Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maffew Ragazino ("Rhyme Pays")

Boom Bap Renaissance: Where are you from?
Maffew Ragazino: Where I'm From! I'm Brownsville.  Shout Out to Texas!  I love Texas too, but I'm from Brooklyn, New York. Brownsville!

Boom Bap Renaissance: No Doubt! B-ville.Never Ran, Never Will!
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah. Never Ran, Never Will! You know the slogan.

Boom Bap Renaissance: So how was it growing up in Brownsville? I've watched a lot of your videos and you don't seem like the stereotypical grimy dude.
You seem like a real cool dude.

Maffew Ragazino: Yeah, I’m just me, man.  I get it from my pops. There's goonies in the bloodline, definitely! But I keep it cool.  I'm just me.  Just leave me alone.  Give me my sneakers and I'm good man!  Don't step my sneakers, don't step on my fresh sneakers and that's it.

Boom Bap Renaissance: So how long you been rhymin'?
Maffew Ragazino: Maybe like 19 years already.  Yeah I'm up there in the years about how long I've taking the craft serious.  I've been recording since I was like 12.

Boom Bap Renaissance: What inspired you to want to rhyme?
Maffew Ragazino: My uncle.  My uncle's name is Poppa Dop.  That was my deceased Grandmother's youngest son, and I was like the tag along.  They use to send me with him.
They would have him doing the babysitting duties when I was at my Grandmother's crib. So I had to be cool about it and get left home all the time. Yeah cuz he would be like "you like 7-8 years younger than me. I'm not hangin out with you! Get the Fuck outta here man"!  So in order to be cool, that's what kept me out the house with him, and he was always heavy into music.  I would go vinyl shopping wit 'em, sneaker shoppin' wit 'em. Go to girls houses wit 'em.  That's the life he was living.  When I got of age to do my own thing, I kinda led the same path.  I had the same passion for music.  He kinda gave it up. But it was so crazy for me in my beginning years, I couldn't shake it. I couldn't shake it. Watching him writing rhymes and he was an aspiring DJ as well.  So he was always making blend tapes and all kinds of stuff like that.  You know, the cliché typical stuff. Music ran deep in my household. We use to have parties in the hood at my grandmother's house...with all her friends come over and they listen to music, and all the kids in the backroom playing NES, Nintendo and shit like that.  Ya know the basics, but with me, the music stuck. I couldn't shake it at all.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  How many rhymes do you write a day?
Maffew Ragazino: It varies, but for the most part, I can't really say the particular amount I average a day.  Some days I let it flow and write 3, 4, 5 songs, and some days I'm just living. I'm just ...ya know, collecting those experiences.  Whether it be a conversation or me hanging out with some friends, whatever the case may be, or wit my son. Ya know, just collecting experiences.  I write...I write in my mind, but I might not sit down and write 3 or 4 songs, but you know, they both go hand in hand.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  Break down the name Maffew Ragazino. Because when I first heard the name, I thought you was an Italian dude.
Maffew Ragazino: (Laughs) I got that a lot. Man, I got one of the most controversial crazy names, but..um, my name started out as Mathematics.  One of the older Gods in my neighborhood would call me Math because the stuff that I was spitting was like Mathematics.  Anybody who knows anything about The Five Percenters, their whole thought process is based on Science and Mathematics, and I ain’t ever spell that the correct way.  To make a long story short, I would always spell MAFMATX.  So for short, people would always call me Maf.  Girls in school thought my name was Matthew. So I ran with that.  So since I already had the spelling M-a-f-m-a-t-x, I just kept the M-A-F and added the F-E-W.  Cuz that's exactly how it sounds.  You could say Maffew not Matthew, and I turned it into an acronym and it already was an acronym.....in the beginning it was Money And Fame Fuels Everyone's World just made it a statement. Meaning a true statement. The word Ragazino is actually an Italian surname.  If you take the n-o off of it, Ragazi, means young boy.  So essentially, I'm a young prophet because if you look at the Matthew name, it's a biblical name.  If you spell it the correct it means the same. It means a prophet.  So I'm a young prophet.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  How did you hook up with DJ Clark Kent?
Maffew Ragazino: I met DJ Clark Kent through a real good friend of mine who ran a record pool in Canarsie in Brooklyn, and from that one experience we always kept in contact.  And he would always gave me little pointers on what he thought I needed at that particular time.  Basically, to help cultivate my art and help me develop as an artist.  When I came back home...because I use to live in Richmond, Virginia for a couple of years, with that friend and his family.  I came back home...still needed some work. A few years later, he heard a couple of records and was impressed.  He then said "Ok here's where I step in at, I want to help now cuz I feel like you there. You at that point".

