Vast Aire

Vast Aire (of Cannibal Ox) released his debut solo album "Look Mom No Hands". Todd E Jones interviews him!

All true and original hip-hop artists evolve and change. Vast Aire was originally known as '½ of Cannibal Ox. Along with Vordal, the duo released the classic '€œThe Cold Vein'€ LP, produced entirely by El-P. Released on Definitive Jux, Cannibal Ox was considered an underground group with a futuristic/ apocalyptic style that went over many people'€™s heads. With collaborations with C Rayz Walz, El-P, LifeLong and many others, Vast Aire was gaining intense respect in the hip-hop community. Vast is also a member of Atoms Family (consisting of Cryptic One, Alaska, Vordul Megilah, Vast Aire, PAWL, Jestoneart, Windenbreeze, and Cip One) and The Weathermen (consisting of Cage, El-P, Tame One, Copywrite, Breezly Brewin, Yak Ballz, Camu Tao and Jakki Da Motamouth). On the Def Jux documentary '€œRevenge of the Robots'€ DVD, there is a major section about his song '€œPigeon'€ and how he struggles in his day to day life. At one time, Vast was the hype man for El-P and by 2004, he has released multiple albums and have gained worldwide exposure and respect. While some may dismiss his slow way of speaking, true fans truly take in what he is saying and understand his brilliant lyrics. In 2004, Vast Aire released his debut solo album '€œLook Mom'€¦ No Hands'€ on Chocolate Industries. Fans who were expecting hard, futuristic, apocalyptic music were surprised. Vast Aire considers his debut solo album like a Dolomite movie. There is a serious groove to it that will move the bodies of the most stationary listeners. While he does hold true to the boom-bap culture and philosophy, the beats and themes are diverse, hungry, and innovative. Vast Aire is truly vast in his mind and his art. '€œLook Mom'€¦ No Hands'€ has production by Camu Tao, Blueprint, Da Beatminerz, Rjd2, and more. Guests include Sadat X, MF Doom, Breezly Brewin, Aesop Rock, Poison Pen, and more. '€œ9 Lashes'€ is a harsh battle track that disses 7L & Esoteric. '€œElixir'€, featuring Sadat X, sounds like a party joint at first but the track is lyrically deep. While there are a few catchy tracks, the LP truly consists of incredible rapping, wild lyrics, and innovative flows. Vast Aire is the future. While he has been around for a while, he is one of the true heirs to the boom-bap.


T.JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œJust working hard, man. I was on tour with Brother Ali and we were opening for Gza/Genius on the West Coast. We had a lot of fun doing that. I'€™m promoting the album. It'€™s grind time. I call it grind time taxing.'€

T.JONES: '€œTell us about your first solo album, '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™. How is it different from Cannibal Ox '€˜The Cold Vein'€™?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œThis is my first solo album. I approach all my albums pretty much the same way. The Atoms Fam album came out called '€˜The Prequel'€™, which Method Man is using right now! (laughs). That album consisted of other people and I played my role on that album. Then, me and Vordal, being one of the 8, we got up with El-P and did '€˜Cold Vein'€™. We had fun. I had a lot of fun being in a duo. When I was younger, I started in a trio. Then, I ended up becoming a soloist that was in a crew of people. Atoms Family and me were learning how to do songs. Vordal and I were finding ourselves. Our styles clicked.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have a favorite song on '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œProbably the song '€˜Whyistheskyblue?'€™. Right now, it is one of my favorites.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen you do a song, do you come into the studio with pre-written lyrics or a theme in mind or do you hear the beat first and write then and there in the studio, from the beat?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œIt depends. It can happen either way. Sometimes, someone comes to me and they thought about me when they made the beat. I'€™ll take it and if I like it, I'€™ll make something with it. Sometimes, I'€™m spitting a rhyme to the producer. From them hearing the rhyme, they go someplace with the beat. It'€™s pretty much either way. It'€™s most likely that I hear the beat first and I make something around it, where I'€™m vibing. It can go either way.'€

