The Word Association
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The Word Association

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San Marcos' The Word Association is a particularly intellectual crew, boasting 10-plus solo artists and groups that come together to create complex Public Enemy and Wu-Tang-indebted hip-hop that's heavy on revolutionary philosophy and light on posturing.
- The Onion


In a converted garage in the middle of deep south Austin is a simple, carpeted stage with a DJ table and some serious speakers. Chorizo Approved Records founder Robert Chacon loves to use his compound as a vehicle for not only the artists on his label, but artists who are friends of his label. Enter The Word Association; who else? These hillcountry hip-hop staples are everywhere these days, from Emos to The Triple Crown in San Marcos where the crew resides, to occaisional appearances in Houston.

Amidst the raucous house party, the Word set fit perfectly. The hash smoke in the air mingled with the bumpy beats and rapid spit fire from the mouths of Jaysin, Sigma Prime, Park Nast, Chief, and Double-U-Ill. There is undeniable chemistry between especially Jaysin and Double-U-Ill, like a couple of kids on a see-saw, they trade rhymes with ease and fluidity, making me yearn for more of this interaction. Towards the end of the set, he guys taunted the crowd to come closer, and almost immediately, the whole room surged forward. It became obvious to me that The Word Association is more than artistic talent, they are pure presence. - YourTexasMusic.com


If you've been missing your daily dosage of all things Word Association, there's no need to fret any longer. The Word Association has done it again, piloting a journey into hip-hop for your listening pleasure. Their latest self-titled album shows maturity, depth, and a hint of invincibility. The Ill Mathematical, Chief, Omari Kamau, DJ Crown, W-Ill, Jaysin, Sigma Prime, Park Nast, JP the Volcano, and Enique are back with another catalog of jams.

"Three Man Weave" is the first track on the album with Omari, W-Ill and Jaysin introducing your ears to a new Word Association sound that's just as original as their first endeavor but with a more controlled style. "Hallow Being" is a predicted crowd-pleaser, with its deep, dark piano and an intense combination of Omari, Jaysin and W-Ill's voice weaving madness into your conscience.

The Word have developed their sound like no other San Marcos group I've heard. "Awesome Skills" is a positive head-bopping song that gets you to feel Parker when he raps, "I like to smile; it does my heart good," to show that the most important thing to remember as a human being is to keep it real. "Wolftrax" is one of the heavier deliveries as W-Ill and Jaysin bring the pain with their words threatening to practice what they preach if you dare stop them from their progressive sound. Also gracing the album is a funky track by Famous Danger Agent, with DJ Crown scratching on the ones and twos. "Under Active Construction" is a slow boogie that stands as "a call to remain passionate in the face of judgement". Jaysin makes proclamations of pride, shame and truth; unafraid to point the finger at corporations and lackadaisical Americans.

You've got to admire these guys for their ability to grow individually and then meld their styles together for a non-stop, heartpounding sophmore album. Most of the group members have worked on their own solo projects that showcase each lyricists personal flow and thought-provoking rhymes. The great thing about The Word Association is their drive, their passion and their fearlessness of standing for what they believe in.

Guaranteed to keep audiences satisfied, this album is going to be a hit with established Word Association fans who've been following the group since their inception. With more beat-driven songs and harder hitting rhymes, Word Association "is doing it right" as evidenced by their noticeably more commanding and body rocking than their previous album. From the beginning to end this album soars with energy and worldly knowledge, keeping you hyped and ready to hear more and more tracks from the Word.

Following these guys like a stalker with no game, I've been to the shows and have always been blown away by the passion exuding from each group member. Now, I'm so anxious to go to their next show that I can hardly stand it. If you haven't been fortunate enough to actually go to one of their events, things must change for you. Pamper yourself by attending the illest show in San Marcos during the upcoming months (for a list of show dates and locations, visit the Word's myspace profile).

Check out The Word Association on www.myspace.com/wordsanmarcos for live show information and www.thewordassociation.net, the official website of the San Marcos underground hip-hop kings. - San Marcos Scene


Think all hip-hop nights are created equal? The same old 50 Cent songs mixed in with 38 more tired-ass, over-played, radio friendly singles. Sound familiar?

Not at Lucy's on Wednesday nights during Electric Mayhem. Nearly three hours of vinyl tracks spun on turntables by DJs Chief and DJ Crown fill the evening.

So, who are these dueling DJs that have taken the Square by force commanding the attention of hundreds every week? Simple. Greg Williams, better known as Chief on stage, and John Crownover a.k.a. DJ Crown. While these two rock the stage their "soundman extraordinaire/cocktail waitress" Chris Lynch handles all the technicalities. Electric Mayhem is an event that has steadily grown in popularity since its "accidental" behinning 3 years ago.

Chief, DJ Crown and Lynch all belonged to former instrumental/hip-hop band the .::liquidstereoproject. One night, more than three years ago, the band was scheduled to play a Friday night gig at Lucy's. On the day of the show, two out of the seven-member group were called away on a family emergency. The remaining members decided to salvage the impending show by having DJ Crown and Chief take the stage with both their turntable set-ups. All went well that night and soon it was decided that Electric Mayhem would become a weekly event.

