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Big Herk Interview

September 2, 2009

HERKresizeShady Detroit politics have been making the news for quite a while, as new corruptions are exposed. But Westside Detroiter Big Herk has been highlighting the griminess of the city lying outside his door for two decades. His real life accounts from the streets have become infamous within his music and he’s holding nothing back. Since taking the solo route after working with Rock Bottom for years, Big Herk has dropped one solo album and several mixtapes. While enjoying the buzz from his Got’Cha Back Entertainment label’s (click here) Playtime’s Over Vol. 1 mixtape, he’s preparing to keep rap fans addicted with his second solo album, Overdose. It’s only right that MichiganHipHop.com talks with one of the pioneers of Detroit underground music about the importance of versatility, what it takes for new artists to impress him, and the bizarre chain of events that has prevented Overdose from being completed already.

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Chuck Inglish (of The Cool Kids) Interview

August 19, 2009
The Cool Kids may have easily digestible lyrics, trunk-rattling beats, and loud clothing, but don’t let that fool you: they’re as indie-minded as anyone without a deal. The duo of Chicago’s Mikey Rocks and Mount Clemons, Ill. emcee/producer Chuck Inglish made their own buzz, and have avoided the pitfalls of major label politics by avoiding major labels altogether. They haven’t avoided major label type success though, as The Cool Kids have rode their brand of fun, nostalgic hip-hop to a loyal fan base, and advertisement/placement deals with video games, TV shows and brands such as NBA 2K9, Entourage and Rhapsody. To help get fans ready for the Cool Kids’ show with Clipse and Big Sean at Saint Andrews this Sunday, August 23, Chuck Inglish chopped it up with MichiganHipHop about how staying true to yourself can pay dividends.
You guys don’t come out with material very often, but whenever you do, it always pops. What inspired that “quality over quantity” approach your music?
Why wouldn’t you? When is quantity over quality ever a good situation? Would you rather have a lot of bad shitty food, or would you rather have a little bit of good food? I would always take the latter, just because it’s better. No one wants to recycle…people get over shit fast. I know I do, so I treat my music like I would want to listen to it. If I wasn’t us, and I liked our music, I wouldn’t like us to come out all the time with some bullshit. I would rather us wait till we have something that was cohesive together and makes sense, so nobody can go back and say that we did anything lackluster.
Will you have another mixtape before your album?
Nah, we’re done with mixtapes for a minute. Mixtapes will be way out of style before we come back with one of those. …On That’s Stupid, I really didn’t make any original beats for that, I just chopped up some samples. So that was just six songs sampling, in case you wanted to hear something for the summer. Gone Fishin’ was an album, just because we didn’t want to go through the situations you have to go through in order to put a record out the regular way. It’s a headache to put out a real album, and people don’t know that. … The advantages of the Internet and the people we connect to through the Internet, it was just easy to go about that.
We got up with Don because we had all became pretty good friends over the past couple months prior to doing the mixtape. It wasn’t, “Let’s get up with Don Cannon to do a mixtape.” It was, “Let’s do something, since we know each other and we want to put something out.” The next couple things you hear will be records from us. When the industry people figure out what they want to do, we’ll still be doing old school shit. We’ll put out the CDs, vinyl, and whatever people want to listen to.
Why the album title, When Fish Ride Bicycles?
Um, no real reason, man. We were watching TV, I think it was a Fresh Prince episode. I don’t remember what happened; I think it was when Carlton was trying to go to the Playboy Mansion, and Uncle Phil told him he could go when fish ride bicycles. [laughs] We were like, “All right. Let’s call our album that.” Shit kind of makes sense.
It’s cool, and I’m glad people don’t take offense to it. But our shit, we don’t make it for everyone else. The majority of it is inside jokes to us. When we’re rapping, half the shit we’re talking about, we’re just talking to each other. It’s just cool that people are entertained by it. I never thought any really good music was done with the intentions of pleasing the masses. People will like it because you like it, and you’re you, so they’ll dig you for that. … The whole point of art or music is for people to feel where you’re coming from, not you try to figure out where they’re coming from.
Like you said, you guys don’t try to pander to outside audiences at all. Is that why you aren’t involved in the major label system?
I don’t really believe in that system. I don’t think that system has any will toward helping music progress. It’s just at a point now where they’re trying to get paid off of it. If people take offense to that, if the shoe fits, wear it—do something about it. The same old people that have been running the labels since they were getting money off of it, are the same people trying to get the same money out of it they did the first time. The shit ain’t workin’…so what can you do for me, besides give me some money that ain’t mine and take me to a video station that ain’t even playing videos? When you don’t have none of the outlets popping, what’s your purpose? Who listens to the radio? I haven’t listened to the radio in I don’t know how long. I’ve never heard any of my songs on the radio—not because I was listening for them, but because I don’t listen to the shit. And if it’s on TV, I’ve already seen it on the Internet 50,000 times prior to seeing it on TV. You would think TV would try to beat the Internet out. But they don’t give a fuck, neither. So it’s like, why jump on a sinking ship? …
I don’t know too many artists signed to major labels that are having a good time. They don’t care about the music; they care about the hits. But what the hell is a hit? You can’t make a hit. A hit happens by accident. Certain people like it, they tell other people, it becomes a mood, then it becomes a song that everyone gravitates toward. But if you’re sitting there trying to make a hit, you’re going to make some bullshit.
Now that I know what makes you take that approach, I want to know what goes into your sound. What do you guys like about the 80s aesthetic?
The 80s are when it started. Most people don’t go back to 80s rock, because rock didn’t really start there. All the best bands have roots grounded where things originated at. You look at The White Stripes, they sound like they could be in any other decade, starting from the 1960s to now. It’s kind of timeless music. Even when Hip Hop started, why so many people gravitated toward it; it wasn’t just the thing to do; the shit was fun, it was crazy. … It was party music, it was music to get shit started. It was beats that made you bob your head and made you want to roll your window down and let people know you were listening to the shit. That doesn’t exist anymore, but I’ve never let it go. I didn’t get over it.
Despite you guys not being on a major label, you have a lot of big things going on. You have music on the NBA 2K9 video game, commercials, songs on TV shows. How does that world differ from the music world?
I don’t know. The only reason I feel we got any of that is because of what the music had done. It was purely off of our music. Most people don’t even know what we look like, but they know what we dress like. They don’t know what we look like, but they know exactly when they hear a song that sounds like ours. That’s purely off of … being who we were. It’s not hard to package something that you don’t have to come up with something for. We’re always willing to get down for something cool. When the opportunities come along—which happens for a lot of people, but if you don’t have the right people in place, they’ll talk you out of it. If you don’t have the right people in place, you can miss out on opportunities that any artist that is grinding the way we’re doing it, it can happen for.
That world’s not different, because we’re not trying to be in that world. They just happen to collaborate with musicians, and that’s what they wanted to do. I don’t think they would respect us as much if we were trying to be in that world. We’re really in our own world; that’s the biggest explanation I can give. … If you want to do a commercial, just let us see what the commercial looks like and we’re probably cool with it. Say, “We have this idea,” and we listen to it. A lot of people don’t listen to it. Some people think they get to a certain point where things are beneath them or beyond them, and there’s no reason for us to ever think that way. It’s not us; it’s our music and the talents we’ve been blessed with, and that can be taken from you at any point. You always want to keep your eye open and ear open to stuff that is new and different that you can be a part of.

