Encore

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In a time when the bar on lyrical talent has seemingly been lowered through mass consumption and general apathy, Californian versifier Encore keeps his bar higher than a gold medal Olympian. His conscious content and fiery flow have won him praise in the underground, but Encore has exercised his skills of going to the top.

1. For people who may not have checked for you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from you?

Some straight gangsta shit!!! hahaha. Naw. What you can expect from me musically, is me giving as honest of an impression who I am and what I represent at that point in my life. A little bit of how I feel musically, socially, politically, and spiritually at that time. If my views or feelings are somehow altered, I try my best to explain what's changed and why.

2. Are you pleased with the response you have received so far?

I would say so. Yeah. I like any response as long as it's genuine and honest - good or bad. The fact that I'm getting very honest feedback that just happens to be positive is a bonus.

3. How do you go about creating a track? Do you all sit down and discuss things, or does one of you just come up with a beat and run from there?

For the most part, I listen to music and let it tell me what to do. How to bust on the track, what to talk about. I work on albums a completely different way than I would working on a single. I can't sit around in a room and write songs like that - for an album especially.
I have to go in the car and drive with the music. 95% of songs I come up with in my head and I don't write. I say 95 because there are times where someone may need a 16-bar here or there that I may have to try and come up with ASAP. It's crazy when I talk to other cats about this because dudes acting like I'm lying or bragging because Jay-Z apparantly does the same thing. I wish I could write it in the studio. It takes me longer to craft songs the way I do. But I'm much more satisfied with the delivery than I would be if I read it off paper.

I was recently in the studio recording and putting down a quick verse and reading it off paper. And dudes were like, "AHA!!! I caught you. I knew you wrote your shit down." So I say 95% of the time. Any of my own songs, I didn't write.

4. Who would you like to collaborate that you haven't yet, whether it be HipHop, Rock, or any other form of music?

The key for me is I like a ton of different people, but I'd have to find the person that really fits me and my talents. That's the problem with some collaborations. they just don't fit all the time. ya know? But I would like to work with Jay Dee, rakim, Tweet, Kanye West, Sly Stone, Stevie wonder, Premo, Lewis Taylor, James Poyser, Lauryn Hill, Robin Thicke, man so many others.

5. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a HipHop artist?

I got into it on some: "I'm mad at the state of Hip Hop right now" shit. haha. I mean I always rapped. But I took it serious in '91 - right out of high school. I don't know what the hell I was mad about. I liked everything that was out at that time. hahhah. I guess it was my calling.

6. What did you went through to get your music released?

I went through not understanding what being an independant artist was all about. Not understanding that you have a lot more business since to be successful than you do on a major. A lot of lies. having to decide between losing a job to pursue a dream that more than likely will not be fulfilled.

7. How do you separate yourself from other HipHop artists?

I don't - but I can tell what I'm about. I speak from my heart. I speak from what I know and try to talk about what I don't know. Whether that separates me from other emcees, that is for the listener to decide.

8. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?

Layover is scheduled to be out EARLY February, (you hear that Domino? haha) and I'm already working on the next album. I'm going on tour in late september with Hieroglyphics, Little Brother, and Z-man for a month and a half. I expect to be going out again early next year too.

9. What would you like to achieve with your music and career?

I'd like to live solely off my music doing it the way I want to do it. If I want rap about panda bears and shit, I want it to be because that was my choice. Music makes me happy. The minute it's stops making me happy, I'm done.

10. What artists are you listening to at the minute?

I'm still bumping that Tweet album. Lewis Taylor Stoned pt. 1, Freeway's album, MF Doom, my man Turbin's unreleased album, Hieroglyphics album, Abbey Road, Donny Hathaway Live, Robin Thicke's album, Fela Kuti, Nas' Lost Tapes, Donnie Welcome To The Colored Section, Kenna, my man Nate Thomas (Neisan) unreleased stuff. He's on my album. He's got a group out of Brooklyn... Fire! I'm really all over the place with my music right now.

11. What is your opinion of today's HipHop scene?

It's alive and well. You've got good and wack shit - just like it's always been. If it's shit out there that you don't like, make something better period.

12. Al Gore stated that the current president G. Bush is the biggest problem the United States of America has. What is your opinion about the current situation and the war against Iraq?

What war? This is not a war. This is a mugging. My opinion of the war has more to do with the reaction of the people in America. I mean we have truly been out-and-out lied to, and it's really not bothering us as a whole like you would expect.

I mean, even I am not doing more than just saying it. But think about it - you're asking me a question and I'm answering it. We know the government lied. We have "good feeling" they lie alot. But NOW it's pretty obvious they've lied again, and now what? No action. NO SUBSTANTIAL action I should say. It's pretty disturbing.

