Monday, July 13, 2015

Name Science 2 the Death (Part 2): An Interview with Sach

Grand Daddy Sach

    Sach Illpages is one of the very few hip-hop artists who has kept it pure throughout his entire career. By putting the art form above all else, Sach has crafted some of hip-hop's most beautiful and sincere masterpieces, and continues to hone his craft, delivering mature hip-hop that makes your "synapsis spastic." Sach took some time out from his busy schedule to break down his early years with The Nonce, working with Yusef Afloat, his time as an integral member of GPAC, his work with First Brigade, his "lo-fi era," as well as his upcoming album fiDELITY. Read on!

Can you talk about your early experiences with hip-hop, before you hooked up with Yusef?

    I started listening to music as an infant. My dad was into making 8-track tapes for the family. He was a blues dude. He had every blues record. So I was born into that whole life. I would sit and be chillin' with my pops and he'd be making tapes for the family in Texas or Louisiana. All B. B. King, all Albert King, all the Kings on one tape. He had these fresh little mixes. And I would just stare at the covers, not even listening, just looking at them. So somehow that imprinted on me.

    Later, the first real hip-hop that I heard was Sugarhill Gang, "Rapper's Delight" and then Kurtis Blow's "Christmas Rap." So when I'm listening to those records, at that time, I didn't know the breaks, the break beats. I had no clue about that yet but I really fell in love with rap. Shortly after that, I would hear stuff on this radio station we have out here called K-Day. It was more like electronic beats like Afrika Bambaataa. We had this DJ crew called Uncle Jamm's Army that would play a lot of electronic beats. It didn't have titles and genres then. It was like graffiti and break dancing. It kind of just went together. After that, I noticed it started to change and I started to hear more rapping. So I started out hearing rappers and then after those two songs, I didn't really hear too much more until a little bit later, in the early 80s. Everything else was just instrumentals, beats to dance to. When I started hearing the emcees, I really fell in love with that. You know, hearing Run-D.M.C., there was this group called Divine [Sounds]. There were a lot of groups I heard on the radio that really influenced me. All of a sudden, I started hearing samples in the records and was like, "I have that record!" Once that happened, that's when it was over, once I realized, "Oh, I have all these records." And I'm a little kid. So now I'm listening, trying to figure out how they did it 'cause I still didn't understand the technical aspect of it. I just knew I had the source material. So I put it together by watching videos, listening to the radio, listening to the DJs talk, figuring out what cutting was, 'cause it wasn't like now where you can just YouTube anything.

I read that you learned how to make your first pause mixes from Mix Master Wolf.

    Yeah, that's correct. At that point, I'm pretty much aware of mostly every hip-hop record that's in L.A. K-Day was a great source - it wasn't the only thing - but it was the only thing we had in L.A. really. So I would go build over with Mix Master Wolf 'cause I went to school with his cousin, O.J. and that's who I'm talking about on "Mix Tapes," you know, "with my man, O.J." We were friends. I would catch the bus on Friday and go to his house and spend the weekend and he introduced me to Mix Master Wolf. Wolf already had a 4-track. He was already scratching, mixing, everything. He was already advanced, in a sense. I would watch him and he would take James Brown breaks and pause mix 'em and rhyme over 'em. And it was like, "Boom! I get it!" So I got a 4-track, turntables and a mixer and from what I learned with Wolf, I brought that over to my own thing. Shortly after that, I was able to get my hands on a sampler, which took it to a whole 'nother level. So we were doing it manually, and it was kind of limited, because we were very young. It hadn't unfolded yet. But when I got my hands on the sampler, then I kind of figured out, "Oh, that's how they did that." I thought, originally, those were drum machines that they were using [laughs]. I thought Marley Marl just had this incredible ass drum machine that just had these, you know, brilliant sounding drums. I didn't know he was chopping the beats. But I started gettin' it. I really, really wanted to understand this thing. I was maybe fifteen. So by the time I was fifteen, I could make beats. I could do everything. I could rhyme. I could record. I could make a beat. I could pause mix a beat. I could sample it.

So around that time was when you met Yusef?

    Well, this was maybe the year before that, I met Wolf. I met O.J. in seventh grade. After junior high, when I got to ninth grade, that's when I met Yusef. We weren't really rhyming together at first, we just kicked it. We were just good friends. We had the same taste in gear and stuff like that. Then the summer time came, and that's when me and Yusef kinda came together. It was really cool. Yusef wasn't really rhyming at that time. He could sing and he was making music that he could sing to. He had a keyboard. He's so underrated. He was a genius. Some people just have that thing. People can make beats or whatever but some people are just truly gifted at it.


Well, he was an instrumentalist too, right?

    Yeah, the first time he came over and saw what we were doing, he came back with his guitar and a stack of records like, "I like to play these." I'm playing a record and he's guitar soloing over the record [laughs]! It was dope. Now, if that would happen, I'd go crazy, but then it was just, "Oh, that's dope." It was just part of the makeup of us. As we started developing, the music that he made to sing over, I could rhyme over, you know? So we really started experimenting. So I was like, "Make a beat on the keyboard and I'll rhyme over it and you can sing. Or let's rhyme together. Why don't you rap on it?" And just like that, it started. And you can hear how dope Yusef is.

