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An “ExclucivE” View of Hip-Hop

image"ExclucivE" is a local artist and producer from Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was born William Powell to Russell Kelly and Karen Luise Peterson on April 14th, 1989 out in Dallas, Texas. He moved to New Mexico with his family around the age of two. ExclucivE has had a passion for music ever since he could hold wooden spoons in his hands. “I’ve always loved music, even back when I was two years old they (his parents) would give me pots and pans to shut me up and keep me busy.” This talent, to escape through music, developed into a great love for music. In 4th grade he began to read up and understand music theory. The inspiration to create music, however, came from life. “… It comes from everything, the good the bad, the happy the sad.” William also explains that his mother raised him on “everything” as far as music goes. “Everything from George Strait to the Isley Brothers”. When I asked him about his lyrics and how he writes them he said to me, “It really comes down to saying what you actually feel and not editing yourself. Sometimes you just get in one of those moods where you’ve had it up to here.” In those moods writing can become a powerful tool to express yourself and write compelling lyrics. ExclucivE also goes on to say that he read a fb post that mentioned how country music has mastered the art of story telling and how hip-hop has lost that trait. Telling stories has transcended cultures, stood the test of time, and drawn people to feel things that only a story can.  “Thinking about that story and how it made you feel, that’s realer than selling keys and driving Cadillacs.”

ExclucivE is a very educated person. He focuses the majority of his learning towards his passion, music. He’s currently taking classes for a Media Arts degree with a focus in Audio Production and he has already finished his AA in Business and Accounting. William recalled reading the dictionary in the 5th grade so he could expand his vocabulary, and aside from childhood curiosity, he knows definitively that “…getting an actual career is impossible without some kind of education.” And there’s a lot to be said about that in this day and age. Any career in almost any field requires an education, pursuing one that’s directly correlated with your passion is just having your cake and eating it too. 

Aside from his education however, William is expanding his horizons with an up and coming Rap Battle League called UBR (Universal Battle Realm). A recording artist doesn’t always decide to go into something like UBR but ExclucivE sees it as a way to show he has more than one suit in his tricks and skills set. “I realized a lot about lyricism, I try to showcase lyrical ability” and even though you think you know an artist, once you hear their lyrics in a different tone, you suddenly re-discover them. “The thing I respect about UBR is that all the battles I’ve been to have been judged fair really… 7 times out of 10 the person who really won takes it… you learn from it.” ExclucivE takes that attitude into perspective with his entire life. “No matter what happens in your life you have to learn from it, if they (UBR Battlers) talk about your dead daughter you have to focus.” And no matter how heated these events get there is still a positive product to hold in the end. “As negative as it can be, all that negativity I mean, all that has brought people together. 3rd (Geoff “Thirdleg” Featherstone) was associated with Innercircle, now he’s with ASi, everyone is finding their mode, me personally; I’m not at my prime.” Which is hard to believe seeing a man like William constantly working and putting out new music consistently. Most people would look at a Santa Fe artist and atleast applaud him for his effort and expect no more. But that’s what makes ExclucivE different. He expects a caliber out of himself that propels him past the other artists that come from the City Different and New Mexico.

William sees some problems in the hip-hop scene or as we called it in our conversation the “hip-pop” scene. We touched on problems such as the references made, the topics discussed, and the image that is being projected to the youth. “’I have gun bars, I have coke, I have Cadillacs…’ that’s why hip-hop isn’t what it used to be. You don’t hear the Fugees… you don’t hear about repping about where you’re from or your culture, its about cars, clubs, and women, not to say that I’m losing interest in hip-hop as a whole, [But] EDM is taking over because of songs like “Wake Me Up” by Avicii… it’s a deep song that even the older generation can relate to. To touch on one of the negative artists in hip-hop we discussed Young Jeezy. “Young Jeezy glorifies those things (drugs) and a lot of people are trying to do that… stuff like that I cant support. We talked about the growing drug problem in Santa Fe. How we know friends or family that have suffered from drug problems and how we’ve seen too many young lives taken from good, loving parents.

I always ask my interviewees what they’re goals are because I believe the goals of the artist say a lot about who they are and why they do what they do. For William, music is a joy, an indulgence that he gets to partake in everyday. “I’m in music because I have a passion for it, I’m in debt to the game, I’ve spent way more money on doing different stuff than I’m getting back. Nobody is gonna invest in you unless you invest in yourself.” He goes on to say that he is in the time of his life where every person has to decide whether they make something of themselves or decide to live a life they didn’t want. “We’re at the point in our lives (20-28) where you’ll make something of yourself or not. I could talk about hip-hop and what it used to be but that’s what old timers do. My dreams, where I wanna get to, is traveling around the world where kids in Ethiopia can hear my lyrics and they may not speak English but they know the lyrics… I’d like to look back and believe that I made a difference in somebody’s life.” William explained in the interview that his greatest motivation is his young daughter. She was a blessing to him and a surprise, but all the same he gives her credit for being his biggest driving force to be successful, disciplined, and a good man of course.


COMING SOON: ExcluCive has a collaborative album that is almost finished. This Album will be released in late December as a promotional album (which will be free on Also, “Special Offer” will be coming soon followed by “Savior of the Game” which will come in late February. Within the next two months you’ll also see two new music videos, one in particular is “Exhibit A” which is produced by a local producer named Mikey Oneder Navarro. All these albums will be available on Reverbnation, Datpiff, and Soundcloud.

