All week we’ve brought you exclusive leaks from Cee & Bekah and NoTiOn, members of the Movement Fam, in anticipation of their new mixtapes dropping this Monday, September 15th. I had the opportunity to cut it up with Cee, Bekah, and NoTiOn recently, as we talked about the new music, their take on hip hop, and the impact Australia has on it. Cee and NoTiOn even spit a couple of freestyle verses for us! Don’t pass up this article; it really is an interesting read. We’ll give you links to their previous mixtapes as well, if you don’t already have them. Let’s go Down Under!
Kevin: We got The Movement Fam in the house! What’s goin’ on everyone? I’m gonna be jumpin’ back and forth between you guys, so let’s see if you all can keep up. Let’s start off with each one of you briefly introducing yourself.
Bekah: Hey, I’m Bekah. I’m a vocalist, one half of Cee & Bekah and the lady of the Fam haha. I also mess with the keys a lil bit.
Cee: What’s good, Kev? I’m Cee aka Cee-For aka Big Cee aka Cee-Feezy, and so on and so forth. I’m an MC, the other half of Cee & Bekah. I also manage The Movement Fam, so I’m the businessman of the crew as well. I’m an Aries and enjoy knitting, long walks on the beach and archery.
Notion: What up, Kev? It’s ya boy Notion aka Notion Baby! I’m also an emcee, primarily a solo artist, but working closely with other Movement Fam peoples on all our projects. I’m also a producer in the making and my newly found engineering skills are keeping me behind the boards more and more!
Kevin: Alright! So somebody tell me about this Soul Movement… you label your brand of music as “Soul Hop”. Can you all expand on that?
Bekah: We call our style “Soul Hop” because our sound is very unique. We’re both very different in what we do musically. I don’t sound Hip Hop on my own and Cee is definitely not Soul on his own. lol. We’re very lucky to have found a happy medium with our music and it works. We’ve meshed two genres of music together and made “Soul Hop”. We’re being creative – that’s what music is all about. We want to be known for doing something different.
Cee: That’s right. “The Soul Movement” actually came from a line I had in a verse when I was in a crew called Soul District. I felt that summed up what were trying to achieve in our music — create a movement through the soul in our tunes that people connect with. “Soul Hop” specifically applies to Cee & Bekah’s music, although Notion and Tommy Gunnz definitely fall into that category.
Kevin: Now Cee & Bekah, we’ve heard your first mixtape, The Soul Movement Vol 1. Purely refreshing; I found it to be an excellent mix of hip hop and R&B. What do you all hope to accomplish with the release of the new mixtape, Vol 2? Can we expect more of the same or did you all switch the formula up in any way? Do you feel you’ve grown at all between the time Vol 1 and Vol 2 were recorded?
Bekah: Thank you. Volume 2 is very different from Volume 1. In Volume 2, you’ll hear a vast range of topics. We did a few songs which were political. That was interesting to do. I never knew we had such strong opinions about it until we wrote them.
Every time we’re in the studio, whether it’s recording or writing, I have found it’s getting easier and easier to make the songs. It’s all coming together; everything flows. Even though it’s been a short period of time between the two releases, both Cee and I have grown as artists and not to mention learned so much from the release of Volume 1. We’re very happy with the direction that Cee & Bekah are taking.
Cee: Word to that. I think the maturity and experience is immediately evident in Volume 2, as most of Volume 1 was written back when we lived in Toronto in 2004 and just after we got home to Melbourne in 2005. Most of Volume 2 is brand spankin’ new material that we feel more accurately reflects where we’re at musically in 2008. The formula isn’t switched up per se, but I feel it’s progressed naturally. For example, I was a bit embarrassed to play Volume 1 to my parents due to the cussing and some of the content, but I’m really proud to show them Volume 2, and all our families have been extremely supportive of it.
Kevin: You guys are releasing The Soul Movement Vol 2 packaged together with a new mixtape from Notion, World Domi-NoTiOn. Notion, can you tell us a little about your project and what we can expect to hear on the mixtape?
Notion: I’m very excited about this mixtape especially, Kev, mainly because it took so long to develop and finalize the tracks to get it all finished! It was a long break between It’s My Turn and this mixtape, but I’m glad it’s over, hah! World Domi-NoTiOn is a more accurate look of where my/our music is heading as far as the Hip Hop side of The Movement Fam is concerned. It’s a banger; there are tracks to cover all bases. I tried to show more of a topical side to my style and branch out a bit more. I got a few original joints on there too to show you a peek of what an up and coming Notion album can hold, and there’s some really dope features by the usual suspects
Kevin: Now you guys are releasing separate mixtapes, but you’re part of one big fam. Did you guys hop on any of each other’s joints? Any other Movement Fam members make appearances on the new mixtapes?
