Producer Spotlight: Raticus

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RD: Going back a few years you released a project with Vast Aire. Was that the first project you produced with one MC?

R: Back in 2001 I released an album called Darkaside of Thingz featuring Blak Jak. It’s available on tenementmusic.com. The Vast Aire EP called The Heir Vast was my first project of the 2010’s decade and the beginning to my new way of thinking towards my role in Hip Hop.

RD: Two years later in 2018 you dropped King Of Crime Heights with Rustee Juxx. What was that experience like? What made you want to reach out to him for the next project?

R: Locked in with Ruste Juxx after hearing this joint called “Pimpin ya Wife” on DJ Premier’s Live From HeadQourterz show around 10 years ago, it sealed the deal regarding his greatness for me. The success I had with the Vast Aire project, I was hungry to drop another project and Ruste was active on Social media promoting himself so I decided to reach out to him. What started as an EP turned into 20 track 2XLP project. We just got into a rhythm.  Working with Ruste is pretty smooth, he is on my next album called Street Corner Diaries coming out in early 2020.

RD: You jumped back into the scene big time with two drops on the same day, Cryptex Murderous Material with al.divino and New York State: The Renaissance with Mooch. Why release both on the same day?

R: It’s kinda like letting off couple shots in the air at 125th Street on Friday night in the summer. The year before I released a 20 song album, I decided this year to maintain my music output but split it among two projects. I produced these albums and mixed/mastered them as if it was one.

RD: Al and Mooch are two of the best in a growing scene, what was it specifically about each one that moved you to make full projects with them?

R: I agree with you big time! Heard Mooch and Farma Beats Heroin Farms project, and his voice stood out initially, but as I listened more the lyrics and personality were equally as dope. Mooch has some of the dopest adlib tracks I have heard in a long time coupled with dope street bars. I definitely felt confident he could be a center piece of one of my projects. al.divino has untamed energy, like a wild stallion living on the land. Stumbled on the ASESINO video and was blown away. Which led me to Monumentality, after I heard this album it sealed the deal regarding his greatness for me (not to mention Mr. Nack as well). His total disregard to the normal structure of hip hop songs was refreshing. His ability to rhyme on some of the most unorthodox beats impressed upon me the that this dude is on a different wavelength with this hip hop ish. GrandMaster status with MC skills, and does it with a flair and a great deal of confidence.  Made it my business to reach out to him for a project.

RD: Your style is unapologetic-ally hardcore boom bap, would you say your approach to beat making has stayed the same since your start? If not, what changed?

R: My production has gone through several stages, so it has certainly evolved over the years, things like technology and experience have had major part in these changes. I would say, sound and samples that make me screw face haven’t much changed over the years.

RD: Do you create the beat first, then find the right collaborator, or make the beats specifically for each rapper?

R: For the most part I make a lot of beats that I like, and present them to artist I think would sound dope on them. However with the Cryptex Murderous Material project I had to send al.divino a lot of beats, it is not until he told me a couple of words about how he likes his beats, that I was able to get the right vibe. So in that case most of the beats were tailored for him specifically.

RD: Getting into your setup, how much has your setup changed in the past few years, and if there was any piece you could add to your collection what would it be?

R: Last big purchase was my MPC X and MPC Live. I also picked up a tape machine couple years ago. For the most part my gear has been in place for a good set of years. This has allowed me to carve out my sound. One piece I could add? There are so many, but I love Manley Analog gear. At some point I want to get the Manley Slam!

RD: Who are some legendary producers that inspired you to start making beats?

R: DJ Premier is my largest influence, Step Into the Arena really imprinted in me the way an album should sound and flow during my days as a young fan. By the time we get to Hard to Earn, I am a student in class learning from the legend. I like a lot of producers but the ones I studied are DJ Premier, Pete Rock, RZA, 9th Wonder, Alchemist, Just Blaze, No I.D., and Tony D (Poor Righteous Teachers).

RD: What are some long term goals for Tenement Music as a label and yourself?

R: Catalog, catalog, catalog.  Just want to continue to put out good music for the fans.
Keep contributing to this Hip Hop culture, carrying the torch for a style of hip hop that will never die.

RD: If you could have any 5 mc’s on a Raticus producer album, who would you reach out to?

R: G Rap, MF DOOM, NAS, Elzhi, Droog. A separate project for each.

RD: What’s next?