Mayhem could be considered more of a music appreciation night than a party. "It's sort of an homage to what started hip-hop really. The turntablism aspect of it," Chief said.

The DJs are also members of the collaborative hip-hop group The Word Association. DJ Crown runs the tables and Chief raps for the group. In fact, Electric Mayhem is one long running side project that allows for fun and added experience. But don't think there are intentions of calling it quits any time soon. "Until people stop coming or until The Word Association makes it impossible to continue, we'll probably be around," Chief said.

The guys credit the event's succcess to San Marcos' acceptance and appreciation of hip-hop and word of mouth. Very little has been done in the way of flyers or chalking sidewalks to promote for the shows. Apparently no extra legwork on the DJ's behalf needs to be done. Lucy's fills to near capacity quite often. "I think it gets to be anout one person in/one person out at the end of the night," Chief said.

The guys urge the audience to come out earlier than the typical 11 p.m. "Our crowd is notoriously late," DJ Crown joked. The DJs begin spinning around 9:30 p.m. and don't stop until about 12:15 a.m. Requests are generally honored and appreciated earlier in the show. Also, try to remember that a DJ's focus is much like a musician's; save the conversation with the guys for later.

It is interesting to know that Electric Mayhem is 100 percent improvised and song selections are guided heavily by the crowd. "I think the best part of Electric Mayhem is not the songs that they are playing. It's the energy. When they choose a song next they really like to see those people stick their hands up in the air and go, "Awww, I didn't know you were gonna play that!" Lynch said.

Since Electric Mayhem is a side project of The Word Association, I decided to quiz the guys on their primary group as well. The Word Association is made up of ten members, eight of whom perform on more or less a regular basis. "I guess we're out to prove that all Southern rap isn't the same," Chief said, "Even in the realm of The Word Association there are several different styles. We're just trying to prove that there is diversity."

So, how would Chief define hip-hop, in general? "True hip-hop is a lifestyle. It's something that's embedded in you. You can't really put a hand on what it is but it's the way you speak, the way you move, the way you act, your attitude towards things. It's a culture. Hip-hop is a culture and a lifestyle more so than just music," he explained. And then he added, "The most important thing about hip-hop is being true to yourself. If what you are is pop then you can't help it but if you do it correctly then people can't help but feel it."

I'm convinced that every week at Electric Mayhem, where the old school meets the new, another lesson is learned. - San Marcos Scene


3. The Word Association

Everyone knows that on any given Wednesday night, Lucy’s is the place to be for Electric Mayhem featuring Chief and DJ Crown. But not everyone knows that the super group these two DJs come from, commonly known as The Word Association, is one of the best hip-hop groups in Texas. Started as a collective of some of the best MCs and DJs in the area, The Word Association is Adlib the Glib Poet, The Ill Mathematical, Chief, Omari Kamau, DJ Crown, W-Ill, Jaysin, Sigma Prime, Park Nast, JP the Volcano and Enique (aka Deuce Deuce). Together for nearly three years now, The Word Association has changed the face of Texas hip-hop to a less materialistic and more proactive scene. The band’s Web site, www.breakfluid.com, puts it best: “In Texas, hip-hop music is seen as destructive, not productive. Some call it obstructive not instructive but they’re just reluctant to love it, quick to judge it, and really know nothing of it.” Members of The Word Association have a lot of good things to say and deliver them in smart, interesting ways that break down preconceived notions of what hip-hop is. There are no flashy cars, no absurdly priced jewelry and no rich lifestyle. There’s only a love for rhymes and beats and a desire for everyone to have a good time. If you’re into Jurassic 5, Common, or Blackalicious, then you should definitely catch these guys live. And if you’re more into 50 Cent or Mike Jones, then go check out The Word Association for a lesson in what real hip-hop is all about. Catch them at Emo’s on June 20 or at Lucy’s on June 23. - The University Daily Star


The night’s closers were The Word Association and Electric Mayhem, with intermixed components that are the sum of one cool hip-hop steamroller. The poets of Word Association, Park Nast, Ad-lib, Sigma Prime, Omari, W-ill, Jaysin and Chief pitched words and syllables so precisely it took mental effort to keep up. Each artist had his own distinct voice and style, from staccato to low and slow flows.

To say these cats have skills in the ways of rhyme is an understatement. They can speak for themselves:

“I keep my ear to da breaks and my foot on the gas/If you’re a thorn in my side, then I’m a foot in you’re a**!”

“Who am I to ask for any breaks though?/ Like I was born with wings and a halo!”

“My oral capacity/Is something that you have to see.”

These and other rhymes were flipped and cleverly combined to create a far more original sound than the common bling-ice-Benz-rolling chump rap that dominates the radio airwaves. The Word Association, rocking their mics to DJ Crown’s skilled scratching and beat mixing, represent hip-hop in the best sense of the word: speaking about life, truth, and struggles.

