Artist Spotlight: Dap Zini

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Sometimes you have to admit when your late to the party. I saw a few others speak on Dap Zini and Hesh’s Saga of the Swamp Thing album last fall, but proceeded to snooze for a few months. After finally getting a chance to digest it, I was blown away with the project. Dap uses a rugged delivery combined with witty rhymes, and Hesh provides a perfect backdrop of progressive beats that leave you yearning for more. He has since followed it up with Operation Mogul, fully produced by J-Es. As if that wasn’t enough, the man has thrown his hat into the production arena, producing al.divino’s quick-strike EP DANGER!

A high school quarterback with scholarship offers, Dap decided to pursue film studies at NYU. He is a man of conviction, as he was not even accepted to the prodigious school yet while he was turning down full rides. Years later, at this point in time, his heart is in music, and we should all be thankful for that.

RD: Virginia has produced some legendary talent, we wanted to get your thoughts on the current scene there.

DZ: VA has definitely produced some legendary talent. I’m from Norfolk which is a part of the 757, it’s like 2 hours out from Richmond. I moved to NY in 2012, so I haven’t been paying much attention to what’s going on outside of the homies. I just keep my head down and work most of the time.

RD: Is Saga of the Swamp Thing your official debut?

DZ: I’d say it’s my debut, it’s my first full length mixtape. In December of 2017 I dropped an EP called Corduroy Faces with CHRIS CRNZA, but that was only 6 tracks and didn’t get as much traction. Swamp Thing opened up my fan base substantially.

RD: You’re a dual threat talent, what came first the bars or the beats?

DZ: Definitely the beats. I played violin and drums for a while as a kid. I went to a 2 week program every summer at JMU in 09 (until I got kicked out) and there were a lot of people from LA there. I had a 160gb iPod and this dude named KevG put his entire iTunes library on my iPod. Everything from Fela Kuti to DOOM. Inspired me so much I started making beats at around 15 on FL studio. I think the first beat I made was a flip of Love TKO, I played it all live and just recorded it. I didn’t know shit about tempo or anything I was just loading samples in the slicer and getting busy. I started rapping maybe like a year later. Didn’t start doing it everyday until about 2 years ago. All that music still lives in Bandcamp somewhere or on an abandoned ship in the Elizabeth River.

RD: You have an amazing appearance on Spectacular Diagnostics’ Raw Studies album. Talk to us about working with Spec, and what you have coming up with him.

DZ: Working with Spec is tight because he knows I like cinematic shit and I hate doing the same thing twice. I think our styles just coexist well. The songs just write themselves. Our tape is going to feature the joints we’ve dropped together and some other heat we’ve been cooking up. I don’t want to give too much info but it’s definitely something to keep on your radar for 2019.

RD: DANGER! is a newer EP from Al.divino, Al is a beast on the boards himself so I’d have to imagine he’s not going to rap over any old submissions. What made you confident that Al would take to these?

DZ: Well I like the fact that we live in a time where you can virtually meet like minded collaborators who aren’t just emcees or producers but artists in general. Especially those who take their art seriously. I use artists I like as naming conventions for beats I never send them if it’s reminiscent of their style. It just so happened that stickups screamed Al Divino and I knew he’d body it, so I sent it and the rest just happened.

RD: Who are some of your favorites listens at the moment?

DZ: Shit, it depends. I was always taught to listen to everything so it honestly depends on my mood. If I’m turnt up which is half the time I’m listening to a lot of underground trap shit. Lately I’ve been digging into the Detroit scene with Drego, Sada Baby, etc.

If I’m not turnt it’s Pro Zay, unreleased BlkWlf, CHRIS CRNZA, Doof, Wiles. And whatever links are being posted that pass along the timeline. But mainly you know, the guys.

RD: Psych Ward Records is one of the most interesting labels to emerge over the past year. What’s your thoughts on both the label and the roster?

DZ: Psych Ward is tight because it’s artist owned and artist focused. So you can essentially do anything you want while investing in yourself. We just provide you with the connections and resources to do so. The main purpose of the Ward is self sustainability. Fostering a community where we can speak our minds without feeling like we have to be PC. I’m excited for all the projects we have coming out this year, it’s going to be beautiful.

RD: What do you want people to feel when they hear a Dap Zini record?

