[rock the dub Interview]: Tim Exile

Tim Exile is one of a rare breed of producers in the electronic music scene who not only understands where the music has been, but has a driving urge to explore where the music can go. He has gone from toning down his eccentric DnB tracks to going full on, balls to the wall and not apologizing for it at all. He has created software to help expand on the live DJ experience, turning the art of mixing tracks into a free-form, hands-on collage of sound and personality. He released the critically acclaimed Pro Agonist last year, and now introduced us to the Gabba Lounge. We got the chance to bug him about his past, his present, and a peek into his workings... pull up a chair.

khal: Some people only know you from your recent string of releases, from your output on Evol Intent, Frequency right up to your Planet Mu excursions. You actually had quite a few releases out on Moving Shadow and Beta as well. Were you content putting out “safe” (or as safe as you can get) DnB tracks on those labels? Is that something you might get to in the future? Why or why not?

Tim Exile: For a short while I was yes. Although my first single on Beta (Fatal Exception) was actually pretty extreme for the time. John did ask me to tone it down a bit. From then on John encouraged me to keep other singles a bit more down the beaten track… same as Shadow, and I followed suit. There was a time when I regretted this, but I don’t now. Holding back has forced me into a very critical way of listening when I do let rip. There’s so much electronica out there now that ‘lets rip’ and is very mangled but I think a lot of it lacks fidelity… not necessarily production fidelity, but musical fidelity. I’ve always had a tension between wanting to make accessible music and wanting to make much more personal, less accessible music. There are merits for me and the listener in both. I may or may not return to ‘safe’ dnb. I can never seem to predict what my next musical whim is going to be. At the moment it’s tweaked out pop.

khal: You’ve had a critically acclaimed album, Pro Agonist, and your live shows have become an experimental treat to many heads across the globe. What made you decide to turn your live show into the Tim Exile’s Nuisance Gabbaret Lounge album?

Tim Exile: It made sense. I wasn’t really writing much in the studio at the time. It seemed so laborious after I’d made a machine which allowed me to improvise. The stuff I was making in the studio seemed to lose colour for me in comparison to the vibrant life I was leading travelling around and improvising on stage. It had to go down on plastic in some form. I realise there was no point trying to fight Pro Agonist with another Pro Agonist so I did something totally different. I think this is the best way to keep yourself alive as an artist.

khal: How much of your time is spent programming new and interesting programs/patches for Native Instruments and the other outfits you do work for? Is there anything new you are trying to accomplish that you’d like to share?

Tim Exile: It depends on what’s going on at the time. I’ve been doing the odd bit of sound design & programming for NI recently. Sometimes I don’t touch any programming for a while. I programmed the Bass Boxing game for Glade Festival during the summer. Earlier this year I spent weeks making live machine mk2. It turned out to be a little beyond Reaktor’s capabilities and drove me close to career-killing RSI so I had to downsize. I’m just about to get back into incorporating the progress I made on it into a new live show. It’d be nice to be able to programme in a more powerful language so I really can make the tools I want to, but I’d need a second life to do that. Right now I’m young and need to be a little more frivolous. For the time being I’ve accepted that the tools I want to use don’t exist, and that I don’t have the time or expertise to make them.

khal: When I’ve heard your live performances, I hear you mix in some very familiar tunes, like tracks by Krust and others, into your beautiful chaos. What are some tracks that you always keep in your PC to throw in and manipulate in your sets?

Tim Exile: I don’t know most of them. They just have random file names. I don’t even know who wrote them. Apart from the obvious ones of course…

khal: You don’t just produce DnB and fuck with programs, though. In reading up on you, as well as listening to Pro Agonist, you also produce breakbeat, house, and other types of music. Are there any non-DnB releases out there that people can check out, past or present?

Tim Exile: There are a few errors in the discogs.com discog actually… a couple of breaks tracks that I didn’t write. There’s a techno release that’s worth checking out though on Mosquito the ‘Hanzo Steel Cuts’ EP, if you can find it. The label’s stopped and the distro’s gone down the pan though, so you’ll be pretty lucky to find a hard copy! You can download it from bleep.com I believe. I have a bunch of tracks of lots of different styles on BMG production music compilations as well but you can’t buy these commercially. They’ve been used all over the world on TV though which is quite interesting to see when the PRS statement comes through. One of my tracks has been used loads on Newsround apparently.

khal: Your website mentions something about “Gabba Boxing”… what is this and where did it come from?

Tim Exile: It’s boxing with boxing gloves that trigger gabba kicks. It’s now changed name to Bass Boxing. It debuted at Glade Festival in July this year. There’s a mini documentary about it forthcoming on the Native Instruments website which will explain it in greater detail than I have time to go into here, not unlike the one about my live patch which appeared about this time last year.

khal: I’m also reading that you have a Gabbaret Lounge radio show forthcoming. What made you want to start your own radio show? Are there any surprises you have in store for the listeners? How can people check it out?

Tim Exile: I did the first one for Resonance FM in London. It was to be a run of 6 shows, once a week. Unfortunately the first one took me about 2 days to put together, which I realised I didn’t have time for so I had to pull the rest. I’m now going to do Gabbaret Lounge shows as and when I feel like it and have the time and put them up for download. The second one which is shorter and I spent more time on is up on my website at the moment. The idea is to make it more of a strange variety show with sketches and weird shit and other general headphuq antics.

khal: When looking at the electronic music scene, many see you as a brilliant musical mind that is out there really doing some forward thinking things, technology wise. What would you like to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

Tim Exile: I think it’s up to people to remember me for what they want to in an age of unfettered media. I’m acutely aware of how impossible it is to dictate to people what they should think or remember about what you do. It’s very healthy that way. If artists had complete control not just of their work but the way people reacted to and interpreted it we’d all go insane. It’s hard enough keeping a sane mind manipulating sounds… attempts at manipulating public opinion could send me over the edge. I’ll leave that to the press. In ideal world everyone would remember me for everything I do being amazing but that’s just childish and unrealistic.

khal: Out of all of the tracks you’ve produced that have been released, which one/ones would you consider your best, or your favorites? Why?

