Producer Spotlight: The Standouts

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We had the chance to catch up with a production duo on the rise. In a short period of time The Standouts have delivered full projects with Bub Rock, WateRR, and Lord Juco. A Dot and C Dot have been stashing inventory and they’re prepping for a major run in 2020.

RD: You guys have linked up with some of the finest names in the underground over the past few years. When did this all start? How long were you building up inventory?

A Dot: As far as building up inventory, we’ve had samples/ loops/ beats from like 2004 we just always saved that type of stuff. It really started in 2018 when I saw an IG video of Bub Rock and I thought he was dope. I just wanted to get a beat to him, but that turned into a whole EP (XV). From there he plugged us with Ty Farris and other artists started working with us. We had beats on deck and samples that we could use so we just started from there.

RD: Did you guys get into production at a similar age? Who was the first one to get serious about this?

A Dot: C Dot is my younger cousin by 7 years. I started getting into it around my sophomore year, like 2001-2002. I was watching BET and that Jadakiss Knock Yourself Out transitioned into We Gonna Make It, and that was it for me (shout out to the Alchemist). All of us (my cousins, his brothers) would just hang out like family do and alternate between hoopin, playing the game, and messing with Fruity Loops. As time went on C Dot got really into it too, and we would just kick it ride around and really study music. Literally listening to 9th Wonder sample mixes and stuff like that. I’d make a loop and have him do the drums on the beat. Someone on MySpace wanted to buy some beats from me on these two beats where I did the sample and he did the drums. The rapper picked those immediately with no hesitation. I sold those beats, and brought $40 to C Dot for his piece of the profit and it was on from there.

C Dot: My love for beat making started back in elementary honestly. I owe it all to the Grinding beat, shout out to Pharrell that is really started it all for me. Beating on the tables with pens and shit I literally would get suspended for beating so much. That lead me to playing the snare in middle school on a drum line that they basically made because we had such a cold line up. I was too smart to not be in school learning, so I wanna say it was one of my coaches that put me in band. Anyways that band background was the springboard for my beat arrangements and all the percussion and shit I would utilize back when other producers beats were complete ass. We didn’t wanna be trash so we just kept at it, and A Dot is such a wizard with anything he puts his mind to so after a few years we really started rocking and making a little cash.

A Dot: Oh yea! I forgot I was in band in middle school too. I was playing the clarinet but I noticed I was the only dude playing clarinet so I switched to trumpet. First Chair on both instruments too, we been on some music shit.

RD: What is the division of labor in the group? Does one member do a certain part of the beat, or does it vary?

C Dot: For a few years I was doing drums and A Dot was chopping samples. Then it switched to me chopping samples and A Dot doing the drums and arrangements. Then I went off to college and would never go to class so I had plenty of time on my hands and started to overwhelm A Dot with all the samples I would send through. Eventually I got tired of waiting on him to do something with certain joints I would send, and started just doing it all myself and that’s really when The Standouts became like a real legit force that could hold up through any test of time. I grew off the tree A Dot planted but have different inspirations musically so where my shit is more melodic and tends to change up every 4 or 8 bars. A Dot comes in with that gritty hardcore dark ass evil tone, but beautifully put together shit and whenever we do collab on a beat these days it comes out crazy. Once the money really starts coming in and we can make a living off this shit we’ll do a lot more tag teaming. Right now we’re just building our skill sets more and more till it’s time to really go!

A Dot: We’ve done it all from switching up on who’s doing the drums vs. chopping the sample from of course making beats together via email. Now we both do everything, but the emphasis varies. My emphasis is on the mix and the sonics of it and C Dot being an artist himself he’s gonna put an emphasis on the arrangement and making sure the beat isn’t 100% monotonous. So its not necessarily like we cooking up together side by side but we definitely each play a part on each beat.

RD: Is there a different mindset producing a full project as opposed to a few placements?

A Dot: To be honest, fully producing projects just happens so organically so there’s not really a mindset. If we send an artist a pack of like 3 or 4 beats when we first get to building they might just like 1 of those 4, and make a fire ass song from that. That sets off a light bulb with us, so the next batch we send they might fuck with 3 out of 4, and now we got 4-5 songs and the songs start to have a theme, which lends to the title, then cover art and so on its all just super organic. Perfect example of that is The Plaza EP with K Burns. That shit came together in less than 24 hours like that!

RD: Of the full projects done thus far, which one do you think most encapsulates The Standouts sound?

A Dot: That’s a good question that’s really hard to answer personally speaking. We don’t really have a certain sound we just cook up randomly and try to send beats we think they would float on. We’re not saying “this sound like something such and such would rap on” we’re saying “damn such and such would kill this shit.” There’s a difference.

C Dot: When it comes to the Standout Sound the only thing that makes it all comparable is the laugh at the beginning. Outside of that you really can’t put your finger on what a beat from us will sound like and that was our goal from the jump. Our main focus is to just make it dope no matter what style it is that way we won’t ever have to worry about being boxed in.

RD: We realize that often times the cat has to stay in the bag, is there any upcoming work you can discuss?

A Dot: Of course the shit that’s already been posted about such as Eddie Kaine’s Nezzie’s Star project. Spoda’s project Audio Trafficking will probably be out by the time this comes out. There’s a couple of other projects we got cooking and artists that we are working with but they in the early stages so I don’t wanna jinx nothing. There will always be things in the tuck for guys like Ty Farris and Bub Rock.

RD: First 5 calls you make to start a Standouts album, no budget involved.

A Dot: I can’t even say because I’m actually gonna make those calls so ya’ll stay tuned.

