Swanny River
Producer, artist and radio host, Swanny River provides a voice for the voiceless and a platform for the growing LGBT Hip Hop community.
Tell us about your single, “I Be On It” with IKP, Billy Hood and Earthtone. How did this fabulous combination of gay rappers come about? 

The song, I BE ON IT was an idea cooked up by IKP and myself. We were sitting in my studio, working on IKP's EP and I said to him, I think I want to drop a new song. If you knew IKP like I do... he said.. "Well it's about time!" Right away I thought of my LIL BRO BILLY HOOD. A few days before, I met EARTHTONE. I thought he was an incredible 'not rapper' but... MC. So of course, I had to bring him in. It took me 2 days to put this beat together and well, the rest is history.

It wasn't that long ago that gay rappers simply wouldn't come out. Can you feel a growing acceptance in the rap community for gay artists or do you still face any kind of discrimination in this genre?

Me personally, I work with both gay and straight artists. To be honest, I don't work with just anybody. You must have that special spark in order to catch my attention. I do think the industry is ready for a gay rapper. We are definitely close. Or maybe closer than we think. All we need to do is unite and show these label heads that we are a force to be reckoned with. I see a whole bunch of talented OUT rappers out there and it makes me feel good to see the young ones kill it...  and they really kill it. 

You are a passionate promoter of OUT Rap and Hip Hop artists. Tell us about your radio show, Rollin With Swanny. What made you create your show?

YES!! I am a huge promoter of Out Hip Hop. My show Rollin With Swanny started as an idea between DJ BAKER of the legendary DADOO-DIRTY SHOW. He was the one that put the battery in my back and told me I should do a show for Out Hip Hop. At first, I was a little afraid because I had never done anything like that but he pushed and so I just said f**k it and I went for it. I thank him for that. My show used to be a 2 hr show but now it's a 24hrs. a day, 7 days a week radio station. www.rws.alldigitalradio.com and my show is live every Saturday 8pm(EST) on the same station. 

How do you choose material for your show? 
The way I choose... I have out Hip Hop and R&B artists send  their mp3's to my email,rollinwithswanny@gmail.com and I listen to them and what's hot goes on rotation, what's hot, hot goes on my show and rotation. 

What are you hoping to build with RWS radio and your own releases?

Well, what I'm hoping for is to help get the word out that Out Hip Hop is here and you are not going to stop us. We will keep fighting and making records until someone gets it. We hot... we do this too... so give us a break.

What or who inspires you lyrically and musically? 

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge fan of producers, Quincy Jones, Dr.Dre, Just Blaze, Swizz Beats, J-Dilla and now the new guys, Mike Will Made This, DJ Mustard and a couple of others. Now lyrically, I need to listen to the classics, like. big , Nas, Common, Remy, Big Pun. etc etc.. those people motivate me.

How did you get into hip hop and rap?

I started doing Hip Hop as a kid in junior high school. I remember when I bought my first 12 inch single of rappers delight. That song right there changed my life. I was a young DJ spinning records in the projects in Brownsville Brooklyn, New York. Back then DJ's were afraid of me because they knew that lil guy name Swanny was a dope DJ.. lol.. but now in 2015 I'm here for my out Hip-Hop & R&B family.

Do you handle the production of your own material? 

Handle it? What do you mean handle it? I do it like the beast that I am. I do it with the knowledge that was given to me by the Hip Hop Gods. Like Grand Master Flash , Afrika Bambatta & the father of Hip Hop himself, DJ Kool Herc.. they flow through my blood.

Do you prefer to collaborate with other artists?

I love to collaborate with other artists. Especially my Out artists. Of course I do love my fam.. Billy Hood, IKP, Earthtone & the only straight artist that's down with us, Jason Black.

What do you see is the biggest obstacle that Out artists face in the current music industry?

The biggest obstacle I see is that the industry won't take us seriously. We are Hip Hop too. We go through struggles too. We have a voice and it needs to be heard. I mean if we can dress you, do your hair, make sure your on time for things, I know damm well we can make good music just like the rest of our counter parts. 

You also have a new album in the works, set to release this year. What subjects are you delving into with this project?

I don't want to speak to much about this new project I'm working on. All I can say there will be the usual suspects plus a whole bunch of new artist and surprises... lol but its coming in April 2015.

12. Your most recent single, “Keep Ya Head Up” is very powerful and obviously written around recent tragic events. Is there anything more you would like to say that you didn’t express in this song?

Yes I want to say keep up the fight, we must stop inequality. All lives matter. Rest in peace to those who lost their lives because of stupid people who don't know how to act when you give them a little authority or a badge. You don't run the world, gays do.. lol.. and oh yeah and let me give a shout out to those excellent artists who let me borrow their talents for that song, Earthtone,Ripparachi,Flash Gotti,Billy Hood,Shorty Roc,Sonny Lewis, IKP, Jason Black and my favorite Out R&B artist, Quarnelius. They are the ones that made that song dope.. so keep ya head up to the sky!! 

On the personal side, do you have a partner? 

No .. I'm single.. single single single and looking.

What do you wish people would ask you ? 

I wish someone would ask me to create a big show to feature Out Hip Hop & R&B artists but it has to be on a major scale.. where the world can see we do this too. 

It makes me feel good to see the young ones kill it... and they really kill it. ​
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