Hip-hop in Northern Virginia is a genre that has yet to be really documented too well in the area in previous years. While Washington, DC and parts of Maryland are certainly a hot bed of hip-hop, with rappers such as FAT TREL and WALE, Northern Virginia has been largely under represented to larger audiences.

Attempting to break the mold and become the representative of Virginian hip-hop is Manassas’ own BUCKY MALONE. Founder of the FA$TLIFE MILITIA, Bucky and several of his long-time friends formed a team of artists. Over the last year, members of the crew have released a number of mixtapes and videos, with members participating in everything from rapping, producing, and documenting the work of FA$TLIFE.

The 21-year-old emcee recently dropped L.I.F.E. 2: Rise of Little Tokyo and has earned some modest attention from the hip-hop community online. This weekend, a chopped and slowed down remix of L.I.F.E. 2 by Houston native DJ SLIM K will be released on April 20th.

When did you start rapping? What influenced you?

Back in the day, when people were still using dial-up Internet, I was recording myself on the voice record on my computer and playing around with it. I was always listening to music. When I got older, around 13 or 14, my homeboys had a studio, so I started recording tracks and everything started coming about.

Around that time, there was a lot of artists that were poppin’ like LUDACRIS and 50 CENT. TUPAC made me want to rap. Period. That’s my overall influence. What he did for the culture, the generation, he left an impact. I also love BONE THUGZ N HARMONY. That’s my favorite group. That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer. I’m trying to spit.

When did FA$TLIFE start? How did you get everyone together?

FA$TLIFE started with my friends. They were all there when everything started coming together. At first, we had a couple different names, like “Enterprise” and “Novakane”. It was a collective of two different groups, but some guys seemed to be more about themselves.

FA$TLIFE came about two or three years ago. I was talking to all my guys. Me, personally, I always wanted to part of something bigger than me. I wanted to help my people. I believe that we can take over.

As far as choosing the name, FA$TLIFE, it was most relevant to how we’re living. We wanted to be true to ourselves. We all got our struggles, we all living day to day, just trying to survive. We got a couple of additions. We just got THE REAL KWAME, CHAD THE GENIUS and CATASTROPHIC. We’ve been recruiting heavy. We got a whole bunch of talent together.

What do you look for when you’re adding artists and musicians to this crew?

Chemistry. I got nothing against the guys we used to run with, they’re still my brothers, but it’s all about chemistry and how you work with a person. As a whole, we work so good together. When we’re all together, it all just goes perfect. That’s the really important thing. Also, the quality, chemistry, and work ethic have to be there.

How have you gone about booking shows? Trapped in the Whop shows seem like they’ve all been bangers and bringing tons of people out.

For real, you got to know the event coordinators and promoters, and artists as well. It’s all about networking. Trapped in the Whop shows came about because of who I’m cool with. My homie puts on those shows. Trapped in the Whop 4 is going to be June 7th. It might change, but we’ll see. I’ve been performing in a few other places. I go to school in Norfolk, so when I’m not in DC, I do showcases at clubs around here, trying to be humble. I don’t always have to play the packed shows. I hold my shit down. The biggest show I’ve done was opening for JUICY J last year. That shit was definitely a new experience. It was about 5,000 or more people there. It was the real deal, but other shows have been getting bigger. The crowds have been bigger. It’s always a plus. Showcases and stuff like that, staying around and mingling, you get to meet new people. It gives them more of a feel for you. You can hear a lot about a person, but when you see them and they’re true to themselves, you’ll know ‘em better.

What new material do you have coming out?

L.I.F.E. 2 Chopped Not Slopped by DJ SLIM K is the main focus right now. It’s coming out 4/20 at midnight for all my stoners, who want to get high and download that on Livemixtapes.com. I’ve got other stuff coming out in May. It’s going to be exciting, showing what I got in store for everybody.

Who is Little Tokyo? Where does the name come from?

That’s my alter ego. It’s the mode I get into when I’m making music. It’s foreign. The name also comes from all my life; people thought I was Asian because I got eyes slanted as hell. I smoke hella weed now, so that doesn’t help. Growing up, I got teased about it a lot, people had shit to say, but I kind of took it around and ran with it, “I’m Little Tokyo, these niggas think I’m Asian, but I’m Little Tokyo.” I thought it was swag. In the past four or five years, I’ve just been going with it as an alias.

What have you been listening to lately? Who are some of your favorite new artists?

I’ve definitely been listening to that new YG album, My Krazy Life. It’s just got an old-school feel to it. Overall, I’m a big 90’s hip-hop head. I came up listening to A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, TUPAC, and BIGGIE. It’s always what motivates me. When I heard the new YG album, I saw he was going with that. I like the whole Chicago movement regardless of what people are saying. I’m a fan of LIL REESE, LIL DURK, CHIEF KEEF, LIL HERB. I fuck with A$AP MOB too. ROCKY, FERG, all of them. I listen to just about everything. I also like CHANCE THE RAPPER. I fuck with a lot of people.

I frequently hear people talking, saying, “I don’t even listen to these new cats, I’m only worried about my shit.” But man, if you’re not listening to what’s out there, then how you going to know what’s hot? Not that you have to follow the trends, but you got to know what’s the style. I be telling others and those in my group, regardless of whether you like these guys or not, this is your competition. It’s like sports, you watch game film, and you see what’s out there.

What else is next for you and FA$TLIFE?

Everybody got a project they’re about to release, so we’re about to swarm the market. I’m currently the executive producer on skyyHiRY’s new project, Summa School. That’ll be out soon. SOLO THE MISFIT, I know he’s working on some crazy shit. Honestly, the big thing we’re working on is a whole project as FA$TLIFE. We haven’t really dropped a whole project yet together. We’re all on each other’s projects, but we haven’t all come together. I think that’s what the people want. We’re hoping to have something like that out by the fall.

For more details on BUCKY MALONE and FA$TLIFE MILITIA, be sure to follow him on Twitter.

Chris Suarez

Chris is a staff writer at BH Media and a government reporter at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor's degree in print journalism. He has covered a number of shows and bands coming from Richmond, Va. Having gone to all sorts of shows and playing in several bands while going to high school in Northern Virginia and living in Richmond for the last two years doing the same, Chris has been involved with the DIY music scene in Virginia for almost seven years.

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