Tag Archives: Kurious Jorge

New Joint – Kurious

Kurious – “All Records” (@OfficialKurious / 2014)

Count the cameos in the new visuals for this RTNC-produced title track off the always-dope NY emcee’s forthcoming album “All Records Are Made To Be Broken”.

New Joint – Kurious

Kurious – “Best In The World” (@OfficialKurious / 2014)

The veteran NY emcee shares production with the Bronx’s Ray West on this relentlessly funky track from the forthcoming album “All Records Are Made To Be Broken” – props to JayEnP on those dope keyboards.

New Joint – Kurious

kurious cover

Kurious – “All Records Are Made To Be Broken” (@OfficialKurious / 2014)

RTNC-produced title track from the charismatic Rotten Apple wordsmith’s forthcoming album.

New Joint – Kurious

Kurious – “Pythagorean” (@OfficialKurious / 2014)

Mr. Uptown S**t gains a few wrinkles in the visuals for this previously-released track produced by NY’s Jay.En.P.

New Joint – Kurious

kurious cover 1

Kurious – “Pythagorean” (@OfficialKurious / 2014)

Produced by JayEnP.

New Joint – Kurious

Kurious – “Delusional” (@OfficialKurious / 2014)

Bugged-out visuals for the lead single from the veteran NY emcee’s forthcoming album “All Records Are Made To Be Broken”.

Old To The New Q&A – Ray West

ray west pic 6

Bronx-based studio maestro Ray West is what you would call a real music man. A producer’s producer. Someone who is totally invested in their craft and fully immersed in their love of Hip-Hop, yet with a genuine appreciation for the musical genres that were used as the sonic building blocks of the culture.

First introduced to most via the release of 2010’s “Everything’s Berri” album with Diggin’ In The Crates legend AG, it was last year’s “LUV NY” project with the likes of Kool Keith and Roc Marciano which fully caught people’s attention, allowing Ray to showcase his unique, melodic lo-fi style of production to a wider audience.

Having remained busy throughout 2013 working with the likes of Left Coast artist Blu and dropping another volume of his “Pianos In The Projects” vinyl series, West is looking to kick-start the new year with the release of “Ray’s Cafe”, a collaborative project with New York mic icon OC that further builds on the BX producer’s reputation for challenging himself and taking his music in new directions.

If you need to get familiar with Ray West’s history then check the interview we did last year here – but otherwise, read on as the man behind the boards discusses the success of the “LUV NY” album, working with OC and his mission to always be original.

Overall, were you pleased with the response the LUV NY album received last year?

“I was real happy, man. I mean, I didn’t expect that album to get the attention it did at all. A lot of my stuff goes under the radar because of how we market the music on Red Apples. We don’t do big videos, we’re not up on YouTube all the time, we just try to put out quality and let the music speak for itself. So the LUV NY album was bigger that I expected it to be. I mean, there are always people who have negative comments, but for the most part the album was received very well. But, I also think there was a perfect storm that occurred around the album at the time we put it out. I mean, Roc Marciano was putting out his “Reloaded” album, Kool Keith dropped “Love And Danger” around that time, OC had the “Trophies” album with Apollo Brown still working for him. AG was promoting the “Mugshot Music” project and Kurious had just come off of the Bamboo Bros album. So “LUV NY” really benefited from what everyone else had already been working on. What was ill for me was that I’d also had some involvement in most of those other projects behind the scenes, whether it was having a production credit on Marc’s “Reloaded” or having conversations with OC and AG about their projects whilst they were working on them. So there was just a lot of activity among all the artists who were involved in “LUV NY” that I think really contributed towards the success of the album”

Plus, the LUV NY album sounded completely different to what any of the artists involved were doing on their own projects…

“Absolutely. That was something I was definitely conscious of because, given that all those artists are my friends and we’re around each other all the time, sometimes it can feel like you’re doing the same thing over because you treat their s**t like yours, and they treat your s**t like their own. So it’s easy to kind of get blinded by what everyone is doing and for one project to merge into another. But then when the LUV NY album was out there, I was listening to it alongside all those other albums and it hit me like, ‘This is really different.’ It just had a really unique feeling to it and that’s exactly what I was hoping for. With Red Apples as a label, I try to keep things based around concepts so each release can stand on its own. Like, all the “Pianos In The Projects” records fall under the same theme, and LUV NY is like the same thing. I mean, I feel like we could have any artist from New York on a LUV NY project and it would still work. The original idea behind LUV NY wasn’t so much about it being a super-group like it was picked up on in the media, it was more about it being an idea and a concept that could change and evolve moving forward.”

ray west cover

On the subject of concepts, you have the new project with OC coming out in January entitled “Ray’s Cafe”. What’s the idea behind the release and how did you come up with that particular theme?