Tim Exile:
The most perfect and detailed piece that’s seen the light of day is called Emergence. It was on a free CD of competition shortlists for the 2003 Jeu de Temps composition competition released jointly between Sonic Arts Network and some Canadian organisation. A track called Peristalt on the Hanzo Steel Cuts EP is a close second. Soulwise Slime on Pro Agonist is no 1, as is a track called There’s Nothing Left Of Me But Her And This which was released recently on Si Begg’s Noodles label.

You mentioned in your Q&A on DOA’s “The Grid” that there is a lot of “turd polishing” going on in DnB, in terms of producers wanting their tunes to sound engineered perfectly, all the while losing something in the creativity and feeling. With each passing year, this trend seems to get worse. Do you think the scene will ever get out of that mode?

Tim Exile: I don’t really know much about the scene these days as I’m pretty distant from it, but from an outside point of view it seems to have cemented itself in its own bunker away from outside influence. If this is the case its unlikely to offer a fertile ground for invention if people who make it only consume the excrement of others. It’s probably a slightly naïve view though as it’s impossible to police the fringes. Some new ideas will undoubtedly leek in through the back door.

You seem to tour a lot, whether it’s a club night or a big festival. What setting is your most favorite, something massively huge or a more intimate setting?

Tim Exile: I used to prefer the intimate settings as it’s easier to get a rapport going with the crowd in a small venue, but as I’ve got more confident and been playing to bigger crowds I’m beginning to enjoy the challenge of connecting with them more. The idea of playing to 1000 now really appeals to me. You need to be way more theatrical which is great fun. It really appeals to my attention-seeking nature.

Where do you see yourself, music wise, in the next couple of years?

Tim Exile:
I’m never sure what I’m going to want to do next, but at the moment I’m into writing songs and singing, with tweaked out production. There’ll be a bit more of that I’d imagine. I also want to work on some crazy stage shows, possibly working with other musicians.

Do you have any tips for budding producers or DJs out there?

Tim Exile: Be careful who you listen to. Make yourself the person you listen to most. Keep at it, don’t lose hope. Don’t try to be original, if you’re an original thinker it’ll just happen. Don’t disregard ideas because you don’t they they’ll work or they’re not allowed. Don’t be bound by your roots. Don’t get a day job.

We would like to thank Tim for answering our questions. Check out more info on him below...

here is a clip from Tim performing live at alt ctrl, circa June 2005:

related links:
Tim Exile on MySpace
Tim Exile's official website
Exile Ensemble for REAKTOR 5
DOA Mix Aug. 2005

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Nia sings the hits!

Apparently, this little girl Nia is either a gigantic music fan, or her parents really want her to be a star! Check her out doing "Can't Hide Love" by Earth, Wind & Fire:

That video is how I first heard her perform. You like that attitude, right? Now, I seriously think her parents are trying to bank on her talent... hell, has she/will she be on GMA's YouTube Video of the Week? Peep her resume:

Mary J. Blige "Enough Cryin'", "Ain't Really Love"
Alicia Keys "Fallin'", "If I Ain't Got You"
Billie Holiday "Strange Fruit"
Earth, Wind & Fire "Reasons"
Joss Stone "Dirty Man"
Rick James "Mary Jane" (something about this girl singing Rick James is just not right...)

Brighten up your day watching homegirl shake it and strut with attitude... enjoy!
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The good folks over at CBS have set up a doozy of a 13th Season of their popular reality competition show, Survivor, pitting 4 teams, separated by race, against each other -- which in turn has caused many differing opinions throughout the world. (Check out the teams HERE)... Being the race-conscious person that I am, I HAVE to find out what you guys think about this. I mean, I don't have a problem with it; I'm actually astonished that this has not happened sooner. They can talk all of that "social politics" hoopla, but we all know we want to see who the superior race is! Vote on this on the poll below, and in the coming weeks we will chart the progress of this new season. I still think the White People are going to win, because they normally do on this show. I love my Black People, but I just don't think they have it. That nigga Osten QUIT, after he proved himself to be one of the more athletic jigs in Survivor history. In any case, please vote (once!) and we'll chart how it flows. Season 13 of Survivor starts on September 14th, 2006.

Which race will win the next Survivor season?
White People
Black People
Asian People
Hispanic People
Free polls from Pollhost.com

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TEKDBZ West Coast Commercial

Supporting the TEKDBZ Army Here's a commercial promoting their upcoming shows next month (Sept. 15th and 16th) in California (more info HERE). Photek, Craze, Mental Sharp, Infiltrata, HoChi, Messinian... ROUGH! Cali heads, support!

Get this video and more at MySpace.com
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the shuffle. [8/26/06]

It's hard goddamn work staying sane these days. Baby boy is due any day now, so I'm on my toes... at work, whenever the phone rings, a nigga thinks it's "the call". I hope he gets here soon, I'm ready for his lil fat self to be here.

Been a busy week, but today was nutty. I was going to cut down some hedges/bushes with an axe but my nice neighbors lent a nigga a chainsaw, so those shits dropped QUICK! Gotta love nice neighbors.

I am also jazzed about The Wire, Season 4. HBO aired a few specials this week, and it got me super souped for the show! Remember, if you have HBO On Demand, you can catch the 1st episode on September 4th, about 1 full week before the premiere. I do like how the season that is set partly in a school debutes during the week that most schools start their new sessions. Gotta love it!

Odd week, news wise, so let's just get down to brass tax, kids...

