Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
Everywhere you go, you always run the big risk of people getting the wrong idea about you. Even though appearance shouldn’t be a factor, it usually determines how people judge you in the end. You can be a loving husband and the sole provider for your family, but if someone like a Wall Street broker sees you wearing a pair baggy jeans, and Air Force One’s coming his way; he’s more likely to clutch his briefcase so tight—his hands will develop more calluses than a construction worker. In this edition of Six Degrees Of Separation [Click for other editions], the subject of being misunderstood by way off misconceptions comes into play with Ruste Juxx, The Knux’s Krispy Kream and Rah Al Millio, DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples, Illa J (the younger brother of J Dilla), and Detroit’s Trick Trick all discussing their own point of views on the matter. Now lets see if you can relate… [Click on names for individual interviews] iHipHop.com: Would you say that you’re misunderstood at times, and if so, what’s the biggest misconception about you? Krispy Kream: That we grew up in the suburbs, and since we’re not two ‘hood mothaf*ckas that you won’t be feeling our sh*t. But we’ll still knock you the f*ck out, and that’s pretty much the biggest misconception… Rah Al Millio: [Laughing] That’s like the BIGGEST one right there… Rutse Juxx: Some people think that I’m this big 6’7” dude before they see me. A lot of people are like, “Yeah, I thought you’d be bigger!” I guess they that think that way because of my voice… Illa J: I think what’s crazy is that I love basketball… Music was always a part of my life, and it was something that was just there anyways. It started from birth, but my first passion was basketball—I LOVE BASKSETBALL! [Laughing] That’s my sport right there… DJ Babu: I guess one of the biggest misconceptions about me that I’ve been trying to work out for over the past few years is that I can only get busy on the turntables… But I’m hoping that people will soon find out that I get behind the boards, and that I do get down with MC’s. People just know me for my DJ’ing background, and being with Dilated [Peoples] and Beat Junkies for years. But I’m ready to show people what I’ve been working hard at… Trick Trick: People think I be starting sh*t. People think I’m this super violent tyrant, and sh*t starting monster. But if you ask me, I’m more of a comedian. Even though I’m 6’3” and 250lbs, I’m from the same streets as these mothaf*ckas, or the same ones they claim they grew up in—but I’ll still f*ck you up. But I would rather laugh all day then beat the sh*t out of people. Whenever I f*ck somebody up, it just manages to get publicized. So the people just take that and run with it, and think I’m just a sh*t starting murderer, but that’s not the case. If you die by my hands, you done f*cked up, and I ain’t never did something to somebody that they didn’t have it coming to them. So I think that’s the biggest thing right there. I might be an asshole, but that’s it… [Laughing]
The animated movie, Anastasia was filled with musical interludes, and a plot well deserving to be read right out of a fairytale book, but that storyline takes place in the infant stages of the 20th Century. As we approach the first decade of the 21st Century, a new version of Anastasia is formulating once again. This time though, she’s not make-believe, and her curvaceous measurements of 34-24-38 can certainly attest to that. 20-year-old Anastasia Garcia has been making the rounds and earning a name for herself in the already-competitive world of urban modeling. Aside from being in magazines such as The Source, the 5’5” 125 lbs. Cleveland, Ohio native of African-American and Dominican descent has brushed elbows with the likes of Gorilla Zoe, Lil Scrappy, Shawty Lo, and B.o.B. by being featured in their videos. Not to be confused with your average “video girl,” this young beauty with a fetish for McDonald’s aims to break that stigma by utilizing her full talents to further get her feet wet in the entertainment industry; and with the path she’s on, it shouldn’t be any longer. In the business of “comers” and “goers,” one thing that you can definitely place your bets on is that the fact that Anastasia Garcia aint’t no fairytale. iHipHop.com: Where are you originally from? Anastasia Garcia: I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. iHipHop.com: How’s it like growing up there? Anastasia Garcia: Um, it was weird. There’s no real trends here or anything, but I wasn’t bad, I was a good girl. Plus it gets really cold. iHipHop.com: What’s your nationality? Anastasia Garcia: I’m Dominican and African-American. iHipHop.com: Do you speak any Spanish? Anastasia Garcia: I speak very little Spanish… iHipHop.com: What made you get into modeling? Anastasia Garcia: I always thought I was pretty, and I really like modeling but I would rather get into acting. When you’re modeling, it’s like you’re acting, but I would rather be an actress, and I’m looking into getting acting classes right now. iHipHop.com: You’ve been in