Good interview via Grown Up Rap, as he talks on his new album with Vanderslice plus his connection to Fat Joe & Black Rob. You can also find a few records of his on any one of my mixtapes.Click on link for the full write-up…
Tell me about Enigma of Dalí, and how you and Vanderslice connected.
The Enigma Of Dalí was something again, that happened organically. I met Vanderslice in 2017 through a mutual party and he was cool enough to send me some beats so I can work on them and I spent no time getting them done. Within 48 hours, he loved the energy and lyricism of the records and we kept it going ever since.
The title is a reference to Salvador Dalí, who I know is someone you have studied. What is it about his art that attracts you, and what impact has it had on your writing and sound?
The thing that attracted me to Dalí while studying one day was an interview where he discussed the golden ratio and how it applies to almost everything in life. He was just going off on things I was so happening to be trying to understand at the time. From the perfect angle of a rhino’s horn to his face, to the ignorance of being young. He was so smart but the white men interviewing him kept undermining him as if he was slightly off. Maybe to them and others he was, but to me, in my world, maybe he is slightly on.
There are some major names championing your music, including Fat Joe. What’s your relationship with him and the rest of Terror Squad?
My relationship with Fat Joe, I can’t really put in layman’s terms because there’s nothing binding us together. We just got bulletproof respect and love, I can only learn from Crack. He has been kind enough to take me around the world and put money in my pocket as we do so. My dad once told me, any man providing an opportunity for you to feed your kids is a good man. That’s a gem.
“I guess we had an identity that we were—I don’t want to say ‘stubborn,’ but there was definitely a conviction that we wanted to present a certain type of hip-hop,” recalls Breeze (Brewin). At one point, he remembers being asked to add a catchy hook to their song “Clear Blue Skies,” which was a thoughtful and nuanced commentary on mixed-race relationships and intergenerational racism. “For some reason, the stuff that we dug and was popping for us was not out-and-out commercial,” he says. He cites A Tribe Called Quest’s “Bonita Applebum” and the Jungle Brothers’Straight Out The Jungleas releases that, “weren’t commercial, they were justgood, and felt so organically hip-hop.” As Breeze puts it, they entered the scene at a turning point: “This is when they started to make those records that were unabashedly commercial in purpose, and we just had no interest in doing that.”
One frigid December late night morning about 3 a.m., as 1972 was drawing to an end, I was rambling around, starving in need of a bite to eat. It may seem strange today, when one thinks about the “city that never sleeps” but back then, despite the evolving art scene, there were hardly any eateries in Downtown New York that stayed open that late, much less all night. However, on Bleecker Street between Grove and Bedford there was this great little all-night soul food restaurant called the Pink Teacup; a cozy joint that had been there since the early 1950s. And at that hour of the morning, it was the only place where a light glowed on that darkened block; ham hocks, chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy with ‘60s soul on the juke box. Perfect. No sooner had I settled into a back booth facing the street, when the door flew open and in from the cold wafted this willowy, beguiling girl incongruously wearing a pink tutu, cowboy boots and no coat. In the middle of winter! We started dating that night; hey it was the 70s and things happened fast…so with New Year’s Eve approaching we made a plan to hang out. Daryl and Sandy were out of town, so I had the apartment all to myself. She said she would come over and meet me so I settled in on the sofa and began strumming my acoustic guitar to pass the time. 9 o’clock became 10 o’clock became 11 o’clock. No girl. I had been stood up. When I finally realized that she was going to be a no show on that night of nights, I thought to myself, “If she’s not coming tonight… then she’s gone.” Simple as that I started singing this folky little refrain: “She’s Gone…Oh I better learn how to face it…She’s Gone Oh I…” The disappointment of getting stood up didn’t last long but that simple melody and chord progression was about go on forever. The very next day, Daryl came back and there I was still sitting on that sofa still plunking away at that little chorus idea and he said, “What’s that?” So I gave him the Cliff Note version of my no show date and he sat down at his black Wurlitzer electric piano and inspirationally began playing the classic alternating chord riff with the pedaled bass note that is now so well known as the intro and verse to the song. We started tossing around ideas about love and loss and how to personalize a well-worn universal subject. Propelled by an odd but provocative opening line: “Everybody’s high on consolation” we were off and running. Like manna from heaven the lyrics manifested themselves as we pooled our collective emotions focusing on relatable, everyday imagery. “I’m worn as her toothbrush hanging in the stand.” A line both evocative and so real that anyone could picture it. Building on that theme, the song almost wrote itself through our hands. In less than an hour, “She’s Gone” was born and in a way, so were we.