01/The boy noz let it be known that Andre3000 of Outkast is planning on remaking Miles Davis' Kind of Blue in the not-too-distant future. He already raped Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" on that God-awful Love Below album, turning a classic jazz standard into a shitty fake-jungle nightmare. Why murder another classic? Is he looking for that much acceptance outside of the Rap world that he must try and truly be prince? And the next time my Mom stops by to tell me how great a rapper's new movie is, I am going to crack myself in the head with a bottle of Mo. I mean, I could give 2 flying frigs about Idlewild the album... I don't need to care about a movie where one of the leads is named Rooster, and the fucking cuckoo clocks sing. I'll pass.

02/You gotta love the NYPD: Busta Rhymes has avoided speaking on his bodyguard's death for months now... as his attacker said, Busta apparently stomped the shit out of this kid for spitting on or NEAR his whip. The cops wait a WEEK, and pick Busta up as he is leaving the AmsterJam concert. Thing is, I bet you they spent that whole night trying to figure out the specifics surrounding his boy's murder, which is foul in my book. I mean, if he isn't going to speak, let the man be. Only God (or Israel's family) can judge him. He is doing right by them, apparently breaking his wife off with paper, but does that really justify his not snitching? Only time will tell...

03/Speaking of Busta, one of his pet projects, Papoose, has finally inked a deal with a major. Jive has reportedly signed him for $1.5 million. Why, I am not too sure. I mean aside from being a sick mixtape rapper, he has not really proved that he can move units on a commercial level. I don't doubt that the hype will do him well if/when his album drops, but there is still one question I am asking: Busta and Kay Slay are working with him, trying to get him a deal, right? How much paper did they ask for out of that $1.5? And with Kay already letting it be known that, whether he likes it or not, Pap does what he says on the song tip, we'll see how hot his shit will turn out. I don't remember Kay putting up QUALITY numbers on the commercial tip.

04/On the album tip, there's a ton of stuff going on. This coming week sees not only the new albums from Method Man and The Roots, but there has also been noise about albums from other cats out there. John Legend let it be known that his sophmore album is set to be dropped this coming October. His album is probably the one CD where I can vibe to a will.i.am track and not be upset about it lol. Sounds like he isn't breaking the mold, however, which is a plus. Kelis also seems to be upset with how her latest LP, Kelis Was Here, came out. Word is there's shit on there that wasn't supposed to make the cut... which is just unacceptable IMO, but the labels do whatever they think needs to be done. Something tells me that, next go round, Kelis will be on another label. And dropping the Neptunes might not have been such a good idea... Billboard reports this week that both C. Aggy and Lyfe Jennings are doing great on the charts. That Now 22 nonsense is still in the top10, but so be it, you know? Kids gotta rock, too. They also reported that Snoop is pushing back his Blue Carpet Treatment album for a November release for no real reason. I suspect that he's making wack material and none of it is sticking, but who knows. I guess when you are Snoop, you got it like that.

05/OK, so let me get this straight: a girl gets murdered 10 years ago. A weird pedophile confesses to the murder. And on his plane ride from Thailand, he gets to drink champagne and eat seafood? WITH POLICE SITTING RIGHT BESIDE HIM?!!? I don't know if this is some new tactic or just a lapse in judgement, but something is hella fishy (rimshot)... either they thing neph did it or shit is just different for sick white males who fawn over young girls.

06/Hollywood is on some ill shit: Snakes on a Plane hit the top spot last weekend, but they did some shady shit: they pulled in $15.3 mill, but it was based on a 4 day total, not the normal Friday-Sunday money. How can you even do that shit and expect to keep cred? I mean I know the block is hot and movies are in and out of the top 10 in a matter of weeks, but don't pour syrup on shit and call it pancakes.

07/You gotta love how record labels try to understand blogging but get the shit WAY wrong. Eskay, leader of the popular site Nah Right, was hit with some shit from Atlantic Records for posting a YouTube link to a Lupe Fiasco video. I mean, forget the fact that if Atlantic has any REAL beef with the video being online, they should holler at YouTube. My thing is... ESKAY WAS PROMOTING YOU! It's not like he dissed Lupe or the viddy... he's a HUGE fan. Why shit on him? Read the fucking blog before you wyle out. Sheesh. Speaking of videos up on YouTube, Rizoh broke down what the deal is with The Game's new video. The track is hot, but peep that post... Game switched up a few of those verses as to not offend people who have more juice than he. I'm waiting to see how that shit plays out...

08/It wasn't played up a lot, but there were retarded rumors that Osama bin Laden had (has?) a crush on Whitney Houston, to the point where he planned on murking Bobby! I mean first off, who gives a shit, but 2nd, do you honestly think Osama wants to crawl out of whatever anthole he must be hiding in to fuck with a crackhead? His ass has mad wives, what will she do for him?

09/There was a big stink this week made about Survivor's decision to make the competition for the new season a bit complex: they are adding in a race element. Four teams are to be divided by race (White, Black, Asian and Hispanic). Rush Limbaugh thinks that the Hispanics stand a good chance of kicking ass because they have "shown the most survival characteristics", apparently. I am going to make a poll about this, but I still say the White tribe will win. I have a hunch... but we shall see. I'll keep you guys informed.

10/This mp3 player game is getting intense... SanDisk revealed that they have an 8GB flash memory unit coming out. 8GB?!?!? That's like 8 iPod shuffles! Plus it will be able to be 10GB with the added assistance of a 2GB memory card. That's kind of sick for a player with no internal hard drive. For some reason, Microsoft is planning on preloading videos onto it's Zune unit, courtesy of EMI. No disrespect, but any player I've copped that came preloaded with shit, it got deleted PRONTO for space reasons. The last thing I need is Dem Franchise Boyz on my mp3 player. On a sad note, Dell is dropping out of the mp3 player game. It's Ditty is getting shat on by the iPod shuffle, with good reason. Dell can't even get quality PCs out without drama and Bangladeshian reps, what makes them think they can corner the mp3 player market?