Bekah: There’s nothing but love in The Movement Family. We have Notion, Tommy Gunnz, Cee-For and myself, Bekah. We’re all on each other’s tracks. We all have our unique sounds, but when we come together to collab, it meshes so well.
Cee: Oh most definitely. We collab all the time; you won’t find a Movement Fam release without all the other members appearing. These new mixtapes were the first time we really came together as a crew to make it happen. The Soul Movement Volume 1 and Notion’s debut mixtape It’s My Turn both were done more independent of the crew. But as soon as we solidified the name of the Fam, it all came together much tighter. Notion mixed, engineered and mastered both projects (more than 50 songs in the span of two months!!), so he knew the songs better than we did by the end of it lol.
Kevin: I hear both of the new mixtapes will include original production. Do you guys have a Movement Fam production team or do you scout around for beats? What do you look for when picking beats for a project?
Bekah: I am very picky with beats. Cee will tell you ALL about that haha. We scout for beats from producers all over the world. Cee and I look for a beat that screams “melody”. If I hear a beat and I have melodies and ideas pouring out, and the same with Cee, we know that’s one we need to do.
Cee: Well, within the fam, Notion is the only one who jumps on the boards. He’s still cutting his teeth and building up his skills and knowledge base, so we’ve only used a handful of his beats thus far but they’re getting doper with every one he bangs out.
Bekah summed it up perfect — when we’re checking for beats for the Cee & Bekah projects, it definitely has to be melodic and it’s also a group decision; if only one of us wants to go ahead with it, it doesn’t happen. One criterion is soul — all beats we use must have an aspect of soul to it that reflects the type of music we make.
Kevin: Speaking of beats, Notion you have another project in the can that I’m very interested in hearing…. The Corner of Notion & 9th, all with beats by 9th Wonder. Can you tell us more about this project?
Notion: Yes sir! Kev, I’m pumped about doing this project as well, I know its not exactly an original concept, but it’s still a dope one! 9th is a big inspiration to my writing and is one of my favourite producers today. I realized I had written to a fair few 9th joints for previous mixtapes and collab material over the years, so I decided to throw them all together, plus some exclusive new tracks for this themed tape. I’ve even thrown in a 9th style beat of my own as a special treat! Keep ya ears open for that!?
Kevin: That project sounds nice. We’ll def be on the look out for that! Now, when telling people about Cee & Bekah, I often refer to you two as a fresh, new Jay & Beyonce. Can you guys see the comparison and do you see them as an influence in your music? What artists would you say inspire what you do?
Bekah: I love India Arie and Alicia Keys. They are my favorite Soul singers. Great musicians.
Cee: Man, that’s an honour to be even placed in the same sentence as Jay — he is in my top 3 MC’s of all time. I can see the comparison in the fact that Bekah can wail like a mofo, a la Beyonce, and I guess I’m extremely influenced by Jay in my flows, etc. But I guess they never really did more than a handful of songs together, so I generally wouldn’t use them as a primary comparison.
Personally, my single biggest inspiration both as an MC and in the sound of our music is Kanye West. Dude is a genius. I’m not entirely feeling the direction he’s going now, but The College Dropout days changed the way I look at music. I’d also prop cats like Jason Mraz, Ben Harper, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Dead Prez, Eternia, Nas, Drake, Black Thought, Eminem, Common and Phonte as major inspirations as well. Hahaha I could go on forever though.
Kevin: To the guys… as emcees, where do you draw your inspiration from when you rhyme? Can you each spit a little freestyle verse to describe your flow?
Cee: I kinda listed most of my influences as an MC in the last question, but as far as where I draw inspiration, I’d say it’d just be everyday life, what I go through daily, all styles of music I listen to, films and TV shows I watch, relationships, that sort of thing. But I’d say our number one aspect of our style is flow, followed by swag. Those two are what I believe Notion and I excel at, and as we’ve both been spitting for so long, it comes naturally. Check it:
My style is unfathomable, appealing to your mums and your wifey/
And the fellas feel the flow coz know the dopest — they like Cee/
No homo though, the soul is evident/
The moment that I open my mouth and come with some clever ish/
Soul Hop from the Movement Fam, dog/
Finna keep ya head noddin’ through every jam, y’all/
It’s nothin, all we gotta do is speak on something real/
And the people know what’s good for em, so scream at the Fam!