C Dot: No budget involved I’m going with a dream line up so I’ll roll with Jim Jones off top. Earl Sweatshirt,Willie the Kid, Bankroll Fresh (R.I.P) and Action Bronson.

RD: Message for the listeners?

A Dot: Appreciate ya’ll fuckin with us and we gonna keep cooking up we here and we ain’t stopping.

C Dot: Appreciate all the love and support. Y’all have only got a glimpse into one of our bags so stay tuned. Niggas really musically inclined in a major way so the more comfortable these artist get with allowing us to take more of the direction the more of the bags you’ll see.

Support Standouts produced projects here

https://waterr.bandcamp.com/album/the-honorable

https://lordjuco.bandcamp.com/album/white-walls

https://bubbarock.bandcamp.com/album/xv-prod-by-the-standouts

https://eddiekaine.bandcamp.com/album/nezzies-star

 

Artist Spotlight: Sedizzy

 

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RD: For the uninitiated, talk about your history. How many releases did you have leading up to Slick Talk Season?

S: I’ve been spittin since around 2005, since I was 15. We had a whole gang of spittas with us back then. I mean if you dig hard enough under Toxic Intoxication Recordz, you can find about 3 full length mixtapes. Wish I still had them jawns on disc.

RD: Looking back, what area do you feel you’ve improved on the most since you started?

S: Composition. I’m a huge Big L and Sean P fan so I took the whole multi syllabic style to heart. I’d say rhyming at least twice in every bar to extend the story telling is where I really focused my attention. Back in like 05 we were just battling, so the grimiest shit you could conjure was what was being thrown around.

RD: On Slick Talk Season you tapped in with a number of talented guys. Talk to us about the project, how long did it take to make? What led you to reach out to the guests and producers?

S: I’m really proud of STS, even though it was kinda rushed. Being my first official project I wanted to connect with some of the artists I was vibing with at the time. It probably took about 5 months to release. I heard Daniel Son x Giallo Point’s joint Remo Gaggi, and I was like ‘bet this northern cat is bodying this, let me touch base’. We wound up linking in Jersey City while he was out here performing with Crimeapple for a show. My partner and me loaded up the whip with the laptop and mic stand then drove north to a hotel in Jersey City. We wound up banging it out in Dan’s hotel room with DJ Finn, Futurewave, Asun Eastwood and Blizz there. Mad humble dudes. Fastlife was a different story. I hit him up about a collab and we went from there. My mans had the bars back to me in like 2 days. Salute to Fastlife for that. Most of the tape was produced by Timeflex, I found him on the MurderTheBeat Instagram page and just vibed with him. He actually mastered the entire project. STS title track features Daniel Son and was produced by my partner Veracity. We go back to the sandbox so it was necessary. The last joint Gunfire Romance was laced by Filfy Tarantino, we linked after I collaborated with Fast. Since STS, me and Filfy have dropped another single featuring Killy Shoot.

RD: You’re one of our most local guests, 5 minutes down the road in Camden. What are your experiences coming up in the South Jerz/Philly scene?

S: Crazy, when I was really coming up it was before Instagram and social media it was the Myspace era. In the early 2000’s it was all about battle rap. I was everywhere back then. Every corner I heard was wildin, every battle was like trying to chop somebodies’ head. It was ruthless back then, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything.

RD: Favorite venue to see a show?

S: I love the TLA and Electric Factory for shows. Seen JMT a million times out there.

RD: What’s the next move?

S: I got a new EP fully produced by Onaje Jordan of the HomeTeam titled Slumlord. There’s some heavy hitters on that tape so keep a look out. After that, I got a collab tape dropping wit MuggzonDrugz. We created a duo and it’s fully produced by NexQuickBeats out of France. Keep a look out for that early 2020.

RD: Shouts?

S: First and foremost my wife for always holdin me down and my homie Veracity for blessing me with lab time since we were kids. I wanna salute y’all at Respec Due Records and Podcast for allowing some local grime ball to get some shine. Peace to all the homies that reached out and built with me, my brotha Cocareef, Chuck Chan, Killy Shoot, M.A.V., Onaje, Jay Royale, Muggz,and Yellow Balaclava. Too many to name

 

Support Sedizzy’s music here https://sedizzy856.bandcamp.com

Follow him on IG @sedizzy 856

 

 

Producer Spotlight: Wavy Bagels

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RD: For the uninitiated, tell the good people about your background making music, and your Bagels and Dagels beat tape series.

WB: I was introduced to music as a child by my intermediate family, but its not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an artist, astronaut which eventually lead to me trying out pro wrestling and then producing. My life is type wild. I started making beats at 18 by the name of “razorSHARPE” which was also my wrestling name.

Years later, I would continue to fuel my passion for music, changed my name to “Wavy Bagels” and here we are. “Bagels for Dagels” is just my personal series of “bagels” for display to ensure that they will keep coming fresh for the people to get.

RD: Finding proper credits can be challenging at times, but I do see a few placements for Intell, U-God’s son. How did you guys link?

WB: I met INTeLL via the brother S.I.T.H (Sick in the Head) about 6 years ago, both repping Staten Island. S.I.T.H.  I was shooting a music video for a joint we did called “Bake the Dough” ft. Mic Handz. INTeLL helped out with photography, and shooting alongside my great friend Alex Antigua.

