Ras Kass Full Interview
Ras Kass-Inspired Journal Entry
“Those are social things that affect how you perceive the world, and, of course, they either make you resent, they make you angry, or they break your spirit.“- Ras Kass
Soul on Ice
by Benjamin Villanueva
His voice resonates within BV’s ears. The words echo. It’s too late. He understands how Ras feels. It’s as if he has been ‘86ed’ from certain aspects of the industry. BV is still listening to him talk. However, the wind gusts through his hair and the blue pads of his Beats. The vibrations hypnotize him, and the past is dug up.
Different Versions. Same Story
BV had upset some powerful people in the past.
He has been pursuing many artistic endeavors, and one of his main outlets is music. BV had released a punk CD in 2008. An indie-folk 12-inch vinyl in 2010. In 2014, Warner Bros Records invited him to headline a downtown Phoenix talent scouting event. He had ingrained himself in the Phoenix art scene at the time and was building a growing network and fan base. This all ended in 2012. He had been dating this artist who was beloved in the community. When he broke up with her, she was heartbroken and very upset. One of her close friends was also in the music scene and was dating the owner of a prominent local music label. Her friend asked Ben’s ex-girlfriend, “Do you want me to make sure Ben never plays a show in Phoenix again?”
When he first heard of this, he laughed and asked himself, “Who does this girl think she is?” However, over the next few years, her words became a reality. People stopped associating with him at all levels. Venues would not give him the time of day anymore. Local musicians would not go near him. Fans vanished. Stolen gear from his studio, including $1,000 that a recording engineer had taken, were accompanied by gossip wherever he went. Rumors grew into tall tales of awful things he ‘had’ allegedly been a part of. Local businesses refused to hire him. When he had asked a former artist-peer why he would not collaborate with me anymore he responded by saying point blank, “It’s not good to be seen with you, Ben. Someone doesn’t like you. You’re blacklisted, man.”
Soul on Ice
Frustrated, he rented an art studio in a hundred-year-old building, called “The Icehouse.” It had originally been an ice depot, storage, and shipping center for Phoenix in the early 1900s. His art studio, ‘The Geotemple,’ was an old ice storage unit built in 1910. There, he hid from the world and focused mainly on painting. He also set up a recording studio and continued working on music. To this day, he still has not played a live show in Phoenix.
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