I'm here rescuing my Mac. My Mac crashed the other day.
lose a lot?
no. Luckily I was able to get inside enough to get all my stuff and back
it up and then reinstall it. I'm putting programs back on my computer.
time we talked you weren't feeling too good. Are you feeling better?
better now. I was doing bad. That was the second time that happened too.
who doesn't know, can you talk about what's going on with you?
Legionnaire's Disease. You get it from bacteria which comes from contaminated
filters. It's not really residential areas but public places like airports,
hotels and hospitals. They never change the vents in their air conditioner
systems. That's how I got it because we're constantly being exposed to
air conditioners. It's worse for me because I'm already allergic to dust
and free agents since I was a kid. Dust already makes me sick but add
the bacteria to that too and it's like anthrax basically.
dropped the 11th Hour DVD. Did you need to remind people that you're still
Not really as a reintroduction. Actually, let me take that back. It wasn't
like, I've been away for awhile, let me reintroduce myself. I was trying
to expand my creative horizons and I felt like I had to come back to earth
and bring it back to what I've been about from the beginning. That's for
the fans that aren't into the crazy stuff and they still support me. It's
like with Deltron. They tell me, Del, I love you, you're tight, man, but
you lost me on that one. I was just like, Ok, let me just kick it to them
like I used to kick it to them. I decided to be more conversational with
it and keep it more down to earth so people could relate to me. I also
did it for myself because I got so sick of being out there. I felt my
projects weren't as solid, like you're buying a Del album and you don't
know what you're getting. I want it to be more consolidated. You might
like this song but I might hit you with a funny-style song over here.
I don't like that. I wouldn't want to listen to an album like that as
opposed to somebody else's album. From me being a consumer, I wanted to
make an album I would buy and make it for my fans and the people who don't
even know me. That's basically what I was trying to concentrate on.
been trying to make my album more solid and funky. I've been studying
music. I just bought a blues book so I could study.
you to start studying music theory?
big motivation was Pharrell from the Neptunes. He's probably the biggest
inspiration. I know those dudes used to listen to us and personality-wise,
we're kind of the same. Every time I see them, I'm like, Dudes remind
me of me. He was also one of the first cats who was popular like that.
I like them. They're tight. It wasn't until I heard Kelis's first album
that I knew they could do what they could really do. "Superthug"
was cool but I couldn't really see what they were doing. Then I peeped
Kelis's first album and I was like, Ok, I can see what they can do. Dr.
Dre is also a big influence to what I do. He used to live next door to
my cousin. I've worked hella heavily with Jinx which is Dre's cousin.
He was also a big influence too. A lot of the stuff from the past was
coming up and I started remembering things. It was a natural progression.
I always played a little bit and I got sick of using people's loops and
stuff. I never liked doing that in the first place but technology grew
and I just got on that tip. I just naturally stayed on that tip and grew.
Whatever's happening I just try to be on that. When I saw you could make
music with computers, I was like, Ooh, this is tight. I stated out learning
that really early. I tried to do that before fools were really doing it.
I don't even use drum machines to make music. I'm fully integrated on
the computer. I could be in bed making a beat. That was a dream come true.
When I realized I could record all my stuff at the house, that was a dream
cringe when you hear your old beats like "Wack MC's" or are
those songs still tight to you?
A lot of
stuff that didn't come out actually, I listen to like, That was tight.
Why didn't I release that? Some of the stuff that didn't make it is tight
and is just lying around. Maybe I was scared to release it like I was
afraid fools would think it was crazy when actually it would have been
exactly what fools would have wanted. I would be sabotaging myself a lot
until I realized that my taste wasn't too much different from the average
person out here. I was sort of denying that. When I got into the MC circles,
they used to say the radio was wack but I used to record stuff off the
radio. Growing up, I didn't have a problem with it then, so why now that
I'm a rapper or producer do I have a problem with it now? I had to ask
myself some real questions. Is this what I'm thinking or is this what
the group is thinking and I'm just trying to appeal to them? Once hip-hop
started fading and everyone is asking each other what they're going to
do next, I saw they weren't even taking it seriously. This hip-hop nation
wasn't real. It was fake. I saw I had to think for myself. Nobody's going
to be like, We're all with you! It's not like that. Everybody's doing
their own thing.
pertain to the Hiero crew or other rappers?
thing is different because we all grew up together. But within the crew,
I'm a little different. We pretty much have the same sensibilities. I'm
the only one in my crew who is gung-ho about studying music. They'll study
it too, but I'm obsessed with it. Once I started seeing stuff, I saw it's
nothing. It's basic. Anybody can do it actually. You don't have to be
born with music genes to make music. It's basic nature for anybody who
has hearing. Once I learned that, I was like, Oh, man, I could have been
learned this. Music classes don't teach you right. They teach you arbitrary
sayings and notes but they never teach you what it's about. It's like
algebra where they give you a formula. They still haven't explained what
it is. All you did was give me a formula that you wanted me to repeat
sound changed since you've studied more music theory?
changed, really. If anything, it got more back to what I was into before.