11/Bob Dylan, you old fool. You make me proud, but confuse me too. He has been going on a rampage, decrying modern music. He is pissed about the sounds coming out of studios (too much clutter), and says that modern shit is devoid of substance, which I cannot fully agree with. I mean, there is a lot of bullshit out there, especially in the mainstream, but if you cannot find ANYTHING worth a damn, you aren't looking hard enough. I do like his comments on illegal downloads, though:

Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway. You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them.

Gotta love the old man for that one.

12/I have a kid on the way, so I can see why Boomerang is trying to delete the smoking out of cartoons like Tom & Jerry, which is understandable and repulsive to me. It would be one thing if these 'toons were made last week. They came out damn near 50-60 years ago, though! Times changed! I mean this is a situation where, yes, maybe those cartoons are not suited for society today, but don't dilute them and give our kids a fucked up outlook on things. Just make better 'toons! And in any case, you'd think that a channel called "Boomerang" would be about preserving those classic cartoons AS IS, not reworking them to suit today's standards.

13/It hasn't been shown yet, but the winner of the World Series of Poker, Jamie Gold, is already getting sued. Sources say Bodog, the website that helped get him there, says he owes them HALF of his $12 million pot. What a poor bastard. I heard he wasn't even a good player! Damn shame, he got there by luck and ends up getting shit on when he wins.

14/I'm not sure if Sony and Nintendo are trying a different strategy, but both have pink models of the PS2 and the DS set to drop soon. I don't know if it matters, but I don't get it... I mean does this mean that there will be OTHER colors coming? How hot would a dark blue PS2 be? Make it happen!

15/What's really good with Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch burning down? Was this nigga trying to get the insurance money? Come on, you know neph has crazy money he owes! That insurance payment must have been chunky!

16/On the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin is on his nigga shit again. This bastard, when asked about the slow rebuilding effort, throws 9/11 back in people's face! That's the mark of a shitty mayor -- not owning up to his responsibility. He wins NO points in changing the subject on a tragedy so horrific, niggas are still being pulled out of the rubble. Fix up, bro.

17/So the bullshit surrounding Tom Cruise has finally come home to roost: Paramount officially split with the Scientologist fruit cake over his appeal and character leading to declines in attendance and sales of his flicks. Good riddance. He still plans on funding his own flicks, though, which makes him sound more like Mel Gibson everytime I think about that possibility. Scary, no?

18/Now with all of this craziness going on this week, you're probably telling yourself, "Self, who had the worst week ever?" Well, it sure as shit ain't Tom Cruise, I mean that fucker's RICH! Folks, the worst week has been had by Pluto, who got told that it is not a planet. Now, back in the early 1900s, everything was gravy for Pluto. How you gonna play a planet like that? Especially one that's so far off in our solar system. That shit's racial!

EZ now. Anyways, I'm gonna go grab some grub and lounge for a bit. Be easy, greasies!
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[rock the dub Interview]: Spec Boogie

Your boy is back on his grizzly. I heard that On My Grind tape and was kind of floored as to the skill of Spec Boogie. He's able to say what he wants how he wants without the use of too much dumbing down, which is a big plus these days. He can give it to you raw, as well as on some thinking man shit. He's a stellar MC, and a very humble guy. He is one of the founders of Loosie Music, an independent for the working man, as well as an emerging artist in his own right. khal got a chance to wax poetic with Spec, kicking game about how he started and what he's about. What's really in his mind? (Shoot me, I had to!)

khal: Aside from the On My Grind mixtape, many heads out there might not know too much about you, Spec. Can you give us a brief tour of how you came from a shorty growing up in Brooklyn to an MC who helped found Loosie Music, and is on the verge of putting how his own album?

Spec Boogie: Okay. Well, I was born in Los Angeles California, my mom was from out there and
my dad from Brooklyn so he moved us out here in ‘83. When we first moved out here we lived in a building that my grandmother owned and my older cousin Glen lived right upstairs from us. He’s around the same age as my brother who stayed in LA so I hung around him a lot and he was the neighborhood DJ, always coming through with wax, watching videos and dancing all that. He’s the one who got me into writing back in ‘88/’89. He saw how much I loved KRS-One’s “My Philosophy” and pushed me to rhyme -- but I didn’t think I was any good at it so I wasn’t really into it. I was more into drawing until Junior High in ‘93. Wu Tang had just come out, Midnight Marauders came out, 93 'Til, Redman was out, it was crazy. My friends and I decided to start a group and one of them named James really sat me down and taught me how to write bars and stuff. I went to a different high school than my friends and I didn’t know anyone so I stepped back for a while and watched the older cats at the lunch tables before I started up again. Around that time I started hitting up open mics around NY. That’s kind of where I started to find my voice. I named myself Spectrum the Oracle in high school cuz I was big into science fiction movies and Octavia Butler novels. When I went away to college in Philly my focus really became more humanistic. This was right after Diallo and I was learning about things like M.O.V.E. and I wanted to get my head out of the clouds musically, so to speak, so I shortened the name to Spec since that’s what most of my friends called me anyway. I added the Boogie when someone called me that in a bar one day and I liked it.

khal: How did you and your crew start
Loosie Music? What was the initial idea behind starting your own independent?

Spec Boogie: A loosie is a single cig you get from the bodega for a quarter when you can’t afford a pack, though I think they went up to 50 cents. I don’t know, I don’t smoke. We named the company Loosie because it’s something that’s known among working class people everywhere. It’s a name that as soon as you hear it you think of blue-collar workers, hustlers, survivors, pretty much broke mutherfuckers and that’s who Loosie speaks to, that’s who we are, how we came up. Loosie was started by Bennie Guinness and I because we wanted to make the music we want to hear. Personally, I don’t do well with dependency, having someone else -- in this case a record label -- to blame for your failures or take credit for your success just doesn’t sit well with me. Being independent means that your fuck ups as well as your victories are on your shoulders alone. I can’t say that we’ll never consider a major label situation but we’re smart enough to know that there is a time for all of that and now, even almost 5 years in, just isn’t the time for it. But we’re not going to sit on our hands and wait either.

khal: With Loosie, as well as in conjunction with other companies, you’ve put out singles (“
Grow”) as well as compilations. For cats who are trying to get down on that level, how did you build those relationships?

