featured interview

IDE Keeps the creative juices flowin' IDE's a rapper, producer, label owner, promoter, who worked with people from Sweden, England and even Brasil. Hailing from Brooklyn the borough, he's affiliated with almost every hip-hop artist in NYC. But above all, the Shanty One is a hip-hop purist. Someone whose heart bled when Fat Beats closed, someone who's mad excited about making an album with a nineties underground icon, someone who journeyed two hours away just to get a Wu-shirt when he was younger. Time to get a closer idea of who we're talking about...

Background

In an interview you talked about how you were into your heritage when you were younger...where do your roots lay?

My father was born in Northern Ireland, and my mom's side is from Scotland, so I'm of Irish/Scottish decent, however I'm American first and for most. A lot of people complain about being American all the time, but wouldn't leave if they had the chance. I have my share of complaints, and like any place in the world there is corruption and manipulation. But spending my 20s in NYC there's no place I would rather be!

Being Irish/Scottish, which whiskey do you fancy?

Jameson, all I have to say.

Let me guess, you were a fan of House Of Pain?

Of course...who wasn't? I was into all Soul Assassins affiliated groups, Cypress Hill, Funkdoobiest, House of Pain. Muggs sound was very influential to me.

What else influences you? How do you get your creative juices flowin? Any drinks, food, rituals,...?

My creative process is always different. But I do enjoy writing with a drink. Getting a little loose before hitting the booth. It makes recording seem very natural. It's hard to just turn the switch from sitting on a chair to intense delivery. Some beers, or whiskey will def come in handy. On the new album 'For Fuck Sake' we drank a whole bottle of Jameson for each session. It was a bit over the top, but the end result is incredible. I used to smoke like forest fires but I have some real problems with my lounges, so I've cut back allot. As far as rituals; well me and Alu Roshambo to see who goes first on tracks.

How much of an influence does your graffiti history still have on the way you make music today?

Graff to me is like rhyming, it's all about intricate style. Pushing boundaries, creating your own unique form. In both elements you are trying to create a signature. Something that when people see or hear they are immediately like: 'That's some IDE shit right there'. There's a thrill in going out on the streets and getting your hands dirty. That same thrill can be achieved in the booth. It's all about what you put into it, taking risks.

What graffiti artists do you like?

I always liked Niro, he is like a ninja. Beyond having an ill style, he would hit spots that you would look at for 20 minutes and be like; 'How the fuck did he do that?' This cat must have like wires, and suspensions and shit. He always really stood out to me. There are so many cats I could go on. But Niro for the 'How the fuck did he do that'-factor. To me that's what separates a beat from a great beat. If I hear a beat and I'm baffled like, is that a loop, no wait can't be... did he hire a live band, is that a synth played, or is it chops? How did he do that? That's what makes a great beat. Something that you can't quite figure out how it was done. Versus a beat that's a loop with drums... and you hear it and are like 'wow- that's really lazy and not impressive at all'.

Music

You work with producers from Sweden, Brasil, England,... has that changed your way of working,? Has it influenced your style?

This internet age has a lot of downsides. One upside is the simple ability to send files and communicate with heads anywhere. I don't think working with foreign producers changed my way of working, or influenced my style per say. I do think it gives me opportunities to expand on my sound; and get a wide variety of production.

It's a sample based art we do. So heads in different parts of the world will be exposed to things, heads over here might not be. So it's ill to be able to have lots of different sources for inspiration. If anything I would say it motivates me, and keeps me driven.

So do you vary your writings or delivery according to the beat maker you work with?

Absolutely. I generally write to the beat that I will be recording to. Every sound brings something different out of me. If you compare what I've done with 2 Hungry Bros, to what I've done with DJ Connect: it's two completely different sounds. That's all inspired by the beats. My personality comes with many 'moods', and different styles of production touch base with each one.

It was specifically you and Alucard who founded Creative Juice right? Are you still ying and yang?

Me and Alucard were the ones to start Creative Juices back in 2001. We had worked together even before that in other groups. We have grown together artistically, and personally. He's not just some dude I link with for studio sessions. We have lived in three different apartments together, and have gone through many struggles and experiences side by side. Towards the 'ying-yang'-reference, I would say when you build with someone on that sort of level. There is a hint of Alucard within my style and vice versa. At the same time there are aspects about us that are completely different.

Tell us more about Alucard, is he named after the character of the Hellsing Manga series?