He recently joined forces with fellow Wu-Babies Pxwer (Method Man’s son), Sun God (Ghostface) and Young Dirty Bastard (ODB) to form “2nd Generation Wu”. We just did a successful show in Harrisburg, PA. I got to DJ. It’s wild to me because I grew up listening to OB4CL and I think about the “keep the family together” line by Raekwon in “Glaciers of Ice”. It’s like watching life imitate art.

RD: Are placements something you pursue, or do you prefer to let the work breathe on your instrumental tapes?

WB: I feel producers today have the ability to do both simultaneously so I never stress one over the other.  I’m currently pursuing the placements that come natural and makes sense for both parties involved whoever that may be, but I am currently working with artists whether they are known or not. As long as the art is not compromised.

RD: You show a lot of love on your Soundcloud, constantly re-posting other’s works. What is the first thing you listen for when you hear a new producer’s work?

WB: That FEELING. If a beat got me thinking or moving in those first 20-45 seconds, I’m gonna share it. I’m also big on sharing the wealth with friends who I feel deserve to be heard just like how that opportunity was given to me. Whattup, Complexion! (Future Beats Show, UK)

RD: If there is an area you could improve at, what would it be?

WB: Between music and film & TV (freelance boom operator) I’ve done a lot of audio work, but recording and mixing live instruments is one aspect of audio I feel I haven’t done enough of and that only comes with practice. Songwriting as well.

RD: What aspect of beat making do you consider your strong suit?

WB: People always tell me about my drums, so I guess it’s the drums. I personally try to have a defining snare in every one of my bagels. The snare always hits me first. Before the kick, before the percussion.

RD: If you had a hefty budget to begin work on a WB producer album with all the trimmings, what 5 talents are you calling first?

WB: Sheesh. This one is tough. I would probably go with Thundercat, H.E.R., Anderson.Paak, Robert Glasper and SiR. I’ll engineer the hell out of that session and be a sponge soaking up knowledge at the same time.

RD: If you could add any piece of gear to your setup, what would it be?

WB: SP-404. It’s been a staple in the beat scene for years and I never owned one, but it’s always exciting to see a peer who owns it engage with it. There’s no letting go of the knobs. There’s always a function to sneak into a mix. It’s fun. That SP-555 is elite too. Shouts to the brother DøøF!

RD: What can you divulge about upcoming works?

WB: S.I.T.H and I are working on a ton of projects, but as of right now we are wrapping our debut project “BrainWavy” coming soon. Out record “Tazmania” is out now. We’re performing May 1 at Wonderville in BK.

Not doing beat tapes this year, but I will bring back my “Wavy Reworksss” series of remixes and edits for the DJ’s. I also heard of this supposed “solo wavy bagels project” but it’s only a rumor.

RD: Shouts?

WB: Big shoutout to the family GREEN STUDIO NYC, where I’ve recorded such artists including S.I.T.H, DFNS, AKAI SOLO, Lungs, Ba Pace, Benji Socrates, Lord Jah-Monte, BARS (of Your Mystery Guest) Theravada, Rob Chambers, Mutant Academy, K Solar, Asad Ill and many others. Extensive shoutout to TASE GRIP, The Boppers, 2000 Ent., Mutant Academy and 2nd Generation Wu.

Big shoutout to the Beat Scene! In Plain Sight, 9th Haus, Pushing Buttons Collective, The PVSH, Beat Haus, Beat Cinema, Controller Rise, Highwater Music, Brooklyn Beat Syndicate, Bananas, Chamber of Cyphers, Beet Trip, SAT SYN, The Build Co., Off The Scene and MTROKNWN. Thank you for pushing the culture forward!

Follow Wavy on Twitter and IG @wavy_bagels

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/wavy_bagels

Bandcamp https://wavybagels.bandcamp.com

Imported Goodz Interview

The talented crew of Imported Goodz joins us for this interview on Respect Due.

RD: How did Imported Goodz form together ?

IG: Imported Goodz came together from childhood friendships in South Florida, years of basketball, a love for music, and making beats. [Broken Rhythm]

RD: The first release had some amazing quality and unique details. Can you tell us about the concept for that debut release? Were there any issues with the production of that product?

IG: Thank you for the kind words on the first release. The title for Untitled Drums was inspired by Kendrick Lamars Untitled album. We didn’t have any song titles so it was fitting to just call them Untitled Drums. Conway calls his verses drums so we put the two together and it had a nice ring to it. As far as the music concept the goal was just to make sure that every second counted. All killer no filler. They say you have your whole lifetime to make your first album. I believe that to be true. Most of those beats are over 10 years old. Anytime you start something new it’s inevitable that there will be issues and this project was no exception. One major issue was we dealt with a clown engineer initially for the project who was recommended by a friend of mine. Long story short his mixes were subpar and he lacked professionalism. Sold his soul for a dollar. Jokes on him we’re on RDR blog now yuh feel me! Ha! [FN-2188]

RD: How do you divide the tasks of running Imported Goodz among the group? Who takes care of what to help drops go smoothly?

IG: Let me preface this that there is no one leader in the group. We all have say and input. As far as executive producing goes I for the most part take on that role and divide up the assignments to our strengths. We all make the beats. Broken Rhythm aka Dustin Mounce handles all the artwork for our albums. Broken Rhythm and Wayne Gordon handle all the mixing now. I handle all the social media and customer service for our merchandise. Mike Lima is head of security. [FN-2188]

RD: Was there any difference in the creative process between the 2 projects released on Imported Goodz?

