Interview with Rahzel

Interview with Rahzel

You became famous for your beatboxing ability. Back in the day it was at times the only way to make music. Now ProTools and similar applications are doing the job. Where does your ability fit on the today’s music scene?

It’s the same, you gotta do the same thing even now. Music evolved but a lot of the traditional sounds that formed that made Hip Hop are still present. Beats, melodies, all melodic sounds are still present. It’s still here. No matter how advanced IPod, ITunes, internet may get, its still gonna be here.

When you begun your career there were much less underground Hip Hop acts than today. Do you think the underground market is too saturated now?

No, the more underground the better, ‘cause you get to hear the raw music. That’s how people’s styles are formed. It’s not commercialized, it’s not watered down. Its not like you gotta mix it, wash it. It’s chill.

Def Jam had signed a lot of very commercial acts recently, from Rhianna to Lady Sovereign. What are your thoughts on the Roots being a part of that label?

You’ve got to save that question for ?usetlove. I can’t even answer that question. I think the Roots are organic and you need an organic situation for an organic group. Organic has no negative connotation. Organic is beautiful, it’s timeless. It’s classic. Al Green did a show here tonight. That’s organic. Its coming from the soul, it ain’t conjured up.

Where are you with Mike Patton at this point?

We collaborated and put together a group called Peeping Tom. We got a Peeping Tom album, I’m on a single there called Mojo, featuring Dan the Automator. We are presently getting ready to tour Europe and tour domestically in 2007.

What are your thoughts on a current beatboxing act, Matisyahu?

Most of his format is reggae, more rhythm than beatboxing. I think that he’s just using that as a part of his act, he’s not a beatboxer. It’s not like Doug E Fresh or Biz Markie, you know? It’s simply a part of his bigger act in my opinion.

If you were to change anything in today’s Hip Hop, what would it be?

I think if I had the ability to change it I would give it more balance. A balance of what the corporate world calls ‘commercial’ and the balance between the so-called ‘underground’. You can’t have too much of one thing. Excess is nuisance.

What makes you happy about the current state of Hip Hop?

I still have the ability to travel around the world and do what I love, doing organic Hip Hop for the soul. That’s where it is. I’m happy about the fact that there are still a lot of groups that are quote unquote underground or mainstream. I’m happy that acts like Immortal Technique have a following. Danger Mouse… You got my man MF Doom. You’ve got [artists] like that. They got their own following. They are able to travel, they are able to tour. To me it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a matter of time till groups like that burst on the scene, become an overnight cult. They might not sell millions and millions of records but they got their own following. That’s how The Roots began. ‘92, ‘93. It was a gradual build. Tough 10 years but it was the best 10 years.

You mentioned MF Doom before. He is considering signing with Talib’s label, Blacksmith. Are you yourself considering signing anywhere?

At this point I got a few offers. I want to keep talking. I want to keep it home, you know? Common has his thing… We wanna keep it all in the same structure, keep it in the core family. Even OK Player, you know? We’ll just have to see in ’07.