Daniel Isenberg recently sat down with the legendary Xtra P to pick his brain and pull stories from his mental vault on some of his most classic productions. On producing Nas’ Halftime:
That’s funny, because when I made that beat, Busta Rhymes wanted that beat, right after I made it. My house after a while became like a little hangout for dudes. Busta Rhymes, coming from Long Island, he would always pass through Queens and come to the crib. And that beat right there, he was writing to it and everything. But he was in between deals though—this was after the Leaders [of the New School] shit, and before his Elektra deal.
“But Nas was right there, ready to go with [MC] Serch and Ruffhouse. It was always a toss up, kind of like Jamaican reggae style, where I would play it for everybody, and whoever gets ill on it can get busy. And Nas was like, ‘Yeah, I can get busy on that.’ And he was like, ‘I’m gonna say this rhyme with that [and put it down].
“That was a nice session, because we had been in so [many of] Eric B.’s sessions and other people’s sessions, and this was finally his own session. So he had his weed ready, he had the crew coming through, his books [of rhymes], the fresh gear, sittin’ back and shit with a freshly rolled, and another one being rolled, like, ‘Yo, play the beat. Nah yo, play the other beat.’ [Laughs.] Now Nas was control. That was nice, man. That was really nice. [Laughs.]
Today would have marked the 87th physical born day of the great Malcolm X, who we lost on the eve of Feb 21, 1965. Personally, Malcolm, along with Yuri Kochiyama (who we’ll get to later), Richard Aoki (who played an integral role in the genesis of the Black Panthers) and Marcus Garvey are all heroes and role models in my eyes, and will always remain so. Legends who pushed for justice and equality of all minorities and oppressed people. Now you may be asking who Yuri Kochiyama is. After the jump, you can read a small editorial I wrote on Yuri and who she was, if you’re at all interested.
One reason why I love Hip-Hop music so much is the magnetic effect it has on my third eye. I’d say from the age of 19, I’ve been politically and socially aware, and the genesis of all this was a few days after graduating from bootcamp in 1999. I remember arriving in Virginia at Norfolk Naval Base and having to stand pier watch, which was one of the most boring tasks. To kill time, my supervisor suggested I read his copy of William Cooper’s Behold a Pale Horse while he did the first round of the watch. Since he explained that this was a book that one really did not have to read in sequence, I flipped through the pages until I found a topic that piqued my interest. One of those topics was Secret Societies; my first exposure to literature about the Illuminati, occults and the “Protocols of Zion.”
When this artwork for the remix to “I Don’t Like” sprang up last night, some folks were wondering who the hell Chief Keef was, and how he managed to secure an all-star cast for his song. I’ve been reading about him ever since I was asked to spin his music at a show I did in Florida last week* (where I asked that question you see above), and I found this piece in Complex and this more in-depth joint over at Gawker.
A 16-year-old from the South Side of Chicago, he’s been steadily buzzing locally for the last year or so, before a certain video on a certain website threw him into the spotlight which had folks asking the same aforementioned question you see above. The homie Andrew over at Fake Shore Drive has been one of Keef’s earliest supporters, where I was able to get more info on him, but instead of regurgitating what everyone else has said about him I figure I’d take this lazy Saturday morning to express my thoughts on the guy.
It’s ratchet as shit. Like, extremely ratchet. Imagine if the riotous energy Lex Luger and Fozzie Bear mated with the nihilistic, recently-got-shot-9-times 50 Cent and created its own thugged-out offspring, and you have Chief Keef. It’s not lyrically heavy (read: not at all), and it’s more of a Trap Muzik than T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle state of mind. If you’re more into rap’s soulful, “music-with-a-message” stylings, chances are you won’t fuck with him musically. However, if you enjoy your music that’s light on meaning and heavy on #BrilliantIgnorance every once in a while, then you may enjoy his music. Kanye seems to really enjoy it a lot, which likely prompted this collaboration. I’m personally on the fence about Keef, but that may change once this remix drops and/or I get another Chief Keef request at a party I spin (I’m a bit more prepared this time). SHAKE EDIT: Me? I agree 100% with my TSS family and their thoughts.
That’s my two pennies on the matter. Enjoy the rest of your weekend folks, I’m off to be with my favorite person in the world.
* – Interestingly enough, the show where the guy requested Chief Keef was headlined by Reks. Or, interesting to me at least.
It’s been two years since the ill-timed death of Keith “Guru’ Elam, and to be quite blunt, it’s very frustrating to see this icon’s contributions to the culture go so neglected. It seems all the fuckery that went down right after his passing with Holar’s (from here on out we’ll refer to him as “Sirius B”) iniquitous antics overshadowed the chance to celebrate Guru’s life. Off the bat, it seemed that negative press followed everywhere Guru’s name was brought up. Well, not entirely, but with so much of “Sirius B’s” fabricated stories popping up, it sure seemed that way.
I’ll admit I was a bit reckless during the neophyte stages of the dopehouse. Still angry from my “Slap-Boxing With Jesus” days and failed attempts to not rely on my family for rent money, I will confess that during the site’s ascension I rarely gave a shit about anybody’s opinion but my own. In my advancing age and dwindling sanity, however, I began to have second thoughts.
Then 2011 came around. Without going into details, I will say that those 12 months made me reevaluate things. Seriously, you come home from a night of partying on your birthday to find that the place you rest your head at resembling a scene in Backdraft and see if that doesn’t fuck up your year.
One of the most common questions I get asked is how to get music from my bloated inbox to my eardrums and, eventually, onto the site. So, rather than use this piece of bandwidth to talk some nonsensical shit (read: use this piece of bandwidth to talk some nonsensical shit), I figure I’ll let some of you aspiring *insert profession here* in on some of the “rules” I go by when it comes to ultimately influencing my opinions.
My mellow my man DJ Eclipse blesses the Dopehouse with another interesting editorial. This time, he shares HISstory, from his move to South Carolina via Providence, RI to the formation of his friendship with producer extraordinaire, T-Ray (Wrong Side of The Tracks or Back To the Grill (rmx) anyone?). Check it out, and hit the jump for the rest of the story plus some gems E pulled out of the vaults, including some really rare demos.
DJ Eclipse: A good friend of mine named Erik Blake came to visit me the other day while in town for business. He’s one of my “non Hip Hop” friends. He used to DJ a little back in the day, but didn’t choose music as a path in life. BUT, he does play a part in this little story I’m about to tell if for nothing more then refreshing my memory on “the good ol’ days”. In the mid 80’s I went to high school in Providence, RI with my man Marvin Fowler. Both of us were on the same page with the type of music we liked. We’d run down to Rainbow Records every week to pick up the latest 12” (before Hip Hop LPs existed). Then we both left RI around ‘85. He went to California and my family moved to South Carolina.
The homie @Stan Ipcus recently sat down with Erick Sermon for a two part interview. Peep part one here. In the second installment of the interview, The Green Eyed Bandit talks behind the scenes of Meth & Red’s first project, 1997′s Da Joint, the infamous 4,3,2,1 posse cut and more.
Here’s a “touchy” topic I’m gonna take a chance with. I expect some flack for it too, but remember, this is solely my opinion. In all fairness, I know that I’m not the only one that shares this opinion, although those of us who do are in a minority. Some of you may yell “Blasphemy!” Fine. Let me reiterate: this is solely my personal opinion. The topic? My overall love and admiration for It Was Written over Illmatic.