, , , ,

[rock the dub Interview]: Elucid

Brooklyn, NY. Home of some of the illest to ever do it. One of today's guard is living in that borough in the human form, and goes by the name of Elucid. Channeling the struggle of our forefathers, he brings that emotional aggression to the mic, weaving tales of street dreams, sexual escapades and other stories over an assortment of found sounds, from modern-day boombap to the stuff that goes higher in BPM the tighter your pants are. Regardless of the sound, the venom is still potent, and I am honored to not only get this look inside the mind of Elucid, but to consider homeboy as a true friend. Check out our conversation...

khal: First off, can you give us a bit of background on how you got into rhyming and what brought you to the point where you are today?

Elucid: 1996. I was a pimple faced 15 year old backpacker watching Rap City. Biggie's “One More Chance” video came on and I watched with disgust. The song ended and I marched upstairs to write my first rap. I thought I could do better.

khal: What MC’s did you grow up listening to?

Elucid: Biggie, lol. I may have been the only cat in my high school to love bang B.I.G. and Company Flow in his walkman. I was a HUGE Wu-Tang fan. Nas. I loved all of that West Coast underground shit, Living Legends and Freestyle Fellowship. Outkast. The whole Rawkus Records roster. Ras Kass got a lot of burn in my deck. Understanding what was going on in Hip-Hop at that time, I just didn't fuck with that shiny suit wearing, champagne sipping style that was so prevalent. I will and forever be inspired by lyric-driven Hip-Hop.

khal: You’re affiliated with Loosie, as well as part of the Lessondary crew. How did those affiliations start out?

Elucid: I did a song with Von Pea around 2001. Around 2004, I put out the Progress mixtape, which caught the attention of Loosie. Turns out the Loosie compound was literally around the corner from where I was living at the time. We linked up and have been rocking ever since. Spec Boogie (part of Loosie) knew Von Pea who knew Donwill and so forth. Things came together pretty naturally.

khal: It sounds so cliché, but Brooklyn seems like a real hotbed for talented MCs. What, if anything, from that borough comes through in your rhymes?

Elucid: To me, I love the sort of gritty beauty of Brooklyn. There are plenty of hardworking, good folks in the grimiest of areas here. There are issues surrounding gentrification which I've mentioned more than a few times in my lyrics. I definitely make a type of struggle music, and the influence of living in Brooklyn can't be denied.

khal: You’ve already put out a CD, The Bible & The Gun. How did that project come about? Do you feel that you accomplished your goals with that disc?

Elucid: Well, the summer before I began recording The Bible & The Gun, I was homeless, writing rhymes and sleeping on the F train. I worked at a movie theater at night. I was so hungry to do this rap shit, man. First day I met Drama (head of the label the album was released on), I went in the booth and tore it down. I was just happy to be back in a studio doing something I loved and missed. Before I left, he told me his plans of releasing music on his newly formed indie label and asked if I would be a part of it. I was geeked, yo. I eventually got myself a place to stay, got back into school, and was recording every weekend at the studio. 2001 was such an up and down year for me, personally. But it definitely brought about some of the most memorable times in my life.

khal: The one thing that made noise for you specifically was your Smash N Grab project, where you started flipping some pretty unconventional songs into loops for your rhymes. What made you choose to flip tracks from Johnny Cash and Bjork?

Elucid: Well, I had a sound and vision in my head that producers just weren't giving me at the time. I'd talk to people about it, trying to explain and I'd receive blank-faced stares. I've always had pretty diverse musical tastes and I felt like my music never really reflected that. Hip-Hop has a tendency to pigeonhole itself, which is counterproductive to the progression of this artform. So, Smash & Grab was really my attempt in trying to erase those genre lines. I'm a student of Afrika Bambatta, and my music is definitely influenced by a sort of global vision.

khal: You’ve since progressed this idea into the Warning Shot Wednesday material, continuing in this trend. How do you choose which track you will be rhyming over – do the lyrics ever dictate the track you choose, or vice versa?

