I'm good. No complaints. I'm just hanging out, chilling, getting ready
for my trip.
ready for Australia?
going to be down there for two weeks.
world ready for your latest project, Foot in the Door?
I think so.
It leaked a little bit but I think they're ready. I've been lining up
a whole bunch of album release parties and doing my best to promote in
the flesh. With the way technology is nowadays, we do a lot of networking
via the internet but you can't beat meeting the fans face-to-face. I'm
trying to meet the fans.
in the Door come out how you wanted it to?
I wouldn't change anything on it. It showed my growth. I feel like if
you have the opportunity to put something out before your debut album,
this is what I would want to put out. I wanted to show my versatility
and show that I'm an MC as well as a producer. So many fans out there
have no clue that I MC as well.
not well-known as an MC.
catches a lot of people off-guard. I attribute that to people not reading
the credits and people downloading music. People come up to me like, You
rhyme? Yeah, I rhyme. Did you hear Foreign Exchange? I'm on that. Did
you hear Jazzy Jeff's The Magnificent? I'm on that too. I started on the
mic. I started doing the beats after that.
nice on the beats, so why get beats from Kev Brown on Foot in the Door?
like a mixtape. It's a tough album to categorize. Yes, it's a mixtape
and it's blended by Jazzy Jeff, but I also have new songs. It's a souped
up mixtape. The tracks by Kev are a couple years old and they never would
have seen the light of day if I didn't put it out. A lot of other verses
are cameos that I did.
with other producers as an MC help you from a producer standpoint?
To be honest
with you, no. It doesn't really help me that much. Me being who I am has
taught me a lot. I pay attention to the work that I do. Just working with
so many MC's and rhyming myself and producing beats myself, that taught
me how to work with the artist and how to make beats to cater to an artist's
style and how to let the beat breathe so it doesn't overpower the artist.
When I work with other producers it's an easier process because I know
what to do and I can send them the files that are compatible with their
system because I know their jargon. In that instance it's real easy for
me to work with other producers because I know where they're coming from.
the internet helping you get your name out?
I see the
internet as an instant source to understanding supply and demand. The
minute you put a song up on your MySpace people start hitting you up and
giving you criticism and compliments. It really puts you in tune with
who listens to your music. It's unfortunate with all the downloading because
it's taking money out of the artists' pockets. It's a double-edged sword
though because for every reason it hurts us there's another reason why
it helps us. I put the full version of the songs on the Halftooth website
so you can get the whole songs after you get the album. I did that because
I hate hearing only a verse on mixtapes and I wanted to give people the
specific incident inspire "Gentrification"?
the DC Metro area and seeing the transformation that's occurred and seeing
so many other places I've traveled to. It's not that I have a problem
with whites moving in. it's just what happens to it when they move in.
Oftentimes it's our own fault if we as blacks don't take care of our neighborhood
and the property value drops. It helps if someone can fix it up. The problem
is the authenticity. The reason a lot of college graduates and people
like that are moving in is because they're tired of the melancholiness
of the suburbs that they came from. They come to the city and they like
the mom and pop stores and the eateries. Then the money comes in and a
Quizno's pops up with a Chipotle. What parts of black culture will be
left if we become victims of gentrification?
you like better, talking about real issues like gentrification or talking
I like making
songs. I made a conscious decision awhile ago that I'm going to cut down
on the whole rapping about rapping thing. It really irks me. I'm a fan
of songs that have a purpose. The biggest problem I have with underground
hip-hop is rapping about rapping. If you're not in the culture how are
you going to relate to me rapping about how tight my skills are? I made
a conscious decision to rap about real issues. I'm never going to complain
about the state of hip-hop again either. I'm just going to make the songs
I think I need to make.
there so much rapping about rapping?
I feel that
so many artists rap about rapping because they feel there's a void that
needs to be filled so they dedicate song upon song instructing listeners
that there's something wrong with hip-hop. That does absolutely nothing.
You have to fix the problem instead of constantly discussing the problem.
Hip-hop artists as a whole have to get over that it's not 1994 anymore
and that "Laffy Taffy" and "Chicken Noodle Soup" is
on the radio. If I hear people talking about how hip-hop used to be back
in the day or "that real hip-hop," I cut it off. I used to do
that too. As soon as I started making songs about shit, people told me
they related to them better. I got kids making YouTube videos with my
music in the background. It's definitely a better response when you make
songs about something.
it mean to you having Jazzy Jeff mix the album?