RESIZETHECOOLKIDS - 5The Cool Kids may have easily digestible lyrics, trunk-rattling beats, and loud clothing, but don’t let that fool you: they’re as indie-minded as anyone without a deal. The duo of Chicago’s Mikey Rocks (pictured right) and Mount Clemons, Mich. emcee/producer Chuck Inglish (pictured left) used songs such as “Black Mags,” “Gold And A Pager,” and “Pennies” to create a buzz on their own, and they’ve avoided the pitfalls of major label politics by avoiding major labels altogether. Their first two projects, The Bake Sale and That’s Stupid, were released independently. Aside from all-star collaborations with the likes of Ludacris and Bun B, the closest their own projects have gotten to relying on a cosign was the DJ Don Cannon-assisted Gone Fishin’ mixtape (download here). They haven’t avoided big business success though, as The Cool Kids have rode their brand of fun, nostalgic hip-hop to a loyal fan base, and advertisement/placement deals with video games, TV shows and brands such as NBA 2K9 and Entourage. To help get fans ready for the Cool Kids’ show with Clipse and Big Sean at Saint Andrews this Sunday, August 23, Chuck Inglish chopped it up with MichiganHipHop about how staying true to yourself can pay dividends.

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Slum Village Interview at Chicago’s Beat Parlor (circa 2000)

August 6, 2009

Shout out to Ronnie Reese from Wax Poetics magazine for the video/interview.

De Notes Interview On iStandardProducers

DeNotes-DewittMoorePicRESIZE DeWitt Moore, of De Notes Productions (formerly of The Sicknotes),  was interviewed by the web site iStandardProducers. An excerpt of the interview is below.

You were heavily involved with Eminem and D12 for a while. How was your experience working with those guys?

It was a good learning experience. I got a chance to see how things worked on the inside of a camp that was running the game and on top of the world. I got a chance to travel the country with those guys and see the whole creative process, not to mention being a part of it too.  I had a lot of fun times!

When you get to the studio, what is your creative process like when you making some heat?

I come to the studio, maybe grab something to eat then kick it with my team. I have a VERY strong production squad. And sometimes we’ll sit back and just kick it about current music that’s out now, then we’ll pull out the crates and put the needle to the vinyl. Once the room is filled with that vibe we just jam out. I have a team of very talented musicians so we just get it in.

For the rest of the interview, click here.

The Olympicks Interview

July 29, 2009

olympickslogoRESIZEDThey may go to New York and Atlanta to link with clients like The Diplomats, Young Dro and Young Jeezy’s USDA crew, but production group The Olympicks are a product of Michigan Hip Hop. All five of the group’s members hail from the mitten, putting in work toward their area’s heavyweights like P.L. (“Fresher Den You,” “Lean A Lil Bit”). But this summer, the group made their strongest move by signing with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music label (click here to watch their announcement). In an interview with MichiganHipHop, two fifths of The Olympicks talk about linking with one of rap’s superstars and how they can put on for the state.

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DefCulture Interviews Detroit Hip-Hop Pioneer Awesome Dre

RESIZEDAwesome-Dre_article The newly-launched web site DefCulture, a website established to document, protect and preserve Hip Hop’s historical accuracy, interviewed Detroit Hip Hop pioneer Awesome Dre. Check an excerpt of the interview below:

DC: Tell me how your experience coming up in Detroit and Ohio, over the years helped to impact your musical influence?
AD: When I moved from Detroit to Ohio, 93 FM WZAK used to have master mixes, just like in Detroit where they had The Wizard and Electrifying Mojo. They used to have local hip hop artists, and they used to simulcast New York radio shows, like Mr. Magic, Rap Attack, and DJ Red Alert. We were exposed to a lot of that organic pure hip hop. The Fearless Four, Treacherous Three, Crash Crew. I even fucked around and hooked up with Prince Whipper Whip, from The Cold Crush Brothers/Fantastic Five, and the movie Wild Style that’s my main man, shit his deejay Grand Wizard Theodore was the one who invented scratching, how fucking classic can you get. Shit I just talked to him the other day.

DC: Tell me how your experience coming up in Detroit and Ohio, over the years helped to impact your musical influence?

AD: When I moved from Detroit to Ohio, 93 FM WZAK used to have master mixes, just like in Detroit where they had The Wizard and Electrifying Mojo. They used to have local hip hop artists, and they used to simulcast New York radio shows, like Mr. Magic, Rap Attack, and DJ Red Alert. We were exposed to a lot of that organic pure hip hop. The Fearless Four, Treacherous Three, Crash Crew. I even fucked around and hooked up with Prince Whipper Whip, from The Cold Crush Brothers/Fantastic Five, and the movie Wild Style that’s my main man, shit his deejay Grand Wizard Theodore was the one who invented scratching, how fucking classic can you get. Shit I just talked to him the other day.

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

Bishop Brigante x Royce Da 5′9 – The Gambling Stories Episode 3 (Video)

July 20, 2009

[via NahRight]

(Editor’s note: The MySpace page for Royce Da 5’9″ is http://myspace.com/roycefivenine, not the URL shown in the video.)