T.JONES: '€œFor those who don'€™t know, could you explain your name Vast Aire?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI guess it means mad styles. I think it means a lot of attitude. Vast Aire. I have a very wordy type of style. Vast was given to me by a friend of mine I went to school with and the Aire pretty much came from me bring a junior. My name is Theodore Arrington II. I used to spell it proper. H-E-I-R. But, in the past couple of years, I switched it to A-I-R-E.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did you hook up with El-P and get signed to Definitive Jux?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œHim and Vordal got real close back in 1995 or 96. I had known Breezly Brewin. I got in tight with Brewin and Vordal got in good with El. Our relationships flourished.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow is El-P'€™s production style and process different from the other producers you have worked with?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI don'€™t know, really. I have a weird taste. He is just one of those producers who fit my taste. Sometimes, I just like a certain vibe and El is real good at letting off this grimy, metallic, futuristic vibe. I like to look at it as a futuristic thing or honest sound. I like how he manipulates sounds. He is good at what he does.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the favorite part of your live show?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI think my favorite part of any show is when the crowd is vibing. Some crowds are easy because they know you. Some crowds are just getting to know you. Some crowds don'€™t know you at all. I love taming a crowd that swore they were going to hate me. That is probably my favorite part. I have a live DJ on stage. I don'€™t play that DAT sh*t. I don'€™t play that CD sh*t. I'€™m running vinyl like I'€™m the last cat. I just come with that raw Run DMC vibe.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some songs that made you fall in love with hip-hop?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œAh, man! Damn! My brain is in the matrix right now! Off the head, I would say '€˜Nightmares'€™ by Dana Dane. I swear to God, I think that is the reason I started rhyming. I was thinking about it a couple of months ago. I think I first heard Dana Dane'€™s '€˜Nightmares'€™ when I was in The Bronx. I'€™m from Uptown and sh*t. I couldn'€™t believe it. I was like '€˜What is this?'€™ It had so much attitude. I'€™m all about attitude and flair. You had to respect hip-hop when '€˜Nightmares'€™ came out. It was showing you that hip-hop was not over and we had a long road ahead of us. Of course, '€˜I Ain'€™t No Joke'€™ and '€˜Microphone Fiend'€™ by Rakim too.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat did you think of the remake of '€˜I Ain'€™t No Joke'€™ by Buckshot of Black Moon and Boot Camp Clik?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œYeah, man. He did his thing from his angle. I definitely enjoyed that.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat emcee would you like to collaborate with in the future?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œThere'€™s a lot, man. I would love to do a song with Ghostface Killah. I love his new album, '€˜The Pretty Toney Album'€™. I would love to do a song with Kanye West. Outkast is another group. There are many different people. Non-Phixion too. I would like to work with them.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat producers would you like to collaborate with in the future?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œProbably DJ Premier, Havoc from Mobb Deep. Definitely, Alchemist and Kanye West. I would love to do something with Rza.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are the 3 best things about living in New York City?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œ#1 is 24 hour transportation. I don'€™t care what time it is, something is running whether it is a bus, a train, or a cab. You can get the f*ck home. When you are in a city and people start sweating because it is 2 AM and they know that they cannot get anywhere until 7 AM, that'€™s real pathetic. #2 is that New York never sleeps. You can catch a movie or go to a good diner. It is a city that does not sleep. You can have a good meal at 4:30 in the morning with your friends. The third best thing is the culture. New York City is a city that literally reps America. If you are a race, you are in New York. Food, language, and opportunities are there.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you during September 11th terrorist attack? How did you deal with it?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI was in Canada at the time. I was on tour and I dealt with it as good as anyone could deal with it. I basically had to sit and wait to see what was going to happen. Personally, if you were watching it from a hotel room in Canada, you would have thought it was the end of the world. There is no way you could show me the Pentagon and New York on fire and tell me it is not the end of the world. I was just praying that my little sister was not on her field trip downtown. She lives uptown. I was hoping she was away from the madness. A couple of my friends almost died. It'€™s real, man. At the same time, I hate to say it, but we had it coming. That type of thing goes on in other countries every 3 months and we are at the Super Bowl going '€˜Yeah!'€™. It was a wake up call.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the last incident of racism that you experienced?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œWow! That is real funny you asked me that! I would say 2 weeks ago. I was on tour with Brother Ali in San Francisco. Me and Ali opened up for Genius and it was a real good show. The vibe was great and everything was good. I was chilling and talking to some chicks when this dude walks by and says '€˜You Black *sshole!'€™ His friend is grabbing his shoulder and pushing him. I looked to the left and there were cops right there. So, I am thing this'€¦ if I make a move, it'€™s going to look bad. I think that was his intention because I was talking to a girl that he likes. I guess jealousy led to racism. If I'€™m such a '€˜Black bastard'€™, than why are you at my show? Why are you at a Genius of Wu-Tang, and Vast Aire show? Also, why are you at a Brother Ali show? Brother Ali is Black but he is an albino! Why are you at our show? There'€™s going to be Black *ssholes all around here. (laughs!). I was just a Black *sshole for those 5 minutes.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was your childhood like? What kind of kid were you?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI was pretty much an open-minded kid. I liked G.I. Joe. I liked Transformers. I liked water balloons and all that.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was the lowest or dirtiest thing you ever did for money?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œWow! I haven'€™t done anything foul for money. Money hasn'€™t corrupted my soul yet.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat have been in your CD player or on your tape deck recently?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI have a 50 CD holder so there is a pretty huge genre from reggae to hip-hop to old soul classics.'€

