Waajeed Interview

– Another Detroit artist. My last few interviews were all Detroit natives. And here again. There are still a lot of people out here that never heard of Waajeed, so let me start by asking, how did your love for music start?
I guess it started originally with my parents. My parents were big socialites in the 70’s. My mom and dad had a huge record collection. I think that’s where it started. I was raised in a house where people were dancing, cooked dinner to music, we cried to music. There was a song for every episode of my life. I guess that’s where my passion for it started.

– You started with DJ-ing, what made you decide to get into producing?
Well, the DJ thing, initially, by my parents having this record collection in the house. I mean, the DJ thing kinda happened naturally, the production thing didn’t. I never wanted to be a producer, I feel like music production kinda chose me. Oddly enough when I was on the road, touring through Europe and the States, with Slum, ultimately is where I kinda decided like “Maybe I’ll try my hand at it”. It was a good choice.

– One of the founding members of Slum Village. Can you tell in short how that got together?
It kinda started where, every neighborhood has its weirdo’s. Our neighborhood, Conant Gardens, where I am from. It’s a very well-known neighborhood in the city. It’s like the area where black people have money, that’s where I stayed at. With that history of Conant Gardens, the neighborhood kinda turned for the worse, when crack came into the neighborhood in the early 80’s, mid 80’s. From that moment, the neighborhood deteriorated. You had separation between the people. You had the people that lived there and had regular jobs every day. And then you had hood cats that kept shit up and more or less brought turmoil to the neighborhood. I fell somewhere in the middle of that, with my parents being respectable people, but my brother was like a hood cat. I fell in the middle of that, and with that falling in the middle that’s how I met everybody that was in Slum. Baatin was the first cause he lived directly around the corner from me. So I met Baatin first, T3 and then Dilla.

– How did Elzhi come into the group? Was that through you?
I was working with Elzhi prior to T3 coming up with the concept of bringing him into the group. Actually, when he brought it up, I was like “Man, I don’t know about that one dog.” But that was totally T3’s concept. It was another situation where T3 was right by following his instincts. It was a good idea.

– How does it feel now, having been involved in so much regarding Slum Village, from day one, and seeing how established they are today?
I mean, it feels good. But my focus is less about Slum Village, more about myself. Getting my shit up, more focusing on PPP and all the trillion other things that I’m doing. I’m happy for Slum, you know. I was a major part in making it happen, but its one of those things, I been a lot of part of things at the corner stone of it. And they’ve developed, they flourished. And I’m just happy I was a part of it, not just with Slum but also some other things that have done well.

– The reason I asked about this is cause a lot of people know Slum, but they don’t know who you are, so it’s important to know a little background on you.
They need to google me haha.

– Your solo project B.P.M. What inspired you to put that together?
When I initially started my label. I started with putting out Jay Dee’s instrumentals. Then I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a try and put my own album out. And oddly enough, I sold just as many copies as the Jay Dee one. That’s basically what it was. Just get the music out and let people know that I wasn’t just executive producing records, but I’m a fan and participant of music too.

– Then the Platinum Pied Pipers were formed. You decided to team up with Saadiq.
The Platinum Pied Pipers kinda developed around the same time as B.P.M. More or less, it was kinda simultaneously.

– “Ridin’ High” was the song that sort of hit it off to the public. How did Dwele get involved?
No comment on that, Dwele wasn’t involved with that. Hahaha.

– Oh wow, my research sucks.
Hahahaha that’s ok.

– But you did work with him right?

– Was he one of the people in the same area as well?
Oh Dwele is always around. Dwele is my buddy. He is always around and kickin’ it.

– I am still waiting on him to come over here, all these Detroit artists been here, but haven’t seen him around yet.
Not yet, but you will see him. He is the party guy so trust me, you will see him.

– Ok back to you. How would you define yourself as a producer? You have worked with so many artists with different styles. Yet, you are labeled more a “hiphop” producer.

