Portland, Oregon bass music producer Cory O and MC Raquel Divar recently released their collaborative EP The Reign. On this five-track EP, Cory and Raquel skillfully combine elements of trap, bass music, grime, double time, rap, and hip-hop to create their own genre they have deemed “rap forward electronic music.” Influenced by their own real-life experiences in Portland, The Reign touches on the west coast weed culture on “Runners Anthem” and politics, namely the Portland protest following the Trump election on “Snakes In The City.” Riding in a similar lane to Foreign Beggars, Run The Jewels, and Spark Master Tape, Cory and Raquel deliver their own unique style and flare.
Read the interview below to learn more about these young, breakthrough, genre-defying artists.
- How do you describe your sound?
Melodic Sideways Music or rap-forward bass music.
- Raquel, what’s it like being an independent female rapper in today’s society?
I have to deal with the fact that most people don’t take me seriously. I have to try twice and hard as a woman and even harder than that as a brown woman.
- How did you guys start working together?
We met through SoundCloud during the early days. I’ve always was on the lookout for dope music and came across one of Raquel’s tracks. So I just hit her up to see if she wanted to work on some tunes.
- What other artists do you admire in today’s music industry? Is there anyone in particular that you’d like to work with?
Cory: Joker and Eprom are two producers I’ve really respected for a long time. Pusha T, Dave East, Stormzy, Big Kritt, are Giggs are a few rappers I think are making some fire music.
Raquel: I really admire Eprom as someone who has always pushed the envelope and stayed true to his style at the same time. Santigold is my fav songwriter. I also admire Suzi Analog, BIG KRIT, cardi b. Blimes Brixton & Gifted Gad (aka B.A.G.) just started to blow up and I’m loving their vibe and sound. AJ Tracey is my fav UK rapper and someone I’d really like to work with in the future. Chynna is my fav US rapper right now, and also someone id love to work with. (Raquel)
- Who are your greatest influences?
Cory: Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, the Homies I grew up with and My Mom! (Cory)
Raquel: My big brother, MIA, Santigold, Missy Elliot, and Lil Kim.
- How did you come up with the concept for The Reign?
Cory: The concept just happened. I had a general idea of the sound and vibe to create. It’s hard to explain cause it was just a sound/idea that I had in my head that I translated to Ableton. We both really like a similar style of music and it was just a natural thing that we kept making more tunes.
- How does The Reigncomment on current social or political issues?
We are all the rulers of our own worlds.
- What has the response been like so far to the release of The Reign?
We’re really excited about the response. We have gained radio play and new followers.
- What was the recording process like for The Reign?
I start by making a basic beat. nothing crazy just something with the right groove I’m looking for. I send the skeleton beat to Raquel and she creates the story/subject. Raquel has a couple of engineers and studios where she likes to record. They send over the vocal for me to work with. After that, I finished the track. I usually change the melody to fit the vibe Raquel has created. It’s a little bit backward way to work on tunes but it feels like more of a real collaboration.
- What can your fans expect from you in 2018 and beyond?
More music videos and performances. Our last show together was at What The Festival and we are excited to start playing music again.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We are just trying to have fun and make music.