featured interview

A.D.O.R. Another Dimension Of Rhythm A.D.O.R. is what we call a hip-hop veteran. He's one of the first non-black rappers to make moves in the game, since the release of 'Let It All Hang Out' in 1992. He's down with Pete Rock and plays chess with Diamond D, he founded his own Tru Reign Records and now, in 2005, A.D.O.R. is back with a brand new full length album. Time to catch up with him.

For those who may not know, can you explain who is A.D.O.R. in a few sentences?

That's real hard to answer in just a few sentences, but I would say I am a strong MC/artist who represents the truth always and loves to make street music for the people and I have been blessed to have had my music move people all over the world for a long time.

You're about to release a new album, tell us more about it.

Yes, ?Signature Of The Ill? is going to be blasting off, September 27, 2005. I am very proud of this album and I am happy to say there are some real, brand new bangers for the heads to rock to. It has a real nice vibe to it. I was able to make some good music with up and coming producers like Sir Jase, Supa Will ?nd I got Diamond D on there too. I also did a little production on it. It's time to reign! A.D.O.R. got some shit to move you - listen!

How did you meet Diamond D? You've been working together for a long time, right?

I have done a lot of work with Diamond. We met along time ago thru my man from the BX. Then we started playing chess together and smoking trees. Then we started makin music together!

What does the title mean exactly?

?Signature of the Ill? is like a stamp that represents some real New York traditional timeless street music. Innovative and passionate the real meaning of ill, how I came up with it is like some super hero different panaromac infectious rugged shit. That's what my album is like! I don't care about what is hot to the masses. I stay offering the people something really passionate and bangin. Different from the rest! A.D.O.R.: Another Dimension Of Rhythemz!

Exactly. That?s one of the things I admire in your music; the fact that you don't bow down to musical ?trends?, your sound remained raw and genuine over the years. Can we expect musical changes compared to your last LP or do you stick with your trademark style?

Thank you! When cats say things like that it proves to me that my vision gets across to people. Sure there will be musical changes, I have grown as an artist and the producers I am working with are different now but overall it will be my raw rugged street type head noddin bangin music which I feel is my trademark!

It?s been a couple of years since you released a full album, in the meanwhile you dropped a best of-album ?Classic Bangerz vol 1? what took you that long to record a new album?

I am always busy working on material. Releasing music, raising my seeds, developing Tru Reign on the Business side and livin life. This is just the time it took to complete the album and get ready to release it to the world.

Did you want to re-introduce your name to the younger generation with that compil?

That's part of it but not the main reason. We just thought it would be a nice release to offer people. A lot of my music never received its full chance to be heard for one reason or another. ?Classic Bangerz? offers everyone a chance to hear my work over the years and learn that A.D.O.R. got some special music for you.

Is there gonna be a vol. 2?

There will be a volume 2! I can't say exactly when, but after a few more albums, probably that will be my last release. Who knows what the future holds?

Being a hip-hop veteran, what?s your opinion on the state of hip-hop and how it evolved unto 2005?

My thoughts on this are too deep to express in this one interview, I am disappointed in the state of the music in so many ways. From the nurturing and support of the true artist from the fans to the music that is made now and considered hip-hop. There should be different categories that are more clearly defined and separate from what hip-hop music is. To the racism that exists in the music itself and to the cats that always fake jax and say they are hip-hop. See, I come from the truth of hip-hop. I was raised five minutes from the Bronx and came up with Zulu Nation, Rock Steady, Skate Key, real New York shit, real original hip-hop shit. But on the good side, hip-hop has been good to us in many ways it has givin many people a platform to express themselves and make a life for themselves from their art, so it is two-sided: good and bad.

You and Puff went to high school together. Do you still see or at least hear each other? What do you think of the ?musician? P Diddy?

I have not seen Puff in a minute. When I see where he is now I am proud of him in a lot of ways. Musically, Puff represents some N.Y. type of music, not always exactly my favorite shit but he represents that Big Tyme Ballin N.Y Metropolis Kingz and that's real too.

