I got to kick it last night with STIX (@wattsstix), an independent artist out of Watts who has 'been on tours with Snoop, Tyrese, Iggy Azalea; touched stages with Kendrick, Rihanna, Lil Wayne and more, sold over hundreds of thousands of records, songs released with Wyclef...' and is now right here on the #liftoffblog for your viewing pleasure!

Many 'independent' artists nowadays rely on large agencies and PR companies to achieve their success without a major label. What I respect the most about Watts Stix is how he has managed to build his empire independent of any of these agencies. He's living proof that you can cut out the middleman, open your own doors, and still acquire major endorsements, tour all year long, and work with all your favorite artists at the same time.

I also like that he's very health conscious and opts for a vegan diet to maintain a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Lastly, I like that he 'never claimed to be a thug' as he repeats on his single 'Pretend/Blueline Freestyle', a message that's particularly important in this day an age. With all the unnecessary violence affecting America and indeed, the world, I just don't think it's still 'cool' for rappers to incite unnecessary violence, especially if it's black on black violence. Of course, you still have to be hard otherwise people will test you, and Stix makes this clear in his verses, but I really like the way he sends the message home that killing is not cool or fun.

Anyway, enough of what I think. Check out Stix's music and the pictures I was fortunate enough to capture of him and let us know what you think in the comments below!

The official video of the full interview is coming soon.

Don't forget to tune into Str8OutDaTrunk every Monday from 10-11pm on www.acceleratedradio.net for the best independent hip-hop live from the West Coast.