What’s going on with you guys?
Pace: Everything, to tell you the truth. We are promoting our album right now and it’s doing pretty good with the people. Also working on a new album The Only Number that Matters is Won. And just kicking it, trying to make it from the underground level to the pop level and be successful.
Green: I’ve been hanging out with Pace almost everyday, getting beats together for the next album. We’ve been getting pressure to stop using samples and that’s been interesting to me because basically for me everything up to this point has been using samples so I’m expanding my horizons by working with live musicians and experimenting with new computer programs. Like Pace said we are underground hip-hop artists but we’re trying to make a million people listen to us. We’re not going to change our style but we want to get this word out.
Let’s talk about your new album, The Only Color That Matters is Green. You have been getting a good buzz about it so far.
Green: It’s going really well. I’ve only heard good feedback so far. I’m proud of it. To be honest, this is my first album where I’ve produced the whole thing and I think it’s a great entryway into the game for me. I listen to it everyday in my car. I’ve been listening to it for like six months. I’ve got it in my bathroom when I shower. (laughs)
What does this album say about Pacewon and Mr. Green?
Green: Basically that we really respect this culture. That’s what people should get out of it the most. We are obviously trying to be successful but at the same time we didn’t put any pop records on it so that people realize it is raw hip-hop. “She Be So Cold” is the closest to pop that we have on the album but that’s just the way that I laced the beat. This is boom-bap hip-hop for the masses.
Can you give a brief rundown of yourselves?
Pace: My name is Jerome Dehines Jr. and I was born in Brooklyn, New York in Crown Heights. And I moved to Irvington when I was four and was raised there, now I live in North New Jersey. I was down with a group called the Outsidaz. We did our first feature on the Fugees album The Score. Since then I’ve worked with Redman, Rah Digga and many more. I previously had two solo albums, the first called Won, and the second called Telepathy.
Green: I’m 25 now and I grew up in Highland Park, New Jersey. Highland Park is a small town right next to New Brunswick, which is the home to Rutgers University. Most people see Highland Park as a party town. While growing up I was only 45 minutes from New York and about an hour away from Philly so even though I was raised in the suburbs I was influenced by those cities. I pretty much just skateboarded when I was younger and I listened to a lot of hip-hop.
Pace, what exactly is Team Won Incorporated?
Pace: Team Won Inc. is a record label/publishing company. I’ve got a couple friends that rap and I feel their rhyming ability is on the level where I can show case it and capitalize off it. There are a few members, G Smoke, Rival, Confucius, DJ Muhammad, Mr. Green, and myself. It’s like a group effort you know just trying to do the Juice Crew, the Wu-Tang, the Boot Camp Clik and The Outsidaz type thing but with new faces.
So does that mean we will not be seeing a comeback for the Outsidaz?
Pace: Well, when the time is right and the wine is right we gonna beat it right. In other words, in time if someone was able to put a little budget together for us then we could bring it together. Right now we don’t have that but we are accepting any offers that people might have.
Mr. Green what other projects have you been involved with?
Green: The first official production credit I got came in 2006, I produced a song called “Childhood” for C-Rayz Walz’s album and it was a big deal because it had Matisyahu on it. I got my stripes doing an underground hip-hop hit with a platinum artist on it basically. I also put out an album, Green Future, and that was basically the best tracks that I had produced that year mixed with my best instrumentals. Green Future was right before the full album with Pace and I wanted to let people know what I was doing before Pace and I did our thing. Green Future had Killah Priest, Pacewon and several foreign singers featured on it.
Back to album, who do you have featured on it?
Green: We have two really talented up and coming Jersey MCs. We got Cy Marshall Law of the Rawkus 50 who is also in a group called Everliving Sound. We also featured my boy Kosher Dillz who is actually the reason why Pace and I are working together. He is a business genius. We also have Mary Lou, who is a Swedish R&B singer. Mary Lou actually sings on a cruise ship and just decided to move to a professional level and get on our album.
What label is the album coming out on?
Green: Raw Poetix Records, which is an up and coming label in San Diego. We were basically their first official project besides a compilation called Global Connection. I produced five joints off of that compilation and it is in stores now. It is pretty dope it’s got KRS-One, Killah Preist, Masta Ace, Pace Won and others.
How is your relationship with Raw Poetix?
Green: It’s good, we came off with kind of a slow start because they probably thought we weren’t working enough and we thought the same with them. Then things started to work out and now I’m at the point where I wouldn’t wish to be on any other label. I really feel bad for a lot of artists in the game right now who are on labels that don’t treat them right.
Now that the album is out will we see some touring from you two?
