DEF SQUAD RECRUITS MIC HANDZ

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VALIDATED: THE NEW LABEL, "DEF SQUAD RECORDS" AND NEW PRODUCTION COMPANY, "DEF SQUAD FILMS", HIP-HOP NEEDS THIS! WHAT MOVED YOU TO CREATE THESE PLATFORMS?

ERICK SERMON: RIGHT NOW, AT THIS PARTICULAR GAME I THINK EVERYBODY SHOULD BE INDEPENDENT BECAUSE SOON THERE WILL BE NO MORE ITUNES OR AMAZON TO BUY FROM. THERE WILL BE NO MORE PHYSICAL BUYINGS. ALL IT WILL BE ABOUT IS STREAMING. SO WHAT THEY DID WAS, LIKE TI, I KNOW YA’LL HEARD HIM SAY, "THEY MADE US PAY FOR THE TECHNOLOGY AND THEY GAVE THE MUSIC AWAY FOR FREE." SO I THINK THAT EVERYBODY IS IN A GREAT SPACE BECAUSE AGAIN YOU CAN JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT AND THEN UPLOAD YOUR OWN AND THEN MARKET AND PROMOTE WHAT YOU PUT OUT THERE. I THINK A LABEL RIGHT NOW, IF THEY’RE WILLING TO GIVE YOU MONEY AND MARKET AND PROMOTE THEN YOU SHOULD GO THERE IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT. BUT SOUNDCLOUD SUPER STARS LIKE H.E.R., DANIEL CAESAR, SCISSOR, THESE ARE SOUNDCLOUD SUPERSTARS WITH NOBODY. JUST THAT PEOPLE GO TO SOUNDCLOUD LIKE MY DAUGHTER, TO GO FIND NEW MUSIC AND ONCE THEY GET ATTACHED AND THEN HITCHED AND GETS INTO A PLAYLIST AND BOOM. YOUR CAREER IS STARTED. I THINK OFF OF SOUNDCLOUD IT’S SOMETHING PEOPLE CAN GET FOR FREE BUT WHAT HAPPENS IS YOU GET SUCH A BIG HYPE THAT A LABEL COMES AND GET YOU.

DEF SQUAD FILMS IS SOMETHING THAT WE FIGURED THAT AT THIS PARTICULAR TIME TOO, AT THE END OF THE DAY CONTENT IS MONEY. CONTENT SELLS. YOU EVER WATCH BET AND SEE A D LIST MOVIE AND WONDER, "HOW THE HELL THAT GET ON TV?" WELL THAT CAN BE YOU TOO. CONTENT SELLS. IT’S A 100 REGULAR CHANNELS, THERE 800 CABLE CHANNELS. SO, EVERYBODY, THAT’S WHY YOU SEE EVERYTHING BEING REPEATED. EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW IS IN SYNDICATION BECAUSE THERE’S A LACK OF CONTENT. SO, WHATEVER YOU MAKE IS MONEY. WE’RE LIVING IN A GREAT TIME RIGHT NOW. IN 10 YEARS WHEN THEY COME AND THEY FIGURE THEY WANT TO TAX STUFF WHOEVER HAS CONTENT OR HAS MUSIC IS IN A GREAT PLACE RIGHT NOW.

VALIDATED: HOW DID YOU END UP LINKING WITH DEF SQUAD RECORDS? WHAT WAS THE CONVERSATION LIKE?

ROCKWILDER: THE CONVERSATION, HOW FAR YOU WANT TO GO BACK? THE CONNECTION STARTED BACK WITH REDMAN. BACK WHEN HE WAS WORKING ON HIS FIRST ALBUM. I WAS BLESSED TO BE A PART OF HIS CIRCLE AND FROM THAT WHOLE SITUATION WE JUST ENDED UP DOING, YOU KNOW BEING PART OF THE WHOLE DEF SQUAD THING. RED HAD PUT ME DOWN IN LIKE ’93. THEN HE BROUGHT ME OVER TO ERICK AND THE REST WAS HISTORY.

