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El da Sensei Another global take-over El Da Sensei is one of those rappers who have always stuck around. Whether with Tame One as The Artifacts or solo with a producer from anywhere in the world, the Crowd Pleasa always got fire. After the Brick City Kid's first attempt to take over the globe with Poland production team The Returners, they're coming back with a second instalment, entitled 'Nu World'. And like that isn't enough'. The Artifacts are getting down with the git down again. But first...

El Da Sensei is one of those rappers who have always stuck around. Whether with Tame One as The Artifacts or solo with a producer from anywhere in the world, the Crowd Pleasa always got fire. After the Brick City Kid's first attempt to take over the globe with Poland production team The Returners, they're coming back with a second instalment, entitled 'Nu World'. And like that isn't enough'. The Artifacts are getting down with the git down again. But first...

How did you get in touch with the Returners?

I met the Returners, Lil and DJ Chwial, through DJ Illegal from The Snowgoons in Germany. He asked me to do a drop for DJ Chwials mix CD. No problem, then they asked for a verse for a group named Afront from their hometown. Next thing you know they asked me how I felt about doing an EP with them...I was like 'Let's go!'. They flew me to Poland and for the last 3 years, we've been bangin shit out.

Tell us more about those guys...

They are both from Torun, Poland and their biggest influences are DJ Premier and DJ Revolution.

What is it that makes the chemistry between y'all?

I think the chemistry comes from the love we all have for the music and craft. The feeling of knowing we are making a project that the whole world will embrace. It's also important to show whether from Poland or the States, we have the same taste in music. Period.

The album issued in Poland under the Asfalt label with another cover. Was it the original plan for Coalmine to take over for the rest of the world or did they pick it up as soon as they heard how dope the Asfalt release was?

It was always the plan for Coalmine Records to do the bigger market push and we also wanted to have a different look and feel to the EU version. We wanted both markets to get something different. For instance, the Poland LP on Asfalt has red color, limited-edition vinyl - 2LP.

How come the covers switched up?

For Coalmine's version, we wanted to do a comic issue as well to appeal to the fans who love artwork on the cover and a little more flare.

Tell us more about the guests you got on the album?

Now the guests on the LP is too hot. We got Treach (Naughty By Nature), Sean P, Rakaa Iriscience, Akrobatik, Tiye Phoenix, Reks, John Robinson, Bekay and Doujah Raze on the Poland/EU version. Everybody sounds like they wanted to be on this LP...and I love that!

You've been working with international producers since the early 2000's (e.g. on the 'Relax Relate Release' album). You worked with people from Denmark, Norway, to Croatia and Japan. How come you've always have attracted by the 'overseas'?

I just feel like I don't care where you come from...abroad or stateside. If your shit is hot, I'm takin it! I don't discriminate any sound or producer no matter where they're from. It just so happens that a lot of the heat I was coming with was coming from my EU peeps and I will continue to support what's hot.

In an interview with UrbanSmarts in 2003 you stated: 'I think with underground now, you gotta have all these big ass words in order to get your point across. When you can just keep it simple. Anybody just goes and tries to beat it around the bush.' Anything changed since then?

Nope, nothing has changed, just the scene's a little bigger and a hell of a lot more MC's in the game. Simple is still the motto, but simple as in the formula and not the message. The outlook is always to crack your skull and more now today than ever, we have to be skilled enough to be equipped for battle.

In the same interview you told about finding your 8-year old son nodding his head to your solo debut. Is he still checking your music?

My son is 16 now. Autistic and yes, still loving my music. He digs anything I do and catches my voice quickly. I kinda still get chocked up about the fact that maybe one day he will never speak, but we do sign language and he is very independent and music is his best friend. I have no choice but to keep going on with the mic...you know'

How hard is it to travel as much as you do and be a father at the same time?

My family really helps me in that department...you know' If it wasn't for that, I would not have a career, I'm very fortunate. I talk to them when I'm on the road, but not as much when overseas.

I read the interview with HipHopSite where you talk about being an action hero. I'm not gonna ask you to explain that again, but a lot of action heroes are around to rescue. What is your specialty?

Well my music is like going into an action movie. It's like going to that Matrix or Machete, explosions, glass flying slow motion bullets and shit (laughs). But you know what you're getting: no filler, no bullshit!

In 2006 you told us 'I have a plan, a big one, it's not just about El Da Sensei, we have to save hip-hop, not destroy it.'. How much has this plan come together yet?

So far the plan has been working. I teamed up with The Returners, now Coalmine. You can say things have adjusted and are going very well.

You always said you are a hip-hop fan as well, is that one of the main ingredients why the love for this music is still burning' The balance between loving and contributing' How do you look at that?

I mean this is a job first....we are employed by the fans. So I have to perform well. I learned in this game you are as good as your last record, so I must be consistent. The competition is tremendous now, and you can be forgotten about quickly if you get too comfortable. As a fan of hip-hop, it helps me know who's out there and who's worth working with.

You officially confirmed the return of The Artifacts recently. We're excited to hear that. As you had less contact with Tame after the 'split', when was the turning point for you both to find each other again on a personal and artistic level?

Me and Tame have been speaking now for more than a year, so we we're just waiting for the right time to make the announcement. The people want this, and now so do we. Thanks to my man Foul Mouth Jerk (Ashville, NC), he collaborated with me and Tame for his new LP and that was what broke the ice for me and Tame. Same studio, same room, and now we back to burn shit up again.

When is the new Artifacts due?

No deal yet or release date, just studio for now and pickin beats.

You and Tame always had an ear for consistent production: Tame proves that on his Parallel Thought-produced albums, and you also work with a fix production team for the last two albums. Is this a coincidence?

It just shows how much we still respect the craft and what we learned in the group. With the reputation we've built, we have to keep the good music coming.

Last questions:

What recent releases do you dig?

I like Black Milk and Guilty Simpson, Sean P, a bunch of Cali mc's, Pharoahe Monch,...

Do you still listen to Kurtis Blow's 'The Breaks' a lot?

Nah no kurtis for me...(laughs). Only in the club!

Do you have any embarrassing studio anecdotes to share?

I remember one time we ordered so much food in the studio the damn label found out and our budget got cut to only like 50 dollars booooooooooooooo (laughs)

What's next for El da Sensei ?

Working on the new Artifacts LP and a ton of solo shit coming. Look out for a few features too. I'm always working, man...I have to.

Shout-outs?

Shouts to you, The Returners and all the heads in Poland, Matt Diamond and Coalmine Records, Tame One, DJ Kaos and to the fans who keep me alive. Be easy!

Peace and thanks for the interview!

 

POSTED 09|01|2010
conducted by Wulf

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