Notion: It’s funny, the inspiration for a song or topic, comes from any and everywhere man, it’s amazing. They come at the best and worst of times! But I guess there’s no one specific point of inspiration I draw from. Artists such as Nas, Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Kenn Starr, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Method Man, Lil Wayne, Kanye, Jean Grae, etc, all really help me get the ideas flowing. Even from movies and sitcoms I can get a notion (pardon the pun haha). From Soul music, like a Hill St. Soul or D’Angelo joint, or an idea from a Red or Meth line, to a Incubus song! But lately I’ve been looking to producers for inspiration, it sounds weird, but driving around listening to Instrumental mixtapes, and it does wonders. I get my freestyle on and just go nuts. Like this:
So here we go:
Wit Kevin, we buildin such an invigoratin combination/
Followed by an intriguing, lingering conversation, I got ya hooked and waitin/
And now we on ya station, live and direct/
And we so hot, we settin fire to sets/
Yup, and oh yes, I’m the freshest kid in here/
Attackin wit talent, we movin up on em this year/
Movement Fam too strong, too grown, ya dig?/
So watch us in amazement, as we handle our biz, it’s like thisgyeah!
Kevin: Haha, that was awesome guys! Bekah, as a singer, do you find it difficult to fit in with these guys on a track? Is your vocal performance affected by Cee’s vibe on a track or do you just get into your own groove and go with it?
Bekah: Haha there are times when it can get a little hard. But most of the time I find it easy. Cee and I will always come up with a concept for a song together. But this is why we work so well together too. We have tracks where we’ll do our own thing and yet the song will still come out great. The only time I find it hard to fit in on a song, is when emcees tend to be all cocky over a track and rap about how much better they are than everyone else. I’ll do it, but in a girly way lol.
Kevin: Right on… now you guys will be in the U.S. promoting the new mixtapes soon. How has the U.S. reception been so far to your music?
Cee: Man, we’re damn excited! As I’m writing this, we leave in like five days so we’re just finalising the details. And the U.S. reception to our tunes has been phenomenal, and extremely unexpected. Most of the love thus far has come Stateside, which we never thought would even be a possibility. I always thought “why would the U.S. be interested in Australians making Soul Hop music”? But, the love from DJs, websites, blogs, artists, promoters, radio, managers, producers, etc, has been so inspiring. Hence, we decided to put our money where our mouth is and take the trip and see what comes of it. We’re 100% independent, financed by our full time jobs — no label, no managers, no nothing. Just ourselves and our creativity and ingenuity. But we believe in ourselves and our music so we are going to make it happen, goddamnit! Lol! And big ups to everyone in the U.S. and Canada who has shown love and supported us.
Kevin: What’s your take on the current state of hip hop and how does Australian hip hop factor into that? Do you think Australia is being represented properly in the hip hop world? Feel free for anyone to jump in on this question.
Bekah: I’m not saying anything 🙂
Cee: Haha Bekah’s a hater. Hip Hop, in my humble opinion, has been improving lately. A year or two back, it was seriously looking pretty bad. But I gotta say that in 2008, there has been more dope music coming out than any year I can remember, this decade at least. Yeah, Hip Hop has been bastardized by the corporate machines but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any real shit left.
Australian Hip Hop, as a global culture, unfortunately barely factors into it. It’s definitely growing out here but there’s no one unified scene. It’s been broken up into a bunch of small sectors, which sorta started years back when the “pioneers” decided what the “rules” are for Oz Hip Hop (we won’t get into that now lol). So we don’t even consider ourselves Australian Hip Hop artists. We just make dope music, period. That said, there are some great artists out here but no one has really taken it worldwide as yet, except for Daniel Merriweather, who has signed to J Records. And he ain’t even Hip Hop, he’s a vocalist lol.
Notion: I’d have to agree with Cee, and also Bekah, I’m going to stay out the bulk of it, but at least I’ll give my 2 cents… it’s free right? Haha I think there are a few stand out groups/artists in the Australian scene, but I would like to see more International recognition from our artists. Our producers have seemed to make a solid mark in the U.S. so far with Styalz Fuego working with Chamillionaire, and M-Phazes working with Young Buck and half the underground scene haha. We need to step it all up and create more awareness about us and let peeps know we here! We gonna put Melbourne on the map, Kev!!
