hello my old friend
lets do this!
ok, well, let's start with the really old school stuff... you've hinted in the past about a song called "cops ain't shit to me" with a group called l.o.c.
from, like, '91
tell me about that... was that on their album? i assume a tape release?
LOC, was recorded with me and a guy named b-bop. b-bop was kind of a shady/hustler character who worked at a local radio station. he used my address as the physical address for the radio station so all the promos were sent ot my house, because he lived out of town. it was a scam, but i got so many promos and pre-releases out of it. b-bop taught me the first rule of the game, its all bullshit. he took me under his wing cuz he liked my demo i made "even if you prayed like hammer you couldnt touch mine."
b-bop was very political, he would write these anti white rodney king kinda songs and he would even write my verses. we were trying to be like public enemy. LOC stood for lyrics of consciousness. it was never released, he sent it to his label contacts and nothing happened with it. we had about 5 songs and then i dunno what happened to him, he fell off the map... so from there i became MC tim holland
ah ok... 'splains why i could never find it. lol how about another song from that same period? time to wreck shop with partners in rhyme?
you're fucking crazy
that song was dope.
"i live and let die // i never get high // im the king of rap and my style is divine // my hat is my crown // my mic is my scepter // since rap is my profession then i think i'll be a professor// professor, putting rappers under pressure // giving rappers stress and throwing rappers.... i dont remember the rest"
giving rappers stress and then im throwing em on a stretcher
that was when i rapped like lord finesse
lol nice... did that one ever come out? who were the partners in rhyme?
it was me and this dude dj kaos
later i found out all his raps were stolen from percee p
he made me tapes of lord finesse shit, and then cut out the percee p verses
one day when i bought the original album i called him out on it and we never did music again
i may be getting the timeline confused, but hey, old age will do that to you
did you guys have a tape out of that song, or any others?
back then you didnt have tapes out
we werent DIY dubbing and selling shit on the block
first tape i made was put out in 94
back then i was shopping my stuff from like 92-94
trying to get a record deal
thats what you did back then, the idea of just putting shit out like that wasn't really considered... or possible... i was 15, its not like i had investors
did you get many responses? i know eventually you'd get to that thing with jd...
i was a local hero. that was enough for me. i had followers. people that would beat people up for me. thats how i developed such a humble persona.
i ended up meeting certain people, like jameson grillo from tommy boy who worked radio promotions who later in life would give me good advice.
was that from doing shows?
but, no not really... a dj gave my shit to dj premier, a track from partners in rhyme "david duke get the dick" dj premier said "sounds like vanilla ice learning how to rap" that hurt.
i didnt really do a lot of shows back then, these contacts were made through the college radio scene. before the internet college radio was how hip-hop was promoted, especially the non yo! mtv raps stuff
i kept good relations with all the college djs in
k, let me ask you about your first 12"... it's produced by randy nkonoki... that's the same RN from 88hiphop, yeah?
when i was shopping a demo to tommy boy, where i met jameson grillo....
randy nkonki was sitting in the lobby... he was like "who the fuck are these guys"
so we started talking. he was real cool.
did he produce as in doing the beats, or more just in the traditional sense? because i haven't heard of him producing anything else?
he was working with trouble neck brothers and some other artists at the time... genesis... i believe even mr complex, im not sure....
and is he who put you in touch for "3 guys at a bar?"
no, he made the beat. i dunno, it was a pilgrimage for me and jd.
he said he'd produce a track for me, and since i thought he was hooked up it was a big deal to go to NY and record.
so when we got there, jd was exhausted from driving....
he passed out at the studio....
and i recorded a song called "i got soul it be running through my veins"
at that time i had left my old graffitti crew / gang and started writing "sole." i made a song about it, and then after that song i eventually changed my name to sole
3 guys in a bar was also a fluke
back then my favorite record was j live's braggin writes
i had been wanting to do music with j live so i got in touch with rawshack
george, the guy who ran rawshack, i think was amused by me as well,, so he'd explain the game to me, he was someone i used to call all the time
i was trying to sign with him.