Elucid: The Warning Shot series was done initially to generate a little buzz on the blogs. I figured if I was going to commit to releasing weekly joints, I may as well stick to what I know and have fun with it. I listen to tons of music, both new and old that span across mad different genres. In picking tracks to use, what usually makes Warning Show Wednesday is a song that INSTANTLY moves me to rap. Images and ideas flood my brain and I just follow. I can't explain it much more than that. But I rarely spend much time on these joints. It's a very spontaneous process and I hope it translates that way.

khal: Speaking of your lyrics, I have noticed that you’ve had a certain theme going on with a batch of your recent WSW’s: “Would Be Killer”, “Code For The Streets” and your “Lifestyles” remix all feature some real gritty street crime feel, just some raw, violent emotion. Is everything OK? Where’s that coming from?

Elucid: Yeah, I've gotten this before. I put out heartfelt shit, they say I'm too emo. I spit empowerment, they say I'm conscious. I let the aggression run wild, they say I'm too angry. I go off the deep end and spit psycho narratives, they say I'm crazy. It's really just art, man. I'm a writer and I get off on flexing with styles in a non-cliche manner.

When I write, I genuinely want to take you on a ride with me. I want you to forget that you're listening to a bootleg mp3 and really visualize whatever it is that I'm trying to convey. I feel like a video with a talented director at the helm would make the pill a little easier to swallow.
For "Lifestyles", that was definitely a true to life song. Every line. I've felt my share of pain and disappointment and it definitely translates through to my music.

As I wrote my verses for "Would Be Killer", I knew some people would raise eyebrows. But, I really can't be concerned with that. I do what I do. It's my favorite song on the Gnarls Barkley album and thought it was so ill how Cee-Lo can sing about wanting to murder people on a pop record and nobody said shit. I just had to throw my 2 cents in and take the narrative a little further, I guess.

khal: Being that you’re an MC who likes to accent on the writer aspect of your craft, what would you say was the best song you’ve written, and why?

Elucid: I haven't written my best song yet!

khal: The one thing that draws myself and many fans into your work is your voice – your flows and the way you twist your voice, it’s not necessarily something that is common at all, and works well for your rhymes. How did you develop your style?

Elucid: I think that comes from me wishing I was a Delta blues singer in another life. I can't sing for shit but when I rap I still want to use my voice as an instrument. As far as flow, lyrics and concepts come to me pretty quickly but for me the key has been nailing the cadence and rhythm. What's the point of dope lyrics with a wack ass flow?

khal: What current projects are you working on? I know you have an EP dropping soon – any word on an album or mixtapes or anything?

Elucid: I'm working on two projects right now. My solo album, Save Yourself, due out in the fall, and K.E.Y.S. is an EP I'm working on with a longtime friend. It's more of a focused effort being that it's a concept album with 1 rapper and 1 producer due out by the end of the summer. I'll also be releasing a compilation of my favorite selections from the Warning Shot Wednesday series in the next few weeks.

khal: What about live shows? I know you were rockin’ during the Lessondary show a few weeks ago – how did the crowd react to your material?

Elucid: Well, to be honest, rocking a live show is interesting. Being that my style is a little off center, performing to a crowd unfamiliar with my material, I get a lot of wide eyed stares. As my set progresses people usually get into it. I've never been booed if that counts for something! For my new projects, I have made a conscious effort to make music that would really bang in front of a crowd. I'm taking cues from a gang of past greats on how to make a live show a true experience for the audience.

khal: To take the attention away from Hip-Hop for a bit, what does Elucid like to do to relax? I heard the Lessondary crew are big on movies – what movie character do you think embodies who you are as a person?

Elucid: Travis Bickle, haha.

khal: Do you have any shout outs or final thoughts before we wrap this up?

Elucid: Lessondary kicks ur ass.

For more info on Elucid, peep this MySpace page. Or just keep it locked to this site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

gutta is that dude. holla.