TY FYFFE: I WAS ACTUALLY WITH ERICK IN LATE ’94, ’95, PRODUCING UNDER HIM. I THINK I LEFT PROBABLY LIKE ’97. I KIND OF WAS ALWAYS IN THE MIX WITH HIM. THEN HE CALLED ME. HE WAS LIKE, "ITS CRAZY OVER HERE. WE GOT A LOT OF STUFF GOING ON. WE COULD USE YOU."

VALIDATED: YOU’RE WORKING WITH MIC HANDZ. TALK TO ME ABOUT HIS WORK ETHIC. WHAT DOES HE BRING TO THE TABLE AND OVERALL, HIS TALENT?

ROCKWILDER: AS FAR AS THE SQUAD, HE COMES WITH THE RAW. NOBODYS RAW AS MIC. LIKE EVERYTHING THAT HES BEEN ON AND EVERYTHING THAT I’VE SEEN HIM TOUCH. I WOULD CONSIDER HIM THE RBX OF THE GROUP. THAT AGRESSION, THAT HARD, YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING. IT AIN’T GONNA GET NO MORE CONCRETE THAN HIM, SOLO AND REGGIE. HE’S DEFINITELY REDMANS FIRST ALBUM. YOU KNOW THAT, "HARD ENOUGH THAT I COULD CHEW A WHOLE BAG OF ROCKS", THAT TYPE OF STYLE. HES DEFINITELY A HARD WORKER AND THAT’S PROBABLY WHY HIS SKILLS ARE SO REFINED BECAUSE HE JUST WORKS HARD AT IT.

TY FYFFE: HE’S EXTREMELY DOPE, HE’S EXTREMELY TALENTED. ACURATE IN WHAT HE’S DOING. HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS AND WE’RE REALLY JUST THERE TO MOLD HIS PROJECT TO ANOTHER LEVEL. HE BRINGS HIS FLAVOR TO THE TABLE, WHICH IS REALLY DOPE. YOU KNOW, HARD CORE. HE’S GANGSTA, WE DO THAT MUSIC ALL DAY. I LIKE ALL HIS MUSIC.

VALIDATED: WHAT UP AND COMING PROJECTS CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

ROCKWILDER: MAN SHOOT, ERICKS ALBUM COMING OUT, HANDZ COMING OUT, I’M PART OF HANDS ALBUM, UM KEITH, REDMANS MUDDY WATERS 2, THE YOUNG FELLAS, MY OWN ALBUMS, MY RELOADED ALBUMS, MY OWN INTRUMENTALS ALBUMS, MY JAZZ ALBUMS, ME AND E ARE DOING A GREEN EYED ALBUM, YOU’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO HEAR ME, LIKE 2 PRODUCERS SPITTIN. YEAH, A LOT OF PEOPLE DIDN’T KNOW I SPIT ON "CASE CLOSED? BY REDMAN.

TY FYFFE: BASICALLY, I’VE BEEN SUBMITTING FOR FABOLOUS. I WORKED ON ONE OF THE DEF SQUAD GROUPS, THE YOUNG FELLA’S. YOUNG PROFIT… A LOT OF STUFF. ERICKS ALBUM AND I’M DOING MY OWN PROJECT. FIRST PUTTING OUT A REMIX PROJECT CALLED "NORCOTIC REMIXES" AND THEN MY OWN COMPLATION UNDER DEF SQUAD. REMIXING JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY’S STUFF, WHETHER ITS OLD ARTIST, NEW ARTIST, OLD RECORD, NEW RECORD, WHATEVER.

