After spending the day at Sacramento’s biggest day party, HOFday, we got a chance to sit down with the West Coast rap collective, Warm Brew, for a backstory on how they came together.
Originally from Santa Monica and Venice, California, Warm Brew is comprised of three long-time friends Serk Spliff, Manu Li, and Ray Wright [pictured from Left to Right]. The crew has been friends since high school, Spliff noted that they were “just friends f*cking around, [he] and Ray grew up playing sports, that’s how we met, actually that’s how we all met.We all had little things going on but we all gravitated towards music, it was a unifying thing for us all.” Although they were friends in high school, Wright mentioned, “it really didn’t get serious for us until after high school” adding that, “We had real supportive parents, like we were all raised by single mothers, but at the same time at the end of the day, they didn’t want us to be rappers. You know what I mean? Like, if they were to say it. I mean we’re 19, 20, 21, 22, going through the trials, and they wanted us to do something else. But we just stuck with it, we kept trying different things, trying to make different music, work with different people. We just kinda, you know, experimented with it, as we grew up, just seeing if we could really make it.”
The trio love touring and traveling together, and they always have a great time when they’re on the road, as Wright recalls, “We like to travel, I think that’s one thing we all collectively like to do together, like when we hit the road and go out and travel, all we do the whole time is just non-stop clowning, we’re just clowning on everybody. It’s not out of like disrespect or being mean, it’s like, there’s a lot of bullshit going on in the world right now, and like, people need to make themselves laugh and we feel like we should always just be laughing because like we’re already 27 and the years are passing by. So yeah, we love traveling, and laughing, and having experiences we can rap about when we come back from those trips.”
Though the group loves touring everywhere, Wright recalled New York being a specifically amazing tour stop, recalling that it was “a really tight place to go because like making this music we always tell ourselves, ‘we gotta travel, we gotta get out’, and we kinda just didn’t know how to. We just kinda felt like the West Coast was where we belonged, where we were at. But, once we got the opportunity and our team was right and everything came together, we went to New York and both of the shows we did were received really well. It was kinda like a test for us because we really didn’t know how people would feel about us on the East Coast since it’s a different type of music. I think anywhere out there, outside of the West Coast is good for us because you gotta put your music out there or no one will know about you.”
Their sound was influenced by artists like 213, DJ Quik, Snoop Dogg, and especially by Tupac. Wright reflected, “I think Tupac like at the end of the day is probably the biggest influence for all of us because he has a lot of emotion in everything that he does, and I think that’s what we try to produce,” and Spliff added, “That dude’s passions were deep.” Wright continued, “we try to emulate that type of passion and try to show people that this is what we love.” They have quite a few collaborations under their belts already, but Spliff noted, “Since there’s three of us, we really, really enjoy making music with each other, but having that outside person just adds a different flavor. Really it’s just friendship, we like making music with people that we’re cool with, that’s really, really important to us.”
Warm Brew’s latest release is their single Small Victories which came out on September 22nd, but expect to hear more from them soon. Wright shared, “We’ve got some good new music, some new features, features that we’ve never had before, so definitely be on the lookout for that.”
Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
Surk Spliff: “Me, personally, with my own money? I mean, I used to get all the Jay Z albums every year for Christmas from my family in Simi Valley because they just didn’t know what to get a black kid, but the first one I bought was probably Lil Wayne’s 500 Degreez”
Manu Li: “I think it was Millennium for me, like I had money, which was funny, and that’s just the one I chose, like from beginning to end, that was a banger.”
Ray Wright: “Yeah, I can’t remember the first one I bought, I know that 6th grade is when I started buying albums, but I mean like, we’re from the LimeWire era, but there was a record shop by my school that Manu and I went to, so we’d just go to the Rite Aid and get some candy, dip out, and go to Second Spin. We’d just kinda hang there because you could listen to the albums before you bought them since it was a huge record store place, they had headphones and everything, you could put on a record and listen to it and then be like ‘Oh, I wanna buy this’ you know what I mean? The record I remember the most prominently was probably The Last Meal by Snoop Dogg, that the one I remember being like, ‘I bought this’, and we went and played it and memorized songs.”
Is there any new music that’s dropped recently that you are really into?
Manu Li: “There’s a lot of good music and it’s hard to pick one thing without excluding other people, but album to album, like I listen to 4:44 by Jay Z a lot, like it’s just 30 minutes and it’s just a good listen, like it’s all good songs. That’s one album that I really appreciate this year. There’s a bunch more, like Kendrick Lamar’s new album came out this year, and Drake’s wasn’t bad.”
Ray Wright: “I don’t know, I try not to listen too much to people that are already on, you know what I mean? Which I hate to think about because like when we get bigger and bigger I don’t want people to not listen to us, and I mean it’s not like I don’t listen to them, I just try really hard to pay attention to the young kids and what they’re doing. I think that there’s just a lot of young artists out there that are really dope. There’s all types of new artists that are coming out, so I think you’ve just gotta keep your eyes peeled.”
Special thanks to Redbull for bringing us out to HOFday.