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November 20, 2023

BONUS! ACL Fest with Blakchyl 2023

By: Zahra Crim

Fresh is out of town this week, but The Breaks still has new(ish) content! In this episode, Confucius and Fresh take the Bonus Tracks Stage during ACL Fest last month. The two interview Austin-born-and-raised artist Blakchyl and discuss what’s up and coming for the hip-hop artist. Enjoy the conversation and for anyone wanting more, visit KUTX for Blakchyl’s ACL pop-up session. Regularly scheduled programming AKA Hip-Hop Facts, Unpopular Opinion, and Confucius Reads the News will be back next week!

The full transcript of this episode of The Breaks is available on the KUT & KUTX Studio website. The transcript is also available as subtitles or captions on some podcast apps.

Confucius Jones Hello there. I’m Confucius Jones, one half of The Breaks. Fresh is away this week so we don’t have a new podcast episode for you. Instead, we do have this interview with Austin artist Blakchyl, recorded live at the Austin City Limits Festival on the Bonus Tracks stage on October 15th. Blakchyl is an Austin based rapper and songwriter. She’s got a new record out called Better Than I Imagined. So here’s Blakchyl, if you want to see more Blakchyl, KUT did a pop up video session with Blakchyl at ACL Fest. You can find a link to that in the show notes page for this episode, and we’ll see you next week. [theme music]

Fresh Knight ACL festival, how y’all feeling out there? [crowd cheers] All right, All right. All right. We are The Breaks. We are Austin’s top rated number one hip-hop and R&B show here in the city, man. My name is Fresh.

Confucius Jones And I’m Confucius.

Fresh Knight Got a little tongue-tied there, huh?

Confucius Jones My mic is…[laughs] I’m glad the weather’s nice today.

Fresh Knight Yeah, I’m glad it’s not 40 degrees or freezing as it has been in the past.

Confucius Jones Nah, for real, for real. How you doing today, Fresh?

Fresh Knight I’m good. A little sinus congested, but, you know, we pushing through, we pushing through it.

Confucius Jones Shout out to everybody coming out to ACL. There’s been some great shows. Hope you got to see some great shows. But we have a great show.

Fresh Knight We do.

Confucius Jones About to happen right now.

Fresh Knight Yes, we have someone who is coming out of the Austin, Texas area.

Confucius Jones Oh two.

Oh two, straight east side. They also just performed yesterday on the ACL festival stage. So, y’all, give it up and make some noise for Blakchyl. [crowd cheers]

Blakchyl What up, though?

Fresh Knight What’s up, what’s up, what’s up.

Blakchyl How y’all doing?

Fresh Knight Good. How you doing?

Blakchyl I’m super chill.

Confucius Jones That’s what I’m talking about.

Blakchyl Getting through the weekend, Last day, trying to go big.

Confucius Jones How was ACL for you been? How’s it been for you so far?

Blakchyl It’s definitely been fun. Fun experience. It’s been good to, you know, have my friends with me as well.

Confucius Jones Yeah.

Blakchyl Through the journey that I’ve, you know, been coming up with so it was nice for everybody to be here, experience with me for the first time because I’ve never been to ACL.

Confucius Jones This your first time ever?

Blakchyl Yeah this is my first year ever.

Confucius Jones And you performed?

Fresh Knight Yes. Look at God.

Blakchyl And during the eclipse, too. So I feel like that was super special.

Confucius Jones Yeah, definitely.

Blakchyl So, yeah.

Fresh Knight Ancestors smiled on you. With that being said, coming out of Austin, and being from Austin, I feel like a certain benchmarks or certain accolades that people won like you’ve covered the Austin Chronicle this year and now you’ve been on an ACL stage how does it feel to be from Austin and to be on stage and be able to be able to represent East Austin on a stage like this?

Blakchyl I feel like it’s a unique story. I feel like no one has my story, my come up. So it gives me some different for the, for the section for oh two. I feel like is just I’m really from the town. Like I didn’t move here like 5-10 years ago, like.

