Krondon and Shafiq Husayn’s album White Boiz: Neighborhood Wonderful examines and celebrates all aspects of life in the neighborhood, a concept that refers more to community than to a specific place. “Yes, we have experienced struggle, poverty and adversity, but we are all indeed wonderful," Krondon says. “The neighborhood is wonderful.”
The “White Boiz” part of the title — and the de facto name of their collaboration — looks at the term “white,” which Krondon and Husayn want to make clear has nothing to do with race. “White also means purity,” Krondon explains. “It’s not about skin color or race. Or status. But truly, white means purity. That’s what it means across America.”
“What our album represents is the truth of what 'white' really is,” Husayn says.
The Los Angeles-based hip-hop artists were brought together by mutual respect and admiration. “I was already a fan of Krondon, the personality," Husayn says. “I met the personality first through the music.” The Grammy-winning producer, a solo artist and member of the hip-hop group Sa-Ra, considers himself a hip-hop “purist” and feels that Krondon’s music fits in perfectly with every era of rap and hip-hop music. “As a producer, you love for emcees like him to rhyme over your beats,” he says. “He knows his hip-hop. He knows his music.”
For Krondon, an emcee with the Strong Arm Steady crew, Husayn’s music has served as inspiration in a world where he feels rap music has veered off-course. Krondon rarely listens to hip-hop music, but Husayn’s music, from his Sa-Ra days to his solo projects, has motivated Krondon to want to create “progressive and different” things. “If you know Shafiq, you know his music is all like what hip-hop’s supposed to be,” Krondon says. “And it’s always influenced and inspired me to want to create more things.”
Krondon and Husayn finally came together on Krondon’s birthday in 2011. They didn’t start recording music right away but began having conversations that led to them becoming “brothers.” This set the tone and foundation for their album. It became the “root and philosophy of our music,” Husayn explains.
Released Oct. 2 on Stones Throw, Neighborhood Wonderful sets these conversations to music, exploring dark issues such as poverty, drug addiction, single motherhood and the construction of race. But it also sets out to remind us that for all the darkness in the neighborhood, there is also a lot of light, a lot to be proud of and a lot of to be thankful for.
For the new album, Krondon and Husayn wanted to put a spotlight on Los Angeles’ incredible hip-hop community. White Boiz: Neighborhood Wonderful features artists such as Anderson .Paak, Jimetta Rose, Chace Infinite, Thundercat and others the duo are genuinely fans of.
“The community in L.A. is so tight and it’s one of the most progressive musical communities in the world right now,” Krondon says.
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“The music is very unique and not happening in any other place. It was a good time and place to represent L.A. and to represent where [we] are musically,” Shafiq Husayn adds.
In the end, all Krondon and Husayn really want is for their album to start a conversation. “I want people to listen to the album from beginning to end almost like you read a book, or you watch a film." Krondon says. “You’ll see us go from one perspective to another. Between man and woman. And how we relate together and how we relate individually. And I want that to just spark a conversation between those parties.”