ExclucivE’s Facebook page ->

ExclucivE’s Soundcloud ->

ExclucivE’s Reverbnation -> also ->

Thieves and Gypsys Performing Tuesday Night at the Underground @ Evangelo’s

"Thieves and Gypsys" in the City of Holy Faith

Rock and Roll is not dead in the capital of New Mexico. In fact the live music scene has always been alive, Santa Feans have simply been hibernating for the winter. From young artists (“freshmen” of the culture) to the old favorites (your veterans of the night life), Santa Fe has been able to produce great musicians and bring in talented individuals from out of state as well. Who do we have to thank for this? Well we can’t give them all the credit but a strong consistent force behind this movement has been part in thanks to the local band Thieves and Gypsys. 

"Thieves and Gypsys" is a fairly new band in Santa Fe, only two years old and they have already made a strong impact on the local live music scene. Winners of the "Best New Band in Santa Fe" for the year of 2012, they have even gained national attention from "Independent Music News" in an article by Daniel Thomas. The band is made up of three members, Jared Garcia (Vocals and Guitar), Aaron Jones (Bass Guitar), and David Vigil (Percussionist). What started as Jared and Dave practicing in a cramped home down off Cerillos road towards the westside, the band finally came together when their bassist, Aaron, arrived in Santa Fe from California. The band is well known for their grooving bass lines, hard hitting drums and quick tempo changes, as well as their catchy lyrics and beautiful harmonies. These traits are exactly what makes a great indie rock band, however, if you ask the band how they would define their sound, they would tell you that they are a wavepop band. 

The band started back in 2011 as a foursome, since winning “Best New Band in Santa Fe” the band has lost a member but has added more songs and more skill to their repertoire since. Beyond musical talent, there are more attributes that this band lends to the city’s music scene than just performing. Thieves and Gypsys (along with other local bands) has been responsible for bringing in bands from California, to Colorado, to Texas, and even reaching to bands from the East coast to enjoy our fair city. Jared Garcia has developed a talent for intercepting bands on the road, and convincing those bands who are not, to come to the Land of Enchantment and to be a part of our night life. 

The performance at the Underground @ Evangelo’s was started with the song “Break”, then followed by “Bohemian Chic”, “Water Colors” (a fan favorite), “Under The Sun”, “Red Dress” (Classic T&G), and capped off by what’s perhaps their most popular song “Penny Arcade”. The show was full of Rock and Roll, from what could be considered classic rock sounds to “psychedelic rock”, and then back to the west coast for some California influences all bundled into one. The bands ability to perform such versatile sounds and still make them fit into the same genre speaks volumes about their musical genius.

When asked about their individual Goals regarding music Each band member responded in their own respective way. “It’s just something i enjoy.” says Aaron Jones. For him music is a meditation of mantra that he does simply for the sake of itself. Dave Vigil however feels more like it’s something in his blood, something he was born to do that he loves doing. “I play music for personal enjoyment, for personal growth. Music has been a part of my  whole entire life. I’ve been around music since i was born. My father played music with Lumbre Del Sol (one of the oldest bands in Santa Fe that still performs for fiesta).”. Jared Garcia has a deep passion for music and this led to his double edged answer. “It doesn’t matter what i do in music, I just want to keep playing, whether it’s in a coffee shop or anywhere else… [But] the egotistical answer is ‘I want to be the best rock star in the world. I want to be on top.’”

One of the bands who played with Thieves and Gypsys Tuesday night at The Underground at Evangelo’s was The Cobalt Cranes. A band based out of Los Angeles who is just finishing up their Fall Tour, they have only one stop on their way home in Phoenix, Arizona. If anyone reading this has it in their power to hear this band play, I would highly recommend doing so. 

"Led by Kate Betuel and Tim Foley, Cobalt Cranes blend elements of grunge, psychedelic and shoegaze sounds into a sort of post-garage modern take on California rock. Since their  2010 EP In Media Rez, the band has been winning over critics at The FaderLA WeeklyLA Record, Impose and more with male / female vocal layers, fuzzed out guitar, catchy bass lines and big drums.   Their newest album, Head In The Clouds is heavily influenced by hard rock album narratives of the early 70s and versatile shoegaze rock of the early 90s. They also explored and expanded upon what is considered the “California sound.”” -

The third band to perform for the evening was The Strange, another local Santa Fe band, they were established in 2008 and they’re very well known for their “brand of desert rock”. The band is made up of 4 members, Justin Lindsey, Andy Diekmann, Braden Anderson, and Daniel Murphy. The band’s particular sound of Rock and Roll is one that is complimented well by that of Thieves and Gypsys. Both bands have original lyrics, great hooks, and they perform like rock stars. The set was electric, the energy in the down stairs of Evangelo’s seemed as though it would last the entire night. By the last song the entire room was moving together and fluidly as if the music was literally pumping through our veins. 

"Born of blood, sweat and tears, The Strange is the culmination of many lives who have influenced what would become one of The Southwest’s most creative and hard-working true rock acts. Described as "young outlaws" the members of The Strange have battled through many a hardship and hurdle in the process of bringing their brand of "desert rock" to the ears of the region. With no official source of support, the band has managed to tour extensively across the Southwest, West Coast, Pacific Northwest and Midwest as well as having landed some impressive gigs in their hometown.” — band bio —

When i asked Justin Lindsey what his goals for music are he responded similar to Jared Garcia. “Why does anybody our age make music? I want to be the best.” A competitive spirit that most artists try to hide as not to sound arrogant, but the truth is competition is was what drives any art form and there is no shame in having a passion for art.

The City of Holy Faith is no longer “trying” as far as creating the live music scene. The is scene is here. The only aspect that separates the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico from Houston, Texas, is the amount of support that the community puts in. Put as long as there is Rock and Roll to be played, our musical town will not go quietly into the night.




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