In the latest episode of I Know What You Did Last Summer, series music supervisors, Manish Raval, Tom Wolfe, and Alison Rosenfeld Moses tapped the local music scene to highlight artists in Hawaii. Filmed in Hawaii due to Covid, it felt important to Rosenfeld Moses to pay homage to the setting through music.
The seventh episode of the series predominantly takes place at the Kani Kani Fest, a local carnival with prize games, food trucks, and dancing. Featuring an array of emotions and music genres, Rosenfeld Moses highlights this as one of the most dynamic episodes of the season.
I Know What You Did Last Summer is a teen horror TV series based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The series is a modern take on the novel and 90’s film franchise, following a group of friends stalked by a killer in Hawaii.
Warning – light spoilers ahead!
“One of the things that makes music especially effective in this episode is the contrast between the utterly carefree and joyous scenes at the festival and the dark, brooding, gory aesthetic of the rest of the show,” Rosenfeld Moses explained.
Finally having fun and feeling comfortable after a few murder-free weeks, the music highlights another side of the characters and the vibrant local music scene.
“We thought it was important to include traditional Hawaiian sounds, but wanted to also show the whole scope of the thriving creative world tucked away in the islands,” Rosenfeld Moses explained.
Rosenfeld Moses hits fans with a sonic contrast right away; a memorial service vs. Kani Kani Fest. The memorial service is accompanied by an on-camera performance in a more traditional Hawaiian style by Ei Nei, followed by a somber song by Josh Tatofi.
Right up against these two emotional songs is the excitement of Kani Kani Fest and a joyous upbeat song by Ragamuffs.
Cue the montage moment. Fans can hear the laid back, beachy reggae vibes of Likkle Jordee as the action continues during the festival.
Later, as the festival is winding down, the show includes local hip hop artists like 8RO8, who have two tracks featured.
Soulful R&B by Koins soundtracks the romantic scenes between Dylan and Lennon with a slow, sultry vibe.
This episode features ten local artists and according to them, the music industry in Hawaii can be tough. Numerous hip hop artists including Osna aka Osnizzle, Devin Cheff, and 8RO8 can agree that they’re working to create a space that hasn’t existed there before.
Case in point: There has yet to be a rapper who’s made it big in Hawaii. Some of the factors that lead to this struggle include Hawaii’s cost of living, a lack of resources [and support], plus the limited genres that get radio play.
Many musicians in Hawaii struggle to focus on their music because most have to work at least two jobs just to cover the cost of living. And that’s before trying to pay for studio time, production, promotion, and everything else that goes along with releasing a song or an album.
If finances aren’t the problem, the lack of mainstream music industry in Hawaii – like popular podcasts/radio or big concert venues – also makes it harder for these artists to get attention. Hawaiian radio generally plays reggae or pop records, causing many local hip hop and R&B artists to either change their sound to fit in or give up altogether.
Through many difficulties, these local artists attribute their close-knit community with supporting their music careers. Music group Ei Nei, which consists of Grant Kono (Kailua, O‘ahu), Ekolu Chang (Kāne‘ohe, O‘ahu), and Dane Fujiwara (Wailuku, Maui), told Tunefind about a Hawaiian word, “kanikapila” which loosely translates to “play along or to jam.” In Hawaii, whenever there is a gathering it will most likely lead to a kanikapila session. For Ei Nei, this is how they came together in 2017.
Osna (aka Osnizzle) supported his creative community during the pandemic by opening up his studio to everyone to just make music, without the mindset of money.
“This process opened my eyes to how much money really puts a hold on artistic creation,” Osnizzle shared. “Once that burden was lifted from everyone I’ve produced 12 albums for artists during this pandemic with another 5 I haven’t dropped yet.”
Osna started making hip hop beats back in 2006 and then got into rapping a few years later. The IKWYDLS placement was a first for him.
“I am very grateful for this is the first time I had this opportunity. I’m one of those music heads that stays trapped in my studio and never gets out to make connections or meet the right people to help push my production outside my circle,” said Osnizzle. “When I first got the email I was shocked and excited thinking this might be another door opening up for bigger things.”
Devin Cheff was born in Lewiston, Idaho but has lived in Mililani, Hawaii for most of his life. His mom introduced him to hip hop music and he was truly inspired to start writing music after watching the semi-autobiographical movie 8 Mile with rapper Eminem. Cheff formed a collective, known as BB, with local artists 8RO8, Lucky!, and Israel.
“We have been making music together for a few years now, and continue to do so in hopes of putting Hawaii on the map,” Cheff said. “It still seems crazy to me that my music is going to be in a series, let alone one that my mom loves–she keeps raving to me about I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
To find these up and coming local artists, Rosenfeld Moses initially sent an email to KTUH, the University of Hawaii student radio station, who helpfully shared a long list of artists spanning several genres. She also watched pretty much every performance from Sofar Sounds Honolulu – a resource featuring intimate performances at unique venues. From there, diving into related artists and local talent playlists on Spotify helped complete the puzzle.
The artists themselves appreciate that she went the extra mile to find authentic artists.
“I owe Alison the world for this,” says 8RO8. “She really stuck her neck out for the hip hop scene in Hawai’i by methodically combing through artists to get me and a lot of my homies in the show.”
I Know What You Did Last Summer premiered on Amazon Prime Video on October 15th with the first four episodes, followed by episodes releasing weekly. The same day as the premiere, Madison Gate Records released a soundtrack album featuring original music by series composers Drum & Lace and Ian Hultquist.
〉Full list of songs featured in the I Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack