Mr.Skurge in the spotlight
posted: 05-03-04
interview: quote35 (g.lehrl) of
Recording solo artist as well as partner of Infinito 2017 (read the interview) in the Unorthodox Poets Society. Some may know him from his appearence on Anticon's CD "The Advancement Of Hip Hop". But read on, there's much more to come from Mr.Skurge. He is about to make some noise.
Tell me something about your early days in hip hop. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. In the 'burbs which I like to call Beats Memphis.
Why Beats Memphis?
I say it jokingly when someone wants to get a track done because I live in East Memphis. It used to be the suburbs but now it seems to be gang central. We've had like 3 murders in the last couple of weeks. If that don't beat your moral up, what will?
Who did influence you?
Man, its too many people to even name. The first records I bought when I was young were 7"s. Public Enemy "Prophets of Rage", LL Cool J "Jack the Ripper", Run DMC "Run's House". The first show I saw live was Dana Dane with Clark Kent. That's when I wanted to become a DJ to be honest. So my quest began with no equipment and 14 records including Eric B & Rakim, Poor Righteous Teachers, two Isley Brothers records and Al Green - ex-pastor back in the days when my parents used to drop us off at his church on Sunday's.
What were your active first moves in the game?
When does the game start? I went from trying to DJ for a while with a short list of aliases, then to making beats which nobody liked then and few like now! So to rid myself of finding an emcee that liked any where near the same music, I began with my elementary style. Years passed and I finally settled into my own sound. I was still making tracks and DJing under DJ WHAT plus storytelling under Mr. Skurge Khingass.
Your 'left hand comrade' Infinto 2017 showed you nothing but love in the interview we did, how did you hook up?
I was spinning at club Fantasia on the 'Hip Hop Night'. This night is funny because you only see the same people that are usually coming to your house anyway. Our freestyle segment began and through the smoke, chants and crowd of so-called emcees, a high pitched offbeat MC ML refused to be outshined over any of the beats I threw at him. So once I threw on "Rappin Duke" and he kept at it, I knew this guy was real. After that we hooked up and began recording that week and I gave him the name Infinito.
Oh, I didn't know that. Why Infinito?
He didn't quit - no matter what. He is always hyped up.
Let's talk about Unorthodox Poets Society. When was it founded?
UPS started of as a rejected organization at the U of M for B-Boy's, DJ's, MC's, etc. Frankly, not one staff member would sponsor it. So when I met Marcellous [note of the editor: Infinito 2017] I decided to try using that seed.
Who else, besides you, is associated with the UPS?
Infinito 2017, Fat Nice (84), Invisible, and now Trained Midget.
I heard that there is a new UPS 12'' on the edge of coming out. What's the word?
We have a limited 12" done now with 6 tracks. Production is from Molemen, Doc West and myself.
I read that you don't drink or smoke. Was that a conscious decision you made or a natural evolution?
I have never smoked anything. I refused to drink liquor or eat pork ever again. This all stems from just reading and living life. I was a vegetarian for 7 years, fell off, and now I've been back on for the last year.
I'm vegetarian too, did you notice a change in your overall condition when you stopped eating meat?
My process was sorta gradual: When I subtracted pork I lost headaches. When I subtracted beef, I felt lighter and less aggressive. I also noticed that my immune system had some sort of boost. Colds went by in fewer days .
Tell us something about your 7'' that's about to come out.
Alright. My 7" inch coming is out in May with Slug of Atmosphere on the b-side. On the production we have Filthy F. Fingahtips (me, Khan , Doc Anon, Trained and Untrained Midget).
What is it about?
My 7" has two songs: "Joe Fetter" - a story of a disgruntle cubicle worker working through his aggression. "Windy" feat. Slug - a song about just trying to make it.
So the topics are based on personal experiences?
Yeah, I guess. Plus a little artistic license.
Where can people buy it?