DZ: I wouldn’t want to tell anyone what to feel, but I always hope I’m helping someone. Most times I’m just reflecting and trying to control my impulses and it works for me to let it out. If you listen to my shit I’ll take the L for you so you don’t have to.

RD: Plans for the rest of 2019?

DZ: 2019 is looking crazy actually. Psych Ward is releasing Doof ‘Tried Being Sober’ next month. Beats by Deadstock (sadhugold x Hesh). Pro Zay is dropping some EXTREMELY crazy shit in March called 3 Piece. Then around April/May I’ll be dropping some summertime shit more details to come on that. And you know, just organically making the music like we’ve been doing.

RD: Do you have any shout outs?

DZ: S/o to my mama for raising a real one. Salute!

 

Follow @psychwardrecords on IG and @psychward335 on Twitter.

Cop some Dap music here https://psychwardrecords.bandcamp.com

IG and Twitter @Dapzini

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/psychwardrecords

Producer Spotlight: Filfy Tarantino

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Hip hop has connected many people over the world, today’s guest being a prime example of that. Sharon and I set up an event last summer that featured Daniel Son, Asun Eastwood, Pounds and many other talented emcees. During a break in the action I started chopping it up with a young guy that said he was a producer from Australia who stopped by to check out some of his favorite rappers. His name was Filfy Tarantino, and he told me his album would feature Dan, Asun Eastwood and some others and to watch out for it. Couple months go by, and sure enough Crime Capers: Part 1 dropped and it was everything he said it would be. Smoky guitars, hard drums and crazy features lace what was a truly dope project. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for this young hustler, I have a feeling that 2019 will be the year he makes a massive impact in the game.

RD: You really emerged this past calender year, but how long had you been making music leading up to ’18?

FT: I had been messing around making beats and writing rhymes since as long as I can remember. But around 2010 I got an MPC 1000 from a friend and really started putting in work chopping up records.

RD: Australia has really come on strong in the American underground, with Nelson Dialect/Flu/Zoomo and Royalz making a splash. What is it like locally for you guys? Do you get a chance to build together, or is everyone spread out?

FT: I’ve had conversations with Flu and hope I get the chance to work with him and all the other Australian guys who are out here really trying to make music for the culture. Unfortunately a lot of the guys who make “boom bap” type stuff in Australia are few and far between and we all work with our own teams. Who knows what future holds.

RD: Let’s get into Crime Capers Vol. 1, your debut project. Tell me all you can about putting it together, what went into the selection process for the guests and your feelings on the feedback thus far.

FT: Honestly Crime Capers was going to start as a beat tape, just some shit for rappers to write to. But when I made the beat for Bargain Bin I couldn’t stop rapping Daniel Son verses over that, so I thought fuck it, organized a feature and the rest just fell into place. I tried to work with artists that I related too or heavily enjoyed their work. The feedback has been great.

RD: How would you best describe your production style? Capers has some parts with hard drums, and others with some elements of lo-fi mixed in.

FT: If I had to describe my style I’d just call it a mess, I’m all over the shop just chopping records and finding breaks. But in my mind I try to make simple beats so rappers can catch a flow and really showcase their potential on them.

RD: What would you like to get out in 2019? The title of Capers leads me to believe there are more volumes, do you have anything concrete for Vol. 2 yet?

FT: It’s definitely in the pipeline, I’m just tying to work with artists I’ve met and built with in the last year to deliver a project that exceeds expectations and cements my production style.

RD: What’s your ultimate goal, whether its something immediate or end-game?

FT: Shiiiiiiiiit, I’m just trying to get my money up and make music. By the end of 2019 I plan on having delivered CC: Part 2 and a few other projects with artists but I’m keeping that under wraps for now.

Editors Note: While waiting for this to run, Camden, NJ emcee Sedizzy856 has announced an album fully produced by Filfy dropping very soon.

RD: Shout outs? Message for the listeners?

FT: Of course shout out too anyone who copped the project or streamed it. Shout out anyone who is following my progress. Extra big shout out to everyone on Crime Capers 1.

 

Follow Filfy on IG @Filfytarantino

Bandcamp to cop that Crime Capers https://filfytarantino.bandcamp.com/album/crime-capers-part-i

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/tarantinoproducer

Producer Spotlight: The Historian

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The Historian is an easy guy to root for. He is a young man that is aiming high with both his education and music. Last summer he delivered the spectacular Making History which featured a murderers row of talented emcees over his signature dusty loops. He is one of the kindest guests we’ve been in contact with, so much so we thought it would be cool to cop one of his works for the pod cast’s theme song. He will always be a part of the show’s DNA, and we are thankful for that.

