A decade ago Dashawn Daniels and Chinasa Broxton were just two kids in high school taking full advantage of the bathroom pass. While their peers were nose-deep in textbooks, these two were utilizing their school’s facilities to make rhymes. Now a decade later this perfect pair known as Tribe Mafia found themselves riding high with a number of accolades under their belt – and they’re far from done. From their latest ‘Teepee Gang’ to the plethora of what’s to come, Tribe Mafia is sharing all they can in this back and forth.
Kendra: I went to school with a lot of kids who always seemed to be heading out to the bathroom during class. Should I have assumed they were recording music like the two of you? But really, was it the acoustics of the restroom or was that the only place you could get privacy as a teen?
Tribe Mafia: Haha, yes! The best rappers are developed in the midst of the porcelain gold. To be earnest, we recorded in the restrooms solely for acoustics. Our school restrooms at Pflugerville High School had the best EQ for our cellular devices to record. This was the beginning of everything.
Kendra: That was in 2010. You two were in high school with years ahead of you. Did you both know then that you’d be taking on music together a decade later?
Tribe Mafia: In high school we knew we liked making music. We did not know this would be a pivotal career for us. As we were focused on chasing girls, partying, and playing sports. Music was just a hobby that our friends told us we were good at.
Kendra: How supportive was your family at the time, because most parents are like…college or bust!
Dashawn Daniels: My parents have always supported us. There was a point in time where they would attend every show, even when they were in a different state. They always critique our songs, performances, and interviews. I know most parents who wouldn’t even give their kids the time-of-day to do what we are doing. We have a very strong base. My parents has supported us every step of the way.
Chinasa Broxton: My family thought it was a phase when we were just beginning. Until they started seeing the fan mail coming in. After I graduated college and continued to pursue my music career, they started to invest interest in our career path. They have watched us perform in front of an audience of 10 and worked our way up to touring internationally with Akon in Sao Paolo, Brazil to an audience of 60,000 raging fans. Sometimes parents just like to see hard work and commitment.
Kendra: Now here we are with your latest ‘Teepee Gang.’ And you’ve noted how you were originally inspired by the music scene of Austin, so if you had to compare the overall vibe of the album to an Austin venue, which would it be and why?
Tribe Mafia: The vibe of our latest ‘Teepee Gang’ is rowdy, confrontational, and reflective. To compare the overall vibe of ‘Teepee Gang’ to an Austin venue, it would without question be ACL LIVE. Because only the best performers who emits radiant energy to the audience are permitted to step foot on the ACL Live stage. With “Teepee Gang” we bring all the energy for everyone to enjoy.
Kendra: One of the biggest mainstays of Austin is SXSW which had to be canceled this year due to coronavirus. As Austin residents and artists, how hard did that cancellation hurt on the homefront?
Tribe Mafia: The hit of SXSW canceling this year’s festival was unreal. After years of only doing unofficial showcases during SXSW week, this was the year we were recognized as official showcasing artists. It was a huge accomplishment. Although this situation is bittersweet, we understand it’s for the good of the community safety. We lost about $4500-6000 of performance opportunities. That left a dent in our pockets. We can only imagine how hard the local bars, and other businesses handled this matter. Most local businesses depend solely on the week of SXSW to generate enough income to pay the bills for the next six months. Our heart goes out to all of the indie filmmakers and actors who were going to be debuting their first look in front of thousands.
Kendra: Wonderfully said. This year has been a strange and hard one. Now, Tribe Mafia and ‘Teepee Gang.’ There are a lot of homages to Native Americans within your music. Does Native American culture drive you creatively?
Tribe Mafia: Yes, we are both Native American. Carlos Moore, also known as Dashawn Daniels is half Native American and African American. Carlos Moore is Akimel O’odham/Pima and enrolled with the federally recognized tribe Gila River Indian community of Arizona. Chinasa Broxton Is half Cuban and half Nigerian, from the famously known Okorocha tribe in Igbo State, Nigeria.
We wanted our name to have cultural meaning as well as a hardcore punch to it, which is where the “Mafia” part comes in. Basically, saying if people are also as family oriented as we are, they know if you mess with one of the family members, then you’re messing with all of the family members, it’s a mafia thing, a tribe thing’. Our culture has so much to offer when it comes to style and originality. When was the last time you heard of a Native American rap duo?
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Tribe Mafia: We plan on promoting our latest project ‘Teepee Gang.’ If you loved our dancehall song “Like Cola” then you will surely love our new Dancehall EP that will be releasing soon this summer ‘It’s a Tribe Ting.’ That EP is currently under post-production. On this collaborative tape will be featuring a huge line of artists such as Hitta Castro (Orlando, Florida), DJ La Moon (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Jay Honest (Ottawa, Canada), Sam Sage (Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico) Justin Case (Kerrville, Texas) and to top it all off, we are currently inquiring for the international superstar Swae Lee from Rae Sremmurd to be a part of the project.
In the fall of 2020, we plan on releasing our debut album ‘Wampum.’ Yes, another homage title for our native bloodline. Wampum are “beads” that you would put on your hair or style as a necklace. However, in our culture, there was time these beads were used as currency. Wampum was used to exchange goods, often used to restore peace between opposing parties. That was just a history lesson and fun fact to those who weren’t familiar with what Wampum was.
On our debut Album ‘Wampum,’ the themes that we will be covering are shaped around our struggles, making peace with drama we’ve encountered, and celebrating every day because life is short. You hear a more serious shift in our tone. For our party fans, we will still have some of those in there as well.
There are two songs we agreed that always make us feel better, the first song is our song of course “Triple Double” because it teaches us to keep hustling no matter what. The second is by Nappy Roots and Anthony Hamilton “Po’ Folks.” This song just shows us how to be humble and to trust your process. We can sing this song all day and it’ll put a smile on our face.