Friday, July 10, 2015

Peace iz of a Dream: An Interview with Zombie619er

Android Master

    Zombie619er is one of the more mysterious emcees from Masters of the Universe. His single contribution to Microcrucifiction, "Scary Images", was all most MOTU fans had heard from him until recently when his Android Masters tape resurfaced and hip-hop heads were reminded of his undeniable rhyming ability, accompanied by Koobaatoo Asparagus' spaced out beats. Even with that tape circulating and a Soundcloud page full of gems, Zombie was still an enigma. Fortunately, I was able to chop it up with him and get some background on this talented emcee, his origins as part of Boot Without a Soul, the recording of Android Masters, working with Koobaatoo Asparagus, his plans for the future and more!

Can you talk about your earliest experiences with hip-hop, before House Klan and Masters of the Universe?

    Oh, yeah! My first crew was Ro Ro Tee and the Shotgun Three. That was like in the fifth grade. My boy, Roman, he was the lead MC and I was one of the Shotgun Three. So I started rhyming in the fifth grade and then I started spittin' in church. My grandfather was a pastor - he owned a church - and he started lettin' me spit at the church. I was in the sixth, seventh grade, goin' to church on Sundays, then going to school and spittin' at lunchtime, and that's where I met B-Dove, which is Bennie Herron, and that's where I met Orko, and that's when we started a crew called Know Soul, Know Soul Bunch.

Was that the same thing as Boot Without a Soul?

    That was Boot Without a Soul, yeah. That was our crew. That was me, Orko, Bennie, a guy by the name of Wusu, BC and Stan. Stan was from Philidelphia. He didn't really rhyme with us but he just kinda rolled with us. He moved back to Philly before we even got into the House Klan. But yeah, that's how we started. Actually, you know what? Shit, you got me goin' back in my mind [laughs]. That was in the ninth grade. That's when we linked up, at school, and so we rolled like that and then we started House Klan after that. We were dancers. I was break dancing a long time before that. I used to rap and break. And B-Dove, we all grew up together. Orko, he used to dance a bit. He was spitting too from back then. So then we started House Klan and that's when we started gettin', like, D.N.A., which was Delon Deville, Odessa Kane, and my best friend, Kontroversial. That was my friend from when I was like nine years old, which is KB the Skid Kid. That's Forest. He's an arists right now in L.A.

So was House Klan mainly a dancing crew, or were you guys rhyming as House Klan as well?

    House Klan was mainly a troop of dancers battling other dancers. And at the same time we had House Klan, we had Boot Without a Soul, which was like the centerpiece.

I know Orko had the Retina tape. Were you involved with that tape at all?

    A lot of Orko's music, I was there. I was there when he made the beats. But Orko, we were always a crew, but Orko was always in his own zone. The way you see him now, that was always him [laugh]. He was always him. So I give much respect to homie because when it came to rhymin' and stuff, when we went out dancing or whatever, the next morning we'd be at his pad and be rhyming. He had, like, a little drum machine at his pad and he had books ready, he had, like, a scrapbook with rhymes already written. Homie was really the shit [laugh].

    So you had the Retina album, but before that though you had the Doomsday Prophet. What had happened was, in high school, he did the Doomsday Prophet and then I moved to Atlanta. Now, Mike Scott (Koobaatoo Asparagus), he went to the same school in the seventh grade but he moved to Atlanta on his own. Then my mom moved me down there and we linked up. Actually, before then, the way Masters of the Universe came about, me and Orko was at Mike Scott's house one day, making songs and stuff, making beats, and I remember coming up with it, and I was like, "You know what, Wally (Orko), we should name our crew Masters of the Universe. We're super deep right now." So it was me, Mike Scott, which is Koobaatoo Asparagus. He made some cookies. We had just did some cookies [laugh]. Then while we were in Atlanta, we formed Android Masters, and while they were back here, that's when they made Back 2 tha Future. Did you hear Back 2 tha Future?