It was a
great feeling to get back in the studio with Jeff. We maintained contact
with each other over the years. I used to go up to Philly all the time
to record. It was just really good to get up with him. The most exciting
part was that he put the whole Foot in the Door album in Serato and he
was figuring out how he was going to cut it and he did the whole thing
live. There was no editing. I got to see his reaction on the songs he
liked. And Jeff's a cool dude so he lets you know what he likes and what
he doesn't like. He'd tell me what was hot. It put a smile on my face
when he told me what songs he thought were hot.
you first get down with Jazzy Jeff?
I got an
invitation from Kev Brown when he got an invitation to work with A Touch
of Jazz. He opened up the floodgates and let us all come up there. I came
up there on Kev's accord and played Jeff some material. He was feeling
it so I recorded some material for The Magnificent. There were some other
things I recorded that I don't think ever came out. I recorded a 12"
with Kev and Cy Young called "Night Fall." There wasn't too
much after that. I quickly bounced to Halftooth after that.
title Foot in the Door?
If you look
at the cover, there's all different doors from DC. Even though I've been
in the game, commercially, for four years, I feel like I'm just not getting
the respect where I don't just talk to secretaries. I feel like I'm starting
to get that clout myself and I feel like my credibility in the DC area
is rising. We're all starting to get that exposure we deserve out in DC.
There's some nice brothers out here and we don't really get that much
the DC scene?
We have our
own style of music here. We have gogo music here and any time a leading
band is performing, it's always a packed house. As a hip-hop artist not
doing gogo, we have our share of venues. I'm not really concerned with
what other cities are doing and how their culture is thriving. I'm doing
my part. It's never been that difficult for us to get that exposure. If
you got the hustle in you, where you're at isn't going to hold you back.
DC is close to New York and Atlanta. It doesn't matter where you are.
your instrumental albums done for you?
albums have been some of the biggest surprises in my career. We put them
out on such a small scale. We just wanted to put some beats out on the
internet and keep it real low-key. We weren't really looking to get a
big profit. We just wanted to give it to the people and it really didn't
cost much to release. Then all of a sudden more and more people and stores
started ordering it. It was an eye-opener. People really want instrumental
albums like that. We took some advice on the second instrumental album.
We got it in a regular case and got some reviews in magazines. We actually
listen to the fans and it really helps. I think within the first month
the second instrumental mixtape outsold what the first one sold in a year.
It was a real big surprise. I'm always going to do instrumental mixtapes.
take us through the making of an Oddisee beat?
starts with an idea in my head. When I get back to my studio I'll play
it and find samples to match the melody in my head. I don't rely on samples
like other producers. I use the samples to get out what's in my head.
If I have chords and drums in my head I'll search until I find what I'm
looking for. Other times I'll just put the needle on the plate and flip
it. I use the ASR-X. I'll sit there and sample a melody. Once I get the
melody down I don't touch it anymore. I'll find drums that perfectly accompany
that melody. Then I'll put that signature low-budget bassline and maybe
some synths on it. When I sell beats to other artists, I give them a subject
matter along with it and a lot of times I write a hook to it. A lot of
times they use it and other times they have their own ideas. For example
I gave J-Live my idea when I went to his house and he wrote it down and
then he made a song out of it.
it like working with Freddie Foxxx?
He's a trip.
That's my man right there. I have a lot of respect for his work ethic.
He's been in the game so long and he's still so hungry. I met Foxxx at
Beat Society. Kev already knew him but I don't like to piggyback off people.
I didn't even tell Foxxx I knew Kev. I gave him a beat-CD and Foxxx hit
me back the next day and told me I had heat. He told me to give him all
those beats for his record. I already knew it was cool to work with him
because Kev works with him and Kev doesn't trust nobody. I knew it was
all good. I tracked out about twenty beats and from then on Foxxx would
hit me up whenever telling me he had recorded to another track. He recorded
to all twenty tracks in a six-month period. I think four to six will be
on his next album.
do more work with Phonte?
If he hits
me up for another verse, I'll do it. I'm not opposed to working with anybody.
your album coming?
is being conceived right now. That's how I work. I haven't started a single
beat for my album but I thought about it over and over and over. When
I get back from Australia it's going to be real hard to reach me. I'm
cutting my phone off and I'm not going to be answering any email. It's
going to be a classic hip-hop record. I'm not going to really take into
consideration what's popular now and what trends people are following.
I like songs. I like where you could have all sorts of types of songs
on one album. That's what I want to do because that's all me. I like the
smooth shit, I like the hard shit, I like hearing niggas rhyming about
skills and I like hearing street shit once in awhile.
you want to say to everybody?
taking the time to read this. There's so many things you can read on the
internet and most of it is bullshit. Foot in the Door is out and always,
always let me know what you think because I'm always listening. I got
my ear to the street.