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Interview: Roach Gigz Talks About Rap

Monday, February 14th, 2011

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Roach Gigz is a talented young rapper from San Francisco. His two installment underground series Roachy Balboa is out now. I recently talked to him about rap music for the latest installment of CB’s TALKS ABOUT RAP series.

When did you start listening to rap?
Real early, I would say I was like eight years old. It was mostly stuff that was on the radio but what really sticks out in my mind, the first artist that I really remember was Coolio. I had his tape, I had the single with “Gangsta’s Paradise” and I played that like every single day. And then my first album was The Dove Shack and that’s because they had that song “Summertime In The LBC” and that used to be my mom’s favorite. She would drop me off at school and when that came on we would love it. So she had gotten me the tape and then we listened to it together and when she heard the intro they were talking all this shit and she turned it right off. I never got to see my tape again. She didn’t know. So then I had to start sneaking in the little parental advisory CDs. I had Doggystyle hidden in my room and stuff like that. Tupac also was big for me in the beginning, I had Tupac posters all up on my wall. (more…)

Interview: Danny Brown Talks About Rap Pt. 2

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

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If you missed Part 1 of the Danny Brown interview, check it now.

So going back to your timeline, how do you jump from the Bay to Rawkus?
That was just my hip hop timeline. My pops he trained me not to listen to just one genre of music so I was always listening to other shit. I was going through music phases just like everybody else who was a music nerd. I went through the whole grunge shit, I went through the whole Rage [Against The Machine] phase, I went through the whole Korn, System of a Down rap-rock shit. I went through those phases right along with the people that wasn’t listening to hip hop, all the way up to when they was bumping M.I.A. and shit like that. I was a music nerd bro. I studied all this shit instead of just one genre. That’s really how I run my shit. I run my shit more so like an indie rock artists than a rapper.

How did that play with other hip hop heads, if you were to bring around Korn or something?
You know, niggas ain’t fucking with it. It’s the same shit though. These niggas don’t really understand what hip hop is supposed to be. It’s just like my music. The people that fucked with all the shit I named and still branched out into all those other genres and shit, that’s who fuck with my music. It ain’t the super hip hop heads who think hip hop is just supposed to be what it is. They think hip hop is supposed to sound the same way and it’s supposed to be what it was. Really I thought hip hop was supposed to be an expression of youth. If you just doing something that’s true to yourself then that’s hip hop. (more…)

Interview: Danny Brown Talks About Rap Pt. 1

Monday, January 17th, 2011

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Danny Brown – “Radio Head” (Internet, 2011)

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Danny Brown is a very talented rapper from Detroit. His The Hybrid was one of last year’s strongest mixtapes and he’s currently preparing an Itunes rerelease with bonus tracks for Feb. 8th. Rather than do the regular straight forward new rapper Q&A, I sat down with him to talk about rap, music and rap music for the latest installment in CB’s TALKS ABOUT RAP series.

What was your first rap tape?
Kid N Play 2 Hype. I bought it from the gas station for ten bucks. I had young parents. My pops had me he was 16, my moms was 18 so he always listened to [rap]. He was a house DJ too and I always had that house and techno. Being from Detroit that’s like our little underground scene, that’s our world. It was always Ghettotech around. But he always had the little hip hop tapes here and there [too], he had a wide range of what he’d listen to. He was bumping Ice-T for a minute and then it went to NWA and all that shit and then before you know it changed to Tribe Called Quest. By the time Tribe Called Quest came around I was old enough to start buying shit for myself. I think that the first tape that I got into on my own was Spice 1. I didn’t know that type of hip hop existed, Bay Area hip hop. I was listening to West Coast shit but it wasn’t Bay shit and for some reason when I heard that Spice 1 shit I knew there was something out there that was different. That’s what the independent scene was to me at the time, the Bay shit. In the Bay niggas had like 415 and Richie Rich so I was just getting into that type of shit. And then from there that’s when the whole Death Row shit came around. And then once I heard Wu-Tang it was over with. That’s when CDs first came out. My pops bought me my first Wu-Tang CD Enter The 36 Chambers. Then I got into Nas. Then came the whole Rawkus stage, then like Slum Village as Detroit hip hop started progressing and getting recognized. I was into that because that was hometown shit. But then after that stage I was into Def Jux, I got into it from Rawkus, listening to a lot of Rawkus shit. Then from the Def Jux stage it went over to the London shit, I started listening to a lot of Grime and a lot of Dubstep because I was influenced from the techno and the house shit from when I was younger. So I easily gravitated to that. And after that? I was doing hip hop on my own. So I guess I just got influenced by all that shit I just named.

