radioactive about:
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february 2002| interview : periodic

When did you start MCing or how did you start MCing?

Basically, I grew up in LA and I was Breakdancing. My first MCing experience was in the 7th grade. I was in this program called, "G.A.T.E.," Gifted and talented education or something like that. We had to build like Popsicle sticks bridges and hang weights off of them to see what structure was more architecturally sound. And one of the things what we had to do was this thing called, "Olympics of the Mind." It was like the county thing where you had different schools competed against each other. And part of the thing was you had to come up with your own government - like the culture, currency, public form of transportation, economy, and the government structure. We also had to have an anthem, so me and this girl, Lekeysha rhymed in French and I rhymed in Piglatin. And we did it over this thing off of "3 Feet High And Rising" album - whatever the thing with the French, "Equity, La metta." It was just an instrumental with some French samples over it. We did this whole thing where I rhymed in Piglatin and she rhymed in French. And that was my first rhyme.

Is MCing a hobby?

To be an underground artist, its starting to be more profitable, but the type of music that I want to do up to this point and to make any kind of money and not to be completely bitter half the times is my little ways to make money.

What are your goals as an MC? Do you want to reach a status of maybe Outkast or the Roots and still keep its roots with an underground and commercial appeal? Or are you content with where you are with your music?

Well, I'm never content. I'm enjoying living this sort of this dual reality or have this sort of parallel universe where I'm working at this job and a lot of people don't know that I do music.
I'm going on tour late spring or early summer. And we're going to this whole country, plus Canada and also going to Japan coming up this summer and hopefully Europe. That's all I want to do is to travel and keep making music and keep exploring…I don't ever content as an artist, but I'm slowly seeing the potential to be able to do just music, but at the same time the people who just do music as an underground artist I think they change their music a lot because they have to live to selling everything from out the trunk and doing these shows for nothing and sort of traveling around… its not an easy life style.

I noticed artist like Ras Kass, for example, where he is an underground artist that tries to be commercial, when he doesn't have that particular appeal. But he keeps on trying. Is that something that you want to do or just stick with what you do and hopefully it will blossom from there?

Well I think the underground has become a turn that is definitely much more international. You have all these people all over the world who are embracing this music or whether it's underground "Good Life" tapes from along time ago or log cabin tapes. These people have all these stuff from years ago all over the world. There's a bigger fan base extended quite small in an America, but is growing a lot bigger than it was…sort of crossing into Indie Rock zone or people who listen to Electronic music might be listening to it, not just underground like people in California and there's slowly people all over the place that are making it. It's a growing number of populists of people who are trying to accept the underground thing, but as far as American Hip Hop is very conservative and close-minded, I think so. If you expand outside of that, there's potential to go elsewhere.

Pretty much back in the days from early and late '80's, commercial Hip Hop was underground music. You got Tribe, De La, and Public Enemy, which were pretty much the underground hip-hop until it went commercial when Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy, and the Wu Tang came into the scene. I don't know if you agree with that.

Hip Hop started out commercially with the Sugar Hill Gang. They're the people that have been rapping for years and years before they came out. But, they came out as a Disco-Pop thing, and it sort of went into Pop Culture rather quickly. In every type of music, you will have a commercial sort of subsection of that sort of music. Whether its Jazz and the wave music, you got the Kenny G and the Dave Koz and the John Coltrane and the Thelonious Monk, and they never made a lot of money out of it, but they have created these legacies and you always have to off-shoot or get absorbed into Popular Culture. And then you got MC Fatcat, the animating rapping cat in the Paula Abdul video.

How did you come up with the name, 'RadioInactive?'

Actually, I was reading a book in High School called, "Bringers of the Dawn" by Barbara Marciniak. It's sort of a new age book. It's supposedly what it is this channeled book, which this woman who wrote this book was channeling this information from this alien from these Pleiadians beings where this information is coming from. Who knows? It's this on going commentary from another planet now and their talking about this sort of how electronic devices in our world create some sort of frequencies that disturb other frequencies that are important to maintain; for instance, like when you live in the city, you are ineffective by some sort of vibration of everything that is going on. There's more crime, there's more people that are hostile and stressed out. Some of what is contributing to this is the hum that you are getting from these frequencies. So what you are talking about basically trying to change your frequencies yourself, which is the frequency of love. It's just like a little kid. You don't have to teach a little kid how to have a good time; they're naturally good-natured. You're kind of setting back so you're kind of like resonating in a higher level and everybody have had to do that on their own. So RadioInactive is sort of like being the Radiowaves as an example or simple for that frequency that are out there - electronic stuff that are maybe bad for our well being in our mindset. So, RadioInactive is like harnessing the organic love frequency in all of us, sort of which destroys everything else and makes everyone more happy and creative.

"Pyramidi", what is that all about?

Pyramidi is based on Pyramid with an 'i.' With midi is the interface where instruments communicate. It's the ancient technology, basically what I'm talking about, and time travel and maybe how we use a small percentage of our brain. It's entertaining of the idea that if you are able to use more percentage of your brain, you might be living these sort of parallel existences, multidimensional existences. It's just beyond our comprehension now - like multitasking is just like having a bunch of windows open on our computer. I don't know if you believe in reincarnation, but it doesn't matter what you believe in. But imagine if you live in this existence and your living in hundreds of other existence all at once, just sort of expansive multitask kind of thing.

Is it like information traveling in one time?