Yeah, that was actually one of my questions. I was gonna ask why you weren't on that one.

    Right! 'Cause I was in Atlanta. So while they did that - that's when, you know, Delon Deville, that's when he went on his own. He was Shamen 12, Atom 12 - we went to high school together too. We used to, like, tag in the bathroom, freestyle with each other at lunch and stuff like that. So we made the Android Masters tape in Atlanta and then I came back and I was like, "Wally, look, homie, Android Masters, that's me and Mike." And he was like, "Oooh!" I think it was Wally who took the picture and we went to my house and cut it up and typed up the little name and stuff, and we made the cover. I think after that I went back out to Atlanta...

So backing up a little, can you talk about your memories recording Microcrucifiction?

    Oh, yeah! Oh, man! Back then, that's when we was all still goin' to clubs and stuff, battling people and there was a crew called Insomniacs, and their producer, his name was Toss, and he knew we had Masters of the Universe. So I went over to Toss's pad and I had - that sample you hear, "Are you afraid of something?" That's from Freestyle Fellowship.

Right, Self Jupiter.

    Yeah! And that was one of my favourite songs. And I was like, "Listen to this dude right here!" And Toss was like, "Well, I'ma cut that up." And that's when I made "Scary Images". We wrote it and then after I made that, it went on the master tape to Orko. And then Orko was goin' to Mad Culture's. You ever heard of Mad Culture?

The name sounds familiar. He's a reggae guy, right?

    He's a reggae guy. Right, right. And Mad Joker. You ever heard of The Joker?

Yeah, that name sounds familiar too.

    Yeah, well, that's when they had like a connection too. So then Wally got the master and Wally was goin' over there and they did... 'cause I went over there when they did the first song. That song was Eclipse and Orko ("Loose Leaf n Lead"). You know, a lot of those beats, Wally already had those beats already. He had already made a lot of 'em. So homie was like the conductor. He would go to this studio, he would do Genghis Khan's song, Bassment, you know, he's on that second side of Microcrucifiction. That's how we got that one. Shit, what was they called? (Concrete Connection) Anyways, it was so long ago. Yeah, basically Wally he put a lot of that stuff together, man.

And you were calling yourself Peacez back then?
    Yeah, I used to go by Peacez, short for Peace iz of a Dream.

Can you talk about recording Android Masters with Koobaatoo?

    Oh, man. That was in Atlanta and he had this studio and we lived in the projects in Atlanta. We was the only light skin dudes down there and everybody else was, like, super dark. They used to call us red [laugh]. Anybody else that would go down there, I mean, they'd get capped right away. We were on skateboards. We went down there, like, straight California. We skated the A.V. Centre, Atlanta University. We skated downtown, breakin' and they weren't really even doin' that stuff. This was back when... You ever hear that song by Outkast, "Roses"? "They smell like boo boo," or somethin' like that? He's talkin' about some kid. Well, we lived down the street from the dude who made that. These dudes were so grimy, they'd come through the door with straps and shit! It was a trip. But makin' that, man, I'll tell you what. It was one night, we went to the projects and we were lookin' for some fruit [laughs]. And we got like a sack of somethin', homie, and it was like a five dollar sack or something and we went back to this fool's pad and blew that shit and we made most of the album, homie, that night!

So that would've been '96, '97?


I've heard Authentik was on there and I heard Koobaatoo on there, but there were some other voices I didn't recognize. Do you recall who else was featured on that tape?

    Yup. There's a female emcee. Her name was Asia.

Oh, so that's not Authentik then?

    You know who Asia is, don't you?

I don't, no.

    She's one of Diego's sickest. She's from San Diego too, but she had moved to Atlanta too. Was kinda matrical how it all happened.

Was she featured on the Masters of the Universe tape under the name Authentik?