IG: The first release was basically FN-2188 poking his head out of the back door yelling “Supper’s ready!” to the rest of the group. Everyone always talks about what could be or let’s do this one day, but FN-2188 brought it to life. Seeing his grind throughout it, and holding the actual product in our hands is what put the battery in our backs for the second project. Our creative process was the same, but the drive was definitely stronger on the second one. [Broken Rhythm]

RD: What can you share about working with Daniel Son on your latest project Killing Clouds?

IG: Working with Daniel Son I can share with you that he is a professional and he murks every beat. [FN-2188]

RD: RDR has a life long love for the Miami Hurricanes. I was shocked to hear the Sean Taylor clips with the photo images of Daniel Son throwing up the U. Who’s idea was it to add these amazing touches to this project. What was the creative inspiration behind that?

IG: A few of us are from Miami, but even just growing up in South Florida the Canes were huge in the 80’s. After finding out Daniel Son was a fan, we had to find some way to tie him visually to Miami. We had limited pics to choose from, but managed to find one with him throwing the “U” up. We thought it was dope with Daniel Son being from so far away to have love for UM football, which is so close to many of us. [Broken Rhythm]

RD: The artist for the cover is very talented could you share with us the concept idea behind the projects art?

IG: The art was created by Dusitn Mounce (aka Broken Rhythm), which was centered around the title “Killing Clouds”. Killing clouds is a dope way to describe shooting a firearm in the air, but it also describes how we’d like to rise in this game. On the cover Daniel Son’s eyes are pupil-less to show a tunnel vision like trance. His lower jacket includes a silhouette of the Toronto skyline. The black line style allows colorful layers to be built and not compromise Daniel Son as a focal point. I went with a purple and neon green combo because I love using loud colors when I can. [Broken Rhythm]

RD: What do you look forward to for the future of Imported Goodz?

IG: We want to quit our jobs to make music with artists that feel our shit. [Broken Rhythm]

Constant quality music and we wanna be on Rap Snacks. [FN-2188]

So many dope projects lined up for the future that we had an amazing time putting together. Right now, we’re not at the liberty to announce, but trust the people will be treated right as always. We’ve also finally opened up the channels of selling beats after much demand. It’s been a dope experience being able to connect and supply people with them Imported Goodz. We’re really excited to hear what people cook up over our music. To future connections never hesitate to hit us up at importedgoodz954@gmail.com [Wayne Gordon]

RD: Do you have any Shout Outs ?

IG: Shout Out to Old Spice Wolfthorn deodorant for lasting all day and anyone who supports our path. [Broken Rhythm]

Shout out to all the supporters of Imported Goodz. Shout out to Johnny Dang for creating the biggest chain in the game for me. A custom Imported Goodz piece comprised of 18 carat yellow and white gold and 3800 genuine round cut white diamonds. When I first laid eyes on this piece I had to rub the side of my face like Ace when he saw the gold bbs’. Also I wanna speak into existence Eli Porter – Imported Goodz coming one day. [FN-2188]

Simple – to all the people that supports us. Being able to make the music that we love and inspire an emotion in someone will never be overlooked. Don’t believe the hype, making that human connection weighs more than anything and with that said… shout out to the people! [Wayne Gordon]

Follow Imported Goodz on IG & Twitter @ imported_goodz_

Bandcamp: https://importedgoodz.bandcamp.com/

Artist Spotlight: Nomad Carlos

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RD: For those unfamiliar, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

NC: I’m a hip hop artist from Kingston, Jamaica now residing in the states, New York to be exact. How I got my name is pretty simple because my real name is Damon, so I switched it backwards and got “Nomad” then I added my middle name “Carlos” to it. The word Nomad also fits my personality because I’ve never felt any real attachment to the places I’ve lived outside of yard in my 20’s. My music has always been labelled as “90s hip hop” back home in yard, I never really liked that term although I fell in love with the music of that era. I feel it’s a natural progression of the sound. Some call it Boom Bap, underground or even the term “real hip hop”. I was never really big on these terms, but I guess my music does fall into those categories of hip hop. I consider myself an MC bringing you that type of raw sound with an unusual perspective in my lyrics because of my upbringing and the environment I’m from.

RD: Did you grow up in Jamaica? When did you gravitate towards hip hop, and who were some of your earliest influences?

NC: Yes I grew up in Jamaica. I was born in Florida and my parents moved back to Jamaica when I was 5. Jamaica is my home. My mom was a music fiend and once a month we would go to the record shop in Half Way Tree, Kingston and she would allow me to get one CD. The first hip hop album I ever bought was Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes in 97, and I was barely 10 years old. You know Busta had that type of animated vibes us yardies tend to gravitate to. My cousins who were older than me were into hip hop as well, and I used to always listen to music with them watching them rap and be in awe. They were back & forth from Jamaica, and America too so when I started getting deeper into hip hop it was through them. I was definitely into BIG and the Bad Boy era from early out but the older I got I started getting more into Nas, Bone Thugs, Mobb, Wu, and Pun just to name a few. I started checking these guys out mostly when they were on their 2nd and 3rd albums then I had to back track the catalogs. When you ask about influences those names come to mind. Naturally I listened to a lot of dance hall growing up, and even that helped develop my style in a unique way.

RD: Would you consider Me Against the Grain your official debut?

NC: Not at all. I’ve been doing this as far back as 2009. There weren’t too many opportunities for rappers in Jamaica. I had released an album locally in Kingston back then called Fuel to the Fire which was never released publicly. That project was where I gained my respect as an emcee in the community. I made CD’s for the streets and would distribute it that way. After that I had done a mix tape rapping mostly on industry beats called Live From Yard. I wanna say these times I was still honing my skills and trying to figure out the sound I wanted to settle on. Musically I don’t think I fit into what was popular in Jamaica at the time so I found myself trying to cater to that audience. Then I did Me Against The Grain afterwards which was in 2012. Around that time I played a part in propelling the hip hop community to its ceiling in the local music industry. We started putting on shows for the community and ultimately built our buzz as artists while giving others the platform to do they thing.