Boom Bap Renaissance: So is it true that Sean P is your uncle?
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah, he's not blood family, but he knew me before I was me.  He was around one of my older uncles, he's a Decept too and they were heavy...you know, they were like brothers.  They were rollin’ tough.  Sleeping at my grandmother's crib.  So I use to be around them a whole lot from when I was a baby.  So essentially that's like my uncle.

Boom Bap Renaissance: What types of beats bring out the best in what you do?
Maffew Ragazino: Um, I can't really say.  Trying to describe it in just one word... I would say progressive.  Whether its sample based or a production that's original and sounds like a sample.  Whether the case may be.  Just something progressive.  Something that speaks volumes so when its heard in instrumental form without vocals on it, it would wanna make people rap to it or hear some one rap on it.  I really don't care to make any beats.  I need something to push my art.  It's not one particular style that I like.  It depends on the mood. You know, you get a record like "Decepts on the L Train" record which is like a cool laid back typical Al Green sample. I just took it somewhere because the beat drove me to go down memory lane. Then you get the Harry Fraud "Black Sheep" joint that sounds like let's go to party. I'm real versatile so I a real difficult person to satisfy on the production side.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  What's your favorite Clark Kent beat?
Maffew Ragazino: Brooklyn's Finest because it's associated with one of the most epic collaborations ever in history. What is there not to like about it?!  I don’t care if you didn’t like the two artist on it.  It's a crazy beat.

Boom Bap Renaissance: How can beatmakers go about submitting beats to you?
Maffew Ragazino: They can holler at me on Twitter @RagazinoSr. They can holler at me on Facebook, and at cicorecords@gmail.com  Only MP3's and only send your best 3 or 4.  Don't send 30-40 emails because my partners are not going to check that.

Boom Bap Renaissance: What producers would you like to work with?
Maffew Ragazino:  Other than the guys that I've been working it...that receive production credits on my blogs, mixtapes and album.  Definitely a Kanye West.
Also don't forget to tell the people that I'm in the Unsigned Hype, so they need to get The Source with Drake on the cover.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  Congratulations! We've been watching you for awhile now.
Maffew Ragazino: What was the turning point that made you want to reach out?

Boom Bap Renaissance: When I heard that joint with Meyhem Lauren. You said something about "Restoring Prosperity to the Black man's pride".  That's when I was like dude can spit.
Maffew Ragazino:  Yeah. Combined with a message. You know, you got to put some medicine in the candy and the junk food every now and then.  That's crazy you caught that.  That line inspired a lot of people.  It's not a lot said but it's powerful. That shit speaks volumes and says a lot about my character.

Boom Bap Renaissance: That's why I said you don't have that stereotypical Brownsville grimyness. You seem like an intelligent cool dude.
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah, well my neighborhood raised me.  I love it to death, but the only way to rise above and show the people different is to be different. You know,
just being me. I love my hood, though.

Boom Bap Renaissance: Let's talk about NYC real quick. Name your top five favorite artist from NYC real quick.
Maffew Ragazino: The God Rakim Allah....damn!  I'ma have to tell you six then.  Nas, BIG of course, Jay Z, Kool G Rap and Kane.