anyway, me and j live never panned out, when mr complex dropped his record it, that and saafir, totally fucked up my approach to rapping , like "i dont have to rhyme"
i sampled mr complex on a song i did with cryptic one of atoms family who i met on prodigy
i sent mr complex the CD and he was so excited to hear himself sampled he agreed to do a song with me
so he hooked it up with d-stroy and we did this song together
so, at that time you were running 45 below pretty seriously... you had other acts
how did you link up with, like, six-too?
i mean, i cant say it was really serious. it was more of a crew, 45 below was an old school crew/label run from back 90 by moodswing 9
that was the name we chose for our label
and it was me and himc
moodswing 9 was involved in tape trading
i was a sixtoo tape, dusty, just on some shelf and it looks cool to me.
the cover was a handprinted thing, it was totally DIY but looked really cool.
was that psyche intangible? or one of the previous tapes?
i took it home and listened to it and it blew me away, for the first time in my life i found a musician that was really close to where i wanted to go aesthetically
i believe it was progress. it had the white trash song on it
so i got psyched, hit him up, and he was living in the nova scotia, which is just a hop over the atlantic
i guess it couldn't have been PI, 'cause you were on that one actually lol
he came down, and we became friends
thats when we recorded that song "Cave people"
so its around the same time.
and that's around when 45 became anticon... if 45 was more moodswing's, was the change in name partially about you taking it over more?
ehh... naa.... anticon was me moodswing and pedestrian
anticon had more meaning to it and it symbolized a move away from hip-hop towards more weirder, experimental shit. we felt that it was time to push hiphop in a new direction.
right, thats because i've always been very aggressive and motivated. there came a time where i had most of the contacts and vision i guess. but i've always tried to keep shit touchy-feely
i was really business minded back then.
i saw myself as an artsy master p // suge knight character
and what happened with mr. skurge/ups? did they step away from the label, or did you decide not to put them out?
basically they made that gay bashing song on the EP and we all kind of agreed that we were not cool with that shit. we had to be really conscious of what we were about and what we weren't. back then we had really strict lyrical, ethical guidelines.
i know they had an ep that was gonna drop on 45 below... and then of course when 45 became anticon, skurge was on the comps...
for instance, if you couldn't read it as a poem, it couldnt be a record.
but yeah, maybe skurge was offended by that, then he fell off the map and started working at a car dealership. those guys were cool though.
and they were amazing. they made such great beats and rapped really well.
sometimes people just fall off the map. its hard to say why. or its hard to understand how you've driven certain people away, or whatever.
no one knows what truly motivates people
yeah, i know they got back into it and started recording pretty hard years later
yeah. i dunno. they got weird with me a few times, so i didn't really wanna fuck with em anymore.
infinito put out, like, 50 different cd-r albums
yeah totally. i liked infinito. those guys were great.
ok, so speaking of guys who may've been offended about their record not dropping on anticon... lol
what happened with josh
they're working on a new anticon record with anathallo
josh martinez, honestly, after going on tour with him, he was all about fucking girls, his music was about fucking girls and beer and all this shit, and we all decided that he wasnt motivated by what the anticon credo was, so we decided not to put his music out. im really good friends with him now, and he's doing really great for himself. we get along great, and there is no hard feelings. we were about poetry at the time and he was about having fun, we were not about having fun. we were dead serious about this art.
yeah, let's get into that a little...
you guys have been sorta on the forefront of hip-hop songs with obscure meanings... i mean, you've had artists like de la, umc's who may've had crazy metaphors... but once you figured out the one "secret meaning" (a la "potholes in my lawn" were rhyme bites), it was pretty straight forward
but you guys were into (sometimes) songs that seemed to have completely more abstract content
well i think thats more individuals
i've never been very abstract
dose is abstract
to me, as long as it was inventive & conveying something new and interesting we weren't specific about HOW you were "advancing hip-hop" heh.
i say "advancing hip-hop" wih a sarcastic tone...
but hey, hip-hop is catching up!
well, that's something i was gonna touch on, too... you're probably the most consistently sarcastic mc in your music, too
in life too
but i dont believe in sarcasm, i think people say what they think
just somtimes i say it in a bizarre way.
was that a conscious decision, to make that part of your MCing "voice?" or it jjust comes through?