Exactly, its sort of like breaking down the boundaries of being a system specter of not having any frequency or notion of how things are sort of breaking it down to some sort of expansive stream of consciousness of everything like that.
The song is actually like a comic book idea that has elements of truth hidden within the humor of it all. But it's entertaining the idea that being came down to this earth that weren't necessarily God, but they were more being like ourselves. Now we have these genetic cloning and made an array of something similar to themselves through genetics and as this race develops they sort of have to impose this sort of organized religion to keep people in fear, because we as humans have the power to create whatever we want. But if you look back into the dark ages when people couldn't write or read and they were taught to fear God basically. They didn't have any idea of anything, and then they slowly did science, which made them fell more in control of the world by being able to explain why things happen and this is sort of like the spiritual technology like the next level where you are combining the science with the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain is more of the creative side.
It's just the idea that these beings came down and created people and when they got too powerful, they had to impose some sort of rules and regulations to keep them from overpowering people that created them and to keep their developments.

In the song titled, "Music", was that AWOL [One] in the background?

Yeah, that was him.

How come he didn't lay down any verse on the track?

I originally had a guy on that song, Microphone Mat, who laid down a verse. But, I just wanted to make it my own song. Well, I've been in so many crews in the past that I was trying to get away from having every song being a posse cut.
I didn't necessarily plan it that way, it just came out…"Pyramidi" is just a collection of work that I spent over 6 year period.

I've realized that you did have some songs that are fairly old and some that are new. Is that why you have 30 songs all together?

Yeah, I guess some people that have been fans for years were saying, "Well, we already have that stuff." But I actually had the idea when I first initially released it as a maxi single. And this was stuff from my upcoming album. I only sold, let's say, a few hundred copies of that maxi single. I don't know how many times it had been dubbed-out, so although a lot of my old time fans already had it and there's a lot of people who didn't, so it still had some legs in it.

Throughout the whole album, there are many producers that you worked with. I know you, OD, and some other producers produced some of the tracks, but the sound is very consistent like one producer produced it.

AntiMC, he's actually my main producer, who produces most of my stuff. "Pyramidi" has a big roster of producers on it, but he still did the majority of the stuff. Me and him just click up. And he's a musician. He just doesn't do Hip Hop tracks; he plays instruments as well. He has a jazz background. Him and I have just been successful being able to capture what I want and I can say, "I want some sort of electronic Samoan polka or something like that." But he will be able to take that and turn it into something. Or like some sort of miget-rasta marching band, Christmas music or something like that. He's able to get that humor and be able to combine all these - a lot of the sound is about combining maybe genre of music that wouldn't normally go together. But making it sounds like it suppose to go together. It's all about joining your influences from other places.
I don't listen to a lot of Hip Hop, but I do listen to Hip Hop. But I think more Hip Hop artist should listen to more diverse palette of music, it would get more ideas for styles and instead of influencing each other so much. I have all type of stuff that I would love to play to people. I have this Irish Mouth Music, where these old Irish people with no teeth. They didn't have the money to buy instruments so they used to beat box but its all in this sort of this called, 'diddling,' and its all using their mouth to make music but which a lot of hip hop headz would just bug off of, but they might not never be expose to that music normally.

Does AntiMC just present you a beat and you would lay down you vocals? The reason I'm saying this because of the transitions made with the beat.

A lot of the time we do it that way. A lot of it is very free and sort of improvised. We would be listening to records and he will be playing something with ideas and we'll be bouncing of each other. And then we will put them together and I will write it right there and dump it and that happens a lot of times. Other times, it will take me weeks, and I will be re-editing.

What do you prefer doing? Producing, writing, or both?

I like writing. I do produce beats, but I usually don't like to rhyme over my own beats.
Like I said, AntiMC is sort of my man. On tour, we have a band where we are transposing a lot of the music from the album. We have a five-piece band, and he is the mastermind behind that too. He's been able to take the beats that he makes and put them into sheet music and be able to arrange all the parts to the different instruments.

Are you going to do any shows around California or overseas?

We maybe starting the tour on May 21, I'm not sure. It's going to be the Mush tour, where we'll start at the El Rey to San Diego and then out of the state. And do Arizona then Mexico and Texas.

What is your process to song writing? Do you usually write the songs first and then find a beat for it or find the beats then write the songs?

In the beginning I used to write the songs and then he will make the beat. But I don't know, if you become spoiled when you start picking and choosing to different beats and you start leaning towards composing over the tracks more. To elaborate on the song writing process, a lot of it, it's on editing and also listens to the track and be able to work with the producer. We might throw four or five more breaks or samples to songs. Another thing I like about AntiMC is that if you listen to most beats these days there are not a lot of parts to it. They used to have a use of a Black Sheep album or something like that. They at least would have a couple of different breaks and the samples would change, but now, if you listen a lot of people's stuff and its just one break. Premier is the master of having one simple minimal break. But I enjoy the changing….

How long does it usually take you to write a song? Do you write when you are inspired or when you have a nice beat?

Its one of these creative things where sometimes it just comes to you real fast and I can sit down and listen to the beat for the first time and write it, or other time it will take weeks and weeks. And sometimes I'm so hard on myself that I would be challenged with this incredible beat, and I will write five or six different songs to it. And the styles are completely different, but I'm not just happy with them. I don't know if I should start dropping some of those versions, just to have reference.
I'm crumpling so much stuff and its not working with me and a lot of times on some of these beats, especially lately that its been so good that I just have to really step up and I can't tell you of how many ways I tried to come on a one track.

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