Boom Bap Renaissance: Who are you feeling nowadays that comin up through the ranks with you?
Maffew Ragazino:  Anybody I ever did a track with.  Whether it's my shit or their shit. Anyone you seen me do a track wit.  I definitely routing for the city.  Right now they're to tryin to kill New York hip hop.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  How do you feel about the New York Hip Hop scene today?
Maffew Ragazino: I'm getting recognition so I can't say too much bad about it. All I have to say is we need to start celebrating our people that's doing their thing and deserve it.  And we as New York artist need to focus on doing us. There's nothing wrong with showing love to people from other regions but fans here need to make sure they support their fellow New Yorkers.  Show some love, so we could get back on the radio in our own town, but I really can't say too much bad about it because there's a lane open for Ragazino Sr.  I ain’t got no complaints.  I'm fighting a good fight. It's either going to kill you or make you stronger.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  Word! So, that Butter joint you did with Meyhem Lauren is fire. How did you link up with him?
Maffew Ragazino: I ran into Meyhem in my hood.  He was with Thirstin Howl.  We chopped it up and he was a cool dude. One day he told he had a record for me and he sent me a couple of tracks and we just collaborated.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  I knew you were official when you did a song with Masta Ace.
Maffew Ragazino: Yeah my partner Sha Banga and Steady Pace who was Ace's DJ at one time knew each other.  One summer Sha Banga went to a video shoot for Masta Ace and had a long four hour conversation with him.  Ace got introduced to my music.  We sent the record to him and he sent it back along with his contact for me to chop it up with him, and from there he's been like my big brother.  Ace is a really cool dude.  He not the typical industry type. Master Ace is a good dude.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  Do you still live in Brownsville?
Maffew Ragazino: I live in East New York now but I'm always in Brownsville.

Boom Bap Renaissance: When you collaborate with other artists, do you have to pay them or do they have to pay you?
Maffew Ragazino:  Everything really depends.  I can't call out a solid answer.  It really depends.  Certain people might try to charge but I haven't had to pay to get any features.

Boom Bap Renaissance: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Maffew Ragazino: On the production side, probably Kanye, but really, I would like to keep workin with the people I been working wit and just build with them.  We trying to be legends also so we keep the spotlight in house.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  Now I got your new joint Rhyme Pays and it's fire. But didn't you release it for free though? What was up wit that?
Maffew Ragazino:  Just trying to get new fans.  Didn't want create any obstacles for the people who were trying to get the new material.  People catch on to things at different times and I didn't want to create any hurdles for anyone trying get my music.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  Does Rhyme really pay or are you still working a job?
Maffew Ragazino: Rhyme Pays,man. The album is the truth. If you grind enough, the way will find you.

Boom Bap Renaissance: What's in the future for 2012?
Maffew Ragazino: More material, more videos, more of everything that's been going on. Rare Gems 2 the mixtape.  Expect some crazy collaborations that you really wouldn’t  think of in a million years.  Just Growth as an artist.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Erick Sermon: Get Well Soon

DJ Scratch revealed to the media that Erick Sermon (one half of EPMD) suffered a heart attack over the weekend.  DJ Scratch states that "He is ok, but still send your prayers."

Get Well Soon from Boom Bap Renaissance and all the fans.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Digital Exclusive: YC The Cynic "More and More" (REMIX) featuring Rapper Big Pooh, King Mez & Chaundon (produced by J57)

YC The Cynic just released the J57 produced "More And More (Remix)" featuring Rapper Big Pooh, King Mez & Chaundon. Check out the track below.


Digital Exclusive: Koncept "Watch The Sky Fall" featuring Royce da 5'9" (produced by Marco Polo)

Check out Brown Bag AllStar member Koncept's new track "Watch The Sky Fall" featuring Royce da 5'9 (produced by Marco Polo). This is the lead single from Koncept's debut album, Awaken  which drops December 13th on Soul Spazm Records.

Listen to the song here:  http://soundcloud.com/iamkoncept/watch-the-sky-fall-featuring

You Can Buy The Single from I-Tunes Here: 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with Vanderslice (Too Hot for a Shirt)

Boom Bap Renaissance recently linked up Vanderslice a beatmaker/producer outta "Pistolvania". Vanderslice has worked Blaq Poet, Apathy, Vinnie Paz, Roc Marciano and more.  Boom Bap Renaissance was able to connect with Vanderslice via phone interview. Vanderslice talks about how he got started in production, why he doesn't really solicits beats to any artists and who his favorite MC"s is that he likes working with. If you don't know who Vanderslice is : GET FAMILIAR!

Boom Bap Renaissance:  First and foremost where you from?
Vanderslice:  I’m from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.  It’s a suburb right outside of Philly.  It’s like a half hour away from Philly.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  What inspired you to make beats?
Vanderslice:  Uh, me and my cousin used to rap, and we fucking couldn’t be running out of instrumentals and shit so I bought a Boss SP 202 in 1998 and I started looping up Gangstarr instrumentals that didn’t have vocals, like I would chop the intro and chop out enough to make a bootleg version of the instrumental and that’s how I started making beats.

What equipment do you use now to make your beats?
I use a Rowland SP 606 and pro-tools basically, that’s it.