T.JONES: '€œSadat X (of Brand Nubian) is one of my favorite emcees. He is on '€˜Elixer'€™. How did you hook up with him and what was that collaboration like?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œHe is an incredible dude. He actually did a song with my friends from Atoms Fam. He did a song with Hanger 18. From him getting up with them is how I got up with him. He knew the music. He was real cool with the vibe and all that. I asked him to be a part of '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™ and he was down. I let him hear the Ayatollah beat and he was open. We just freaked it.'€

T.JONES: '€œWord association. I am going to say an emcee or name of a group and you tell me the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say '€˜Chuck D'€™, you may say '€˜revolutionary'€™. Ok?'€

T.JONES: '€œC Rayz Walz.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œCrazy walls.'€

T.JONES: '€œMF Doom.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œA genius.'€

T.JONES: '€œCurtis Mayfield.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œVintage.'€

T.JONES: '€œEl-P.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œChaotic.'€

T.JONES: '€œPhife Dawg.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œ5 feet.'€

T.JONES: '€œEminem.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œTalented.'€

T.JONES: '€œJay-Z.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œOne of the best.'€

T.JONES: '€œGil Scott-Heron.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œStrong.'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œ*sshole.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat do you think of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI'€™m into conspiracy theories. You can'€™t ask me about the government because I just think they are *ssholes. It'€™s just one of those things that is just in your face. You can'€™t do anything. They will do what they want. It is supposedly a free country but it is truly not. When my president gets on TV and speaks on behalf of the country that did not want him to win, it is a joke. As a president, he does not represent Vast Aire. He may represent your state and patriotic, blind lunatics. He does not represent my people or my culture. I am African and Indian, so I'€™m very bitter with The United States. As an African, I hate you. As a Cherokee, I hate you. It'€™s pretty foul. This is pretty much America. I'€™m going to come up in your house, kill your family, put up new pictures, set up new furniture, give you the basement, and then, tell you '€˜I'€™m sorry.'€™ You get the shed. After all of that, you are left with the shed and there is nothing you can do. That is how I look at America. They'€™ll do something and then they will say '€˜sorry'€™ for about 3 days. Then, they will sweep it under the rug. Look what they did to Asians. They are in that whole World War. You are at war with Japan, so you group up every Asian in America and put them in horse stalls somewhere in Texas! This is the most free country, so '€˜Okay!'€™ I tell everybody, '€˜Kiss your girl, blast your favorite song, and have a cheeseburger because tomorrow, it will all be gone'€™. We will be in some Mad Max sh*t over gold and oil. It will be like Tina Turner and Mel Gibson over gold and black gold. It is pathetic. We could have been using electric cars and solar powered toothbrushes. The powers that be and the dynasties are involved. The leader of the metal industry is going to marry the leader of the plastic industry. These groups are not trying to lose their power. It is going to be this way until it falls. I do not see this utopian, peaceful, compassionate world. I see this world just burning out until it is done.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is hip-hop music lacking these days? What does hip-hop need?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œTo be honest, hip-hop needs Jay-Z. I don'€™t know why he'€™s leaving right now. Hip-hop needs raw, honest, grimy musicians who are not afraid to take chances and be honest. I love '€˜Rapper'€™s Delight'€™ by Sugarhill Gang. I think it is an incredible song and it is a real song. I also think '€˜Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos'€™ by Public Enemy is hot. I think that needs to be bumped, addressed, and played just as loud as '€˜Rapper'€™s Delight'€™. You have to be honest with yourself. That is the way I always tried to be. When I am dead and gone in another 60 years, I just want people to peep my catalogue. I want them to peep my honesty and the rawness of a New York kid who had half a mind.'€