In all honesty, Alucard never knew about Hellsing when his name came about. Two emcees we used to record with named him Alucard a long time ago, because he is dark, always up late night like a vampire (he literally never sleeps). Alucard got a rep in high school for street fighting. So it was kinda a name that came to him. Dark and ruthless like a vampire. Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards.

Label

You're a fan of physical music carriers right? So you don't support the fact that Apple changed its iTunes logo from a CD into a music note? What is it that attracts you in physical music products?

It comes down to this. Music is more than audio playing through your speakers. It can be an experience. Back in the day I would take journeys far and wide to record stores. The trip itself was an adventure. You would meet like-minded people at these locations, and get to build with heads. Also there was a time, that to get music that was real underground you had to go to the show and buy it directly from the artist. Your CD was more than just a CD. It was a story, it was more personal...It was an experience. You went back to your boys, and they would be like 'How did you get that shit?' Your response would be; 'I bought it from the artist himself. We talked for 20 minutes, he spit a freestyle for me. I played him some beats.' So much more came with it. That's what moulded my generation. We were out in the streets, at events, bumping shoulders with the artists we appreciated. We embraced the culture and got out there.

I remember in like 96-97 me and my boy Sam went to the Wu-wear store in Staten Island. We were the fucking shit in our hood. Everyone was stopping us on the streets like 'How the fuck did you get that?' You had a story to respond! 'We went to Killa Hill 10304'... 'We journeyed two hours away just to get that shirt or hat'. It made what you had so much more special. People are losing so much substance these days. You download a file on your comp, and it easily gets lost in a file with 10.000 other files, and you don't give a shit about it. Now if you spent 2 hours, and went some neighbourhood you never been before. You had so much more meaning and respect for what you had gotten. Plus I love album art, credits, who someone shouted out. Breaking trees up on the new CD-case while you listened. The material aspect of an album means so much more to me. I'm a record collector. I can never settle for simply digital.

At the same time, shout out to iTunes, because they are opening gaps. They really liked Ideology so they featured it on the main page of iTunes when it dropped. Now you have my CD next to Lil Wayne and Drake etc. They are giving cats a chance. They aren't strictly going with favouritism. That's a powerful thing. The 'Ideology' digital sales were incredible. So the people at iTunes can help change the game and take the power out of the corporate labels just spoon feeding you watered down, candy coated Hip-Pop. It changes the game... instead of just Jedi Mind Trick fans buying my record, you had Jay Z fans checking it out. It's just exposure, when you take away the names.

How tragic was the end of Fat Beats for you?

Extremely tragic... I grew up there... There was a point that I would stop in weekly. I never was a DJ but always copped vinyl. Fat Beats was my haven. The people over there were always good to me. When our albums dropped they would put it directly behind the counter, always let us flood the place with stickers and flyers. It's crazy man. It's hard to really say. Fat Beats was real important to me. It inspired me though out my whole career as an artist. The day I got my first mixtape in Fat Beats, felt like such an accomplishment. I loved Fat Beats... and I might find myself wandering around 6th Ave just looking up at what once was the pinnacle homebase for NYC hip-hop. Peace to everyone that was involved in Fat Beats!!

Even as a label owner and musician, how hard is it to sell music in this day and age?

It's harder than ever. But since the flood gates are open, hopefully it will weed out the half ass bullshit artists. You have to work 10 times as hard. We get a lot of credit and respect from artists from the 'Golden Era' because they know how tough it is. And to stand out now is real complicated. This shit will wear you down. I think it had a lot to do with me winding up in the hospital. We deal with high levels of stress. I have to take on 100 roles. There's no such thing as just an emcee anymore. We don't have labels, promoters and distributers catering to us. It's on some real blood sweat and tears type shit. What you put into it is what you get out of it. We have gained a strong loyal fan base. On good months, when new albums drop we push hundreds of CD's just through our site, than digital on top of it. Struggle purifies the soul, it builds character. So I'm happy to be doing this now. I don't want shit handed to me. I want to take it myself. One thing is... when CJM really makes it, no one can be like... 'Man these cats are some over night success... nah fuck that are roots that are deep. We are affiliated with every crew and artist in NYC. We worked hard for what we got and no one can take that from us.

Every company has a mission statement. What would be the statement of your label Creative Juices Music?

Work Ethic! Endurance makes gold... Perseverance, determination, and grind! Don't Hate The Juice!

