|Now, you have an album coming
out on Mush called "Monolith". Tell us
about the album.
|It is 14 songs deep. It is half
instrumental, half vocal cuts. The MCs are: Aceyalone,
Buck 65, Abstract Rude, Hymnal, Busdriver, Slug
of Atmosphere, Murs, PSC, Spoon of Iodine, and 2mex.
I also have a live cello player, a live guitar player,
and DJ Drez and DJ Tetris for cuts. Hymanl was featured
on "Beneath The Surface" on the song "For
Her Souly, Slowly, Solely," which is a very
hypnotic cut that featured live violin. This song
got a lot of good responses from Hip Hop fans that
wanted to hear a new/different approach to hip hop.
He is kind of doing a spoken word but in a mesmerizing
yet west coast style flow. So I really dug his style
and his visual lyrics, so I asked him to do two
songs on "Monolith." The song "Club
Apotheosis" is kind of like a part 2 to the
song he did on "Beneath The Surface",
except this time there is a live cello in the background.
He also did the song on "Robert L. Ripley",
which is more of a uptempo banger and he shows his
more straight ahead style. I like Hymnal's originality
and subtlety, and he studies philosophy, psychology,
and literature, which shows in his lyrics.
I also have song on "Monolith" called
"Live From Tokyo." 2 years ago I went
to Japan for a show with Aceyalone, Living Legends
and Atmosphere. I was DJing for 2mex. I brought
a CD of some beats just in case there was any opportunity
to do a song. The label who flew us out there had
a couple of hours booked in a studio, so I dropped
a beat off that CD, and PSC, Slug, Aceyalone and
Murs wrote their rhymes on the spot and made the
song. I think it came out dope so I decided to use
it on the album.
I've been a fan of Buck 65 for a while and my homie
DJ Signify is friends with him, so I asked him to
introduce us. Buck turned out to be a nice guy and
he was down to collaborate, so we did "Double
Header" for my album. I've never met him in
person, so all our communication was through email
and mail, but the song came out great.
Spoon of Iodine is an O.G. rapper from Los Angeles.
In the 1980's, he was in a group with Mikah 9 and
Aceyalone called the MC Aces. He was also on the
"Heavyweight Round 1" song on "Inner
City Griots." "I'm Just A Bill" was
a song he performed at the Goodlife in 1992, so
we re-made the song for "Monolith."
The other MCs on the album are also great lyricists
that I respect and am happy to work with.
|What's the significance behind
|I was reading the book "2010"
while making the album and it had the concept of
an alien life force in the shape of a monolith come
to earth and help humanity evolve. I thought it
would be a great title and theme for the album.
|In what mind state have you
been when doing this album?
|My last album "Distant Drummer"
was a little too abstract for some people, so I
toned down the experimentation of the drums and
made them more like "Beneath The Surface."
So the album is kind of like the a cross between
the two albums.
|What's the reaction been so
|So far, everyone likes the album
and says that it is diverse and well-rounded. I
hope more people agree.
|You got a very 'LA' sounds,
somewhat mystical and Native South American too.
How do you see that?
|I like mystical sounds or sounds
that strike chords in people and make them see things
in a different light. Certain melodies and rhythms
have powerful properties that move people and can
create other worlds and feelings in their heads.
Music can heal and also excite. I try to pick sounds
that help do that, but in a hip hop context.
|How do you see LA as a city?
|L.A. has some parts that are beautiful
and some parts that are dreadful. That shows in
a lot of music form L.A.: there might be a beautiful
style to a song, but the subject matter might be
sad. Like the song "Robert L. Ripley"
describes the L.A. scene as MC's who evolved beyond
their environment and were able to create beautiful
art with the raw materials and elements of their
surroundings. So LA has beauty and ugliness, and
music mixes them together as one.
|How do you see hip hop in LA?
|LA will have another big wave of
attention poured toward it like it did in the early
90's. But this time the artists will be more established,
organized, and more business minded to take advantage
of exposure and opportunity.
|What's your favorite place there?
|My favorite places in LA are the
beaches, because the pacific ocean is beautiful
and is a symphony of sights, sounds, and textures
of it's own.
|How do you create an instrumental
song and how a song for a rapper?
|When making a song for a rapper,
I recite their best verse in my head and make the
beat around that. In an instrumental song, I make
the sounds in the beat seem as they are rapping
or make the beat so busy and lush that an MC wouldn't
|How sample based are your beats?
|90% of my music is sample based,
but I tweek and rearrange and change the samples
to my bidding. Just taking a note here and a drum
hit there and creating a whole different arrangement.
I love sampling though, because it's so fun and
packed with adventure and surprises. You never know
what you will find.
|Is it beats or songs you do?
|It starts as a beat but then turns
into a song.
|Do you find there to be a difference?
|A song tells a story, a beat just
makes your head nod.
|How did you and Mush come together?
|Mush heard "Beneath The Surface"
and approached me in 2001 and we finally did an
album together in 2003. I'm excited to work with
|What's coming next?
|I produced a whole album for Sach
aka Nouka Bass Type of the Nonce called "Sach
5th Ave." The single is dropping in late summer
and the album hopefully early fall. Me and Nobody
are also producing an album for Ellay Khule, a Project
Blowed MC. I am also working on a project for 2mex,
and I will also do another album for Mush soon.
|I told you how strange I found
it was, to meet you, after being a fan for years.
Does it strike you as strange at times too, when
you know that your music is played around the globe?
|It is a tremendous blessing and
honor to have people like your music, especially
in other countries. It makes me happy and makes
all the hard work worth it. It is also humbling.
That is why I work with rappers with positive messages,
because music is powerful. It is also great to make
friends like tadah of urbansmarts and learn from
him about hip hop in his country and Europe. It
is amazing to become friends with people through
|Do you feel more Iranian or
|I think myself as an Iranian American.
I was born in the USA, but I also lived in Iran
and I speak and write Farsi and love the culture
and it's people. But I love American people and
the land and art and music of America and the opportunities
|Has America changed for Arabians
|Since 911, most people have been
open minded and thankfully not effected by ignorance
that has been spread through America. Especially
through the media that portray Middle Eastern as
evil and bad. there are some ignorant people, but
for the most part, it hasn't been that bad. I am
glad that people like Michael Moore are creating
awareness in the USA.
in stores September 16th, 2003 on Mush
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