    I'll tell you this too. We went through several lives in hip-hop, me and Yusef. We started in the 80s. Yusef passed in the year 2000 and all the way up until then, say from sixteen to seventeen, we actually got signed to a label, as teenagers. So we were in the studio. We recorded a gang of music. We recorded every single day. It was like our life blood. And we were always producer minded, so we made stuff already in an album format. So we turned in albums to the labels and they never knew what to do with us. They didn't understand that we are our own little thing, so promote us like that. Promote us like we are the shit, not like we're copying something else. We're our own entity. So we had lots of conflict with record labels and stuff because, like I said, they didn't have the balls or didn't have the foresight to make it what it really could have been.

The first single you guys released, "The Picnic Song", has a more commercial sound. Was that something the label wanted? Because it sounds different than the other songs on the single and the stuff you released on Advanced Regression, which sound more like what you'd expect from The Nonce.

    Yeah, well, we were highly influenced by De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, and that is a total influence time. So for instance - some people get this, I really get it now because I'm a lot older than a lot of emcees and I look at their fans and what I was like - when you're young, whatever you're into is the world to you. If you're into trap or whatever, that's what you're really fuckin' into. And nobody can tell you, "You know, this is kinda crap." [laughs] That's what they're into and they're fully vested in that. I didn't think nothin' was harder than Tribe, so I was on that level, internally. That was my foundation. So anything, when you're young and things highly influence you, you don't have your actual own voice yet. At that time, I didn't have my own voice yet. Where I'm at now, I don't think of anything. I just do it. I concentrate on what I'm about to write about, but I'm not...

It's like you found your niche, your own style.

    Yeah, yeah, and that happens when you do so much music. You do it and do it and do it until one day it becomes unlike anything else and you know it. Once you reach that point, then you jump off and hopefully you have positive influences around you who were supporting you and don't hinder you so you can develop further. I want to say that when I got to Phlowtations, that is, to me, when I acquired my own true voice. This sounds crazy, because this is after World Ultimate. When I listen to that record, I love it, and I know a lot of people love it because it was important to them at that time of life and it imprinted. It matters to people in that kind of way, but I was very young still and hadn't read so much stuff or been exposed to so much stuff. I was rapping just out of the fuel of wanting to rap and be fresh. I didn't have so much knowledge. I'm not an idiot or anything, but the more knowledge and information you acquire, the more fuel you have to create your songs with.

Well, like you said, when you were Nouka Basstype, it was much more lighthearted, but when you hooked up with Global Phlowtations and started going by Sach, did that name change coincide with that shift in your sound?

    Yeah, it did. The simple answer to that is that I was around a lot of great emcees who were younger but who were just as dope to me. Nobody was like, "Oh, you gotta come up a bit." It was like being around a whole bunch of frickin' rap geniuses. It'd be like a jam session of jazz musicians from the 50s, a stupid session like that. That's how it was with Phlowtations. It wasn't a competition. It was more like, "You're gonna jump off there? Then I'm gonna jump off here." And we made these beautiful lyrical pictures. It was a real creative environment and a lot of people were involved with us in other ways than music, which helped me a lot too. When Phlowtations was a steady entity, people would get off on just bringing us information to feed us. Like someone would bring a box of books, or some way out movies you've never seen or maybe aren't supposed to see. You name it, it was brought to us, like, "Here, absorb this." It was crazy. So we had a really bomb bookshelf that had all the books people would bring by. We spent a lot of time at Phlowtations studying, even though it was real fun. That was a big thing that doesn't get talked about because it was all us but we was in the books. We were trying to understand everything. That's why the lyrics and concepts were precise and way up there because we were constantly trying to feed ourselves with some kind of knowledge like a whole big palette.

And that was a connection with Zagu being in Phunky Dialect? That's how you hooked up with GPAC, through Zagu?

    Yeah. Well, this is how it went: It started off at Long Beach, The Pyramid. This auditorium at Long Beach University that we performed at. This is how I remember it. It was a ton of people there. It was during the day. It was The Nonce's turn to perform, we get up there and I dunno - sometimes maybe some of these soundmen aren't supposed to be soundmen - but he started turning our mics down and we were like, "Uh, you're turning our mics down. Turn the mic up!" And this is a big arena. And he turned Yusef's mic all the way off. And we're like, "Really?!" [laughs] And Yusef is dope for this, man. He slammed that mic down so hard, dude, it wasn't even on but it rang through the whole arena. And it was like an animated slam. It was like the kinda slam that you'd put in the dictionary, like, "This is a slam!" He took one step and almost like slammin' a basketball, he jumped a little bit and slammed it! And he was like, "That's it! We out!" And everybody's clownin', like, "Oh my God! I've never seen someone really truly slam a mic like that." It was brilliant.

    So afterwords, we're outside. Everybody's kind of networking or whatever. And Zagu comes up. He has a Dialects tape, and he basically chopped it up with Yusef. So later, Zagu called the house, trying to get a session with Yusef. And Yusef, he was the type of guy, if he was working on a project, something he's got going on, he won't stop it. He'll continue until he finishes it and make time for other stuff after. He wouldn't interrupt that flow until he's finished what he's doing. So this one time Zag called, and I was like, "Damn, I already know he's busy with this other project," so I was like, "It's cool! Just come through." So that's how me and Zag started. He was trying to get a session with Yusef but Yusef was real, real busy. Yusef wasn't putting him off or nothing, but Zag comes and the very first song we did was "Illustrations", which is on Suckas Hate Me. The very first thing we touched together was one of the dopest songs on that record.