videos by B.o.B., Lil Scrappy, Gorilla Zoe, and Shawty Lo. Do you ever get worried about people stereotyping you as just another “music video model”? Anastasia Garcia: I don’t think so, because of my looks and my size, so I think I can cross over. I don’t think people would just think of me as a video girl. iHipHop.com: So what’s your opinion on this industry so far? Have you had any bad experiences? Anastasia Garcia: Well it hasn’t been positive all the time… But it is what it is, and you have to take the good with the bad. iHipHop.com: Do you have any personal goals you want to accomplish in this industry? Anastasia Garcia: I want to land a really, really, really, big video. I’m not done doing videos yet, I think videos are fun. I would like to do a Beyoncé video; that would probably be the next video I would want to do. Most likely at the end of the year, I’ll be done, and then I’ll completely move onto acting. iHipHop.com: Were you at all camera shy when you first started shooting? Anastasia Garcia: I’ve always been a little shy in front of the camera, but I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself through my modeling. It’s easier now, and before I was just afraid to look ugly, and so some of my pictures would come out funny looking. But now I’m more comfortable. iHipHop.com: What are your family’s thoughts on your modeling career? Are they supportive of what you’re doing? Anastasia Garcia: [Laughing] They are, but to a certain extent. Like the booty pictures—they don’t really like those too much. I have to stop doing booty pictures… [Laughing] iHipHop.com: [Laughs] Is modeling your full time gig, or are you in school as well? Anastasia Garcia: Modeling is my full time gig, and I used to go to school part time. But now I just completely model. iHipHop.com: What’s been the toughest part of this industry for you so far? Anastasia Garcia: Getting my name out there more, that’s the tough part for me. Not too long ago, I was talking to a photographer from Don Diva [Magazine], and he hadn’t seen any of my work, so he didn’t know what I’ve done so far. Then he was telling me that I have to pay to get into their magazine, and I was like, “I think you guys should pay me, because I’ve been in better magazines.” I like Don Diva, but I’ve been in better magazines, and I didn’t have to pay to get in those magazines. If I do pay, then I need the cover. Then he said if we do a cover it would have to be for someone like Buffie [The Body] or a model like that. I’ve done enough videos to get a cover, and I’ve been in enough magazines to get a cover on Don Diva. So that’s the hardest part, when people don’t really know who you are. I hate the fact that I have to tell people what I’ve done, I would like for them to see and already know. iHipHop.com: With that said, have you found it difficult to stand out in such a competitive field? Anastasia Garcia: No, I think I stand out because I have my own little personality, and I think people will like that. Plus I’m very different from all the other models. iHipHop.com: What do you like to do away from modeling? Anastasia Garcia: I like to eat and shop… [Laughing] I like listening to music too, and I like going to strip clubs. I go to the beach a lot too. iHipHop.com: What foods do you eat that you shouldn’t? Anastasia Garcia: WOA!! There’s a lot! [Laughing] I eat a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t eat. I’m always in McDonald’s every five minutes, and I eat stuff like pickles and cheese together. iHipHop.com: Pickles and cheese?! Anastasia Garcia: It’s kind of weird… [Laughing] But it tastes really good though. The only thing that’s hard to do is to keep my weight on me, because I’m so active, and I’m always exercising. I’m trying to keep my weight on. It’s not hard to lose it, but it’s hard to keep it. iHipHop.com: And what about your trips to the strip club? Trying to learn some new moves? [Laughs] Anastasia Garcia: [Laughs] Nah, I don’t need to do that, I already have my own moves. I just like to check it out. iHipHop.com: Are you single or taken? Anastasia Garcia: I was taken, but I’m single now. I’m just going to focus on my career now, instead of all these guys. A lot of them can be assholes… [Laughs] Not all of them, but some of them… iHipHop.com: [Laughs] What kind of man are you attracted to? Anastasia Garcia: I really like the football player type, like the build and the swag. Football players just have that swag. There’s this one guy, he plays for the [New York] Jets and he’s old has hell, but he is so sexy! He has a nice swag to him, I would never tell him that, but he does have a VERY nice swag. I love guys like that, and with a beautiful smile. iHipHop.com: What’s best way for him to impress you? Anastasia Garcia: If he smiles at me and has pretty teeth… [Laughing] Of course if he looks nice too, but if I’m in a bad mood I probably won’t talk to him. If I’m in a good mood, I’ll talk to him. iHipHop.com: What’s the most sexiest part of a man’s body in your opinion? Anastasia Garcia: OH MY GOD!! Is it the pelvis area? I don’t know, it’s that little cut… iHipHop.com: You mean the pelvis V-shaped separation? Anastasia Garcia: YEAH!!! OH MY GOD!! Plus his pecks!! Oh yeah! [Laughing] I love arms too… iHipHop.com: [Laughs] What do you find unattractive in men? Anastasia Garcia: I don’t like really skinny guys, and I never have. I don’t like super short guys either, and if you don’t have a nice scent to you, that’s a turn off to me. Oh yeah! And you have to brush your teeth! Because some guys don’t do that… They really don’t… [Laughs] For more info on Anastasia Garcia, make sure to visit: myspace.com/modelanastasiagarcia