RD: Your Bandcamp contains a number of releases, if you were to pick one to introduce someone to your material which one would you go with?

NC:  I feel like I would start with Cipher. Mentally I feel I’ve been in a great space since then musically. I set my own expectations and it helped me gain a new audience.

RD: You teamed up with one of the scenes’ finest producers in Farma Beats on your Cipher project. Talk to us about working with him and how that project came to be.

NC: Well, I think Farma is one of the best in the game. I came across his work online and thought it was flames. Reached out on the DM and we went back and forth for a while. I’d share some of my music and he was feeling it. We worked on Leviathan Axe and it was dope. I was in a comfortable zone and so we ended up just making an EP out of it.

RD: Blxvk Desert is the latest offering, how does this differ from some of your other recent drops?

NC: Blxvk Desert has a more yard focus lyrically. I linked up with Inztinkz on that. Inztinkz is the producer for our crew The Council Of The Gods. We are all from Jamaica and he still lives out there. Anytime we link up this is the vibe we on. So there’s a lot of Jamaican references and lingo all over that. I was able to pull from how we used to live in yard and display that lifestyle. Get personal here and there with some experiences. It’s my favorite project thus far.

RD: Do you approach each project with a certain mindset (number of songs/concepts) or does that change during the creation process?

NC: My mindset is always to just make quality. Meaning just stick with what’s working for me in terms of my style and sound. As for concepts, I’m into a lot of shit so my mind is always thinking creative. I watch a lot of movies and play video games too whenever I have time. All that stuff is part of my process. I’ll have crazy ideas and be jotting them down. For now I’ve been just dropping EP’s short projects because I want people to get used to what I have to offer in small doses. I don’t think they ready for a full album yet. That’s been my mindset from 2019 going into this year but I’m working on a baby tho, a full length LP that one day I plan to present. Don’t really wanna talk about that one yet.

RD: What are some plans you can reveal about 2020?

NC: Dropping more work of course, and also finishing up some collaboration projects I’ve been working on for a while. I’m in the process of finishing up an EP with Artivist. I plan on doing more features too. Got a show booked for February, and I definitely want to work on doing more shows. So I’m looking forward to that.

RD: Any Shout outs?

NC: Big ups to y’all for this interview. Big ups to The Council of The Gods and the whole movement in yard. Bless up all blogs and radio jocks who support the music. And big up all the fans who buying and streaming the music. Y’all really the motivation to keep going and staying the path on this musical journey. Bless

 

Support Nomad Carlos’ music on Bandcamp here  https://nomadcarlos.bandcamp.com

Follow him on IG and Twitter @NomadCarlos

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

Producer Spotlight: Animoss

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The opening paragraph of these pieces usually serves as an introductory piece, but none are really needed for Animoss. He produced one of 2018’s finest albums with Orpheus vs. The Sirens for KA (under the group name Hermit And the Recluse) and added to his highlight reel with more placements for Roc Marciano on each of his last 3 solo albums. He also had a placement on Chuck Strangers spectacular Strangers Park album, and is currently developing Metal Clergy, a effort involving himself, Ka and Roc. Catch up on his history, his relationship with Don C of Arch Druids and more below.

RD: Let’s start with Brothaz Bent, a four man group consisting that had yourself and Don Chalant in it. Don rhymed quite a bit on the album, while you and he produced the entire Up From The Desert album. Talk to us a bit about the groups beginnings, the making of that project and your relationship with Don.

A: Brothaz Bent was a project that I didn’t even like, that’s why I never used my name on it. Originally we were gonna do an album under the Druids name with a few of those people in the group as rappers but it just never really worked out. Our friend the Lost Occupant was one of the illest rappers at the time. They started doing stuff in high school and I linked up with them right after when I was 18 and first got back from a school in Mexico. Some songs got recorded but we ended up making the Brothaz Bent shit , which I was never thrilled about.

RD: Your production style tends to have an earthy, organic feel to it. It really sets the tone while letting the rhymes breathe. What are some works, or specific producers that inspired how you make music?

A: When I was growing up it was really Dre and Muggs. I was big into that when I was a kid. When I went to visit family I had in New Jersey, my cousin would put me on to all kinds of dope shit: Nas, Gang Starr, Pete Rock, Redman, EPMD, basically all the good east coast shit in the 90s that I didn’t really know about. That’s when I was a little kid. Then I started to be interested in beats because I knew DJ Premier was the guy who got a producer credit on the Gang Starr stuff, so I was like that must mean he does the beats. Then when I would look at the liner notes for everyone I liked albums I would always see his name as a producer. After awhile I was like , dam this guy always has the best songs from all my favorite artists. Of course Tribe, Mobb deep as well . All the production was so fire to me. I remember always seeing people with an MPC in pictures and wanting to fuck with it.

RD: A few years after Brothaz Bent, you started working with Roc Marciano quite a bit. Starting with the Do The Honors/Warm Hennessy singles and all the way to Behold A Dark Horse, you seem to have a great relationship. What is a session with him like?