RD: Some of your earliest productions are with Tha God Fahim, how did that relationship develop?

TH: I had just made a Twitter account with a whole lot of ‘type’ beats on my Youtube channel. I had confidence that I could make something dope and it was around my 17th birthday in 2017. I reached out to him through DM and before I knew it he was using the beats. It was a great feeling.

RD: Talk to us about Making History. What was the inspiration behind the guest list and sound of the project?

TH: My father had me listening to people like Alchemist at a young age. In the 7th grade I was listening to Durag Dynasty, Russian Roulette and Cutting Room Floor. So I had developed a taste of hearing a couple of heavy hitters on a single beat. So when I was doing Making History: Side A, all I knew was I wanted to get as many people on there as I could.

RD: It’s very rare to see projects released as a 1 track suite nowadays, what made you go in that direction?

TH: I gotta admit, that whole approach was inspired by my man Flashius Clayton. He was the first guy that put me on an actual project. The Good Fella EP, in fact. And this project was a suite, and I liked the idea of having one whole play through track, no cuts.

RD: What can listeners expect from Side B?

TH: Lots of features, raw skits, and signature Historian loops.

RD: You’re one of, if not our youngest guest on Respect Due. Are you happy with the progress you’ve made in such a short time?

TH: I absolutely am! Most people didn’t even know I was 18 to begin with, let alone 17 when I was first dropping songs. Here’s another fun fact, I’m still in high school and am the current ASB president and Valedictorian.

RD: Word is your handle is close to your heart, your quite the history buff. Is there a certain time period you find most interesting?

TH: Yes, absolutely. I was collecting history books, replica artifacts, posters, and journals two whole years before I became a producer. I love the 5th century of Francia. Google a picture of Clovis and tell me that ain’t dope.

RD: Do you handle your own post production?

TH: As far as mixing goes, I’ve only had to mix a few songs here and there. Usually the rappers are so awesome they already send the tracks mixed. I also love going to different people for album cover art. Lots of great artists out there.

RD: Any specific goals for 2019, or do you take each collab as they come?

TH: Well since I got school on my plate as well, I really just work with as many people as possible while I have time. I’ll be up late night producing and looking for skits the day an essay is due. I do have a lot of stuff coming that I cant talk about yet though!

RD: Give me one thing history taught you that you apply to your music.

TH: I apply all the ideals of Charlemagne to myself and music. Work with as many people as possible and hold true honest intentions. I don’t want enemies, just music. Charlemagne carrying these ideals made him the king of everything. Holy Roman emperor, King of Francia, King of the Lombards, and in relation, I find myself in cool connection with rappers.

Follow The Historian on social media

Twitter & IG – @TheHistorianST

Soundcloud is – https://soundcloud.com/damion-lester

Bandcamp – https://thehistorian.bandcamp.com/album/making-history-side-a

 

 

Producer Spotlight: Vic Grimes

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Vic Grimes is a man of few words and many sounds. The Canadian beatsmith did not have any published interviews I could find, so I thought it would be cool to reach out and see what’s good with him. He recently produced all of Edweird’s Gonzo album, and has recently landed big placements with Vinnie Paz and Ill Bill. He reps Crate Divizion along with Giallo Point and PhybaOptikz, the three form to create a unique signature sound that invokes thoughts of sneaky maneuvers and heists.

RD: Along with Giallo Point and PhybaOptikz you formed a unique signature sound for many Crate Divizion releases. How did you come into the fold?

VG: I’m inspired a lot by imagery. Movies or just stills from old gangster flicks, film noir, black and white cartoons, spy flicks from the 60’s. I like the spy stuff a lot. I enjoy digging and making beats that, to me, match that imagery, so I’m constantly exploring it and coming back to it. I’m also really big on library records. The music, as well as the designs of the cover art. Giallo and Phyba share a very similar taste in these things as well.

RD: Stickup on the 22nd Floor is a collaborative effort with yourself and Phyba. There was a real chemistry there, did that form during the making of this or the work on Parisian Connections?

Editors Note: both Parisian Connection albums are highly underrated among the Crate Divizion catalog, in our opinion.