T.JONES: '€œIf you could re-make any classic hip-hop song, what would it be?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œMan, don'€™t even go there. But, since you are going there, I would re-make 2 joints. I would re-make '€˜Protect Ya Neck'€™ by Wu-Tang Clan. I'€™m surrounded by so much craziness. Between Atoms Fam and The Weathermen, I'€™m surrounded by so many voices and talent. I would re-make that 9 man song '€˜Protect Ya Neck'€™. If it was me alone, I would re-make '€˜It Ain'€™t Hard To Tell'€™ by Nas.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some major misconceptions that people have of Vast Aire?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œOh, God! A huge misconception people have of me is that I think like them. Whatever '€˜them'€™ is. They could be as broad as a fundamentalist, like anti-living. Imagine there is someone who is against living and they hate everything but somehow, they love my music. I'€™m not as hateful as some of my fans. I practice Akido. I'€™m into Zen. I'€™m into balance. I'€™m not really caught up in stuff that I said earlier. I think that there is a place for '€˜Rapper'€™s Delight'€™ and '€˜Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos'€™. That is what I grew up on. I did not grow up with just one of them. You know what I mean? I feel that some of my fans may be a little closed minded. They may think I rep something for them, when actually, I'€™m just speaking for myself. I'€™m not asking you to go left or right. I'€™m telling you to stand for a direction. I'€™m not trying to point you anywhere. I'€™m trying to get you to think about going somewhere.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe album '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™ did not come out on Definitive Jux. It came out on Chocolate Industries. Why?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œIt came out on Chocolate Industries because I was pretty much in a bidding war with a few labels. Chocolate Industries won. That'€™s pretty much what happened.'€

T.JONES: '€œI heard there is an issue with your website.'€
VAST AIRE: '€œMy website is www.vast-aire.com There is a fake one out there that was confusing people.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you like one LP more than the other?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI love '€˜The Cold Vein'€™ and I love '€˜Look Mom Both Hands'€™, but for different reasons. '€˜The Cold Vein'€™ is like a real good Star Wars movie. '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™ is like a real good Dolomite movie. They both have their own place. I had a lot of fun working with the musicians I worked with. We all love and respect each other. That'€™s what it is about.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is after '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œBasically, a lot of beautiful music and a lot of craziness. Vordal and I are working on a project right now called '€˜Cipher Unknown'€™. It is an EP of music that we have been putting together over the years. Some of it consists of remixes while other parts of it consists of new music. Some of it is stuff that never got put out. That'€™s a real hot project. Me and my man, Karniege, who is on the album, he is also on Def Jux 3 '€˜Make News'€™. I'€™m doing a project with him. We make beats together. We also rhyme together. He is my hype-man too. I'€™m doing a project with him called '€˜Mighty Joseph'€™. There is an Atoms Fam album. We are finally coming back together to form Voltron. That album is crazy. We are in the beginning stages of that. Weathermen are working on a project right now. We are trying to figure out which voices go together. There'€™s just a lot of work right now. I stay busy. You'€™ll hear me on Ayatollah beats and J-Zone beats. There'€™s a lot of stuff going on.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat other releases do you have out now?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œI have a mix-tape out called '€˜Dirty Mag'€™. There is also a limited edition disc of me and Vordal called '€˜Speakeroxxx / The Ox Below'€™ and we bit Outkast'€™s cover. That is what I want to get across to the fans. You have to respect people'€™s growth. Vordal and I are no different from Outkast. We do the music we want to do. You either like it or you don'€™t.'€