Mike Posner Interview with Peter Rosenberg (Video)

[via NahRight]

Royce Da 5’9″ Interview (“The Revival EP,” Slaughterhouse)

July 8, 2009

royce

By Brandon Dunlap
In the realm of Hip Hop these days, the word “beef” evokes two eye-rolling connotations: an artist’s over-hyped publicity stunt or premature hot-headed misunderstandings. But for iconic Detroit rap veteran Royce Da 5’9”, controversy has become the brick and mortar of his new super group Slaughterhouse. After he and Joe Budden avoided a brewing dispute by collaborating on a song with Joell Ortiz, Crooked I and Nino Bless for Budden’s album Halfway House, the group’s (sans Nino) undeniable chemistry spawned a handful more tracks they leaked to the web. Each member is releasing an EP of material to prime listeners for the group’s album in August. Royce holds up his end of the bargain with The Revival EP, which contains four tracks from his much-anticipated Street Hop album with DJ Premier. Surpassing his 2002 debut Rock City (Version 2.0), for the past six years he has reestablished himself as one of Motown’s rhyming juggernauts through the Internet and tour circuits with numerous cameos and his The Bar Exam mixtape series. Not even the bars of a prison sentence or struggles with alcoholism can impede his vision for himself and what Hip Hop should be: authentic and inspired. “I’m stepping into that Eminem, Jay-Z and Nas realm. It’s time for you to start comparing me to the greats now,” Royce says. “I got a classic album on my hands and I can do it on that level. I just want to be looked at like that, and I’m not going to stop until they do.”
The Revival EP which drops Tuesday, tell me a little about it. Is this going to be primer from Street Hop?
Yeah, it’s going to be four joints off the album [that hits stores in] September. I just picked four I felt were suitable for digital download, something I felt they would definitely eat up. It’s definitely going to be a tight little four-prong package. It’s going to be like a package of four pills, like drugs. … I feel they’re going to think it’s incredible; they’re going to feel like I stepped it up.
It is speculated that Slaughterhouse came together from your beef with Joe Budden. Can you tell readers how you all came together, making a song turn into this idea for a super group?
Yeah me and Joey had a little issue at that moment, but that’s not what started the group. I mean that’s probably what got me on the song that initially triggered everything, the song called “Slaughterhouse.” It was on Joey’s Halfway House project. He picked the emcees to be on the song, I had nothing to do with that. He just called me—this was our first time talking since we had issues—like, “I need you on this joint.” When I asked who would be on it, he said “Me, you, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and Nino Bless.” I was like, “Aw shit, that’s a slaughterhouse.” He was like “yeah, I might call it that, while you’re bullshitting.”
From there it kind of manifested itself after the song came out. It put the streets in a frenzy, they were fucking with it crazy. He called me and said, “Yo, we have to do something else, we have to take advantage of the buzz we have off this song.” And it just went from there, a few songs, a few freestyles, a few meetings, a lot of hanging out later—and here we are.
Can you give me the real deal with your beef with Joe Budden? What was your side of the situation?
I think it was a misunderstanding. Well actually, it wasn’t a misunderstanding; it was very cut and dry. He made a song…but the original version got out, and he didn’t call me to let me know he changed it. So I didn’t know. So when it came out I thought he was fucking with me, so I just started fucking with him. He got tired of me fucking with him so basically he got some interviews to say basically: if you keep fucking with me, we’re going to do this. … Before it could get to that, the Slaughterhouse song happened. And I’m so glad it happened because my life has changed tremendously. I’m glad I took (Royce’s manager) Kino’s advice because I was definitely about to try and tear Joey a new asshole.
Did the beef you had with D12 in the past influence your mindset in handling your issues with Joe?
Yeah but not even the D12 shit, I don’t even like to talk about that. But just so many things I’ve been through in terms of the streets. I know how it feels to be in a situation like that where you constantly have to watch your back. You’ve got to always hunt, because if you don’t you’re being hunted. It’s not a good way to live, nobody wants to live like that. So I try to keep Joey from getting in those types of situations, because he is younger than me so he’s like a firecracker. He says whatever is on his mind. If you set him off he’s coming to get you. So I just tried to show him another way to look at shit, to prevent him from living his life like that. The nigga is too talented to live his life like that. You start living your life like that, other stuff like that money and the business slow down. Beef costs money. Buying a bunch of AK’s and putting hits out on people, that shit costs, who wants to do that? That’s why I laugh at these rappers when they talk that beef shit. They glorify beef but half of them ain’t really been through it.
There have been many Hip Hop super groups that have come together before. Considering the current state of the game, what is Slaughterhouse bringing to the different to the table?
We bring the fire back to Hip Hop. We’re the lighter in under Hip Hop right now. There are other people that got movements but it’s not like us, not what we’re doing. We are brining raw Hip Hop back. Filling what I consider an extremely huge void in the market place. Look we leaked two freestyles to the internet and got a record deal off of that. It’s because of how extreme that was. Then we’re the first group to actually execute: you’ve got the Four Horsemen, Jay-Z, Murder Inc. and the DMX thing, they were trying to do. None of those guys saw that whole process through. We’re actually done with the album, have a release date and on the road promoting it. We’re the first one to execute; we bring that to the table.
As you are working with three other top caliber lyricists such as yourself, was there anyone in particular that made you want to come harder when you all were in the booth?
They all do that’s the beauty of it. It’s hard to single somebody out when you have niggas that dope. The good thing about Slaughterhouse is everybody holds their own, then we build on that. Crooked is untouchable line for line, so he comes to the table and brings those lines. I’m an excellent songwriter, so I bring that to the table and write songs. Joey is a crazy introspective songwriter. Joell Ortiz is a perfect personal songwriter, he brings that to the table. So it’s a balance, it’s hard for me to single anybody out to say this one nigga made me rhyme harder because all three of them do. Every time they go in the booth I get butterflies. It’s all of them not just one.
The Slaughterhouse song “Move On” talks a lot about the industry politics. How does what you’ve encountered influence the way you guys work now—especially together in the group?
I think the fact that we have all been through the bullshit, is the main reason we were able to work. We all may not have been able to do this shit if we were 23 or 24. It probably all would have imploded before it started, but our mind frames were different back then. But we are all more mature, been through the bullshit, we know how to deal with people now in the business. We know sometimes you have to bend on something you would do for your soul, for the situation to work. As far as the ego thing, a lot of people are worried about that. But that’s the least of everybody’s worries. We all have huge egos and we haven’t had to put them aside yet. The industry shit we’ve been through, I’m so glad we did because it helps to relate to each other now.
Earlier you referenced The Four Horsemen with Canibus, Kurupt, Ras Kass and Killah Priest and there have been so many others like The Firm that have these crucial MC’s come together but don’t last. Do you feel like Slaughterhouse as a group has greater lasting potential past this debut joint disc?
Definitely, I got the shit tattooed on my hand. It’s going to last, I’m not worried about that. If I felt the shit was shaky, I would’ve never got this tat. I have all the faith in the world in us, I trust them niggas.
Would you guys only use this super group to further your own respective hype as solo artists?
I mean, I can only speak for myself but that’s not the agenda I’m on. I want this to work for Hip Hop. It’s not just to build excitement to say, “Oh yeah, I have an album coming out.” When I get with three other MC’s that people love and respect, and say that we all have an album, that’s automatically more excitement. It’s not just a side hustle.
MHH: What’s changed about Royce Da 5’9” since “Rock City” dropped in 2002? If you feel its one thing that you’ve progressed with, what would that be?
Royce Da 5’9”: I’m mature, not only as an artist but as a man. Now I’m stepping into that Eminem, Jay-Z and Nas realm, it’s time for you to start comparing me to the greats now. I got a classic album on my hands and I can do it on that level. I just want to be looked at like that and I’m not going to stop until they do

