THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring BARRY CORLISS

switching gears a little bit, i got to chat with Mr. Barry Corliss, who worked with Pete on mastering the #REALHIPHOP LP.

#REALHIPHOPVEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

BARRY: Hi. I’m Barry Corliss. I own and operate Master Works, a mastering facility in Seattle, WA.

How did I start?

After many years as a musician, I put together my own studio in the mid 90’s. I was an early adopter of the new digital technology, and I was one of the very first people in the Northwest to be able to make a CD. My musician friends, who were making recordings in local studios, came to me to make CDs of their projects.

They asked if I could maybe do a little mastering while I was making the CDs. It quickly became apparent that mastering was my true forte in music. I decided to stop playing and focus all of my energies on one thing, mastering. For several years I worked out of my home studio. In 1997 I opened Master Works in Seattle, and have been at that same commercial location ever since.

Why do I continue to pursue it? You know… music is something that is in the blood! What else would I do?

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

BARRY: I started working with Pete Marriott in 2011. We got along really well. Pete was making fine tracks, and the listener response was very positive. Many years of Pete‘s hard work have led up to #REALHIPHOP‘s release. It didn’t happen overnight!

VEE: what is your mastering process like & how involved do you get with the producer when working on the finished product?

BARRY: My mastering process is something that has evolved over the last 20 years. It is my personal method, rooted in my concept of good sounding music. I don’t use any software plugins in my mastering. I use high end analog and digital outboard gear. I prefer the sound quality I achieve using these tools.

I’m not a believer in gimmicks in the mastering process. I don’t believe in heavy multi-band limiting or compressing, I consider it unmusical. In fact, I never compress hip hop! Compression reduces the dynamic range of the beat, and that’s not something I want to do. I have my own techniques for achieving loudness and impact without sacrificing the breathing dynamic of hip hop.

How involved with the producer do I get? I’m not a mastering guy who takes whatever you give me, does something to it, and shoots it back. If I think that a remix or tweak will significantly improve the final product, I’ll say it. Often specific issues are better dealt with in a remix, rather than with a “fix” in mastering. The bottom line is always the best possible end result, no matter what it takes!

I’m fortunate to have worked with many talented producers and artists over the years… Jake One, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Vitamin D, Amos Miller, Pete Marriott, and many, many more. I’ve learned a lot from them and their projects.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

BARRY: To me, “real hip hop” is a personal statement. Tracks about riches, bling, gats, super expensive cars, drugs, gangsterism and excesses may be entertaining, but when its just an obvious fantasy, that’s hardly “real hip hop”…

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

BARRY: Why, Pete Marriott‘s #REALHIPHOP of course!

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to request you for work?

BARRY: I have a website: http://www.master-works.com that is a good starting point.

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring OTOMATIK

OTOMATIKnext up in our series of #REALHIPHOP interviews, we bring it in right with emcee OTOMATIK.

VEE: Before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

OTOMATIK: It is a pleasure to be here with you Vahe and part of #REALHIPHOP, so thanks again to you & Professor Pete Marriott! I’m  Ozdille’ The Otomatik. Everything in my life connects me to Hip-Hop. From seeing my uncle kill the floor on Beat Street to my best friend being the super talented DJ Joe Black. Unforgettable cyphers with my brothers to reigning victorious in challenging battles, to the inception of 6 Line Records. Hip-Hop has been and  always will be my life. What drives me is growth.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

OTOMATIK: Pete Marriott is a professional, passionate, perfectionist. Spoken highly of by one of my mentors, Al Nazon. We chopped it up online and grew a mutual respect for one another. I asked for his opinion on something I recorded and even sent him the lyrics considering he may not have caught everything since i was spitting fast. I would say that made him a believer of me as an emcee and drove the desire for me to be part of #REALHIPHOP. this is the first time I have worked with Pete but it is definitely not the last 😉

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

OTOMATIK: Time stops, of course not literally but i am in an impenetrable zone. It could be fifteen minutes or five days. Once that clarity sets in for the record let me do what it do 😉 I am usually producing my own work but in this case I let Pete send me what he thought I would be dope on. A little suggestions here and there from The Professor but I was trusted to do what I do.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

OTOMATIK: The evolution of you with a hot flow on a dope beat. Nothing more. Nothing less.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

OTOMATIK: There’s good music out there I respect but my wig is intact lol.