Two’s company, and three’s a crowd. But when you’ve been performing as a trio for most of your life, it just seems natural. Case in point: The LOX, or better yet, Sean “Sheek Louch” Jacobs. The big man from D-Block and Yonkers native sat around idly for years while the power current from his spot light was transferred over to his more known brethren. As of late, the New York lyricist with the in-your-face-flow has been getting his just due as The LOX continue their group hiatus in order to pursue solo endeavors. With Jadakiss’ highly anticipated album, The Last Kiss [Click to read review] scheduled for an ’09 release, (hopefully) the man once considered as the odd ball can take credit for playing a big part in keeping the entire movement afloat. With three studio albums under his belt, (that’s right, one more than “J To The Muah”) he decided to further his catalog by releasing Extinction (Last Of A Dying Breed), [Click to read review] a mixtape with is a collection of songs that didn’t make his Silverback Gorilla project back in March. Further capitalizing on his momentum, he also plans to drop another full-length album during the summer. So with all that going on, will the Hip-Hop community ever hear another LOX album again? You’re just going to have to read, and find out. iHipHop.com: So were you happy with how Silverback Gorilla was received? Sheek Louch: Hell yeah, I loved everything about Silverback Gorilla, no lie to you. I loved my single, and it was a Top 10 record. Just seeing it on the number four and three spots on 106 & Park, it was just crazy! That was a whole ‘nother lane for me to be added on pop stations, so it was dope. iHipHop.com: What made you release Extinction (Last Of A Dying Breed) [Click to read review] as a mixtape, instead putting some more songs on it, and dropping it as an album? Sheek Louch: That wasn’t my intension. It was more like me just hollering at KOCH and telling them I had some joints that didn’t make the album, and lets put something out as a mixtape and hit the streets with it, you know what I mean? It wasn’t like having the whole concentration of an album; it was more fun. Instead of holding on to these songs and not letting people hear them, I wanted to put them out. iHipHop.com: With it being called Extinction (Last Of Dying Breed), [Click to read review] is that how you view yourself? Is the title a little personal? Sheek Louch: It is… That’s how I view myself, and my two brothers; you know what I mean? Plus a handful of other people. I came up the in era with the mixtapes, like the DJ Clue’s, the Ron G’s, and all these people. You had to be NICE to be on those! It was a real honor to get on those. As for now, not discredit to anybody, but there is a lot of garbage mixtapes out, and it seems like everybody just drops every two days. They come out with a mixtape, and put anything on it, you know what I mean? I’m from the era of the B.I.G.’s the Craig Mack’s, and the Total’s, and there’s only a handful left that are cut from that cloth. iHipHop.com: With that being said, about dropping all the time; Silverback Gorilla was released back in March, and now you have this new project. You’re not worried about over saturating yourself? Sheek Louch: Nah, and that’s why I wanted to make it clear: This is not an album; this is straight fun. This is a time where we can drop a lot of music. One of the complaints that I hear just from my research alone—and actually Fabolous talked about this not too long ago on the radio. He was like, “Yo, D-Block/The LOX them n*ggas are crazy, they’re hot!” “They just don’t put out a lot of music.” Besides Fab saying that, it’s true. People always say we don’t drop as much as other people, and people would love for us to put more stuff out. iHipHop.com: So is that more strategy-wise? Like waiting a little bit longer than anyone else? Sheek Louch: Before it was like that because Kiss was dropping his album, now I came out with mine because his wasn’t coming for another month. So it was more like that. Then everybody heard the songs, and they were like, “Just let them go.” So I just put this out to feed the streets, then we have a compilation album coming out that’s CRAZY! But definitely go support that Jada album that’s coming out. Then I’m coming out around May with my real album. iHipHop.com: Speaking of Jada dropping, Styles [P] has Gangster Chronicles out on top of The Last Kiss, [Click to read review] and your project. So when is everybody going to hear The LOX as one whole unit again? Are you guys too busy? Sheek Louch: [Laughing]… I hope not, damn I hope not. EVERYBODY wants that project man, and it feels dope. But we’re definitely going to bang that out, and as far as I know Jimmy [Iovine] and everybody at Interscope wants it. But like you said, we just been busy man. But we’ve been teasing people, like with the Pete Rock joint we had out, ‘It’s Like That Y’all.’ So we’re keeping them hungry, because when they hear us all together, it’s like, “Oh my God!” Plus we been killing these big arenas like the Summer Jam’s and the Power Jam’s. iHipHop.com: Right now it seems that a lot of fans are obsessed with SoundScan numbers. Are first week sales something you think about? Sheek Louch: Nah, especially not right now, HELL NO! [Laughs] NOBODY is selling, with the exception of Lil Wayne, and that never happens. Look at the statistics. Me and Ed Lover was talking about how somebody will come out, and sold about 200,000 in their first week; then you check months later and they’re only at three-something… [Laughs] It’s a crazy game right now as far as sales and the whole Internet. A lot of the Mom & Pop stores are going down. iHipHop.com: So what does the 2008 “Sheek Louch” know that the 1997 “Sheek Louch” didn’t know? Sheek Louch: Ah man! You know my main one, I’m not going to give up on that one, and it’s to read your paper work. That was too much money I lost, you dig? But I would have jumped into the game a little earlier. Like when you were only hearing Styles [P] and Kiss; I should’ve really been thinking about getting a studio and getting our own sh*t popping. iHipHop.com: With you basically being the epitome of East Coast Hip-Hop, do you think that’s hindered you a little bit from reaching larger audiences? Sheek Louch: I think so, but I f*ck with all of the West Coast and the South; everybody. I f*ck with all of them. I think it was because I was younger back then, but as you get older, it’s okay to do that record with Snoop [Dogg] it’s okay to do some Southern records. I had a joint on Silverback Gorilla that had [DJ] Unk on it. As I got older, no one was beefing, so it was okay to do those records with [them] dudes. iHipHop.com: I want to go back to how you said it took you a while to jump in the game: When you first started doing solo material, was it difficult to create knowing that all 16’s would be fall on your shoulders? Sheek Louch: At the beginning I know everybody was like, “Let me see what this n*gga got” because at first all you heard was Kiss and Styles [P]. They would hear records with just them two, and they were wondering where I was at. So I know I had something to prove, and not to be that third wheel, and I knew I had to hit them and hit them. So I came out with “Everywhere we goooo” then it was “You can kiss your ass goodbye,” and I just kept dropping mixtapes. So when I came in with my third album, people were like, “Homie is hot!” iHipHop.com: Also, you’ve been on the independent circuit for a while, but would you align yourself with another major, if the opportunity presented itself? Or are you content with what you’re doing now? Sheek Louch: My only concern with a major is the traffic. There’s traffic at KOCH, and all these independent labels but I can drop three albums if I want to this year or the next year coming up. I wouldn’t do it, but I can if I wanted to because I have creative control. Over [there] you just get caught up in all of these long-term contracts and it’s all political and you have to wait because [Young] Jeezy is dropping, or this person or that person is dropping. At an independent, it’s hands-on and I meet with the people I need to meet with. At majors, they don’t even know who each other is, and they’re emailing each other when their offices are right next to each other… [Laughs] At least when you’re dealing with an independent, some coin comes back to you. So when you get that check, you’re like, “Damn, that’s another house!” You know what I mean? iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… So how do Sheek Louch and The LOX stay relevant in a fickle industry, especially surviving all the red tape drama you’ve all been through? Sheek Louch: You want to know why? I keep my ear to the streets man… I’m really out there, and I go to these clubs, and I’m not on none of that bullsh*t. I hear the music, and I go out there and see that sh*t changed. A lot of it has to do with changing with the times, and changing yourself as a person. A lot of people get into the game and they’re like, “Damn, now I have to become this other person.” On my last album I had a song on there called ‘Don’t Be Them,‘ and I meant that. iHipHop.com: So you’ve never felt pressure to change? Sheek Louch: Nah, hell no… If I did, it’s still going to be that music that you love. I can’t do any dance routines, I’m not going to lie to you fam, I can’t do none of that sh*t. I ain’t got a dance step for you, I ain’t got none of that! You know what I mean? [Laughs] I’m not trying to be none of that at all, I’m “Sheek Louch” and it’s D-Block ALL DAY!
