chilling. I'm sitting here making some beats. It's a cold day in New York.
Fall is officially here.
mixtape Me Versus the Gods is also officially here. How did you come up
with that idea?
growing up a huge hip-hop fan from the era of the mid to late '80s, I
used to listen in Philly to Street Beat on Power 99 with Lady B. That's
really what inspired me to getting my taste in hip-hop, which is kind
of like an underground taste even though it wasn't underground then. The
records they were playing on the show was like Chill Rob G and all that.
I think that's where I got my basic hip-hop taste. Me Versus the Gods
is my favorite acapellas and verses from the '80s and '90s. I wasn't trying
to make them better in any way because that would be impossible, but I
was trying to remind people of these songs from their childhood with my
beats to them, which is a little twist. When they keep on coming up on
my iPod, they get a little boring when you've listened to them so many
times. I thought it would be interesting to again hear these great vocals.
feel any pressure making these remixes?
bit, but it was like if I reached that headnod level with them, then I
felt comfortable. The old school is having a hard time getting recognition
these days with the Down South wave of music and all the new shit. Any
way you can bring it back so it might get heard again, I was cool with.
On the other side, it's like batting behind Hank Aaron or becoming the
quarterback in Dallas after Troy Aikman. There's definitely a huge amount
take us through the making of NWA's "Chin Checkin'" remix?
I was always
so amazed by how good it was. As far as the lyrics went, it was always
top-notch. I always loved that joint. The MC's were just ripping it. I
also always loved the Jefferson Starship record. I time-stretched it so
it would fit with the vocals and it gave it that rock feel. I'm a club
DJ and the mash-ups and rock has really made a huge comeback in the clubs.
I really wanted to give the album a little taste of that feel even though
I'm not putting Jay-Z over it. You can't really play it in the club but
it still has that club, mash-up feel to it.
combine acapellas from different songs. Was that difficult?
A lot of
it was just trial and error. I would make an original beat and I would
have to time-stretch the vocals. You're changing the BPM's but you're
not changing the pitch of the vocals so they still sound in-tune. It's
a whole different feel to the song but the vocals can still fit. That
was all just trial and error and taking verses I liked and putting them
over different beats.
lot of the beats already made or did you make the beats especially for
It was half
and half. Some I already had and some I laid the acapella down to a beat
click and created the beat around the acapella.
have a tough time finding the acapellas you wanted?
Most of them
are from my record collection so I had to transfer them from vinyl. Some
of them are MP3's and some of them are very rare. A lot of them were just
from records I had when I was a kid.
did Me Versus the Gods take you to make?
It took about
risky project to put out through a label. Do you see this project getting
shut down for copyright infringement?
It's a mixtape
and I'm presenting it in mixtape format even though it's coming out on
my label Eastern Conference. There's tons of mixtapes out there. I even
see mixtapes up there on iTunes. I'm just another mixtape cat. Hopefully
this stays under the radar.
concerned about getting shut down?
a risky run but it's not like there's hundreds of thousands of dollars
to make from this project. It's more of a grassroots thing. There's not
a lot of money to be had over this.
is going on with Eastern Conference Records?
I have Me
Versus the Divas coming out next which is me remixing R&B and disco
joints. Then I'm putting out DJ Eli Escobar's CD. He's a club DJ in New
York and he does edits on songs that are crazy. He has one with Premier's
voice yelling "You call this shit hip-hop?" with a Down South
loop. It's crazy. I got this group out now called Kid America. It's kind
of like a joke, comedy album. People think EC is done. It's not. We've
definitely toned it down though. You have to in this climate. Tower Records
went out of business and that was half of the accounts of the distribution
that I went through. It's sort of back to the roots. We started Eastern
Conference to put out High and Mighty. We're not spending tons of dough
and we're not putting out records every month. We just put out Subcon
and we're still putting out joints.
see another High and Mighty album happening soon?
Eon just moved back to Philly. He just had a baby. I'd like to do another
another Eastern Conference All Stars compilation?
I like doing those and working with other artists. I like doing stuff
with Reef and Alchemist and J-Zone and all the other producers we're working
looking to do more outside production?
I'm actually working harder than I ever have at getting beats out there.
I'm working with other musicians trying to get my sound bigger and bigger.
Hopefully you'll see me on some projects in the future.
the clubs treating you?
a lot different than what it was in the '90s. Where you had new Biggie
records coming out in the '90s, it's getting harder and harder to find
those hip-hop records for the weekend crowd. It's become very, very dumbed-down.
Rock has now become big in the clubs and I've never had to play rock in
the club. The dance classics have been replaced by rock in the club. It's
hard to adjust to that but if you can mix, you can mix. If you can still
make money from music, God bless. That's where I'm at with DJ'ing. I just
spun with Pete Rock at a release party. That was fun because I got to
play what I wanted to, but most of the time I'm just spinning for the
the most memorable party that you've done?
when I moved to New York in '93. That was an era when the MC's at the
party would always get up and freestyle. Craig G, Sadat X and one of the
Leaders of the New School got up there and started rhyming and I was cutting.
That was pretty memorable.
also DJ'd for Derek Jeter. What was that like?
DJ'ing for anybody else. They're just there to party. At first it's cool
to see them, but then it's just like it's any other partygoer. Sometimes
they'll come up and request something but most of the times the celebrities
just stay in the VIP.
still in touch with DJ AM and Mark Ronson?
We all came
up in the same era. AM was actually an original member of High and Mighty.
They're definitely doing their thing and they've taken it to another level
of making money. It's good to see your peers really doing their thing
and caking off it.
at the state of the industry, is it good to be an independent hip-hop
label in 2006?
a few who created a niche and are doing well still. I feel that where
the record business is at now, it's damn-near impossible to make money
as a major or an independent. Touring is where you can make your money.
You have to have a fan-base and do it that way. That's really the only
way to do it these days.
your goals for Me Versus the Gods?
it didn't cost any money to make because it was all self-done. Shipping
5,000 to 7,000 worldwide is worth it. I didn't really do it to make money
at all. I did it as a vanity project. That's where I'm at right now in
hip-hop. I'm not really trying to make dough. I've made dough in the past.
The years at Rawkus were great. I'm returning to where I was when I was
11 or 12 years-old and was just getting into it or 17 and 18 when I started
producing and was doing projects because I wanted to. I'm doing it for
the love. I love hearing JVC Force over my joints. That's where I'm at.
I also do a lot with TV and I'm trying to get into scoring as well. I'm
just grinding like everyone else.
you want to say to everybody?
for Me Versus the Gods. I think it has something on there for everyone.
Big shouts to everybody who supported me and Eastern Conference over the
years and everybody I worked with over the years.