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Rasco Untouchable #1 Rasco and DJ Wich are the Untouchables. The Cali Agent and the Czech producer bundle forces on 'Al Capone's Vault', on which Rasco single-handedly guns down any argument that a rapper couldn't last for ten years in the game. Twelve years after 'Time Waits For No Man', Dick Swanson is still shutting criticasters' mouths worldwide.

Are you still as excited as when your debut album 'Time Waits For No Man' dropped?

Yeah man I am just as excited now as I was then. It is always exciting for me when I drop a new album because it is something I worked on and I really believe in. So it's always nice.

How have reactions been so far?

The reaction has been great man. We just dropped our new video and people have really taken to the project well.

You been steadily traveling to Europe and the Czech Republic for the last few years. Do you remember when you first met DJ Wich?

Yeah, I met Wich in 2006 at Hip Hop Kemp. We have stayed in touch since then and over the years have worked on several different projects together even before this one.

When did the actual idea of this full album sparked between you?

The idea came to me while I was back in Cali. So I just told him like yeah we need to do this Untouchables album when I am back in Prague and he was with it... so we made it happen.

You've been able to build a steady reputation in Europe (especially in Germany and Czech Rep) through touring. Does this feel like a second home for you? How rewarding is this after you career which spans over a decade?

It is always nice to be well received wherever you go. I just try to keep making the music that I love first and hopefully others will gravitate to my works.. It is always nice to be in Europe It is like a 2nd home though since I am here quite often.

Is it hard for you to leave everything and everybody behind when you leave CA?

Absolutely hard to be away from family but they all understand I need to work to maintain so they have no problems but for me it is a hard thing.

Is your daughter getting along with the Facebook...Skype...MSN-chat thing?

I speak to my daughter quite often on Skype and such, so it works out. Thank God for the internet!

The album is titled 'Al Capone's Vault'. Is the album a concept album? How did you implement this theme in the album?

Well the 'Untouchables' is one of my favourite movies so I wanted to keep the theme around the group's name. So I titled the album 'Al Capone's Vault' because Al Capone was the main target of the 'Untouchables' in the movie.

Do you have something with things 'being locked'? Alcatraz, Vaults,...

No not at all. 'Escape from Alcatraz' was about me being freed from a contract situation, so that is where that came from. This was just a conceptual idea.

I got to congratulate you on the 'Grizzly' joint and clip. I never thought a movie with only close-ups of a 'rapper's face' would be so dope. It's like a second form of articulation which make you actually listen with extra sharp ears. How did y'all come up with this idea?

Well that was shot by DJ Wich while we were on the set of the 'Now Who's Laughing' video shoot. We had some down-time between shots on that video so Wich wanted to shoot a promo video while we waited for the next shot to be set up so we did it. Came out quite nice but Wich is the man behind all of that. I just rapped when he told me to.

I can imagine every fan singing along and shouting the 'what!' in the chorus of 'Grizzly'. It's obvious you have always been able to drop not only dope rhymes but dope hooks and choruses as well. How important are these to you?

The hooks and chorus are very important to the joint. When I am writing it, I am not thinking of how it will play live. But you are right; after I listen to it again I say to myself: 'Hey, this might work crazy when we do it live'. So hooks for me are just as important as the lyrics. It is what makes a complete song.

Do you have a personal favourite on the album?

My personal favourite on the album is 'Trust'. I just like the vibe and the lyrics so I would say this is my personal favourite.

There's a funny clip on YouTube where you call Planet Asia about the last 8 bars for the album. You seem to be clowning around even over the phone. How would you describe your vibe with Asia?

Me and Asia are like brothers man. He is a funny dude and that is how our conversations have always been. We have the same sense of humour and it is what makes us a good team I think.

How did you become Cali Agent #1 and Asia #2: was it a matter of picking a card out off a hat?

Nah, that was me just saying Cali Agent #1 in some song and then Asia dubbed himself #2. Nothing big about it, actually. Plus I was out first and then I brought him out so back then I think he was simply showing me a little respect for bringing him out and at that time playing his role. We are equals though man...I have always seem him as a partner.

American emcees seem to find the road to Europe for producers more often, there's quite a few releases with European producers these days. How come this 'trend' keeps growing? Is the quality raising or.?

Nah I just think that more dudes are finding out that there is talent all over not just at home so I think this is why you see the growth of this taking place. Brothers are now opening their minds to the possibilities.

Back in 1998, my man DJ Calico said to me: 'oh shit, you need to check this Rasco dude out. I just bought the vinyl. He rhymes everything to shreds'. (In Dutch dialect: 'ie rhymet alles an stikken'). Ever since I followed his advice and I've been hooked on all your releases. You reached a constant level for the last 13 years. It's a rare thing these days that MC's guard their own level. How do you manage that?

Simply from the start not willing to compromise who I am as a person. The artistic thing comes later. Over the years I have just done what feels best for me. I know what kind of beats are going to bring the best out of me so I continue to look for these sounds and I feel this will keep me sharp and most of all keep me grounded to who I am as a person... Not necessarily a MC.

The word 'veteran' is being used quite often these days for rappers that came up in the same period as you did. I also see a lot of younger kids talk about 'the old school' when they refer to that timeframe. How do you feel about that? Do you consider yourself a 'veteran'?

Have to consider myself a vet, man. I love the title because it means I have somewhat stood the test of time and I am still moving forward, I feel. So that term for me is something I welcome.

What's the actual state of Pockets Linted Entertainment?

Pocketslinted is still up and running doing my releases on there still to this day man as well as Cali Agents and this Untouchables joint for the States. It is still moving

There has been a rumour floating the internet about a Dilated Peoples - Cali Agents project being on its way? The 'Dilated Agents' album? Can you update us about that?

Well as for that I am not sure how we will bring it together. We have all talked and agreed upon it but all parties are busy and therefore it is hard to make something of that magnitude happen. I am working on that though. We shall see.

Any other project with the Cali Agents coming up?

For sure the next record you see from me will be a Cali Agents LP. We are starting now and when I return back to Cali we are going to sit down and get it recorded. I am looking forward to that the most because I feel it is well overdue.

I read an interview with you where you say 'to be one of the lucky to get to make a living outta this'. Did you have moments in your career when you thought: 'You betta picked another profession, Keida'?

No never felt like that at all. This game is a hustle and a grind. Sometime you are going to be up and sometimes you are going to be down but never do I say 'Oh shit.I better do something else'. I just try to make the right moves, save my money, keep working and hope for the best

Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to become a MC?

Yeah I got a late start was in my 20's when my boys told me that I had a voice and should use it. So I began from there. Once I got in the booth the first time I was hooked and never looked back since.

Closing questions:

What's in your iPod or car stereo right now?

My iPod holds only classics, man, nothing new at all. Black Star, Dilated, Nas, KRS, EPMD, Tribe De La, Jungle Brothers. That's what I listen to.

The first hip-hop record you bought yourself?

Run Dmc's first album. Played the tape until it snapped man. Was a great album!!

Shout outs?

Would like to thank you for this interview I really appreciate it. Big ups to P.A, Concise Kilgore, DJ Wich, Hi Def, Nironic, Pody Mouf, My Unite Fam and of course the fans!

 

POSTED 11|05|2010
conducted by wulf

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