interview -CyPhEr777 (C73)
Is Hip-Hop Dead? If yes, explain. If no, explain:
Is that a trick question? Cause you can take that question on many different levels. I will start by saying this; there is no more “Yo! MTV Raps” no more “Rap City” which became “Rap Sh*tty”. Viacom owns every video network and it seems like the art stopped being art a long time ago. Corporate America ate us up and sh*t us out. Kind of like the way we used to sample records; take this and that but f*ck the rest of it. Don’t lie, some of us wouldn’t even put the records back in the sleeve. Unknowingly we made art out of raping artist so corporate America was like oohh sh*t this is a working class revolution once we give these kids money it will destroy itself. You got to admit Hip-hop put a lot of trained musicians out of work in the 80’s and 90’s ‘cause they rebelled against electronic instruments and we embraced them. So now, R&B, Jazz, Pop got our breaks powering their songs. Hip-Hop will live forever but the Hip-Hop Industry Is Dead. It died the day they made rapping more important than the other elements. What do you think? I mean there’s been so many bullsh*t records and songs, I think people are over it. Hip-Hop’s golden format: Cassette (who even knows what the f*ck a tape is?).
What is your vision of Hip Hop’s future?
The future is the past; house parties and people feeling good about expressing themselves. The other night I was a judge at a $500 emcee battle at Rhyme Lab (an up and coming spot in Escondido, Ca). It was getting real ill, then a fight broke out and the club got shut down and there were two rounds left. One of the emcees said “split the money, split the money” but, the promoter Ponder One did something that made me smile. He took the battle next door to the taco shop. So when I got around the corner at 1am there was 100+ people waiting for the battle and that’s not the crazy part. The battle started again acapella .We were behind a dumpster in a dirt field next to a gully with bamboo. Yo! Half way through it, 8 cop cars and 10 cops surrounded us. People were about to start running but everyone stood still. Ponder told the cops it was a freestyle rap battle and the cops said ohhh!, we can finish and left as the battle continued. Everyone was happy and confused like “what the f*ck!”; people started crying cause we knew that Hip-Hop was alive. It was like starting all over again.
Do you listen to other forms of music outside of Hip Hop, if yes WHAT?
Hip-Hop is my gateway drug into the electronic audio arts. I’m a lover of DUB. Did you know Lee Scratch Perry invented multi tracking out of necessity? Real sh*t. My favorite dance music is Raga Jungle and Drum and Bass which is two different art forms. I’m writing a lot of Dubstep production and I love Glitch-hop, UK Grime, Downtempo, Future Roots, FSTZ created Synth-hop in 2004 and I can dig it. I listen to BBC 1 extra shows, dubstepfm.com basically the sickest sh*t available for my eardrums. I actually search for good music it, doesn’t fall into your lap anymore.
Who were your artistic/musical influences growing up?
Bill Laswell, Rick Ruben, Divine Styler, Native Tongues, Jimmy Hendrix, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, David Axelrod, Jhon Klemmer, etc… Not much hip-hop but, the building blocks of hip-hop. When I first started producing music, people were throwing away vinyl collections for CD’s so I came up f*cking hardcore and I actually listened to the records.
What is your music background?
I’m happy and lucky to be an African in America. I didn’t have to learn music at all, it’s in my DNA. All of my first memories are music based. All the records that you hear in Hip-Hop, my mom would play on Sundays. I would love Sunday ‘cause church for me was my mom cleaning the house all day playing Fela, P-Funk, Gil Scott, Last Poets. My family was and is proud to be black so I was raised on the soundtrack to revolution. Music means a lot to many world cultures but for the African (Black) experience in America it means everything. Think about it.
How do you describe your music to people?
Man! Wow! I haven’t done that in a while because people usually tell me what my art has done for them or how it made them feel. Or how it allowed them to cope with life. On my MySpace page it say’s “An original approach to a dying art form” and that is true and real. I have always made Hip-Hop with no template. Anyone who never gave back a style, a beat or anything original to Hip-Hop helped kill it. They say imitation is the best form of flattery but, mockery is the best way to destroy something pure. Back in the day I would tell people that I sound like Kool Keith rapping over Portishead, then he dropped “Dr. Octagon” and I stopped saying that.
What image do you think your music conveys?
A spaceship, Mars on earth, a dirty old ghetto blaster being sucked into a black hole, Africanism, Destruction, Love, A beautiful painting of something destructive, Nephlim, Anunnaki, Nibiru-Planet X, Togetherness, all things truly Hip-Hop, a rave in 1991, a massive in 1994. The beginning and the end of sound.
What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
Money first, art tenth. I would say second but you’ve got marketing and promotion fighting for that position. I’ve seen a lot so, like people that have seen a lot I’m jaded. Do I think there are labels trying to make money off good music? Yes. I think it’s about artist selling their own music. Distribution outlets are dying everyday. If you go digital you save a lot of money and time. Hip-Hop lives online because the internet is new and needed. What would we do without it? We would be completely crushed or silenced without it (real heads). Sell your own music. Sell your own music! Make it good; make it compete with industry garbage that is sonically superior. We will learn and we will win. It’s funny that underground isn’t that underground anymore. I’m happy I didn’t sell out and so are my peers and fans. Look there are only 2 record labels left (majors) and no distribution and they’re not signing nobody so, do your own thing take it to the streets and to your community.
What inspires you to do what you do?
RA, Jah Rastafari, Yahweh Eloheim Allah, Buddha, Krishna. Also traveling, meeting new people, reaching goals, So called fine art, life my crazy life, my daughters, friends, foes, rivals, Hip-Hop, Robotech, a lot of nerdy sh*t, Sci-fi, the African experience in America.
What project or projects are you currently working on? When will they be released?
I have many records about to drop. Two older ill Orko records, The Metamorphysis and Forbidden Physics are dropping first. I have a free album called The Class of 1994 which is an autobiographical record about my four years in high school. A lot of people may not know or may know that I have changed my name to Chakra Zulu so; I have a lot of records recorded under that name. Kunta Kente in Outterspace is the first record and Chackra Zulu self titled is the second. I have recorded about 10 vocal albums and 7 instrumental albums since my last solo record, Atoms of Eden in 2004. I have been doing a lot of traveling and recording collaborations with Nephlim Modulation System, Left Handed Scientist, Ras-G, Thavius Beck but, mostly Drum & Bass, Jungle and Dubstep is my focus. I don’t see myself doing a 100% Hip-Hop record ever again cause that era is over. I will always be an emcee. Hip-Hop went one way and I went the other way but, we meet up every now and then on the dance floor. Go to www.myspace.com/orkoalieneloheim or firstname.lastname@example.org for albums and booking.
If you had an opportunity to collaborate with ANY artist or artists (dead or alive) in ANY genre of music/art, who would you choose? And why?
Amon Tobin just because I had the best mushroom trip ever listening to Supermodifide on New Years 1999/2000. Wooowooo! LOL! He was the reason I wanted to do records with Ninja Tune /Big Dada, because any label dropping and supporting music like that deserves my art. Jimmy Hendrix, Ravi Shankar, Fela, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Rick Ruben, Dwight York, BDP, Big Daddy Kane, Glitch Mob, Jungle Brothers, Axelrod, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller. There too many people I want to work with. I just want to have a big jam session at Chung King studios in NYC. I want to thank everyone at Insomniac magazine and Online. If you were crazy enuff to read this, bless your heart mind and soul and let’s continue to push boundaries with this art form.