Kevin: Real talk… alright now, let’s play a little game…… Desert Island Hip-Hop. What one album would you have with you?
Bekah: Oh really. Damn. How about an iPod? Can I take that instead? lol. Honestly, I have no idea. There’s too many great ones to chose from.
Cee: If I had to choose one album, it’d be Nas’ Illmatic, hands down.
Notion: I’d also love to rock the iPod like Bekah. It’s all about variety haha but, if I have one CD to choose, I’d have to rock with Doggystyle. Sorry Nas and Jay, but Kev, you did say album, and that’s a bangin album ALL the way through!
Kevin: So what’s coming up next? What other projects can we expect from you guys after the new mixtapes have surfaced?
Bekah: Yes, Cee and I are currently working The Soul Movement Volume 3. This will the last mixtape from us, so we’re making it a good one. We have a few albums up our sleeves that we’re also working on, and of course being involved in Notion and Tommy Gunnz’s projects.
Cee: Yes indeed. We decided to only do three mixtapes as we want to move into exclusively original material; the mixtapes were our training ground, so to speak. We have our debut EP in the works, The Precedent, and album which we’ve got a handful of beats for already, with some decent names attached thus far. We’ll also be releasing The Movement Fam mixtape series on an ongoing basis, which will be an avenue for our other tracks to be released, as well as collabs we’ve done with other artists on their projects, and just random joints from cats we work with that we want to support.
We’re also working on Tommy Gunnz’s debut mixtape Garden State Warrior, and his EP after that.
Notion: Of course! We constantly got something in the works, as mentioned earlier I’m working on The Corner Of NoTiOn & 9th mixtape, which is due out at the end of the year. Following that, I’ll have my debut album — World Domi-NoTiOn LP — scheduled for mid-late ’09. I’ll hopefully throw in another mixtape along the way before that drops too, we got tracks for days right now! Also, a joint project that’s near completion, An Innovative Mind EP, a duo of Da-Phai, a Melbourne producer, and myself, which is due out ’09 as well. All of which is HEAT!!!
Kevin: Finally, what do you feel your contribution, as The Movement Fam, is to hip hop? What do each of you bring to the table?
Cee: Wow, big question. As far as what Cee & Bekah brings to Hip Hop, we essentially created a new genre — Soul Hop. As far as we’re concerned, nobody is doing what we’re doing. Soul is the one aspect in music that makes it connect with people, and our aim is to ensure that is upheld in all our releases and is the predominant force in our music. It’s our number one inspiration so we feel we’re bringing the soul back, as well as maintaining talent in music. Nowadays, everyone and their dog can drop an album thanks to technology, and as a result, there is a lot of sub-par music out there (both independent and major), so we feel that we’re bringing the quality back as well.
Notion: And further to that, we have a very diverse crew. Although it’s mainly Hip Hop based, we all got soul, baby! But yes, Cee & Bekah bring the massive soul aspect to us, whilst Tommy and I hold down the Hip Hop genre more or less. Tommy and I both have different sounds respectively, but all Movement Fam artists compliment each other, both with sound and quality. So when we collab, we all sound like a group. We do get mistaken for a group regularly! So we cover double the market with the diversity of the group. It’s a beautiful thing.
Kevin: Thank you so much Cee, Bekah, and Notion for hanging with us. I definitely wish you continued success in what you do. You can always be assured that you all will be supported here on our site. Any closing words you wanna add?
Cee: Kev, thank YOU for your continued support this year, it’s been phenomenal, inspiring and extremely appreciated. I just wanna thank everyone around the globe for supporting The Movement Fam thus far; the journey has only just begun really, so we have a lot more to come. Please keep checking www.kevinnottingham.com for all your Hip Hop needs, as well as exclusives from all of The Movement Fam’s projects. Check out our websites and MySpace pages and get at us, we love to hear from y’all!
Notion: No doubt Kev, your support and love has been incredible!! Thank you. You have made us some new fans, I’m sure! We will update y’all when the new joints drop, cop that Soul Movement Volume 2 and World Domi-NoTiOn mixtapes which will be online soon! To all our fans out there, hit up www.themovementfam.com to keep up to date with our free downloads and info. Peace & much love. See y’all soon!
Check out these earlier mixtapes from Cee & Bekah and Notion and look out for the new stuff right here on Monday!
- Cee & Bekah’s Official Web Site
- Cee & Bekah on MySpace
- Notion on MySpace
- The Movement Family YouTube Channel