Circa 94 Beats brings you the sound of the holidays in ACTIVITY CHRISTMAS featuring additional production DJ Pocket
for Serious Knock Entertainment and HotSauce, Siks & Walter Lee among those lending their artistic abilities!!
SIMPLE TREASURES (U-LUV-IT) – featuring Black and Mild Music, HotsaucetheMC, Benny Rockaway,Walter Lee Younger of Black Folk Inc. From the album Champagne & Panties on Serious Knock Entertainment via iTunes and other online retailers
-this interview originally appeared prior to the release of his album “Stand Up Music” featuring production by Circa 94 Beats -Check it out:
-Whats up Sauce? Thanks for sitting down with us.To get the ball rolling tell us about your upbringing, the places you have lived and how that effected how your music has developed?
I’m originally from Corning, NY which is no where near NYC… I was raised mostly by my mother after my father moved to Los Angeles. They gave it another shot and almost 10 years later he came and got us and we drove cross country to live w/ him in Inglewood, CA…
There was no black radio in Corning and my mother actually wasn’t the biggest music fan so she just kind of listened to the soft rock station when we were in the car and that’s it. Which led to my growing up on Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Toto, a lot of what is now called ‘Yacht Rock’ (of course people like Michael Jackson were everywhere) as opposed to James Brown, Sam Cooke, BB King etc. who some of the other black people her age may have listened to. I remember family buggin out when I went to visit because I had not heard the latest ‘whomever’ was dominating black radio at the time.
The move to LA was dead in the middle of the crack explosion so that was obviously quite a different environment, the scenery changed and so did the soundtrack… my father listened to a lot of Crusaders, Earth, Wind and Fire, Maze ft. Frankie Beverly, Stevie, but he also thought it was cool to let me listen to his Richard Pryor records for some reason.
– who were your influences to pick up a pen?
I’m pretty sure I would have done something creative w/ writing whether I ended up rhyming or not… I actually was trying to learn a song and wrote the lyrics down on a legal pad, once I read them I remember thinking that it didn’t seem all that complicated and…kind of took the same cadence from that song and made up my own words. Thats how I wrote my first verse at like 10 or 11… and off and on I guess I never stopped
– Noticed alot of strong narratives and uplifting songs on your album…What is the meaning with Stand Up Music?
I think that comes from a lot of the early music I heard as well…many of those artists were incredible songwriters think of “Allentown” or “Anthony’s Song” by Billy Joel, anything from Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” LP or Stevie’s “As” or “That Girl” …now think of “T.R.O.Y.” Pete Rock and CL, “Love’s Gonna Getcha” KRS, “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” by P.E. those are all great examples of songwriting.
I probably at this point would much rather be considered a great songwriter, and if you think about it what great MC can you think of that isn’t a great songwriter??
Rakim, Q-Tip, Scarface, Guru, Kool G Rap, Nas, Slick Rick, Chuck D, freaking Eminem!? All those dudes can really put a song together…
The music that I make just happens to be a reflection on where I am right now as a person. At one point in my life you might have been asking “why so dark?” or “why do you have such a grim outlook on things?”
The title Stand Up Music came from two places… the first being that whenever watching the hundred or so gangster movies I’ve seen whenever someone was known as a “Stand up guy” it essentially meant whomever they were talking about was a person to be respected, that was honest and someone of integrity. That wasn’t going to be swayed in one direction or another by what was going on around them. Someone who changes their environment instead of conforming to it.
In trying to live my life and raise my family as Christ-like as I can, we go to church quite often and one of the things I noticed over the years is when someone is singing and the song really strikes a chord within, people start to stand up out of their seats…by the time the song ends, everyone is standing.
– explain your relationship with SKE and the movement you are building?
I couldn’t imagine working w/ anyone else! I’ve known DJ Pocket for several years, and no matter what we’re doing individually we always end up working together. He’s always been consistent and focused with what he’s trying to accomplish. I’ve seen P do everything from empty the trash in the studio to engineer a session w/ several heavyweights. I’ve seen artists come and go for whatever reason and I’ve never seen him get deterred or discouraged. That’s important because that says no matter what situation we’re in I’m not going to look around and see a different side that I wasn’t expecting.
Notice I keep using the phrase “I’ve seen”? First hand accounts, not heard, no rumors..seen w/ my own two.
Serious Knock is really building quite a movement by releasing quality music, on a consistent basis while being efficient yet effective in everything we do…
If this were to be my only release ever. I’d still work w/ SKE doing whatever is needed.