T.JONES: '€œAny final words for the people who are going to read this?'€
VAST AIRE: '€œGo out and support real hip-hop. '€˜Look Mom No Hands'€™ is a beautiful album. It'€™s a real album. It is honest. It is raw. It'€™s just hot, man. I'€™m real proud of the album. Everyone in my crew is proud of it. Just keep your ears to the street, man. If you are a fan, keep your ears to the street and know that we will stay dropping hot music.'€



http://www.vast-aire.com

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Interview by Todd E. Jones
toddejones@yahoo.com
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Bedouin Soundclash

'€œIn North America, Reggae gets pushed to the side as hippie music. Everywhere else, it's like worker music'€¦.Blue collar, but it's everyone'€™s music. There'€™s something really powerful about reggae. I think in the future the music (Reggae) is going be considered more important."

For a fortunate number of years in the late 70'€™s and early 80'€™s, the world was blessed to be united under one music, one man, one name'€¦Bob Marley. Though we are no longer blessed with his physical presence, we will always feel his spiritual presence. It is possible however that we are in the presence of the second coming .

Jay Malinowski doesn'€™t agree with past media '€œThe White Bob Marley'€ labels. '€œI think its really stupid. Obviously I'€™m not. We'€™re just trying to do our own thing. The Police, Bob Marley, The Clash'€¦Yeah, they'€™re all influences. It's nice to be compared to people like that, but it sounds ridiculous.'€ The '€˜we'€™re'€™ Jay is referring to is the artistic formation known as Bedouin Soundclash.

As lead vocals for this Vancouver, British Columbia bred talent, Jay takes the brunt of the media comparisons. But after talking to Jay for a few minutes it was clear to me the hype and comparisons have been a bit misconstrued. If there is any shadow of similarity between Bob Marley and Bedouin Soundclash worth speaking on, it's more of a spiritual similarity than a physical likeness. Almost sounding irritated but not quite, Jay talks a little about the state of Reggae. '€œIn North America, Reggae gets pushed to the side as hippie music. Everywhere else, it's like worker music'€¦.Blue collar, but it's everyone'€™s music. There'€™s something really powerful about reggae. I think in the future the music (Reggae) is going be considered more important."

Discovered by Stomp Records during their 1st year @ Queens University,Jay Malinowski, Pat Penngelly (Drums), and Eon Sinclair (Bass) released their debut L.P. '€œRoot Fire'€. Though Root Fire (self-produced) created a slight Canadian heat wave, when it came time to record "Sounding A Mosaic"
Bedouin Soundclash, the trio chose Daryl Jennifer to sit at the helm of the controls. Most famously known for his work with NYC Punk Rock innovators, Bad Brains, Jay explained what the presence of Jennifer meant to the project. '€œIt was amazing, he really understood what we we'€™re trying to do in terms of bringing in different influences, and pushing things forward."

Often times on an artist's second release, whispers of a sophomore jinx float around. I asked Jay if this was an existing pressure during the recordings. '€œThe pressure was mainly from ourselves. We wanted to show people who were doubting; show some people in the scene who are credible, that they were wrong. I think a lot of the scene is stuck in a rut. We wanted to write a lot of things that were progressive, while staying true to the roots of the genre.'€

Progressive is just not as easy as it used to be in these the days post September 11th, 2001. It's hard to do anything without the day of infamy'€™s direct effect shading the result. According to Jay, the making of this record was no exception. '€œWe really couldn'€™t avoid the subject. Songs like '€˜Murder on the Midnight Wire'€™ look at the prospective of the Bush administration. Right after 9.11, everyone was looking for a scapegoat for the human tragedy. Unfortunately people get blamed. '€˜Criminal'€™ is the same way. They'€™re kind of accusatory(songs)

Named after the Israeli producer, Badawi'€™s 1996 LP release, Bedouin Soundclash mesh together the lines of diverse musical genres. '€œWe all came together cause we loved Reggae music. We all kind of take different avenues, then try to bring all of our other things and slip everything in.'€ With influences ranging from Bob Dylan to The Streets and back across the creative pendulum to The Specials, one would think Jay yearns to bring back a fallen influence or two. '€œJoe Strummer just so I could meet him, just 'cause I'€™m selfish. I would love to sit down for an hour with him and ask him questions. I would just love to hear his stories. He is one of the biggest influences on me as a musician."


