Well my foundation lies in being a musician and growing up with having musicians around me. I started as a percussionist and played with various bands. During Middle School and High School I played in concert band, marching band, drum line, jazz band. Eventually I moved on to become a DJ, which I feel is just another percussion instrument, got better at that and decided to claim it as my primary instrument. The point I’m trying to get at is that as a drum line you build as a squad and go out and compete, of course you try to win but it was more important to get your rep up. So I came into hip-hop with that same attitude and mentality. I’ve always tried to build with cats around me and work towards getting our rep up as a unit.
I feel that being a producer and managing a squad is just a natural responsibility of a well-rounded DJ and it all comes with that title of claiming to be a DJ. I pride myself in being a student to the culture and I always try to make sure I cover the bases of following the tradition of all the great DJ’s that come before me.
Speaking of great djs and musicians, what are some of your influences past and present?
On a foundational level as a DJ/Producer I try to follow traditions cats like DJ Premier and on the West Coast Dr. Dre. Maybe not necessarily in terms of their sound, but in terms of the movements that revolved around them.
DJ Premier was Gangstarr foundation but more importantly he had a key role @ D&D studios, which was the tree to the underground New York sound that defined that “Golden Era” music. D.I.T.C Crew, Jay Z first album, Nas first album, Biggie etc
Same thing with DRE he was the center of your Death Row movement, which goes into Pac, Cube, etc Even down the line on chronic 2001 you see a strong connection to the LA underground when you have appearances from X-Zibit, Defari & even production from Lord Finesse on the outro?! Redic
So when I look to build I’m thinking in terms of those guys and what they did.
But as a DJ I also try to be well rounded as a party rocker and study different mix styles as well. I grew up in Fairfield and my influences come mainly from the Bay Area hip-hop scene. I followed what triple threat had going from party rockin’ to mixtapes. Then started studying what the Beat Junkies had going on with trick mixing and juggling and all that. Then started catching out of town cats like Jazzy Jeff who is very traditional but covers a wide range of genres and musical selection. I could go on and on and get deeper into different mixtape styles, original breaks & looping, but those were the main styles I picked up as a party rocker.
In terms of music, more recently I moved into a house where we built a studio in our living room and have full access to my drum set and pretty much any instrument, so I been back on my musicianship. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jazz and Funk. Studying different drummers and musicians trying to get my chops back up and re-learn theory so I can incorporate more live instrumentation into my production.
Lol I do what I can. It's the people around me who work hard also. I got a solid squad who work hard at their crafts and that pushes me to do what I do.
In terms of projects, I'm workin' on launching a podcast series and trying to drop more mixtapes as a DJ.
On the production end I just put out the next Uptown Swuite project "Beneath The Lights" with Live @ The Dojo & DJBOOTH and that dropped FEB 2nd. After that i'll be in the lab working on a full length project entirely produced by myself with Uptown Swuite as the "City Lights"
Got a couple placements on the C-Plus Record coming out L.O.C.A.L, got a record w/ Moe Green that should be on his next project , A.V has an EP dropping in March I did almost half of the production on that.
I am also co-director of the Northern California Beat Swap Meet & we are looking to throw the next one in the Bay Area sometime this Spring.
Theres a gang of stuff in the works but those are some of the things that are on the table for the first half of this year. Could stay updated on everything via my website
Yeah, I was in a couple early ones back when PhillipDrummond was throwing them over @ MLK in oakland. I think one of the first battles actually.
Eventually I just kept it to working in the studio w/ artists. with production i usually make what people would consider album cuts as opposed to making "bangers" so battling wasn't really my style. I def appreciate the craft of it though and i think it really helps give an opportunity for producers to get themselves out.
I agree with all of that. What are the dope spots in Sacramento for us folks that might not know?
i don't know if your talking about clubs or spots to hit but there are not really too many events going on regularly. people throw hip-hop shows here and there @ spots like sol collective (art gallery) but the scene is kinda slow as of late.
if your talking about places to dig, there is phono select records in midtown got a good hand picked selection with a lot of gems. If your lookin' to get dusty there is Records on Broadway (downtown). The original location was made famous by DJ Shadow where he went into the basement full of vinyl, this is what is left of that stash which unfortunately got ruined by floods and other conditions. still a TON of heat but def. have to put some work in and get dirty. if you decide to go, look for the homie Ben & let him know I sent you. I gotta keep the rest of the spots tucked, you know how that goes. BTW I also sell vinyl so anyone looking to cop some heat holler @ me.
I knew you had it on lock. Final question, if a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco got in a fight, who would win?
Depends on the taco shell &/or what kind of cheese in the sandwich .
Thank you for your time bro!!!!