ERICK SERMON: VERNIA, MY GRANDMOTHER PASSED AWAY 2 YEARS AGO. THAT WAS HER 1ST NAME AND I JUST FIGURED WHEN I WAS WRITING THE RECORD THINGS SHE’D SAY WOULD COME UP AND THE VIBE WOULD COME IN THERE TOO. IT WAS GOING TO BE CALLED "GO" AT ONE TIME BECAUSE I HAD THIS SONG CALLED "GO" WHERE I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE WORLD AND THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON. SOMETHING THAT EMPD WOULD DO. WE ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING CONGIOUS. ALL OF A SUDDEN IT CHANGED AND AGAIN MY GRANDMOTHER STARTED COMING TO ME A LOT, SO I JUST CHANGED THE NAME OF IT TO VERNIA. BUT I STILL WAS HAVING THE SAME PEOPLE. LIKE I CALLED AZ, I CALLED STYLES P, I CALLED PHARRELL, I TALKED TO BIG KRIT AND OF COURSE REDMAN, METHOD MAN AND KEITH MURRAY. UM TOO SHORT, DEVIN THE DUDE. I KNOW IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE A LOT OF SPECIAL GUESS, BUT I DIDN’T LABEL THE SONGS, SO YOU WOULD HAVE TO KNOW, "OH THAT’S SUCH AND SUCH!". I JUST FELT LIKE IT WAS A VIBE I WAS PUTTING TOGETHER ALONG WITH MY NEW PEOPLE, RJ PAYNE, YOUNG FELLAS, MIC HANDZ, P WISE, TRIBISHOP, A GIRL NAMED CATLYN, YUMMY. SOMETHING THAT DRE WOULD DO WITH THE CHONIC WHERE YOU GET A MIXTURE OF PEOPLE AND MAKE SOME OF THE DOPPEST MATERIAL POSSIBLE. ITS COMING THIS SUMMER. I USED TO HAVE A SUMMER JAM ALL THE TIME. I THINK MY FIRST JAM IS CALLED "#THINGSWEDO" FEATURING KID CAPRI AND "SOUTHERN GIRL", FEATURING PHARRELL AND RICO BERINO WHICH IS FANTASIA BROTHER, WHO HAD A SONG CALLED "CALIFORINIA" AND BIG KRIT, A RAPPER FROM DOWN SOUTH. I’M COMING, I’VE GOT A SONG CALLED "THE GAME" WITH ME STYLES P AND AZ, WE’RE REALLY SAYING THINGS ABOUT THE GAME. ITS DOPE. NOT BEING ANGRY, JUST SPITTING WHAT WE THINK ABOUT IT, THAT’S ALL. I GOT ONE CALLED "SCREAM TACTICS" WITH ME REDMAN AND EXZIBIT. ITS SCARY.

VALIDATED: PLEASE EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BEAT MAKER AND A PRODUCER?

ROCKWILDER: I THINK A BEATMAKER IS MORE OR LESS A PERSON THAT… I FIGURE ONCE YOU’RE ON THAT GRID YOU’RE A PRODUCER. I USED TO KIND OF WANT TO DIFFERENATE, BUT I DON’T WANT TO DIFFERENTIATE ANYMORE. ONCE YOU’RE ON THAT GRID YOU’RE A PRODUCER, ONCE YOU SAMPLE THAT FIRST KICK AND SNARE YOU’RE A PRODUCER. IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW HOT YOU’RE GOING TO BE AFTER THAT. I WAS HOT WHEN I WAS 6. I USED TO BE ABLE TO PULL THE RECORDS BACK ON THE BEAT. I LOVED RECORDS SO MUCH. I USED TO BREAK MY MOTHER’S VINYL. SHE USED TO WANT TO KILL ME. I USED TO LOOK AT THE NEEDLE. I WANTED TO KNOW HOW IT WAS HAPPENING. HOW THAT NEEDLE WAS IN THAT WAX AND MAKING THAT SOUND.

TY FYFFE: A BEAT MAKER IS SOMEONE THAT ACTUALLY JUST MAKES A BEAT. THEY MADE THE BEAT, THEY DIDN’T MAKE THAT ARTIST. A PRODUCER PRODUCES, ITS WHAT YOU PUT OUT, WHAT YOU BRING OUT. WHEN AN ARTIST IS THERE, HOW YOU BRING THE BEST OUT OF THEM, GET THEM TO DELIVER THEIR VOCAL, GET THEM TO DELIVER THE SONG. THE FINISH PRODUCT IS PART OF A PRODUCERS JOB, LIKE THE OVERALL SOUND AND YOU KNOW, POLISHING OF THE PRODUCT. PARTLY I WOULDN’T SAY ENGINEERING BUT TO A CERTAIN EXTENT ITS ENGINEERING. ITS SORT OF ALSO ALONG THE LINES OF SONG WRITING BECAUSE MAKING A TRACK, THE BEAT IS 50%, SO ITS KIND OF LIKE YOU’RE WRITING A SONG ALONG WITH IT AND THEN WHEN PRODUCERS PRODUCE THEY HAVE THE BEAT, THE TRACK AND THE ARTIST SO KIND OF LIKE YOU’RE ARRANGING IT, MIXING IT OR YOU’RE DOING EDITS ITS LIKE IT HAS DYNAMICS SO ITS SONG STRUCTURE.

