This week, Joel Madden welcomed punk rapper Nascar Aloe and DEATHPROOF INC. label founder Myagi to the latest iteration of Artist Friendly. Throughout the episode, the duo explored the DIY nature of Nascar’s early shows, the power of SoundCloud, how their artist collective DEATHPROOF ignites community, and more.

Nascar Aloe makes a raucous blend of punk and hip-hop that will assault all of your senses, but he couldn’t have gotten there without Myagi. In the episode, the rapper explains how he had barely left his hometown of Lexington, North Carolina prior to relocating to Los Angeles. That all changed when Myagi, who hadn’t founded DEATHPROOF INC. yet, convinced him to take a risk and come to LA so they could work together professionally.

Below, we’re breaking down some of the episode’s high points.

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In his early days, Nascar Aloe played skateparks and backyards

Hailing from North Carolina, Nascar Aloe became entrenched within Charlotte’s underground scene in his teens. He remembers playing plenty of back-to-back shows to gain as much experience as possible. “I would do absolutely anything. If I could get drunk and could perform a few songs, I’ll do it. That was my rate back then — a six-pack,” Nascar reminisces. At one point, he even performed in someone’s backyard on a pallet stage. “[That] was the peak of the scene for me,” he says.

The first time Myagi heard Nascar Aloe, he thought he was another rapper

When Myagi first heard a Nascar Aloe song, he needed to know who the artist was. One of his friends — a DJ who was always scouring the internet for new music — was playing music, and the track caught his attention immediately. “The song was so hard to me that I was like, ‘Is that [XXXTentacion]? Somebody tell me who the fuck that is,’” Myagi remembers. It’s one of the great perks of SoundCloud, which “drizzles down into smaller and smaller artists as the playlist goes but stays in the genre” and makes discovery that much more incredible.

Myagi became a mentor to Nascar because he believed in him

Like a lot of people, Myagi and Nascar Aloe connected through Twitter DMs. Myagi called Nascar the “new Sid Vicious” and “saw a leader of the new generation.” Naturally, he wanted to work with him. Of course, when Myagi started out, all he wanted was for someone to teach him how the industry worked — so he decided to be that for Nascar. “I can learn to be a businessman for this kid because I felt it was so serious. One of the most important things I could do in my life is bring a next-generation talent and keep him free, keep him real [and] be what I wish I had,” he says. 

Their record label DEATHPROOF INC. fostered immediate friendship

Once Nascar and Myagi linked, the two set out to make a “championship team,” which is how their artist collective and label DEATHPROOF INC. emerged. They discovered musicians organically by simply being involved in their local scene and listening to a bunch of music. Then, they’d book and meet them for a vibe check. Myagi says all of their friendships were “immediate” and they’d end up living together quickly after being introduced. “That’s when I started to feel like we’re doing something that’s one in a million. I started to take it more serious, and [Nascar] started to take it more serious, and it actually materialized. You gotta take that risk,” Myagi stresses.

Nascar Aloe gives it his all, even in an empty room

As much as Nascar Aloe loves playing sold-out shows, he isn’t discouraged when there’s an empty room. Last year, he played a gig in Texas and remembers seeing only “four or five heads” in the crowd. The rest were people who were in the bar. Instead of holding back and putting on a weak show, Nascar “gave it [his] all” because he wanted to ensure that those fans received “the same [energy] that I would give to a sold-out show.” 

His music will always have a message

Myagi admits that when he first discovered Nascar Aloe, he was “so pissed off at the world,” and, fittingly, the rapper put out a song in 2018 called “Pissed Off.” “When I heard that, I never in my life felt like a song represented how I felt in that moment,” Myagi shares. While Nascar Aloe isn’t dropping scathing political truths in the same manner as the Clash and Sex Pistols, two artists who clearly inform his punk-rap blitz, he captures the “climate of where we’re at,” like with his 2019 cut “CHERNOBYL.” “He’s not pinpointing certain issues or problems. It’s a climate that’s in the air, and it’s an energy that everyone’s feeling, but don’t quite know how to say it, and he says it,” Myagi says.