“That “Ray’s Cafe” title track that we put out online recently is actually the first song that me and OC ever made together, which was even before the LUV NY project. It was his first time being at my home studio in the basement. He came over, we hung out upstairs, had dinner with my family, then he came downstairs and that was his first time seeing the basement (laughs). Now, I’ve been down there for about the last twenty years, so it’s full of records, memorabilia and equipment. There’s definitely a lot of history down there and it has a certain feel to it. That first time OC came down there he made a joke about it being like Ray’s Cafe because he’d come and ate with the family and then came down to the basement with the walls all covered in graffiti with multiple rooms full of records. So we recorded what became the track “Ray’s Cafe” and I just thought that was a really great idea for a project. It just gave me the idea to do a bunch of joints that all had that same feel to them and we came up with the concept of us being in this old 70s-style jazz club. So we started working, getting together once a week, and boom! It was during those same sessions that we actually got some other joints that ended up on “LUV NY”, like “Legacy” and the “Acid” joint. They were both recorded during the “Ray’s Cafe” sessions and were beats that O was really feeling. I mean, the “Oasis” album that OC and AG did together had just dropped around the same time we started recording, so that’s how long we’ve been working on this “Ray’s Cafe” project.” But all of the production for the album was done with the jazz cafe concept in mind and OC really put his heart into it as well. The whole process was just amazing.”

So you were looking to create a very specific sound with your production for the project?

“Once the idea was clear in my head, I had different beats that were already in my stash that I thought would fit the concept, so I let OC hear those. Then I was also working on beats that were in tune with the foundation of the project that had been created already. I was going to certain types of records for samples that I knew would match the cocktail lounge vibe that we were aiming for.”

ray west pic 3

Did the whole old-school jazz concept behind “Ray’s Cafe” also have an impact on what OC was bringing to the table in terms of his rhymes?

“Absolutely. O was always doing the songs right there in the basement. He never came to the house with pre-written rhymes except for “Legacy” which was the only track that was done like that. Every song for “Ray’s Cafe”, O would come over, we’d listen to the tracks we’d recorded already, we’d listen to some beats that I had in mind, then whatever beat OC wanted he’d sit there, write the rhyme and then we’d record it. Every song was done that way. I mean, we weren’t documenting it along the way, we weren’t taking pictures, we weren’t shooting videos, there wasn’t a hundred people over while we were recording, it was really just a private thing with me and OC just doing it for the love of the music. I mean, I don’t want to speak for O, but I really think he enjoyed that part of the process, coming over and not knowing exactly what we were going to do. We didn’t sit down and say that we needed songs about certain topics, O was able to write exactly what he wanted once he’d heard a beat that he liked. O could have done anything on the project and I think that sense of freedom brings out a really different creative energy. I really love the music we made together.”

The fact that OC was happy to work in such a spontaneous manner also says a lot about how comfortable he was with you as a producer and your creative process…

“It’s humbling, man. I mean OC is one of the greatest to ever do this. It’s just crazy to me and I appreciate the fact that I’ve been able to share the experience of working on this project with him. I mean, O also gave me ideas about how he wanted certain tracks to feel, like he’d pull out a song by a group like Heatwave which would then give me ideas about the type of samples to use. So we were really building the whole thing together and just helping each other out throughout the creative process. It wasn’t like we were just sat there sampling Blue Note records, there was all kinds of s**t going on (laughs). I mean, I’m a sample-based producer. I can create from scratch, but my whole process starts with vinyl. I’m really just a deejay with a sampler (laughs). I mean, I’ve gone further than just using a sampler in my music, but I’m definitely a deejay first and everything else comes from that. The process of making music for me started from records. That’s the soul in everything I do.”