I recently caught up with Evidence during CMJ week here in NYC and talked to him for a while about his recent grind and subsequent surge in new quality material. Every song he has been dropping has been fire and I really feel Ev is one of a small number of people in rap music today doing it right (whatever your opinion of right may be). If you don’t know Evidence is from Los Angeles CA the west coast and is a member of Dilated Peoples along with Raka and Dj Babu. He is coming out with an EP that comes with a bonus DVD of 7 videos for the 9 songs on the EP and is selling it at $7.99 for the first two weeks. You gotta respect that. It is dropping on Nov. 25th on Decon Media. Be sure to copp it. He also dropped the Layover Mixtape with Dj Skee which you can download with the link below the interview. Who were your early influences coming up in LA and more specifically Venice? I was born in Hollywood, and I was raised for the first four years in Santa Monica, in a pretty good working class neighborhood. My parents divorced when I was 4 or 5 and at that point we couldn’t really stay at that neighborhood for much longer, so we moved to Venice Beach, and um, I wasn’t really aware of why we were moving, you know your parents don’t tell you stuff like that when you’re young you just like go with the flow you know? So I just adapted to my new situation because when you’re young its much easier for you to adapt then it is when you get older, you know? I just took it with a grain of salt , it was what it was. I was highly influenced by what I was seeing in this new neighborhood verses what I was seeing in my old neighborhood you know, um, a friend of mine Eric Britton was a skateboarder named TUMA, was really one of the most predominant black skateboarders, he set the trend for like Ray Barbee and a couple other people and really getting it known that this wasn’t really like a white thing or whatever, especially in Venice. So I moved next door to him, and my first impression of living in Venice was seeing like this like 7 or 8 year old kid riding down the alley way on a unicylce with groceries in both hands, you know what I mean? I was just like whoa..you know, I had never seen anything like this before. So like Venice threw new punches at me and I think that kind of shaped me you know? Ive been to Venice and I love the place. Its definitely crazy. Yeah It changed a lot, its a lot more gentrified, like for people on Venice Beach to perform Im not quite sure if its permited yet but, you know, there aint nobody walkin on glass anymore you know its a lot more tame. Its still one of the rawest places in LA though if you aske me. Yeah I agree for sure. The reason I wanted to ask you that is because it doesn’t seem like there are too many rappers repping Venice like that for such a crazy cultural place. There was for sure like when I was coming up there was a lot of crews in Venice and I was battling a lot of crews. I came up in like the X Clan time, and Public Enemy time, you know what I mean, it wasn’t like the easiest thing. There was a crew called FIE First In Existence and they were really on some pro black shit! You know so for me to step in and battle FIE, which I did you know, on my homie Blocks street, on Horizon, like in front of everybody at the block party, that was big for me. But there were rappers from Venice and are rappers from Venice. There’s a dude named Ahmad, not sure what he goes by now. Not Ahmad from back in the day Ahmad , a different one. He was killing it. There’s people from around my way that kill it, its inspiring. I know you’re down with Sid Roams. They’re from Venice too right? OG Venice! For real. Joey Chavez, Like I grew up on 6th and Rose right? But I grew up just north of Rose, like one block in. Joey Grew up SOUTH of Rose like South of Rose and north of Rose made all the difference you know? I’m sure there are streets in New York that are like that like on this street your cool but if you cross there its not really that cool, you know what I’m saying? So like that’s how I grew up. I grew up like right across the street from the hood (laughter) not IN IT. Joey grew up IN IT. And Bravo, he’s from around the way also, super Venice cat, you know they’re definitely, they definitely paint a perfect picture of what Venice represents, different people from different ages and ethnicities all kind of coming together for a common cause, like either, graffiti, art or music or whatever, there’s a lot of that you know? So at what point did you meet them and start building with them musically? Well Joey Chavez was my friend, more than Bravo was. I met Bravo more through Joey. Sid Roams is new. Joey and Bravo have been best friends forever, and they been making music forever but they didn’t decide to start calling themselves Sid Roams until they moved to New York. But yeah them two dudes have been around for so long. See what happened was, I moved next door to QD3, by the grace of God. QD3 is Quincy Jones’ son, and when I moved to Venice I moved two houses down from him. I was 217 Rose, he was 221. And ah that’s how I got into rap, like making rap music just cuz I heard him producing people in his garage every night you know? Sitting in my back yard going “what the hell is this guy doing over there?”