Thursday, April 14, 2016

Interview with FHTMG

This independent record label based out of Washington, D.C. is among the most subversive record label in the world. FHTMG is a collective of Washington, D.C. natives and artists who are globally-minded and socially-oriented. Most known for its online fundraising campaign which went viral and featured in mainstream outlets across the US, ultimately sending label artists Pacman and Peso to Pyongyang, North Korea to film in, and around the city. (Read via Huffington Post, Washington Post)

Already off to a demanding start to 2016, this internationally aware music label, has just returned from Cuba on their collaboration with Cuba Skate,, in an effort to support and grow the Cuban skateboarding and hip-hop communities. The initiative provided access to skateboarding equipment that is otherwise unavailable on the island; in addition cross-promoted culture and lifestyle. In doing so, the label has constructed an environment for Cuban youth that will have a positive impact on the greater community.

This was just a first step following a return to US and Cuban diplomacy. FHTMG has various initiatives underway in an effort to build cultural bridges; undertaking both humanitarian efforts, and raising awareness to the battles that lie ahead. In addition, the label has applied this same approach internationally as they now expand internationally with new projects and offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Beirut.

On April 18th, at the label will be releasing the highly anticipated Bernie Bitch by Abu Rahss, in support of #Bernie2016 and the New York primaries. Bernie Bitch is a hybrid music video with campaign undertones, officially lending FHTMG’s support to 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Interview with FHTMG:

All Indie: Tell us about your label and your Artist roster. What music do you primarily promote and represent. Currently, who are your Top artists and why?

FHTMG: Our label FHTMG is a collective of artists from Washington DC who for the most part grew up together/went to school together. Our artists include PacMan Slim, Abu Rahss, Peso, iLL da Artist, Nine Five, Predatah, and others. We like to be flexible and promote any idea/song that we think is the best at the moment. Recently it's been mainly iLL da Artist, Abu Rahss (me), and PacMan Slim because we have been the most active. Music/creativity ebbs and flows so whoever is doing the most at any given moment we like to rally behind and push.

All Indie: As an Independent label, what do you think is your toughest challenges and what is your remedy to this challenge?

FHTMG: Our toughest challenge as an independent label is that everything is DIY, so we have more control and freedom but less support. Being in DC is good for creativity since their is a very active and strong urban culture but it's also difficult since we are isolated from the larger music/entertainment industry. We just try to focus on being creative and having fun and working hard, and hope everything will fall into place in the long run.

All Indie: Because you’re based out of Washington, D.C., do you have more involvement in politics? What political candidate you strongly support and why?

FHTMG: Being in DC probably gives us more of a political outlook but that's also influenced by the background of our different artists. We have a lot of people with international backgrounds who are naturally politically oriented. We all support Bernie Sanders strongly because we feel he's the only candidate who addresses our communities with respect (Black Americans, Latino Americans, and Arab Americans). I have a Bernie Sanders song/video coming out next week that I think will be big. The website is, and you will be able to see the video live Monday the 18th, right before the New York primaries.

All Indie: Tell us about your recent involvement with Cuba Skate. What inspired you to travel to Cuba and what Artist(s) performed for the Cuban people?

FHTMG: One of my best friends from DC, Miles Jackson, is the founder of Cuba Skate, which has become the top Skateboarding organization in Cuba. He has been going and doing great work for 6 years and has an amazing community of Skaters and artists down there, including rappers. It's an amazing and inspiring place that brings the creativity out of you so we try to be involved as possible with Cuba Skate and visit/help out whenever we can (we made 2 trips in 2015 and will continue to visit). PacMan and I (Abu Rahss) performed in Havana and got a great reception from the local scene. Hip Hop is very much an underground culture in Cuba so everybody is humble and eager to work with new people without consideration of status/personal benefit. With the recent positive developments between the US and Cuba, we hope to ramp up our involvement with Cuba.

All Indie: Moving forward into 2016, tell us about any upcoming news on some of your Artists. Are you arranging any tours or releases soon?

FHTMG: We have lots of stuff planned for 2016. I'm living in London now and will be collaborating with artists here and in Germany and releasing videos. PacMan Slim and iLL da Artist have been working with a lot of DC artists and will be releasing music. We don't have any tours or projects/albums coming soon but we will be doing one-off shows and releasing lots of songs/videos (we put new videos out every few weeks). We will release a body of work later in the year. We also have some things planned in the Middle East and Africa which will probably be released later this year or early next year.

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