What producers inspired you to make beats?
Alchemist is probably one of my biggest influences, Just Blaze and if it wasn’t for Premier I would have never even started it.  Like those 3 guys are the backbone of what I do.  Alchemist is like my biggest influence.  I’ve always loved his shit, and he’s just my biggest influence.

That’s what a lot of people say about you on the You Tube that you have an Alchemist influence.
Yeah yeah yeah, I never shy away from that ever.  I’ve worked with Al…. I never shy away from that ever.

Do you mix your own beats or do you use an engineer?
I use an engineer.  I use Scott Stallone, he’s a legend!  He does all kinds of music.  That’s important to me.  I think a lot of guys who are just hip hop dudes they don’t really know how to mix, but you gotta get dudes that are like into Rock, Jazz, whatever kind of music you need mixed, because he brings the most out of my music for me.  He’s the best engineer I know.  He mixes all the Jedi Mind Tricks stuff.  He’s got like plaques on the wall and shit.   He’s even worked with Brittney Spears and shit, this guy is a beast!

Do you shop your own beats, or do you have a manager or…..?
Nah Nah.  I do everything myself.  I don’t even shop beats really, I don’t solicit beats to anybody.  If you want beats man, because I don’t really…. I have a few people I send beats to.  Like Rhythm J. sends my stuff to other people, peace to Rhythm J.  I send beats to J. Grieves who works at RCA, and a few other people but I really don’t silicate beats all like that man.  I work with who I work with.  You know what I mean?  If people need beats, they know how to find me.  I’ve worked with a lot of people, I know a lot of people man, I don’t know.  I need some management.  I definitely need a liaison.  I’m an asshole like that.  (laughs)

(laughs)  No doubt.  So mostly people come at you right?

That must be lovely right there.
It is, it’s nice, but it’s very limited.  It’s limited.  It’s not a lot of room for growth when you aren’t really out there like that.

Getting back to sampling, and beatmaking, where do you dig for your samples at and what type of samples do you mostly use?
I dig all over the place.  I’m very fortunate in that regard, because I’ve been digging for years… all over Philadelphia, New York, down in Maryland, I got a few people in Baltimore, but right now I have a guy… like my man Gene Brown.  He brings me joints man, and I’m super fortunate, and I’ve been getting records from Jared from Satellite Records for years as well.  My favorite genre of music are like Library Music Soundtracks, and right now I’m getting into more rock.  See, I try to find these private press records that are from groups that never made it.  Like groups that sound like Styx, but they are not Styx.  If that makes any sense.  Like keyboard infused rock, like AOR type shit.

Another great place to go digging for samples are like Goodwill's and Thrift Stores.
Yeah absolutely.  Anytime I go anywhere, it’s like an old trick, I just look in the phone book and look up record stores and go do a dig.  Bookstores.  Like there are a lot of spots in Pennsylvania like Flea Markets.  Like there is a Flea Market called Zerns in Gilbertsville, PA and there is a shop dude who is from Canada.  He’s a Polish, Jewish guy, but he’s originally from Poland, but he moved to Canada and lived there, and if you go to his store he’s got like these old Polish rock records that you’ll never find them unless you were actually in Poland.  I paid like 2 or 3 dollars a piece for them and I’m about to kill them thank god!  And I don’t even mind putting that out there because he’s very peculiar, because if you don’t know him he’s not gonna show you any love, ’cause he’s like an old ornery dude.  (laughs).

Being that you work with a lot of underground artists, you aren’t really working with a lot of mainstream artists right now… do you ever have to clear samples?
Nah that’s ridiculous.  People that focus on that kind of shit really need to take a look in the mirror or just focus their efforts elsewhere.  Like if you’re really worried about clearing samples then, I don’t know man then you’re missing the point.  Like DJ Premier doesn’t clear samples, and he’s one of the that I…. and it’s very rare you see him clear samples.  It’s getting to the point now recently where these websites pop up like The Breaks and shit, where people list your samples… straight snitching.  Big time snitching.  It’s better to protect yourself and try to clear your shit, or get stuff replayed.  That kind of shit, until I get stung it’s never gonna really effect me.  You know what I mean?  I have to be honest.  I don’t care about clearing samples.  If I ever get stung then I’ll be worried about clearing samples.  Until then…. (laughs)

Has an artist ever not taking a beat because a sample wasn’t cleared?