Spec Boogie: Just knowing the right people, being in the right place. We hooked up with
Staple through a guy named Sean Tucker who worked there at the time. He heard “Grow” through a mutual friend and approached us about putting it out. The only advice I can give through that experience is make sure you have something in common with companies you attach your name to for sponsorship or collabs. Whether it be in ideals, image, whatever, don’t try to link with someone whom you have nothing in common with just because it’s a hot company or a popular name. We’ve been lucky enough to work with companies like Staple and Digital Gravel who see what we’re doing and support what we’re trying to put out there.

khal: Word is that you have an album forthcoming called Introspective. Can you delve into what type of LP you will be bringing the people?

Spec Boogie: Introspective is an album that’s been about 5 years in the making, before we even started Loosie. It's a record that pretty much stays true to its name; it’s 12 songs that pretty much say, “Hi, I’m Spec Boogie”. It’s not all about me in a diary sense, because no one really wants to know all that, but rather songs about where I come from, what I’ve learned, things I’ve been through, things I like that. It really showcases my storytelling side that I don’t go into often on the mix tapes. I have no excuse for that since I primarily consider myself a storyteller.

khal: Now, onto the On My Grind project. What made you decide to rip those instrumentals?

Spec Boogie: Availability. Just the luck of the draw. If I was online that day and saw the Big Bang instrumentals or Blood Money instrumentals we might be here talking about that. I really didn't care who's beats they were, I just had the itch to write and a batch of fresh beats fell on my lap so to speak.

khal: That track “Best Friend” flipped the script on Pharrell’s original, taking a track about family lost to your exclusive sneaker love. What is your most cherished pair of kicks? How much have you plucked down on one pair of sneakers? And are there any pairs you are trying to get your hands on?

Spec Boogie: I don’t know if I have a favorite or most cherished pair. I’m more of a sneaker whore than anything. I’m definitely not a collector, I just buy what I like and I wear everything I buy. It’s mostly about design and color for me rather than brand or exclusivity (although that’s a plus). There are some that I wish I didn’t dog out as much as I did so I could still wear them, like the
Haze Dunks or the AF2 Escapes, which I don’t think are hard to get so I have to re-up on those. The most I ever spent on shoes was around two-something, which isn’t a lot for most serious sneaker heads. I’m not a full-on head like some of my friends and I flat out refuse to be caught sleeping outside some store for kicks so I miss out on a lot of really dope shit sometimes. Every time I see something fly and I run to go cop I’m late and I either can’t find my size or I can’t find them at all (like the Staple Pigeons or the Alife Pumps). I usually have around 80 or so pairs at a time because I get new ones and give old ones away or throw them out. I couldn’t imagine how many kicks I’d have if I’d held on to all of them.

khal: Speaking of song ideas, you have a wide range of topics, from that straight up gutter flow to some more bedroom-eyes type shit to the more underground, lyrical massacre type stuff. Do you consciously try and flip the script with each track? What about when you get down with your fellow MCs – do you come up with a topic/subject in the lab or do you come to the lab with something fleshed out?

Spec Boogie: The one thing I’ve always loved about Hip-Hop is it’s limitless potential. I came up
thinking you can pretty much rhyme about anything you want, so I might as well. I can’t imagine not making a song about sneakers just because I made a song about AIDS in Africa or not being able to rap about pussy and politics. Plus I’ve always been a fan of just writing so I’ll rap about whatever, it really doesn’t matter it’s not a conscious effort. As far as collaborations go, I prefer to come up with the song concept with whoever I’m on the track with though it doesn’t always happen that way. I don’t like to have anything fleshed out before hand unless I know the artist that well and the only artists I know that well are Von Pea and Elucid.

khal: When you moved out to Philly, how did you link up with ?uest and The Roots? Did you learn anything from those cats when you spent time with them?

Spec Boogie: I linked up with them through
Okayplayer-dot-com. I was on the street team when I moved down there for college and they hired me for an internship because I did graphic design as well. I don’t know why I hate to admit this, but the foundation of everything I do these days from design to business to music I learned during that time in Philly from Okayplayer and the people behind it. I got nothing out of school. It’s like when I went down there I found a mentor for everything I wanted to do. I was a teenager away from home for the first time and I was a sponge. It was the perfect place for me at that stage in my life.

khal: You’ve done shows with the Okayplayer heads, and shared the stage with cats like MF Doom, Melle Mel, and Little Brother, just to name a few. What was your best experience on stage and why?

Spec Boogie: My favorite ever is still my very first open mic performance at the Nuyorican Poets Café in ‘97. It was my first time performing in front of people I didn’t know (I rolled there for dolo) and I was scared to death. I thought I was gonna get booed or laughed out the building. There was a live band there as always: drums, bass and two guys sitting at a keyboard, one young, one older, who the host (Bobbito) kept talking about. I got up and did pretty okay, nothing special. You could probably tell that it was my first time but the crowd gave a lot of love so it was great for my first time already. I strike up a couple of conversations with people afterwards and someone is like “Do you know who the older gentleman on the keyboard is?” and I say no. And they say that’s Weldon Irvine and I’m like okay…so? When they explained who he was, I really didn’t know how to react. Like earlier when I said in ‘89 my cousin got me to rhyme and in ‘93 my boys did, “My Philosophy” and “Award Tour” are the definitive records of those times for me respectively. Those records made me want to be a rapper, period, and I didn’t know who they sampled much less that they sampled the same dude. So when I found out that the man responsible for two of the most important records in my life played keys for me my first time out was mind blowing. I don’t consider myself a strong believer in fate but some shit you just can’t ignore. He was a cool dude too, got to build with him a few time before he passed and he was one of the coolest people you could meet, always willing to teach and share his experiences. The younger dude was Mos Def but I didn’t know who he was at the time either. I don’t think any show is topping that one any time soon, maybe when I play the Garden.

khal: Where do you see your evolution as an artist and entertainer going in the next couple of years?

