with Madix, Dirt Merchants MC
you doing man?
out man. Everything's good right now.
heard some of your tracks on HipHopGame, but still don't really know who
the Dirt Merchants are. Who are the Dirt Merchants?
Merchants are three kids, one MC, one producer, and one DJ. We're out
of Northern California. We represent all three elements of Hip Hop music,
the producing, the turntablism and the emceeing. We're just trying to
make good Hip Hop music and do what we can to give the people what they
want to hear.
you guys come together?
We all went
to high school together. We didn't even know that our DJ, DJ Duke-I, was
DJ'ing at the time. Once we got to college, we all got into the music
more on our own and we all saw that we were into the same thing, and we
came together. It was natural because we were all friends and we grew
from there and just started making music together.
a Dirt Merchants song made?
he makes all the beats. He'll sit down and go through records and find
the right sample, play the drums and bass and all that. Once the beat
is coming along nicely I'll sit down and start writing and come up with
some concepts. For the chorus and for intros DJ Duke-I will come in and
do cuts. After that, we might get one of our friends to sing on it. It's
a real laid-back process, and it all comes together. Every song is different
too, some songs can take a day and some can take a week. It's hard to
nail it down to one specific process.
you guys work out any problems with three guys in the group?
really run into too many problems as far as creating music is concerned.
I think we all have a good ear for what sounds good and we all like the
same style of Hip Hop. I usually handle the concepts because I'm the MC.
We'll talk about some things that we need to tighten up and we go from
have a lot of diverse sounds on the album "Something from Nothing,"
what did you want to make with that?
wanted to make a solid album. I don't think any album in any genre can
be good without a lot of diversity. For starters, we picked beats that
were different from one another and I focused on making sure that I touched
on a lot of different concepts. We really wanted an album that didn't
have any filler. Too many albums today have two or three good songs and
then just a bunch of bullshit. We didn't want kids searching through our
album looking for the only two songs they like. We wanted them to be able
to listen and enjoy it in its entirety, and I think we accomplished that.
hit on politics with "Brainwashed," how important is it to have
songs dealing with social issues in your music?
I think it's
very important. We're always going to do the battle shit, but I also want
to give the listener something else to show another side of me. I feel
very strongly about the concept on "Brainwashed." That song
is about my views on the war and the right side of things. It's definitely
important to have that to go along with the raw battle shit.
have a real unique sound. How did you go about cultivating that sound?
three years together making music. At first, it wasn't garbage, but it
wasn't what we wanted to hear and what we wanted to promote. We had to
work individually in our respective arts until we were ready to make good
music. We would say "let's keep this, let's not keep this."
We sit around and we make music. If it's tight, we keep it, if it's not,
we trash it." Our last album is our first group of tracks that we
said is dope enough to put out. We get good feedback from our friends
as well about what's tight and what we should throw out.
think it's going to be harder to come out with a second album?
Not at all.
The first two and a half years were just developing our style and just
getting the skill to be able to make an album. We were just trying to
get good enough to make a good first album. We made our first album in
seven months. It's not going to be a problem to pump out another album.
started the next album?
have about two or three tracks. They're not mastered yet. We're doing
a lot of shows, trying to get some promotion right now.
a Dirt Merchants live show like?
show is something that we're not the greatest at yet. We've only been
making music for three years. Three years ago, Bennett had never made
a beat and I had never written a rap. Now that we have a good hold on
the recording and creating, we need to tackle the live performance aspect.
Don't get me wrong, when you come to a live Dirt Merchants show, it's
going to be raw, the energy is definitely there. But that's all it is
right now, energy. We don't have a polished act, like a Zion-I or Brother
Ali. We're all in college now, so it's hard but we plan on working really
hard in the next few months on developing our live performance.
A lot of groups out there don't have producers within the group anymore.
How does it help you having Bennett on all the beats?
Especially because Bennett bangs out beats harder then 99% of the producers
doing it right now. We don't have to look out and contact anyone else
for beats. It's great to have Bennett because he just pumps them out constantly.
And DJ Duke-I is well-trained on the tables so it makes it easy to make
music and not have to reach out.
you feel like you need a big co-sign coming from Northern California,
which is kind of forgotten by the rest of the Hip Hop nation?
like to get some features on the next album. We didn't have any on the
first album. We had one dope spitter by the name of S.K., but that was
it. I definitely think that it would help, but the music speaks for itself.
It's just original, raw Hip Hop. Kids are going to listen regardless.
getting your songs on snowboarding and skating videos help you?
I first got into Hip Hop. For the longest time, I listened to punk rock.
I started skating early on, that was our life. The songs on those skate
videos was that raw Hip Hop like the Gangstarr's and the Tribe's. That
hit me so hard. From that day on, that's all I listened to. I couldn't
get enough of it.
hard to break out of Sacramento?
in Chico the last five years going to school, but I was born and raised
in the Sac There haven't been very many artists to break out of Sacramento.
A lot of artists have been able to break out of the Bay, so we're thinking
of going there to do some things. L.A. isn't that far from us. To break
out of Sacramento is not that tough, because there's so many other spots
around here. There's a lot of talent out here, but it doesn't seem a lot
of artists get the shine they deserve.
a lot of different sounds coming out of the Bay, from Hyphy music to dudes
like B-Legit and Hiero, where do the Dirt Merchants fit in?
I don't know.
I don't really think about that, as far as what style we fit into. We're
all sample-based. We're a mix of everything. We just do our own thing.
We know what we want to hear, and that's what we make. The stuff we used
to listen to is the stuff we want to make. I guess it would be a combination
of all these styles. The album is real diverse. There's tracks that's
bang and tracks that are more smooth. It's hard to put us into one style.
do you want to take Dirt Merchants in the future?
I want to tour nationally, I want to get the second album out, I want
to ink a deal. We're also in school. We all got a year left. It's hard
to grind with work and school. After that, we want to organize a national
tour. We think that once we get heard, the kids will catch on for sure.
coming up for you guys?
to be featured on Kayy's album, he's a producer out of Australia. I will
also be on a few local albums here in Sacramento. Bennett's working on
some beats for some artists. DJ Duke-I is working on a 916 mixtape of
all Sacramento artists. Our album shouldn't be more than six or seven
months away because we already have three tracks and the songs come pretty
quick. As far as shows, we're playing shows almost every weekend now.
If you're in Cali, you can definitely catch us at a show. We're going
to be releasing some songs that won't be on the album. We have a lot of
other things going on besides music too. After college, we're going to
hit it as hard as we can. We've all talked about it, we just have to get
in the right mindset and just do it.
you want to say to everyone out there?
music and keep spreading the word. If you like the music, tell your friends.
We're making quality Hip Hop.