So if they like they are going to rock with it?

Like I feel like that movie, Soul Men… “Fuck you and your bassline”… you know what I mean?  In that movie like “fuck you and your bassline I made that shit gangster”, like in that movie.
Yeah, seriously though man.  Another reason I don’t really care about sample clearances, is because what I’m sampling… it’s just no way man.  You are not going to find that record man.  It could be some private press shit from some guy in Tennessee that only sold 200 copies in like 1978.  It’s not going to even be publishing on the record, so  you’ll never gonna be able to find it.

So you get 100% of your publishing then?
Yeah, I’m not sampling shit like the Rolling Stones.  You know what I mean?

So are you strictly sampled based?
Yeah.  Other than the stuff I get replayed, but even the stuff I get replayed is from the samples so yeah I’m still sampled based?

Getting back to the artists, who are some of the favorite artists you’ve worked with? 
Favorite artists that I’ve worked with? 
Blaq Poet.  Blaq Poet because he just doesn’t give a fuck.  (laughs).  I like that.  I’ve worked my man AWAR, very closely… his record is stacked!  We got Alchemist beats, Sid Roams, Jake One… Nottz.  So we are working on a record with just me and him now.  I’ve worked with Apathy, I like Apathy a lot.  A lot of people think he’s an asshole.  I get that same rack.  So we connect on that level, but he’s like a really good friend of mine now.  Other than that, like I don’t know… I like Vinnie Paz I love fucking with.  I haven’t worked with him in a while, but I have nothing but love and respect for that dude.  He cut me one of my first real rap checks ever.  You know what I’m saying, so I’m very loyal to that dude.  I’ve worked with Planet Asia.  I don’t know man… shit we working on this record, everybody we worked with on that one, we have Alchemist rhyming on it.  Apathy, Evidence,  Roc Marciano, I’ve never had any bad experiences with any rappers I’ve worked with.

How did you link up with Blaq Poet?
Stu knows him.  Him and Stu worked in like the early 2000s for Stu’s first mixtape.  It was just called Stu Bangas Vol. 1 and he was on that shit.  We were like fuck it, lets just start a record.  He called Poet up, and Poet was down, he just got off [his former label] Year Round and he really didn’t have anything on his plate.  We already had all the beats already done and we were like “fuck it lets just do this”, and that’s how it came together.  Stu hooked up all the features and shit and we just connect.  We were trying to bridge the gap.  Like trying to bring his world to ours.  That’s why you see Vinnia Paz on it, RA the Rugged Man is on it,  and you know what I mean.  We tried to take the streets to our level so that we could try to connect fan bases and grow that way.

Who would you like to work with that you haven’t worked with already?
Oh my god.  I’m at the point I don’t even know man.  I fucking hate rappers.  Rapper are just…. I would like to work with people that don’t really make music like that like I want to work with Lord Finesse.   My favorite rapper that is rapping right now is probably like…. I don’t know, I can’t even tell you… like Roc Marciano, and I’ve already worked with Roc.  I don’t know man.  I like hood dudes, I want to work with  the NYGz.  M.O.P. I want to work with.  I want to work with people like Blu or Edan, like that  far out shit.  Man, my favorite rapper ever is Lord Finesse.  I’d love to work Finesse man, but he’s not even doing it like that anymore, at least not on the rap tip.  He’s like D.J.ing, he dropped a breaks mix not too long ago and it’s crazy!

Finesse was ill with the lyrics though.
And the beats man.

How did you hook up with Stu Bangas?
I bought records off of him.  From eBay no less.  I bought 3 records from him off eBay that I was looking for that he was slinging.    He hit me up and he was like “you’re Vanderslice?” and I was like “yeah man”.  See me and him have very similar ears for samples and records and shit.  We have a very similar style.  So we were like “fuck it, lets link up”.  So we just linked up.  He was cool.  I don’t know man, we think alike.  We are like minded individuals, so it was like a natural progression.      

Who’s nicer on the beats you or Stu?
(laughs out loud)  I am, I’m a beast over Stu.  Nah nah, we rocked a showcase together like a two weeks ago in Philly it was dope.  It was me and our people.  It was dope.  I don’t know who’s nicer than.  (says in a jokenly way), Nah nah nah, I’m nicer, I’m the best ever (laughs).  I’m bullshitting, but nah I’m the best ever.  (laughs).

