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.”