Artist: Kamaflaj, aka Edward Beverley, 32
Where'd the name come from? I've got the rhyming skills, it's in me, but it's something I don't project. I could be right next to you, and you don't know that I'm Kamaflaj. I got songs on the radio, I got a lot of things going on. I could be right there next to you, and you'd suddenly realize it and say ". . . you Kamaflaj," and I'm like "Yeah, that's right."
Who are your influences? I like Redman, I like Russell Simmons. There are a lot of local artists. It's not always just the pros. There are these people who ain't even on yet and have better songs than the pros.
Last three albums you listened to in the car or on your iPod? I like listening to Busta Rhymes' "Touch It" remix. I like Mary J. Blige's album. There's smoothness there, and it helps keep me to the reality of the world of R&B. I've been listening to a lot of Streetwork Entertainment mix CDs lately.
Who is one of your favorite artists that would surprise most people who know you? Phil Collins. It's just smooth music. (sings) "I can feel it coming in the air tonight." He's smooth. He's surprised me.
If you could open for any group or artist, who would it be and why? I'd love to be overseas opening for someone. In America, I've opened for everybody. I've opened for Biggie Smalls, Doug E. Fresh, Mad Lion, Boot Camp Click. I got my passport and I'm hoping to open for someone in U.K.
Why stay in York if the scene here hasn't been very receptive of rap and pop music? Hip-hop is definitely here . . . It's heavy in the streets, especially the urban area of the city, the ghetto parts. When I first came here, I met a guy named Unit 1 back in '93. His beats was fire, he had talent, and he was making beats for me for free. That got me stuck to it.
How would you improve the York music scene? I'd bring a couple artists to a local music store like Xclusive Music (in York) or Underground (Sound & Variety in York) . . . I'd have them interact with the people who come in to buy their CDs. The reason for those stores instead of the mall is so it'll really bring people to the hood. Malls are always in a suburban area.
Shoutouts: MFG, Block Life, Caso, the Creek Bums, Born Official, Dotz, Star from Serious Productions, Grump, Fred Walker, Unit 1, Workshop, NFL Productions, Post Up. Rest in peace, Shannon L. "Dink" Mayo. And I want to give my love to Christopher Butler's family. Stay strong, much love.
- JASON COX, FLIPSIDE STAFF