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

OTOMATIK: soundcloud.com/listentootomatik or soundcloud.com/remixahhremixx, email at  theotomatik@gmail.com & iTunes Search Heart & Lyrics.

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring RANDOM (aka MEGA RAN)

RANDOM (aka MEGA RAN)today’s #REALHIPHOP-related chitty-chat comes courtesy of accomplished emcee RANDOM (aka MEGA RAN). peep.

—-

VEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

RANDOM: I’m Random, aka Mega Ran. Former teacher, current MC/producer and speaker. My early experience with music was Motown and Philly Soul music at home from my mom… I knew that from that age music was always better if you felt something, be it joy or pain. All these years later it’s still the love of my life.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

RANDOM: Pete and I knew each other from way back, and when I would pass through Seattle on tours, I’d ask Pete about coming through, and even DJing for me, and that always went well…. fast forward and Pete sent me a heat rock and I was honored to hop on it.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

RANDOM: I like to listen to the track 10 or 15 times before I write a word, let the music take me someplace. I usually ask the producer what he or she imagined to be on the track, and then hopefully that lines up with what I’m thinking, but if not I like to take it to a new place and have fun with it.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

RANDOM: I feel like “real” is so subjective that anyone can define it differently…. so to me when I hear “real hip hop,” I think about authentic, organic beats, impeccable flows and wordplay, and dope concepts.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

RANDOM: It seems to happen every time Andre 3000 guests on a verse… but honestly as a complete work, the last track I heard that got me excited was Earl Sweatshirt‘s “Chum.

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

RANDOM: all music is at megaranmusic.com, all info is at megaran.com, and contact is probably best on Twitter, @MegaRan or at the contact link on my site.
thanks!

—-

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring CARYS MATIC

Carys Maticnext up in our series of #REALHIPHOP interviews, we chat to Carys Matic, who ends up closing out Pete‘s LP with a poignant spoken word piece that sums up the overall themes of the album, and leaves us with a tingling sensation once the final bits of vinyl scratches complete the journey. take a squizz.

VEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

CARYS: My name’s Carys Jones, AKA Carys Matic, and I’m a poet/musician originally from the UK. I’ve been involved with music my entire life. I had piano lessons as a kid and started singing in church  (my father’s a retired pastor) and in the school choir. I also played trumpet, but the one instrument I stuck at was the drums. I started writing poetry at a young age, and began to combine poetry and music as I got older.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

CARYS: Pete and I first got in contact through the Beat Inn group on Facebook. He asked me to record a spoken word outro for his new album and I jumped at the chance. This is my first time working with Pete, but I hope to collaborate with him again in the future.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

CARYS: I’m a bit of a scatterbrain by nature, I don’t really have one specific formula that works for me every time. In terms of collaborating with producers, it varies. Sometimes a producer will reach out to me, often they’ll already have a concept in mind as was the case with Pete, other times they’ll give me free reign. When working on my album ‘The Spaces in the Silence‘, I collaborated with a number of producers and musicians. Some of them I reached out to myself, others contacted me, and others remixed acapella pieces I’d previously recorded.
I heard an instrumental I really liked by a producer named Prophet 9 and wrote a verse to it. I emailed him & sent him a video message of me rhyming over it and asked if he approved. He said he loved it, so I finished the track and recorded it. If he hadn’t liked what I did with his track, I wouldn’t have used it. I’m a big advocate of collaboration, but I’m not a fan of the ‘mixtape’ culture where often someone will hear a beat they like and record over it without permission.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