– I don’t really get that. Cause you didn’t really do that much hiphop besides Slum Village. I don’t see where that label comes from.
Exactly. This is what I’ve been saying the whole time. I did several interviews prior to this one. I get thrown in the hiphop-bag, which is cool, cause I definitely love hiphop. And to some degree, that’s where I started at, that’s my beginning. But its really not a whole lot of hiphop in my catalogue. I would just describe myself as a producer. In my opinion, a real producer is capable of doing all of it. On a level like Prince or Quincy Jones, there is no one thing that defines Quincy Jones. He done it all, from bossanova to deep jazz. I would like to label myself that more. Anybody that can google me or check the stuff that I’ve been involved in, I’ve done all of it, jazz, disco, house shit, hiphop shit, all of it so I mean, you know. I just label myself as a producer.

– You just mentioned Quincy Jones, obviously one of your inspirations in music. Who else? What inspires you or who inspires you?
For a fact New York definitely inspires me. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for the last couple of years. Detroit definitely inspires me. My influences go from all over the board. From Derak May, the originator of techno music, all the way to Dilla. It’s all over the board. Anybody who inspires to, more or less break the rules and redefine what they are.

– Detroit is a talented place. You started your own label, Bling47. What can you tell people about Bling47?
Google me. Hahaha nah nah. I guess I’ll say, Bling47 as a label, had the starts in hiphop. I was one of the first to release instrumentals. Instrumentals as an album. We started with hiphop but you can definitely expect us to go into a million directions in the future. With the people that we’re working with. Just keep your eye on us. Between www.bling47.com and the myspace page www.myspace.com/waajeedandthebling47group is where they can find more, they can tune in.

– What exactly is your role within the label, besides the founder part? Do you actually run the label?
Nah I don’t. I have three people that assist me. My wonderful assistants that kinda look after everything, make sure that everything is cool. More or less I am kind of like the creative director. I’m the person that’s always out in the streets, getting access to demo’s. I am the person that’s always in the lab, the creative director, letting the world know what I wanna put out. And then I give it to my people and they take it from there.

– Do you find the new talent as well, to get signed?
Yeah definitely. Always looking. Always got our ears out, and we’re in the process of doing a new PPP album, that’s set to release the middle of next year. So we are always looing for up and coming talent, anybody that’s doing something new.

– What is your outlook on the music scene of today?
I think it’s pros and cons. I think with the new developments with technology, everything just kinda being so available now to the public at large, I think that there’s a lot of shit out there that sucks. There are people out there that are fans of music, and should just stay fans of music instead of trying to make it. It’s a lot of bullshit out here. But at the same time, there’s a lot of fresh shit too. A lot of people doing new things. Like I said, there are pros and cons. There’s a lot of good stuff and there’s a lot of fucked up wack shit too.

– You’re in Europe right now. I hear from a lot of artists that there is a lot more love and appreciation over here for music, than back in the States. You are touring for the War LP, how is the response so far?
It’s been good. My experience in general is, I get just as much love over in the States as over here. I can’t say there’s a substantial difference between the States and here, for me at least. Not just for myself, but also PPP and the Bling47 stuff. Its really the same amount in sales, same amount in interest to some degree. I think what it is, with some of the rappers you been talking to, the other side of the fence is always greener. I think a lot of those cats are maybe looking at that shit through foggy glasses. Cause it’s the same shit really. At least to me it is.

– Being overseas and in Holland again. You were over here in 2005, for The Hop, where you had to do a record on the spot with an MC. Are there any collaborations coming up again with overseas artists?
There are a couple of things going on, nothing I can speak about at the moment but yeah definitely. Whoever is doing something dope, that’s who I’m fucking with.

– You gonna sign somebody from overseas to Bling47?
Haha! You gotta stay tuned! Tune into Bling.

– Seeing how you are working on the forthcoming albums of the Bling47 artists, and a follow up of the “Triple P” album, is there an outlook on a solo project from Wajeed again? Or other projects outside of Bling47?
My definition of a solo project that I’ve done is the War LP that we’re out here supporting now. More or less that is my solo album. At least for the next year or so. Maybe two years.

– What is your main focus for the near future?
My main focus right now is to finish up my commitment with Ubiquity. Putting the next PPP album out here. And then in addition to that, I’ve been doing a lot more stuff on the majors in the States, as far as major labels and shit. Kinda like, take the music to another-nother-nother level as far as some of the people I’ve been working with.

– That’s all other projects outside of Bling?
Yeah it’s a lot. I’ve been doing a lot of major production work. And I definitely suggest people look out for that. You’d be surprised of some of the names I’ve been working with. What I have been saying, you gotta stay tuned haha.