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Life can change pretty quickly. One second you’re viewed as one of America’s top upcoming alternative rappers, the next, you’re a statistic, sitting in a jail cell thinking of what could have been.
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For many, this is a fictional example that’s commonly thrown around in an effort to emphasise the dramatic highs and lows of life, and the gravity of your decisions. For Ceschi Ramos, it’s much more biographical.
Having been found with over 100 pounds of Marijuana on his property in 2010, the budding hip-hop star, multi-instrumentalist and Fake Four co-founder was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, ultimately ruining his chance of success as soon as his career started to flourish.
But a situation is what you make of it, and for Ceschi, his time in prison turned into a creative outlet, allowing him to write consistently almost every day.
“In prison I wrote and read a lot. I wrote just about every day. It wasn’t really songwriting, it was more so a lot of freeform poetry, essays and things like that.”
“So when I got out, I started to actually process everything while being on parole. I was on parole for a year after prison, and before that I was at a halfway house. I remember hating the amount of rules and all the prison politics so I wrote a song called Prison Sporks. Which is about all the politics within prisoners, and how people think that they’re better than others, but everyone’s in prison? Well, all of us are second class citizens in that space, so I wanted to talk about that.”
“But overtime, it has definitely influenced my writing in a major way. It got me writing a lot more, got me thinking a lot more and processing it over the years after it … I started thinking a lot more.”
Although as previously stated, life can change in an instant, and for Ceschi it did—again.
In prison I wrote and read a lot. I wrote just about every day. It wasn’t really songwriting, it was more so a lot of freeform poetry, essays and things like that.
[ Ceschi Ramos ]
During his time in jail, his friend Sam King, a Calafornian based graffiti artist from the esteemed group Get Dead never gave up on Ceschi, with the artist helping to raise money for the rapper by giving tattoos and making flash art.
Months later, after Ceschi’s incarceration, the duo met up to talk about hip-hop and punk music over a bottle of Jameson. Before they knew it, they’d started Codefendants.
Two years down the track, they were recording some tracks with esteemed punk legend Fat Mike, of NOFX fame, when Fatty decided he also wanted to be a part of the project as a producer and bass player. And just like that, one of the most ambitious musical crossovers that the punk scene has seen in recent years was born.
Now releasing their debut album, This Is Crime Wave, the trio have been blown away by the immediately positive response they’ve received, with King stating “We’ve got some pretty good ‘attaboys’ from a lot of different people from across the board. A lot of people that we wouldn’t expect, like actors and musicians and stuff.”
“We’ve honestly been blown away by it.”
He’s not wrong, with the group’s long list of high-profile fans continuing to grow and grow, so much so that their debut even managed to score a guest verse from revered G-funk rapper The D.O.C. – marking his first recorded recorded verse in 19 years.
“The fact that he came out of retirement for our band is mind blowing,” exclaims Ceschi, “He’s such an important writer, especially in hip hop. And the fact that this is his first public recording in 20 years, and that he’s getting on stage for the first time in 30 years with us this weekend is such an honour.”
A statement backed by King, who added, “I’m truly honoured to work with him. I still can’t believe that we are even having this fucking conversation.”
“But that’s what we wanted. The way that we put this Codefendant’s stuff together, hopefully, it lets people know that it’s okay to experiment with some stuff.”