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Profile: CivilWrites – Stand For Something…

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Atlanta based duo Draft Pickington and Sean Emcee are CivilWrites. Hailing from a city known for quality Hip Hop music through the years, Draft and Sean will looking to make their own mark with the release of their debut record, and in the process bring the realness that’s been sadly lacking recently back to rap music. The Duo took some time out of their schedule to talk to MidwestSole about both the new record and, of course, sneakers.

First off introduce yourselves for our readers. What are your influences? And what are you trying to do with the CivilWrites record?

Draft: My Name is Draft 1/2 of CivilWrites, and ATL artist. CivilWrites is just about expressing myself in addition to pushing southern hip hop forward.

Sean: I’m Sean Emcee. My influences are a little all over the place. Most of the content I use for inspiration isn’t music at all. I watch a lot of movies & I still enjoy reading a lot. I rely on those sources of influence just as much as the music. But I like REAL rap music. I like all the cliché rappers people say. But I developed a better view of what real rap music was by listening to artists like The Dungeon Family, the Roots, BCC, all the Native Tongue groups of the 90s. I study rappers. Listen to some artists for weeks on end. Trying to figure out why I like them so much or why they’re great. I hope to apply that type of energy to our project. Hopefully our fans feel as strongly about our music as I do the previously mentioned.

Lets jump straight into shoes, do you have a favorite brand or model? What’s your go to shoe right now?

Draft: As far as brands go ill always be a Jordan guy but Reebok has had an impressive year with Kamikaze’s and Shaqnosis I’m really happy about the resurgence of the brand

Sean: Nike of course. I like the way Reebok is retroing their player models FINALLY. Haven’t copped any yet. My favorite shoe is Concord 11s. But I’m more into NSW than Jordans. My go to shoe has been Infrared 6s. I’ve worn them 2 summers straight.

That’s interesting, what are NSW doing right now to have you checking for them ahead of Jordan Brand?

Sean: They’ve just got better product. More variety, better quality, & a better idea of what the public wants. I know it’s all going to the same pockets. I’d like to think a love for NSW makes me a better person, but it doesn’t.

What are your collections looking like right now? Anything you’re looking to add to the stacks?

Sean: Looking to pick up a few of these Reeboks. Shaqnosis, Kamikaze II’s, & The “Big Hurts” if they drop them but I doubt it. I’ve had a lot of shoes come & go so I’m really interested in getting my old pairs back. I’ve had all 3 Yeezy 1s. All the retro’d OG colorway 11s minus the “Breds” (not really a fan). But I sold a lot of pairs to finish this project. As has Draft. But I’ve still got Skunks, Blue Lobsters, Columbia 11’s. OG Uptempo IIs in “Syracuse” colors, Pendleton Blazers, & Serena Royales to name a few. Counting pairs is for hypebeasts but I know I’ve been in triple digits since 2010.

There’s a big crossover between sneaker culture and hip hop, where do you think that comes from?

Draft: Hip hop has always been about cool and on the streets all the cool flashy dudes always had a crazy shoe game.

Sean: Drug dealers had money in the early 80’s. Rap began to flourish during that time period. Rappers put on for drug dealers. Sneakers were always a badge of honor for anyone who’d achieved a certain level of success. You had to be somebody to spend $100 on shoes. You also had to be somebody to keep them from getting taken. Now we can talk about major sports in inner cities & a bunch of other things, but that’s the real reason rappers got into sneakers. Same thing happens now. Just not with the same stigma behind it.

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How is the shoe game in Atlanta right now?

Draft: It’s actually exploded as of late, it’s a gift and a curse

When you say a gift and a curse what do you mean?

Draft:I’d say its a gift and curse because the hype kills a lot of releases for me … Too many resellers

Sean: I want to praise it, but it’s nowhere near where it should be. So many hypebeasts. No respect for shops or shop owners. Sneaker line fights & shootings. I mean don’t get me wrong, we’ve got real collectors down here. But they’re few & far between now.

We all know about hypebeasts, and that incident outside Wish didn’t help anyone’s perceptions of the shoe game. How was it different back in the day?

Sean: Yeah Wish & Walter’s are really the best representation of sneaker culture in the city. A few other places like Stratosphere & Ruin, but we’re killing ourselves… LITERALLY! That Wish incident wouldn’t have happened if a real sneakerhead ran the line. I’ve been on more camp outs than I can count. Here & out of town. Ran more lines than they’ve been on. Nothing like that’s ever happened. When AGS (Atlanta Got Sole) was camping we had things organized. People didn’t like the fact that we always seemed to be a step ahead, but that was their problem. The people who paid attention & followed instructions got their pairs. People don’t value the culture of collecting anymore. Shopping with a store so often that they know you’ll be at a release so they hold your pair. Tipping your sales person when necessary. Communicating with shop keepers period! All of that’s gone to the wayside. Not to mention an overall lack of sneaker knowledge in general. I could go on forever. We’ve just got to do better.

Back to the record, how’s it coming together? How’s the reception been so far?

Draft: The album is basically finished we’ve gotten some acclaim behind the scenes from a lot of major contributors hip hop. I’m really excited about the release its been a long time coming.

Sean: It’s been a struggle, but it’s coming along. People in our circle have heard it & have really positive feedback. Scary kind of. If everyone else doesn’t love it the way they do I may need to switch my circle. LOL Kidding. You’ve heard some of it. What you think? LOL

I think that I keep asking to hear more and you’re playing it close! When are we going to get the video that you have prepared?

Sean: That’s dropping the same day as the project actually. You’ve seen it in its entirety. That’s more than a lot of other people. And just think, if you hadn’t seen that video we wouldn’t be having this conversation now. Based God works in mysterious ways.

I’ve already heard some stuff from the record, and it’s dope. Can you give those that haven’t an idea of what to expect lyrically?

Draft: You can expect honest lyricism from me always. Nothing more, nothing less

When can we expect to hear the finished product?

Draft: You can expect to hear the project august 28th

Sean: You can get it whenever it’s done. Official release date is 8.28.13. Ironically this is a really historic date in American history too, but I’m not saying why. Those who get it should make the connection.

Thanks to Draft and Sean for taking the time to talk to us while they prepare for the launch of the record. Don’t forget to check out civilwritesmusic.com and follow on Twitter after checking out the promo video below.

UPDATE

Check out the debut video, Intro.

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About weaverthegreat

Sneakers, Hoops and Hip Hop. Representing London, England

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