featured interview

Cadence Creative Commerce: the other side of the tracks Cadence, member of Raw Produce and the last few years workin harder as ever as a solo artist, just dropped his new album 'Creative Commerce' on Domination Recordings. Because every Cadence album is layered, not only with loops, but also with creative storylines and political, social as well as musical commentaries, we asked this Boston producer/MC to break down every song. Set it off, Cade!

01. Creative Commerce

You gotta pay attention to the title track, cause it probably has a deeper meaning, right? This is the entry point to the album and it deals with the concept behind the title, which is about the intersection between art and business. I wanted it to set the vibe, both musically and lyrically. I guess because of the similarity in title, the vibe of the track was inspired a little bit by O.C's 'Creative Control' which kicks off 'Word...Life'. The scratch break at the end is where the real work came in.

02. Yesterday At Midnight

This is a song about a girl. Or maybe it's not about a girl at all. Maybe it's about living with the consequences your past decisions. Or maybe it's about a girl. My man described this beat as having a Bomb Squad meets Raw Pro vibe. I think because it's a melodic track, like I tend to make , but the piano is so high pitched that it's the kind of eardrum piercing like how the Bomb Squad used to use those screechy kind of sounds you could hear from blocks away.

03. Word Got Around - featuring Dumi Right of Zimbabewe Legit and micthefinite

I feel like a lot of times when people get more than one MC down on a song as guests, they default to doing battle rhymes, since it's too hard to get everyone organized around a concept. I wanted to find a way to do something different and give everyone a way to tie their verses together but still give them the freedom to create something. So, the way we did this was pass the story form person to person, but with no idea where the next person would take it. From verse to verse, the lyrics show how a story can become twisted, just by people passing on a second hand account of something they never actually saw. As the song goes on the story gets more and more ridiculous and overblown. The best part of doing this was seeing what the other MC's came back with, seeing how Dumi twisted my words and micthefinite twisted his words to turn the story into something completely different. All the way through, you can see vestiges of the original story, but you also see how the truth of the matter gets distorted beyond recognition. That's the grapevine for you.

04. A Month of Sundays

This was a beat that I struggled with for a while and I almost gave it away. I had it done and I was really having trouble writing to it, and then the hook popped into my head, probably because I was feeling overworked at the time and it took off from there. The only thing better than success, is having time to enjoy it. In order to do that, you have to be willing to work hard up front. The benefit may not be something you notice immediately, but if you put in work at the outset, the day will come when you can just sit back and enjoy it. That's the gist of the lyrics.

05. You Know Where to Find Me

No deep meaning to this one, just lyrics and beats to show some appreciation for the art form and its ability to bring people together. I do a lot of tracks with complex production and for this one I wanted a real stripped down vibe. Some straight ahead boombap with an 808 kick and a snare and not too much else going on. And one scratch in the chorus. Simple and straightforward.

06. Let It Be

I don't want to say too much about the lyrics here, because I want people to follow the story when they first hear the song. Musically this is one of my favourite tracks on the album though. And it's one of those things that came together quickly. On a day in the studio where everything I did, worked. The funny thing is that the main loop for this song was on a record I must have listened to 100 times and somehow I overlooked it until the day I made this song.

07. No Can Do - featuring Prince Po

You KNOW about Organized Konfusion already, so I don't have to tell you Prince Po is a legend. But what you may not know about Prince Po is the respect he shows other artists who are trying to make an impact. Having a chance to work with an idol is rare -having them being a consummate pro- is icing on the cake. I can't say enough positive things about the experience. As for the beat, it's one of those deceptively simple tracks. A lot of people have commented that it sounds minimalist compared to my other tracks, but it was hard to make. All of the sounds (except for the horn swells I added in the chorus) including the drums, fills and changes in the track are chopped together from a loop that was nowhere near a 4/4 time signature, so the hard part was getting it to work in 4/4. And again, except for when the horns come in for the chorus, there's only one sample at a time playing the song, no layers of loops over drums, its all one sound at a time, sequenced to make a string of 4/4 sections with a lot of variations. A few producers have told me that they've tried to use the sample and given up because of the time signature problem.

08. Drive

One of my first jobs was being a counsellor in a city summer jobs program. From there I went on to work in youth centres and group homes for a bunch of years. If you know that about me, you can understand this as something other than a cornball-positive-MC song. I'm saying that strong work ethic and sticking to your principles is important in life. But if that makes me a cornball-positive-MC, I can live with that.

09. Malpractice

I think too many people equate faith with morality. Religion can be a force for good in a lot of peoples lives, but it's not the only way to be a moral and upstanding person. And doing something in the name of religion -like killing people for instance- doesn't automatically make you a moral person. George Carlin once said that religion is like a lift in your shoe. If you need it, fine. If not, that's fine too. Just don't try to make me wear your shoes.

