You’ve been grinding for awhile and have a new project dropping with Kurupt and Rosco titled The Tekneek Files. How did this project come about in the first place?
It really all started when I had the opportunity to meet Kurupt and Rosco in Philly. We just started working together and we came up with a whole bunch of joints and a whole bunch of them got put out digitally or leaked out to the ‘net or they were put on the backburner on a hard drive. I eventually moved out to L.A. and I used to be in a group called Tangled Thoughts and I was always building with Kurupt and Jayo and 40 Glocc and all the homies. What I did was I just compiled all of the best work. I went in and remixed a lot of it. I did all the mixes on all of it but some of it was on other projects, like digital releases. This is the first time these projects are going to be out in stores.
It’s crazy how some things just got put to the wayside and maybe the track wasn’t right or the mix wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right so I went back into the vault and saw what was there. A lot of the records that got cut were done on the fly from the ground up. ‘Sco and Kurupt were bouncing off each other like crazy and anyone else who was in the room, like “Check Check” with Freeway. We got Reed and Gillie on a remix. I went in and I remixed it to give it a little East Coast twist. That’s really how I went about it. These records were in the vault and they got remixed and remastered.
What’s it like recording with Kurupt and Rosco?
I love Kurupt. I feel like he’s a creative dude and when you’re in a creative zone, you could be open around Kurupt because he’s real open to ideas and he feeds off creativity and energy. I just remember being there and working on hooks and throwing ideas at each other. It’s the same with Rosco. They would bounce ideas off each other and Rosco might come up with something and Kurupt would turn that into something and then you have a record. It’s just the way it all came together organically, like Jayo being on the record. Things just came together real organically and that’s ill.
How much do you record with them in the studio as opposed to doing it through email?
Email producers…You know, it’s tough because that’s the way the game is and that’s the best way to do it, like email me beats and I’ll get it to you. Being in the studio is a different kind of thing. To me, it’s the difference between a beatmaker and a producer. They’ll be in there and spitting their verse and you could tell them how to say it to make it hot and you can talk about it. There’s more creative input from a producer’s standpoint. I get to be more in the driver’s seat and Quincy Jones it a bit. I live for that.
Do you turn down opportunities to do tracks with artists via email?
You know, with my career, I look at it like unfortunately, you know, if Busta wanted to do something, as much as I’d love to be in the studio with him, I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to do it through email. I’m not going to turn that down because that’s a legend. That’s one of the kings of the game and it all depends on the level, like if it’s someone that could easily get with me, then it’s a little different. But in the game, the higher up you are, the more hectic your schedule is. But for me, of course, I just love to be there with the artists and connecting creatively, making that shit from scratch together.
How did you decide what to remix and what to keep in the vault for The Tekneek Files?
I just remember taking what I felt were the strongest records. There are still a few on the hard drive on the cutting room floor that were cut but when you hear the final product, it will be crazy. Some of the stuff they’ll be surprised I even have. Some of the stuff, I went back and dug in the vault and picked what I felt, what I could do for a 2009 and 2010 sound. With this project, it’s just an example. I got a whole lot of shit to come and I’m really excited about just working with any and everybody that’s really doing it and getting it and I just feel like this was a great representation of how I could make albums because a lot of this material was recorded at different points in time and I still made it flow. It was thematically one thing.
How did you look at remixing the beats?
I scratched some beats. There were several records on there where I scratched the beats. I just went back and looked at how it was put out and it didn’t really get the final mix I wanted it to get and it didn’t have the final master that my man Pete Humphries at Master Works can do. I just knew a lot of those things could have been bigger. I gave it my best effort to really go in and just give it an overhaul. I literally scrapped several beats.
What do you think this project can do for you as a producer?
I just want it to build awareness. I just want to put it out. It’s a classic sound to me. It’s West Coast but it has an East Coast feel too and it’s some classic hip-hop shit. It’s my first release on my own label, All Day Music. As a producer I’m looking to get out there and get with the people I’m really trying to do records with, like the Raekwon’s and the Busta’s and the Luda’s. I just want to get up there where I’m with the big dogs of production and have it show. It’s about to go down.
As a producer, how do you feel your production has grown from Tangled Thoughts’ first and only album From Philly 2 Cali?
