Interview with Rahzel (2007)

Interview with Rahzel

You’ve not been doing a lot of shows in NY recently. What’s been going on with you?

Me and my boy JS we been on the road doing a lot of European dates, Australia, Asia. And just recently me and Supernat and JS-1 we put together a collective The Magnificents. We been on the road with that as well. We just got back from Europe, Spain, Barcelona, Madrid. Did some Mid-West and LA also. Now we’re doing Rock the Bells. So you know we’re doing our rounds. Working on a new project, Greatest Knockouts Volume II and a couple of other things in the works. Just trying to keep it moving, I stay on the radar.

Are you doing anything with The Roots?

The Roots just started working on a new album. That’s to be determined. I don’t know yet.

As far as beatboxing, others have tried, but you are really it.

I feel that I stuck around with it for a long time. Since the days of Dougie and Biz I was rocking back then. Did stuff with The Roots, put together some magic and continued to push forward. So now it’s a whole other level. What I do inspires a lot of kids from all over the world and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m the ambassador.

Do you see that in Europe there is more recognition for old school music?

Yes, definitely. They have a lot more respect. It’s not commercial. They like raw talent, not just something that’s pretty much programmed.

Do you work with any producers or do you do everything yourself?

I mix it up. One man is not an island. There is things that I produce. I try to get other musicians on top of my beats. If I go to another producer I write the song, rap on it, play an instrumental vocally… I try to have the best of both world. I don’t want to do it all. I share some of the responsibility.

Do you do stuff with ?uest?

When it’s Roots time.

What about Scott Storch? He was with The Roots.

Actually on my first album Scott produced a track on it. It’s hard to get in touch with him these days (laughs), he’s pretty in demand. Gotta respect that. Eventually.

Do you see yourself starting a label/organization helping people grow into beatboxing?

That was a thought. I look at it as don’t try to reinvent the wheel. I think what I do is enough. I don’t want to do too much. I think what I’ve been doing is effective. For me it’s more about breaking down doors for kids to beatbox and see the possibilities of what they can vocally. Not just the beats, but on the mic, vocally. That’s what I’m really trying to show them. I don’t really try to do the group thing and under the wing… I’d rather just go out there do my thing and have kids emulate that. Like Miles Davies. Plant a seed and watch it grow.

How many shows a year do you do?

It can go anywhere from a 100 to more. Right now I’m taking a little break. Doing Rock the Bells, working on the album, due in October. Then do a Canadian run for 2.5 weeks, then West Coast run. Go out to Europe, then Australia around Christmas. Drop the album probably February/March. I’m just doing what I do. I want people seeing me what I do, inspiring, it’s good. It’s when I stop, that’s the problem. So you’re always gonna see me around.