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Fabio Musta Passport control In their attempt to expose some European hip-hop artists on their label, Baybgrande Records searched the land of great food, beautiful women, and an amazing cultural heritage, and came up with Fabio Musta. May 12th marks the release of his ‘Passport’ album with local talents from the Boot and renowned US rappers...

Ciao Fabio, if we said you'd gonna have an album on Babygrande and make tracks with Guilty Simpson, Jeru the Damaja and T3 five years ago, would you have believed it?

Well, why not? I know for sure that life is strange and you can achieve goals when you least expect it, but I have to say 5 years ago it wouldn’t expect a work like this.

Tell us about how you got with Babygrande?

I've been working on Passport for the whole 2008 and when the album was complete me and my pal Tony Napoli (he’s been taking care of creative direction) kept in touch with some labels that could be interested. Babygrande's Chuck Wilson looked really enthusiastic about ‘Passport’ and we decided to sign for Babygrande.

The album drops May 12. A lot of nerves yet? What do you expect from the album?

Well I have good expectations about this album, it's my first international effort and I hope it's gonna be a good starting point to spread my music to a whole new level.

Tell us more about the Italian rappers who appear on the new album...

Sure, we have Paura, my good friend and longtime artistic partner, he started his career in the group 13 Bastardi, one of the most influential groups in Italian hip-hop history. I produced his last album ‘Octoplus’ and we got a good chemistry together, so it was only naturally to choose him to ‘represent’ Italy on ‘Passport’. Clementino is a young rapper from Naples. She got herself a name in Italy by winning most of the freestyle battles in the past few years. Ghemon is quite popular now, I’ve produced his first works with Sangamaro and he's got a conscious style, I like his rap very much.

Which US underground artists are well-known in Italy and have you considered that when 'picking' the guests for your album?

Most of the artists on my album are popular in Italy, but I chose them cause I like them, not for any other particular reason.

How did you get to work with those MC's?

I kept in touch with some rappers when they came to Italy on tour and some tracks were recorded here in Italy, in my studio. Then me and my friend Tony chose some others to complete the album...and the rest is history.

As far as we know you're the first Italian producer who's being signed on a prolific American underground label, right? Why we had to wait untill 2009 before an Italian hip-hop musician gets recognition overseas you think?

Yes, I think i'm the first for an American label, but don't know why it took so long. Maybe nobody has been thinking to do an album like mine.

Would it be fair to call you one of the pioneers of Italian hip-hop?

Oh of course not, there's been a lot of people in Italy starting in the mid 80's, like Next One, he's been the first Italian to win the Break-Dance World Championships.

Can we still buy your earlier albums somewhere?

Well my first album is unavailable now, maybe some other albums are available somewhere, and Paura's ‘Octoplus’ is a free download www.downlovers.com.

If you had one previous album of yours to promote to us, which one would it be?

There's no past album I want to promote now, I used to rap in the past, now I'm focused on the productions, it's a whole new work.

Who's 'Master Hip'? Please explain?

Oh my god, how did you get to know this?? This was my street name when I began rapping, something like 15 years ago.

You're passport reads Fabio Orza. Where does 'Musta' come from?

Musta has been the evolution of Master Hip and well, Fabio is my name.

You've studied sound engineering right? Has your view on making music changed a lot trough the fact that you did that?

It helped to elevate to a more professional level, but I think my evoultion has
nothing to do with these studies, it's just a different thing.

Tell us more about Black Bamboo studios.

Black Bamboo studios is my personal studio, it's placed near a river and there's a lot of bamboo. Black is the color of the music coming from the studios so the name was easy. I create my music here, there's everything I need to make music and a good mix.

What's your production set-up right now?

I got an MPC 2000XL, sometimes I use the S950 (I love its 12 bit dirty sound). I use Protools empowered with an M-audio projectmix, the Focusrite Liquidmix, I like the way it sounds. On reverberations I use a Lexicon MPX 550, I've got a TL audio 5052 and a TL audio VP1 and some more outboards.

What's your fav kind of pasta?

I love spaghetti alla puttanesca... I'm pretty good at cooking this!!

Are you a soccer fan?

No, I don't like football, I like other sports even if i'm not a follower.

Your passport states Salerno as hometown. You've visited the Costiera Amalfitana from time to time?

Of course I go there often, it's a step from my home. Next time you come here call me and I'll let you see the beauties of my land.

Deal. So what's the first rap album you bought?

‘Paid in Full’ by Eric B & Rakim.

What's the last album(s) you uploaded unto your iPod?

‘Early Believers’ by Kero One
‘The Renaissance’ by Q-Tip
‘Born like this’ by DOOM

What's next for Fabio Musta?

I'm planning a lot of works for my future, I would love to make beats for a lot of artists. I would love another effort like ‘Passport’ with the artists that influenced my musical background, this would be a great honor! I'm even plannig another project to a more global level, with rappers from all over the world, it would be nice to put together different cultures under the same sound, but it's only an idea now, we gonna see what is goin to happen.


My family, my girl and my friend Tony, everybody involved in ‘Passport’ and
Babygrande Records.

Grazie per questa intervista!


POSTED 05|01|2009
conducted by Cpf

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