Everything is good. I’m just trying to plan these shows and do more promo so people know the album is out there and that they can go cop it.
How’s your compilation Port Authority doing for you so far?
It’s doing well. Honestly, I had no expectations going into it because of the whole indie situation and how CDs are selling. Considering what we shipped, it’s doing real well.
Have you gotten the feedback you wanted from the fans?
More than I ever thought! The fans are giving me more love than I ever thought, but of course I can only judge off my MySpace and what people tell me at shows. But the people show me love and it’s been overwhelming and humbling.
You’ve gotten great reviews from most media outlets. Are you surprised at all by all the positive reviews?
I might be surprised about certain people giving me coverage, but in terms of getting positive response from the album, I’m not that surprised. I worked really hard on this album the past three years. I worked with legends and soon-to-be legends and I’m a perfectionist with this. I wasn’t going to let anything half-assed onto the album. It was a good look getting the XXL review.
Did the lead single, “War” featuring Kardinal Offishall, do as well as you wanted it to?
It depends what defines a single doing well when you’re independent. We applied to get a video done in Canada. They have a program where they fund an artist’s video. We got denied, but it was a blessing in disguise because we were then able to shoot the “Nostalgia” video with Masta Ace and that blew up on the internet.
What does “Nostalgia” mean to you?
Besides the obvious theme of the song, to me, it means the start of my career in New York. That was one of the first songs I produced was with Masta Ace and this was the first song for Port Authority. There are a lot of memories attached to this track when I moved to New York and was trying to do my thing.
You worked with Masta Ace on A Long Hot Summer. Does each time you record with him get easier?
Ace is real cool in the studio. There’s never anything crazy. He’ll have a beat CD and he’ll write his rhymes and lay his verses. Ace has been doing it so long that he has a routine. When he goes in there, he knows when he’s messing up and when he has to do it over so I just sit back and let him do his thing.
What was it like recording “Marquee” with OC?
Oh, man. That’s one of my favorite joints on the album. We were trying to connect for a minute, but due to scheduling, it didn’t happen. When we finally did get up, it was on. We started working on it. It wasn’t something we rushed out. We worked on it for a week or two, building on our ideas and his verses. We just kept building on it until it became what it is today. I think we’re both real happy with how that song came out.
How did you and Edo G come up with the concept for “Time and Place”?
That’s actually one of the songs where he completely came up with the concept. I had sent him a few beats to pick from for my album and that’s the one that he chose. Basically he laid down his verses and sent it back and I was loving it. My man laid in the cuts to complete it. I have to give it up to Edo on that one. That was his concept.
Was creating the cohesive feel, beat-wise, that Port Authority has a challenge for you?
Yeah, it was definitely a challenge. I don’t rap so I have to express my abilities through the music. I had to really pick what beats would make it. My, Shylow and DJ Linx went through the beats. We picked certain beats for certain MCs. We pieced the ones we thought would fit their style the best. There was a lot of thought in planning that.
You have an eclectic mix of artists on Port Authority. How did you go about choosing what artists you wanted on Port Authority?
I picked artists who I was a fan of. I was a fan of the artists on there. That’s why they’re on there. That’s why you see Supastition and Buckshot. Even if I wasn’t working with them before, I wanted to work with them and incorporate them on my album.
You recorded the album Orange Moon Over Brooklyn with Pumpkinhead. Is there a reason why he’s not on Port Authority?
He was supposed to be. I recorded a song with Brooklyn Ac called “The Growler.” But Block McCloud’s vocals were recorded poorly, sound quality-wise, and I needed them rerecorded, which never happened in time. “The Growler” ended up on The Newport Authority mixtape with Mick Boogie.
Were you in the studio with most of the artists when they were recording for Port Authority?
Obviously there are some situations you can’t help, but for most of the songs, like the ones with OC, Buckshot, Masta Ace and Juju…those are all joints I did in my studio with them. Then I mixed the whole album down. There are some MCs you can’t link up with, but if you really want them, you have to do the internet and phone thing. Even though I couldn’t see them, luckily everything came out tight.
How much does it help the final product when the producer is in the studio with the MC?
Oh, man, it makes all the difference. You can express your ideas more concisely. It’s easier to communicate and you make sure you get what you want. Sometimes you and the artist can misinterpret things when you’re not together. Being in the studio with the artist makes all the difference. It also helps knowing the artist because the trust factor is already there. It’s better than recording with someone when you’re in fan mode. It’s tough, but you have to speak your mind to all the artists because it’s your project and it’s your album. You have to be on the same page and let the people know what you’re looking for. Most of the artists were down for the cause.
How much space do you give artists when recording with them?
When it comes to them writing their rhymes, I stay out of that shit unless it’s something that doesn’t make sense to me. Then I’ll be more vocal about it. But I’ll give them a beat and tell them the vibe and concept I was thinking about for the song. If they feel it, cool, but I’m not opposed to listening to their ideas either. It’s a two-way street and they can come up with something hot that I wasn’t thinking of.
Do you have a favorite song on Port Authority?
I can’t really narrow it down, honestly. I really feel that there are different songs on there for different moods. One day I could be feeling the Masta Ace joint and another day it’s the Copywrite joint. I love the whole album.
Is it too early for you to reflect on Port Authority?
The reflective period has definitely started. I’m trying not to slack on the beats and get lazy with it. I’m trying to catch my breath before me and Masta Ace go on tour across Canada. I’m trying to rep Port Authority hard.
Listening to the album now, is there anything you wish you did differently?
I’m happy with the whole album as it is. I stand by it 100%.
What do you want Port Authority to do from here on out?
I wish more records would have been shipped and I wish promotion, especially on the West Coast, would have been a little tighter, but that’s just regular indie shit that everyone goes through. But I’ve been happy with the response and the sales have been good. I’m just looking to get my work out there so I can move on and work with new people.
Have you been getting more calls for production since the album dropped?
More people are hitting me up. It’s nothing insane, but it’s definitely starting to move.
How did your mixtape The Newport Authority do for you?
That did great for me. We almost reached 10,000 downloads on that. That did great for me. The mixtape was a perfect introduction to my history and who I produced for. Combine that with Mick Boogie’s name and it was definitely good.
Looking back on it, was the free download a good move for you?
The free download was a very important feature for this. People are still getting used to the fact that you give away music. I know it’s a new time and you have to move with it. The internet is fucking everything up and you have to keep feeding everyone material because they’re quick to forget. You have to beat them in the head with it.
In Scratch Magazine, Young L of The Pack said that your beat for “War” was boring. Does that bother you?
I don’t know who that dude is, but I did check out his music and I can say the same thing for his shit. I’m fine with people not feeling my music, but give me some constructive criticism at least as to why you dislike it. At the end of the day, any press is good press, so thank you, Young L! Keep making that wack-ass trash you consider hip-hop!
What’s next for you?
I really want to stay in the zone that I’m in, which is producing albums from top to bottom. I don’t know if I’m going to do another compilation, but I definitely want to produce a project with an MC from top to bottom. My next album will definitely be shorter than Port Authority. I just want to take that stride.
What do you want to say to everybody?
If you’re not familiar with me, definitely check out the mixtape and cop the album. If you copped the album, thank you very much for the support.