A: I mean Roc is family, he’s like an older brother to me. I owe him a lot. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be involved with artists that I work with now. We had done sessions together early on like Warm Hennessy and some of this other ones. And doing some of Reloaded when he was finishing, but honestly he does a lot of stuff by himself. He just will vibe at his crib and write when he is chillin watching basketball or movies and recording himself. Sometimes I don’t hear the songs before they come out and sometimes I’ve don’t know the song arranging for his albums. When I do that for him I end up playing the songs so much that I have to take a break and won’t listen to it for a long time. Sometimes it’s nice to not be too familiar with the song so I get the excitement when new stuff drops.

RD: Roc has kept his production team tight over the past albums, using only a handful of people. Would it be fair to say a bond has developed over the years?

A:  I mean yes basically the last question ties into that. We have a good relationship. I’ve had a beat on a lot of his records since Reloaded so we seem to always find something to do together. I think he likes me to add on at least a little something to his records.

RD: Yourself and Don were the A&R’s for Reloaded, can you break down your tasks for that album?

A: I mean I was going to Alchemist spot with Roc all the time. He would record some stuff and I would be in the session. Some were my beats, some not. Actually the song History on Rosebudd’s Revenge was from a Reloaded session. Sometimes the A&R would be me coming up with an order for songs or just kinda giving Roc a little input. Rosebudd was one of was one were I felt like he gave me the credit because I was there, but I really didn’t do too much. On Rosebudd 1 I was doing the song order and all that which was fun but more hands on. Song order on albums is super important. Like when Ka and I did the Orpheus album, the song order really was everything.

RD: You don’t strike me as a man who shops his work, what elements have to be in place for you to work with someone new? Is there a level of trust and respect that have to come first?

A: I like to work with people I find interesting. I like to branch out now into other lanes other than the Roc/Ka world. I love producing for them, don’t get me wrong, that’s what I came from. I like working with my brother Chuck Strangers too. He’s not in their lane at all but very influenced by their music and so many other kinds of music. He really has his own things going on and doesn’t sound like he’s trying to sound like anyone else. I just did one for this kid named Medhane that is fire. He’s a younger kid from New York, super talented. I just heard songs I liked and followed him on Twitter. He followed me back and told me he fucked with the Orpheus album and I was like ‘bet, let’s do something’. I sent him a beat at 7 am and had the song back by 10 am and it was fire! I’m open to work with people , I just wanna do good work. I wanna bounce between worlds like Ka, Roc, Chuck , and Medhane all these dudes are dope but not necessarily in the same lane. I also linked with this dude Fly Anakin and you’ll be hearing good stuff from him, he came through my crib when he was in LA with Gray Matter, they’re good dudes. We got some good stuff done.

RD: Hermit and The Recluse-Orpheus vs. The Sirens was Album Of The Year for many listeners, it really takes you away to a different place when listening to it. Did Ka come to you with the concept in mind? How did that record develop into the final product?

A: We met when Ka did the Iron Age video out here in LA. He came through the crib just to hang out and listen to beats. I did one of the beats for Orpheus on the spot and he was like ‘wow’ and we linked up again and after a few times he was like we should just do an album. He came up with the concept but some beats were already in place. After he told me the concept I tried my best to make it like a movie score that would fit for a film on some Greek mythological vibe. I didn’t want the beats to sound the same or go from one to the other and have people like ‘this beats sounds like the last one’.

RD: What are some of your own favorite works?

A: Argo for the Orpheus album is one of my favorites of all time. In fact the album was “done” and he was catching a flight back to New York the next day and we were hanging out. We had made a deadline saying that this was the last trip of his to LA, so he had said the album done, and had called an Uber. I had just put some shit together and was on the headphones because we had a movie on and I played the beats for him. He canceled his Uber and wrote to the song for an hour and there you have it, Argo made the album, and it’s probably my favorite song on the record

RD: What does the future hold for Animoss? Is there anything left undone that you’d like to eventually get out?

A: Like I was saying before, the future involves bouncing around into different worlds. Of course new stuff with my friends like Roc, Chuck and Ka, but also new people. I want to contribute to artists albums, and do my own projects too. I’m all over the place with samples so who knows what I’m gonna be into. I just wanna do good joints with good artists and add on my piece.

RD: Favorite piece of gear, and if applicable, what piece would you love to get a hold of?

A: Overall my favorite piece of gear is probably the MPC 2500 for work flow purposes, especially with the JJOS but that’s some nerd shit. I started on the MPC 2000XL, so that will always be a special piece to me. I’ve been playing with some other machines lately. The first beat I made on the 303 is gonna be on Medhane debut album, out Nov. 2019 so check that out. Other than that I’m not really looking into gear. Maybe some outboard gear in the future.

RD: Shouts?

A: Shout out all the listeners and supporters. All the love means a lot. Peace!

Follow the man on Twitter @ANIMOSS_ and IG @animoss

Producer Spotlight: Abomination Oner

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We had the chance to lock in with Hawaii’s own Abomination Oner, who after years of instrumental work dropped Day Of The Jackal, a gloomy and intriguing offering that featured a host of quality emcees. He touches on his local scene growing up, equipment, and his Day Of The Jackal project.

RD: You rep the beautiful state of Hawaii, bring us into your scene for a moment. Growing up who were some of the local favorites? Did you guys favor any style of production?

