"...hip hop is nothing without the DJ..."
DJ Maseo of De La Soul
"...I tell them 'actions'/follow my belief..." ~ Notrydo.Sincere
Hip hop/rap take 2.
Hey, blogospot readers, SouthSide's giving the hiphop/rap scene another try. This time, she's rockin' the Northwest side at Abbey Pub for the final MTM GRP CHGO's Respect the Mic Vs Fresh Produce concert series of 2011. This Chicago-based hip hop events company has successfully ran a mixtape Mondays/Tuesdayz (an original paid open mic) in the past thus starting this concert series "...to influence and educate artists on creating their own lane..." Hosted by well-known producer Tony Baines (who has has produced music for known artists like Twista, Mic Terror and many more), every participating artist and producer that performed on stage also earned money during tonight's event. Besides performances and producer battles, the legendary DJ Maseo (of De La Soul) was scheduled as headliner with Chicago's own Notrydo.Sincere and others opening for him. However, due to time constraint, DJ Maseo was unable to perform, blogspot readers, but SouthSide was granted an exclusive interview with this artist in which she asked for his thoughts about the music industry (hip hop in general) today to whether or not De La Soul would have the success it did back in the 90s if entering the scene now ...and many more.
Many might know DJ Maseo as a man wearing many hats within the music industry. Besides being a rapper, producer, DJ, 1/3 of the ground-breaking hip hop trio known as De La Soul and the laugh behind Gorillaz's Feel Good Inc hit single, did you also know he's a father of four and very philosophical about the world (music and more included) around him in his own comedic way, blogspot readers? When asked to describe himself in five (5) words or less, DJ Maseo had plenty to say about himself to this reviewer by responding "...nostalgic fresh inspirational tenacious and loving ...that could be abusive..." You should add "...funny too ...when it don't cost..." to that list because during most of the interview he had SouthSide laughing so hard from his comedic wit and point views though being very blunt and truthful about what he had to say. "...my comedy is free ...my donation to the world..." since he still had kids to feed. DJ Maseo did mention he was approached to do a reality television show in the past but turned down that offer (plus not stating whom or network that made the offer). This reviewer asked why to which he replied saying that he didn't want to expose his family to that kind of environment opting to keep them and their lives private. "...lose families that way..."
Despite insisting that his personal views about the music industry (mainly hip hop) would kill his career, DJ Maseo in his own philosophical way had plenty to say on the subject. When asked if De La Soul would have the same success today as it did back in the 90s, he said no because records don't sell today. He also stated by saying "...[we're] at the age when people like music but don't love it ...the era before us, music meant something ...made a difference.." DJ Maseo continued by adding music today "...[is] just business..." in which artists are fighting a "...creative war ...and we [the artists] lost..." He cited one more reason why De La Soul wouldn't be successful today. "You don't have to be quality just current..." says Maseo "...artists today are machines ...feed the people the same bullshit and they start thinking it's the shit..." Then SouthSide asked him how has the music industry and hip hop changed to which he responded "...today's hip hop is good..." but personally cannot relate to the genre. It's his belief that "...music is impressionable on the youth..." using an example how his parents couldn't understand anything he listened to beyond Grandmaster Flash. "...Hip Hop [like rock] was rebel music ...rebelling against society..." says DJ Maseo "...now it's part of society and economic grain ...it [hip hop] is watered down ...even rock is watered down..." Then he concluded by adding "...it's not rock ...it's rock with pop ...rock is not chaos anymore..."
Briefly, DJ Maseo discussed how he would like to see the right people educating the youth about hip hop. He said this because he had the opportunity to teach a college course on how to be a DJ/hip hop producer. "...soon you will need a piece of paper ...credentials [to work] in the music industry..." He believes that having credentials is another form of control "...teaching us on how to follow the rules throughout life..." SouthSide did agree with this artist when commenting that there's "...no outside of the box thinking..." especially in today's educational system. That being said, this reviewer wanted to know his thoughts aobut music in general to which he said hip hop/rap shows what's (truly) goes on in the world though "...we rely on it too much..." In his eyes, he sees music especially hip hop as entertainment and nothing more with its many varieties catering to select group of people such as Latino, stripper, gangsta, party, religious, etc. "...it [hip hop] has something to offer people of like minds..." Other genres, according to the philosophical mind of DJ Maseo, conjur fairy tales within music and unlike hip hop, cannot connect with individuals. "...hip hop has no generation gap ...unlike rock (i.e. classic and modern), there's more of an understanding and connection because hip hop is within its same genre..." Though believing "...no other genre of music can bridge the generation gap..." like hip hop can, DJ Maseo does see hip hop falling towards that sub-genre path as Rock did.
Before ending this philosophical interview, DJ Maseo encouraged everyone to follow him on Facebook and Twitter as well as join his 600,000 plus followers on his U-Stream channel. He was the first artist to use this medium to connect with a web audience and use all of the U-Stream's features and preferences for his webcasts. DJ Maseo broadcasts live from his house what he calls a "Wayne's World" like show that features him and special guest DJs/artists. While parting with "...I come from an era when everyone was a star based on creativity to me...", Chicago hip hop artist Notrydo.Sincere added his own personal thoughts about DJ Maseo into the conversation stating "...DJ Maseo is an icon..." He also commented how the artist and his music saved his life from the streets and gangs. To DJ Maseo, that was more rewarding to hear than any accolade or award received. For more information about DJ Maseo, visit http://www.myspace.com/djmaseo.