    So I was like, "I'm gonna make you a beat," and I made him this beat. Our lab was on Marvin Blvd. I thought the beat was dope. He thought it was cool, but I thought the beat was real dope! After he left, I was like, "I gotta write a rhyme to it, even if I don't record it." So when he called back, I was like, "Ok, Zag, I made the beat, but I also wrote a verse to it too. Is that cool?" And he's like, "Yeah!" So that's how "Illustrations" came about. This was before Phlowtations. It wasn't that yet. It was about to come. This was like the precursor. So after that, Zag got the spot over on Rollin Curtis and right before they moved over there, that's when the title Global Phlowtations came about, I think. But from the tip top, I've been in Phlowtations.


    What's really beautiful about that was the fact that it was Zagu's spot but he welcomed everybody. It wasn't just people hanging out. Everybody was always doing something. Whether it was writing, making a beat, or just reading something. There was something going on, always. There was a room in the front and that's where the studio was most of the time. So I remember Adlib recording on this old Mac computer. This is like early '97. We had a dub 30 (Roland W30) I had brought an Akai sampler, I think it was a S950, or a 900. Sometimes there'd be an MP there and Zag had an SP-12. We had several crates of records. And sometimes you'd come to the house and everything would be moved, like some fung shei kinda shit! It was really cool 'cause you'd see the studio here on, like, the east wall. Then next month, it's all by the window. And it kept changing and evolving. It'd go into different rooms in the house. Now it's in the backroom.

    And there was lots of dancin' goin' on too. Nobody really breaks that down too. I'm a big dude, so I'm not really no dancer but these dudes could do it. They called it skankin'. Zag could do it. Cliff Wright could do it. Okito could do it. Orah could do it. So it would be these whole big dance sessions in the front room, you know? So it's not only beats and rhymin' goin' on but they could really dance! Like, you've seen ciphers, circles in the club - it makes the whole night. You see one guy and it's like, "Man, I can't wait until he gets back in the circle." These were those guys. So I think a lot of times, because they could boogie, it would influence the beats somehow. That was another little ingredient - spice - that you added to the whole mix to make something. This happened with The Nonce too. We had a couple friends who danced and we'd play beats and see if they danced to 'em. Like, "Ok, this one they didn't get down to. They went crazy over this one." That's a little side element that's part of Global Phlowtations that gets slept on. Fahr from Bzerkos was dope too! Dude, I wish I had videos of some of the dancing. Zagu gets down!

[laughs] I believe that.

    Yeah, tall Zagu gets down! It was great.

You mentioned some of the equipment you were using with Global Phlowtations. Can you break down some of the other equipment you've used for your recordings? You have a very unique sound.

    All of The Nonce was done on an Akai S950. Also a Roland Sound Module, and a Roland MPC. That was The Nonce. That's how you get that sound right there. All of my stuff, like Grand Daddy Sach and Ignorance My Enemy, all that stuff was done on my Yamaha Motif 6, which was my favourite tool after the Akai. Now, I'm using an MPC2000, still, to make a lot of the music, but I'm never totally stuck on a piece of equipment. That's not completely true, when I first started making beats it was on the [Akai] S900, so on any piece of equipment I try to make it do that stuff, and if I could do that on there, I've mastered the beat. Also the other half of the stuff that's on bandcamp, from after Ignorance My Enemy, like Happy Verse Day and I'm From Vermont Knolls, I used a Tascam digital 8-track portable. Just to say, you may not be able to afford the most expensive equipment or whatever, but by using proper recording techniques and improvised recording techniques you could make stuff that people would never know was not made in a professional recording studio. That's my whole thing, from the beginning, trying to get the sound I wanted.

Backing up a little bit, I heard a couple early Nonce tracks. One was called "China" and there was another one called "The Nonce Game." Can you talk about the concept for that track and is that where you guys got the name?

    Yeah, that was in the 80s. "China" was the first song I ever recorded on my 4-track. I dunno. Maybe because I was so young, that's why people really like that. I listen to it and I feel it twenty five, thirty years ago [laughs]. It's really frickin' old. I was like fifteen when I wrote that. But what happened was, I was very into books and I used to love pouring over the dictionary. I still do that now and then. I'll just pick it up and I'll see some word that will catch my eye and maybe I'll want to use it for something later, and I found the word "nonce." I was with my sister in Louisiana and I brought the dictionary with me and I just found that word and was like, "Ok! That's kinda fresh. That's kinda perfect. That's everything I want to be in hip-hop." I wanted to make up words and have my own slang. Those were the kicks and thrills for me. To make something that wasn't there before. So that name really summed it up and I told Yusef and he was like, "That's perfect." So when I had his Ok on that, I started "The Nonce Game." We weren't called The Nonce then, but people would call us - this is almost embarrassing - The Nonce Brothers or The Nonce Boys, 'cause we didn't have a name for our crew and that was a song we had, so that's how it was born. So we just made it The Nonce and we started writing that down on tapes and it just stuck. All based on that one little song, and the meaning of that word. It was too fresh. The definition of it is to make up words in a song.

One of the things I would love for you to break down is your connection with First Brigade and any information you wanna share about First Brigade. I'm assuming that was a Wild West connection?