In the realm of Hip Hop these days, the word “beef” evokes two eye-rolling connotations: an artist’s over-hyped publicity stunt or premature hot-headed misunderstandings. But for iconic Detroit rap veteran Royce Da 5’9”, controversy has become the brick and mortar of his new super-group Slaughterhouse. After he and Joe Budden avoided a brewing dispute by collaborating on a song with Joell Ortiz, Crooked I and Nino Bless for Budden’s album Halfway House, the group’s (sans Nino) undeniable chemistry spawned a handful more tracks they leaked to the web. Each member is releasing an EP of material to prime listeners for the group’s album in August. Royce holds up his end of the bargain with The Revival EP (purchase HERE), which contains four tracks from his much-anticipated Street Hop album with DJ Premier. Surpassing his 2002 debut Rock City (Version 2.0), for the past six years he has reestablished himself as one of Motown’s rhyming juggernauts through the Internet and tour circuits with numerous cameos and his Bar Exam mixtape series. Not even the bars of a prison sentence or struggles with alcoholism can impede his vision for himself and what Hip Hop should be: authentic and inspired. “I’m stepping into that Eminem, Jay-Z and Nas realm. It’s time for you to start comparing me to the greats now,” Royce says. “I got a classic album on my hands and I can do it on that level. I just want to be looked at like that, and I’m not going to stop until they do.”

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Finale – Fat Beats Vimby Interview & Freestyle (Video)

July 7, 2009

Interview video after the jump.

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