sandpeople-light-studio_phixrThe city of Portland, Oregon is home to a lot of familiar things, but as history has shown us, Hip-Hop isn’t amongst them.

As the old saying goes, “It only takes one,” but in the case of the Sandpeople, it’s going to take a small army.

The collective was formed together with MC’s like Mo-B, Illmaculate, Iame, Al-One, Gold, Ethic, Onlyone, and producer Sapient all playing a role to bring more attention to the “Rose City” other than it’s tourist attractions.

Releasing their EP Long Story, Short… [Click for review] earlier this year, this cohesive unit is poised on being trailblazers (no pun intended) when the Northwest region comes into the topic of discussion from a Hip-Hop standpoint.

So with contrast to the name of their latest offering, you can bet on the Sandpeople having plenty more chapters to write, making their journey one long interesting tale to talk about…

iHipHop.com: How did you guys first come together?

Ethic: It really just started with us in the community as far as the Hip-Hop scene up in Portland…

We pretty much kind of know everybody that’s doing sh*t, so the dudes that formed our crew set out with the intent to get a squad together…

We really just headhunted, and went for the folks who weren’t affiliated already, because we already have some pretty decent-size crews out here…

We were looking for dudes that were pushing themselves, and kind of on the solo tip already…

Basically just finding the dope dudes that were already out there, but weren’t f*cking with other people…

iHipHop.com: Is it difficult at times working with so many different MC’s?

Ethic: Nah, Illmaculate and me just call the shots basically…

Illmaculate: [Laughing]…

Ethic: Typically we say, “Jump,” and everyone else says, “How high?” So it just moves smoothly from there…

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]… So you two are the bosses?

Ethic: [Laughing]… For all intensive purposes, yeah…

Illmaculate: [Laughing]… I need that answer in BOLD!

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]… How’s the vibe when you’re all creating? Do you all write together, or separate?

Illmaculate: I think it varies from song to song… A lot of the time, some of us will start a track, concept, or have a verse recorded, and bring it to the table…

Sometimes people separate and write, and sometimes a group of 3-4 will get together just on some “kicking it sh*t,” and start a track… Sometimes a whole track will get knocked out in one session, and sometimes it’s on some kicking it sh*t…

iHipHop.com: How would you guys describe your music to someone who was unfamiliar with it?

Illmaculate: Personally, I would say it’s completely original… We definitely have a signature sound that derives from the production, and that’s from everything being done in-house… So we have our own homegrown feel, but we still maintain a Northwest vibe to us, and familiarity…

sandpeople-bridgeiHipHop.com: Speaking of the Northwest vibe, how’s the Hip-Hop scene like in Portland? Does one even exist?

Ethic: Just as far as the Northwest in general, we’re definitely scaled down I’d say… But even with considering that, I would say that the Northwest region is pretty strong, and it’s definitely popping…

We have cats that are doing their thing, like Blue Scholars are coming out pretty hard right now, and cats like Old Dominion who have been holding it down for a while…

When you take those things into consideration on how overlooked this region is, we definitely have a lot going on…

iHipHop.com: Have you guys found it difficult getting exposure in an area that’s really not known for Hip-Hop?

Ethic: I would say that definitely sets us at a disadvantage… That’s because you miss out on the more situational opportunities, where you’d happen to be in the right place at the right time…

Like you can be doing show that’s a big show, and there’s a chance some heads might be there to help you get into a better situation with your music… There is definitely a lot less opportunity to be seen, and to be recognized…

We thought about sticking around in Portland, or going to some other place that might get us a little more visibility… But we’re trying to make things happen in Portland, and bring attention here…

sandpeople_crew_parking-structure_2iHipHop.com: Right now you guys have the Long Story, Short… EP [Click for review] out… Any reason why you released it as an EP versus making it an LP?

Ethic: We’re such a big crew, and with everyone doing solo projects, and our last record coming out a year and half ago; we just wanted to get something out… We wanted to stay focused, and get something out that was an official release…

We felt like it had been so long since we had something on the market that was available…

It’s difficult out here already, so the last thing we need to be doing is losing the fans that we do have… So the EP was something quality that we wanted to get out, and get it out fast…

iHipHop.com: When can people expect to hear a full-length album from you guys?

Ethic: We have some mixtape sh*t that we’re going to be dropping in September as a free download, and then within the first three months of next year, our full album should drop…

iHipHop.com: Earlier Ill was talking about how you guys are homegrown and how everything is done in-house… So are you guys open to working with other producers, or are you comfortable with what you’ve created?

Illmaculate: That’s been part of the discussion for a minute… We’ve definitely opted to stay in-house, but we’ve had opportunities to work with other producers and everything…

There are so many if us within the group, so go outside of it is unnecessary at times… We feel like our comfort level is at a high working with everything that we have… It hasn’t been a huge selling point for us to go outside of that circle, and we also want to maintain that signature sound…

Ethic: Plus we all feel lucky to be in a position to have in-house production that’s on a high level, and where we don’t need to go anywhere else to get it… We don’t have to get beats for up coming projects, because what we have in-house is so rock solid…