I feel like I was moving away from what I was originally trying to do
before. When I started learning music theory, I started getting back to
what I was trying to do. I try to get soulful and funky with it. I try
to add other elements but I try to keep it on the black tip because that's
what I'm into. The main difference is that it's pretty much all original
meaning I don't look for a phrase and take it directly from somebody else's
record. Even though music has its own languages within blues, funk and
jazz, I won't just listen to a Parliament record and try to play the same
bassline. I may be inspired by it but I won't try to copy it. That's the
major difference. I won't try to copy it. It's polished and it doesn't
sound as choppy as it did before. I also studied engineering so it sounds
better. I try to pay attention to the acoustics because it has to sound
good in the club. People don't want to hear static and popping in the
record, me included. Unless I'm going for that sound, I try to keep it
clean-sounding. I wanted that hip-hop sound but I wanted it to sound like
a pop record, like clean, with my style because I felt like nobody had
done it like that, like hip-hop always has to be dusty. That's nonsense.
That's keeping some fools from liking it. I wanted to challenge that notion.
come across any surprises when studying?
A lot of
times I'm like, Damn, I'm hella simple. That's the light bulb that popped
on inside my head, like, Damn, I don't have to learn the whole keyboard?
There's only seven notes? That's how I feel a lot of times. I guess that's
the sort of light bulb that went on. I thought it would take me forever.
It's a lot easier. I thought it was some big difficult thing that you
had to be trained for. It's hella basic.
schooling Dan the Automator or any of the Hiero crew on anything?
Dan the Automator
is a classically-trained violinist so he already knows. Domino, I haven't
talked to too much about that. He ignores that to a certain degree because
it's not necessary. Anybody can play music. You don't need that to play
music but it helps to know what you're doing. People make classic songs
and they don't even know what they did. It helps to know what's appropriate
and what's not appropriate at certain times. Some things aren't hip at
certain times and you have to know when to do it. You're not going to
fart in church but when you're around your buddies, you might toot like,
Hee hee hee. That'll be ok but you can't do it in front of a pastor. That's
inappropriate. Good timing has a lot to do with it too. Domino's a little
more hip to it now. At first he was kind of standoffish. He works with
Amp Fiddler too so that might be why he feels he doesn't have to listen
to me blab about it because he's worked with somebody who's played with
going on with your album?
is probably going to come out next year since you know the industry shuts
down in the last quarter of every year. We're in the mixing stages of
it now. I've already mixed them so they shouldn't take too long. We just
have to make it sound tight. The big thing is with the vocals. My DJ,
DJ Zack, is adding some cuts to fill up the empty spaces. It should be
out early next year. It's taken so long though not because of the production
but because of the personal things going on around me keeping me from
making music. Now that I know how to make music, the trick isn't making
the music. That's easy. The trick is finding the time to make the music
because there's so much other things going on around me. When I get to
sit down and make music it's a treat. It's a privilege. I would love to
sit up and do it all day but I can't sit up and do it all day.
of sound can we expect on the new album?
not going to sound like Deltron. I'm actually working on a new Deltron
album now with Automator and Kid Koala. It sounds like a movie soundtrack.
The Deltron is real thematic music. My Del album is funky, basically.
I was born in the '70's so that's my major inspiration for my music. If
I'm not listening to hip-hop, I'm listening to some funk. I've studied
the blues and listened to the music from the blues on up. My CD collection
is ridiculous. I probably have everything, literally. I try to put the
whole experience of black music into my music, like everything I've learned
about it. I try to make it sound new. I try to make it sound current.
Sometimes it has a hip-hop edge and sometimes it has a more musical edge
to it. I don't go for an old-school hip-hop feel. That's played out to
me. The people out there in general want more than that because they were
never hella into that in the first place. You had to really be into hip-hop
to really enjoy the intricacies of that. I try to appeal to that too.