13. The Austrian-born bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor in California. He is well known because of his movies like "Terminator" but the question is can he also be a governor with major responsibilities? What do you think about this subject?

I don't know. He appears to super conservative when it comes to paper. but on social issues he's pretty liberal. My gut feeling is dude isn't even a decent actor, how the fuck is he going to be a governor.

14. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com's visitors?

Yes. Peace, education and music, ya'll. Live it and love.

For more on Encore check out:
http://www.hieroglyphics.com

Biography

In a time when the bar on lyrical talent has seemingly been lowered through mass consumption and general apathy, Californian versifier Encore keeps his bar higher than a gold medal Olympian. His conscious content and fiery flow have won him praise in the underground, but Encore has exercised his skills in assurance of going to the top in 2003.

Born in Palo Alto and raised in Milpitas, Encore enjoyed b-boying and reveled in getting his hands on the hottest new Hip Hop music as a teen. Although he dabbled in writing raps with his friends, it was not until Main Source released their classic album Breakin? Atoms in 1990 that Encore had the epiphany to take emceeing seriously. "Everybody rapped, but nobody around my way was really rapping," he says. "I couldn?t consider myself an emcee until after Breakin Atoms - that?s when I was like ?this is what I want to do - this is the real shit."

The initial connection in developing his sound was with long time friend Architect. The duo grew together in creating a unique musical vibe that bonded them for life, and the hard work began to show in both Encore?s rhymes and Architect?s production. Encore?s first big recording break came after he met producer Peanut Butter Wolf through a mutual high school friend, Charisma, who later passed away. After Charisma?s death, the two mourning friends made some songs together, and the single "Think Twice" was included on PB Wolf?s 1995 debut EP Step On Our Egos. The project was released independently on South Paw Records, and spawned Wolf?s own Stones Throw label.

Encore released "The Essence" single on Stones Throw in 1997, and in that same time frame met eclectic producer/deejay Dan The Automator, who beckoned the budding emcee to sign with his future 75 Ark label. After a string of 12" singles and guest appearances, including work with Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Rasco, and Pep Love, Encore recorded the acclaimed song "Waterworld" for Prince Paul and Dan the Automator?s 1999 Handsome Boy Modeling School on Tommy Boy Records.

To the delight of music critics and fans alike, in 2000 Encore released his debut solo album Self Preservation on 75 Ark. Intense delivery and masterful rhyme style gave life to the honest presentation of his personal life experiences. Encore?s ability to project the energy of a battle into any tale gave the collection of songs a credibility that most emcees ache to achieve. Architect produced the majority of the album, and the synergy of the two was undeniable. In addition to garnering consistently positive reviews, Self Preservation was ranked #5 in Amazon.com?s Top Ten Hip Hop Albums for the year 2000.

Encore has experienced shifts in perspective about his career since he first picked up the mic. Adoring critics have attempted to define his lyrical style, and tout him as one of the top Bay Area artists, yet the ever-evolving emcee does not accept being boxed in to stereotypes of underground sound or regional flavor. Encore keeps his finger on the pulse of the Hip Hop nation and allows a soulful flow of influence into his repertoire. Even still, he is a leader and innovator in developing his lyrical abilities. "Of course I?ve been affected by different trends," he explains, "but no matter what the trends are I?m still gonna be me. There?s a difference in being influenced by a trend and succumbing to it."

2003 has already been a busy year for Encore, with most of his energy devoted to his next album, Layover, slated for a fall release on the Hieroglyphics label. With production from Seattle beat visionaries Jake One and Vitamin D and more quality work from Architect, Encore?s music has progressed to a new level. Layover provides layers of bouncing funk blended with grinding basslines and catchy hooks - certain to excite the club heads as well as the laid back head-nodders.

The new album is representative of Encore?s current mentality about his music. "Layover is the concept of me waiting for my ?flight? out of this bullshit we call ?underground," he asserts. "The concept of underground wasn't meant to just put out sub par buck-the-system bullshit. It was to put cats on who had talent that the system wasn't trying to fuck with. The underground was for independently talented cats. Now it's got a bad name because it's associated with not making complete songs, and making shit that is going out of it's way to sound unpolished."

Encore?s optimistic vision of the future shines through in his music. His persistence in balancing art with professionalism has helped him hone his craft, leaving little room for doubt that Layover will fly high with the masses. "I don?t make music to be a good Bay Area record, or just to make a good rap record for that matter. I?m trying to make a good record, period."

Comments

For all who havenot checked out Encore you don't know what you are missing. Maybe you are thinking "well his first album "Self Preservation" is kind of old, I think I will wait till his new album drops". Please don't because his first album has some real dope tracks on it like "Love and Hate", "Situation" ft Pep Love, etc..

I would like to thank Encore for taking the time to do this interview. Respect! I also would like to thank Dove for setting this interview up.

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