Fresh Knight Speak about it. Speak about it.

Blakchyl I was actually born here. So yeah, it just it just means something different. It’s different. But also, once you get to explore outside of Austin, it’s just another inspiration, you know, to keep going, basically. Another milestone, but keep going after that. Just don’t stay stagnant and be like, okay, yeah, I got the cover and now I’ma just chill. You know, so.

Confucius Jones Yeah, cause it seems like you’ve really, like, grown your brand and pretty quick. Not pretty quickly, but in a good way. In the last year or so, you traveled overseas to do shows. How was that?.

Blakchyl Yes, I just came from overseas. What was it, this week? So I’m still a little jetlagged. That was our fourth run with MBK and the French Touch, and we’ve been going out there since 2017. And part of it is, we do social work with kids. So we go into to the schools and we surprise the kids and they ask us questions about our come up, hip hop, anything they want to ask us basically. And um, yeah, we do a surprise performance after that and then we do the regular venues at night. So it’s pretty jam packed days every day. Like we don’t get no type of breaks. But yeah, it’s been an honor to go out there to Angers, which is our sister city of Austin, Texas, So there’s a lot of connection there. So actually y’all look into Angers, France and do what you got to do.

Confucius Jones Is that Dirtbag? Hey, what’s up Dirtbag? [Confucius and Fresh laughing]

Blakchyl What up, though?

Confucius Jones Um. Oh, yeah, it’s your turn.

Fresh Knight You took you my question asking about going overseas.

Confucius Jones I had a feeling you were going ask that but I said I’m going for it.

Blakchyl I’m going first.

Fresh Knight But, with all that being said, you also dropped an album recently. You just dropped the album Better Than I Imagined. With the way that the city has changed through gentrification and all these people moving here, has that influence the, has influenced the making of the album or influenced your music in general? Because Austin, for us being natives and being from here, it’s basically a whole new city now.

Blakchyl Yeah, it definitely influences the music. I feel like the changes is something that I still process. It’s still, I don’t really have words for it at times, but it’s definitely an inspiration to be like, okay, it is changing and accepting that is going to continue to change. I think that’s the big part, as well. Accepting that is going to continue to do that. But also, like I said, you know, continue to like leave the city, but while I’m here, still make impact, bring it to the streets, how I always have. Kept a community. So that keeps me grounded and still, you know, wanting to be a part of the section, but also not getting lost into it. Like, Oh, this is this is where I’m at. This is it. So.

Confucius Jones So one thing all three of us on this stage have in common, we all. Okay, so y’all two graduated from Reagan, right?

Blakchyl Yes.

Confucius Jones I went there for a year. I moved around. For people that don’t know your story, tell them about your come up and how you eventually got to the place you’re at.

Blakchyl So basically my foundation started with The Cipher, Austin Hip-Hop project, which is a nonprofit that was based down in New York. And my mentor Shannon, as she went out to New York and got the blessing from Kasi to start it in Austin, Texas. So it was basically a group of individuals from all over Austin, different schools, high schools to come together and express artistic ideas, basically. And we work with all different types of organizations during that time from Take Back the Night, Men’s Rally for Change, which is a march that men do for women that’s been in domestic violence situations. Safe Place. Shout out to Tim Eubanks as well. He was a real good dude in the past. Shout out to Zell Miller as well. Public Offenders, Da’Shade Moonbeam, Ebony Stewart. Those were pretty much my senseis coming up. And then everybody at Reagan, too, knew that I rap as well. I wasn’t super popular, but they knew that I was in The Cipher.

Confucius Jones Yeah, talented.

Blakchyl Rapping in, on the lunch tables with the guys and some of the girls. So yeah, that was my start. When I was about 15, 16.

Fresh Knight Hey, what’s up? Big, big alumni. Big alumni, we’re still here.

Blakchyl Double R, double r. You might know Shannon then.