Usually a sensitive topic amongst artists, I asked the man with the golden pipes how he would cure the wounds between consumers and distributors created by mp3'€˜s over the last few years. '€œThe only people who change things are the people who are buying it, they'€™re the ones who have the power. But I don'€™t know'€¦.maybe a resurgence of mix tapes (laughs)."

While Jay and the boys have enjoyed sharing the stage with legendary artists like The Slackers, things are not always peachy on the road. '€œThe shows keep you alive yeah, but the late nights and the early mornings'€¦(He says Questionably to himself)'€¦'€¦.. I really enjoy being in one place, and I can'€™t write when I'm on the road. I feel like I'm living hand to mouth. Being kind of homeless is really draining when you really don'€™t have a place to shut the door and say 'See ya.'€

I also asked Jay what advice does he have for those who aspire to be on the road and live the artist life. '€œBecome involved because you're passionate. It should be straight forward. Find a way to get involved. Start promoting a show of a band that you really like. Just get involved locally before thinking beyond that, and usually it all follows in time."

Sure, comparisons can be made between Jay and the severely missed fallen hero Marley. Sure, he and his band mates make some of the most invigorating Punk, Neo, Soul, Rock, HipHop, and Electro Dancehall Reggae. Sure, they'€™re popularity is spreading quicker than a brushfire on a scorching California summer day. But Jay insists the drive behind this thing called music will always be simple. '€œWe don'€™t have any one thing in particular. There's so many things. We always strongly believe people should say something different; something that hasn'€™t been said before. Stand up for what you believe in. A lot of bands out there follow what's already been said. I guess the biggest thing is if you have something to say stand up and say it."
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EdoG

All forms of creation have a previous precedent. To say music is no exception to this rule is a massive understatement. To go one step further, though a shallow (30 years) history...

All forms of creation have a previous precedent. To say music is no exception to this rule is a massive understatement. To go one step further, though a shallow (30 years) history...

Hip Hop also has a previous precedent. Now, Hip Hop theorists and historians can argue till their blue in the face about the commercialization of Hip Hop. Cases can be made for 80'€™s acts such as Run DMC, Eric B & Rakim or LL Cool J. Sheer numbers point more towards the early 90'€™s when acts such as Naughty by Nature and Dr. Dre became almost household names. It seems a rejuvenation of those times may be headed our way for 2005.

Peaking through the 2005 bullet train window of indie Hip Hop is Edo.G. Most notably remembered for his #1 (Hot Raps) single'€ I got to have it'€, and more recently for his 2001 LP '€œTruth Hurts'€, Edo.G will release his sixth album in November 2004 titled '€œMy Own Worst Enemy'€. Produced by another familiar name Pete Rock, Edo sang praises of his producer. '€œFor '€˜Truth Hurts'€™ I told him I wanted to work with him, and just do an album opposed to what everybody else had been doing.'€ Edo recalled as he relaxed at home with his 3-year-old son. '€œHe always made dope beats.'€

Since the Billboard commercialization of Hip Hop in the 90'€™s, it has become more common for an artist to spit out a release just about every year. Instead of making 3 radio singles and 18 tracks of mediocre crap, Edo.G has decided to re-visit the methods of his predecessors. '€œThe most nerve racking thing was the time it took to record the entire album it could have been done in 3 months, instead it took like two years to get to this point.'€ Edo wants to head back to the good old days, a time he refers to as the Golden Age of Hip Hop. '€œI think there was a lot of people who were doing this. A Tribe Called Quest, Grand Nubian'€¦ Myself. At that time there was so much quality instead of quantity.'€ Arguably it'€™s most often the pressure coming from the recording that pushes artists into making mediocre music. Edo didn'€™t worry about pumping out song after song. '€œNo, not at all because I know who my fans are. I'€™m kind of catering to the people who I know are going support what I do.'€ Further explaining it'€™s not always about greasy record executives and the fat cat pockets. '€œOn a independent label like Fat Beats we'€™re not even trying to reach the Jay-Z people. You got to know who you'€™re targeting. We'€™re targeting people who buy Hip Hop records. So there isn'€™t that kind of pressure. I mean I think it'€™s really upon yourself, I really feel no pressure with everyone I work with. And I try to just give my best every time.'€