Spec Boogie: Who knows? What I do reflects where I am in life. I can’t say where my life will be in the next couple years so I can’t say where my art will be. God willing I’ll be doing what I’m doing now, just better and for more money.

khal: It seems that every couple of years, the game gets changed to the point where the MCs who were hot last year are fighting to be head the next. Do you think this situation helps or hurts the artist? Why or why not?

Spec Boogie: It helps in some ways and hurts in others. A lot of artists find themselves washing away in the tide because they came into notoriety riding a trend. When that trend fades, so does the artist, so they have to reinvent themselves, step their game up or fall off. I think that’s great, the only downside I see to it is the fact that what’s ‘hot’ nowadays has nothing to do with the quality of the music. It’s all image driven now. A hot song doesn’t have to be a good song, a hot artist doesn’t have to be talented, just marketable.

khal: Thanks for letting me pick your brain. Do you have any final shout outs or thoughts for the massive?

Spec Boogie: Yeah thanks for taking the time to put people on, plug plug plug, be on the look out for the Champion Hoods mixtape featuring Von Pea, Elucid and myself, my single & video “No Knock” is out right now, Introspective is coming this fall along with another single and video. Be on the look out for
Elucid and Von Pea’s solo projects in 2007. For any info you can visit Loosie, Loosie Music on MySpace or Spec Boogie on MySpace.
Shouts out to Spec Bizzy for the interview. Keep grindin', mang.

related links:
Lessondary Crew on MySpace
Aeki Tuesday Interview

BONUS! Check out the video for Spec's single, "No Knock", right now!:
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photos... blogger beta... woes.

Well, well, well. Ya boy khal has been trying to make sure rock the dub is on the cutting edge, and I updated my shit from the regular Blogger setup to their new "beta" setup. Thing is, pictures aren't uploading to my posts properly, being all some-timey. Sucks for me, b/c I took pride in the images that went along with my posts. Especially my interviews. You lot probably don't give a shit, but it irks me that my shit won't work the way it should.

If you have any ideas or solutions to this problem (aside from dloading FireFox), let a niggy know.
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"it's been too long, and i'm lost without you"

Do you remember where you were when you heard that Aaliyah died? I do...

I was in North Jersey, Woodbridge to be exact. I was helping get my friend Krissy's friend's attic set up. I was getting paid in free food, alchohol, and other stuff. It was a good time. Anyways, whilst working, we had Hot 97 on, and the news came... Aaliyah dies in a plane crash. Say wha!?!?! One of the true shining stars of our generation, gone in an instant? A girl who was so mysterious, so talented at both singing AND dancing (as well as a burgeoning acting career), just taken from us like that? I won't get into the fury I had over the now infamous "joke" that Star and that crew would make (plane sounds, other ignorant shit), but I had a hole in my heart from that.

The thing about Aaliyah is, she was just a genuine good soul. Her music was true, whether she was singing about heartache or just having a good time. I wish there was more I could do, but there isn't. I will just show my love and appreciation in a post like this... and share with the world my favorite Aaliyah tracks. Yes, most of these are singles, but those are the moments when she shined most.

I won't go into detail explaining what the deal is, track for track. If you are reading this post, damnit you know what the skill is. There's a few exclusives or never before heard (by many) mixes of the tracks, so those will be explained. Let's get it on!

related links:
Aaliyah on Wikipedia
Official Aaliyah website
I Care 4 U website

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Friday, August 25th 2006 playlist

I haven't slept much this week. Been a weird week... waiting for the baby to come, trying to get a hunk of shit done at work, all the while not going insane. Hard goddamn work, but in the end my wife is doing her thing. She's a cotdamn trooper, and I love her.

We got some beats, some mixes, and a nice video for ya. Peep game...

Drum & Bass/Jungle
01/Dieselboy & Kaos "Barrier Break (Infiltrata & HoChi Dub)" [human]
02/Blu Mar Ten "Let Myself Go"
03/Logistics "Inhale" [hospital]
04/Higher Sense "Cold Fresh Air (Cyantific Remix)" [moving shadow]
05/Soundclash "Crying Out" [dirty dubs]
06/Teebee "Venom (Part 2: Snakestyle Practice)" [vampire]
07/Alix Perez "Illusions" [lucky devil]
08/USB "The Swallow" [fokuz limited]
09/Fanu "Heavenless" [subtle audio]
10/The Invaderz "Simple Beauty" [i.t.]

01/Evidence ft. The Alchemist & Joe Scudda "It's Gonna Pop" [produced by ALC, this is one of my favorite beats of his... nicely sampled "Funky Drummer", with a load of white boy tough talk from all 3. track of the month!]
02/DJ Kay Slay & Greg Street ft. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane & Lord Tariq "5 Deadly Venoms" [taken from the Kay Slay and Greg Street album, this track is one of the hottest collabos of NY spitters. the fact that G Rap AND Rae come hard is just too much. That beat is blaze, too.]
03/DJ Spooky "Synaptic Dissonance" [gotta love that "illbient" sound. remember that shit? no? good. this track comes on with a pretty tight hip-hop beat, then flexes into some dnb midway. runnin' tune.]
04/Aaliyah ft. Jay-Z "Missing You (Remix)". [it's been 5 years... remember.]
05/The Roots ft. Zion I "Forever" [nicest use of a Beatles sample. this is NOT on the retail release of Game Theory for obvious reasons. Peep it on the J. Period "Best of The Roots" mixtape.]