Yeah you just about ran down the last twenty years of hip hop completely.
[Laughs] (more…)

Interview: Yelawolf Talks About Rap

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

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Yelawolf is a very talented rapper from Alabama. Rather than ask him to tell his story again, I recently talked to him about his taste and influences in rap music for the first installment in a new series here called TALKS ABOUT RAP. This interview was conducted several months ago when Yela was in DC on the Deal Or No Deal with Wiz Khalifa. Both him and Wiz have deals now. Make of that what you will. Yela’s Trunk Muzik: 0-60 is in stores today.

What was your first encounter with rap music?
The first rap shit I ever heard was [the Beastie Boys'] “Paul Revere,” that was the first time I ever heard that 808 sound. I didn’t know it was hip hop or rap, I was in Alabama at the time, off in the woods. My mom was dating a dude who was on tour and he brought back some Run DMC and some Beastie Boys shit. So the first time I heard the 808 sound was “Paul Revere” and I was blown away by it. I remember how it felt when I heard it, I just fell in love with the sound. I didn’t even know how to define it at the time. I didn’t learn how to define hip hop until years later. There wasn’t no urban radio in Alabama back in the day. Shit, it’s still hurting now. The hip hop scene is more like in Hustle & Flow – dope boys, Chevies, just Country Rap Tunes as Pimp C would say, rest in peace. It’s sparse out there. If you’re up on some shit you’re really dolo. I got into skateboarding early and I was hearing Souls Of Mischief and Black Moon and Mobb Deep [on skate videos]. And at the same time I was hearing Three 6 Mafia, Skinny Pimp, all these locals from Tennessee and then UGK, MJG and Eightball, Outkast. So I was getting a wealth of Southern music, along with the bass music that came through like Magic Mike all that big speaker shit. It was just blending all that shit as I grew into knowing who I was. (more…)

Rammellzee Interview (R.I.P.)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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Rammellzee & K-Rob – “Beat Bop

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from Beat Bop 12″ (Tartown, 1983)

For those who have yet to hear, avant rap and graffiti legend Rammellzee passed away on Tuesday. Details still are hazy at best but it appears to be a sad truth. Ramell always maintained that the word was a form of mathematics and there’s no series of equations that could properly do his life justice. I tried at the Village Voice but don’t think I came close to doing him justice. He was a legend in two games and probably the single most unique human I’ve ever been blessed to have an awkward phone conversation with. As such I’m bumping the said conversation below.

To me the most fascinating part of this interview was not the mythological Rammellisms – the tale of crumbling up Basquiat’s lyrics, the live-performance-as-bank-heist theory, the dentistry aspirations – but rather when he began to crack jokes about his wife getting on his case. It was like he briefly became Al Bundy, a victim of domesticity. That’s was what seemed incredible about interacting with Ramm – for someone who was always wearing masks and worshipping mechanics there was also a vast amount of humanity right there on the surface. Or maybe he was just a robot trying his best to seem human. One other funny interaction that didn’t make the final edit but I think was sort of indicative of where Ramm’s head was at: halfway through the conversation he told me he only agreed to do the interview because he thought it was going to be with Nas, the rapper. This is odd because I set it up via email, so the pronunciation similarities should have been overshadowed by the spelling difference. I suspect this was another instance of his deep deadpan humor but I can’t be entirely sure.

Hit the jump to read the Q&A, which first ran here on 4/24/08 and then check the Tumblr where a full scale Rammellzee tribute has been going down. (more…)

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