VG: The chemistry between Phyba and I was pretty much instantaneous when we first linked back in 2013. He has the same taste in sounds, beats and artwork that Giallo and I do, and he’s mad creative, mad talented, so him and I doing our own project was a no-brainer. We had a blast making ’22nd Floor.’ I guess we just share a similar vision. I respect his art and his work impresses me every time, and vice versa, so it’s just organic and easy. He’s a funny dude too, we spend more time cracking jokes than actually working.

RD: Most of your work can be described as grimy boom bap with a dramatic/sinister twist. One production that stands out differently is ‘Flavors’ for SmooVth. Do you make any beats with a specific rapper in mind, or create and find a fit as time goes on?

VG: Shout out to SmooVth! Nah I don’t really make beats with rappers in mind much. I just kinda go off on my own and make beats. Making beats is more of a personal thing to me. I’m fortunate to have worked with the emcees that I have so far, because I am definitely the laziest person when it comes to networking and reaching out.

RD: Some producers leave a beat be after the initial draft is done, some go back and have numerous edits with many changes. What can you tell us about that part of your process?

VG: Yeah I usually catch the vibe and do the bulk of the work in one sitting, but I’ll chill and listen to it over and over the next day and sometimes hear something I might want to change. I don’t usually come back to beats over and over though, the more I listen to a beat the more I’ll end up hating it in the end.

RD: There seems to be a renaissance going on in Toronto, with a number of guys making a name for themselves. Whats your take on your local underground scene?

VG: To be honest I sort of live under a rock. I don’t go to the city much, or shows, so I can’t really say much about the topic, but I’ve heard people say this a lot and I think that’s dope.

RD: Last year you landed 2 placements on Vinnie Paz and Ill Bill’s Heavy Metal Kings album. That had to be pretty rewarding.

VG: Yeah that was definitely crazy. Shouts to Bill and Vinnie. I used to listen to ‘What’s Wrong with Bill’ religiously when I was a young kid. I know every rhyme on that album. What can I say, it’s crazy working with emcees I listened to growing up. Plus Bill dropped a Star Wars reference over my beat, super dope. Vinnie is just a monster. He’s become one of my favorite artists. I hope to work with them again.

RD: Edweird is a friend of the show, you recently worked with him on his full length Gonzo. Its a very unique experience, how was working with Ed on that project?

VG: Ed’s cool. He’s got his own sound. I respect that. People have told me I have my own sound, so maybe that’s what drew us together. I appreciate artists that have a sense of humor and use it in their music, and he does that. His shit is well thought out. Meticulous and creative. So I think we were a good fit, he picked some of my most unique beats for sure. ‘Thumb War’ is my shit.

RD: Your quite the retro-gamer, what are some of the most challenging titles you’ve played? I never understood Jaws for the NES.

VG: Some of the most challenging games I’ve finished were Star Wars, Die Hard, and Ghost’s N’ Goblins for NES. The three Ninja Gaiden games were tough too. Altered Beast and Alien Storm were crazy for Genesis. If I had to pick one though, without a doubt Zombies Ate My Neighbors for Super Nintendo. I played that game for 3 days straight. Once you hit level 40 that game turns into a war zone. Ridiculous difficulty. Ahhh……Jaws. Not a very straight-forward game. Without instructions you’d never figure out what to do.

RD: Does gaming play a part at all in your beat making?

VG: Gaming is the reason why I have such little amount of music out these past couple years. Probably why our follow up to ’22nd Floor’ has taken so long. It’s an addiction for real. Phyba has literally hit me before saying “yo put the controller down and get to work”

RD: Plans for 2019?

VG: More beats, more music. Phyba and I are dropping “Diamond District,” our follow up to ’22nd Floor.’ I’m putting an instrumental tape together, ‘Crime-Meister,’ so watch for that. A few little surprises too.

RD: How would you like to collab with that you haven’t had the chance to thus far?

VG:  I would love to work with Roc Marciano, Marcberg is one of my favorite albums. MF Doom would be legendary. Kool Keith, but now I’m just dreaming.

Follow Vic on twitter @Vicgrimes and on IG @vicgrimes1

Crate Divizion’s bandcamp is https://cratedivizion.bandcamp.com

Daniel Son’s Moonshine Mix featuring tons of Vic production just got the wax treatment at http://www.tuffkongrecords.com