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Bilal Bashir (Divine Styler) Divinity Stylistics Who doesn't remember Rhyme Syndicate? Ice-T's collective of the most prolific and talented emcees, DJ's and producers from the West Coast (except for Lord Finesse and UK act Hijack). Classic albums have been released from their camp, the one more famous than the other, but with 'quality rap' written all over it. One of those albums is Divine Styler's 'Word Power', that's now been re-issued as an instrumental album. The one responsible for this to happen is the producer of the album, Bilal Bashir.

But first let?s talk about the release of ?Word Power Instrumentals?. It?s kinda unique that a (classic) old school album from that period (late 80?s) is being released as an instrumental. What?s the idea behind this?

Well, there has been a lot of classic hip-hop albums being released as instrumentals over the years. I thought it would be a great idea to release the ?Word Power? instrumental LP.

Do you think the name will get out to a lot of younger fans, who never heard of Divine Styler?

I think that younger, true hip-hop heads will be able to appreciate the era of this LP, the late 80?s.

How did you get with Domination Rec?

The owner DJ Fisher and I have been friends for several years. I have been impressed with the success of Domination Recordings. The idea of releasing the ?Word Power? instrumental LP was a no brainer.

THE EARLY DAYS

You stumbled into hip-hop through your cousin ?Cowboy?, right?

Yes. My cousin Keith Wiggins aka ?Keith Cowboy? (RIP) was one of the original members of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. He had a great influence on me and others. Without his influence, I would have not become a DJ in the late 70?s.

You moved from the Bronx to L.A., when and why?

My family and I moved from the Bronx to Los Angeles in the early 80?s, due to the fact their jobs transferred there.

How was the hip-hop scene over there, as compared to NY?

At the time, Los Angeles really didn?t have a hip-hop scene in my opinion. They were light years behind.

Weren?t you in a group called Troop with Def Jef and The Egyptian Lover?s brother?

I wasn?t in the group Troop. They are good friends of mine. Def Jef and I had a group called Def-Con II.

Ah ok. So what did you release exactly?

We made our first record in ?86 called ?Have you Seen Her? and Troop sang on it. It was released on Egyptian Lover Brother?s label Desire Music.

So how do you remember those early production times?

Before drum machines and samplers, live musicians were used to record early hip-hop records. Then, in the early 80?s, drum machines became more of a standard. By the early to mid 80?s, sampling became the new standard and changed music forever.

One of your earlier records was this 12?? called ?Killer Dayton?s? by Poetry N Motion. Who were they?

Poetry N Motion were some friends of mine that I started producing demo?s for. At the time Dayton?s were hot and people were getting jacked for them. So the group came up with the idea of making a song called ?Killer Dayton?s?.

Dr Dre produced on that record, right?

Yeah, Dre heard the song and wanted to be involved and added his magic to the song and that?s how it came about.

THE RHYME SYNDICATE DAYS

How did you get with Rhyme Syndicate?

Ice T and I knew each other for years. At first, he wanted me to be his DJ, but I was really more interested in producing beats for him. Besides, he had Hen G and Evil E as DJ?s and those guys were great. I did a lot of production for Ice over the years but my big change came when he started the Rhyme Syndicate. When the Syndicate got started, I had the chance to produce artists that I was working with like Divine Styler, Everlast AkA House of Pain and others.

Were you down with Lord Finesse in his Rhyme Syndicate days, him being from the East Coast too?

We were down. Unfortunately, we never got the chance to work together due to the fact that we were busy working on our projects. I would have loved to collaborate with him because we are from the same borough.

Did you work with other RS producers such as Afrika Islam and Toddy Tee?

Afrika Islam and I worked on several projects together; albums, soundtracks, commercials. I never got the chance to work with Toddy Tee.

Everlast was the first RS artist you produced for right?

Yes.

On how much Everlast albums did you produce?

I only produced the ?Everlast? LP.

Have you ever drunk a Guiness with him?

No.

How would you compare workin with Everlast, to workin with Ice T and Donald D?

Working with Ice and Donald was more like a learning experience because they had been in the game longer than I have. Everlast had no experience so we had to start from the beginning and build his skills up to professional status.

Were you close with other acts such as Low Profile too?

Yeah those are my boys! DJ Aladdin and WC they had hot joints.

You?ve produced for 7A3, but did you produce on their ?Coolin In Cali? album, cause I can?t find any credits?

No.

THE RUTHLESS DAYS

Then you worked with Ruthless Records? artists Tairrie B and Blood Of Abraham. Both albums didn?t do well, but they didn?t have much publicity right?

Correct.

Were you in the studio with QDIII and Schoolly D for the Tairrie record?

I was involved in some of the sessions and I produced some of the songs on her album.

So did you have a lot of contact with Eazy-E?

Oh yeah, Eazy and I became good friends. I was involved in several projects on Ruthless Records.

How did you hook up with King Tee?

King Tee and I met through DJ Unkown. He had this techno-hop label and some of Ice T?s early songs were on that label as well.

Whose idea was it to put the Rolling Stones chorus in ?Diss You??

That was an A&R decision.

PRESENT DAYS

Are you still in contact with any of those artists mentioned?

Yes, with most of them.

Your brother Tak is a member of Styles Of Beyond. I guess he stumbled into hip-hop because of you?

Yeah, hip-hop ran in the family thick.

Are they coming with something new soon?

Styles Of Beyond is signed to Linkin Park?s label Machine Shop and will be releasing a new album soon.

You founded ?Bilawn Records?, how?s it goin with that?

The label was founded by myself and my partner Shawn Berman. We came up with the name Bilawn by mixing both of our names together. At present the label is no longer.

Could you tell us something more about The Animal Pharm?

Animal Pharm is another group of friends that I had the pleasure of working with. They were big fans of Divine Styler. Matt, who was the main member of the group, is a dope producer. We collaborated on several projects. We never released anything, I just got away from us.

What?s your production set-up?

My set-up is quite different than my earlier production days. It?s all digital now. I use my Mac G5, Logic Pro 7, Reason 3.0, Protools, and my MPC-3000, that?s it.

What was the first record you bought?

?Good Times? by Chic.

What albums are you listening to at the moment?

I?m a big electronic, drum n bass, house, techno fan so I?ve been listening to many of those type artist like John Tejada, Pendulum. Hip-hop wise ?? Styles of Beyond, Fort Minor, all of the Domination artists like Eddie Meeks, Roddny Dangrr Fild, Mr Skurge Khingass.

What records you?ve made are you still listening to?

Hmmmm that?s a good question. To be honest I really don?t listen to the records I?ve made that often, unless it?s on the radio.

Would you go back to the East Coast?

Yes, I already have plans to do so.

What are your future plans?

Production has been my main and foremost plan and I will continue on that path.

Could you give a few comments with the following names/words?

7A3

Brett B and Shaw B are some cool heads.

Dr Bashir

Some crazy electronic experimental shit.

Salt N Pepa

Major icons in hip hop.

Trespass

A memorable experience.

Alkaholiks

Representing hip-hop to the fullest.

Any shout-outs?

The Bashir Family for the non-stop support of my career, Dj Fisher and Domination Recordings for believing in the project, Platform 8470 for checkin for me. Everyone that?s been down with me!

Thanks a lot!

 

POSTED 05|01|2006
conducted by cpf

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