Through TRC Distribution. At Shangrila Records, Last Chance, etc. in Memphis. 5th Element in Minnesota. Dr. Wax, Grammaphone, etc. in Chicago, So Far West in California and
Besides that 7'' also look out for the following projects:
- Infinito & Thaione Davis have the IT project in July (Low Income Housing)
- My Skyline EP will be out In August
- The Godfrey's 7" will be out September
- My new group S.P.A.N. is currently working on a project. S.P.A.N. stands for Southern Purist Against Nonsense.
Who is featured on the production tip of these projects?
On the first, Thaione did the whole project and I donated some scratches. On the second, it's Filthy F. Fingahtips, Molemen, Thaione. On The Godfrey's it's Kahn of F.F.F. And on S.P.A.N. it's Filthy F. Fingahtips again.
Who are you making music for?
Most of the music I make for myself. Some are things I could never tell to my parents until I got older and realized their struggles. And others are just entertaining.
You are a producer and an emcee. Is both equally important for you?
What's your style on the production tip?
Choppy, angry, sometimes soulful, and usually open - to make words stand out.
Which equipment are you using?
I'm PC based: Cubase, Sonar, Reason, Sound Forge, blah, blah, blah. Occasionally I still use the MPC 2000, Roland 1680, MPC 3000. My old SQ1, TTX turntables, Vestax 05pro.
Lyrically, what are topics that are important for you?
Pain. Life. Family. Humor. Lack of…anything.
Let's switch. In your eyes, how has racism changed its appearance over the last decades?
It hasn't really. Now, It is just shiny and sleek.
You mean it's also covertly packaged in daily life e.g. in advertisement?
Everything: catch phrases, figures of speech, product placement, franchise placement, TV programming, etc.
It's so deep in the U.S. that the only way to get rid of it is destroy all of us and any signs of our un-civilization. For example, without a parents influence, a group of toddlers plays together without thinking of the various labels placed on us by the dividing machine that is our culture.
Yes. What are your thoughts about Black Chicago?
The last time I visited Chicago, it seemed to parallel Memphis. A city with a large amount of blacks - underpaid, under educated and unwilling to work together to make a difference in the lives of this or future generations.
You sounds rather pessimistic there. What has to change?
We have to stop getting caught up in so many material things, value yourself and the differences of others and use that love to help create a better environment in general. We don't always have to look for jobs - we can look for jobs to create.
Speaking of politics: are you going to vote?
No. I have my reasons…
But would you encourage your community to vote anyway? Also if a lot of people are considering it as a vote for the 'lesser of two evils'?
If that makes you feel better, do it! But I would like to know which corporations are controlling my figure head before I vote just to have a front man to blame when gas goes up.
Murs recently said - in the song "And This Is For....." of his "3:16 EP" - that the audience of hip hop changed over the years and that there are hardly any black people at the shows? What's your view on that?
That's because Murs, Aesop, Vast Aire, Co-Flow, Megabusive and even myself make music that you actually have to digest.
I have noticed that I might not have as many black fans come out as others. If I didn't have to worry about bills, relationships, getting stopped by the police and mistaken for a criminal, getting a job, if my car with the busted spare tire was going to make this week, or the life span of a black man in my city - #2 on the most violent places to live - maybe I could support the artist more by coming to a show or two after I managed to get my manager to let me off of work.
What has caused this change of the audience in your eyes?
People don't like to think! Opportunity, the opinion of the masses!
What to expect from you in the near future?
I would like to do a new UPS album, I'm looking forward to working with AWOL again.
Actually doing shows and a new child.
Good luck with that man. Shout outs?
Memphis: one day we'll have a scene, my Family, wife and two and a half kids, Chicago, Infinito 2017, Thaione, Cosmo G, The Godfrey's, Dusty A, the triple F team. Fathom 9, SPAN, Rhymesayers Crew. Everybody name Kevin, my six fans, my six million critics, Egruks MUSIC, Charrs, Ali, Ted, anybody that I forgot. Sorry but I got to go to work!
Get the new Mr. Skurge feat. Slug all over the U.S. and here Available at: Listen to it at (hit the logo and voilà). Further get Infinito 2017 "Qualified Professional #27" b/w "Shadow Hours" 12" single (Sku: NFR201799)
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