well, it's not a criticism... i think those are often my favorite moments in your stuff when the sarcasm really comes through
i dont do anything consciously, thats why my evolution has been slow and natural. i never wake up in the morning and think "im gonna change my persona, the last one didn't work"
what about when you're part of a collaborative project? i.e. dpd or skyrider band? do you try to write a certain style at those points, or it's all just whatever you'rre feelling?
i dont think most people even pick up on the sarcasm, its pretty thick and understated.
what i'm feeling.
actually, let's back up a bit... i know moodswing moved on, but what's the full story there?
i dont know....
it was weird.
idk... i was almost going to say you've gotten less sarcastic before this interview... but listening to the skyrider stuff it's still in there 8-)
i know he did a 7" or two with bully...
i think he just got overwhelmed. me him and pedestrian had this little apartment, and me and pedestrian turned it into the anticon flophouse
one day moodwing moved out and i never heard from him again
i think he just thought i was crazy and didnt wanna work under the extreme pressure we operated underok, so let me ask you about vinyl... there's story after story about vinyl sales going up while cds die... has it come to a point where you can see it in anticon sales at all?Not really.I think thats more theoreticallike, david mathews band might be selling more vinyl
but i dont think odd nosdam isim not sure though, i could ask himyeah, i know it's bigger in rock & country...well, toby kieth deserves it, he's done a lot for
yeahdepends, im sure odd nosdam has consistently used the same amount of samplesin my own beats its mostly samplesis clearance issues a lot of that, or largely just an artistic decision?is it? i thought a lot of your stuff sounded more "created," but maybe that's just the aestheticboth i think, but really, no one cares about sample clearance anymore, i think its more like... "its really easy to find a great loop, chop it, filter the bassline out, and put a drum beat under it... but its a lot more challenging and fun to try to make something from scratch." personally i prefer to use both, but im not a producer so i dont fuck with dogma when it comes to making beats. if i like a beat i'll rap on it. if i like music i'll steal it.well, you've put out an instrumental album, etc...
has anyone really come after anticon samples, or are you still getting by under the radar?no one has ever come after us. i try to sample people who i dont think should come after me. that may be naive, but i feel morally if bjork stepped to me about sampling i'd probably call her a hypocrite. i've never sampled bjork though.haha right...
ok, here's something i wonder about... i know anticon's got some infamous unreleased projects (i.e. stuffed animals), but you also tend to put out like al ot of tour cds, etc... 20 years from now, global music group acquires anticon... how much/ what kind of stuff would they find in "the vaults?"i dunno, stuffed animals never came out because it wasnt that amazing... other projects that started and were deaded is stuff thats lost on adat. they might find a lot of mediocre shit, but all the best stuff has come out.my thing, is if we don't decide to release something, people can bootleg it as mp3s all they want.but im not trying to eat off music im not standing behindis there any older stuff that might still come out now or is it pretty much, if it hasn't been issued by now it never will?i'd say there isnt much old stuff that hasnt been released that will come out.but who knows, i dont know what everyone has sitting on their computers that they've never let anyone hear.but none of the stuff people know about (stuffed animals, circus for prez, makeshift writers workshop)?circus for president was really good. i wish that had come out. i still hope it will, but there just doesn't seem to be enough willpower for it to see the light of day.which quite honestly i've never understood, but i didn't record it.it was between nosdam & circuswell, it seems like circus has sort of dropped out of the music scene, i guessthere is a very fine line between genius and insanity. not to say anyone is a genius or anything, but you know the saying, "when you stare into the abyss it stares into you." i believe this, some highly creative people could easily get locked up if they talked to the wrong psychiatrist. thats why i've never talked to any "mental health" professionals.circus spent some time in jailoh ok... i know about a bit of that, but didnt know it got that far. i dont want to get to into his personal ish...i was more talking about myselfhahai was just speaking generally, sometimes we go through difficult times, and music suffers.well, let's talk about sole & skyrider
how did you first link up? were you looking for a band, or they approached you?i had just gotten into
john wagner: he works with bud on all the production and finalizing of music. he is the drummer. he is also the member of the band that helps me with the business stuff, web promotions, bookings, strategy, and he manages our street team.
