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Kansas City's funked out emcee Approach talked to Todd E Jones.

While every emcee has a niche or style, some emcees truly stand out from the crowd while paying homage to their influences. Hailing from Kansas City, Approach is an emcee deep-rooted in funk and old school hip-hop. Approaching the industry in his own way, he makes a point to keep his life and music productive and positive without a big name Kansas City brother to live up to. He is forging is own way and the hip-hop nation will soon see that he can make a name for himself and put his city on the map. His solo debut album '€œUltra Proteus'€ (released on Coup D'€™etat / Datura Records) is filled with funk-heavy grooves and 70'€™s style old-school party vibes. Mainly produced by Approach, '€œUltra Proteus'€ is not littered with gun references, stories of jail, or violence. Approach makes feel good music. While party music is dismissed as commercial or lacking substance, Approach'€™s beats and rhymes are soulful and from the heart. To keep things interesting, Approach has added remixes from Oh No, Automato, Rondo Brothers, and more at the end of the LP. With the old school vibe and flows of Jurassic 5, the breath control of Lyrics Born, and slickness of Digable Planets, and the funk roots of Dr. Dre, Approach has created his own unique style.

T.JONES: "What goes on?"
APPROACH: '€œChillin' man! Just working on some new music for open-minded listeners.'€

T.JONES: "Your solo album is called 'Ultra Proteus'. Tell us about it.
Who is on it? Who produced it?"
APPROACH: '€œIt's just some raw Kansas City funk! I wanted to make it sound like an old 45 you might find in you local thrift store or record spot. I have some talented guests on the project like Mac Lethal, Lisa
Donnelly, Joe Good, ID, Oh No and a lot of live musicians. It's was produced by my partner Been and Myself. That was for a reason. I wanted you to get a chance to meet me and get to know where I'm coming from and where I'm going.'€

T.JONES: "What is the meaning behind the title 'Ultra Proteus'?"
APPROACH: '€œIt's a play on words. It's a MIDI program I used in college and I thought it might fit with my name well ( Approach/Ultra Pro/Ultra Proteus ). Ya Dig? It just sounds big and lively an that's the vibe of the record.'€

T.JONES: "Why and how did you hook up with Coup D'Etat and Datura Records?"
APPROACH: '€œI met Brent, the President of Datura, right before his Senior year in college. We had a lot in common and when he started the label he asked me to co-own. We he finished school and moved to Kansas and we put out my original Ultra Proteus E.P.. My homeboy Nick G in New York heard the E.P. and passed it on to the folks at Coup D'etat. An we've been rocking every since.'€

T.JONES: "Do you have a favorite song on the album?"
APPROACH: '€œThe Opus and The Funk Reaction. The Opus just has a sick beat and my man Been made that joint in 20minutes 6 years ago. '€˜Funk Reaction'€™ was the first song I produced that felt complete. I knew when I finished it that it was done. I didn't ever
really get that feeling back it those days.'€

T.JONES: "What song took you the longest to do? Why? The shortest? Why?"
APPROACH: '€œThe song '€˜Alright'€™. It just had to go thru a few different face lifts before it was done. I was trying to set a mood and I think we caught it. '€˜Yeah'€™ was the shortest. I knocked that out in one take, on the first try. That's rare for me.'€

T.JONES: "What was it like growing up in Kansas City? How is it different from other places?"
APPROACH: '€œI grew up in Overland Park, which is a working class suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. It was just a lot of hard working folks
busting their tails to get by. I love Kansas City. It's got it's own style, pace, and heart. Artists are free there to what they want to do and we can do it how we want to it. Stuff is still new here, so the creativity is at an all-time high.'€

T.JONES: "When making hip-hop songs, do you go into the studio with pre-written rhymes, lyrics, and themes or do you hear the beat first and write then and there?"
APPROACH: '€œI set-up the album or EP first. I mean, I name the project, pick the beats, make the arrangements, and then, write the rhymes.'€

T.JONES: "You did a majority of the production on '€˜Ultra Proteus'€™. Was this intentional?"
APPROACH: '€œYeah! There was a vibe that I wanted convey. At the time, I felt I was the only one, except for Been, who understood when this was heading.'€

T.JONES: "Do you have a specific creative process when you produce a track? If so, what is it?"
APPROACH: '€œI just turn the M.P. on and go to work. I let my heart, head, and hands do the talking.'€

T.JONES: "Do you have a favorite drum machine or sampler?"
APPROACH: '€œM.P.C. 2000 or 2000 XL.'€

T.JONES: "Can you expand on the song 'Al Japro'? What does it mean?"
APPROACH: '€œI dig the jazz singer Al Jarreau and I wanted to slide his name into mine. It was another play on words and I thought it sounded ill so I ran with it.'€

T.JONES: "Oh No did a remix of '€˜Al Japro'€™. How did this happen? Did you meet him in person or was it done separately? What did you think of the remix?"
APPROACH: '€œI just contacted Egon at Stones Throw and he hooked me up. We've never met in person but it still came out fresh. We are also working on an album, so stay tuned. It was amazing for that cat to lace me like that and not even know me. Crazy! Super dope!'€

T.JONES: "At the end of the CD, there are many remixes .Which one is your favorite? Why?"
APPROACH: '€œNezbeat'€™s remix of '€˜Ultra Proteus'€™ is my favorite. It's my roommate and my homeboy. It was the first remix for the album. It's special.'€

T.JONES: "What is your favorite part of your live show?"
APPROACH: '€œThe energy Sku and I have. We build such a strong bond with the crowd. It's almost explosive.'€

