While focusing on music production after Riser's first band P!stol P!stol disbanded, he got a phone call from his longtime high-school friend Ali, better known as MixedByAli, the in-house mixing engineer of West Coast indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). Ali asked Riser to come by the studio and record vocals with an artist he was producing for Compton-based rapper Kendrick Lamar. Lamar and Riser had an instant musical synergy, with Lamar finding Riser's voice to be very original and complementary to his own. Lamar appreciated that Riser used his voice as a musical instrument to add more soul to tracks.
In 2009, Riser was featured on Lamar's The Kendrick Lamar EP, on a bonus track titled "Determined.” Lamar and Riser collaborated again in 2010, for Lamar's Overly Dedicated project, appearing on the song "Barbed Wire.” In 2011, Riser was featured on Lamar’s debut LP, Section.80, lending his vocals on the tracks, "Keisha's Song" and "Ronald Reagan Era.” Ash then began collaborating with Lamar's Black Hippy cohort and TDE labelmate Ab-Soul. Riser was featured on "Beautiful Death," from Ab-Soul's 2012 album Control System. In 2013, Riser signed a management contract with Israeli music producer Borgore's record label Buygore, as well as his management company Buygore Management. Around that time, Riser also signed a production deal with Chest Rockwell Entertainment, founded by Greg Ogan and Spencer Neezy. On April 22, 2015, Riser released an EP titled Modern Medicine, which he mixed, mastered, produced and recorded by himself. In June 2015, when asked if he was still with Buygore, Riser responded with: "not since 2014."
On June 22, 2016, Riser released his third EP that year, titled R.I.S.E., which includes productions from 808 Mafia, Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, TM88 and Zaytoven. He was also one of the vocalists who contributed to Kendrick's To Pimp A Butterfly grammy award winning album. So what’s next? Riser is about to release his debut album, Ghosts on July 7th, featuring the lead single, "Lord Don't Fail Me Now (LDFMN)" and the second single, "Moon Cry.”
Because we dig Riser’s style, we asked him to dish his five favorite tunes for seshin’ out to.
“Raw Shit” by Jaylib ft. Talib Kweli
This song was a big part of my youth and the early days of smoking weed and really tripping out on sounds in music. My homie's older sister has this "Bet of Madlib" mix which was done by Jayceeoh actually. So, as expected, we stole that shit and would listen to it all the time when we would kick it at his house (his mom was mad cool and would let us smoke there). I remember the bass line would always have me fucked up. I was so interested with how that sound was made, but i didn't understand sound design yet. Blame the nasty bass line in this song for "Ashtrobot.”
“Cab Fare” by Souls of Mischief
I would go on long skates across town to pick up weed or even go to school (if I felt like it). There's a lot of hills where I grew up and I would always have to bomb them to get where I was going, especially when I started working at the Whole Foods on PCH. I don't remember ever falling while listening to this song, and the sample is fucking golden..
“Human Sadness” by Julian Casablancas and the Voidz
This fucking song is amazing. Twelve minutes of progression, unfolding this disgusting, garage rock symphony of sorts. I don't really know what Julian is saying, but I fuck with it.. This band is just rad man, I'm a huge fan of The Strokes, so naturally this shit is right up my alley. And it's like, the perfect amount of time to smoke one and figure out what I'm doing that day, so it holds a good position on this list.
“Druggys Wit Hoes Again” by Schoolboy Q ft. Ab-Soul
When I used to DJ and produce dubstep as "Ashtrobot," I would open my sets with this song and let the whole song play out to get me hyped up for the rest of my set. The bounce in the beat is compelling. Not to mention, Q and Soul are really the dynamic duo. Everytime I hear this song it brings back memories of sweaty LA underground DJ sets. I tend to miss every now and then. "Bet I got some weed, bet I got your bitch."
“Say it ain't So” by Weezer
This shit reminds me of being 16 in my garage with P!stol P!stol (my first band). When we still went by "The Sets" making noise, this was one of the songs we covered when we practiced and played at shows in the really early days of the band…Actually, it was the beginning of me becoming a musician. That nostalgia is everything to me, I live for it. Weed is tight.