Where are you originally from?
Binghamton, in Upstate NY. I’ve travelled around the States a great deal, lived in a number of regions – Minneapolis, Lexington KY, Kansas City… but I’ve been in Canada full-time now since around 2009.
How did you get into producing?
Wanting to create beats for myself to rhyme over basically. MC-ing came first, it was just that I had more of a talent for beat digging and production. Over time my skills grew from basic beatmaking to full fledge production, and the rise of internet commerce made me think I might be able to carve out a lane. It’s taken 15 years of slow, careful business development to get to this point!
How would you describe your style?
Essentially, I see myself as a Hip Hop musician. I search for sounds and breaks in the same tradition as Herc and Flash, but try to flip them in innovative ways. I think most people would see me as old school, and I use many of the same techniques that were developed in the 90s and 2000s – but I also think I have a personal signature that comes thru, and it’s fully modern in so much as this is what I want to listen to today. I pay very little attention to mainstream Hip Hop, I don’t know what a lot of it even sounds like, so that leads to me being a bit of an oddity sonically.
What kind of process do you use when it comes to producing…Are you constantly making beats or do you look for a certain sound depending on the artist?
I work on music every single day, I’ve taken maybe 20 days off in the last 10 years. I do have certain routines, but I also try to mix it up enough that I never get stuck in a rut.
How do you think your production has your progressed from your first project until now?
I’d like think that I’m more of a complete package now. When I started out I needed help with vocal mixes, I was less confident ‘calling shots’, taking the lead of directing the albums – I focused first on the basic skills of a producer and expanded out as I learned.
Who are your inspirations/Influences both musically and non-musically?
Diamond D and KRS-One each had a big impact on me, for different reasons. Malcom X, Thaddeus Stephens… I’m also a big fan of science and statistics / analytics.
I had the pleasure to interview ZotheJerk a few months back. Great guy and I loved your work on “Black Beach” which is out now. How did you two link up?
Thank you! I’m very proud of that project – it’s very important to me that some of my music touches on social issues, especially issues of social and racial justice – that was always the platform that Hip Hop was meant to provide. The majors don’t do much of it, so indie artists need to pick up the slack. Zo did a brilliant job with it, he’s an incredibly talented MC. We actually first met when Zo was hosting a radio show and I was a guest, we had a mutual friend who hooked it up, and we clicked right away.
What’s your relationship with Tone Chop?
Brother from another. I’ve known Chop since we were kids, and we’ve had each other’s back through various life experiences. We’ve been making music together, off and on, our whole lives!
After the success of the “Veteran” EP, we got right back to work on a full length. We put together nearly 30 songs for consideration, then selected our favorite 14 – while trying to make a cohesive, meaningful project where you never need to fast forward. Time will tell how well we’ve done!
Who else is on the album and why/how did you choose the M.C’s to be a part of this album?
Kool G Rap, Planet Asia, Tragedy Khadafi, DNA, and White Rhino. We also have a feature from Bigga Haitian, who is a legend and pioneer in the Haitian Reggae scene. Basically, we wanted to work with vets, people who we genuinely admire and have had some past relationship with. We don’t really care about chasing whoever the hottest new artist is, we just wanted to stay true to our own style. Chop is an absolute beast on the mic, and I can’t wait for this CD to drop!
You’ve also been in the studio with the Legendary Tragedy Khadafi. I’m also very excited about this album. What can you tell us about your upcoming collaborative project?
Yes, we have a 5 track EP that drops in October, and the 1st single “That’s Street” is doing well on SiriusXM & Spotify. We have a couple other tracks in the stash, plus the potential for more. Things are moving so quickly for me, it’s a blessing to work with such a legendary, important artist as Tragedy.
You have a solo album also due to drop possibly later this year/top of next year titled,”I Missed My Bus”. Why that title for this album?
It’s basically tongue-in-cheek, that “I Missed My Bus” – my era has passed, I’m old school, stuck in the past, whatever – but I’m STILL going on the journey.
Who and what can we expect from this album?
Heat! We have Skyzoo, Ras Kass, Guilty Simpson, Rah Digga, Ruste Juxx, Sadat X, KNXG Crooked and more… everybody goes in hard. Also, this album is a chance for me to show a wider range of my musical tastes than what you’ve heard on previous releases.
What can we expect from you in the future?
22 Entertainment has given me one hell of a platform to work from, so I plan on staying very busy over the next couple of years, dropping something new every quarter. At some point I’d like to slow down, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to really make the kind of mark my team and I are gunning for.
Is there anyone out there that you want to work with or will be working with in the future?
Mostly, I’m focused on my team, Nostalgia Clic – Tone Chop, ZotheJerk & White Rhino. I want to see those guys eat off this game, if that’s what they want, and to keep making the kind of music I want to listen to. As more opportunities to work with known artists come up, I’ll look at them, but my focus now is on my team.
Anything else outside of producing that you’ve been working on?
I stay busy, for sure… I do some tech consulting work, I’m a part owner in a local beer brewery, I have a young family, and I have some ideas that may turn into other business ventures at some point. But for the most, part I’m just grateful for everything I have today, and I just want to maintain it.
How do you feel about the current state of Hiphop?
Hip Hop is doing great! The culture is strong, it’s worldwide, and there’s TONS of great music out there – if you’re willing to look for it. Just don’t expect the corporations to spoon feed it to you, that’s not how you find it. Let the kids do what they do, I support that, even if I don’t listen to any of it. Just remember that auto-tuned ‘rock stars’ ain’t gonna be in our GOAT lyricist conversations – and if you’re cool with that, so am I.
Where can your fans find you on Social Media?
Any message that you want to leave your fans with?
Yes, a simple one – THANK YOU! The fact that thousands of people have supported our recent releases is a gift that I don’t take for granted. I appreciate you.
Thank you for your time, I’m very much excited to hear everything you’ve been working on….
And thank you, Sinseer! If it wasn’t for thoughtful, independent journalists like yourself, we’d never be able to break through the repetitive cycle of major label releases and hype. Lots of new music on the way, and I’ll be sure it gets in your hands… Peace!