. And then seeing people like Too Short and Everlast, like people that I grew up listening to showing up next door, parking their car in front of my house. You know what I mean it was like woaah what the hell is going on. So Joey Chavez found out that was going on. So he’d come over to my house a lot. He was right down the block, so he could find out what was going on next door. And Alchemist heard about it, so he’d come over. Everyone would come over my house so we could go to QD3’s house you know? Will I Am was coming over who was Will 1X at the time. Like everyone was coming over to try to get QD3 demos you know? So people were using me to try to get to Quincy and it was so fresh you know it was like this ill time. So Joey got a drum machine first. He got the EPS after he seen what Quincy was doing. That inspired Alchemist. Its like Joey was first, then Alchemist, then me as far as making beats. But Joey in our crew, even to Alchemist for a while was the man. And then Alchemist got the same computer that Joey got, which was the ASR 10 which was just an updated version of the EPS. And he started going in. Like the first Dilated Peoples album that we did in 1995 that never came out was entirely produced by Joey Chavez, DJ Lethal, E Swift and Redman. Alchemist didn’t have anything on it cuz he was making beats but we didn’t take him serious yet, like that’s how early it was. But yeah QD3 is pretty much the top of the food chain as far as inspiring the majority of my crew. That’s whatsup so he is basically the one who brought you all together but unknowingly. (laughs) Yeah he doesn’t even know it I don’t think, I don’t think he even realizes it to be honest with you. I mean I see him and he tells me how proud he is but I don’t know if he really KNOWS . We were just a bunch of little kids hangin around and he was probably like “let me just give these kids a beat so they’ll just go” you know? (laughs). But he did. He did let us hang and he did give us beats, but in the back of his mind, I know what he was thinking in the back of his mind now that I’m older. That’s whatsup man that’s a dope story. I wanted to get into talking about your new EP you have coming out “The Layover”. I wanted to ask, why are you releasing an EP before your LP? Is it because you have a lot of extra material, or you’re just grinding harder? Both, umm, well the main thing is, I came out with my first solo album on March 20th 2007. I toured heavy in 2007. Almost 150 shows. Which is good for being something new cuz with evidence I kinda just pressed reset and started over and did a lot of things that new artists do. I could have easily been like “I’m from Dilated I’m gonna do it like this” so you know so I just started over and started building some new shit up. What happened was I started doing so many shows and just Myspacing and building so many new relationships we looked at the calendar and 2008 is almost gone you know? It’s like yo. It’s not like I don’t have anything to show since I’ve come out. I have done a lot. Even beats wise, production and features and all that kind of stuff but it was like, yo, I can’t afford to dip for two years on a new brand I’m trying to build. So 2008 is almost gone. My second album Cats and Dogs is gonna come out god knows when. Im saying top of 2009 but this is like my second weather man. This isn’t something I can just rush cuz I have a lot of things I want to say so it has to be done properly. So when I was creating this I thought yo I’m not the type to just sit on music anymore and hold onto it like my baby. I’m getting past that point. Now I have all these outlets to get my music heard I don’t want to be like we were on Capital like “we got a hit lets hold onto it for 2 years” like dropping records in 2005 that we made in 2004. I got tired of doing that cuz its not always entirely representing the state of where you’re at. So my manager and I started talking about doing a mixtape cuz you know DJ Skee, one of my favorite DJs on the west coast wanted to do one so we just started going to the studio everyday and just banging out songs because Im off tour and lets start putting out material. Not Cats and Dogs but stuff for the streets. So I started putting freestyles out on the net and got good responses but I was rapping over everyone else’s beats and after like a week of it I got tired of rapping over other peoples stuff and I was like I wanna do some original music now. I wanna do my stuff. So I started creating these 6 or 7 songs that came out of nowhere. And I had these 3 or 4 songs from Cats and Dogs that I wanted to share with the people early. I didn’t wanna sit on them. I knew the people at Decon, and I’m starting my own label Taylor Made. There’s EPs in the past that I thought were the most incredible pieces of work like Ice Cubes Death Certificate and Pete Rock CL Smooth’s All Souled Out. So I was like you know what let me put my best foot forward and put this down and do something creative right now, and bubble with an EP and let it set me up perfectly for Cats and Dogs and at the same time I can almost avoid a sophomore jinx with this because the EP is so tight and focused that there’s no way you can hate on me for this because people aren’t even expecting anything with an EP so when they get what I’m dropping and for the price and the bonus DVD that comes with all the videos its perfect. I feel like all the new joints that you have been dropping your beat selection is truly on point so what I wanted to ask is how do you go about choosing these beats, I mean I know you know a lot of producers and also who do you have for production lined up on the EP if you want to let that out. Well I make beats, and a lot of people say “why don’t you just do all your own shit?”