The cover art for “Ray’s Cafe” states ‘Dedicated To The Preservation Of Jazz, Soul And Blues’. For me, Hip-Hop has always added to that preservation of other musical genres through sampling, with heads finding out where certain samples came from and then checking those original artists and being able to join the dots between the new and the old. Do you feel the connection to that musical foundation has been lost in Hip-Hop in recent times?

“Y’know, it’s deep what you’re saying and I guess that’s just like my life theory as well. I’m always preserving and sharing and that’s always been a part of Hip-Hop culture in our era, plus before us and a little after us as well. It was all about preserving the culture and sharing with others within the culture, whether that was about hearing some new s**t that you wanted everyone else to hear or finding some old Bambaataa flyer and putting it in some plastic to keep it safe. Nowadays, it seems that people aren’t doing that so much for some reason. But I don’t make my records with any kind of malice about that behind them, I’m kinda in my own world. I’m in my own world where I’m kinda like, this is what I do, if you’re not doing it like this that’s okay, but we’re about preserving the culture through making good music and contributing to the culture. I mean, the music that we make doesn’t always have to be talking about preserving the culture, it just has to contain that feeling that lets you know that’s what we’re about. I don’t want the music on Red Apples to be talking about saving Hip-Hop in every song, I just want our music to be considered good Hip-Hop.”

ray west pic 5

When we did our interview last year, you spoke about how your 2010 “Everything’s Berri” project with AG confused a lot of people due to your minimalist production style. After the success of “LUV NY” do you think people understand now where you’re coming from musically?

“I think so, bro. Whether people like it or not, I think they do at least know where I’m coming from now. They’ve got it now. I mean, it is what it is. I’m happy to be original in what I’m doing and to know that people know that what I’m doing is going to be a little different to everything else they’re hearing. If you don’t like that kind of different stuff then you don’t have to listen to it, it’s okay. I know I have a certain sort of niche that not everyone’s going to feel and I’m comfortable with that, y’know. I’ve just always wanted to be myself with my music and that’s something I’m only going to do more moving forward. I think it works because there’s a lot of detail in the music and to an introspective listener I think they can really understand where I’m coming from. I try to make music that’s created by using a different palette.  It’s crazy though, because since the “LUV NY” project I’ve been getting a lot of emails and messages on Facebook from people who have gone back to listen to “Everything’s Berri” or who’re asking where they can get it from, but we don’t have many copies left (laughs).”

You mentioned listeners being introspective, does that also tie-in with how you view yourself as you always seem happy to take a very low-key approach to promoting your music etc. You’re not on Twitter everyday shouting about your own material…

“That’s totally where I’m at both as far as social media is concerned and also in real life. I’m a family guy with a wife and a son who just stays on the low. I don’t go out to deejay, I don’t really go to shows, I don’t do none of that stuff (laughs). I just wanna be in my basement, make music, share it with the world and then chill with my family and just have a peaceful life. I mean, I know I have to use social media to make sure people know the music is out there, but I try to keep it light and have fun with it. To be honest, I feel a little guilty when I’m posting my own stuff because I don’t want to blow-up people’s timelines, but I do have to do it a little bit (laughs). I just try to stay away from all the nonsense on there. It’s just crazy, man.”

In terms of other producers, who’s out right now that really inspires you to take it to that next level when you get in the studio?

“I have to say Madlib, for sure. I really respect the experimental styles that he comes with. I listen to Blu and think that’s he’s got a really nice raw sound. Ka as well and also Roc Marciano. Those are two brothers that are really making stuff that I love. Any new Dilla stuff that gets released I always try to check. Of course, the times that I get around Showbiz and he plays me some beats, I’m always like ‘Damn!’ His samples are always crazy and his drums are always knockin’. That brother has been blessed with a talent to just be able to create the perfect drums, man.”

I could definitely see you creating something special with Ka if you were ever to work together on a project as you both have that dope, stripped-down style to your production but you each have your own musical vibe…

“I would love to work with Ka, I really would. But as Roc Marc always says to me, Ka is like a Rakim as far as him being someone that is like a secret weapon, just sat in his lab working on his stuff, not really being seen by that many people (laughs). You don’t see Ka on features or doing a lot of stuff outside of his own material. But if the stars ever aligned I would love to do a couple of songs or a small project with Ka. He really does write profound, poetic stuff. I mean, I was lucky that he spat on “Nine Spray” off of Roc Marc’s “Reloaded” project because I produced that beat. But it would be dope to do more work with him because he’s a good dude and he’s doing his own thing and I respect it. That’s why I mentioned him when you asked about people making beats because you can tell from listening to his music that he really cares about what he does and is also very original.  But Ka knows that I want do more music with him, he knows (laughs).”

ray west pic 4

What’s the status of the album you’ve been working on with John Robinson?