    Yeah, it was a Wild West connection but also a couple other things. I was involved in this thing called I-Fresh. You know how you have the Good Life and Project Blowed, stuff like that? I started at I-Fresh. We would do these cable TV shows, these rap shows. It was really insane, actually, to be involved in that. It would be these different shows in different cities, shows for I-Fresh. It wasn't like Soul Train or nothing like that, but it was a real hip-hop, underground rap showcase and it was really fresh. And Ganjah K was affiliated with it too. So that's how I initially met Ganjah, through I-Fresh. His name was Pee Wee Jam at the time before he changed it to Ganjah K. He was dope! We were all kids, like fourteen, fifteen, but he was super dope! Remember I was tellin' you I found my voice after World Ultimate? Well, to me, he found one of his voices right after becoming Ganjah K, from Pee Wee Jam. If you listen to some of Ganjah's old stuff, you can hear that thing in there, the thing a lot of people kind of bit. But when he was Ganjah K, he was fully engulfed. Some of his rhymes were incredible! So I met Ganjah at I-Fresh, and I didn't know he was dealing with the same label that I was. So we bumped into each other at the studio. He was with Marc the Murderah and Meen Green. So that's how I was introduced to them, and right away, they wanted some beats and we're having these sessions where we're producing Ganjah. We're producing Marc the Murderah. We're producing Meen Green. Marc the Murderah and Meen Green together. Just a lot of stuff, man. Then hooking up at the studio one time. We used to record at this studio called Tracks. It's pretty famous. A lot of classic things were recorded at that studio. That was a really good time, actually. Up to that point, I had been in 24-track studios but these sessions were mine, you know what I'm sayin'? Fully mine. I'm producing, recording it, doing the whole nine. Same way how I might not've had my full emcee voice then, I felt like I got my full producer's voice then.

Did First Brigade produce multiple albums? I've heard of one called Lions of Jah Kingdom and I know Ganjah is planning to release one called WMD.

    Yeah, they have multiple albums. The Nonce was just one producer. They worked with Fat Jack and a lot of other producers. J. Sumbi. So it's easy to have a lot of aids, and easy to have a lot of things that never come out.

So you weren't actually a member of First Brigade? You were just producing songs for them?

    Yeah, I was just producing songs, but we were really down with First Brigade. We weren't First Brigade members, but I was down with First Brigade.

You mentioned J. Sumbi. Can you talk about your working relationship with him?

    Sure, sure. I think I really started dealin' with J. Sumbi after we did this photo shoot with Meen Green. It's The Nonce, Meen Green and J. Sumbi and his partner Daryl and we're all in this picture together. It's frickin' dope. And I was like, "Sumbi, you're dope! Can you scratch on this song for me?" And he'd be like, "Yeah, no problem." He'd go DJ at some poetry jam or whatever. And, at this time, there was a big earthquake in Los Angeles. And Sumbi lived maybe twenty minutes away from where I stayed at. Everybody was kinda close to where I was at, right? We had this earthquake and some people's apartments were damaged so a lot of people moved and Sumbi moved to the end of my block! And Ganjah moved not too far away. Everybody was just, like, ten minutes away. So that earthquake [caused a lot of] production to be done. For a couple years, similar to Phlowtations, how the location department was perfect, this was too. This is still before Phlowtations.

    It'd be like this: Say I'm workin' on something. Sumbi's at work. I'd be like, "Sumb, can you come down after work? I need to you to cut on something." He'd bring a turntable and a mixer, right? He sets the one turntable and a mixer on my futon and commence to get busy! So he would just pop the lid off the turntable case, set everything up right there and cut up the turntable on the futon, on his knees! I love Sumbi, man. He's such a positive person, man. He has lots of ideas. We always  worked really good together.

    He is also the reason why we got hooked up with American too. He was DJing these poetry jams out here in L.A. somewhere and we had just got our clear vinyl of "Mix Tapes" and what Sumbi does is whatever he's playing, he props up the cover right in front of the turntable. So you might be wondering what he's playing. You don't have to ask him. You could just see it right there. And some dude came up and said "What are you playing?" He was like, "It's The Nonce." And just like that, that was Dan Charnas from American. Next thing you know, the shit is going down. It was like that.

It's crazy how much he's done, behind the scenes.

    Yeah, he's actually - I have a new project coming out, likely at the top of next year or late this year called fiDELITY - and I have J. Sumbi on the bass. He plays bass. He builds custom basses and stuff and I got him blessing some songs on fiDELITY that's really, really good.

You've also worked a lot with Omid. Can you talk about working with him and how you hooked up with him?

    I started working with Omid through Global Phlowtations. We did that song, "To the Turn of the Earth" and that was the initial collaboration that we had. After that, we would just build. Besides music, we were on other things. We were into books. So our relationship was like, "You gotta read this!" Or he'd bring me books. So we read the same book at the same time, building with each other. We did that a lot, in between working musically with each other. But it was a special kind of relationship. So our whole thing was, in a way you could superimpose the books we were reading into the music we were making. That's the special connection. We'll watch a great movie, or some book or something, we'll make a song like that.

Well, he even dedicated his Distant Drummer album to the Hyperion novels.