T.JONES: "How has your live show evolved?"
APPROACH: '€œIt's becoming more interactive. It used to be all energy but now, we have built something more theatrical.'€

T.JONES: "When did you first begin rhyming?"
APPROACH: '€œLike 1997.'€

T.JONES: "What song made you fall in love with hip-hop?"
APPROACH: '€œ'€˜Catch a Bad One'€™ by Del the Funky Homosapian.'€

T.JONES: "How did you get the name Approach? What does it mean?"
APPROACH: '€œI got it off a math book. I just thought Approach is a good way to swing it. It's all in how you go about it and I approach things in a very positive and productive manner.'€

T.JONES: "What emcee/group would you like to collaborate with in the future?"
APPROACH: '€œSouls Of Mischief.'€

T.JONES: "What producer would you like to collaborate with in the
APPROACH: '€œJ Dilla. He's the greatest of all-time. He is the Ali of production. The man is a very, very gifted musician.'€

T.JONES: "What are the 3 best things about living in Kansas?"
APPROACH: '€œThe weather, the people, and the music. The weather because we get all 4 seasons. The people because the honest and hard working. The music because it's so diverse. It's hella original.'€

T.JONES: "What was your childhood like? What kid of kid were you?"
APPROACH: '€œI was a sports cat. A funny kid who loved the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bulls. A music lover from the beginning!'€

T.JONES: "What was the lowest or dirtiest thing you ever did for money?"
APPROACH: '€œNo comment!'€

T.JONES: "What has been in your CD player or on your turntable recently?"
APPROACH: '€œMos Def man! That brother is just amazing to me. I can't get enough. The Hieroglyphics are always in my CD player. They never ever come out.'€

T.JONES: "What was the last incident of racism you experienced?"
APPROACH: '€œOnce a week, I get a stared at or someone grabs their purse or their child and pulls them to the other side. I live in Kansas, man. It's hella cool and open-minded but it still has a lot of developing left to do.'€

T.JONES: "Abortion - pro-choice or pro-life?"
APPROACH: '€œPro-life but the decision is up to the couple and the situation.'€

T.JONES: "Death Penalty - For or against?"
APPROACH: '€œIt varies. I am not God or God-like, so I can't put a value on another'€™s life.'€

T.JONES "Where were you on Sept. 11th (The World Trade Center Terrorist Attack)? How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected music?"
APPROACH: '€œI was asleep at my Mom'€™s house. I was shocked and really uneasy. It's all Karma, so it made me stay focused and keep the positive messages coming. I have always believed that when someone is at the most comfortable point, it's the best time to strike. So, I always have my eyes and ears open.'€

T.JONES: "What collaboration are you most proud of?"
APPROACH: '€œAny and everything I do with Mac Lethal. It just comes so naturally and we vibe very well.'€

T.JONES: "Some people label you as an old-school rapper? What do you think of that?"
APPROACH: '€œI am just a reflection of what I think is fly. They can call it whatever they please but trust me, I will surprise you!'€

T.JONES: "Word association time. I'm going to say a name of a person and you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say 'Chuck D', you may say 'Revolution'. Okay?"

T.JONES: "Declaime."
APPROACH: '€œIllmind.'€

T.JONES: "Grand Agent."
APPROACH: '€œPresence.'€

T.JONES: "Eminem."
APPROACH: '€œFree.'€

T.JONES: "Jay-Z."
APPROACH: '€œCharming.'€

T.JONES: "Dead Prez."
APPROACH: '€œSoldiers.'€

T.JONES: "Jurassic 5."
APPROACH: '€œHarmony.'€

T.JONES: "C Rayz Walz."
APPROACH: '€œJazz.'€

T.JONES: "Del The Funky Homosapian."
APPROACH: '€œLegend.'€

T.JONES: "Common."
APPROACH: '€œSoulful.'€

T.JONES: "George Bush."
APPROACH: '€œThat's too easy. No Comment! They'€™re watching.'€

T.JONES: "What do you think hip-hop or music (in general) needs these days?"
APPROACH: '€œMore freedom for the artist. Don't be scared. Take chances.'€

T.JONES: "What is the biggest mistake that you made in your career?"
APPROACH: '€œBeing lazy. I was to patient for awhile but I have it under control now.'€

T.JONES: "How are European audiences different from U.S. audiences?"
APPROACH: '€œThey give you a chance to prove yourself. They'€™re more open to new acts and have less stigmas about progressive music.'€

T.JONES: "What are some major misconceptions that people have of you?"
APPROACH: '€œThat all I do is funk music. It's just one small piece of the puzzle.'€

T.JONES: "If you could re-make any classic hip-hop song, what would it be?"
APPROACH '€œ'€˜Runnin' by The Pharcyde.'€

T.JONES: "Do you want to be cremated or buried?"
APPROACH: '€œCremated. Donate my organs and parts.'€

T.JONES: "What do you want on your epitaph?"
APPROACH: '€œHe Lived, loved and grew.'€

T.JONES: "What is in the future for Approach?"
APPROACH: '€œ4 new albums and a bunch of road gigs!'€

T.JONES: "What collaborations should we look out for?"
APPROACH: '€œOh No and Approach and Antique Mall with Nezbeats.'€

T.JONES: "Any final words for the people who are reading this?"
APPROACH: '€œFebruary 22, 2005. Deep Thinkers '€˜Necks Move'€™ LP in stores everywhere! Thanks, T. Jones. Peace, Brother Japro.'€

THANK YOU Approach!!!

Interview by Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet




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