. It’s because I started out not making beats. I started out getting beats from other people. I didn’t start making beats till 97 or 98. I been rapping since 92 or 91 so before that anytime I wanted a track I’d go to QD3 or Dj Lethal or Joey Chavez or Alchemist you know? That’s how I got beats. So my whole thing is I have to submit beats to myself, and if I can get open off my own beat or it can pass my quality test then I can make my own album, I can’t just make my own album because I make beats, that’s my rule. That’s why on the Layover EP I only have 2 joints, that’s why on The Weatherman LP I had 4 joints, because I had 4 that I felt like could sit next to Khalil or sit next to Alchemist . Its not easy! (laughs) You gotta be careful you know. Im always real selective cuz I feel like I have the best around me so if I can even get close then I’m doing good so. But um, Alchemist is always gonna do the majority of the shit. He did 3. And keep in mind this an EP not an LP. An EP has to be 5 or more songs and not more than 10. I did 9 (laughs) fuck it. I have 9 songs and 7 videos of those songs on the bonus disc. And I’m selling it for $7.99 for the first 2 weeks and $9.99 from then on. Wow. So its like this is for my fans. This is for you. I have to work twice as hard to recoup the money, its just crazy. But this is setting Cats and Dogs up. This is like IT. There’s 3 songs on The Layover that were on Cats and Dogs but what I did was take 2 of my verses off those songs and replaced them with guest verses because I don’t want to weigh down Cats and Dogs with guest appearances. I had a song called “For Whom The Bell Tolls” which was just me and we were trying to get Devin The Dude on the hook and that was gonna be the song, and Khrysis did the beat. Devin The Dude got caught up in Houston having no power for weeks on end. For weeks and weeks on end. He’s one of the millions who once again got neglected by our fucking country. It was so real his manager Rico was like dog we cant do it we have no power. We were like we’ll fly him out to LA. He’s like Devin is not leaving his family. We were like that’s gangster (laughs) you know what im saying? We’ll stop calling you now (laughs). You know like damn. Word ok. So at that point I was like shit I could hold this but I was like I really wanna put this song out now, so I took 2 verses off it. I got Blu in the studio, who is on my current top 5 rappers list and he blessed it. I called Phonte who is also on that list and he blessed it. And they really stuck to the topic of what I was saying. Then I called Will I Am, childhood friend and told him Devin cant do it can you do this? And he was like I’ll have it done for you by tomorrow morning (laughs). It was just crazy. I haven’t really pulled favor cards like that in my career but it’s nice to know I can do that and it’s working. And it’s crazy we released it to the net and it had 14,000 downloads on a z share link in 11 hours. And that’s just the link on my Myspace page. College radio jumped on it and its just dope because that’s not an industry record. I made that record from my heart and it cost a big donut whole to make you know? Not a dollar. And people will here that. Its not like I went and got Will I Am to make my hit record you know? I didn’t do that. The other song that is an example is called “To Be Determined” like what it takes to be determined. Same thing. Alchemist beat, with a title. Took a couple verses off. Called Elzhi. Now I got Elzhi on it. Who bodied me by the way (laughs) greeeat. That’s the thing. It’s like this duality. Do you want a rapper to do better than you on your record? Cuz if he does better than you then it’s like well he bodied you, but if he does worse than you it’s like oh damn he must of not liked that dude so he didn’t come off on his record (laughs). So I wanna get bodied. If I get a guest I want their A+ game on my record. I mean I got Elzhis best fucking verse I ever heard in my life!! Word to everything! I keep saying it. I sat down and wrote it out phonetically on a piece of paper just to see how it lines up it fucked me up so bad. And its on an Alchemist beat! WHAT?! What?? Just like I put Slug on an Alchemist beat last time and everyone bugged out. Wait till they hear Elzhi on an Alchemist beat. So then I called up Aloe Black, and I got Aloe Black on the third verse. Then I got Aloe Black on the chorus! (laughs) after I got him to do the