Electric Mayhem shut down the house with their distinct flavor of both old and new school hip-hop while the crowd boogied out to the dance floor. The records spinning and beat cuts had that kind of pull, while DJ Crown and Chief gave the crowd more phat breaks than a fall down the stairs. - The University Daily Star


In San Marcos, a collective known as Word Association furthers true school aesthetics with bare-boned beats matched with heartfelt verbiage. - The Austin Chronicle


The Word Association is not a movement.

“People use that word so much to describe everything,” said Parker “Park Nast” Wright, one of the standout local crew’s founding pillars. “It’s such a hip-hop cliche.”

And while it’s true that three brothers and a MySpace account hardly works as a progressive development of ideas toward a particular conclusion, he’s full of shit. One of Central Texas’ most consistent, successful circles of talent, the San Marcos-born Word Association, is far more than a structured, traditional band.

The Word Association is an extended, inclusive club.

The Word Association is an underground steam train of talent.

“It’s family, it’s a band of brothers,” said Park Nast. “And it goes beyond the six emcees. The Word Association is producers, artists, promoters that helped us land some crazy house parties, friends who are into hip-hop.”

It hasn’t been 10 minutes since I got off the line with Wright and an influx of texts swarm my phone. He’s quick to disperse cell contacts for his collective crew of emcees.

“We all just started meeting every week at this house, talking about hip-hop,” said Greg “Chief” Williams. “Some of us were locals, others were attending Texas State, eventually the sessions evolved.”

It wasn’t long before inebriated flows became songs with hooks, sharp lyrics and local residencies around San Marvelous. Specifically, Chief, also an experienced turntable technician, has hosted “Electric Mayhem” almost every single Wednesday down at Lucy’s for the past five years.

“Our thing is, if you listen to it in your car, on your ringtone, in clubs, you won’t hear it [at Electric Mayhem],” said Chief. “By challenging ourselves as DJs to spin obscure jams and classics, it stays fresh.”

Forget opening for marquee names like Aesop Rock and Ghostface, the layers upon layers of hot albums and tracks, the rocking shows all over Texas and the united front, The Word Association’s most impressive accomplishment is the fact that a bunch of dudes with day jobs, wives and conflicting schedules can keep up this ethic for such an extended run.

“We had four shows last week,” said Park Nast. “I’m driving home from Denton, getting in at 6 a.m. and going to work by 10 a.m. Ninety percent of the time all six of us are at every gig. Only one dude has ever flat-out left; we’re a machine.”

It doesn’t hurt to keep hands in multiple pies. Park Nast released his solo album (which features creative contributions from the entire Word Association), and the banner name is presently cooking up two simultaneous albums. And by the way, one is produced entirely by Frenchies e-mailing beats.

“I dunno how these producers heard of us, but suddenly a series of e-mails turns into a series of e-mails with attachments sending songs back and forth,” said Park Nast.

With European exposure, national notches on the belt, a drone ant-like work ethic and an unflapping brotherhood firmly secured, there’s no place to go but up and up.

“This time next year you can expect more music,” said Park Nast. “More touring, more respect. Basically everything we do now on a bigger level. - Ramon Ramirez (DT Weekend)


Discography

The Word Association - lucid.
Chief - The Weather Underground
Jaysin - Scrapmetal
Park Nasty - This Is Not My First Project
The Word Association - The Word Association
The Word Association - Stages of Pages (Tour CD)
Chief - Less Is No More
Jaysin - Passion Lost
Jaysin - Practice Makes Perfect
Omari Kamau - Asymmetry
DJ Crown - The Fateful Hour

You can preview some of our music at thewordassociation.net.

Photos

Bio

The Word Association began as a network of several artists who were individually working within the San Marcos / Austin area. Many of the members were mutual friends, and decisions were made to pool their collective resources.

Many different fields of skill are covered within the collective. Aside from writing lyrics, many members produce, DJ and play various musical instruments. Most of the music is recorded in-house by members of the collective. All graphic design is done in-house, from promotional material to album cover layout. Several members have radio experience on both personality and production sides. The Word Association even maintains their own website... a full service crew if there ever was one.

The Word Association run two residencies in their hometown. Electric Mayhem (held at Lucy's) has been the strongest attended event San Marcos has seen in it's weekly 5 year existence. Spread The Word (held at The Triple Crown) is a monthly meant to showcase acts that The Word Association work with to the home crowd.

The list of artists that The Word Association have shared the stage with is a long and diverse one : Alejandro Escovedo, The Rza, Digital Undergroud, De La Soul, Cannibal Ox, The Go! Team, The Clipse, Abstract Tribe Unique, C-Rayz Walz, Aesop Rock, Kool Keith, Mr. Lif, Insight, Ghostface Killah, J-Live, Psyche Origami, Greasekydz, Quanstar, Dosh, Sole, Subtle, Zeale 32, Tee Double, This Will Destroy You, Eleven Fingered Charlie, Clap!Clap!, Opio of Heiroglyphics, and so many more.

Aside from playing all over Texas (including Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, and more), the crew has succesfully booked and completed numerous national tours across the midwest and east coast. They maintain working relationships with several artists and producers nationally and internationally.