    No, I don't think so. She was just like a local known rapper and everyone knew she was sick. So on that first song, you got me, you got my homeboy that passed away. I can't remember his name. He was from New York and he lived in the projects in Atlanta right next door to Mike. So we invited him to be on the album, 'cause he was super sick but he was one of those dudes who had a bunch of babies. He was just stuck in the matrix, you know what I mean? So we started the album with, "You could get jacked, so don't relax/ I'm swingin' like bats or Ken Griffey with an axe." We started like that and put the homie on there. And the rest of the album, shoot, Mike chopped the beats up and I wrote. He gave me an album and a piece of paper and said, "Go 'head, homie! Let's do this!" And that's how we did it.

Yeah, it sounds like a lot of your stuff - the stuff on Soundcloud - it sounds really spontaneous, like you're writing on the spot. Like, a lot of the verses are really short. Is that how you guys always do it?

    Yup. Right, homie. Everything we did was right on the spot. That was our formula, and the whole thing was just to keep it fun, you know? We grew up in southeast San Diego and a lot of stuff is gang banging and stuff over here. So Mike would be in the studio with gang bangers and they'd be like, "Make me a sick beat," but he don't work like that. We just chill and whatever comes out, whatever he makes, he makes and whatever I write, that's how we do it.

Is Bomedy Beats one of Koobaatoo's aliases?

    That's one of his aliases, Bomedy Beats, yup.

And is Android Masters also a crew?

    Yeah, Android Masters is me and Koobaatoo Asparagus.

After that tape, what was the next project that you released?

    Oh, man! Then I dropped Optimus Crime. I have a missing album out there, man! It's called Optimus Crime. I had a bunch of copies and I got rid of 'em and I was sellin' 'em and I had one master copy and I let this one gangbanger dude hold it and I never got it back from him and the album is just out there. It's got, like, "The Streets Got Me Bangin'". It's some real rider stuff, you know what I mean? Delon Deville was on there. We had a song on there called "Bitch Be Up." That was smashin'. My homie, who passed away, Dr. Melanin, he was on there. And me and Mike did some stuff. So I had that one. There was also this song that was out there that was super dope, one of my favourite songs, called "Return of the U", like Return of the Universe that was on and I put it on there, and I dunno if their website went out, or whatever, but time passed and I couldn't find it anymore and I lost that CD. That was super smashin'!

So would that have been in the 90s still, the Optimus Crime album?

    Yeah, that would have to be, maybe, '99 or something like that, yeah. That's one of my aliases, Optimus Crime.

"Gettin' my energon cubes when I'm out on my grind."

    Right, right. There you go. Yup, that's it.

So the stuff on Soundcloud, Helium3 and Muscle Car Music, is that some more recent stuff you've done?

    A lot of that stuff is recent. Actually, "Space Ogeez" and "Voyagers", we made those last summer. [Koobaatoo] was in L.A. and I was in San Diego and he'd do a beat and a verse and then send it to me, and I had the computer set up in my closet, and I was spittin' my verse and sending it back to him. Most of the stuff on there, that's how it got on there.

You guys compliment each other really well, 'cause he sounds really eccentric, like some sort of mad scientist and you've got a more vicious battle edge. I think it balances out really well.

    Sick, sick. Thanks, man.

So, who is Trapjaw?

    Oh, Trapjaw! When I first got to Atlanta - I dunno, man, I make friends really easy, and I was at this mall and I wanted to go breaking and dancing that night and Trapjaw was this light skin kid with red hair, he had red dreads at the time - and he was goin' through the mall. And I was like, "Hey, man! What's goin' on? Where can you go breakin' around here'?" His name was Tim. So we hooked up like that and before I even found Mike I was rollin' with Tim in Atlanta. And that's Trapjaw, and if you go on Soundcloud, he's got like techno beats and all that kinda stuff like that.

So in regards to Helium3 and Muscle Car Music, do you have any plans to release those?