*Brazil's Akzel came correct with a HOT DnB mix, "
Stuck In The Lab (Aug. 2006)", full of the techier side of DnB. Tracks range from Jonny L to Hive to Ak's own dubs. Quality mix, and there is even a CD cover link in that thread.

already made a post about this, but grab A-Sides' DOA mix. SLAMMIN', upfront tunes.

*We have
another one of DJ Roots' slick DnB mixes. He comes through with a gang of hits, from the High Contrast RMX of "Gold Digger" to Ram Trilogy's "Titan" to Total Science's "Soul Patrol". Heat.

*DOA's resident cartoonist, Monsta, hit the Dogs off with an
ill mix of his "lost" DnB tracks. Last I heard, he came with the RUCKUS, so expect some dainjah.

*There's also a new studio mix from the badbwoy DJ Ink. Sick selection, dubwise and hard. Dark and tight. Good vibes, though.

*Finally, the good folks over at
Pyrotechnic Radio have made archives of a gang of their shows... here is the latest edition of the Metalheadz Show, with my boy Heist.

On one final note: there's an ill combination going on in the world of DnB... DJ FU and the Jungle Drummer are causing major noise with their intense live act. Drums and Bass and DJ skills in ya face. Peep their promo video:

Until next week...
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A-Sides: DOA Exclusive

One of the true dons of DnB (and one of my FAVORITE producers), A-Sides, has an interview AND a mix up on DOA (shouts to EXODUZ on the interview). He gives his views on the DnB scene, the Eastside DIAMOND Series 12"s (vol. 1 was the Remixes of classic Eastside tracks "Crazy" and "Tear"), as well as other odds and ends. He's a good guy, a phenomenal producer (check his track record), and a great label head. The mix is on point, chock full o' dubs. Peep the tracklisting:

1 - kick push - bootleg
2 - bounce back - nu balance
3 - moving on - a.i (marky & bungle remix)
4 - pervert - g dub
5 - feature creep - dkay & sonic
6 - fingerprints - gridlok
7 - orchid - the spirit
8 - back like dat - bootleg
9 - corinthians - nu balance
10 - situations - atlantic connection
11 - embalmer - taxman
12 - yes - break
13 - suicide bomber - amit
14 - annexed - gremlinz
15 - creeper 2 - outrage
16 - fire like dis - sebadox
17 - the fix - fatal
18 - cronk - break & survival

That "Kick, Push" bootleg is a dope intro to this set, and it rolls along nice. Taxman's "Embalmer" is another rough cut... as is the Outrage tune, and Amit's "Suicide Bomber". Nice mixture of dancefloor fun and heavier, deeper tracks; I've had this on all day and can't keep turn it off! Big up to A-Sides for giving the Dogs some hot mixing. True professional on the decks. Check it out, and poke around DOA... we won't bite!

related links:
A-Sides on MySpace
Eastside Records official website
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HIp-Hop is alive.

Today J Dilla's The Shining was released. If you want that real, do yourself a favor and cop the disc (or 2 copies of the vinyl if you are a TRUE DJ).

Also, Wise Intelligent and Scienz of Life have a show in NJ coming up September 7th, 2006. Peep the flier:

Gotta love that; get more info at Wise's MySpace page. Not much else you really should cop on this New Music Tuesday, unless you like a scatter brained album by 2 guys who haven't been on point for years now... that's on you.


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the shuffle. [8/19/06]

What's up world? Been a busy week for ya boy... my homie at work had a situation with his family, and with my wife damn near ready to deliver, I've been hit with "Where's ya boy?" by so many people... it's kind of crazy. And with all of the odd shit going on this week, it's kind of ill to have people holler about that stuff... but I guess it's good to escape the regular GMA news every once in a while.

There isn't much going on though, aside from the long wait for Jayden to get here. I have a few Acid-mixes I need to do... big up to Azkel. I'm enthused, and ready to take my art to another level. Oh, and I saw this ill movie/documentary today called Rock Fresh. It's kind of like that flick Scratch for graf artists. If you are into aerosol arts, you need to peep this flick ASAP. It kind of woke up my creative side, but the balance of that is going to be HECTIC by this time next month. I'll be able to freak it though. No rest for the wicked.

01/Just to get it off of my chest, let's get into dude who confessed to the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Now, for starters, I don't believe dude. I mean they say he knew shit that only the killer would know about the scene, but we have no idea what that info was. He has not only kept in contact with the professor who made a few documentaries on this situation, but he is an obsessive pedophile. The look in his eye is just too fucking eerie for me to believe what's coming from his mouth. We will see how this plays out, but I just don't think neph did it.

02/In more news that is rocking the nation, we are still reeling from this terrorist plot that got thwarted in the UK. Did you guys hear about the 12 year old boy who got on a plane in the UK sans boarding ticket, passport, or pass? For the love of God! We're lucky that this lil fucker was only running away... if he had bad intentions, his lil bad ass could have set a whole plane on fire. I mean what are we really doing? We raise the terror level via color, but don't keep a clamp down on bastards boarding planes? I am glad I don't travel that way (not that I'd have anywhere to go)... I'd gladly take 3 hrs of checks over lil bastards boarding planes with no info.

03/The battling Bills say: AIDS WILL BE STAMPED OUT! Bill Clinton and Bill Gates are on a crusade to murk AIDS in our communities. I can only hope that they are serious... it's one thing that these old white bastards are like 20 years late --- it's been a long time coming, and too many bodies have left this earth or have been ruined over a disease many believe was man-made and can be cured quickly. I just hope their asses are telling the truth and are ready to rid out nations of this disease. And how ill would it be? I mean, this would be one of the first pandemics in a while that was cured... I mean Chris Rock said the last shit that was cured was polio... how long has it been since someone with polio been in the hood? Think about that...