Fresh Knight So with all of that you just said with your start, you also were down with the hip hop group, as you said, you just went out to friends, Mindz of a Different Kind. How was that still going, with Mindz of a Different Kind still. Are y’all still making music together or plan on putting out new music together?

Fresh Knight So yeah, MBK started like after The Cipher ended, we basically clocked out. There was basically basically an age limit and also like the funding ran out. So it did end 2012. So me and the guys we knew we wanted to continue. A lot of ups and downs, basically same stuff groups go through basically. But I feel like since we had those mentors and like certain people in our lives to go and talk to would be able to have conversations and have boundaries and also separate and have time and grow and come back together. I think that’s how we been able to stay together. But definitely we’re still working on new music as a collective while we do our friends stuff, even our solo stuff. I still do stuff with Shad, Nick. Um, so we kind of just bounce off, you know, but not make it as stressful. Like, oh, you know. MBK .That’s it, you know. But there’s still the brand, you know, kind of like on some Wu-Tang.

Confucius Jones That’s what I was thinking, like Wu-Tang.

Blakchyl Yeah, like how Method does his thing or Ghost and Ray, they come together and do a movie or whatever.

Confucius Jones When you say that, it’s like Wu-Tang.

Blakchyl Yeah.

Confucius Jones Um, so my final question for you is, you know, as artists this from time to time, how are you, how are you feeling about everything currently? Like, where’s your mind at? Are you like excited, anxious?

Blakchyl Just about music in general?

Confucius Jones Just life.

Blakchyl Oh, in life.

Confucius Jones Oh, I mean music and life. So, you know.

Blakchyl Hmm. Uh, I feel. I feel like I’m where I was supposed to be in life. I feel like, um, I’m feeling loved. I’m feeling appreciative. I feel like there’s still ways to go.Yeah. I feel excited about music. I feel excited about my friends’ music, what’s going on in Austin. I feel like when it comes to the scene, I feel like it’s it’s like you got to go digging for records. You got to find what you like here. You kind of just can’t pop up on a scene and just found what you want. You kind of got to go on a treasure hunt. So I just keep that in mind as well, being in Austin, but also connecting with others outside of the city as well. So yeah, I just feel super grateful right now in life. That’s what I’m saying.

Confucius Jones That’s what I’m talking about, that’s what I’m talking about.

Fresh Knight I definitely understand that, I feel the same way.You performed yesterday and I unfortunately had to be on air and miss the set. But I heard you were planning on performing with the Reagan, I mean Northeast, band. Did you end up getting to perform with them? And what, I don’t want to say thought process.

Confucius Jones Fresh is a band alumni. That’s why he has that question.

Fresh Knight What did that mean to you? To have them, like, be a part of that experience?

Blakchyl So we did not get to make that happen with the marching band. But I would have loved and I would have loved to just be coming in kind of the middle of like the whole field with the whole marching band and have them bring me on stage was the plan. But it didn’t work out. We definitely still are like in contact with each other and just seeing if we can do something in the future. But yeah, I definitely wanted to make a grand entrance with the band because Reagan I feel like, had, like pretty much the best band.

Fresh Knight We did.

Blakchyl In high school.

Confucius Jones You said that in front of the wrong person.

Blakchyl We were better L.B.J.

Fresh Knight Who was the wrong person? Who was the wrong person?

Blakchyl Like, name somebody better than Reagan band?

Confucius Jones I’m not going to argue that.

Fresh Knight There’s nothing to argue. It’s straight facts.

Blakchyl Yeah, it’s just straight facts.

Fresh Knight I was in it. I can tell you for a fact. I was in it.

Confucius Jones I didn’t graduate, I didn’t graduate from Reagan.

Blakchyl They even performed with Yeezy.That’s pretty crazy.

Fresh Knight There ain’t nothing to argue about.

Confucius Jones Shout out to Reagan, I’m sorry, Northeast band.

Fresh Knight It’s still Reagan, man.