10. Louder

Every once in a while I do a song that I think is RADICALLY different from anything else I've ever done. And then I play it for people and they have NO IDEA why I think that. This one of those songs. And I almost didn't include it on the album for that reason. So if it sounds like the same-old-Cadence song to you, let's agree to disagree.

11. Dynasty - featuring Blame One and Shed Light

Blame One, from Cali, and Shed Light, from Chelsea, MA, are two MC's who are working hard to make good music for the people. This was just a case of me having a chance to put some people on the record who I think should be heard. It's my way of trying to be a part of deserved successes.

12. Just Me

This song is half about my process of working alone in the studio and half about the double standard applied to sample clearance.

Soapbox time: The business of sample clearance has gotten out of hand. Hip-hop songs add original lyrics and reinterpret sounds from older music in creative ways. Even without charging for clearance, we put money in labels pockets by creating a market for older music that they otherwise wouldn't be able to sell. Yet hip hop artists have to pay through nose for clearance, risk being sued out of existence, or abandon the craft and make watered down synth beats. And we wonder why there's no good hip-hop on the radio? Meanwhile artists doing cover songs -and in some cases trying to sound EXACTLY like the original artists- don't need permission at all, they only need to make sure that mechanical royalties are routed to the original publisher of the song they cover. In essence, hip-hop artists are paying more AND adding more original content to their music. There's no justification for that kind of double standard.

So here's the funny part: to make this beat, I only used sounds generated by my voice, electronic feedback, dropping a mic on the table, etc. No samples of records, no drum machine sounds, no synths and no traditional instruments of any kind. It's truly just me. So when one of the first reviews of the album highlighted this song as the best example of the kind of records I like to sample I was amused. I didn't sample a SINGLE record in this song. The reviewer even mentioned the Motown choir sample in the chorus, which is really just me multi-tracked. Guess I fooled him, right?

13. A Curious Mind

The war in Iraq is claiming too many young lives. With that said, hopefully this song will speak for itself.

14. W Pt. 2

After I dropped the first instalment of 'W.', George W. Bush was too cowardly to even respond on wax. I guess that means he knows I have superior skills on the mic. But he kept up with his political tricks, so I had to come back and put him in his place once again.

15. Man Overboard

This was the first song I did for the album. For me, it was kind of an exercise in rhyme schemes and multi-syllable rhyming. People will probably recognize the loop. I liked the sounds in it, so I was playing around with retriggering it to try to switch up the melody.

16. Yesterday Retold

This is an alternate run through the story line of 'Yesterday at Midnight'. I was inspired on this by Dres from Black Sheep, who used to drop alternate versions of lyrics on a lot of remixes of his songs. I always thought it showed his command of the rhymes and it showed the listener a little bit of the creative process, by letting them see how an MC could have taken the song in a different direction while still sticking to the same concept. A lot of times I feel like MC's are only saying what they're saying because it rhymes. To me, the best MC's are the ones who sound like they're saying what they want to say and it rhymes too. I added this song to the album because I wanted to show how you can run though a completely different set of lyrics, on a completely different beat and still get the same story across.

Aight Cadence, thanks for the run-down, now as for the Raw Pro album that's coming up...could you tell us some more about it?

The full title is 'Selling Celery to Get a Salary: Remixes, Demo's and B-sides'. It is what it sounds like. A collection of songs that weren't on our album, dating as far back as 1991. It'll be out soon on Pro Se Recordings, distributed by Redline Music Distribution.

Is this the same album/track listing as the self-released demo?

We had 2 demo's that circulated under the 'Selling Celery...' name in the early 90's. The CD will have everything that was on those demos except for tracks that made it onto 'The Feeling of Now' album, but it's not formatted like the demo's were and it has a lot of additional material. Some of the other songs have been released in various places over the years and some have never been released. There will also be an accompanying vinyl EP with a slightly different track listing that will have a bunch of songs that have never been out on wax before.

How many songs of the 'Refrigerator Poetry EP' are on it?

Two. 'Tried and True' and 'Nervous' Both of those were on the original demos too, but they've never been released on CD before.

Who's guest featuring?

We included songs that have beats and rhymes from a lot of people we've worked with over the years, including 7L & Esoteric, Akrobatik, J Rawls (Lone Catalysts), Vinyl ReAnimators, Thes One (PUTS), Omid, Grooveman Spot... There's also an unreleased remix of 'Weight of the World' by Lee Miles, which had been slated for the original 12"? and an early track with me and our man Kofi, who was kind of an unofficial member of our original crew The Coalition.

Aight thanks a lot for the info. Peace.


POSTED 06|21|2006
conducted by cpf

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