways. That’s something that could be cured by that well rounded musical element…not saying artists should change their respective styles…but they are investing in it, so that they can do more within what it is they desire and grow from there. That is what “Music” has done for my approach and overall production of songs.
sunchild: How would you describe your approach to music and your sound?
paragon: Weird. I hear music in my head all day…And its very strange fusions that sound new, but natural (if that makes sense) so I usually try to create the sound that’s been playing in my head all day…and that requires various methods at times. But I try to step as far outside of what I’m supposed to do as possible; while still keeping to what I want to do…it creates unique results…sometimes good, other times not that pleasing.
sunchild: Are you signed to any label or are you an independent artist?
paragon: I’m independent.
sunchild: Why is music so important to the youth?
paragon: It is most probably the most influential thing among the youth. Some use it as an escape, for others it’s a voice and for others it’s a life style. Music breeds identity and can often be seen as an extension to one’s personality…which is very important in today’s youth culture. Sad to look at the impact some music out there has on the youth though…
sunchild: What kinds of topics do you write about and what inspires you?
paragon: I write about everyday things. Generally what I find interesting… or feelings or situations that I can’t relate to a song….so I make that song, so I try write on what I like to call “a very human” level. But also as most of us started, I write my straight spitting tracks as well…but they’re not as common anymore.
sunchild: Where have you performed recently and do you have a following, how important are fans?
paragon: I’ve performed at a Hip-Hop event in the East Rand, Black Orchid and Rascasse in Melville thanks to my good friend Pinkasso, the producer from Scratch Beats, always thinking of a dude. Newtown hip-hop events… Random spots really, wherever we get invited to kick it. I actually do have a following building up…people seem to recognise my name when I show up in Hip-hop or even just some social circles. Or people will just drop me mails on face book showing love, a lot of people I know don’t know my real name and at first that took getting used to ha-ha.
Fans are very important to me because it means someone is listening to what I have to say…and that’s my goal because I have a lot I want to say. And also they help me work on my style because they will always say “I loved this” and I’ll know its something I can use in future or try to take it a step further. We’re trying to build something bigger than a name and a label.
sunchild: What is your perception on music and Hip Hop especially in South Africa?
paragon: Hip-Hop/Music in SA is kind of split right now…its split between those who want to sound like someone else and those that want to be true to themselves. So it’s growing in every direction and I guess that’s the way of finding which sounds work in our industry and Hip-Hop climate.
sunchild: Is there a market for your kind of music and do you find it easy to sell your music/how do you go about selling your music?
paragon: If there’s a market for chimes and humming…there’s a market for my brand of Hip-Hop. I find it “not so hard” but it’s not easy to sell because not all people are familiar with my brand. But it’s growing and the more people who hear me want more and that’s when I normally get orders coming in. I normally sell straight outta my backpack or people can order online and about a week ago a online purchase point was set up.
sunchild: Has the state of the online music market in SA changed in terms of downloading, information and general internet usage?
paragon: I don’t think it’s changed as extensively as in other parts of the world but it is becoming a larger and larger market. A lot of artists are even strictly putting their projects up for download…seems to be the future for reaching out.
sunchild: Have you set any goals or targets you would like to achieve as an artist, musician, and producer and can you tell us about that?
paragon: I have many goals but the one I would say is my main concern now, is getting to the point where I can do music fulltime. I’ve gotten a Magazine write up…next I’d like to claim a cover. But those are short and mid-term. Other goals I play close, because I’m not one for talking about something, I’d rather just do it.
sunchild: Where can people find out more about you or purchase your music?
paragon: We’re currently working on getting the official TitusTrack website up and running so everything can be in one place, but there are means. We have a TitusTrack Productions group on Facebook. Check out www.myspace.com/titustracklive, you can order a copy of the Invisible Man EP online at www.scratchbeats.co.za, or directly through me firstname.lastname@example.org. So we’re working on putting all the pieces together. Also I often get mails from folks so they can also just drop me mails on Facebook or on my email.
sunchild: Do you have any up and coming gigs and where can people see you perform next?
paragon: I don’t have any gigs scheduled…I’m taking a small break. Figure I should try doing things like sleep over this festive but for info on gigs and other events people can join the TitusTrack Productions group on Facebook, and they will know about videos, releases, shows and so forth.
sunchild: Any last words comments?
paragon: As we always say at TitusTrack Productions – “Thank you for being part of the dream”.
Peace and thanks.