Green: Yes, definitely that’s what we are working on right now. We don’t have anything confirmed but it looks like we will be heading out west at the end of August and into September and then at the end of September we will head out to Europe.
What’s your favorite song to perform off the album?
Green: “Children Sing” just because it’s so amazing for me to see people head bob to it. Sometimes people don’t pay attention to the lyrics but I can always see everyone in the audience even the bar tender and the doorman bobbing their head to it. It makes me feel proud that I am apart of it and people are feeling what I’m doing.
Pace: My favorite song to perform is “Won on Won”. We’ve been performing that at every show and I’ve gotten lucky a few times after performing that. (laughs)
Mr. Green, can you explain your process to making a quality beat that you would consider for a project with Pace?
Green: Well in the past its all been sampled so I would start by getting a dope sample. I would always find something that I can manipulate; my ideal sample is 15-30 seconds long. I like to do a lot with a little. I take really small sounds and use them in a lot of different ways and then chop them into half second and third of a second pieces. Now that I’ve been working with new programs and live musicians I can just get a melody or play around with the keyboard. I like making beats by scratch now because you can play the melody in more than one sound. For example, you can play the melody on the piano and then you can see how it sounds on a harp or a guitar.
Pace, where do you come in with the rhymes and what is your recording process like?
Pace: I hear the beat and then I get high and drunk. I then see where I’m at with the beat in terms of where I might be going lyrically. Then little by little I put syllables and words together to form the bars. I usually juggle it around a little bit and then try to make it as smooth as possible. If I hear anything that I don’t like I like to fix it. I also never do snippets. I always run through the whole 16 bar verse and if one thing is wrong we do it over and over until it’s perfect. It’s a pretty simple process for me.
So how would you describe the chemistry in the studio?
Pace: Excellent. I enjoy working with Mr. Green and the beats are always there, he records me also so its really easy to do a million takes without him getting too mad at me. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that movie La Bamba with Jimmy Fallon and he takes about 68 takes to put down the song “Let’s Go Little Darling”. I do take a lot of takes to make sure the rhyme is there and that the kicks aren’t hitting it wrong.
How about outside of the studio, do you guys hang out together regularly?
Pace: Yeah, last night we did a joint and then went to a party. Green has a large fan base in New Brunswick so we were with his friends and fans getting drunk and having a good time. It’s usually like that I’ll call him up hell come through, I got my own place he got his own place, he will spend the night, no mothers involved (laughs). It’s really pretty good, we go every together like to the city to work and check out Fat Beats. We are always kicking it.
Speaking of outside, any outside projects that either of you have going separately?
Pace: I’m working on the Team Won Inc. album but that’s not really a side project because Mr. Green is on it. It is more like a group effort between all of us. I do features a lot too.
Who have you done features for?
Pace: Recently I did one with Royce da 5’9” and was produced by KV Beats out in Denmark. I did a joint on the new Snowgoons album being released on Babygrande. I also did a joint with Conflict who is a rapper out here (New Jersey) and that was produced by Lord Jamar from Brand Nubian. Also I did stuff for Profit from New Mexico, LD and Ariano from California and Double D and Contagious in Florida. Lots of people just come through my page and ask for a feature and I do the material and send it back.
Any outside projects from Mr. Green?
Green: I basically just work with Pace but recently I have been working with people through myspace doing features. I’ve been working on a project with my boy Depp out in Massachusetts. I’m trying to get into film too and that’s my main goal. I saw the way RZA was doing it and I was interested.
So you want to do film scores?
Green: Well I’m actually more interested in theme songs and credits. I just produced a theme song for the movie Song of David, which made it to the Cannes Film Festival. I also did the music for a BMX video called “Insight” that was made by Transworld in Ride Magazine. That was cool for me because I grew up on skateboards and BMX bikes, and by watching those videos I got into the hip-hop culture. Most producers are trying to get a big list of names that they have produced for. I mean obviously I want to work for my favorite rappers but that is not my goal, I’m more interested in making albums and larger scale projects.
So what do you see in the future of you guys as a duo?
Green: We are going to keep working on the new record. Hopefully it will come out on a nice big label so that we will get more exposure. We also really want to get on film by making music for it and acting.
What have you done with acting?
Green: When we did our first music video I was really shy and goofy but over time and with success I have learned to be in the public eye. I think these kinds of exposures will help me grow into what I want to become eventually. Pace though has been in a movie called Snipes with Nelly.
Has Pace helped you deal with the public eye being that he has been in it for awhile?
Green: Yeah, a lot. He helps me with my presence and what I should say when people ask me questions. He definitely has the experience to help me become as comfortable as possible with the public eye.