Do you get in the studio with any of these artists or do you send beats or how do you normally do it?
It depends.  I try to, not that often man.  It’s very hard ‘cause a lot of these dudes they either record in their house and a lot of people don’t really like people coming over to their cribs, and a lot of them live out of state.  Obviously like Apathy lives in Connecticut.  AWAR I record in the studio… he lives out in New Jersey and he comes down here and we record at Stallone’s.  I definitely work in person with him, but like with Apathy and Evidence that shit’s just not happening.

Does beat making pay your bills or do you work a job as well?
Nah I don’t have a job, but beat making isn’t really paying the bills.  I just own a lot of samples and a lot of records, and beats supplement.  You know what I mean?  Like I don’t have a job, I haven’t a day job in years.  The records is my job, you know what I mean.  The records and the sample shit.  It’s more money than beats.  That’s where I’m headed at.  It’s just something I’m passionate about.  I look at it like a job.  I work it like a job.  I have business hours and shit.

If you don’t mind me asking, what’s like the most money you’ve received for a beat?
For one beat?

Yes, for one beat…
I try to package deals for dudes.  The most I’ve ever sold for one beat is $1,750 for like some dude in Jersey.  He was living kind of foul anyway, and I knew he had the money so I didn’t really care.

So your beats are relatively inexpensive then?
Yeah yeah yeah, I try to charge anywhere between…well, right now with all the stuff I’m working on I don’t have time to be doing collabos and shit, so the cheapest I’ll work is like $500.

Do you give any artists any free beats?
Yes yes.  If I’m impressed.  If I like you… lets say if I want to work with you, absolutely.  The thing is with the money, the money shit off the music?  I’d rather make good music than to get any $500.  $500 isn’t a whole lot of money.  I can slang one record and get $500.  If you have rarities, and shit it’s pretty much a front row ticket as far as records go, and with hip hop shit I’d much rather work on music, unlike the individuals that  try to make the clearances and just try to cash in on this shit.

Has anyone ever stole any beats from you?
I’m not going to say any names, but yeah (laughs).

Did you ever go after them or what?
Nah, see the thing is… the beats that got jacked from me are usually from people that I fuck with.  Like from people that are connected to them.   Like you know what I’m saying, I’ll sell a beat to somebody and one of their homies will jack one of our beats and I’m like “this guy”, you know.  (laughs).

How many beats do you make a day?
I try to make one keeper a day.  That’s quota.  Right now I’m working with my partner out in Chicago.  He does a lot of keys and accents and shit.  I’ll chop up the sample, flip the drums and I’ll just send it to him, to see what he can do.  If he can make some magic happen we’ll work it that way, otherwise I’ll just finish it myself.  You know what I mean.  I just try to make one keeper a day.  I’m much more quality over quantity.   You know what I mean, a lot of dudes say “I’m gonna make 10 beats a day” then 8 of them are wack, so I’m like “whatever”.

What is the hardest part of beatmaking for you?
Wow the hardest part of beat making is… I would say, finding the right sample.  I’m not too keen on rappers, and every rapper that ever hits you up always has some sort of a request.  “Yo could you flip this sample or could you patch this up for this beat again” and I’m not really to keen on that shit.  So it’s like when I sit down and make beats  I don’t really think about “oh I can send this beat to Apathy or I can send this to whoever”, I pretty much make my music for myself.  So the hardest part for me is to actual try to find stuff that I can send to people that I think would sound good on.  I just don’t have that in me.  I don’t know man, it’s weird, because I just make music for myself.  I think the foundation of it all is just the hardest part, and I’ve been past that for so many years.  Finding records or finding samples I’ve never had any problems with that at all.  I could find records everywhere… I could dig up my own crates and find some shit I had, just sitting in the crates for two or three years and flip that.  You know what I mean?  So the hardest part for me is all post, like trying to get songs done.

Have you ever tried to make a beat and nothing comes out?
Oh yes of course.  I get beat block.  When that happens I just play Call of Duty or something, I’ll just be like “alright fuck it”.