Mainly I just try to do what I feel pretty much. As far as the sound,
if you want me to get technical about it, energy-wise it's probably closer
to No Need for Alarm. I was kind of pissed off when I was making that
album and I stayed with a funky attitude at this point from the shit I've
been dealing with. That's kind of apparent on my album. Attitude-wise,
it's kind of rebellious. Music-wise, it's closer to my first album.
a lot of friends who don't listen to hip-hop but they listen to anything
with the Third Eye. Why do you and the Hieroglyphics transcend those "hip-hop"
to hella more than just hip-hop. Hip-hop is basically my favorite based
on the raps, but the music can be anything. As long as it has a beat to
it, it's hip-hop. The technology we use to make the music is hip-hop because
it couldn't be done before the hip-hop generation, therefore it's hip-hop.
It's the same way funk was made. It can't really be replicated again.
You can't call it "funk." It can be funky, but that was back
then. I feel like I transcend it. I don't really go out and try to appeal
to different people. Some people think Hiero tries to appeal to white
people or something, but it's not like that. We have a lot of different
attributes to our music because we're open to our music. Me, I try to
stay more on the rough side of things because that's just how I am. I
like rock. I like rowdy types of songs. That's the type of sound I try
to go for at this point. I can make it. Before when I was limited to samples
I was limited to whatever records I had. Now I can make whatever sound
I want. That's probably the biggest difference in my music.
be handling all the production on the new album?
I got a gang of Jolly Ranchers in my mouth. (pause, due to the gang of
Jolly Ranchers) As far as production, I pretty much did it all. I didn't
necessarily want to do it that way but since I know what I'm doing and
due to the fact that I had so many things swirling around me keeping me
from doing stuff
I was on my own and I just took it from there from
the mixing and all that. I learned it myself so I wouldn't have to go
to the studio. I did it on my own and I'm lucky I did that. Otherwise,
it wouldn't get done, basically.
home studio changed your music?
I'm so burnt
out from doing so many things over the years and trying to hold down stuff
at home. There's been wild drama. I'm burnt out. It's hard for me to even
leave the house. I want to sit down and not do nothing. If I had to go
to a studio to make an album, it probably wouldn't get done. I would probably
do something else to make money. When I saw Prince Paul did "Magnetizing"
for Handsome Boy Modeling School's album, he did it at my lawyer's house
on an Akai DPS12. I was like, You're doing a song on that? This is Prince
Paul. I respect Prince Paul. He was like, Yeah. I was like, I don't see
why I should be going to the studio. I was like, After I get my money
from Both Sides of the Brain, I'm buying that. That was my main goal,
like I'm not going to the studio no more. From there it grew to the computers.
I got a home computer just because I used to work on computers when I
was younger. I figured it was time to get back into that. Then when I
found out I could make music, I was like, It's over. I was just adding
on to things and at this point I know how to use it pretty good.
working on the new Hiero album?
To tell you
the truth, Hieroglyphics was never a group like that anyway. We were always
separate entities. We did that just to get back into the light without
having to spend hella money. We had our own label and Domino thought it
would be a good idea if we all collaborated and we could all tour and
get back out there at once. It was a good idea. At this point, me personally,
I'm drained because I'll always have to be with Hieroglyphics if that's
going on because I'm a major part of the group. It takes away from the
original groups. We're back to where we were before. Casual is working
on his stuff. Prince Paul is supposed to be producing the next Souls of
Mischief album. Each member of Souls has projects they're working on.
A-Plus has an album he's working on now and as far as I'm concerned, he's
one of the better producers in Hiero. He produced From '93 'Til Infinity.
Opio's working on his solo stuff. Everybody's just doing their thing.
We're all just trying to get our thing together. Everybody had a little
bit of drama going on in their life and we're getting past that. We're
focusing more on the music now.
I don't know
about the Hiero album. I would like to work with everybody but I can't
be touring for it and still be working on my albums. I'm burnt out. I
don't want to go on tour for no albums. At this point I don't even want
to leave the house. It's hard to get me to even go on one tour. I feel
like I'll never get enough rest to bring that back. You don't have unlimited
energy. You use it, it's gone. I'm burnt out.
no way to refresh myself at this point. I'm past the point of being able
to refresh myself. It's gone. That's what happens when you get older.
You can't do the same things you could do when you were young. That's
what happens. It's not like when you're young and you have unlimited energy.