Even though times have changed and Edo'€™s recording strategy has not since he entered back in 1991, I asked him if he thought his lyrical focus had changed. '€œNot too much, you grow wiser'€¦different things happen in your life. I talk about different events and situations. I am definitely elevating to a higher level.'€ But not just in the recording studio. Edo talked a bit about his recent situation. '€œI just did a tour with Masta Ace in Europe, and that was crazy. (It was) a great experience to get out on the road with Ace, he'€™s a dope performer and I definitely learned a lot from him.'€ Which brings us to the newer generation feel on this record, guest stars. Along with Masta Ace guest starring on track seven, '€œWishing'€, you'€™ll find other guest stars such as Diamond D, Krumb Snatcha and Jaysuan who is featured on one of Edo'€˜s favorite tracks on the new album, '€œJust Call My Name'€. '€œIt'€™s a rumbling beat, the bass line is really thick, and you gotta play it really loud to get the full effect. Pete was playing beats and I hadn'€™t linked up with him for 3 months and we did that joint on the spot at Unique Studios. It was a good vibe right in Times Square. You could look out the window and see all the lights in Manhattan, it was real inspiring. Jaysuan is an up and coming cat with The Kreators, that'€™s my partner right there. He'€™s got an album called '€˜Bakers Man'€˜. It'€™s coming out in 05 off Str8 Up Entertainment.'€

But its not just his peers that Edo has to thank for diverse sound and sketch. '€œI'€™m from Boston, it makes me original. We got our own accent up here.. There'€™s a lot of attention on New England right now, and I think 05 is going be a great year for us.'€ Being a lifelong resident in Roxbury, Edo'€™s landscape may have begun with his childhood influences. '€œSo many groups my mom used to play. Earth Wind and Fire, Rick James, and I remember Tina Marie, '€˜Fire and Desire'€˜. Those are just some of the main staples.'€ While we we'€™re on the subject of influences, I had to get hypothetical on Edo. I asked what artist who has passed on would he bring back to life if I could give him that power. '€œProbably 2 Pac'€¦. Just because I think he was gonna go more into a positive direction after he finished those Death Row Records. Ya know'€¦He started his own label, and I think he would have done a lot for the Hip Hop game cause he was from the hip hop era.'€

As far as the future goes, he didn'€™t hesitate when I asked him who he wanted to get into the studio with. '€œJadakiss., he'€™s dope lyrically. He does his thing on the mic all the time. Pharrell, he'€™s so creative. All his beats, they do their own thing.. Everything he does is blazed out. Pharrell we looking for you! We got some money for you (laughs).'€
As I ask all my interview victims nowadays, and am almost always disappointed in an '€œI don'€™t know man, that'€™s a tough question'€ answer, I asked Edo what remedy did he have for the Mp3 war the industry and its consumers have been fighting. For once I felt I was talking to a human and not a politician. '€œI would just make a bigger independent market. Not just hip hop but records in general. There'€™s a lot of cats out there with good indie records but no portal to put it out. A video station for indie music.'€ For more information on such a station check out www.imntv.com.

It seems as if Edo.G has more purpose and focus than most artists out there today, and he has no problem speaking on it in most of the tracks off the new album '€œMy Own Worst Enemy'€, scheduled to hit stores November 9th, 2004. Songs like track four '€œSchool'€™em'€ are perfect examples of such focus. '€œI breakaway from the norm cause its too cliché, Remain conscious of the kids, the words we say.'€ Instead of digging for the next big hit, and grabbing hold of the fans all mighty buck like a thief in the night, it seems to be more of a pure path for Edo. Digging for the next realization of his love in music and love for those fans who feel it. Looking ahead, when Edo'€™s son Khamari is running for President of the United States, and people look back on his pop'€™s career, he doesn'€™t ask for much. '€œI just want people to think I made good records and didn'€™t conform to what was really popular. That I just tried to make good hip-hop music that stands the test of time. I want my music to be played a thousand years from now.'€
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