“We’ve got a full LP done with John Robinson and AG which is really crazy. John used a lot of his resources to get a bunch of jazz players to come through and play some horns, we had people coming through to sing and we were just able to incorporate a bunch of elements that we don’t usually have. So that really made it special. But then I also have another project with just me and John Robinson which is actually going to come out first. I did all the beats on the SP-12 and it’s kinda dedicated to the SP in a way. The project is called “Samples & Percussion” and we’ve got J-Zone on there doing the intro, then there’s about four vocal tracks with John and a couple of instrumentals. That came out really dope and we’re hoping to put that out in the summer next year. John Robinson is such an incredibly talented guy and he really gets what I’m trying to do with the Red Apples label.  So I’ve got the “Ray’s Cafe” project coming out in January, then we have the LUV NY cassette project coming in March, “Samples & Percussion” will drop in the summer and then in the fall of next year I’m hoping we’ll be able to drop the John Robinson / AG album. So I’m really looking to keep some sort of consistency for the next year.”

Is the forthcoming LUV NY project a cassette-only re-release of the album?

“So the forthcoming LUV NY release has Lord Tariq on it, El-Fudge, Kurious, Kool Keith, AG and Dave Dar, plus a couple of remixes from people like King Of Chill on the B-side. It’s like an EP, so on the A-side there’s new material and then on the B-side you have remixes. That’s what I meant earlier when I talked about LUV NY being like a theme that can be used to incorporate different artists. This next one is actually a little harder in terms of how it sounds and also has a little Latin vibe to it because of Fudge, Kurious and Dave Dar and the concepts behind their songs. Then Tariq is on there and of course he brings a certain amount of mystique to anything he does. But it all came together really well.”

So with all this new music planned for 2014, is it possible we might see a Red Apples or LUV NY tour in 2014?

“There were plans for us to tour but it never worked out. Considering how many people were on that LUV NY project there were a lot of different schedules to work around and we decided that we just couldn’t do it without certain people being involved. So I was trying to work something out that just never came together. But again, I’m not big on being away from my family so it has to be the right situation. I would love to come out there if the situation was right, but travelling isn’t a part of the game that I get really excited about. I’m addicted to the studio and my wife’s chocolate chip cookies too much, y’know  (laughs).”

Ryan Proctor

Follow Ray West on Twitter – @RedApples45

“Ray’s Cafe” Album Trailer

Old To The New Q&A – Prime Minister Pete Nice (Part Four)

pete nice 6

In the final part of my interview with Prime Minister Pete Nice, the Hip-Hop legend talks about recording his 1993 solo album “Dust To Dust”, the death of KMD’s DJ Subroc and the legacy of 3rd Bass –  make sure you check Part One, Part Two and Part Three before reading further.

When you started working on your 1993 solo album “Dust To Dust” with Daddy Rich were you concerned about how it was going to be received by fans considering you were coming out of a successful group?

“I mean, I’d always done more of the production on the 3rd Bass records. Serch didn’t really do too much on the production end. So me and Rich were already working really well together both with other producers and on the things that we would do on our own. So we liked the challenge of musically doing s**t on our own. Plus, I’d been working a lot at the time with The Beatnuts with Kurious, so it kinda fell in together. I mean, some of the beats that they had that ended-up on the songs we collaborated on were just nuts. Rich and I were always very proud of “Dust To Dust”. Some people just look at commercial sales but we had a lot of critical acclaim with that project. I mean, listen, if that album had had Serch on it as well and was a 3rd Bass album, it probably could have done better. Obviously, we would have had some different songs on there, but “Dust To Dust” was probably going in the direction of what another 3rd Bass album would have been.”

Personally, I thought Serch’s 1992 “Return Of The Product” project was a solid album, but it did have a slightly different musical vibe to it in comparison to 3rd Bass, mainly due to the work he was doing with production duo Wolf & Epic…

“I mean, Serch had more of a kind-of R&B influence on his album. Now, when we were in the studio, we would both have different ideas of what we wanted, and at some point if me and Rich weren’t there to tone Serch down then the music would go to a certain point. So it was almost like, his solo album was the album you would have had if me and Rich hadn’t been there to pull him back on certain things (laughs). But, you could also say that Serch would hold us back on certain ideas we had as well, which is why 3rd Bass worked so well together when we were in the studio.”