Your body can't do the things it used to do. I can relax a little bit
and get recharged a little bit. I have a lot of energy anyway so I'm lucky
for that I guess, otherwise I wouldn't be doing nothing, probably. I can't
abuse the fact I have a lot of energy.
you see yourself doing more work with the Gorillaz?
mind. It was an accident before. Dan just happened to ask me to do some
songs because they needed somebody to do the songs quick. That's how that
ever hard balancing everything you do?
because I just think about what I would buy. It's easy because I'm not
too different from the average person out there, especially coming up
in Oakland. I pretty much have the same taste everybody else has. I just
have to be real with myself. Would you buy that or did you just make that
as something you wanted to express? Sometimes you do that as an artist,
which is cool. It doesn't mean everything you make should be put out.
You have to be wise with that. Either you find another market for it or
you just leave it in the drawer. Some of the songs you leave in the drawer
might be your most favorite, cherished songs, and that's ok. You have
to be wise with it because you only get one chance. I just ask myself
some real questions like, Would I buy that? I don't buy everybody's stuff.
My taste is pretty limited unless I feel like exploring. If Redman's album
comes out I'll buy that. I'm going to get those tried and true artists
who I know won't pull any funny business on me. I want something that
can be consistent that I won't have to fast forward. The ones I have to
fast forward through won't get played much. They get played on adventurous
days like, Let me hear this again. Do I want to be played the most or
do I want to be hidden in the back somewhere and wait until they want
to listen to me?
check out your cousin Ice Cube's Laugh Now, Cry Later?
bit. I checked out a few tracks. I haven't been to the record store in
a minute. I haven't bought anything in a minute. I downloaded a few songs
to see what he's doing. Don't get mad at me, Cube! Pretty much anything
he makes I like because I know him. Downloading is a great resource. When
I want to listen to my own songs, like "Magnetizing," I can
download it. If I don't have the Deltron album, I can download it. If
I have to practice songs for a show, I can just download it real quick
even if it is myself. With downloading, people are still either going
to buy it or they're not going to buy it. I'm trying to make my music
where you're not going to want the copy off the computer. You're going
to want the real deal. You're going to want the official copy. I don't
want you to just try my music out. I want you to be like, I have to get
that now! You know those types of albums. I'm going to drop everything
and go to the store now! I'm trying to make this a real solid project
where it's obvious this cat worked on it and he ain't playing around.
games have you been playing lately?
None. I just got robbed recently and they cleaned me out. They got the
Gamecube, the Playstation 2 and the Xbox. They left the games. That does
me a lot of good. I can't play them. They took my laptop but left the
power outlet, so they can't possibly use it for very long anyway without
the power. The battery will run out. It was some crackheads or something
or just some complete idiots. They were trying to come in here and get
out real quick basically, whoever it was.
crazier is I think the same person hit up my homie's house and he knows
him. I heard he was in jail. If he gets out of jail his ass is out. Basically
he's going to get it.
losing those systems.
it's going to really suck for him so I'm not tripping. It's going to really
suck for him. Instead of losing some property, well he's going to be losing
some property all right. Some fingers and toes.
have any advice for the younger generation on dealing with the boo-boo
If you want
to deal with them, then deal with them, but that's a pimp's job to me.
That's a profession. I don't have time to do that. Otherwise, I wouldn't
even be dealing with boo-boo heads. Deal with somebody who has some sense
even though you can't really tell who's who. You can't really tell who's
an idiot until you get to know them, and by that time it might be too
late. As you get older, you peep game earlier because most people who
use you will try to do the same things. The bitches and assholes do the
same types of things. They're a category. I hate to categorize people,
but people like them usually fall into the same type of behavior so you
can kind of scope that ahead of time and possibly save yourself from being
in a situation where they have to get violent or you might have to get
to going independent, you've seen a lot in this game. What advice do you
have for the next generation?
thing I would tell you if you want to get into the music is learn something
about the music, especially now since so many people don't know anything
about music. That makes you much more of an asset instead of a liability.
You want your name to have value. When they see your name, they're going
to think "value." Anything you can add to your knowledge, that's
only going to make you greater, especially now because nobody is really
into that. Maybe they feel it's not necessary and it's not in their mind.
It's not a secret why Dre and the Neptunes go platinum every time they
come out. It ain't nobody else really. Every time Timbaland comes out
he's making platinum hits or something close. It ain't no secret. These
cats know what they're doing. They're professionals actually. If you want
to be in the music industry which is already hard enough to be here, you
may as well learn something about it and be professional with it and know
something about it, which only increases the fun you'll have doing it
way more fun when you know how to do it. It's just like Street Fighter.