Another name from the past: Eddie F.

I do not talk about Eddie F really. He helped me and hurt me too. That's all I will say about him. I know he took a chorus I wrote for his album ?Let's Get It On? and he never paid me or gave me my royalty's due on it.

So were you down with Heavy D?

I was never down with Hev but we were always cool with each other. We grew up in the same city -Mount Vernon- so we used to see each other a lot.

You worked with some of the best producers in the game, Pete Rock, K-Def, Sam Sever, Marley Marl, Diamond D,. how is/was it like workin with these guys? Could you tell us some more about those collaborations?

It was great working with all of them. I used to listen to a lot of tracks from them. Then, I would pick the ones that most moved me and it was maybe not always the typical signature sound of theirs, but it was the tracks I selected that helped make my discography and some history! One thing you will notice if you listen to my songs with these producers, on my album ?Classic Bangerz Volume 1? or ?Shock Frequency?, is that all these different producers were used, but there is a consistent vibe and sound of these albums that does not bounce all over the place. That is my special magic that makes me the artist. I am and was the A&R. I selected all the music used on these albums.

Pete Rock?s not on ?Signatures of Ill?, how come?

To be honest I wanted to get away from the big tyme producers on my work to show some of the people, that maybe give my producers too much credit on the songs we made together, A.D.O.R. makes good records no matter who the producer is, if you know what I mean? I want my talent to be the forefront of my identity not the producers of my music if you can feel what I am saying.

Definitely. And is there still a chance that you two are gonna work together in the future?

Yeah we will. One thing about me and Pete is that we were never able to really do a lot of work together because of business reasons and street politics. But the times we were in the studio together, we always clicked well. Just a lot of stuff was in the middle of our musical work together. I am gonna see about him remixing one of the songs from my new album ?Signature of the Ill?.

Fatboy Slim used your voice on one of his hit records (alongside a sample of Lord Finesse). How did that come together?

The song is ?Renegade Master? and the lyrics were taken from my a capella on my record ?One for the Trouble? by a cat named Wildchild. He made like a UK hip-hop dance song using my vocals and lyrics. He died shortly after that. Then Fatboy Slim took the record, re-mixed it and it became an international hit. I got paid very, very well for that record but not what I deserved to get from the success it has achieved. But in a way, it's all good as I think of the family of Wildchild that receives income from the record, still after the deal I did for it. It really is my biggest record if you want to measure the success of music by the money made from it. But a lot of people do not even know that that is A.D.O.R. on the whole vocal performance of it.

You've founded your own label Tru Reign in 1996. Why did you leave Atlantic?

I had problems with my production company which filtered thru to Atlantic. There are many reasons why it did not work but I have no regrets and I am very proud of what I have accomplished as an indie label & artist. Hip-Hop will always be represented in its best form from the indie side of things.

What are the advantages of workin independently for you, personally?

Every aspect of being indie is an advantage when you are a successful indie label/artist. But it takes a lot longer and there are a lot of ups and downs when you are indie until you get to that point where all of your hard work and good music get recognized and you?re making moves everyday just like a major. That's where I got Tru Reign at now but it took the birth from a major label and almost ten years of being independent to finally feel like I am a little established. Luckily, I was real young when I first came out in 1992 with Atlantic.

Where do you want to take your label? Are you gonna add any more artists to the roster?

My label Tru Reign Records is really my life work. I just want to be able to run it successfully and contribute my vision artistically to the people. I do not know how long I will be the star of my label but Tru Reign will continue to be long after A.D.O.R. stops making records. That sounds kind of strange when I say that because I love making my music, and, yeah, there will be other artists from Tru Reign records!

One artist who is signed to your label is K. Terrorbull, he was going to make an album called ?Terrorbull Situationz?, but it never came out. Will there be a solo album of him sometimes soon?

He is on ?Signature of the Ill? and he is still coming out. Probably this year his album will drop. K is a special cat, he is going to surely make some waves when he finally drops. People have been hearing him for years on records with Ras Kass, Sadat X, me and Diamond D. It's time for him to be born for real! K Terra is on his way, hold on!