Do you feel that any label politics played a part in how well “Dust To Dust” performed?

“I mean, this was all around the time when Russell was looking to the West Coast and signing Warren G and Montell Jordan. Plus, the other thing that was figured into the mix was the fact that I was working with Kurious Jorge at that point and Russell really wanted Jorge. I wanted a good deal for Jorge and at the same time Donnie Ienner at Sony offered me my label deal for Hoppoh with Bobbito. We really couldn’t turn that down. So there was animosity between myself and Lyor because had had beef with Donnie Ienner as Def Jam was going through a break-up with Sony at the time. I guess you could say that “Dust To Dust” kinda got caught up in the middle of all that. I know I used to speak with people and they’d tell me that Def Jam weren’t working my solo record on purpose. I mean, when they saw that Serch only got to a certain level with his first release as a soloist with a lot of push, that might have influenced things. I mean, Rich and I had some success, but we had no push. That was a really strange time. There were all the problems with KMD at Elektra when Ice-T had the whole “Cop Killer” censorship situation which totally f**ked-up KMD with the album artwork for “Black Bastards”. Then Elektra ended-up dropping the group. We had the tragedy with Subroc and it was just a crazy time. It had even got to a point where KMD had beef with Serch when we had beef together. We did a song for KRS-One on the H.E.A.L. album and Serch said a couple of lines on the track that KMD didn’t like. It was just weird, man. So I ended-up managing KMD when originally they were Serch’s group. I mean, he discovered them. I didn’t know them beforehand. So it was all pretty strange.”

pete nice pic 24

“Dust To Dust” came out following the release of Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and the East Coast / West Coast split was starting to happen with gangsta rap really beginning to dominate the industry. What was your opinion at the time on the direction Hip-Hop was moving in?

“I always thought there was room for both East Coast and West Coast groups. I mean, when we came out as 3rd Bass there was a lot of West Coast music out there with the whole N.W.A. thing. When we went out on the road we would see all these pockets of local artists who were big regionally, but there was always room for music from people outside of each region. I guess that West Coast sound did kinda take over, but I still think a lot of East Coast groups at that time still had great followings. Then of course Biggie Smalls came out and did what he did. 2Pac was someone who was interesting to me. When we were with him, we were touring with Digital Underground and he was basically just doing crowd warm-ups and being a roadie. I remember buying 2Pac Whoppers in Burger King and he would get his hair cut by Daddy Rich in my hotel room at the Holiday Inn or something (laughs). That’s the 2Pac that I remember. He was a very intelligent, thoughtful kid at the time. It just seemed that when he was in “Juice”, which Daddy Rich was in as well, he just turned into this more gangsta persona which really wasn’t him. We did a show soon after that out in San Francisco and we saw him there thugged-out with the gold chains. We went up to him and it was almost like he was playin’ us like, ‘I’m too big for this now’ (laughs).”

The Beatnuts produced a number of tracks on “Dust To Dust” – what drew you to their sound?

“I had seen them around and knew them, but when Jorge formally hooked-up with them and said he wanted the Beatnuts to do a lot of tracks on his album, that was when I’d be in the studio with them working on the Kurious stuff. So then it was a natural progression and they’d play me certain things they’d been working on and I’d hear certain tracks and just totally fell in love with their sound. To me, they were taking a certain style to a different level than even someone like a Prince Paul, with it being a little darker and a little heavier. They were definitely very creative with the way they would manipulate sounds. All they really had to do was play me a couple of tapes with tracks they’d done and I was sold right there. I mean, I was already sold on them with the stuff they’d done for Jorge.”

The track they gave you for “Verbal Massage” off “Dust To Dust” still stands as some of the best Beatnuts production ever…

“That beat was ridiculous. Something else that was interesting about recording the album was that, after doing a couple of albums and seeing how much money gets wasted by using a big studio like a Chung King, we actually did “Dust To Dust” in our engineer Adam Gazzola’s house. So we saved a lot of money actually recording it there and then we’d mix it in the bigger studios. That was an interesting process, because it was right at the time when you were able to do more on computers.”

pete nice pic 27

The album had some crazy skits on it. Was that your mother on the answerphone interlude getting upset about her “intelligent son” being at a Public Enemy concert?