Before the main event of Respect the Mic which featured brief performances by Contagious, D Money, Rio and Notrydo.Sincere, DJ Maseo instilled some helpful advice to all of the performers in the audience that they can actually do this full-time without a big time contract backing them if they follow two simple steps: start it as a passion and then treat themselves and their craft as a business to make money. The opening acts presented a wide range of up-n-coming artists performing different styles of hip hop/rap on stage such as gangsta to party and some having a heavy bass or melodic sound. In SouthSide's opinion, there were a few hits and misses based on the audience's reactions even though each hip hop act had a few minutes to impress them with their tracks and stage presence. Sometimes it was the microphone used that was the main culprit during a performance from bad feedback to low volume that this reviewer couldn't hear a single word said. Or perhaps it was a combination of things (i.e. music, MC) which didn't generate much hype or energy at all. Mid-way through the show, there was producer battles in which producers pitted their best beat tracks against each other and the audience (by show of hands and cheers) voted for their favorite. These were fierce ..."take no prisoners" competitions for a cash prize, blogspot readers. SouthSide missed most of the battles because she was interviewing DJ Maseo however she did stay for the final rounds. Who were the top finalists of the night? Who won the cash prize? Keep reading this review to find out.
Notrydo.Sincere may sound like something Yoda would say to any Jedi apprentice when doubting their abilities in using the Force. however that's not actually the case, blogspot readers. This Chicago artist received this special moniker from his grandmother which now has become his own personal mantra in life. "...that any and all things must be done with the deepest level of passion and sincerity ...it leads to the highest power associated with 'doing' versus the attempts of a mere 'try' ...all one seeks to pursue must be done 'sincerely'..." It's something this designer, songwriter, producer, keyboardist, and drummer tries to embody within his progressive music and style of hip hop that's known to be "...lyrically passionate and captivating..." Yet who is this artist really? When asked, he described his music to be "...cultured dignity powerful love that comes from an honest place..." It's meant to be inspiring and motivating but there's one thing that separates him from the rest, blogspot readers. He's the ONLY hip hop artist SouthSide knows with his own drumline. Incidentially, that was her first question to Notrydo.Sincere - what inspired him to incorporate a drumline with his act. He replied that he wanted to be different like The Roots whose music features live instruments (i.e. horns, percussions). He first met Jamie Poindexter (captain of the the drumline and who runs a program to keep troubled youth off the streets) while working on a marketing campaign for a client and soon the two performed together at Round Fest. That was four years ago. Notrydo said "...they [people] like it but feel intimidated at first ...now we're getting a lot of press about it..." This artist and his drumline has appeared in festivals around town performing sixty shows (or more) a year.
Notrydo.Sincere and his drumline along with backing MC Kaotic rocked down the Abbey stage with an energizing percussion force and rhythmic momentum that kept this crowd hyped despite the shortness of his set. The live percussion sound against his DJ complemented each other giving every song performed that resounding umph of electricity (and more) as the music wafted throughout the lively venue. This reviewer not only saw the energy surging amongst the crowd as well as inciting them to react but also felt it immediately when this artist first hit the stage and during his cover of Tony Baines' Incredible. She asked him if there's a message that he's trying to convey within his hip hop to which Notrydo replied "...every time ...people need to understand it's a movement ...[something] way bigger than me..." This artist uses unconventional methods to get that message across to the masses like putting his entire album Robot on a 2 Gig flashdrive featuring more unconventional hip hop music. Currently, he's working on two projects one of which with producer Tony Baines that's a special tribute to Prince calling it the purple album. So SouthSide, had to know what inspires this unique hip hop artist's music and lyrical verses. Notrydo replied stating "...good music..." with a beaming smile which might surprise many that he doesn't listen to rap music per se but does listen to instrumental classics giving his recommendation to Pandora. And classic would be any genre. Whether it's rock, the legendary blues artist John Lee Hooker ...even A-Ha. What Notrydo is really into these days is Afro-beats and he did disclose to SouthSide of his plans to move to Africa one day having dual citizenships here and there. Who knows, blogspot readers, one day there might be an Afro-beat album by this phenomenial artist. Closing this interview, Notrydo.Sincere suggested blogspot readers listening to his track Let's Go "...wrote it in one take ...I love to be inspired ...to be spontaneous ...that's why women love me..." Also Notrydo dedicated one of his favorite inspirational Fela track to this reviewer at the end of the show and she could absolutely hear why it would inspire and motivate him. The music within this particular track had a lively beat and energizing rhythm that instantly had her dancing to the melodic groove. For more information about Notrydo.Sincere, visit http://www.myspace.com/notrydosincere or http://www.reverbnation.com/notrydosincere.
The two finalists in the producer battles were KI and Trackmatic however there only could be one winner and that producer was - Trackmatic.
Until next time, support your local scene,