As a beat maker do you have any goals for the next five years?
In the next five years?  Nah, my only goals are to stay out of prison and stay level headed (laughs).    Just stay grounded, even like when I was saying earlier when you asked who is the nicest and I said “yo I’m the nicest!!” and I’m like yo.. How many people you heard say that and they are the most annoying people and you just want to slap ‘em.  I live in the moment man.  My goals is just trying to keep moving forward.  Any forward movement is big with me.  Forward thinking.  Sometimes all these “take it back” dudes… man, all this vintage shit isn’t really vintage shit, it’s just a cheap imitation of what it used to be, and I don’t feel none of that shit.  I’m just trying to push it forward man.  Just trying to make it futuristic, but vintage.  Futuristic and vintage, that’s the best way I can describe it.  That and just stay out of trouble.

Yo, what’s with the videos of you with no shirt on?
I don’t know man, like yo I try to portray the image that I don’t care man.  It’s hot up here!  I’m on the 3rd floor I can’t be wearing no shirt man!  It brings out a lot of haters like “that fat guy ain’t got on no shirt man!”.  Focus on the music and not on my man boobs.  They like to think that I don’t know  that  I’m fat.  I’m like I know, I got it.  I’m overweight.  I just like to throw that in their face.

What advice would you like to give up and coming beat makers?
The only advice I can really give is just don’t what you do.  The thing is man, If you put the work in it will tell.  A lot of people don’t want to put the work in.  That’s one of the reasons I’m not working a job.  That’s one of the reasons why I can do what I do.  I overcharge mother fuckers like crazy.  If I go find the record, I don’t care if I paid a dollar for it.  I know what a hot sample is.  A sample is gonna cost you 50, 75 dollars a piece.  I capitalize off people that don’t want to do the work.  If you believe in what you are doing, and you put the work in it will pay off.  You know what I’m saying.  It’s gotta be full time.  You can’t do this part time.  Trust me. I’m not even on the level.  If you are trying to get to where I’m at, aim higher (laughs).  My gauge for success is to be able to wake up and go to sleep whenever I want.  Yo, if I don’t have to get up and go do something I’m winning.  I don’t care how.  If the rent is paid I’m good.  I’m definitely far from rich.  I’m not even close to being rich.  It’s hard man.  It’s only getting harder man, because it’s over-saturated, there are so many people that are garbage. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview with Rockness Monstah (Who's The Nicest in The Boot Camp Clik?)

Jay and Self Taught of Boom Bap Renaissance recently spoke with Rockness Monstah about his current relationship with Sean P. and the other members of the Boot Camp Clik, the history behind Monstah Mondays, how producers can get at the artist for submitting beats, and more in this in depth interview.  Read all about it here.

Boom Bap Renaissance:  First and foremost, what section of Brooklyn, do you represent?
Rockness Monstah:  Brooklyn's robbery capitol.. Brownsville!!!

When did you first start rhyming? 
I wrote my 1st rhyme when I was eleven and it was the only rhyme I had for that whole year.  I wrote another 1 at age 12 so then I had 2 rhymes for that whole year (laughs).  Then I started writing for real!

How did Heltah Skeltah come together? What year?
That's actually kind of hard to answer!  We were rapping together for awhile but hadn't become an official group!  We solidified our partnership in '92  while I was incarcerated during a phone call!  Our mothers knew each other so we were always like.. "play cousins".  We started doing dumb shit in the streets together around 89-90 though! suntn like dat!

Who started rhyming first, you or Sean Price?
I believe I started rhymin 1st.  I'm sure I took it serious 1st!!!

Although you and Sean Price eventually reunited and put out the D.I.R.T album a few years ago, what caused you and your partner to split after releasing your 2nd album Magnum Force?
We didn't split.  We just had shit to do!  I had a solo deal.  Well actually 2 of them, back to back.  One with Priority Records.. the other with Geffen!  They didn't work out though!  He was workin' wit DuckDown on his solo shit!!!  It just put us in 2 different places.  It was DUCKDOWN I split from!!!

What brought you and Sean Price back together?
Nothing.. it was just time!!!

Rock, when Nocturnal first came out, it seemed like you were the most popular one out of Heltah Skeltah.  When Sean Price went solo, a lot of heads started saying that he was better than you lyrically. How did you feel about that?
I dont give-a-fuck about dat!  He was a beast when we 1st started they was just sleepin on him.  I used 2 hate that!!!  Now they don't!!!  And I'm glad about that!!!  Now I just gotta give'm some more Rock shit!

Sean Price even mentioned it in a lyric in one of his songs.  Did you take offense to it?