“I’m trying to think who’s mother that was (laughs). That wasn’t my mother. It just shows you how long it’s been since I fully listened to the album (laughs). Right at that point, it was around the time that the Jerky Boys were coming out, so that interlude was definitely influenced by that. That was one of my favourite interludes as well. But it definitely wasn’t my mother. It was one of my friend’s mothers. Now you’ve got me thinking and I definitely have to play that back and try to figure out who it was (laughs). The “Pass The Pickle” skit was funny because that was MC Disagree & The Re-Animator. Their stories are funny because those dudes basically hung out with us when we were still trying to make it as 3rd Bass and obviously they had the tie-ins with the Beastie Boys and everything. But at a certain point, John, who was the Re-Animator and lived on the Lower East Side, when we did the first album we had that part where we said you can call up our man Re-Animator and put his number out there. We did all that s**t totally unplanned, just gave out his number and didn’t even tell him. At any point, he would be at home and he would have girls calling him up from Sweden or whatever. But he loved it because he would actually talk to all these people (laughs). That’s actually how he met a guy who would become a good friend to mostly all of us, this kid Beckham. He started to come to a lot of our shows. He called-up John, John got him in touch with us, then next thing you know this kid’s doing the shows with us (laughs). It was nuts.”

So it was the ultimate fan hotline…

“I mean, you think you’re doing something just as a goof, and then John was just getting calls all day long. I remember, he had some calls from people trying to buy Serch’s underwear (laughs). It got to the point where I used to give him stuff to send out to people (laughs). I mean, I had a fan show up who’d tracked me down just recently who collects all kinds of 3rd Bass memorabilia. I have to laugh because I’ve been collecting baseball memorabilia since I was a kid and my interest is in fraud in that particular industry, so I’ve been known to track down old-time baseball guys in the same way that this guy tracked me down. So I definitely had to hit him off with some items.”

I guess your passion for baseball helps you put it into context when you meet old 3rd Bass fans who’re still so enthusiastic about the group, because you are to us what an old baseball player would be to you…

“Exactly (laughs). So I definitely don’t look at people like they’re nuts when they do approach me like that. I definitely appreciate it.”

Unless they’re asking for underwear…

“That’s when it kinda goes wrong (laughs)…”

pete nice pic 25

What was the deal with the Drednotz who were also featured on “Dust To Dust” and went on to release the brilliant “Causin’ A Menace” single in 94 on Elektra?

“The Drednotz were Rich’s group and Benz was the main emcee. Rich had gotten them a deal and that was totally his thing. But we put Benz on “Dust To Dust” on the “3 Blind Mice” track with Kurious. But Drednotz were another great group at that time who kind of got lost in the mix. Artifacts were another great group who were affiliated with us on the management side through Bobbito, and they still have a great following today. But I guess at that time, that was the point where things started to get saturated, even on the underground.”

Taking it back a little, how did you first actually meet Kurious?

“When I was at Columbia, my room-mate and the guy who ended-up being our 3rd Bass road-manager, SAKE, he was a graffiti artist and was also on my basketball team. We lived on 100th & Columbus and Jorge’s building was over on the otherside of the park on, like, 97th. So I knew Jorge through the neighbourhood and also through Bobbito because he lived in Jorge’s building. So when Jorge came-up, he would just be hanging-out at clubs rhyming. First, we got Bobbito a job at Def Jam starting at the bottom. I remember he showed he had potential over there in terms of knowing what the kids were listening to in the streets. I remember he was up on Special Ed before anyone else was (laughs). So then they had him promoting records over at Def Jam, then one thing led to another and he took it further with his own talents. Then Bobbito got Jorge a little gig working at Def Jam and so then he was around everybody and it went from there.”

pete nice pic 22

How much of an impact did Subroc’s tragic passing in 1993 have on you?