william ryan fritch: he is the melodic backbone, he plays everything, guitar, keyboard, drums, violin, cello, stand up bass, whatever. good thing about him, is he can solo on any instrument, not just competently stay in tune.
our process usually works like... bud, ryan, john or i start a beat, i write to and rap on it and send it back to bud and john they remix it send it to ryan he adds instrumentation and sends it back to everyone for final approval. at that point my vocals might not sound good so i may re=record.
so when you guys start a beat... is that like samples and drum machines? and then the band/john replays it, or some of it stays...?
we try to do it differently everytime.
if there is a sample we keep it usually.
i wanted to ask you about a couple of appearances you've done, too... you have a new one on an album with time, who i really don't know anything about except you're on their new album
what do you mean
it's a song called "trouble?" i dont know... seen it on ughh
thats my homey time.
he's become a good friend of mine.
sometimes when i think someone shows a lot of promise i do music with them.
if i have time and im in the right space.
him and extra kool are actually on my new mixtape nuclear winter, we did a
what's the story with that (mixtape)? i've seen you mention it a bit on the forums...
URB wanted me to do a podcast and i didnt wanna do some lame uninteresting podcast, and i was kinda bored so i thought it'd be fun to re-do a few gangster rap songs and turn em into anarcho-marxist anthems. it turned into an album. the only music i've been into in the last 5 years is silver
is there anything specifically you can point out (gangsta influence on ssrb material)?
but after a serious album, its important for me to just do some shit for fun, with no pressure, it always creates something interesting.
battlefields was originally written to the beat "shoot me down" by lil
longshots wass straight, TRAE beat in the beginning.
pissin in the wind is gangsta as fuck
even mr insurgent, which is a folk song, has gangster 808s under it.
its subtle. we dont use it like a gimmick or to be ironic, we just allow ourselves to be influenced by that form of music.
at the same time we're really influenced by post rock and folk and shit, so thats why our music confuses people
yeah, it's definitely less "straight hip-hop" then other sole stuff... i remember having conversations in the 90's and people would try to argue that sole wasn't hip-hop, which back then struck me as way off, now maybe you're actually moving that way a bit lol
yeah but now im swinging back that way to my rap roots. rap inspires me now. so thats good. maybe not in the way some people would want, but what i like is what i like.
and what im indifferent to is what im indifferent to
does the fact that you're now with skyrider (and out in az) kind of preclude the more classic "sole album," where you'd have a track or two produced by each of the anticon producers?
well first of all, skyrider is in LA, and im in
oh ok... thought you were still in az
what's it like in
in my opinion
when we were in AZ there was a dispute over where we lived, no one wanted to really move to
nice... i don't even know much about
yeah, it was close to flagstaff, 8 hours, so i would play there more often living in
my dogs were raised on a river in
nice... yeah, definitely not the ones i've been to lol
not to mention, i really wanna ski this winter if i can afford it.
i miss skiing.
i used to do it as a kid but as an adult/artist i've been so broke i can hardly afford to pay rent, let alone do fun recreational shit. x
yeah, no doubt
oh, i forgot i had another guest appearance i wanted to ask you about... the kool keith/ dr. octagon song with sage... how did that happen? did he come to you guys?
no i never talked to him. his manager in florida, fuck i forget his name but he's a cool motherfucker... anyway, he had divinci remixing a kool kieth track while we were in teh car, and i hit up divinci and said "let me geton that" he asked the manager, and then me and sage recorded it. it was really fun. most people pay for a kool kieth verse, we got paid FOR it. that was really an honor. i would have paid to do the song. well, no i wouldnt have, but if i had money i would.
well, i think i'm near wrapping up w my questions... but i did want to ask you one more "biggish" one... maybe it's more of just an online thing, but you seem to be a pretty devisive figure in hip-hop... anticon as a whole is, but you even more than almost anyone else affiliated with it
to my detriment
anyway whats your question?
well, why do you think that is, for one?
because, my words and my balls is all i have.
