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Slum Village :: Evolution

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Although I have interviewed Slum Village two times before over the past years, I was excited to do another interview with them, as this formation consists of T3, Illa J and Young RJ. The last two are no strangers to Slum Village fans as they have always been a part of the SV family. At the moment they are touring in Europe, having done the Dillaville tour and following right up with the Evolution tour as their album Evolution was released in June of this year. The three Detroit natives talk about touring in the new formation, the feedback from the fans in Europe and advise anyone not to deal with any negativity. I can only agree wholeheartedly to that.

With special thanks to Frank Nitt.

Black Thought :: Stay True 2 Your Roots

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Last weekend Rotterdam was hosting another group of amazing artists, during the 38th edition of North Sea Jazz Festival. The Legendary Roots Crew is not an unfamiliar band to play this festival as they have performed there before. Having known lead MC/singer Black Thought for a few years now, we never took the time out to sit down and talk on camera. This time, we did. Only to find out he also always wanted to do an interview with little ol Pay. 🙂

Black Thought talks about balancing life as an artist and his personal life, being on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the band’s new album “& Then You Shoot Your Cousin”, which is due around March next year, and he talks about how important it is to stay true to where you are coming from, in order to be successful as an artist.

Ca$h Money Records :: Caskey

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Photo by: Tim Pen

Music label Ca$h Money Records decided to throw a private event, together with SwaG ShaQ, in Amsterdam, to introduce three of their new signed artists. One of them is 20-year old Brandon Caskey from the Orlando, Florida area.

This humble young man has some serious skills on the mic and Birdman heard that through Caskey’s uploaded video’s on YouTube. Caskey, using his last name as his artist name, tells how it feels to be “hand-picked” by Birdman himself and how it feels to suddenly roll with the big boys.

With thanks to Rudii from SwaG ShaQ for making this possible.
Caskey’s official website: www.bakingwithcaskey.com.

Caskey – Words (official video)

Chuck D :: Freedom & Independence

Its been quite some years since I last spoke to Chuck D, one of Public Enemy’s frontmen. The Hip Hop group, that started a movement with political awareness in their raps in the 80’s, was headlining the Boogiedown Breda festival this year. As always its a pleasure to talk to Chuck, especially when it comes to him sharing his knowledge. He talks about his movement today and tells us that the difference between him and most artists out there today, is Freedom & Independence. Watch as Chuck tells us about the bigger picture.

Big K.R.I.T. :: Country to Def Jam

One of my new favorite hip hop artists today is Big K.R.I.T. and I got the opportunity to meet and talk to him for a quick minute during the Boogiedown Breda festival out here in The Netherlands. In speed mode he talks about how he started out and ended up with Def Jam, his production skills coming forth out of necessity and that his next project is going to be soulful.

Postmen :: The Evolution of Hip Hop

Postmen is back. De mannen achter de hits “Cocktail” en “Crisis” in de jaren 90, stonden op het Boogiedown Breda festival dit jaar. Het podium van Boogiedown schudde op z’n vesten met de oude hits maar ook de nieuwe hits van Postmen en de “berichten bezorgers” bewezen maar weer eens dat ze nog steeds succes-waardig zijn. Ze zijn terug en vertellen over hun nieuwe sound en de evolutie van Hip Hop vandaag de dag.

The Pharcyde :: The Secret to Longevity

The Pharycde is celebrating their 20 year anniversary and toured Europe to experience old and new fans that still bounce to their songs like its 1992. Bootie Brown took the time out to talk about how it feels to still be on stage after so many years and gives us his view on the secret to longevity.

DJ SUN :: One Hundred

DJ SUN has established himself as a resident DJ in Houston over the past 15+ years. Born in The Netherlands, moved to Surinam (South America) and growing up in Houston, Texas, has made DJ SUN a DJ and producer with a diverse musical ear, which expresses itself in his art. When I got up with my part fellow Dutchman, he spoke about the upcoming release of his debut album “One Hundred” which features musicians such as Houston Grand Opera vocalist Lisa E. Harris and Grammy award winning bassist for La Mafia, Tim Ruiz.

The ARE :: Maintaining the Balance

When I was in Houston I got the random opportunity to interview producer The ARE. You may not have heard of him, but you surely have heard one or more of the songs he has produced. The ARE started producing in the early 90’s and has been part of The Trackmasters production team since 2007. His  production credits include Lil Kim, Keyshia Cole, Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J, EMC (Mata Ace,Wordsworth, Stricklin & Punchline), Headkrack, Wordsworth, Truth Enola and Canibus to name a few.

As an artist he has released his own projects as well, such as The Jacksons, Uphill Peace of Mind, Still Climbing and Manipulated Marauders. Before he started working independently, he was part of the group K-otix. I have witnessed this Houston based producer to be a great DJ and tastemaker as well, during my stay in H-town.

The ARE talks about how it all started for him as a producer, what he considers his “big break” in the industry and most of all, how he maintains the balance between mainstream and underground, while always keeping the focus on his family, his daughter.

Photo by Adam Israel Valadez.

Killer Mike :: Bringing real Hip Hop back

Rapper/producer El-P was touring the United States and brought Killer Mike along. After I spoke to El-P in Houston, Killer Mike took out a few minutes to also sit down with me, before the show at Warehouse Live. I definitely appreciated that he was willing to take the time to talk to me on the spot. Mike talks about how his latest album, R.A.P. Music, which was released in May, is bringing that real hip hop back. As he states: “Yes, Hip Hop is dead, if you aint got any imagination.”