    Yeah! [laughs] That was the first book that I read with Omid. He was already half way into the first Hyperion, and he told me about it. So I went and got 'em and we read 'em together. And we were like, "Oh, wow! Did you trip off of this?" We were fully engrossed in that for months. He would have the record be a collection of some of the things that we read. I did the same thing too. If you listen to Sach 5th Ave, I have a song on there called "Cantos" and that's from Hyperion. One of the characters wrote this cantos, which is like this never ending story that went on and on. It's dope though. That's why my "Cantos" is this epic sounding story with, you know, my views on where I was at then. That's the kind of really nuanced things that helped me stay creative and still want to do it. It's these other side things that never get mentioned. Nobody really knows about these books that we read that influenced us to make these next steps or whatever. It's easy to overlook the fact that, "Oh, it wasn't music that was really doing that. It was really books!" [laughs]

Last year you posted a bunch of material on your bandcamp you referred to as the final pieces of your "lo-fi era." Can you talk about those recordings?

    I came from the era of being on a label, releasing an album once a year or every two years. That was my box that I was in, and as I stopped being involved with labels and not so much being able to readily put my music out, I was still creating. I let go of that thing that goes, "Ok, this is the album and it's for this year" and stopped thinking about that. I threw that all out the window. When it comes to creating music and making albums, I don't cater to people. I don't cater to the public, to fans, to anyone. I just do what I do, and that freed me up so much. I don't have to worry about this other stuff. It might not work for other people, but it works for me in terms of my creativity because I don't like to force it. I'm the type that, like, "Ok, this starts to emerge and now I can develop it." It's like putting some paint on the paper in a random way and then you start to see an image and you start to fully develop that image. I would go, "Ok, I've got an idea for this record." Even though I didn't have a label or somebody to put it out, I was just making it. The first time it was really fun and thrilling. I've got this record nobody even knows about, right? Soon after, I had another idea. I want to make another one. I had to let go of that voice that says, "You just did a record. You don't need to do another record." So I just had this premonition to keep making albums, as many as I can. So then I did another one. Next thing you know I have three whole records that nobody's heard. And, at that time, no labels were getting at me, but I had like four or five albums [laughs]. I had Grand Daddy Sach, Ignorance My Enemy, Only for the Gifted & the Lifted... I know there were some people who were wondering what I was doing. So I put it out there to free up myself. Now I can move to something new.

Can you talk about your plans for the future? I know you have an new album in the works.

    My new record is fiDELITY and it's the first record I've done that's like The Nonce record. It's 24-track. I want to give it all the attention it deserves. I wanna be like Duke Ellington. I wanna do major production pieces. My mind is unfolding into this bigger picture right now. I want do some scores. I've done a few small scores but I want to do some more full-fledged scores. I want use all my intuition to make some bigger music. You know how it is sometimes, when you get jobs sometimes, even music, you treat it like a job and it becomes mechanical? I want to keep it at that creative stage. I want to be known for that. Doing scores would be another notch in my belt. I write a lot and also paint. Some of my things surface here or there, but I'm not the type of person to say I've done my best thing. There's always room to learn and expand. I haven't seen the best. I haven't heard the best. I haven't made it. I'm still striving. Otherwise, it's going to be dead. If you make the best thing you'll ever make? People talk about the best emcee. Fool, I'm still emceeing! I'm not saying I'm the best emcee [laughs] but I see this thing as still breathing and growing. It ain't over...

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.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Name Science 2 the Death (Part 1): An Interview with Inoe Oner

Millennium Conductor

    While Global Phlowtation's albums maintained a cohesive sound, the individual members were always able to distinguish themselves when it came to their solo work. Inoe Oner is a perfect example of this as his albums, while maintaining the GPAC spirit, branched off into more abstract and experimental territory. In part one of this two part Name Science interview, Inoe speaks about the formation of Ordinary People, his experiences with the Rehab Crew and GPAC, working with Thavius Beck, his upcoming projects and, of course, Name Science!

What inspired you to first start rapping, before you linked up with Ordinary People and the Rehab Crew?

    As far as my inspirations, I listened to a lot of, like, Eric B. & Rakim, Del tha Funkee Homosapian, Too $hort, N.W.A., man, I wanna say 2 Live Crew. Also, 2Pac, Kool G Rap, Scarface, DJ Quik, and EPMD. It's funny, you might say Kool Moe Dee [laugh], you know what I mean? A lot of the old school heads. I definitely listened to a lot of them. You know, LL Cool J when he used to rock Troop, before he was Fubu. All that stuff gave me a lot of ideas as a kid and made me wanna write. Those are the cats who really inspired me to start writing. Also people like yourself - my fans - inspire me and keep my fire burning!

So, judging from your name, I'm assuming you were a graffiti artist as well?

    Exactly. So, as you can tell, a lot of my friends are graffiti writers. We're not just artists in terms of emceeing. We were taggers, you know what I mean? That's how we came up. So that's where you get the Oner from.

How did you hook up with Ambush and Jon Jon?

    So, funny story, Ambush used to be from a writing crew I was in called THK, which was The Highest Kings. One day I was at a bus stop, and he was there as well. And back then, you'd get sweated, like, "What crew you from? What crew you from?" So I come to find out we're from the same crew. I was like, "Ok, cool!" And at the same time - I'm from Belize, in Central America and he was also from Central America, so we just clicked. Ivan Jon came down the road when I got connected with the Rehab Crew. Before that, it was actually called the Bum Pimps. It was a click from Rehab. And, actually, Ivan Jon is also from Central America. Funny, right? So obviously we clicked. He's from a different part of Central America. Still Belize, but a different part. So we clicked up there, and, like I said, formed a crew called Bum Pimps. That's where I really started getting into music. It was over there, this place called 4 Duce Chateau, we would record music and have ciphers. It was a bunch of Rehab cats there. So it'd be like fifty dudes sitting in a room, freestyling.