It's way more fun knowing some of the patterns in Street Fighter than
just getting whooped hella times and figuring it out through osmosis.
You can look at the book before you go to the arcade and you can have
some sort of game. That's the first thing. The second thing is just try
to figure out some things about the early people in hip-hop. Everybody's
stuck on the '80's. Go back way before that. Peep what it's about. Get
Wild Style and see the breakers and the graffiti artists. The mentality
of hip-hop is not just coming from the rappers. A lot of the mentality
is coming from the graffiti artists and the breakers, like if you bite,
you're wack. It's the artistic side. Those things are hella art forms.
They're more of an art form than a commodity and rap is a commodity right
now. If you just look at 2Pac and Biggie you're not going to get it all.
I'm not saying they're not great, but they knew about the old school artists
your character on Street Fighter?
play Street Fighter a gang of times. Street Fighter was cool, but I liked
King of Fighters. That game was my game. I think Kyo was the one with
the fire and the hands and he has the slick hair. He was the main character.
I used to like him and I used to like that other fool with the big hair.
He was like his archnemesis. There were a few fools I liked. I liked King
of Fighters more because it seemed like there moves were based more in
martial arts and not hella made up. I used to probably like Virtual Fighter
the best. I thought the interface was futuristic. You didn't have to do
hella things to get your character to do hella stuff. I think you had
three buttons, punch, kick and block. Having the block button was a hell
of an innovation to me because you didn't have to hold back on the stick
to fault. That was faulty because you have to be able to move forward.
With the block button you know when you're blocking and you know when
you're not blocking. That was an innovation to me. And you had throws
and stuff like that which made it way cleaner. I actually learned martial
arts a little bit from playing Virtual Fighter. I got into Kung Fu from
playing Virtual Fighter because the moves were so real. That was my favorite
over Street Fighter even though I liked Street Fighter. I liked the other
Street Fighters. I liked Marvel versus King of Fighters. I liked all the
X-Men and Marvel Super Hero games. I have all those games on my computer.
I have all the Capcom arcade games on my computer.
to get the 360. I saw Capcom had this new game that looks ridiculous.
It's a game like Manhunt where you're whooping fools left and right. I
like games like that. I saw that Capcom has one for 360 and it looks so
retarded. I was like, I have to get one tomorrow. I was just at the computer
store and the 360 was just shimmering in front of me. It hit me right
then and there. I'm going to wait a little bit because it costs too much
money. I'm going to get some equipment first so I can make some more money.
I'm definitely thinking about getting a 360, no doubt. The Xbox is still
raw. I barely played my Playstation and I had hella games for my Playstation,
but why play it when I have the Xbox right there? The Xbox is obviously
so much better. The Gamecube is hella dope too. That had the best graphics.
They just didn't have enough games. The Gamecube's graphics were astounding.
360 is crazy.
are you playing?
have NBA Live and Need for Speed.
have any fantasy games?
They're too expensive.
have to get the tried and true first.
you to drop that album so Hiero cops some ads.
That's right! Me too. I don't got no bread like that neither. That's why
I don't have an Xbox yet. I'm doing all right, but like I said, I'd rather
buy a computer because I could play all the old school games on the computer.
Every arcade game that you've ever played in life I have on my computer.
I'm not just talking about the translation games. I got those too. I have
every arcade game released in the US. Every game. I threw all my old games
out because I have them on my computer. I figured why clutter up my house
when collections of video games when I have every game on the computer.
It's a dream,
especially for the arcade games, because I never thought I would play
them at home.
need that stack of quarters.
need the quarters! You still need to hit a button for the quarter. It
operates just like an arcade game. When you run out of quarters you have
to put more quarters in.
getting any games for your birthday?
told my birthday is coming up. I don't know. A few of my friends reminded
me it's coming up.
is going on for you?
to rest and make music. I'm fucking with Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets.
I'm trying to do some stuff with her. I'm trying to do some stuff with
the funk singer Joi from ATL. She's down with Outkast and Goodie Mob and
Cee-Lo. She's down with them.
you want to say to everybody?
Check out my new album when it comes out. I really put a lot of work into
it which is more than I can say for some of my albums. I actually worked
on this pretty hard. I had everybody in mind too. I'm not saying I was
trying to appeal to the people totally, but I definitely had people in
mind and thought about what they might want to hear as opposed to just
what I want to hear. I think people will be able to hear that when they
hear this album and appreciate that.