CARYS: Lately there’s been quite a bit of talk concerning what qualifies as ‘real hip hop’, and what doesn’t, the controversy surrounding Macklemore‘s success at The Grammys being a prime example.
For me, ‘real hip hop’ is about respecting the art form, creating for the love of it, being loyal to yourself and not compromising your motives for the sake of success.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

CARYS: That’s a tough one, because there hasn’t really been anything I’ve heard lately that’s slapped me upside the head and made me think “woah… what just happened?”. That said, I was impressed with Homeboy Sandman‘s ‘White Sands‘. Paul White‘s production really compliments Boy Sand‘s style, and his lyrics are on point as always. I also enjoyed Ty‘s ‘Kick, Snare, and an Idea’ project.

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

CARYS: Via my website carysmaticjones.com. I recently took a hiatus from Facebook and I’m considering deactivating my account permanently, but for now I can be found at facebook.com/carysmaticjones. I’m also on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/carysmatic, and Twitter: @carysmaticjones. My album ‘The Spaces in the Silence‘ is available for download from carysmatic.bandcamp.com.

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring KILLAH TRAKZ

some more of that #REALHIPHOP knowledge via Killah Trakz.

KILLAH_TRAKZVEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

TRAKZ: Peace, my name is Killah (pronounced Kill (ah)) or K allah Trakz. Got into music from my childhood friend and partner in rhyme Brian Goode. In all honesty I just one day started freestyling out of thin air and it stuck. I’ve heard some of my songs got people emotional, even changed lives. I’m Haitian and it’s tough having strict parents who follow a more traditional role in upbringing children in a dominant way, so since I was always in seclusion I kept rhyming. I feel as though this new generation associate my heritage with street credibility, but as artists we’re overlooked and I want to really break that barrier.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

TRAKZ: I worked with Seattle-based producer Kev West on a project called #IHATEMIXTAPES which did phenomenal in numbers, and I guess Kev and Pete have history and the two spoke of me and now I’m here. This is my 1st time working with Pete.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

TRAKZ: My writing process ….. If you hear, see, or I reply “WOO!” then the record’s done. 15 mins to write, 30 to record, so an hour of turn around time.  And producers usually give me full creative control on what I rhyme about.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

TRAKZ: Real hip hop is like explaining love. It’s a definition so broad and so wide (pause) there’s no one word or a fair sentence to describe it. So I’ll go with emotions through the beat, the rhymes, and the mood/setting.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

TRAKZ: Eminem‘s “Rap God” or Busta Rhymes, who always re-invents himself. Between those two but Eminem‘s “Rap God“, sheesh.

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

TRAKZ: go to you favorite search engine and type Killah Trakz and everything would show up on me.

—-

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring DVS JACKSON Esq.

today we have a nice chat with one of MY personal favourite emcees that i’ve not only encountered in the last decade, but also had the pleasure of working WITH in some capacity. and that’s signor DVS Jackson Esq. this man’s wordplay has long impressed the fuck out of me, and to have him included on Pete‘s #REALHIPHOP LP is something i was kinda hoping for (actually i wanted a whole project to materialise b/w the two, but this is a damn good start).

DVSVEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

DVS: Hello, world. My name is The Most Honorable Right and Exact DVS Jackson, Esq. DVS for short. I started out as a public speaker when I was still in Kindergarten. As I got older, that morphed into singing, then poetry and, finally, Hip Hop. I’ve been an MC for the better part of 15 years, and loving every minute of it. My motivational factors are a genuine love for the culture, a feeling that I have something to say…and the knowledge that after all of these years of dedication I’m still skilled at my craft.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

DVS: My contribution came from Pete asking. Pete and I have known one another for almost a decade. We have dabbled here and there creatively, but there has never been a project tied to us. A vocal guest spot here, a remix there, but never anything concrete. So, when Pete mentioned he had a project in the works and wanted me to contribute, it was just a natural progression.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