– Listening to your album I like to think of you as a “thinking mans thinking man”….alot of your topics and subject matter take it past the norm … what do you attribute this too? (and you can’t just say “b/c I’m dope?” LOL)
I just put a lot of thought into what I say… my grandmother used to say words are like toothpaste that’s out of the tube…once they’re out there that’s it. You can’t take them back…
Maybe it has something to do w/ the fact that I grew up an only child and had quite a bit of time to myself. Only children as a whole must tend to have very vivid imaginations I did and still do, also…I read quite a bit so that kind of led to how I tend to tell stories more and more.
It’s actually really hard for me to write battle songs…I’m the best MC..My lyrics are so this/that. If you notice any of those kind of songs on this record are either short…or have guests on them. There’s a story behind every single song on ‘Stand Up Music’….they’ll have to check my tumblr for those…lol
– Love the cover of your album …explain that concept?
First I have to give all respect and thanks to the incredible Tony “Wolf” Delano..very talented artist.
The covers reflected in my glasses are some of the more important influences…in my life not only in just the music I make. I’m pretty sure each of those LP covers has a personal story attached to it as well…But I think it’s a good nod to the diversity of what kind of music I grew up on and still enjoy. The hand over my mouth has a bit of a deeper meaning I’ll probably write a song about that so…
– One of the first songs I heard off this project was “Chills”….explain the concept for the readers and talk about it from a personal perspective?(we can also phrase a question for “Warnings Signs” or any other song also that’s close to your hear or that you want them to be on the look for)
“Chills” is actually the oldest song on the record…. It was written at a time of frustration and disgust I had just been as close to a record deal and that I would get and when it didn’t happen and I was like “ok this may never happen” It’s just a narrative of the crazy things I might have done (at least in my thinking) to ‘get on’ and be a rich musician…shout to Zo! who is monster on the keys…he produced that one.
– I hear that during the process of recording this album you had a child…CONGRATS!! How did that effect the material you were coming up with?
Thanks! Yeah this was child #4 so I’m a veteran… That was definitely something I thought about when writing/recording…I didn’t want anyone w/ kids to have to skip certain songs to enjoy good hip hop music w/ their family in the car, etc. So I made a decision that there wouldn’t be any cursing on any of my releases.
– “Move On” is Hot? Tell us about production of song and video for that?
I actually got this beat from Walt of ‘Circa’94Beats’ almost a year ago…he kept emailing me like ‘Yo are you gonna rock that beat?’ (Circa’94 was working on a project at the time that they were going to put it on) and I just kept telling him ‘Yeah Imma use it!” lol…I’m glad it came out that well. They would have never let me hold a beat again!….the video was actually last minute, Pocket came to Nashville to shoot a video from his and CountBassD’s “In The Loop, Partie Deux” LP and when Count couldn’t make it we just decided to make it happen. That’s part of the efficiency I talked about before…P also edited, the video…made an appearance. Big Up to my man BA who can be seen doing a mean Harlem Shake in the video…lol He’s also featured on “Get Lost” along with Reeyo on the LP.
– tell Us about the other producers and people featured on this album…I understand you and Hip Hop Veteran Count Bass D go wayback?
Count is my oldest son’s godfather…He’s always been there pushing me to ‘get cracking’ as far as music goes. Very genuine dude. He produced ‘No Name’ and “Caine and Abel”
Zo! I met on a message board I believe it was on Countbassd.com…we realized we knew some of the same people like John Doe (of The Prophetix) and of course when I realized he was from Detroit I told him my theory that there was something in the water about musicians from the D…Stevie, Fred Hammond, The Clark Sisters, J Dilla…see what I mean? Produced “Chills” and “Lion’s Den”
Fonetik Simbol who did ‘Trapped” actually sent me that beat so we could begin working on an EP together… the song ended up being so personal I begged him to let me use it for this project. Very talented
Circa ’94 Beats – Walt actually hit me up years ago on a alumni website where we went to school together w/ Pocket and Count. But for some reason the name and the face didn’t click so I didn’t hit him back…..glad he never held that against me. Circa ’94 ended up producing most of this record and Walt was co- exec. producer w/ P I’m trying to get my beatmaking skills up so I can be an official member. But I’ll settle for resident MC….lol
They produced…’Move On’, ‘Warning Signs’, ‘Fiends’, the ‘Stand Up Intro”
DJ Pocket – Exec. P was doing so much of the other leg work that he only produced one song but boy did he kill it! “Family Knot”
BA – Very good friend can’t seem to get him to make a record though!
Reeyo – Another talented dude that needs to dust off his pen and pad…was in the group I got kicked out of…lol
Walter Lee – amazing verse on ‘Lion’s Den’…
Kevlar Spits-we used to live in the same apt building in L.A. lost touch and almost 20 years later via internet found out we both do music.
DJ Spaceghost- ripped the cuts on “Move On” props
DJ Pocket – add MC to engineer, producer, video director, editor, hero