“I think the point when Subroc passed away was a real turning point. I mean, I had KMD with Serch, we were their managers, they came in as basically like this innocent group of devout Muslim artists who were very young. Then they got a little older, started to get their own identities, then next thing you know they’re drinking forties and poppin’ acid all over the place. I had Subroc come to my office several times with a machete in his coat and I’d be like, ‘You’ve gotta calm down, man.’ I remember he came to the office one time, I hit him off with an advance for one of their records or whatever, and I figured I had to drive him to the Long Island Railroad so that I knew I’m getting him on the train and he’s not going to get into any trouble. So I’m driving him to the station and he’s asking me how much dynamite it would take to blow up the railroad station in his town in Long Beach?! He was definitely experimenting with drugs and s**t and it was very hard to keep tabs and keep control on the artists that I was dealing with. Then when Subroc actually died it was just such a shock, even though in some ways you could see it coming, y’know. It was just very disconcerting all around.”

Zev Love X’s re-emergence some years later as MF Doom has to be one of the greatest artist comebacks in the history of Hip-Hop…

“I’ve gotta give it to Doom, because he went underground for awhile and was just totally out of it. Then he re-emerged doing the poetry slams and everything and just totally re-invented himself with the whole MF Doom persona. I don’t know if you already know this, but Lord Scotch designed that whole mask. Then you had MF Grimm who was also involved with Doom’s re-emergence early on, but then they had beef. But there were just so many talented people involved with what we did when you look at the outreach of the wider crew, with the whole KMD crew, Kurious and all of his people, the whole 3rd Bass army (laughs). I mean, when you look at Serch as well and the whole Nas thing, there was definitely a lot of influence all the way around. It’s interesting to look back so many years after the fact and see where everything fitted together.”

So did you make a conscious decision to step away from the music business after the release of “Dust To Dust” or did it happen gradually?

“It got to a point where personally I got really disillusioned over just the whole music business in general. Subroc died. What happened with KMD. What happened with our project. That was the time when I started doing a lot of things outside of music, then one thing led to another and it was like, ‘Okay, well this is where things are going.’ I think, also personally for me, Kurious’s first album was dope but was a very slept-on album. We had a certain push at Columbia on it, but also at the same time Nas was coming out and he obviously overtook Kurious in terms of being a label priority. But Jorge had enough success and sales, which I think was about 150,000 copies, to do a second album. Columbia were all-set for that to happen. Then Jorge just kinda disappeard for awhile and didn’t want to be involved. That was just such a crazy time. I mean, I had Jorge not wanting to get into the studio, and then I had Cage who we were trying to put a project together for. Me and Bobbito were basically getting him beats from everyone under the sun, like DJ Premier, and Cage was just like, ‘I don’t like these beats.’ Then when we finally did get him to do something, his lyrics are talking about how he wants to take out a Sony exec with a sawed-off shotgun (laughs). I mean, Cage was like Eminem way before there even was an Eminem, but it just wasn’t timely. If there had never been an Eminem and Cage had come later, he probably could have had a lot more success commercially. When I put him on the “Rich Bring ‘Em Back” record off “Dust To Dust”, he was nice, man.”

pete nice pic 23

The Kurious debut project definitely ranks as one of the greatest albums of the 90s. I remember when Columbia first started pushing both Kurious and Nas thinking how ironic it was that they were doing split-page ads in The Source  featuring them both given the 3rd Bass connection each artist had…

“That was bizarre to me. I mean, it made sense on one side because a label only has so much money to promote new artists and there were some similarities between Kurious and Nas, but at the same time they were also very different. But the thing with Jorge was, Columbia were behind him, and obviously my label Hoppoh would have been operational for a lot longer if he’d decided to do that second album. But he kinda went off into the mountains to meditate (laughs)…”

Did Kurious ever give you a reason why he didn’t do that second album at the time?

“I think it was just a mental thing where he wanted to get away from everything for awhile. I mean, we would get him all sorts of beats but one thing just led to another. Then, of course, I had the artist Count Bass D who was really talented and his album was incredible. I thought Count Bass D could have hit and blow-up more than anything, but it just didn’t happen.”

So how long was it before you actually first spoke to Serch after the 3rd Bass break-up?

