| february 2002| interview
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
the song titled, "Music", was that AWOL [One] in the
Yeah, that was him.
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.
realized that you did have some songs that are fairly
old and some that are new. Is that why you have 30 songs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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….
long does it usually take you to write a song? Do you
write when you are inspired or when you have a nice
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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