Who in your opinion is the nicest MC in whole Boot Camp Clik?
Me of course!!! (smiles and laughs). Seriously though I can do so many different things with words its crazy!!! My versatility is BEASTLY!!!  Stayed tuned you'll see.

Have you ever had a serious battle with anyone in the Boot Camp Clik.  If so, with who and who won?
No!!.. Serious arguments yes.. serious Battles.. NO!!! NEVER!!!  Never even crossed our minds!!!  "We don't lyrically spar par dass no real fun/Our barz killer.. its like playin paintball wit real gunz"!!! (Rock Quote)

Back when the LeFlaur Leflah Eshkoshka single came out, there was suppose to be a Fab 5 album coming out.Whatever happened to that?  Would you be down to do one now?
Not true.. we never planned on doing a Fab 5 album till years later!  We just did Leflaur 2 bum rush the scene right quick!!!  We did record a Fab 5 album years later though.  I have NO idea where those songs are!!!! Yes I would do one now!!!

How is your relationships with some of other members of the BCC?
My relationship is pretty close to excellent with all BCC members!!!

If I'm correct, Louieville Sluggah from OGC left the BCC.  Do you speak with him often or is there tension between him and the rest of the BCC?
Louieville left?!?!  You cant just stop being a part of a family!  It just don't work like dat!  You can do your own thing n all that.. you can choose not to do certain things with your family, but you cant stop being family with your family!!!  Did you hear the song "Multiply" (Multiplication) off my MonstaMonday series?  Louie caught a body on that song right along with the rest of his BOOTCAMP brethren!

As an artist, where does most of your money come from? Guests/features? Album sales? Merchandise or show money?
The answer to dat question changes all the time.  Sometimes its shows.. sometimes its features.. you know.  I'd catch a headache trying to give you a definitive answer on that one!

Have you ever worked with anyone outside of the BCC just for the love or is it mostly strictly business when it comes to collaborations?
Some artists I support so whole heartedly .. I just be wanting to help out.  So I work wit'm for free, or I might be real cool with them.  VERY FEW though, I think 900 out of 1000 rappers are wack honestly!!!  But even the artists I support or am cool with can't just get an endless supply of free verses!!!!  You get one, then you gotta pay!  This is still a business!!

Regardless of the money, would you ever turn down the opportunity to be a featured guest on a project of someone else and if so, why?
If for some strange reason I don't like you personally it's a no go!!!  I'm bout to start charging wack niggas extra.  For the pain and suffering I go through working with wackness!!!  (laughs) (step ya'll bars up.. hip hop needs it)

What other MC/MC's would you like to work with that you haven't worked with already?
Right now...None of'm!!!  I get the feeling a lot of rappers either don't like me, or are intimidated by me!!  Not sure why!!  Maybe I offended them in a punchline or something and for whatever reason they never approach me and ask me about it!  Chances are I didn't mean to offend'm... it was just a dope punchline!!!  Rappers are so sensitive! On the other hand, if somebody wanna work wit me then obviously they rocks wit me so I'm game.  Lets get it!!

Who is your favorite producer that you like to work with?
I don't have a favorite producer!!!  I just like hot beats!!!

Do beat makers usually send you material or do you go after particular producers for your project?
Dudes send me beats all the time.  I holler at any producer I run into though.  Let'm know I need that heat!!!

What is your process for selecting beats?
Simple.  I just listen.  Nothin' fancy.  Well, when it's a beat CD opposed to an email it gets a lil' more interesting!!!  If shit is REAL wack I tend to eject da cd and launch dat bitch.  See how far it fly without wings! (laughs).

How can any up and coming producer get in touch with you to solicit beats to you?
Contact info is on my website..ROCKNESS.NET.  I'm on twitter @_ROCKNESS_ producers can hit me there!!!

Tell us more about Monsta Mondays?
Monsta Mondays was something I started to arouse new interest in myself, where I dropped a song or freestyle every Monday for 44 weeks!  I also started doing an Internet radio show on Beatminerz radio with the same name.  Monsta Monday which is still running.  Now I'm throwing parties on select Monday nights as well.  I want it to become the new Monday hotspot where people come have fun and network while listening 2 great hip hop... ON A MONDAY!!!  Make Mondays enjoyable!

What's next for the Rockness Monsta in 2012?
Expect my ALBUM in 2012!!!!