Biography / / /
Truth be told, Jared Watson had a plan in place for a hip-hop album since he was a teenager, but it was all a matter of timing, as the success of his alternative/reggae collective, Dirty Heads, would take front and center for the next decade. Then, a trip to Miami two years ago would prove to be serendipitous for him. While casually hanging out in the studio with veteran producer SupaDups, the subject of making some music together came up, and Jared’s response: why not? “A. I’m going through all this bullshit with being sober,” he says. “B. This is what the universe means with timing. If this wasn’t a sign, then I don’t know what is.” Jared laid down three tracks that day, the genesis for what would become SWORD BEACH, regarding that time as a liberating experience. “I was in a really dark place in my life,” he remembers. “I didn’t want to write fucking happy, beachy, summertime songs. What we built with Dirty Heads I’m so proud of and didn’t wanna bum out my fans. It just didn’t fit.”
SWORD BEACH comes from a code name for one of the five main landing pads at the beaches of Normandy. Jared learned the name while stoned in his earlier days and watching The Discovery Channel. The name stuck with him. “I was like what the fuck is this? That’s the name of my hip-hop project.” His foresight was impeccable. “I put that name in my pocket and years and years later I’m in the studio with SupaDups telling him that’s the name of my hip-hop project.” After consulting with his veteran father that the name wouldn’t be offensive if he just liked how it sounded, he decided to run with it. “It’s not a statement about war or politics,” he explains. What it is a statement about is survival.
The first SWORD BEACH offering will be an EP titled, Good For Health, Bad For Education, a motto found on the patch of a biker in the anime film Akira. The music will coincide with heavily inspired anime art from designer XMAU portraying SWORD BEACH as a samurai cutting through darkness. It’s apropos given the subject matter. Tracks like “Feelin It” with Rome Ramirez (Sublime with Rome) and LD (LDontheCut) recall one pre-sobriety bender in Paris at a sex club that lasted three days. “Gahhdaammm” with Kristo of Drop City Yacht Club drums up memories of hip-hop’s yesteryears pulling inspirations from the late J Dilla and mixing it with new school electronic music. “Steve McQueen” honors the badass that is Steve McQueen, an original rebel, while “To Be Alive” is truly reflective of its title. The project will serve as a precursor to the SWORD BEACH trilogy, led by the lead single “Vacation Forever,” with Prodigy of Mobb Deep. The track, a brightly sinister euphemism for suicide, is produced by New Zealand’s own SmokeyGotBeatz and features a guest verse from artist Know-Madik, who lent some bars to the track after surviving a potentially fatal stomach tumor. “We almost lost Know-Madik, and Mobb Deep was such a huge influence on me coming up, so there’s a specific meaning behind each person on that track,” he explains.
SWORD BEACH is more than just a project; it’s an outlet for a world-renowned artist who has tasted every part of fame and wants to express it…even the indigestion. Coming from various sonic corners, it’s a hip-hop project, but brilliantly flipped, punctuated with real life experiences. That’s the only lens SWORD BEACH can speak from. Maybe it wasn’t intended at first, but calling himself SWORD BEACH is accurate, as Jared Watson fought a few mental wars in his day. Now it’s time to tell the story. “I just wanna do some different shit,” he says confidently. “The freeway is so clogged, but I just see this huge open lane. Sure, it’s the emergency lane for some, but I just wanna take that for myself.”