verse. And he killed it with the singing. That dude is so multi talented it’s just crazy. Once again Its Evidence, Aloe Black, and Elzhi, Evidence, Phonte and Blu, and Will I Am. I’m just trying to paint different pictures this time. And it was by choice by putting me next to different voices. What about the art on the Layover, with the LA symbol and the Backwards EV. That is crazy dope. Who designed that? Check this out! I did not come up with it and neither did the person that did my artwork come up with it. A fucking kid on myspace suggested that that we do that! WOW! (laughs) He was like why don’t you turn the EV backwards and spell Layover (laughs). And we were like ooooh. You gotta give him a shout out or something ! (Laughs) Oh hell yeah I went to his myspace and left a comment like : You are the reason for this you have inspired the cover. That’s the perfect example of why I love being on myspace and interacting with my fans. So who designed the cover as far as the rest? Yoram Benz. Oh ok. I talked to a dude named Sev once. I believe he did the Weatherman cover. Yeah Sev is the king. He was my hero in Venice growing up. He wrote Severe. He was the best Graffiti artist in Venice along with Risk and Den, and a couple other sick motherfuckers. So to have Sev to my first album cover was like having QD3 do a track for me you know? It was like TOO fresh. I’m a graffiti artist so I’m inspired by more than just music. The reason I didn’t have him do this one is cuz Im with Decon Media for this record. It’s a multi media company. They have an art department, a video department, and they’re really sick like that so, for me not to take advantage of that would just be like why did I do the deal with them you know? I’m gonna drop a new video every week until my release you know? Decon is thinking future and I like that. I come from the past. Not like dinosaur shit, but from like vinyl, having a prominent DJ list, just traditional shit. I’m trying to bring that to Decon to combine the two. That’s Taylor Made meeting Decon Media. But yeah Yoram Benz designed the cover for this one but even with this one we kept referring back to Severe’s art work to make sure it stayed in suit to make sure my whole career and my whole legacy is all flush. So with Cats and Dogs is that gonna be on Decon? No this is a one off I’m doing with Decon. I have no idea where I’m doing Cats and Dogs right now. I don’t even want to know. I’m not even looking that far. We got some deals like from the who’s who of underground I’ve got some respectable offers right now and also from some labels that are breaking the underground mold. But whether the money or the terms haven’t been right yet or whatever. They might not understand that I’m thinking a bit bigger than what I’ve been presented with so far, so I haven’t gone back to those deals yet. I’m gonna give myself a little more time and let this build. I think it’s gonna get bigger. I’m playing the stock market! (laughs) So what are your goals for this EP and this album and this year to close this out? My goal in 2007 was that hopefully by 2008 if I do enough grinding, hopefully I can get to the point where people stop like on every flyer or every time I get introduced to somebody on the street or I do a cameo or something and they call me for the credit, hopefully I will have earned the respect of not having to be Evidence of Dilated Peoples everywhere I go. You know maybe you’ll get comfortable enough to just call me Evidence, you know? If I work hard enough. I always use the analogy of Ghost Face Killah, like you stopped calling him Ghost Face Killah of Wu Tang Clan a long time ago. He just earned Ghost Face, so I feel like that was my goal, hopefully I could earn Evidence If I work hard enough. That was my goal then and I’m still working on that one but now my next goal, from 2008 to the end of 2009 is I wanna start selling out shows. As a solo artist right now I’m good for like 150 to 200 good night maybe 300-500. But Dilated Peoples I know what we’ve done with that. Like House Of Blues sellouts, or Metro in Chicago back in the day selling out. I wanna get back to that respectable level with Evidence, bring like 500-1000 people you know? Maybe even bigger. But ah yeah that’s it Alchemist and Evidence are on tour with Redman and Method man from Oct. 27th thru Nov. 11th and we (Evidence and Alchemist) started a new group called step brothers but we missed that on this one so we’ll have to put that in the next one (laughs). I heard the hits from the bong 08 joint on the Mick Boogie mixtape. Yeah that’s out but theres a song on ..I’ll tell you this there’s a song on my EP called “So Fresh” and that’s the first official single from Step Brothers. I’m premiering it on The Layover. And also on November 12th thru the 28th is Dilated Peoples in Europe. Download DJ Skee Presents: “The Layover Mixtape” HERE Preview Evidence ft. Phonte, Blu, & Will I Am “For Whom The Bell Tolls” HERE Preview Evidence “Tip The Scale” HERE Evidence ft. Alchemist & Fashawn “The Far Left” Video
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iHipHop Blog Team