South Jersey’s VARS CITY interview with Fish N’ Gritz

If you are a Jersey native hip to the music game, the name VARS CITY rings a heavy bell. The south Jersey group has been making waves in the Jersey music community for quite some time. The dynamic collaboration consists of Don, Fresco, and Von Bruce (left to right in picture above).  From several unreleased tracks to the production of their first album No Love In The City to their most recent single Party With Me, the group has grown and seen various success in their journey from individuals to one fluid music-making machine. I caught up with them at the Art x Artists Show at Loft9 in New Brunswick, NJ on October 14th for a short interview before they closed out the show.

Tim: First question. Why the name Vars City?

Vars City: (Don) We get that A LOT! We used to have another name Vars Academy. (in agreement) Yeah, Vars Academy back in the day. (Von) Then we decided to level up! We graduated from our old sound to our new shit now.

Tim: I like the play on words, Varsity, Vars City.

VC: Exactly!

T: Going into your music, what was the first song you ever did as a group?

VC: (Don) The first song we started working on together was the Black and Yellow freestyle Wiz Khalifa. It’s probably on YouTube. Shit was FIRE!

T: How long ago was that?

VC: I think this was like 9 years ago. That’s when we were first dabbling into music. We were trash (in agreement). (Don) The first official Vars City song was Remember Me. That was more recent, about 6-7 years ago.

As we got further into the interview, we talked about their unique style of creating music as a whole and how they developed their sound as a group.

T: So tell me about your creative process, from getting the beat to putting it out on Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes, etc.

VC: (Don) We hear the beat, we vibe out to it, and one of us will come up to a vibe to the song. Then we’ll all feed off of that one vibe. I wasn’t in the studio for a lot of the songs [talking about new project] but they’ll get a vibe and I’ll just vibe out too. (Fresco) We let our in-house producer (Moofy) make the beat, tell him to add this baseline, add this feel, lay the vocals and he’ll roll around it and that helps the sound. (Don) We get a feel of the songs, and the words will come. A lot of rappers write their lyrics before they get the beat and it always sounds placed on. We want to make music that attracts your ear. We want it to be ORGANIC.)

(Big shoutout to all the vegans out there.)

T: Your first album, No Love In The City. Talk about making it, what you guys did from track 1 to the end and getting it out on music platforms.

VC: (Fresco) It was an extremely tedious process. We do everything ourselves. We’re responsible for putting out the best product that’s in line with what’s out there. (Don) IT ALMOST NEVER CAME. We almost quit rapping as a whole. We were known locally and we fell off. Life got in the way (in agreement). We had the intro and a couple other songs. He [Fresco] had a song (Lifestyle) and it started it back up. One night we just started it back up and we said lets do a trilogy. 3 albums. (Von) We had a theme and as we were doing that, it all just came together and it’s a nice flow. (Don) If you listen, there’s a story in there.

(There is, I’ve heard it.)

T: So yall got your Kendrick on huh? I appreciate artistry in music.

VC: (Don) Exactly! People think it’s a bunch of music thrown together. Nah. Take your time and listen to it!

(I did, Don. I did.)

We then got into the group’s success and how they came up.

T: Talk about how you met Scottie Beam and her putting you guys on because I knew you guys before that, but when she put you on it was like DAMN! THESE THE HOMIES!

VC: (Von) She got in contact with us via Twitter. She tweeted something out saying she was accepting tracks to look at. She heard our track and was like “Oh, this is TOUGH!”

T: What track was it?

VC: (Von) It was Levels. She put on Twitter “This track is lit! They from Jersey!” (Don) She never does it for people, so she said “Ima have you on Who’s Next” and we were like “….oh cool.” Then a month-2 months later she hit us like “What are yall doing blah blah blah? Im gonna get yall on Who’s Next.” We had to keep it quiet for a month and a half. I was ready to stunt!

(These guys sure do stunt, check out their Instagram @VarsCity609)

From there, the group expanded on their new project, Party With Me, and the future of the group in the upcoming months and few years.

T: Party With Me. Talk about that.

VC: (Von) You know what’s crazy, we weren’t fully sure of it from the jump. (Fresco) (Don) We were though! (Fresco) I liked it, but yall were kinda shaky on it, so that made ME shaky on it! (Don) See but you said it was hard though. He [Fresco] came up with the whole concept of Party With Me. It’s our lead single to our next project. (read ahead).

T: So that’s what I wanted to get at. Where do you guys see yourselves (Vars City) in the next 6 months, then 2 or 3 years down the line?

VC: (Don) We should all answer this. In 6 months I see Party With Me still doing well. I see the project gearing up to be released. It’s FIRE. It’s 90% done. 2-3 years, Vars City will still be a thing, but I see us each doing our own thing but Vars City will be a conglomerate. An Empire. (Fresco) I see Party With Me doing numbers in the coming months. I see us releasing a music video and it blowing up. (Von) 2 years, we all working on individual stuff. You gonna see us working with other artists and doing shows in a lot of different spots.

The group gave us an inside scoop of the name of their upcoming album, Lost In The City, which will be a “1.5” (Don) to No Love In The City. The also let us in on what they believed to be the best music they’ve ever heard in the history of music.

T: From the beginning of time until now, what was the best music you’ve heard besides your own?

VC: (Fresco) Personally, I don’t get attached to music like that. The only music that got me to really sit and listen to music was House of Balloons. That was FIRE! I’ve never sat there and listened to a whole album until then. (Von) I’m going House of Balloons too! (Don) You going HOB too?? Damnnnn. The one album that had an impact on me was More About Nothing by Wale. Best rapper of all time because I’m Nigerian and he’s a spitter! (Shoutout to all the Nigerians)

Although their time on the music scene as a group has been short, their impact has been nothing short of amazing. Among the slue of rap artists in New Jersey, Vars City has shown that they are at the top of the game, and have no intention of slowing down any time soon. From their vibes to their creative process to their choice in music, the group is definitely one to keep in mind when referencing the heavy hitters in Jersey. DO NOT SLEEP ON THESE GUYS! Their growing discography will impress you! Take a listen to their album No Love In The City below and tell us what you think! While you’re there check out the video of the interview!

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