Before our conversation, I listened to the new album, watched the video for DoomTree’s “Drumsticks” a million times. I’ll have to wait a month or two till he comes to play West Hollywood to shout it at him at a show. At at 28, he’s already logged a considerable amount of time in the studio, and four hundred plus some odd tracks which is definitely a professional average. Spin has even called him a child prodigy, various mainstream media corporate outlets bowed at his feet as well in previous write-ups. He was down for the exchange, and I was unbelievably ill. It was decided via text message would be mutually beneficial way to proceed.
Your new LP Legend Recognize Legend just came out. I was looking for the production credits online, but no dice, did you do the instrumental on “Drumsticks”?
That was the first MPLS hip hop record I heard. It blew my mind, the production on that one got me, I was shown the video, then after that Brother Ali, the whole scene.
Aw thanks man. Definitely proud of that beat in particular, that’s sweet it was the first stuff from here you’d heard. I always figure everyone starts with (Slug) Atmosphere and works their way down the chain.
That’s only if you don’t count Prince. He’s got bars for days. His new song “lay you down” he says something to the effect of, “I’m the Purple Yoda, from Minnesota”. have you heard his new album? It was only released in London for free inside newspapers or something, and he said the internet was dead and Prince is the future.
Ha Ha, I knew he could spit a little something. I’ve been impressed with what Sims and Mike (from Doomtree) have played me off that album. Dude is beyond legendary here. Almost like a mythological beast or something.
What was it like playing the 1st Avenue venue, (in MPLS) since his majesty christened it as the location for Purple Rain?
It’s still surreal, I played in the Plastic Constellations since I was 13 and we were lucky enough to play there in high school. Then sold it out years later on our own, and a bunch with Doomtree. There are no words for it. Doomtree even got our own star on the wall this year. Such and honor, I can’t say enough how much I love my town.
My father always says “genius without humility is nothing”. I’ve never been to your neck of the woods but hear great things about the annual Soundset festival. What was your favorite year (performing)?
I missed the first one, but have had a blast the last two years. Various members of the crew have played every year and it’s a blast to see us all geek out, at the bigger artist’s sets. This year’s highlights were definitely Yelawolf, Method Man & Redman, and Hieroglyphics. It was crazy to stand in the middle and watch Dessa headline the second stage as Meth and Red the first.
I saw them do the new Black Out 2 material at E3 this year, and Spring Gathering in San Bernadino. Who else’s stage show/beats do you admire but yet to work with?
Man a long list, off the top I’d say Hov, Black Milk, Yelawolf, Rawse, Phoenix, Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi, a ton of R&B artists and Randy Newman? (laughs) but that might take some time.
Agreed, Black Milk is a beast and Album of the Year is official. I’m curious, which singers?
Black Milk is insane, but in R&B? The-Dream, Drake, Charlie Wilson, Bilal, Maxwell, Ron Isley, Sade (laughs) like I said that might take some serious time. I do like Little Dragon.
Little Dragon has been my new favorite band for awhile. I’ve seem them three times so good. Speaking of dope records, have you heard that Carpenter’s cover with Ron Isley feat. Lauryn Hill? “Closer I get to you”, for the grown and sexy set it’s close to perfect.
That is my shit! R&B, grown sexy music, is pretty much all I listen to though it might not reflect a ton on this album. I think it’s because I really have no idea how they’re making it. There’s still a lot of mystery there for me.
“Outstanding” (by the Gap Band) was a huge record in my DJ years. I’m a huge fan of dude also, literally every time he performs in LA I have to take the time stop him and be like, “Yo, I know I’ve told you a half dozen times at different spots already. But your dope, I just had to put it out there.”
I was checking out this new Bilal record this morning, so far so good. Yeah, Charlie and the Gap Band are the truth.
Let’s change gears. How did Legend recognize Legend come about as a title? Was it something that came to you in a dream, or just out of thin air?
It spawned from a TPC tour joke about being in the game so long and becoming legends. A play on real recognize real. I kind of ran with it and became a proponent if the phrase as a universal thing. You can be a legend at your shitty day job type thing. But when making the album and dealing with some of the big picture subject matter I felt like it could mean a legendary person recognizing a legend (like land or folklore whatever) as well. God does that sound super lame? Really it was the only title I ever had and I never came up with anything better. Still really like it though. Like Rob Dyrdek says, “Live your brand”.
I feel that. How about the (AKAI) MP, your relatively new to the production game, which greats influenced you as far as production?
I didn’t start making beats until around 2001 so it was a lot of the current stuff at the time for me. The whole Rocafella takeover: Just Blaze, Bink!, Kanye. Southern stuff: DJ Toomp, Mannie Fresh, Pimp C. I guess I’m less of a old school purist when it comes to beats. Of course the usual, Premo, Timbo, Bomb Squad suspects. Love Justice League. Right now it’s almost entirely southern production that inspires me. Trunk Muzik and Krit Wuz Here are incredible for that. Can’t forget EL-P and Polow (da Don). Coming from here it’s cool because we’re not too close to a specific coast or sound so we’re free to draw from everything.
You’ve got a show coming up at the Roxy in November, anything your looking forward in particular when you come back out here?
First off, I am so pumped for this entire tour! LA is always a highlight and we have so many friends and people to catch up with out there, it’s gonna rule so hard. I’m determined to get to the Fantasy Factory at some point, maybe not this time around though. Plus I’m just thrilled to be finally playing The Roxy. I’ve heard so much about it and know how many greats have been through it so it feels good to be getting to a bigger level with the crew and playing some of these legendary clubs. So amped!
Matt Scharenbroich, who did the Legend Recognize Legend artwork, I really liked his stuff on his blog. Tons of photos of Behind the Scenes stuff for the videos on your album which is actually a two disc project. Known him forever, did you reach out to him to work with you?
Matt has been one of my best friends since the seventh grade. Now that I think about it, almost everyone involved in this record from my backup vocals to artwork, videos I’ve known for over a decade. Pretty loyal dude I guess. Anyways, Matt actually drummed in The Plastic Constellations and did artwork for all those albums as well. It only seemed right to include him on this one and he murdered it!!! He also made 5 of the 10 videos that come with the physical copy of the album. Such a talented and creative dude, I’m just so proud of how everything turned out and want to make sure to emphasize how “bawse” my entire team is. LRL for real.