Oh, so the Rehab Crew was more than just Ordinary People and Bzerkos? It was a bunch of people?

    Oh, yeah man! It was huge, man! We're actually having an anniversary, on August 25th, I believe. So, yeah, it's big.

Was there an Ordinary People tape, or was it just a bunch of songs you guys recorded?

    So, this is what happened. With Ordinary People, we were recording at Zagu's house back on Rollin Curtis and we'd record all these miscellaneous songs. And we were recording it to put together an album but at the same time I was recording my album as well. But we never really collected it together and put it out. So I just went ahead and released my album. A lot of those songs you hear were on 4-track. I kept a lot of them, a lot of the 4-track tapes. And I was always tellin' Ambush, "We need to release this thing!" But I didn't want to be the only one releasing it, you know what I mean? It has to be a group effort. 'Cause if I put it out, it's my project, you know what I mean? [laughs] So, to answer your question, yeah, the majority of those songs you hear, the collabs with Ambush, those were Ordinary People songs.

So on Governments Greatest Hits there's a song called "Life is Hard" that sounds earlier than the rest of the songs. Was that an Ordinary People song?

    Exactly, yeah. "Life is hard and so am I." Yeah, that was Ordinary People. I remember doing that at six in the morning. I remember going to Gu's house at six in the morning and recording that song.

On Stray Bullets there are two beats credited to Eclipse. Is that Longevity from Darkleaf?

    Yep. Yeah, it is. Let me just really quickly revisit that era. We used to call him Eclipse before we called him Longevity. Darkleaf, those are our peoples! We met them on some other stuff. We recorded stuff over there, as well. That dude is very talented, him and Tone (Jahli). I just wanna big him up real quick 'cause that dude is very talented.

Also on Stray Bullets there was a guy called Supa Dave. Was he part of the Rehab Crew as well?

    Yeah, I dunno if you remember the Bzerkos. He was one of the original members of Bzerkos. Yeah, Supa Dave.

So you hooked up with GPAC through Zagu, right?

    Yeah, correct. So what happened was, we used to go to the Good Life and I remember we bumped into Gu and he told us to go to a party. I think it was, like, a block party, on Crenshaw and Slauson, and we go over there and they're rocking the mic. And I remember telling Gu, "Yo, we wanna record, man." And he was like, "Look, come through to the house," just with open arms. And we became part of GPAC like that, after a while. They invited us to get on. But we knew Faxx, we knew Phunky Dialect. Put it like that. Before it was just Zagu, it was really Phunky Dialect. We knew everybody like that.

    And let me tell you this, about Global Phlowtations, in terms of the atmosphere and the environment. I tell Sach this all the time as well. When I went there, there were so many dope emcees. You know how some crews, they all kinda rhyme the same and sound the same? That crew, nobody lyrically sounds the same. That's what I loved about it! You could tell distinctly who was who. So I'm gonna sit there and write - I was head huntin' for everybody [laughs]. Like everybody in there was the enemy when we was writin'. I would tell them that and they would look at me like I was crazy. But it was like, "We gonna have a problem. You just can't rhyme like that, dude [laughs]." But they respected me for that! That's exactly why we got put on Global Phlowtations. If we were just comin' there like some chumps doin' some rhymes... Like, you gotta get outta here 'cause if you know your history with Phunky Dialect and 2000 Crows, they had the Cipher Police and you'll get regulated! But we had great shows as well. Hopefully we'll be able to put it back together. Any other crew, I probably wouldn't have been able to be a part of it. We're brothers, man. We do family stuff, like BBQs, you know what I mean? That's a good atmosphere and environment to be in with a crew.

And so you would've met Adlib through Zagu as well?

    Yeah, I met him on Rollin Curtis when we were recording. I think we met Orko on the same trip. We met Orko, Okito Pole, Samson, the whole crew. That's how we met.

I couldn't hear you, Ambush and Jon Jon on Phlowtations Devices. Were you on there at all?

    Nope. That tape came out before we were part of Global Phlowtations. We came in the middle of Global Phlowtations, if that makes sense.

Yeah, 'cause it actually says Ordinary People are part of GPAC on the tape sleeve, so I guess you guys would've been there before it was released.

    Yeah, exactly. I think that was already done when we got there. There was another album, The Nucleus...

Yeah, and I first heard you on 98' Unheard.

    Exactly. So we were there for that whole duration.

And your solo song on there was "Clukery." What is a cluck? Is that like Kool Keith calling a wack rapper a duck?

    [laugh] Nah, ok. A cluck is... I wanna say, like a junkie. We were part of the Rehab Crew, you know, people that's dope. You know how Rakim would say he was a Microphone Fiend? Like you fiend it. So we was always cluckin'. We was fiendin'. We were always like, "Ay, give me a beat! Yo, lemme get that beat!" That's basically what cluckin' is. We're always fiending for music.

Throughout your career, Adlib/Thavius Beck has been your main collaborator and I've always been impressed with your ability to rap over beats that most emcees wouldn't even know how to approach. Do you think working with Adlib pushed you to be more versatile as an emcee, since his beats were so complex and off the wall?

