[rock the dub Interview]: MC Serch

In the early to mid-90's, Hip-Hop for me was on two spots: on the radio, where Philly radio DJs from the afternoon to late nights were my lifeblood, and I had so many Maxell tapes it was kind of crazy. The other spot was on TV, where I would flip between Yo!, Rap City and Ralph McDaniels, every day, after shool. A third place was on The Arsenio Hall Show, where one of my favorite memories of seeing Hip-Hop outside of my normal outlets was seeing 3rd Bass perform "Pop Goes The Weasel" on Arsenio's stage. I grew up following 3rd Bass, and then MC Serch on his solo outings, and was always a fan of the lyrics, the humor and the dancing executed in their performances. It wasn't until I got older that I realized how many projects Serch had his hands in back then, and seeing him come back through the VH1 & ego trip shows over the last two years has been such a shock to my Hip-Hop system. I hit up Serch the other day, and he was gracious enough to answers some questions for me. Check it out!

khal: First off, I wanna thank you for being down with doing this interview. It’s been a while since many have heard you kick a rhyme. Do you still write these days? I know you dropped Many Young Lives Ago, which was primarily older material – you ever get the bug to put out something new?

MC Serch: It’s funny when people say that to me. I know that I have not recorded in a while, but I was just rhyming this past Saturday on my radio show, Serchlite Saturdays, on Hot 102.7 in Detroit. People can check out the show on the web every week at www.hot1027detroit.com. I recently did a few new tracks for a project that is 100% non profit called Peace in the Middle East. It is a group of Palestinian and Jewish artists coming together to promote peace in the Middle East. The money made is going to orphanages that are taking in children that have lost their families in the war. I will also be showing up on mixtapes here and there so be on the lookout.

khal: Some might not realize that you were down with a lot of cats back in the day – from MF Doom, Nas, O.C. & Non Phixion, among others. Do you think you have a gift for finding that new talent in the game? Are there any MCs out today that give you the same feeling some of those guys did?

MC Serch: Currently, there are two. One is a female named Mae Day who I just think is incredible. Another is an MC named Mr. Wrong.

khal: Speaking of Nas, you executive produced his Illmatic, a bonafide classic. Have you heard his new album, Untitled, in its entirety? What’s your take on the album-title controversy? And finally, many heads feel as though he’s not dropped something with the caliber of Illmatic – do you feel the same way? If you guys were working together again, how would you shape the next Nas album?

MC Serch: I just spoke to Nas a few days ago and we were talking about his new album. I have heard a few songs and I was really impressed. I think that many people feel that Stillmatic is right up there as one of Nas great pieces of work. Nothing is ever going to be as great as Illmatic, for me. He recorded ten songs and those are the ten songs you hear on the album. It is perfect as a body of work. I don’t know if I would ever be able to “shape” a Nas album. He is such a visionary when it come to his art. I cannot take credit for shaping Illmatic, except for making sure that he was able to make his music uninterrupted.

khal: How did the idea for “The Gas Face” come up?

MC Serch: My crew that I grew up with in Long Beach, Long Island called the GYP Posse came up with the term, more specifically Zev Love X. That was the term we gave the face that females gave us when we were trying to get at them at Roosevelt Field Mall and they were not trying to hear our game. We spent all this gas money to get out here and we get dissed. My rhyme partner Pete Nice asked Zev if we could do a song about it and Zev was down and we all did the song together. It is funny how is has become a part of American Language. I hear them use it all the time on ESPN when some get struck out by a fast ball, and Reggie Miller used it to describe the face that one of the Wizard players, I believe his name is Deshawn Stevenson, was making when he was dropping 3’s on Cleveland’s head during the playoffs.

khal: One thing that that I remember are the beefs you guys got into back in the day. I know there were rumors and stories of Hammer trying to set you up, and I remember the “Pop Goes The Weasel” video, with you guys beating up that fake Vanilla Ice. Are there any beefs that 3rd Bass or yourself individually got into that might not have been as publicized?

MC Serch: No, you covered them both, LOL. We were really about the message that there were better artists making better music than those two. Artists like De La, Tribe and others were not getting the play that those two were accumulating. It didn’t seem fair.

khal: How many of your videos was Gilbert Gottfried in? Were you guys big fans of his or what?

MC Serch: LOL, yeah we were big fans. He did three videos for us. One long form, "Gas Face", and two short form, "Triple Stage Darkness" and "Words of Wizdom".

khal: I was happy as hell when I saw that you were going to be hosting the white rapper show on VH1, and in watching the show, I loved that you guys made sure that the real Hip-Hop was emphasized and taught. Now, who within that show was the MOST Hip-Hop, in your opinion? Was Shamrock a pick to win the show early on?

