Premiere: Shady Blaze and Young Gully's Breezy, SMKA-Produced "Greatness"

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Dropping in October, new mixtape Darkest Before Dawn will see a fresh line-up of Bay Area rappers hopping on tracks crafted by Atlanta production unit S.M.K.A. As a teaser for the project, which will include input from Roach Gigz, Mistah F.A.B., and DaVinci, All Shook Down is proud to present the premiere of "Greatness," a slick and slinky future anthem that features Shady Blaze and Young Gully flowing over a hypnotically breezy production. To complete the listening experience, we also checked in with Shady Blaze and S.M.K.A.'s Mike Walbert to get their own thoughts on the song.

How did the Darkest Before Dawn project come about?
Mike Walbert: We reached out to a popular blog in the Bay Area [Thizzler On The Roof] that covers the music and asked about sorting out this project. We're from Atlanta but we've always been fans of Bay Area music.
Shady Blaze: Matt Werner [from the blog] hit me on Twitter saying he wanted me and Young Gully to collab. That's it right there.

How did you decide which rappers were going to get on "Greatness"?
Mike Walbert: I had a few rappers in mind. Most of the ones I had in mind we were able to get, but it was kinda a give and take between artists we wanted and artists they wanted.
Shady Blaze: They sent beats and that was the beat we wanted the most. It was just the feel of it that got to me. I mean, I rap on different styles of beats, I don't have a particular style, and that beat just suited us best.
Mike Walbert: Young Gully and Shady Blaze were two artists I had not heard of before this project. Both of them really impressed me. With every project, you kinda don't know what you're gonna get once you start it, but we were really pleased with how this one came out. I'd say it's my favorite song on the project.

How would you describe the vibe of the song?
Shady Blaze: It's many different vibes to it in one. You can get a hype feel to it, you can get a laid back feel to it -- I guess we'll only know when people listen to it!
Mike Walbert: High energy. It's just two very talented MCs, two guys who ripped the track. Whenever you send out a beat you don't know how an artist will approach it, but it's cool when you have an artist and a producer that have the same response to the song. They did exactly what we'd want.

How do you think hip-hop fans in your respective cities are going to take to the project?
Mike Walbert: I sent the project out under the radar to some people in the Bay, like A&Rs and things, and we've had great feedback.
Shady Blaze: I think they'll think it's dope! To be honest, it's one of my favorite tracks that I've done.
Mike Walbert: I'd say there are similarities in the scenes in that they both have a unique vibe. If I listen to a song I can tell very quickly if it's from the Bay Area or if it's from Atlanta, but that's not necessarily true of a lot of other places. The Bay has a very unique sound.

Can you remember the first time you heard hip-hop music from each other's city?
Shady Blaze: For me, it's gotta be like T-Rock, a rapper that I leaned towards a lot. I'm like a fast rapper and he's like the fast rapper from Atlanta and he influenced me a lot.
Mike Walbert: I went to school out in U.S.C., so I lived in L.A. for five years, and I had a lot of good friends from the Bay telling me to listen to certain people. They'd put me up on Bay Area artists and I'd put them up on Atlanta artists. But being from Atlanta, E-40 opened up the door for that whole scene. But I listened to a lot of them like Hieroglyphics, and even with like the Caribbean vibe of some of the music up there.

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Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Phillip Mlynar @PhillipMlynar, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.


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