Tell us more about your album with UG...

The album with U.G. is an incredible thing. UG has been my number one supporter and mentor. It's very humbling to have him down with our label. He was label mates with Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Wu Tang. Rocked shows with Snoop, Eminem etc... and now he's label mates with us. The album was something that was very natural. It wasn't forced. We built for a few years before it was like 'Man we need to do this album!' Portals is some real 2010 hip hop. Hip-hop is dead? Nah, it's fucking live, thriving and better than ever. This album is personal. Everyone featured on it is friends. You got Necro, and Ill Bill...which to outside perspective may seem random. But UG, Ill Bill, and Necro grew up in the same building. They have a past. Everyone else featured on the album is apart of CJM. It's really a great project. UG pushed me production wise, and he def feeds off the energy that is embodied in the CJM movement. He is not the type to just settle for anything, he will turn down 10 beats... but if the 11th one is THE ONE! He will destroy it. UG is the master of animated audio visual hip-hop. It's creative, imaginative, original, unique... 'Portals' is me and UG giving all we got. The end result I think will be talked about for years to come. It's definitely some of the best and most exciting material I have ever contributed to. Its about to get UGly! Yea yeaa yeaa yea yea yeaaaaaaaaaaa!

UG was a bit off-radar the last few years...also Jise, who appeared on your 'Ideology' album...do you have a thing with picking up artists who were temporarily out of the spotlight?

Nah it's not like that at all. I started off working with Savage Messiah who was a member of 'Scienze of Life'? around the same time I met UG, and later met Jise. I don't look for artists, it all just happens. The feedback I always get is that the vibe working with me and the CJM crew is ill, and it gets cats real hype and inspired to work on more material. We all feed off each other's energy. For the past 5 years the energy has been peeking, and continues to build and draws in more and more artists.

It's just natural progression. It always starts with: Let's do a joint, or I got a beat for you. It ends with albums. We are passionate about what we do at CJM. Some artists that were in the 'spotlight'? just didn't feel inspired, or were focusing on families or personal non music related issues. When we get together it's a good vibe. It's something you can't ignore and want to move forward with. That's what we do. Things happen for a reason in all aspects of life. I am a firm believer in that.

What was the first rap album you got/bought/borrowed and never gave back?

First rap album I bought? Man that goes back to Hammer, Vanilla Ice shit like that, when I was in like 3rd grade if not younger. Naughty by Nature, Craig Mack, Fu-Schnickens, Cypress, House of Pain.... I grew up as hip-hop was becoming more and more popular. I was raised in the 80's and matured in the 90's. I remember stealing the CREAM/Mysteries of the chess boxing cassette. One of the first albums I borrowed from a friend and never returned was Heltah Skeltah's 'Nocternal'.

If you would be asked to team up with the Crooklyn Dodgers and you were to pick two co-emcees and a producer from Brooklyn, what would the line-up be?

Shiat! I would keep it how it was; Buck Shot, Special Ed and Masta Ace.. I'm happy where I'm at and with whom I work. I wouldn't change a thing. I've been very blessed.

'Ideology' is quite a heavy word these days...especially in NY...what's your opinion about all the commotion around the Mosque at Ground Zero for instance?

Hmm...I don't like addressing this sort of thing in public forum, but since you addressed it, I will answer. I look at it like this. Principles and ideologies of organized religions are supposed to be based upon brotherly love, kindness and caring for fellow man. If by creating this mosque it will bother people, I think it's in the best interest to leave it alone. There's plenty more places in the city for this type of structure. Out of the kindness and goodness of people's heart they should respect that some people would have a problem with it. Also people in NYC can be lunatics. If it gets built and draws negative attention to it, and people vandalize etc. What good does it do for anyone? Especially the Muslim community, which is already been put under a microscope. Why draw more negative attention to a sensitive issue? Islam and Muslims got a bad rep after 911. I'm not stating whether that's right or wrong. I know more than many people that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. It comes down to mass appeal. If it disturbs the masses don't go against the grain. The inevitable will happen. Murphy's Law.. NY has been through a lot of hard times, no need for more. I worked in the towers all the way to a month -or less- before 911. I lost co-workers, friends etc. As did everyone in NYC. No one wants to see more blood shed over these issues.

So what's next for IDE?

Losing my hair... possibly my sanity... hopefully a Vacation...

Shout-outs?

Always...

 

POSTED 09|01|2010
conducted by cpf

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