    I appreciate that you said that, man. I dunno if anybody really noticed that before in terms of the way the beats are structured or just how different they were. I kinda grew up on regular hip-hop but drum & bass was big at the time as well. And Thavius, he was open. So we'd bring records to him, like, "Can you do it like this?" So we influenced each other. We inspired each other to do different things. You see what I'm sayin'? It was no problem because we were making those beats together. But they were made by design.

So what was the first album you released?

    Master Relm. 1998.

And Governments Greatest Hits was after that?

    Yeah, Governments Greatest Hits was after that.

On Millennium Conductor you had some songs featuring Cult Smog. Can you talk about who they were and what that was all about?

    Cult Smog is me, Thavius, Ambush and Ivan Jon. And one day, I think we were at Ambush's house, and we were just recording - 'cause we were always recording - and we were like, "Man, we need to come up with a crew for this shit we're recording." I'm not sure if it was Jon Jon who came up with the name. But once he put that name into the air, everyone was like, "Yeah, this is it!" There's a lot of Cult Smog songs that were never released. I wish I was able to release those. But they were done on 4-track! [laughs] I don't have those tapes. Thavius might still have 'em. I'm pretty sure he does.

Yeah, researching for the interview I found a Cult Smog song on Ivan Jon's old myspace that was really dope! It's a shame more of that stuff didn't get released.

    Yeah, man! That's what I'm tryin'a say, man! That's why I put out Stray Bullets. That's the exact reason I put out Stray Bullets.

Starting with The Hermit, you started branching off, working with other producers, and producing a lot of your own stuff. Was that something that came naturally?

    Yeah, I did that whole album. I did all the beats for that album. Yeah, you know, being around Phlowtations and stuff, being around those producers. You know, we had Thavius, we had Gu, we had Irb J, we had Orko, of course Sach, it made me want to get my own equipment. I kinda got tired of saying, "Hey, could you make me a beat?" Especially when you're inspired. You could wake up five in the morning, six in the morning, wanting to record something and they're working on their own project as well. So I went and bought my own MPC and made an album. And I was on one!

And The Middle Finger EP, as well, was one of the first examples I saw of your production. That was really dope!

    Yeah, appreciate that, man. Yeah, that was released on Anti-Party Records. Dude was like, "Send me some stuff and I'll press it up." So I was like, "Cool!" I did it in a couple days, like, "Here you go!"

Was the first Name Science album supposed to be, like, a one-off project?

    Nah, man! When we spoke about doing Name Science, it was organic 'cause our personalities just meshed, because we love being artistic and creative. I remember calling Sach and saying, "Hey man, we need to record something." I just wanted to record. Once we started recording, you know, we bounce a lot of ideas off each other and we were like, "You know what? Every Tuesday and Thursday, let's meet up here and record." It was like clockwork. He'd be here and we'd record. And before we knew it, it was like, "Ok, let's form a crew." And we bounced some names around and I said, "Let's call it Name Science because there's a science to everything. And no matter what the name is it's going to be scientific." And that's just what it branched off into and it's been fun ever since.

That's cool you say it was organic, because I wanted to say, I feel like you and Sach are really keeping that GPAC sound alive.

    I wanna say, that's very true, but at the same time I know you know your history and do your research, but if you look out there a bit further, you'll see Thavius is doing his thing still, Gu actually has some music. Last month I went to his house and he has a ton of stuff, man! He played me so much stuff! I'm like, "Bro! Just released it!" and he's like, "There's a plan." But I'm tellin' you, he has tons of music!

Yeah, he told me he had a third solo album he never released and I said the same thing, like, "Man, you have to release that!" [laughs]

    Yeah, I'm tellin' you, man. It's crazy! And Okito was there too. He just started spittin' rhymes. You know, he had a notebook and he was writin'. Everybody's still on it. There's different things in life, you know, kids, bills. There's different paths everybody's taken. It's gonna come back around full circle though.

So the first Name Science album was 2006 and then you guys came back a bit later with the whole God Phoenix concept. Can you talk about that?

    You ever watch the Japanese anime by the name of Gatchaman? If you look it up, it's basically this ship that these, like, Voltron members ride around in. So the God Phoenix is basically our studio, our space. So everything we do in terms of Name Science, we do it in the God Phoenix. So this is what it is. Obviously we have history in the past that we've already established in terms of being emcees, moving into the future. You know, a lot of the rhymes that we wrote back then are relevant now! We told people that back then. Those rhymes, they hold up right now against some of the best emcees. There's no doubt in my mind. That's the honest truth too! It's not no b.s. It's real. We could rock any era! Any genre, we could rock that. Because we're not just hip-hop. We're alternative. So that's basically what we were doing with Where is Name Science? Where are they? Are they in the 60s? Are they doing punk? Are they doing reggae? What are they doing? We could do anything so don't pigeon hole us and tell us we're in this one box. We're really not inside that box. We can do anything.

You've always had a big reggae influence. Is that partly from being from Belize? Is there a reggae scene there?

    Correct, correct. That's basically where that's from. It's a good vibe. It's a good feel, man. I dunno too many people who don't move or shake they ass when he hear some reggae music, you know what I mean?

You did some reggae type tracks with a guy called DJ Cas on Obese God. Does he specialize in reggae stuff?

    Wow. Well, that's my cousin, man! And he used to be a DJ for Above the Law back in the day.

Oh, wow!

    Yeah, exactly, right? And he's brilliant. He plays every instrument there is, man. Everything from the drums to the cowbells to whatever you want. He played all that stuff from scratch. I sat there in his studio and he made that in front of me.