?The Concrete? is a very much sought-after piece of vinyl. It was never officially released, right?

No, it was never officially released. But a lot of the songs from it have been used on my albums.

Is there gonna be a re-issue of ?the Concrete??

I do not know. There are only a few songs from that album that have not been released by Tru Reign at some point.

?Let it all Hang Out? is one of the dopest tracks in hip-hop history, which track do you treasure the most?

Thank you for your kind words. I will always treasure ?Let it all Hang Out?. That song alone has made my career worth its weight in gold. But it is not my personal number one favorite. I do not have one favorite song. Songs like ?The Concrete?, ?One for the Trouble?, ?The Rush?, ?MC Chronicles? and some joints on my new album like ?No Tyme to Heal? and ?Independence Day? are my personal favorites of all my work to date and of course ?Let it all Hang Out?!

Why these songs?

Because I think these songs show how explosive I can be lyrically and just the overall vibe of those records really defines A.D.O.R.?s sound the best! Those songs tell you that kid got some shit for your soul for real!

Do you feel like you got the respect you deserve after being so long in the game and dropping some essential work?

Yes and no. Sometimes I feel like I have made some real substantial things happen from my music. Sometimes, it's like ?Man, why don't they understand I am part of the truth of what hip-hop is?? I get a lot of love from a lot of people, but I also have seen people turn on me and my music, because I was not with a major label anymore. I have felt racism as I am not a black MC and I have seen my art being judged by my skin color alone and that is truly unjust! I really feel like I make some of the best music out there to be heard. I know a lot of these new MC's of other races give me love from when they had a dream to MC. They looked at me like an inspiration and an influence as I was one of the first ever non-black solo MC's to get real love from the hoods across the world when ?Let it all Hang Out? came out. So I would say I do get respect. But there are some rats out there that try and knock me down but that's cool. I am good, I have gotten enough respect in my career that I have a good life from my music artistically and financially. I would be nothing without the people out there supporting me and my music, so somebody respects what I do.

You have a Latin background. What do you think of early Hispanic acts such as Powerule, III Most Wanted, Kid Frost, Kurious, Main One? Were you down?

I think Latin influence in hip-hop is not recognized as much as it should be. I was real cool with Kurious, I remember when Powerule first came out I used to like their music. All these cats you mentioned contributed something to the music. I got love for anyone who put something down for the truth artist back then, put out shit they where passionate about. I love that.

You also produce. When did you start producing?

I have started to get into it a little more, but I am far from a real producer yet. I have made a few hot joints though.

Are you a record collector or do you simply dig for samples?

I do a little bit of everything, including working with live sounds and instruments.

Who are your fav producers?

In no particular order I would say: Pete Rock, K-Def, Dr. Dre, Havoc, Rza, Sir Jase.

Which are your favourite MC?s of the moment?

Ghostface, Nas, Raekwon.

Of the past? Who are your influences?

Rakim, Chuck D, Afrika Bambaata, Led Zeppelin, Brother J.

To which hip-hop albums are you listening right now?

A.D.O.R. - Signature Of The Ill
Ghostface Killah - Ironman
NAS - Illmatic
Big Pun - Capitol Punishment

What music do you like except for hip-hop?

I like all sorts of music as long as it is real I like it.

Top 5 hip-hop albums of all-time:

Cypress Hill - Black Sunday
Eric B & Rakim - Paid in Full
Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 chambers
NAS - Illmatic
A.D.O.R. - Shock Frequency

What can we expect from you in the future?

Just continuing to make my contribution to the people who need to hear music that is exciting, rugged and timeless. Tru Reign and A.D.O.R. is forever!!!

Any shout outs?

Yeah, to everyone who has ever supported A.D.O.R. and Tru Reign Records. I want to shout out all the new cats that are coming to my music now! I will not let you down - let me move you! Also, peace to Platform8470 for recognizing me and giving me the opportunity to build with you. One Love forever!

 

POSTED 01|15|2006
conducted by cpf

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