You recently released your mixtape The Saga Begins. How did you put the tape together?
Basically it was a lot of stuff that we had worked on for years. Some of it had come out on other people’s projects and some of it had never come out. It was a compilation and we wanted to go the mixtape route first and then go to a label to do an album. I really wanted to have material in my hands to flood the streets. And plus these labels are garbage, so sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself.
There’s been a lot of compilations to drop recently and The Saga Begins has a lot of bangers. Did you shortchange yourself by putting it out as a mixtape?
Nah, I don’t feel like I shortchanged myself. The labels don’t promote yourself anyway. I feel like I can do it myself. These independent labels, it’s not like a major where you really just sit around and you don’t have to put much work in. With an indie, you have to put as much work in as you would have anyway just to sell 3,000 copies in the stores with no promotion behind it. They’re just sitting in the stores.
Did you get what you wanted for The Saga Begins?
I was trying to work with whoever I could. I’m a fan of hip-hop. I’ve been listening to it for years and years, since I was a kid. Basically I just wanted to work with anyone that comes with the real music. I support it and I like it. Shabaam Sahdeeq, he’s my boy and it’s a pleasure working with him. It’s the same with Killah Priest. I’m just happy working with anybody, but if I don’t think you’re good, I’m not going to fuck with you.
You’ve done a lot of work with Shabaam Sahdeeq. What’s it like working with him?
Oh, that’s like, that’s the easiest thing ever. We work with a lot of different people, but really, he’s got that grind and he’s got that grind at all times. And we check each other. There’s no slacking. If one of us is slacking, we get the other one back on it. We bang joints out all the time and we criticize what we do. If I don’t like what he says, I’ll tell him and he’ll scratch it and he’ll tell me what he does and doesn’t like in my beats. Some people, it takes two months just to get them in the studio and he’s not like that.
What’s he been up to lately?
He’s just working hard, man. He’s always working hard. He’s just gotta get that opportunity, you know. Sometimes it feels like people don’t want to give him that opportunity and I think he’s nicer than a lot of people in the game. But he’s just going to keep on trying to flood the streets with everything. He’s got a mixtape coming with Tony Touch. It’s all good music and most of it is original stuff. The radio shows us love. Marley shows us love on Power 105 and NYU shows us love. And overseas he’s getting a lot of love. We just have to keep going.
You’ve also done a lot of work with Killah Priest. What’s it like working with him?
Oh, he’s a great dude. We vibe in a weird way. It took us a year to get up with each other from when I met him, but one day he told me he was in the studio so I came through and I played a beat CD for him. I played him 30 joints and he loved the first 20. Ever since then…He’s on tour pretty much all of the year, but whenever he comes to New York, we sit down and we work with no distraction and no nothing. That man has serious grind too. That’s why he’s always on tour and that’s why he’s always getting paid. And he’s a real cool dude on top of everything.
How important is it for you to show your different styles of production on The Saga Begins?
I don’t know. We don’t really discriminate. What’s hot is hot. If we listen to samples and it’s hot, we don’t care what it is. If it’s hot, we’re going to run with it. If we feel strong about a joint, we’re going to run with it. And we really don’t make one type of joint. We were never able to really be labeled as one type of producer because we try to mix it up and keep it different. You never know what we’re going to come out with. We don’t have that one sound that you’re always going to hear.
Are there any styles that you won’t do?
Not really. I’m really not with that whole South movement. I don’t hate on it. I like it if it’s quality. I’m a fan of 8Ball and MJG, Scarface and Trick Daddy. I like the older ones. There was more quality music. But a lot of this new stuff, I can’t really get with that. There’s a lot of bullshit in this new era of South rap. There’s a lot of good shit that came out of it, but what are you going to do? A lot of this new shit, it’s just gimmick rap and I’m not with that at all. You’ll never see us go that route.
How did Thoro Tracks initially come together?
Actually we just started making beats six years ago and I was just using programs. I got the MP and I was trying to fuck with this and that. And my partner Jay made beats too. He called me and we just got up one day and the rest is history. We clicked and there’s never any arguments. We split everything 50/50 and we’re not yes-men. When we work together, we just criticize each other and try to help each other make the best music possible.
Creatively, how do you guys work together?
We switch it up, really. He’s kind of mastered the drum work. He’s always doing drums. He loves that. I’ll play a lot of keys and basslines and then sometimes it goes vice versa. Most of the time it’s the both of us. If he’s doing the hi-hats and I don’t like it that way, I’ll tell him to try it like this. We’re always open-minded to each other.
Can you take us through the making of a Thoro Tracks beat?
Most of the time we go out and we go digging. We get samples, whether we’ll go to underground record stores or find records at flea markets. We look for samples. When we find something hot, most of the time I’ll cut the record and start fucking with it and I’ll do the sample and it’ll come right in. You’ll see me cut the sample and then we do the drums. We don’t even talk about it. We just go. And then as soon as he does the drums, I’m already at the computer doing the bassline. It’s really like clockwork.
What equipment do you use?
We have the MPC 2000, MPC 2000XL, we got the Triton Extreme, we got a Motif, another Roland keyboard, the Pioneer CD scratcher, we got like six turntables and thousands of records and Pro Tools, of course. That’s where all of it comes together.
What are your goals for The Saga Begins?
Just really flood the streets and give a lot of promotion for this album. The first thousand were gone in two weeks and that was just footwork with stores in New York from Queens to Brooklyn to Manhattan to Long Island to the Bronx. I’m also going to Canada and we’re going to flood everything. We’re also working on the album and trying to get everybody else to come through.
How is the Thoro Tracks album coming?
The album is going to be crazy. I think the mixtape is really dope too because that was supposed to be an album. The same people will be on there and there will also be some different ones. We’re reaching out to different people and we’re building bridges.
What’s the next move for Thoro Tracks?
We were on the NYGz’ album and we’re going to work with them on their next album. We worked with Killa Sha on his last album. We’re on Killah Priest’s new album The Stained Glass Theory. We also had a track on Sean Price’s mixtape Master P and we did some shit with Krumb Snatcha for his album coming out. We just run into different people at different times. It’s just a movement, you know.