Why Fi isn’t just a clever name; embodying a spirit that is “free of restrictions and limitations,” Why Fi encourages listeners to cut the cord, and achieve their own freedom. Last December, The Silver Spring native set out to pursue his own liberation and moved to the Bay Area.
Though he left behind friends, family and his Not A Collective cohorts, he realized that a life sans music was ultimately unfulfilling. The newfound self-reliance proved fruitful, and resulted in his debut “The Most Whyreless EP.” Over the span of eight tracks, Why Fi raps and croons over gritty, downtempo boom bap, describing how he became “Whyreless,” but admitting that it wasn’t easy.
Why Fi discusses how he became “Whyreless” (wireless), moving to California, and Not A Collective.
Q: In your words, describe your name.
WHY FI: There really isn’t a concept behind the name “Why Fi,” but more so the movement of what I’m trying to do with my music which is wireless: which means to cut ties with complacency and mediocrity in order to do better for yourself. It’s similar to cutting ties with wires. If you’re wired to something, you have a limited range of motion, but if you cut ties, you’re able to roam free and do as you would as you ever so choose. It’s to promote wireless within music.
“Moving and making the decision fully into what I want to do headstrong, is how I managed to live wireless”
Q: Can you think of a time where you felt limited? How did you break from that?
WHY FI: I felt limited more so in the lifestyle I was living; this was before I moved to California. When I was in Maryland, in Silver Spring, I was working two jobs, I was trapping as well, and then going to school full-time. This was very stressful and cut into the time of me doing music. I really had to think about what I wanted to with my life, versus what I had to do. I made the ultimate decision that music and creating — also with film and clothing — these are things I want to do, and what I have to do to live.
Moving and making the decision fully into what I want to do headstrong, is how I managed to live wireless and break from said wires. It’s really more so [about] making you decide what you want to do with your life. I’m applying it to myself in this instance. I made it work for me, so I want to be able to be an example for people who want to do what they fuckin’ want to do, and to just do it. It’s not that hard, just do it or don’t.
Q: What was the hardest part of moving out there to California?
WHY FI: I would say the people. People I’m accustomed to seeing on a day-to-day basis: people in Not a Collective, people in the scene, as well as just family. Not being able to see them or talk to them as much face-to-face, was really the only thing I was concerned about. Other than that, everything was pretty chill.
“Being by myself, helped me develop my sound better”
I’ve been homeless at times, before I went to San Francisco and Oakland. I’ve been through enough, so it wasn’t that hard to make such a decision. I feel like within my music, it created a solidarity. Being by myself, helped me develop my sound better. I felt like I grew as a person, and there were good things that came out of it.
Q: What is the concept behind Not A Collective?
WHY FI: It’s literally in the name – we are not a collective. We’ll be on flyers, and people will think it’s some joke and think “oh, they’re not a collective.” Nigel, Frank, Neroscream, myself and Bluseph, they are different people. We just hang out and do our own individual artistries, but we just happen to work in-house a lot.
“We all individually create our own things. I don’t tell them how to make their sound, they don’t tell me how to make mine”
It’s kind of like how Mac Miller works with Earl, who works with Vince Staples. They’re not a collective, but they work together. They’re like my brothers, it’s family. That’s why me moving, it doesn’t affect Not A Collective. We all individually create our own things. I don’t tell them how to make their sound, they don’t tell me how to make mine. That’s really how we can grow organically.
Q: What was your goal for the Whyreless EP?
WHY FI: I call myself the Most Whyreless, because I created the concept. It was really to establish what the concept was and brand myself as the Most Whyreless. I was really experimental top-to-bottom. Different sounds I was going for, just trying new shit.
Q: On the song “Deadzone” you mentioned “reaching for the glory.” What’s “the glory” to you?
WHY FI: I would sustaining and being able to provide for my family. That’s the main goal, or the glory I’m trying to reach. If I can get them out the way and get my peoples out the way, that’s how I feel that I’d have reached the glory. In that bar for instance, where I was talking about “reaching for the glory, I’m feeling armless,” I was talking about feeling wired. It’s like trying to aspire for something, when you’re not given the opportunity to.
Q: Can you explain this new language you made up with Sir E.U?
WHY FI: It’s called “Obtob.” Me and E.U were lit with my mans Young Kenny Co-sign, and we created it. Basically you spell out words. The consonants, ob at the end of it. If you’re trying to spell “m,” it would be mob. For the vowels, you say “tob,” and then you say the vowel at the end. So let’s say I’m trying to spell “John.” John would be Job, Tobo, Hob, Nob.
It’s very slow and inefficient, in trying to communicate actual sentences, so we’ll just say very quick, one-word responses, just because we’ve memorized it and keep it moving. It’s mainly just to fuck with everyone else, while we’re just in public. If you want to know what it is, then you can ask. But like I told you, it’s not even worth it; it’s too complicated! It’s ridiculous.
Q: Where will you be in 5 days, 5 months and 5 years?
WHY FI: In five days, I’ll probably at my man Mike’s house, recording music in Silver Spring. In five months, I’ll probably be out in the Bay, on tour I think, doing some shit with my band in California. Five years from now, probably in a different country, counting some M’s.