The Many Faces of Fazle

Photography by Jake Moran

Fazle is a hard person to pin down. Or better yet, an impossible person to pin down. Ask around the city what Fazle is like and I’m sure you’ll get a plethora of answers with only slight overlap. However one thing almost everyone will rave about is his work ethic, how he pours every iota of his soul into every craft he pursues.

The rapper, writer, business owner and all around hustler is killing it in a multitude of ways. His alternate universe personas Blvck Skully & GRXC albums are some of the most cinematic, personal and cohesive pieces of music to come out of the city. His business ‘Phases’, specially crafted elixirs consistently sell out and his knack for entertaining has brought us some of the most fun musical nights in the city with ‘Uplugged’

With a new EP on the way titled ‘The Devil in the Summer House’ Fazle plans to change up his game again with a weekly episodic release, further cementing his knack for storytelling. What else is the budding mogul up to you? Read along to find out more about the many faces of Fazle.

Jacob Moran: There is this legendary picture of you at a show taken by the man himself Wildstyle. I want to hear a little about that night and that picture which has been on display at the airport and in newspapers in the city.
Fazle: The thing that really stands out about that night and picture to me is just being able to really invigorate the crowd. My stage presence that night was unmatched. I remember watching the other openers and noticing that the crowd wasn’t being very receptive to them. I went up there and straight up told them; If y’all ain’t going to turn up, get out the way so my homies can get up here and wild out with me. Like you paid money to get in, get involved with the artist’s performance. I wanted to leave people with an experience.The crowd went crazy. Thus the picture was made.

JM: I love that picture so much, and what a pioneer Wild Style is. He really single handedly promoted the entire rap scene in this city.
Fazle: Oh absolutely. A legend.

JM: I love your GRXCK albums. They sound so professional and really are at the top in terms of albums from artists in Indy. They’re cinematic, they tell a story and sound so professional. Tell us a little bit about who GRXCK is.
Fazle: Whenever I create these characters they are always different versions of Fazle in different worlds. They are all tethered to one single being. GRXCK lives this life of being an amazing entertainer but never getting his flowers for it. He’s a struggling artist but he is very very good at what he does. The circus ring leader in the album has GRXCK under a contract so he’s not able to perform and do what he loves for himself and his benefit. GRXCK is a plethora of emotions. A rainbow of emotions. Very about his team and a big dreamer. With this album I wanted to tell the story of the greatest showman of all time.

JM: The character seems pretty complex. There is a lot of depth to GRXCK. How many drafts did it take for you to narrow down his character traits, personality and story?
Fazle: I do a lot of storyboarding for my albums. I use that as a reference as to how I want the story to be told before making the music for it. I wrote the story of GRXCK three different times. GRXCK really stemmed from happiness and loving what I was doing. With that being said I just wanted him to be a fictional representation of how I felt here in the music scene in our city. I formed the character with a lot of my own traits and experience but with a more dramatic spin on it.

JM: GRXCK doesn’t talk at all in the albums. He is a very silent protagonist and I think through this choice you really submerge the listener into the experience of the character. Was this intentional?
Fazle: The music needs to create the world around me. I feel like if I’m building a cohesive world then I don’t need to talk at all because you have that concrete world to experience through the music. When you are silent you can have people insert themselves into that character more seamlessly because there isn’t a voice attached to it. I want everyone to be able to relate to GRXCK. He has this shitty ass boss who treats him like shit. He works his ass off for his art but isn’t making any money. People scream his name at shows but in the end he’s still sad. These are things that people can relate to. I want to put you in the shoes of my characters so I don’t have to say shit.

JM: The evolution in your story telling from the Blvck Skully albums to the GRXCK albums is so impressive. Blvck Skully is a fairly loose narrative while GRXCK is very structured with each song feeling like a scene in a movie that stars GRXCK himself. What changes did you have to make during the process of creating GRXCK?
Fazle: I think it was just a natural growth of storytelling. Growth as a human, having new experiences. I consider myself more of a writer than anything else. Even before music I was always writing something. As time goes on you start to look back at your work and think about what you could have done differently. The more writing you do the better writer you will become. Going back to skits being a big part of the album, it’s a really good way of writing an act to up your story telling a level or two. I wouldn’t say I specifically did anything intentionally different, but more so me just learning more and growing my craft to be more cohesive. 

JM: I want to dig deeper into the characters of Blvck Skully and GRXCK. How they are different, how they are the same and what parts of yourself do you try to reflect in each character?
Fazle: Skully was created out of sadness. Going through dark times and trying to find reasons to go on. Love was a big influence on skully as I consider him to be a hopeless romantic. He takes characteristics from the controlling and obsessed boyfriends. GXCK is more optimistic. He has a dream and he is going to do anything he can to achieve it. He’s going to experience heartbreak, happiness, trials and tribulations. But he’s going to come out on top one day. GRXCK is the positive in me, Skully is the negative.

JM: I want to pivot a little bit to the Manga you currently have in the works. How involved are you with the writing process of that and what made you want to make a manga?
Fazle: It was originally just going to be a single chapter as part of the promo for Blvck Skully. I ended up going in a completely different direction. I handle all of the writing myself. I storyboard it just like I do my music. Chapter one is wrapped up now. I plan on releasing limited hardback copies for people. It really is a passion project. What I want everyone to know about the manga is that every person is pulled from someone I know here in the city. I’ve taken my experience I’ve had with these people and made them into characters. 

JM: Phases, your craft elixirs has really been a big business for you recently and I think it is such a unique venture. DId you always want to own your own business?
Fazle: It felt more like a calling. I was drawn to it. The all mighty dollar, that’s what it’s all about. I have always had a knack for getting money. I’d flip candy in high school. Anything I can do to skip a 9-5 I’ll do it. Being your own boss means you get to work when you want and chill when you want. You still have to work hard, but on your own terms. 

JM: I love the branding behind your drinks in the respect of making them all gems and jewels. Color is such a great marketing tool for selling something and you use that perfectly. Why did you decide to make them gems and jewels and have them all seem like a collection?
Fazle: Pretty much all of my branding has come from The Legend Of Zelda. The red potion in Zelda stimulates health. Blue does health and magic. They are all curated with the vibe that these will get you through the day. I always liked the idea of them being labeled ‘elixirs’ because I think that name makes you feel like it will make you feel good. The fact that they are all named after gems comes from making them feel cohesive and together.

JM: I feel like making a drink line is a big risk. How much faith did you have in it?
Fazle: The utmost. Other people didn’t though. I remember I pitched the idea to four other tastemakers and figures in the city. The only person who supported it was Christian Taelor. He told me to go in on that shit. Everyone else said it was a bad idea. But the thing about it is, I have an excessive need to prove people wrong. That really fueled me to show people that I can be a rapper, be a writer and be a drink maker. There is no box for me. I can and will do anything I really want. 

JM: I know you have a new EP coming out, can you give us a little sneak peek of what to expect?
Fazle: So with the EP I’ll be doing something I haven’t done before musically. It’s titled ‘The Devil In The Summer House’. It will be released all throughout the month of December week by week presenting a 5 episode “tale” if you will. The main inspiration for this project is based on an old scary collection of stories from my childhood. In fact the art is supposed to be its own take on it in a way. It really just represents the darker aggressive corners of our thoughts. Things we may not say or vocalize in an attempt to save face. See when you think about it, there’s always a house (that house being our mental) and in every house there’s an attic, or some place that we rather stow away our past objects & shit. Things we don’t want on display for everyone to see. In other words Our demons. This project embodies that demon.

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