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[rock the dub Interview]: Tha S Ence

I am presenting you with another interview that has been on hold, waiting for The Flow to rise from the ashes like the Phoenix... even though I highly doubt it going down. In any case, check out a budding producer from Philly, Tha S Ence. Now mind you, this was conducted in March of 2006, so some of the topics might seem to be a bit dated (speaking on the passing of J. Dilla, the Cam'ron barbs slung at Jay-Z, etc.), but I figure, this guy is a beautiful producer and still needs to get his shine on. Check out this piece and see for yourself...

With the current state of Hip-Hop, manufactured characters and watered down beats run rampant on TV and radio, diluting what true heads knew as “the essence”. Today, hailing from Philadelphia, we have Tha S Ence, a young producer who is studied in classic Hip-Hop knowledge, and ready to teach listeners through sound. Reworking samples into new compositions, all the while keeping that same raw energy, is just one of his strengths. A no nonsense attitude is another one of his gifts. Combine these, sprinkle in a love for both Buckshot and Jay Dee, and you have a recipe for Hip-Hop beauty. Check out this conversation about beats, rhymes and life.

khal: There are plenty of producers out there making beats. What is it about Tha S Ence that sets him apart from the rest of the crowd?

Tha S Ence: Mainly the sound, there’s so many producers out there making the same kind of stuff, especially all that radio crap, same keyboard sounds; it's so played out. Another thing is cats must have forgotten the art of sampling, because half of them aren’t doing it or it’s so sloppy, you can’t listen to it. Some cats just make whatever, constantly copying stuff they hear on the radio. I’m definitely not a carbon copy of another producer.

khal: I see you are reppin’ Philly. With such a rich musical history, including Hip-Hop legends like Jazzy Jeff and The Roots, has that had any influence on how you approach your craft?

Tha S Ence: In a way, yes but not just people from Philly, more like everyone that has ever made any dope music; be it jazz, “neo-soul", rock, anything really, but I really like the consistent stuff that has been coming out of Detroit. I try to broaden my music taste to listen to all types of Hip-Hop here and overseas stuff too but not just Hip-Hop. Most sample records I get are off the wall, something I would never listen to if I wasn’t making beats. I would have to say my biggest influence is J Dilla, (Rest in Power) hands down.

khal: True, now I noticed that you have a post on your MySpace page referencing the recent passing of Jay Dee. I am also a huge fan of his, and was wondering, if you had to describe what made J Dilla the illest in 5 of his tracks, which ones would they be and why?

Tha S Ence: Man, that’s a crazy question because Dilla made consistent material and A LOT of it, that’s a part of being ill to me. I got a bunch of beats tapes of all types of Dilla stuff that never came out or is just coming out now, I loved everything he did with Slum Village, ATCQ, Jaylib, Busta Rhymes….the list goes on and on but there’s no way I can list just 5.

khal: By the looks of your ill MPC ring, you obviously use that mighty tool for making beats. What else do you use?

Tha S Ence: I’m a minimalist; all I use is my MPC and a portable turntable. I record to my computer. I just try to use all the sounds I can get from that record. People forget, beats aren’t there to confuse you, or even the emcee on it. Only downfall to minimal setups is once your machine starts messing up, your whole operation goes down.

khal: Your sound is very epic, for example, you have some serious strings in “onslaught”. Do you try to evoke certain emotions while producing, or is it just about creating dope music?

Tha S Ence: Definitely, once you feel the original record, I sometimes try to bring out that same emotion in the beat, or flip it the other way, create dope music but changing a sad record to hype joint.

khal: How did you get involved with the MTP Beat Battle?

Tha S Ence: I saw a bunch of flyers and the website for the past ones. So I hit up the creator, for the event and he put me on luckily. I'm a new guy so I thought that would be the best way for people to hear my music. Check it out on mtpjersey.com.

khal: Let’s say you are given unlimited resources to create your The Chronic, where you are the main producer and you have many MCs blessing your beats. Which MCs would you choose, and why?

Tha S Ence: My first pick would be Elzhi; that dude is a rhyming machine his lyrical patterns are crazy, just straight ill. Then Busta Rhymes; if you know Busta, you know he can rhyme on anything you throw at him. I would want A Tribe called Quest on a joint no doubt, that’s my favorite group of all time. Tip and Phife’s flows link together, makes the song even doper. I would really like to work with Buckshot, too: he's got crazy energy and I love how he enunciates his words… you know he’s dead serious when he says anything. Oh and how can I forget Little Brother; Phonte and Big Pooh got skills and are characters on every track they’ve been on. That would be the most eclectic album you would ever hear but I would stay with a theme throughout the whole album. Man I can’t forget [MF] DOOM, I just like the way he plays with words and comes at tracks totally different than any other rapper I’ve heard. On the real this is probably the hardest question I would ever have to answer because there’s a lot of dope emcees to narrow it down.

khal: You also speak on the recent barbs that Cam’Ron has thrown at Jay-Z. The phenomenon of rappers reusing other rappers rhymes does get kind of out of hand. Where do you think a rapper should draw the line?

Tha S Ence: I think when rappers use other peoples like to create their own style is where they need to stop. I understand if you give credit or props during the verse like – “As so and so says…” or something to that nature but your whole steelo was created from someone elses work…nah man that’s lame. Cam’Ron just showed people how even their favorite rapper jacks lines but no one notices because people don’t know the roots of this hip-hop music. Jay was getting his style from the old school cats and no one noticed.

khal: Have you had any MCs hit you up for your beats yet? How can someone get in touch with you to discuss a working relationship?

Tha S Ence: I’ve have a couple here and there but nothing has struck my interest so much, I'm working on a real website to get maximum exposure. Not too many emcees realize I put time and work into making these beats; I want to get paid for work I do, not just give beats away for free. You got to draw a line somewhere with cats and set them straight. If you would like to get in touch with me, you can email me @
thasence@gmail.com or instant message me on [AIM screen name] Tha S Ence. I rather have you send me a link or something to figure out who I am dealing with.

khal: Where do you see your art going in the next couple of years? Also, what are you looking for with your craft, the glamour or the respect?

Tha S Ence: Next couple years I just hope to get even better at what I do, if I can make it a fulltime job, dope. And I want to start getting a mixtape together, and get on some distributed albums; I just want to make dope music If people love it, that’s cool, if not that’s cool too. I just want to live off of making beats, I'm not about the glam and I’m no where near close to getting Pharrell and Just Blaze money but I'm not doing this just for the money. I love Hip-Hop and I love making music.

You can get more information, including audio samples and more of his views on his MySpace page. If you are interested in getting beats from him, send any e-mail inquiries to thasence@gmail.com. We wish him much success and quality production for years to come. One.