    You know what? Right now, I got plans to release it. Me and Mike were just talkin' the other day. I just gave him a list for it. He needed a list. But he does a lot of experimental noise and he's got like hundreds of... he is gone. And he doesn't even really like hip-hop. It's just the energy... the stuff he does, that's the energy he puts out. At the same time, you know, I could go over to that dude's house this weekend and we could pull a whole album out. We could stay up for two days and put an album out. That's just how it is. He can make beats just like that.

So is that his main focus right now, the experimental noise stuff?

    That's his main focus. Are you friends with him on Facebook?

I am. Just recently, when you told me did the Android Masters tape.

    All that stuff he's posting, that's what he's giggin' on right now.

I've heard whispers of a new Masters of the Universe album. Is that something you think might actually happen?

    It's goin' down! That's what's goin' down. It's just, right now, everybody is so... Are you friends with Odessa Kane?


    Fools are really seperated right now, but we've all been talking about it. Right now, the only thing we can do is for each individual to keep working on themselves until the matrix formulates. Yeah, you know, right now, Odessa Kane is on some... 'cause a lot of people are gettin' shot in the southeast. It's really crazy over there and he's like a street minister, trying to bring different hoods together. I got mad respect for him, and he's holdin' it down. Delon Deville - I was at Delon's pad about a month ago. Everybody's minds are in different places but we're still the same people from back then, you know what I mean? So it's goin' down, regardless.

So do you have any other plans for the future you'd like to talk about? I know you have the Anunnaki Brothers project.

    Anunnaki Brothers is gonna drop. I just want it to drop thoroughly 'cause I go to L.A. and my pops is a studio engineer out there and he'll teach you about the sounds and stuff like that. I want everything to sound, like, I still want it to have that hip-hop roughness but I want the clarity. I want it to be straight. That's why a lot of that stuff isn't out. And maybe it could be me trying to overprotect stuff but I just want to make sure when we drop... 'cause the new album, homie, I have fools from the Blowed on it too, and to qualify for Masters of the Universe, homie, you just have to be sick and have your own rhymes! [laughs] Shit, I tried to shoot, who is that? My boy from CVE, the Riddler, I sent him a beat. Mike Scott made a beat and he wasn't really feelin' his beats. And out here, everybody trying to keep their egos up. So God forbid, Masters of the Universe, "Don't let them drop another album!" You know what I'm sayin'? A lot of that stuff is goin' on.

Actually, I have one more question, going back a bit. Can you talk about the Muscle Car Music project because that's a little bit different from what you usually do.

    Yup. That's more something that we... because whether you're young or old a lot of guys drive, like old Camaros and old trucks and stuff like that, but no one made an album for the muscle car. So that's one of our projects we still didn't get a chance to finish but we got a few songs done, but the main thing about that, we'll have some other hip-hop heads who are like, "Ay, that's not real hip-hop." There's a lot of people that say stuff, but if I come up with a project in my mind, I'm like, "Shit! I'd throw that CD in my muscle car!" [laughs] So that's Muscle Car Music and that's still a project that could get done. What I'm really hopin' is that, like, when Koobaatoo Asparagus... 'cause I work well with him. That's my homie from the seventh grade. See, he used to beatbox. He was more of a beatboxer so I'm hopin' homie sees this interview and be like, "Ok!" You know, he feeds off the energy of this interview, and sees, you know, the stuff that you put out, homie, it's dope, dude! You just gotta keep doin' what you doin' and prioritize. You can do the experimental noise but don't stop what you got goin'!

Well, that post I made a while back with songs you guys made, that got quite a few hits compared to other posts. When Android Masters got posted a while back, a lot of people really liked that tape and I think people would like to hear more from you guys!

    That's sick. That's it, dude. From this conversation - a lot of stuff can start from conversation. I feed off that energy too. Like I said, I'm hopin' he sees this and be like, "You know what, man. Let's go ahead!" 'Cause we could take a weekend drop a straight album and it'd be all original, keep everything the same and really drop that shit. And I wanna give a shout to the homies Odessa Kane and Scatter Brain. Those dudes are really holding it down. They've both been super active keeping the Universe alive.

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