ERICK SERMON: A BEAT MAKER IS SOMEBODY WHO MAKES BEATS AND JUST GIVES THE ARTISTS THE BEAT. THE BEAT MIGHT BE CRAZY, AND THE ARTIST SAYS, "THAT BEAT IS CRAZY." JUST BECAUSE THAT BEAT IS DOPE DON’T MEAN THAT BEAT IS FOR YOU, A PRODUCER WILL TELL YOU THAT. A PRODUCER WILL TELL YOU, "THAT BEAT IS DOPE BUT IT AIN’T FOR YOU.", "THAT PARAGRAPH IS DOPE, BUT IT DON’T FIT THAT CHORUS.", "THAT CHORUS IS DOPE BUT THAT PARAGRAPH DON’T WORK.", "THAT PARAGRAPH IS DOPE, BUT IT SHOULD GO FIRST, THE OTHER SHOULD GO THIRD." THAT MAKES A GOOD RECORD TO A GREAT RECORD. A BEAT MAKER DON’T CARE ABOUT NONE OF THAT. THAT’S WHY YOU HEAR CERTAIN SONGS THAT GOT DOPE BEATS OR CERTAIN SONGS THAT DON’T GO NOWHERE BECAUSE IT WASN’T PRODUCED. IT WAS A BEAT BEING MADE.

VALIDATED: WHATS YOUR THOUGHTS ON HIP-HOP BECOMING THE #1 MUSIC GENRE?

ERICK SERMON: HIP HOP IS THE ONLY GENRE TO DO WHAT ITS DONE ACROSS THE WORLD. NO OTHER MUSIC TRANSENDS MORE THAN HIP HOP. WE ARE #1 IN THE WORLD. EVEN MORE THAN COUNTRY, ITS NEVER BEEN LIKE THAT IN HISTORY! THERES NO MORE POP MUSIC, THERES NO MORE ROCK, ITS HIP HOP LEFT. EVEN SOME COUNTRY SONGS GOT A HIP HOP BOTTOM BEAT. THAT’S HOW POWERFUL WE ARE.

VALIDATED: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION THAT FEELS THE BOOM BAP ERA OF HIP-HOP IS NO LONGER RELEVANT?

ROCKWILDER: I DON’T LISTEN TO THOSE PEOPLE. I DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE THAT SAY, "I ONLY LISTEN TO MY OWN MUSIC." THAT’S WHAT WACK PEOPLE SAY. I DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE THAT DIFFERENTIATE WHAT BOOM BAP IS TO WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW BECAUSE ITS NEW PRODUCERS NOW THAT WORSHIP BOOM BAP MUSIC. THIS IS JUST A TECHNIC THAT PEOPLE USE TO DO WHAT THEY DO.

TY FYFFE: TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION, I SEE THEIR POINT OF VIEW, BUT THEY COULD NEVER SAY THAT ITS NOT THERE BECAUSE ITS ALWAYS BEEN THERE. IT NEVER LEFT AND ITS ACTUALLY COMING BACK HARDER THAN EVER NOW. ITS WEIRD BECAUSE LIKE YOU MIGHT GO SOMEWHERE LIKE AUSTRIALA OR GERMANY. THAT’S ALL THEY WANT TO HEAR IS THAT MUSIC. PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW LIKE KENDRICK (LAMAR) DOES BOOM BAP. SOME OF THE HOTTEST PEOPLE THATS OUT TODAY STILL DO THAT GREAT MUSIC. I DON’T KNOW, TO ME THE GAME IS STAR STRUCK. ITS LIKE WHOEVERS HOT, THAT’S WHAT GOING ON. THEY DON’T REALLY KNOW THAT’S WHATS GOING ON. THEY JUST THINK THAT’S WHATS GOING ON.

 

Troy Hendrickson