Blakchyl Yeah it’s still double r.

Confucius Jones I love this. But yeah, one thing I will say I really appreciate about you like I said, you’re real, you’re from Austin, from the city. And when we say oh two we’re talking about 78702.

Fresh Knight It’s East Austin.

Confucius Jones Yeah, this is East Austin for real, but yeah, thank you so much.

Blakchyl Thank y’all for having me. This is my first time like, really talking to y’all.

Confucius Jones Yeah, I know right? We should have done it seven years ago.

Blakchyl Y’all actually, like, super chill. Laid back. I thought I was going to be on some Charlemagne. [all laugh]

Blakchyl Nah, I’m playing.

Fresh Knight That’s not us, that’s not our mode.

Confucius Jones So tell me what you were doing now. [laughs] Where were you last month? No.

Confucius Jones But I’ll ask this before we get off the stage. What’s next for you? You’ve done ACL. You’ve been overseas. Album is out now, so what’s next? Shows? Touring? Et cetera.

Blakchyl So I have a joint coming up with Latasha Lee.

Confucius Jones Shout out Latasha Lee.

Fresh Knight Shout out Latasha Lee.

Blakchyl At Radio Coffee and Beer at the end of the month, and then we’re doing a France, Germany tour in June, so that should be dope. And of course I’m always working on music, working on collabs me and Vintage J is doing a collab album together, so that’s exciting. And yeah, keep working with artists, touring.

Confucius Jones Keep growing, flourishing, going overseas.

Blakchyl See about South By as well. My French homies is going to be coming from Angers to experience South By so they’ll be here and…

Confucius Jones You gonna take the east side?

Blakchyl Yeah we gon take up to the east side. Get us some barbecue.

Fresh Knight What’s up, what’s up.

Blakchyl So yeah that’s what’s coming up. Still spreading the word about the album which is out right now, Better Than I Imagined. Produced all entirely by the Mask which he’s also from the east side. 21. 02.

Confucius Jones Shout out to Mask.

Blakchyl Shout out to him. Yeah, and the whole elevate.

Fresh Knight Let everybody know where they can follow you social media-wise, website, find the music. All of that.

Blakchyl Y’all can follow me at b-l-a-k-c-h-y-l, that’s Blakchyl on everything. YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud. Yeah. Short films, whatever you need to find. You could just type in “Blakchyl” and it’s right there.

Confucius Jones That means you have no excuse not to find it. That’s what that means. Everywhere like it should be. But anyway, thank you once again for joining us.

Blakchyl Thank y’all. Appreciate you.

Fresh Knight Appreciate you, man. It’s been it’s been a pleasure to finally sit down and talk with you.

Blakchyl It was that time.

Fresh Knight Yeah. Yeah.

Blakchyl I don’t know what was wrong with y’all, what y’all was doing. Nah, I’m playing.

Confucius Jones [laughs] I blame Fresh.

Fresh Knight I’m always to blame.

Confucius Jones Fresh is like our rock. But yeah, no. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you.

Confucius Jones Thank y’all for reall. Appreciate y’all.

Fresh Knight Appreciate everybody.

Blakchyl Tuning in.

Fresh Knight Yeah, watching. We are The Breaks, we are on every Saturday, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.. Okay. KUTX 98.9 and kutx dot org. You can hear the podcast released every Monday at KUTX KUT dot studios or or wherever you get your podcast. We are literally everywhere. The Breaks.

Confucius Jones This episode of The Breaks podcast is a production of KUTX nine eight nine, The Austin Music Experience. You can listen to The Breaks radio show every Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.. This podcast is produced by Confucius Jones, Fresh Knight, and Elizabeth McQueen with editing help from Jack Anderson. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We are at The Breaks KUTX and you can find more episodes at kutx dot org slash The Breaks. Our theme song is by Austin artist Deezie Brown.

This transcript was transcribed by AI, and lightly edited by a human. Accuracy may vary. This text may be revised in the future.


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