04/In Republican presidential news, this dude Senator Allen from VA made some fucked up remarks about one of his opponents' cameramen. (View video here) He kept calling dude "macaca". From my quick, one minute research, this word has both racial and just plain fucked up connocations. And the funny thing is, his political people say it's a play on the hairstyle the camera guy had (he rocked a mullet), which they mistook as a mohawk. What a bunch of baloney. This bastard won't last 5 mins. in a primary. Quote me on that.

05/New Jersey just had an Attorney General resign over some dumb shit. Word is her boyfriend, a lawyer, was pulled over and found to have a suspended license AND an improperly registered vehicle... but they let dude drive home!? The beef with the AG is that she came to the scene. They believe that she spoke to the cops when she came to the scene. I don't think it's right, but shit, if I was in a jam like that, I KNOW wifey would be there with the quickness. I just wonder how he passed her background check. Wouldn't "fucked up license" be an automatic decline of app?

06/Some odd shit surrounding Oliver Stone's World Trade Center movie: one of the rescuers has come forward to declare that he is black. Odd thing about all of this is that a reunited X-Clan has decided to wage a boycott on this flick due to the omission. My thing is this: dude only gave his name as Sgt. Thomas. Is it wrong for the filmmaker to assume that he was white? Probably... but wtf did he have to go on? Sounds like a reach to this black man here.

07/Now, I know I normally hit you guys with a bunch of bits and pieces of Rap info, but this week I seem to have acquired quite a bit of Pop music info. With Christina, Justin, Beyonce, and others dropping albums this summer/early fall, the drama is flying! First up, Justin. Do you know he was talking smack about Taylor Hicks? He said homey couldn't carry a tune! I am beginning to like Justin more each time he speaks. He also 'joked' about Kanye not making original music, but then he quickly covered that one up... too funny though. If his album is only as crazy as his barbs, I might be enthused... In my review of Christina's latest album, I mentioned the track "F.U.S.S.", which is said to be a dart thrown right @ Scotty Storch. Apparently, this cat is fighting back! He called her latest album "full of fillers", and said she should fire her management for letting him slip through her fingers. Shit, all of this over a plane? I have no real Beyonce news, aside from the fact that this bitch is on a maple syrup diet. No bullshit, this seems to be the rage among dumbasses who think that drinks full of syrup and honey can supplement meals. I've seen cats down shots of hot sauce; drink everclear until they truly become blind. Maple syrup instead of a sandwich? I'll pass... I'll also pass on the hype this chick Fergie, from Black Eyed Peas and Kids, Incorporated fame. I'm not a fan of her "crew", nore am I a fan of her "London Bridge" single. Why they think they can build an album on her, who knows... and WTF is B-Real doing on there? It'll probably do great numbers, but I won't buy it. You also gotta love the balls on Chris Daughtry... he gets the boot off of Idol, turns down Fuel's offer to have him as their lead singer, but STILL RECRUITS their guitarist! I'd buy his album just for that stunt. Finally, that bastard Wyclef, instead of getting a Fugees LP together, is working on his own shit. From the looks of it, he wants to be a Haitian Dr. Dre... stop the illusion, duke.

08/It's official: watch sales have decreased with the rise of cell phones and iPods. I know you lot are DYING from that information, but people get paid to track shit like this.

09/MTV has gone too far... they outright banned a video by this group The Pack, basically saying it was a long ad for the popular Vans sneaker. You would think that in these days of sponsored concert tours that MTV would lighten up... I guess if they didn't go about it so blatantly, the wigs @ MTV wouldn't give 2 fucks about it. Or if the shit was made into a Cribs segment. Kind of silly if you ask me.

10/Well, well well... this kid didn't see dead people, he saw weed and alcohol. Haley Joel was brought up on some DUI and possession charges stemming from his car accident (driving a Saturn?!?!) recently. Maybe he sold his dope whip to smoke dope in a wack whip? What a maroon!

11/You thought BET's ignorance stopped with DMX being a functioning crack addict on national TV? Hold onto your hats! They plan on bringing forth an American Gangster series, highlighting a lot of the jigs that these jig rappers big up in their crack rap. From Tookie to Freeway Ricky, all points of nigger stardom will not be touched on the Black Entertainment TV. Anyone else feeling our race taking an even SHARPER decline with this?

12/Are people really going to watch Jerry Springer dance on primetime? I sure as shit hope not, but ABC is banking on him and Mario Lopez to bring more viewers into their fold. Good luck.

13/I have a few bits of information for the technology heads out there... first off, Microsoft is planning on creating a sort of YouTube for gamers who want to dabble in creating their own title(s). The idea is cool but to get the features you gotta spend like $100 per year. Get your game on, if this works, we might see more average mofos jump into the big time, ala amateur YouTube heads getting video deals and shit. Fox is planning on letting MySpace heads dload TV and movies via MySpace. $20 seems to be WAY TOO MUCH for a movie -- I could just buy the damn DVD for that price. They basically want to steal Apple's thunder, and it might work if they have the proper programs and software. Ease of use is the name of the game, and no one does it like Apple, so far. Speaking of Apple, the BBC is in the works getting DAB (digital audio broadcast) signals (that's the UK equivalent of satellite radio, essentially) onto iPods. Could this mean that having XM or Sirius on your iPods is something we can obtain in the near future? Fingers crossed... oh and have you guys ever called Dell's help line, and gotten routed to Indian customer service guys? Shitty hour wasted of your life, right? Is it any surprise that India had no problems with this recent Dell/battery fiasco?

14/Lil Wayne, Lil Wayne. What you doing getting caught with a gallon-size bag of ganja in your room? How did your boy NOT take the fall for you is an even bigger question... I mean is this life imitating art or what? Oh and speaking of dumb shit going on to people, what the hell was the Charlotte Bobcats' Lonny Baxter doing busting shots near the White House? Bye-bye NBA career!

15/I want to send a big RIP to Bruno Kirby. You were a terrific character actor, and will be missed by many.

OK this took way longer than I thought it would. I'm gonna head to bed... you guys be ez. And enjoy the rest of your weekend.
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