AO: Coming up, there weren’t a whole lot of local artists here in Hawaii creating Hip Hop. In the mid to late 90s, we started to see some activity from artists and crews like Hi State, Hoomanakaz, Vandalous Minds, Buzz1, Todd G, Akira8 (Tassho), and many more. For the most part, I looked up to my homies that I kicked it with, and drew inspiration from their creativity. I hung out with dudes that wrote graff, made beats, rapped, b-boy’d, and DJ’d. All that stuff influenced me in a huge way. I came up listening to heavy metal primarily, but I also listened to rap, and reggae. When I got in to high school I started listening to more rap and hip-hop. I started listening to Cypress Hill, Geto Boys, Wu-Tang, Group Home, Gang Starr, Jeru, DITC, Black Moon, Hieroglyphics, Hobo Junction, and the Pharcyde just to name a few. All these artists and groups inspired me to want to contribute to the culture. Out of all those artists though, I seemed to favor the sounds of the east coast, those hard drum patterns over soulful / jazzy samples.

RD: Beat tapes date back to 2008 on your Bandcamp, how long did it take to become the producer you are today?

AO: Well, I started making beats back in 98, a friend of mine had a Gemini sampler that had like 24 secs of sample time and 5 memory banks. We used to mess with that and just sample whatever. That sparked something within me, I felt like “man, I can create music too.” So I saved up and bought a Yamaha SU10. That was my first beat machine. I made beats on that thing and a Technics KN2000 I got from a friend for about a year or two. After that I felt like I outgrew the Yamaha. I pooled together some funds with a friend and bought an MPC2000XL in 2000. Back then it set us back like $1200, the shipping to Hawaii was a nightmare, but well worth it. We banged out beats and actually put out a beat CD back in 2000 entitled Doomzday Mechanics. We went around trying to sell them anywhere we could, consignment in record stores and just out the backpack really. Then I joined the military and went on a hiatus for about 8 years. That’s why I was inactive until 2008. I still made music when I could while I was deployed. When I got out of the military, I started linking up with other artists and releasing music here and there.

RD: Do your surroundings inspire the music in any way?

AO: I feel like my surroundings have influenced my music quite a bit. I live on the east side of the island of Oahu where 80% of the time it is raining and gloomy. I’ve been told my beats sound a little darker. I also lived up in the Pacific Northwest for a little while, where the weather is always dark and gloomy, I prefer that type of thing. The friends I grew up with all repped the culture hard, whether it was hip hop or metal, so they also influenced me a great deal.

RD: Who are some legacy producers that inspired your sound?

AO: DJ Premier, RZA, Muggs, Prince Paul, Greyboy, Rick Rubin, Spectre (The Ill Saint), Madlib, Large Pro, Pete Rock, Battlecat, Da Beatminerz, just to name a few.

RD: Let’s talk about your latest body of work, Day of the Jackal. While many of your previous works were instrumentals, this featured a batch of talented rappers like Maverick Montana, Magno Garcia, Nino Graye and Cousin Feo. How did you determine the guest list?

AO: Observe from Loretta Records recommended a bunch of emcees to hit up, so I reached out and asked them if they were interested in getting on some tracks. DropDead Grace is a homie of mine here in Hawaii. He is a dope graffiti and tattoo artist who also raps his ass off and takes ill ass photos. I am super grateful that I linked up with them. All of those emcees that participated are all killers, I am really happy with that project.

RD: Was there a different approach you took to putting this together? Did you have a pretty clear vision of how the project would turn out?

AO: I had a bunch of beats that nobody had got on, so I just compiled a list and emailed them out to all involved. They picked the beats they wanted to rock, and we went from there. Maverick and I talked about titles and tossed some ideas around. We were exploring the idea of hitmen/assassins. I ended up naming it Day of the Jackal after that 1973 movie about a professional assassin who was hired to kill the President of France.

RD: Post production can make or break a body of work, you went with Corey Gipson on the mix for this project. What made you turn to him for the mix?

AO: Corey Gipson is the talent behind all the mixing and mastering of the Death at the Derby series my dudes Cousin Feo and Lord Juco have been banging out. I really like the way those sound and Cousin Feo suggested I let him mix and master the project. I am really happy with the sound. He really went above and beyond, and made some video edits as well. Corey is the man.

RD: If you could hand pick 5 vocalists for your next project, who makes the list?

AO: Man, there are so many emcees Id like to work with. The top 5, if I could pick a line up would be Meyhem Lauren, Roc Marciano, Eto, Knowledge The Pirate, and Willie The Kid.

RD: Do you have any shout outs?

AO: Big shouts to DJ Muggs, Ern and all involved at Soul Assassins Radio show for always playing our music when we have a new release. I really appreciate that support from people I’ve looked up to for such a long time. That is truly validating, and keeps me motivated. Shouts out to Maverick Montana, Cousin Feo, Magno Garcia, Nino Graye, SamRi, & DropDead Grace for getting down with me. The Day of the Jackal project is what it is because of them. Shout out to Observe and Loretta Records for putting out physicals of the project, which you can cop on their Bandcamp. A huge shout out to all the fans that have supported any of my work, I cant thank you all enough. Thank you guys for being interested enough to interview me, much love and respect.

Buy Day of the Jackal here: https://abominationoner.abolanorecords.com

Soundcloud media link : https://soundcloud.com/abominationoner

Instagram: @abomination_1nr

Twitter: @AbominationDMK

 

Producer Spotlight: The Lasso

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Our introduction to Lasso came earlier this year when his spectacular album The Sound of Lasso dropped on Mello Music Group. Using a mesmerizing blend of foreign sounds and live instruments the album resonates differently with every listen. We would go as far to say it was the finest instrumental work of 2019. Lasso teamed up with Chris Orrick to release I Read That I Was Dead. The first part of our interview touches on Lasso’s career up to this point. Chris also joins us to answer questions about the new work.

RD: For the uninitiated, can you tell the listeners a bit about yourself?