yeah, i mean... i'd sort of expect heads to embrace you more than someone like dose, since he's more "weird" and you've been more traditionally hip-hop. but it doesn't seem to work out that way
i dont play around. i believe that art is war. i spent many years of my life living in the writings of "guy debord" and artists like brecht, adorno, emma goldman... i believe in what these people say.... tha the role of art is to challenge the status quo... to speak true to power... to shine light on subjects... to be honest.... i've never been afraid to start a war with a journalist who gets too personal in a review. i've never tried to hide my beliefs. i've never worried much about whether or not some hipsterblog was gonna like me more if i made a love song.
in fact, i dont see value in art that doesn't challenge the status quo.
otherwise, you're bringing water to a well.
bring water to
but it doesn't seem like you're challenging the sort of things heads wouldn't want challenged or wouldn’t side with you on...
yeah, i mean, some people go about their shit in a more strategic way, "do a song with this person, climb the ladder, etc." i've never done that with my music. making music is a very personal thing to me, and i keep it close to my chest. i dont wanna invest time and energy into someone i dont know, regardless of what they can do for me.
yeah, but its not trendy
doing coke and smoking cigarrettes and ironic 80s/90s kickback shit, thats what everyone is on
dance, forget about the world.
people listen to music to be entertained.
i dont listen to music. i listen to democracy now.
yeah... but there's acts like dead prez, immortal technique... or even just the more raw stuff like blaq poet that get embraced
well, they're not white. or if they are white, they are thuggish and look hispanic or something. i think race plays a huge role in this. i respect all the acts you mention and anyone who is talking about this shit, but the way i approach it is more subtle, its more of an undertone then the acts you mention... im not calling for revolution on my tracks, and my message isn't so easy to digest as the acts you talk about. i cram a lot of syllables over a mini orchestra. some people dont like that. hipsters want coke rap or their soft indy rock trendy dance crap, they dont want to cross the streams. i've never understood it personally, but i cant control it.
i want to make music that is easier to digest that maintains integrity. i think this new record is a step towards that.
i always think "This is gonna be huge"
does that have anything to do with the title, "plastique?"
and then... it comes out... and im like... wtf... xlr8tr passed on the feature AGAIN? how much do i have to pay these people?
plastique, is about blowing shit up and about the world being false.
plus it sounds french, so that makes me sound more cultured.
which is good cuz i jock french philosophy.
lol true... like l'trimm ;-)
also a lot of it has to do with being a "rapper" people havent seen me as a rapper.
i want to remind them that i am indeed a "rapper"
yeah... i mean, unlike dose, why, or even alias... you've definitely stayed true to being a straight-up rapper
so what does anticon have coming up? it looks like a pretty nice immediate future with your lp/ep (plus mixtape), crownsdown.... why? just dropped...
i honestly have no idea whats coming out after why?
(and seriously, when the hell is pedestrian coming with another release?)
that's terrible... can you be fired from anticon? lol
i can fire myself.
i dont run the label, the daily business of the office hasn't been my responsibility since selling live water.
since i started focusing on art.
oh really? i didn't realized you'd stepped so far away from that
when the collective was formalized baillie parker began running the label and all the artists got equal shares in the business.
like a true collective.
does that mean anticon could be like "we won't release this sole album" or "we're gonna drop this release that sole is for whatever reason totally against?"
but im not gonna say which bands i've voted against.
oh ok... i didn't realize it had changed over so completely... i know baille had come in, but i guess i thought of him as just a business manager and one more partner...
well, we do know that you're lp and ep are about to drop... pre-orders end in like 2 days, right?
i guess so. 2 days left!
and is it still too early to say about the mixtape yet, or do you have specific plans/dates?
i imagine it'll be up for download next week... a preview version of it called "nuclear autumn" which will feature some SSRB tracks from our albums and a l ot of the songs for the mixtape. i imagine i'll have the mixtape on tour.
and the soleone store at some point hopefully?yessir. i'll be announcing a preorder for this after the fake four shit drops, i just dont wanna confuse people.
cool... well, i should get this up before the plastique preorder ends, so people can jump on it if they're quick!
heheh thank you my friend.
and thank you for being so supportive over the years.its been a long journey!
Ok, so you heard the man... only 2 days left! If you're interested in the pre-order (only place to get the Battlefields EP), it's right here at Fake Four. And for more on Sole, of course, check out his own site at soleone.org. Or, if you're more of a myspace kinda guy, that's right here.