INSIDE THE PROJECT: $hawn Parker x Keon Simms “FREE KEON”

Interview By: Carrick Wenke

Ending the year strong, Tacoma artist $hawn Parker compiles 3 tracks he and incarcerated :30 member Keon Simms were working on prior to his arrest. The 3 track brought together make an EP aptly titled Free Keon, which was entirely produced by fellow :30 member, DJ QJ.

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How did you choose the title of your project?

Well as most people know, Keon Simms was arrested early 2015, so me, :30, and a lot of his following, are doing our part to still keep his name alive while he’s not home. We did it with a lot of “#FreeKeon” or “Free Keon” shirts, or “Free Keon” posts. The name wasn’t really hard to come up with, it was just something that was there, something that everyone would know what it meant. So we fucked with it from the get go.

Can you explain the story behind your artwork and who is the designer?

The designer of the artwork would be myself, I was messing with some graphic designs one day and I came across a picture of Keon that I really fucked with and I just put it all together, and brought it to the teams attention, they were fucking with it, you know, I liked it. So it was something we ran with, it was dope.

How long have you been working on this project?

Me and Keon were working on a project together when he was out, and we didn’t have a title for the project, we were just recording songs and we were gonna pick songs to throw on there, so I mean, since he couldn’t be here to finish it, I took the songs that we recorded, and I turned it into Free Keon. I guess you could say it was made in a short period of time, but it turned out to be good and it turned out to be something people could fuck with.

Where was it recorded?

All songs were recorded at DJ QJ’s studio. DJ QJ is from (Tacoma collective) :30, he’s also the producer on “Savage” and “Rose Gold”, the two songs from the tape.

Who are the producers?

DJ QJ is from (Tacoma collective) :30, he’s also the producer on “Savage” and “Rose Gold”, the two songs from the tape.

Who was featured?

Me and Keon were working on our own project so we weren’t really looking to have any features, it was just us two.

What was your favorite track?

My favorite track from the EP would have to be all the songs, “Savage”, “Rose Gold”, and “$ Out the Kitchen”, because all those songs are hot. “Savage” has a dope ass melody, “Rose Gold” is just full of bars, and you know, just heat, and it’s just some real shit.

What Is The Most Personal Track On The Tape?

The most personal track on the tape would have to be “$ Out The Kitchen” because it was actually our first song that we recorded together, and we had that vibe, me and Keon just had that vibe that clicked, and we feed off each others energy. You wanna top the next niggas verse, so we just kept going, we just kept working, and it turned out to be some dope ass shit.

Who would you like to thank for helping with this project?

I would like to thank everybody from :30, everybody from Coze, everybody from eTc Tacoma, and just everybody who fucks with the tape, everybody who supports, me, everybody who supports Keon, and :30. Just everybody who’s fucking with it, and everybody who’s gonna continue to support while he’s not here, and when he get’s out, it’s over. Free my nigga Keon.


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