R: Look out for few new projects on the way: Street Corner Diaries/RocVille, and Law 21 vinyl projects!

Follow the man on Twitter and IG @RaticusMusic @TenementMusic

Cop the wax here https://tenementmusic.bandcamp.com/merch

Producer Spotlight: Clypto

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We had the chance to catch up with Oceanside, CA native Clypto. He has worked with a wide array of the finest spitters the underground has to offer, combining many of them in his debut release The Loop. Bringing a combination of work ethic and talent, he always has something in the works. Catch up with him below.

RD: It doesn’t take many listens of your music to know you’re a soul man. Who are some of your go-to’s when you are just in listening mode?

C: When I’m just in listening mode it can be a wide range of artists. Anywhere from Blue Magic, The Moments and Even Some 80s Japanese city pop. I’ve been getting into a lot of 80’s city pop lately. Obscure 70’s rock is another one of my favorite genres.

RD: You have worked with a wide range of emcees, what qualities do you look for in a frequent collaborator?

C: A frequent collaborator has to have what I call The Total Package. They have to be diverse. If they can make street shit,  but can also make a song about their mother or their kids that’s a huge plus for me. I feel a lot of rap nowadays is just one dimensional.

RD: Let’s get into your album from last year, The Loop. It features a murderer’s row of guests, how long did it take to complete the project front to back?

C: I think it took just under a year to complete. There was a little hiccup, but nothing major. I just wanted to make sure my vision for the album came through as much as possible. Supreme helped a lot with that. I also wanted to make sure everybody I had in mind for each track came through as well (which didn’t happen) but I did manage to see my vision come through regardless. A few artists I didn’t even plan on getting on joints came through in the clutch which was a huge blessing.

RD: This got a physical release later in the year, that had to be a rewarding feeling.

C: Oh definitely. I stalled on getting the CD’s pressed for the project so the CD’s dropped about a month after the digital release. Having the vinyl pressing was very rewarding, because I actually put that idea out into the universe saying  ‘This album deserves to have a vinyl press”, and I’m thankful that the good people over at DeRapWinkel Records felt the same way.

RD: Is a project this scale something you’d have interest in doing again?

C: Most definitely. All in divine order. I don’t want to rush anything, but sonically it would have to measure up with The Loop.

RD: You have a strong chemistry with Supreme Cerebral, doing the Master Builders project together and him being on The Loop. Do you bring out the best in each other? Why do you think that is?

C:  I honestly do think we bring out the best in each other. Preme is very versatile on the mic. He can rap on straight loops and hard boom bap joints. Everything I sent him for Master Builders, he bodied. He was a huge driving force behind The Loop as well. He got a lot of those features together for my project. I have an enormous amount of respect for him.

RD: I want to ask about a specific favorite of ours, Itchy Palms for JuneLyfe off his Mood Swings EP.  Both of your placements on this were excellent, is there any extra insight you can give to that recording?

C: Yes. I was actually digging for records at Goodwill, and came up on a few good soul records. Usually it’s just rock and country on the shelves with a bunch of Christmas Records, but that day was something special. I took them home and found gold on almost every record, and the sample that eventually became Itchy Palms was just one out of the group. When I posted it on my Instagram page Junelyfe hit me in a direct message inquiring about it, so I sent it to him. He always amazes me when I hear what he does with my beats. It’s never anything I would expect, which is a good thing. He knows how to bring the best out of my beats as well.

RD: Would you consider yourself a goal-based person? If so, what do you aim to accomplish in 2020?

C: I do, to a certain extent. I just really want to make a stamp in the game. I really want to make albums with artists and less singles. I’m not against making singles and getting placements on albums, but my main goal is to produce as many albums for artists as I can. Creating the back drop, so to speak, for the whole project is what I love to do. For 2020, I’d really like to continue doing that. I got a few albums in the works already with Realio Sparkzwell and Ca$ablanca.

RD: If you could choose any 5 vocalists for your next project, who are you calling?

C: I wouldn’t be able to narrow down a Top 5, but I would like to get EVERYBODY that was a part of The Loop to be apart of my next compilation album. Everybody brought their A-Game with their contributions 100%.

RD: Any Shout outs?

C: I have to shout out the blogs too. In particular 7th Boro, Insomniac Magazine, and Weekly Rap Gods for their continued support.

Purchase The Loop here https://clypto.bandcamp.com