So in terms of Name Science, you guys are really rolling with that right now. And you have another record called Ar coming up?

    Yeah, Atomic Weight. The Ar is basically a symbol for atomic weight.

So what is the concept behind that record?

    We were hit up by some cats overseas to do a record. I'll give you the full story for it. Originally we were gonna do Name Science World Domination. That's basically what it is. It was basically us telling the world we're about to dominate the scene because there's nothing out there like Name Science. I know it sounds like a bunch of ego. Even if this stuff wasn't dope or fresh, it's still not the same as what they're putting out now. And so we were already doing Name Science World Domination. So what we did was, we're gonna take some of the songs we did for World Domination - 'cause we've probably got like six albums that haven't even dropped yet. We're doing albums ahead of time. That's the whole Name Science theory is that we're gonna do stuff for every era. We could drop this thirty years later. It's already done. So we said, "We'll take a few songs and we'll give it to them." Because, like I said, we've already got songs. It's no problem. So they're mixing and mastering that. That should be coming out pretty soon.

So you're next solo album is a remix project called Disappearing Airplanes. Do you wanna talk about that?

    Oh yeah, dude! It's awesome! I just got off the phone with Sach earlier about it. Last week the homie DJ ESP came through and put some cuts and scratches on there. Yeah, it was awesome. Amazing. You see how Stray Bullets wasn't really widely released? Only a few heads got it or got a chance to listen to it? There's a lot of songs on there that people didn't get to hear, that just passed by. But there's a lot of dope verses on there that people never got an opportunity to listen to. And they just seem like disappearing airplanes to me. They're there. You know they were there. But where did they go? So my idea was, Ok, I'll remix those songs on sort of a "Jackin' for Beats" type of thing. I got a bunch of dope beats. I wanna say they're known producers but they're not your regular producers. They're abstract producers. You won't find a Dr. Dre beat or nothing like that, nothing that's pop oriented or that you'd hear on the radio, but these are known artists. And I went hard on this dude! It's fresh! I did a remix to "Inoe One" on there, you know what I mean? There's a bunch of stuff on there that's really dope. I just got the artwork from my buddy. I'm trying to release that next month.

And I also saw you post on Facebook about a radio show, The Oner Show, is that still something you're planning to do?

    Yeah, that's in the mix, man! The thing is this: I know a bunch of people are doing podcasts and radio shows. It's not about that. I want to remind everybody what a dope lyricist is. I remember when I was growing up, I listened to lyrics before I really listened to the beat. And it's reversed now. You can rap about anything now. There's no content to what people are saying in their songs. So it's dedication to dope rhymes. It's a fusion of hip-hop and reggae. You already know my background in reggae. If you listen to reggae, a lot of those artists are really dope too. They spit some dope rhymes! I can't say there's nothing I've heard on the radio or online that has impressed me because nothing impresses me that much. There's a few things out there. I don't wanna sound like an ass or something [laughs]. Like, "He just hates everything now." I'm not bitter about anything but I just haven't heard anything impressive. Have you heard anything that impresses you?

Not really. I just feel like everything's being redone. I'd rather listen to Afrika Bambaataa then Black Eyed Peas doing electro stuff. It just seems like they're doing an inferior version of what's already been done.

    You see, that's the thing though. The new generation, they don't know where the history came from, or realize that's a remix of an old song. "Did you know someone did that beat in 80s?" And you play it for them and they're like, "Oh, I didn't know that!" They're not really educating themselves. They're not really into music like I am. That's not their fault. It just means I'm in a nerd with music [laughs]. That's nothing new.

So you re-released a lot of your albums in 2003 on CD, which is what I have. Could you break down the order of your albums? Was it Master Relm, Governments Greatest Hits, Millennium Conductor...

    Yep, I think you're right. Millennium Conductor, The Hermit, Stray Bullet. Then you had the miscellaneous, The Middle Finger EP. There was Obese God, then the picture disc with Thavius Beck, Thavius Beck vs. Inoe One. The last thing I put out was You Deserve It. You Deserve It was more for my fans. It was an album, but it was more for my fans. This is what happened with that whole project. I saw something online where someone posted, "Man, I love this artist but it seems like it takes him two, three years to put out an album." And I was like, "What?!" I wasn't offended but I was more like, "Damn, for real? It takes some time to do some dope stuff." But really, that means they want more! So this is for you. I think when I first put it out it was free. Like, "Here, have that!"

We kind of touched on this already but do you have any other stuff planned for the future?

    Yeah, man, actually I wanna jump into this real quick. The Ar album we were speaking of, look out for that. And we do the tapes and stuff, so all our stuff will be on tape. We like to have those collector's items. We like to have those gems for everyone, man. So you can put it on your wall or with the rest of your merchandise, or whatever. In terms of future projects, as well, I have an album Sach is producing called The Late Great, which should be out at the end of this year. Self Jupiter's gonna be on there. I talked to 2Mex. Zagu is gonna be on there. Okito Pole. Me and Ambush did a song last weekend for it. But it's gonna be really dope. And Name Science is about to do some big things. We're doing the Viper Room next month. We're doing the Echoplex. We're gonna put our foot on somebody's throat, let 'em know we really mean business! You better get out the way or get run over [laughs]. It's our time!

Big thanks to Inoe for taking the time to speak to me! Stay tuned for part two of this interview with the one and only Sach Illpages!