Nate Paul Jo aka Casagrown is apart of two hip hop/music collectives--Greenlights and Bad Wolff. Here he tells how they got started and how they represent different sides of him as an artist and his writing.
"I don't have a traditional career. Working in food for the past five years, you can burn out real fast. So, finding the right place, being able to support myself but also be creative and be positive with it, that kind of the balance I'm looking for. I think right now, I've found it, despite the fact that I'm working at a donut place. It's not necessarily the end-all, be-all, but it's like I'm stable enough where I can dedicate like three days out of my week to really, hard core, write and read and just like [write]."
Greenlights: "Greenlights is basically a combination of three people--myself, my friend Willow who is a really amazing singer as well as writer, and my boy Andres who makes really inventive, original music and who is a dope writer, too. I guess we're all writers at our heart. So, it's us three principally."
"We all would hang out, that was the idea, just hang out and make music. And we started making more and more, so we compiled up like 10 songs and was like, "We should put this out as something.' Originally, we were releasing free songs. We put our heads together and came up with [the name] Greenlights. We just put out our second record before New Years."
"It's all based in Logan Square. Andres has an apartment and converted the basement into his studio. I was working up the street at the time at this place called Yusho. I would hurry out of work, fresh with tips, grab some brews and bring it over to the house. It would be like a crew and all these people are still friends, still active, probably like three summers ago--2012."
Bad Wolff: "Bad Wolff is a whole other thing. It's me and my friend Camonie. That's my ace, I've known him for about 10 years and we have one of those chemistries where we can just bounce ideas off of [each other] and he'll finish it up, vice versa. He's a really dope writing partner. We used to be in a band together, we were both emcees, we were already on the strength of our writing and we wanted to stick with it after the band sort of went off in different ways. We came up with "Bad Wolff" because we both liked Doctor Who and so I was like, that [name] sounds good, it's sort of intriguing, it looks good on a bill."
"Bad Wolff is more, I wouldn't say darker, but it's definitely touching on topics that are a little harder. Not necessarily like everything was love and joy--we touch on that but we also do more a reality of what it really is. With [BW], we do a lot of narrative and one thing we like is noir-style movies to life, culture. It's sort of like dark alley shit. You see things you might not see during the day."