L: I’m a producer, multi-instrumentalist, and home recording enthusiast based out of Detroit, MI. I’ve been playing instruments and recording music since I was a kid and the obsession has never stopped. The sounds go across all genres, dozens of collaborators. In simple terms, my music exists somewhere near the intersection of hip hop and psychedelic music.

RD: Your debut on Mello was our introduction to you. What developments led to you working with MMG?

L: Most of all, complete devotion and obsession with creating music. I’ve never been one to play video games or party most of my hours spent on earth are related to the studio in one way or another. Signing with Mello has been a life-altering opportunity for me, but it came about from living every day of my life in pursuit of sound. I moved down to Tucson in 2015 when my wife got a job, started meeting people in the scene, recording obsessively, and formed a collaboration with Lando Chill. Years of working on Lando’s MMG releases led them to bring me on as a producer and artist.

RD: The Sound Of Lasso features warm textures mixed with some very far-out arraignments. The sounds seem a million miles away yet they’re very welcoming sounds that draw you closer. How long did that project take you to complete? Where did you record most of it?

L: I dig your description of the album. I recorded the album over 3 months in late 2018. Most of it was recorded at my home studio, but I worked with about a dozen different Michigan musicians to widen the instrumental palette. For years I ran a studio and played in various bands based around Kalamazoo, MI. When I moved back here in 2018, I knew I would be bringing in a lot of old friends and collaborators to lend their talents to the sound.

RD: You are seen playing with some unusual equipment in your IG stories, do you have a go-to set of gear that you can speak on?

L: My day job is outfitting recording studios, so I get the opportunity to try a lot of stuff out. That being said, I definitely have a core set of gear that makes up the majority of my sound: Moog synth, Mellotron, guitar pedals, free/cheap iPad apps, drums, bass, and guitar.

RD: Do you collect vintage gear? If so, what is your most treasured acquisition?

L: I wish I had a budget to collect, but I definitely have some prized possessions from having the same hobby for so long. During college I got an internship with an amazing engineer named Jon Stites. He gifted me his Tascam ATR60 1″ 16-track tape machine when his studio moved entirely into digital. It’s an incredible sounding machine that is all the important to me because it came from an influential mentor in my life. 

RD: After years of releasing instrumentals, 2 of your last 3 projects will have vocals. Was that planned, if not what chain of events brought that about?

L: Despite being an instrumentalist and dropping a lot of beat tapes these last few years, I’ve actually done a lot more work in my career with vocal-based music. The Sound of Lasso was the first time I really sat down and gave the full effort over to an instrumental record in the way that I do for albums I produce for emcees/vocalists. While I’m probably most euphoric when creating instrumental music, a lot of my ambitions lie in collaboration and creating sounds/beats that allow vocalists to push themselves in new directions lyrically & thematically.

RD: If you could contact any 5 vocalists for the next Lasso project, who are you calling?

L: Smino, Nick Hakim, Laetitia Sadier, Ravyn Lenae, Ishmael Butler

RD: Going off the two singles, would it be safe to say this album could push some boundaries?

L: I always hope that when I put out collaborations that I’m pushing up against some expectations of what it could be. Chris and I are both perfectly capable of putting together a really solid batch of hard beats and great verses, but you’ve got to follow the true inspiration. I get my energy from pushing my craft forward or into new directions. I can’t get motivated to just execute, I need that element of exploration.

Chris Orrick: I tend to struggle when answering a question like this, because I’m not really sure what boundaries we’d be working within. I think there are certainly moments on the record that are more experimental, but mostly in terms of my own catalogue. If we’re speaking in terms of my personal discography as it’s own universe, then yeah, this record is really unlike everything else I’ve worked on. It certainly pushes the boundaries of my own work.

RD: This album expounds on the damage done by the 2016 election and in turn the vicious 24/7 news cycle. If you could take control of any faction of our government and give it an upgrade, what would it be?

CO: That’s a really interesting question. I think it would either be the Department of Defense or the Department of Education. I think we spend an outrageous amount of money on our military. On top of the budget being exorbitant, the expenses are hyper-bloated by ridiculous military contracts given out to the manufacturers who produce for the military. Its strange, nationalist propaganda masquerading as marketing among other things. Meanwhile, the Department of Education has a budget that pales in comparison while people are going bankrupt to get an education.

RD: Chris, would you say this was the most challenging set of beats you have written to?

CO: While it was different writing to this style of beats, versus writing to more traditional boom-bap influenced hip hop, it was surprisingly very natural. When we started working on this project the beats Lasso sent were totally different, much closer to the sounds people typically hear me over. Those were far more challenging, frankly because I was personally a little bored of making that sound. They were great beats, but I couldn’t find a lot of inspiration in them. When the album took this turn, it became exciting to work on and write to this style.

RD: Lasso, how different is your process when recording instrumentals for solo work and working with emcees. What part of your process changes?

L: I’d say how far you take the melodicism in the instrumentation is the biggest difference. If it’s an instrumental album, you truly need a thread of personality and storytelling to weave the soundscapes together. When you are working with a vocalist, it’s more about capturing the essence of something in as few pieces as possible and then letting the vocalist magnify/walk through. A great vocalist can turn an interesting drum pattern and a few little sounds into an entire universe. 

Follow Lasso on Twitter @TheSoundOfLasso

Follow Chris Orrick on Twitter @chrisorrickraps

I Read That I Was Dead is available on CD and LP https://www.mellomusicgroup.com

Digital copies https://chrisorrickraps.bandcamp.com/album/i-read-that-i-was-dead