MC Serch: I think that each one of them represented a true part of the culture. I personally thought that Persia was going to take it. No one saw Shamrock coming. He did a great job of staying under the radar and being focused. I was so happy for him when he won.

khal: I had a hard time myself picking a favorite in Miss Rap Supreme, but Rece Steele was always consistent. Did you think she’d make it to the end? And how do you think Persia would have done in that group?

MC Serch: That is a great question. I think that Miss Rapp Supreme had a better group overall of contestants, they were more consistent and really more focused on wanting to win. No one quit on the show. No one gave up, which we had a lot of in the first season. I think that Persia would have been tough competition.

khal: You guys brought back Prince Paul in the white rapper show, and Yo-Yo with the latest show. Are there plans for another ego trip show on VH1? If so, who’s on the list from back in the day to reemerge?

MC Serch: As of today, July 14th, 2008, there is no word yet, but Ego Trip and VH1 have a great relationship and are working out some sort of evil plan to take over the world, LOL. We will see when we see it.

khal: What’s going on with Serchlite Music today? What’s your aim with your company from today and beyond?

MC Serch: I have been away from the company doing full time radio gigs in Detroit and VA for almost 6 years. Serchlite since has been focusing on Event Production and Corporate Consulting. I have been back in the fold with the company now for a full year and have wanted to take Serchlite into the Multi-Media realm. We just did a deal with YouTube that we will be announcing later in the summer and looking for content for our television network with YouTube, Serchlite Music. We have been also looking at brokering venture capital deals between holding companies and multi-media start ups. On the promotion side, we are really excited about a new liquor company that we are doing brand marketing and promotion for, NUVO. NUVO is the first sparkling liqueur in the world, and we are doing brand consulting for NUVO. We believe that this brand will be the biggest brand in liquor for the next ten years and beyond, and have put together an A-list street team to make sure the message gets out. I am very proud of the companies I have been involved with, from Def Jam to Sony, Ecko to ESPN, and now NUVO. We have always brought a new thought process to each brand on how to properly expand.

khal: I know you’re a married man and a father, as am I. I was wondering – how hard is it to juggle your career and the demands of your profession with the home life? Does it get easier or harder these days to devote the proper amount of time to both sides of your life?

MC Serch: I made a conscious decision early on that I would never put more work before family. It does not matter what I have done and with what company. I have always put family first. There are going to be times when you have to go out of town on business. That is part of the grind, but to be honest I spend more time at home then I do anywhere else. Since moving to Detroit, I have my home office and that is where things get done. I have been blessed to have jobs where I can pick up my kids every day after school. I have been blessed to have jobs where I can see my kids and their events. My mentor said some thing to me that has been my moral compass for most of my adult life. He said “I can remember all the times I could not be with my kids because I had a meeting to go to, but I cannot remember what that meeting was about.” Your family is everything. How they develop as people is based on how YOU develop as a person. They see your growth just as much as you see theirs. I love my family more than my own life. Anything I do is this life is based on their needs.

khal: When it’s all said and done, what would you like your obituary to read? Do you have any reservations on how any of the situations in your life played out?

MC Serch: I told my wife this and this is how is will read: Michael “M.C. Serch” Berrin. Father, Husband, Friend, M.C. IT WILL NEVER BE A GAME, PEOPLE. I don’t know if the word “reservations” is how I would describe it, but if I had any regrets in this life, it would be how I handled the O.C. album Word…Life on Wild Pitch. That album should be mentioned with all the other classic albums of its era and I was not smart enough to be a VP at Wild Pitch when I was. I will regret that for a long time.

khal: Do you have any shout outs, plugs or final thoughts before we end this?

MC Serch: Yeah, Please check out www.youtube.com/serchlitemusic for some great clips and webisodes coming. Please visit www.serchlitemusic.com to hear some great new artists, and if you want to call me, here is my number, 313-879-2793. I would love to talk, real talk. That is my number so use it. One love.

For more info on MC Serch, make sure you check out his MySpace page, including his blog on MySpace. And make sure you are hitting up Serchlite Music and their YouTube page.


Anonymous said...

Great interview sir, Serch's history is one my favorites to read about, he was involved in a lot of dope stuff.

Ryan.Srix said...

Great read!
BIG UP Serch and Khal!

DJ Cable said...

Dope interview dude!

AaronM said...

That was a really good interview.
I'm really impressed that he regrets not stepping in to handle O.C.'s debut.
Great work, Khal.