On Philly 2 Cali, there were songs, like before we went to master it, that I went in and changed the beats at the last second and it had to be done. My production was obviously West Coast and East Coast Dre on you. That’s where I took it, like an East Coast Baby Dre. That’s where I took it, with the funk and all that. That whole sound was something I had been feeling even before I went to California. I relate to that kind of music and I felt like doing this record, it made me a bigger production. I’m also from the school of Primo and Pete Rock. I’m original boom bap and I love that original hip-hop sound. That's what I’m all about. I keep some of the West Coast influence but I feel like I’ve grown because I got my head where I want to go with this and I feel like I’m going from here to there on this. With this album, I just feel like you will see the growth and the similarities because a lot of these records were made in the Philly 2 Cali era and some of them weren’t. You will see the growth on this record as opposed to From Philly 2 Cali. You will see the growth on it.
What kind of production style do you enjoy doing the most?
You know, I don’t know. It all depends on how I wake up and feel. I might wake up and go to HipHopGame and peep the new Raekwon shit and feel more in a dirty mood. I won’t feel like hand claps and palm trees. I might go dirty break beats and soul samples on you. It all depends on how I wake up feeling and for me, I don’t know, man. And as an MC, I look at it like if I could spit on it and make that shit come to life, I know what that’s going to be. I enjoy it on both sides.
What other projects have you been working on?
Well, right now the main thing that I’ve been focused on is really myself. I got A Brand New Bag Vol. 1 coming out digitally. I got a bunch of features like Bubba Sparxxx, Reed, Kurupt and Rosco and others. I got my album coming called Limelight. It’s more than me just saying I’m the shit. I’m really trying to get at my writing and going in on my artist side. I’ve been working with Reed Dollaz. I’ve been working with an up-and-coming female MC from Philly named Trish Barnes. I’ve been working with Big Lou, of course. That’s my brother from another mother. That’s really been it. I’ve been keeping it dolo, just really concentrating on my craft.
You also did the hook for Big Lou’s “I’m So Hood.” What was that like?
That’s one of my favorite joints! I hear more about that joint in the ‘hood than anything else that’s been on HipHopGame. Everybody loves that record. We need to get a remix on that. That’s a big one right there. We need N.O.R.E. on that one. We need Rae. (laughs)
How do you enjoy rhyming over other producers’ beats?
You know what? It’s fun because sometimes the people around me can’t believe the beat and I know it’s off the chain. There’s something about my man Ace sending me a beat or any of my other guys. I’m down and I listen to it and it draws something out of me and I start telling a story that I might not automatically hear because I’m caught up in my production and if it’s looping right and if the kick is loud enough. I can get stuck in it. Not all the time, but sometimes. I get caught up in the actual sonic production of the record and I’m not thinking about my mind going somewhere on it. When I listen to the beats someone else sends me, for some reason, it takes me somewhere and it changes how I approach it. It’s about how the mood hits me and I get caught up in it sometimes.
Do you think you’ll do another Tangled Thoughts album?
Shout out to Kas. That’s my brother from another mother. We have a lot of unreleased songs that we might put out. We got a lot of unreleased shit. We got a single and a lot of stuff that we’ll be releasing. Hopefully people will be getting it sometime soon. Uh, you know, nah, I can’t really see another Tangled Thoughts album. It was classic for the new era and for the people who really fucked with us in Philly didn’t really look at From Philly 2 Cali was Philly and they didn’t get to see what we were all about on the album. That’s my biggest regret, that we didn’t get a chance to push what we were really about at the end of the day, not that we weren’t about From Philly 2 Cali and smoking weed all day and all that. But musically and creative writing-wise, the people didn’t get to see our writing and what we really are about.
How are you keeping track of all these projects you’re working on?
Well, I got Limelight coming and my European producers are coming through for me. I’m putting the word out that as a hip-hop head, I love the real shit and I want to reach out to all the real artists still there, like Nipsey Hussle on the West Coast. He’s crazy right now. Shout out to my man Big Lou and Reed. There’s some hungry motherfuckers and I’m just trying to fuck with the real motherfuckers that are making some real hip-hop shit that I can feel.