A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to sit down with a good friend of ours, Chris Heezy from 8BitHipHop. Chris has been involved with FAZE in some capacity for the last few years. We've featured his art in a couple of art shows here at the shop, he's done live paintings at our annual food drive and he has even graced our fitting room wall with his artistic skills. It's dope to see him going strong with a movement of his own. And believe us...his movement is on and poppin'! Check out our Fearless Feature on his brand, 8BitHipHop below:
8BitHipHop is art that Hip Hop deserves. It has only been in existence for about a year now and they have only been gaining momentum and steadily growing. A collaboration of old and new, Chris Heezy and crew have created the ultimate dedication to Hip Hop culture. He does so by taking different rappers, producers and objects from Hip Hop culture and flips them into 8 bit designs. They’ve been damn successful at it too! Most recently, they garnered attention from the Hip Hop publication, XXL Magazine, for their 2016 XXL Freshman Class. The mag published Chris’s 8 bit version of each artist in this year’s freshmen class on their social media accounts. 8BitHipHop has carved out a nice niche in Hip Hop culture for themselves and the future is bright for the SF based brand. We were able to sit down with Chris and ask him some questions about his brand and his inspiration.
For those that are unfamiliar with your brand/movement, please provide them with a brief bio?
8BitHipHop is about representing the best in Hip Hop culture. We do a new 8 bit design representing something with Hip Hop culture everyday, anything from classic artists to new artists. We make buttons, stickers, posters, smaller framed prints, etc.
What inspires you?
Hip Hop is really interesting for me because, like many people, growing up in the hood or some area where you did not have a lot of money, it was a way to escape and just imagine different possibilities. For me it was Hip Hop and basketball, but I was not good enough for the NBA so I decided to focus more on my artistic skills. My dad is a designer, he was my mentor and I learned a lot from him. Also, growing up in New York, taking the train, and see all the graffiti from different parts of the city. Going to my first concert, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, which was an amazing experience. After that, even though I was all the way in the back, I wanted to be up front and not only experience the concert, but also experience what these artists have to offer. So 8BitHipHop is really my way of giving back. With the frequency we put things out, artists that I previously thought were untouchable have reached out to us and worked with us. Now, I can consider some of them friends. It is awesome to see how art touches people in a similar way to the music.
I like seeing the artists’ reactions and getting positive attention from the likes of Soulection to Torey Lanez to BJ the Chicago Kid to even Serato and Steve Aoki. Steve Aoki even did a write up on his website about 8Bit, which is awesome especially since we have not even done Steve Aoki yet. This has all been a really interesting part of this journey and it has really been evolving. We have been trying to add more as well as keep up with the community and make sure these voices are being heard; whether it is the voices of the artists or the people listening to the artists. We are trying to bridge the gap between these creatives, the fans, and the brand.
We can assume that you listen to Hip Hop when you create but which artist(s) really get the creative juices flowing?
Nas, Kendrick, Biggie, J Dilla, Madlib, etc.
Two favorite albums: Illmatic - Nas and To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
On that note, name 3 of you favorite artists in the game today?
Chance the Rapper (big fan of new mixtape, Coloring Book), J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar
What challenges have you run into since starting the brand?
What makes you fearless? Zealous?
This is our first time doing a lot of these things. We don’t know if we do ‘A’ will it lead to ‘B’ or lead to ‘C’. It is about being able to adapt and be on our feet about things. If we try something and it does not go right, we have to turn it around and figure out how to turn it into a positive. That is what makes us fearless, we are okay with jumping into something new and seeing how that can impact the people and the artists.
What makes us zealous is the passion behind it. We don’t know what is going to happen but we are very passionate about we do. So with that passion we are always going to find a way. Doing something everyday, it takes a certain amount of dedication and passion. You cannot do something like this and not care about it. We care about the work, we care about the people, and we really try to bring it all together.
We really appreciate the time Chris and your movement is an inspiration to us. Keep doing your thing and know you'll always have the support of the FAZE crew! For more info about 8BitHipHop and to purchase items, please visit their website, Instagram, and Twitter.
Plenty of Hip Hop inspired items to choose from at my8bithiphop.com
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