DVS: My writing process varies. I tend to write very quickly when inspired or when I have an idea of the intended direction. As such, my contributions to #REALHIPHOP didn’t take very long. Pete has always had a very good handle on what he is trying to accomplish. He also allows space for the artist to express themselves. It was really quite painless.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

DVS: That’s a tricky question. I don’t think there is a real definition of what you consider “real”. Reality is relative. For instance, if you ask me who I listen to in the whip…I’m going to say Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, classics like De La and Tribe…and that’s my version of reality. Now my son, he is a huge fan of Flatbush Zombies. That’s his reality and I honor that. And since I honor his opinion, as well as my own and others who may not have as much “love” for the culture in the traditional sense…I tend not to trash Hip Hop I don’t personally understand or appreciate. I just don’t listen.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

DVS: Chance The Rapper‘s “Acid Rap Mixtape” completely threw me for a loop. Here was someone representative of my eldest child’s generation who obviously had some sense of MY oldhead sensibilities. In addition, he made a very CHICAGO album. There are so many inside references that hit especially hard for someone born and raised in the Go. From wordplay to his homage to Chicago’s “Juke” movement to a playful irreverance i feel the artform is missing….I totally honor and respect that young brother’s contributions to the game.

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

DVS: Well, my latest LP “DVS 4 Alderman” was released on Windimoto Records and is available at most online retailers, with an expanded edition available directly at http://windimoto.bandcamp.com/album/dvs-4-alderman-bandcamp-exclusive-expanded-edition.

I also have 4 EP’s that I’ve released for the unbelievable price of Free.99 available at http://waldorfandstatler.bandcamp.com with my partner in crime/brother from another mother tREBLEFREE. tREB is currently screaming at me to get my vocals in for the next EP…so stay tuned as more Waldorf And Statler is on the way. Thank you sincerely for you interest…and tell Pete Marriott to hurry up and release this album so I can get my cheque. Dreams don’t run off promises, goddamnit.

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring JAZZ

we continue on with our dedicated coverage of all things #REALHIPHOP featuring a short interview with Jazz, who contributed to a couple of the joints on Pete‘s LP. he breaks down his musical history, production/songwriting process and his thoughts on hip hop.

JAZZ (aka Mista Jazzluvah)VEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

JAZZ: First and foremost I am Mista Jazzluvah, formally of the Hip Hop/R&B group WHISTLE. We had such hits as “(Nothing Serious) Just Buggin‘”, “Right Next To Me“, “Always And Forever“, “Barbara’s Bedroom” and “Chance For Our Love“. I have wanted to do music ever since the 4th grade. I got my start in 1985 by way of Kangol Kid and Hitman Howie Tee.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

JAZZ: Well Pete and I go way back to the days before WHISTLE. We both lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn and rocked out in the same musical circles. He and I reconnected about two yrs ago and talked about me coming back and doing my style of R&B. From there he did a track for me and sent me some songs he wanted me to drop hooks on. I wrote the hooks to two joints (“Nice” and “Lookout“) and the rest is history.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

JAZZ: Well I write what I feel. I am a songwriter/producer myself so I just get the vibe or hear the track and give my viewpoint of what I hear. There are too many so called producers who aren’t that at all. I am a throwback to the days of Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, LA and Babyface, Gamble and Huff, Teddy Riley the list goes on. My Job is to make a song better. It doesn’t matter if I wrote it or not.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

JAZZ: Real Hip Hop is hip hop from the soul. The kind of hip hop that takes you to a time and place that you cant forget. No matter what time frame or style.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

JAZZ: I am feeling anything that has a flow and substance with good lyrics. I will always love hip hop even when I don’t like certain rappers or songs. I came from the essence of the block party and tape days. I feel like I am a singing Emcee. I flow on R&B.

V.