I read in one of your interviews that you started rhyming to get chicks. Did that actually work?
Hahaha. Well if you are asking if women are attracted to people in the spotlight then the answer is yes. If you are asking if I directly benefited in that department from rhyming not at the time but over the years it averages out. Haha.
Under the name Dead Poet’s Society you rhymed as a whole crew. What gave you the idea to do that and how did you go about recording it.
Well a lot of cats have done it in the past taking on different personalities on record and experimenting with voices but no one really did like a whole crew or group. I figured it would give me a chance to practice my ghost writing skills and at the same time do something a little bit different in the studio. Basically I altered the voice myself, then I processed it through some filters. It’s not my biggest record, but I do take a lot of pride in that one. I did everything from beginning to end, even the funky fresh cuts on one of the songs. Haha.
Do you see yourself doing a record like that again?
I might record more stuff like that, but who knows it’s what I am feeling at the time.
Why don’t you host Braggin’ Rights anymore?
It wasn’t really my thing. I was starting to feel uncomfortable being the host. A lot of people started thinking because I know a lot of nice MC’s that I was favoring cats. I was trying to be as neutral as possible. It’s also a lot of unnecessary tension. I really never liked being in that spot so I basically bowed out. It really is not helping me in what I really should be doing in hip-hop, which is making music.
You were working at E-music what happened with that situation and what is your current employment status?
I worked for E-Music for a while. People got laid off. Dot COM companies are very unstable man. I mean the whole space is still so young. I wasn’t really upset being let off. I was trying to do too much at one time and my music was suffering from it. Right now I work for myself so my status is self-employed.
Was being laid off a blessing in disguise as it gave you more opportunity to work on your music?
I am saying the reality is I needed to go out and get a real job because money is more important than all of this hip hop shit. Food is important, rent money is important, heat and electricity, and those hold priority over my music. Although every one like to believe that if you got a record you are either paid or living comfortably. It’s not true, I needed to go get a job because I was broke ass. I made some money, saved a lot and now I can go with out a job for a while. Its like buying myself time.
Your first experience releasing solo material to my knowledge was on Raw Shack records. Describe that experience and did that spur you on to start your own label?
My first solo project was on Raw Shack. Everything went smooth. All around it was a good experience but after doing that and being on Fondle ‘Em I was learning the game a lot better. The only thing I could see me doing next is doing it myself.
What goes into the process of starting your own label?
Well, for me it was important to bump heads with my partners. These are people I trust more than anyone. I already had a lawyer who helped us out with the paper work to get incorporated. Other than that it’s all about research and know-how. Dealing with pressing plants, distribution, promotion is fairly simple. You just have to have the drive.
Being a MC/Label owner what advice do you give MCs that you sign?
I tell them not to get caught up in hype. Sometimes I talk for hours with some of the cats I am trying to put out because sometimes they don’t really know what this whole shit is about. I give them all the info even if it means they want to go and do it themselves. I encourage it. I want everyone to be on the same page.
What opportunities does being on Headbop offer an up and coming artist as opposed to any other label?
Well first off right now I am not interested in signing anyone. The artist I sign are either people close to my circle that are fresh or somebody that really surprises me and blows my mind with their music. We offer our artists means, plus a place to express their ideas in their music and even on the way they want their music to hit the world. I can’t sit here and tell you that we have all types of budgets and such because we don’t. However we do have the means, distribution, promotion, and association that make the industry go round.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception people have with MCs who own a label?
Hmmm I am not sure. I am really not concerned with what people assume. Hopefully they are assuming positive things like we have a plan and that I work hard and strive to have a functioning business I can live off and enjoy. Who knows what people assume.
How much credit do you attribute to the Internet for your sales and exposure?
I would say at this point minimal. Internet is a tricky place. Its like you can sell your records on it then one button away is a way to get it CD quality for free… I still haven’t figured out how to really take advantage of the internet completely but we have our site www.headbopmusic.com. I want people to refer to it when they are interested or need any info on anyone of our artists. Other than that I like the old school way of distribution vinyl shops.
What market has had the best sales for Headbop music?
Well right now, the same people who have supported the music I’ve made over the years on various labels are the people who buy Headbop records. The ranges of people are broad. They go from the backpack hip-hop head in Brooklyn to the serious battle DJ in Denmark. I can’t clearly define a market for our music but I do know what markets I want to add to it.
Every artist has an opinion on Napster what is yours?
I don’t like it period. It doesn’t help me as an artist. People who download music don’t buy vinyl. If you ain’t putting money in my pocket and taking advantage of me I don’t want to know about ya.
I’ve seen you on a lot of guest appearances lately. What has to be present on the record for you to agree to be on the track?
In order for me to do a guest appearance there are definitely necessary things. I need to either want to really work with the people whose record it is, I either know the person and think they are fresh, I am really digging the track, or the collaboration will result in some new experimental sound. Most importantly there has to be some incentive. Green bills work well.
How close are you to getting major label distribution and a deal for yourself?
Right now we are not as close as I want us to be. We have to really establish a buzz around the label for these major distribution companies to take us seriously. That’s why we have a heavy release schedule planned to really get the ball rolling. As far as a deal for myself I am looking to get out there as a solo artist. Right now it might take me going out and getting involved in the major label scene to get the right attention and funds to do this label thing properly.
What’s the difference between writing rhymes and making a song?
Well everyone writes rhymes and a lot of cats make beats but how many hip hop heads are really making music? I would say songs are like a complete vibe, a complete concept, arrangement the works. Some cat’s definition of SONGS is a beat, 3 verses, and a hook. That sounds a little simple to me. We do have songs like this but we also take it a little further. We try to have a bridge, maybe a nice scratch sequence, or just a lot of movement and arrangement for the beat. As far as lyrics concept is very important, patterns, structure and wordplay are just as important, but they all work best together.
When are you gonna put me down to do an interlude or something?
Hahaha…oh yeah you said you are funny or something didn’t you?
Yeah man I think I could do something really fresh.
Yeah. Put in on a tape and drop in the mailbox. Don’t call us, we’ll call you…haha.
Any Final Thoughts?
Yeah, The next project off of Headbop will be from the Wee Bee Foolish crew. Expect two singles and an album to drop in early 2001. Please leave any questions or comments can be left for me at Yeshua@headbopmusic.com.