Local Music Q&A: Local rapper Ariano discusses his latest free album project, Not For Sale

​The last time we heard from Huntington Beach rapper Ariano (pictured), he was –and still is– elbows deep in his big beat, pop-centric hip-hop outfit Return of the Dream TeamBut while that project continues to gain traction on the west coast, he's also just released a bi-coastal collaborative effort that allowed him to celebrate his boom bap roots. Teaming up with Philadelphia-based producer Karl Lazlo, Ariano (born Ariano Price) is championing his new, free album, aptly titled Not For Sale.  

Featuring 10 tracks of sample-inspired, hip-hop mechanics the underground tag team made this a quick and satisfying process by trading Lazlo's hand-picked beats with Ariano's baritone flows and soul-driven vocals via internet. Though the album was recorded in a mere two weeks back in 2009, the rawness, sincerity and skill found on most of the tracks helps it stay fresh in your headphones.
And in the middle of it all, the album aims to unite their audiences on both coasts without being corny about it. We recently caught up with Ariano to talk about his new project that allowed him to find brotherly love and musical chemistry with a producer on the other side of the country. Check out the interview and download the entire album for free after the jump.     


Download the full album for free 

OC Weekly: How did you meet Philadelphia-based producer Karl Lazlo and how did that evolve into you wanting to work with him on an album?

Ariano: Karl had hit me up on MySpace about two years ago and he was a big supporter of LD and Ariano and Technicali. And he just hit me up on MySpace and asked me if I'd do a song for him on an EP mix tape he was putting out. It was song called “They Don't Know.” And the musical chemistry was there. It was easy to do. I did that in one day,shot that back to him and he was really feelin' it. We stayed in communication since that point. 
A couple months later, he asked me if I'd be willing to do an album. I was kinda on the road, going back and forth and going through some stuff so it didn't really happen until maybe six months after our first song. He just started sending beats over the internet. He would just send a couple at a time and I would just pick the ones I was feelin' and then write [songs to them].
How long did it take to record and finish the album?
We got the album done in about two weeks. It was done very quickly. The album was completed about a year ago and I was waiting to put it out for sale and I'd been trying to put an album out every couple years and I didn't want it to compete with stuff that was already coming out. So the album has actually been done for a year. We were just waiting for the right time to release it. 
Now that it's released, you mention that the album got over 1,000 downloads on it's first week. Any way to tell where those fans are coming from?
[Technicali] albums get leaked and bootlegged so hardcore anyways. I put out an album called Friendly Fire in early 2008, and I put out a free album In the Name of the Father  in 2008. Both of those albums did really well and kind of created a lot of buzz. Those albums ended up getting picked up, remixed and re-mastered and put out on Technicali later in 2009. So I figured it was a good way to get the music out there before we started selling it, since most music is bootlegged anyways. We paid the money to host the [Not For Sale] album so we can see how many people are downloading it and we can keep records of that so we can show that to companies and show ourselves. 
Your long-time partner LD was involved in mixing Not For Sale and he also DJs at various points on the album. How important was it to include himon this album even though it was largely an effort between you and Lazlo?
Recording with LD, I'm at my best, whether he's on the production or not. He just kinda brings the best out of me. I recorded half the vocals at a studio in Huntington Beach, at the Rhythm Writers studio. So as far as keeping LD a part of it, it's just natural for me. I think he's one of the best engineers in the game right now. So musically, I just like to have all the music mixed by LD and mastered by Deeskee. So no matter whose producing it, still keeps the same sound. Most of the stuff I do, if possible, I try to bring LD. LD's a big part of my sound, vocally as well. 
This is definitely more of a boom bap record reminiscent of a lot stuff you've done in the past prior to the hip-hop/pop project Return of the Dream Team. Do you feel like it's kind of a return to your original style?
As far as the music I've actually been able to release, it's still been on that boom bap sound. What I like about this record is that it kinda stays true to my roots which is rapping and singing. Musically, I just wanna do everything. I don't know if it feels like a return, I'm just trying to do good music. I hope to at the end of this year have some boom bap stuff, some pop stuff, some rock stuff, some rap stuff. So at the end of the year, it'll be one piece of the puzzle, which is just a wide variety of hip-hop. On a certain level, it does feel good to have a record that's kind of stripped down a little. 
Are you planning on doing any touring to support the album in Philadelphia?
We're just gonna be doing some spot dates. We don't have any full tours. But we'll have a couple shows in Philly, a couple shows in New Jersey and we're probably gonna have some shows in New York as well. I'll also be promoting it here on the west coast. 
During the time you were writing this album last year, what were some things happening in your life that triggered your lyrics?

This was actually done around the time I was recording [LD and Ariano's latest unreleased album] The Color of the Music. For me, The Color of the Music was very introspective. I didn't want [Not For Sale] to be too introspective. I kinda wanted to keep it universal and I didn't want to rap too much about me and my experiences. So it was an opportunity to return to some of the word play and just kind of having fun on the tracks and it was a break from having to analyze myself too much. 

But there is a song [on the album] called “Song For You,” which is my favorite song on the record. It captured what was going on [with me] at the time. My father had had a stroke, my son's grandmother had passed away and I'd been in a car accident. So for me, it was an opportunity to turn something negative into a positive. Knowing that that there was going to be a new east coast audience listening to the album, it was also a chance for me to talk about my experiences being on both coasts. It's just about continuing to take a rough moment and turn it into something positive. It's actually the first record I've put out from that time period.