“I think it was around 96 / 97 when we first spoke after the group split. The graffiti artist and designer Cey Adams had a company called The Drawing Board  with Steve Carr and they would do all the in-house artwork for Def Jam. Then Steve started doing videos for people like Heavy D and he’s a big Hollywood director now and did the “Daddy Day Care” movie and things like that. So they played a joke to put me and Serch together on the phone without either of us knowing about it. So that was the first time we’d spoken in years. Out of that reconnection there was talk of a reunion album and we got in the studio and cut a couple of records which I think Serch has since put out online. Then we did Woodstock in 1999 and also Tommy Hilfiger’s brother’s birthday party. So we were actually doing some stuff together, but we just never officially took the full-step to do a whole album. Part of that was down to me being involved in so many other things and not being able to devote the time to it. It’s funny, because both Serch and Rich have spoken to me recently about there being a lot of interest for us to do certain shows and I’m like, ‘Listen, let’s see what happens and maybe I’ll come out of the mothballs.’

Do you still ever write any rhymes at all?

“Because I’m writing my book and I’m writing all the time, I sometimes do think about writing rhymes, but I can honestly say I haven’t written too many rhymes lately (laughs). You do have thoughts that come into your head at times that give you flashbacks, but I haven’t had the motivation to actually write anything. But I guess you’d consider it more poetry at this time rather than just rhymes (laughs). I mean, I can definitely see there’s a lot of nostalgia out there for music of the time we were out as 3rd Bass, but I always lose respect for artists who are way past their prime and then try to put a new album out. I actually respect it more when older artists go out on tour and actually focus on the older material that the fans want to see them performing. But I was in the city the other night and was just flipping the stations and I guess there’s a little buzz on that new Edo.G album and I got into it just listening to a couple of songs. I thought it was pretty good.”

Are there any particular golden-era Hip-Hop albums that you still reach for today when you want to listen to some music?

“Personally, I’d have to say the ones I was involved in like the Kurious album and the KMD stuff, which is kinda self-serving for me to say that but I do actually still listen to them. But then I’ll listen to to the Jungle Brothers first album which will always be a classic to me, all the Public Enemy stuff, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest. Even going back to old Just-Ice stuff. The first Brand Nubian album is one of my favourites of all-time and Grand Puba was always a favourite emcee of mine. The Eric B. & Rakim albums. There’s just so much music from that period in Hip-Hop which has stood the test of time. I know people say you sound like an old-timer when you’re there saying that s**t was doper back when we were doing it, but I really think it was (laughs). There’s something missing in the music today and it’s just not as organic and creative as it used to. I’m sure there are artists like that out there, but everything’s just so fragmented now that it must be so hard for anyone like that to breakthrough on a commercial level and get that kind of recognition.”

Finally, looking back, what would you consider to be the legacy of 3rd Bass?

“I would hope on one level that me, Serch and Rich came up as group that looked beyond race, really had no hang-ups about that and put it out there to both Black and white kids that, ‘Hey, you can be a white kid and be into Hip-Hop.’ I would hope that would be the most enduring legacy that we have. Beyond that, if people still like the music and it holds-up years after and people can listen to it and reminisce on it as being part of the golden-age of Hip-Hop, if people put us in the same realms as our own favourite groups of the time, then that’s like the ultimate compliment. We put out quality music and never sold out to any other influences that were out there at the time. A lot of kids today can’t even begin to comprehend what things were like for me and Serch when we came out, let alone just battling people or doing shows, but actually putting out the records, promoting the records and having hits. I look back on it all now and it’s amazing that things even happened.”

Ryan Proctor

It’s always a great experience to speak with artists I grew-up listening to, but in this particular instance I’d like to give huge props to Pete Nice for being so generous with his time to ensure this interview got completed (three hours on the phone in total!) and for being so detailed and honest with his memories, thoughts and opinions.

Word To The Third!

Visit Pete’s site HaulsOfShame.Com to catch up on his activity in the world of baseball.

1990 3rd Bass Appearance On “The Arsenio Hall Show” Performing “The Gas Face”.

New Joint – Kurious

Kurious – “White Rum” (@OfficialKurious / 2012)

Mellow vibes and quality wordplay from the uptown NY legend.

Old To The New Q&A – Ray West

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York where the people are fresh, thirty-something producer Ray West has lived most of his life dedicated to the culture of Hip-Hop.

Having spent years honing his musical talents tucked away in the basement digging through old records and crafting his own unique sound, West’s recent collectable vinyl releases on his Red Apples 45 imprint (co-owned by D.I.T.C.’s A.G.) have quickly gained a cult following amongst vinyl lovers and fans of true-school Hip-Hop.

Genuinely bringing something different to the table, the humble music man’s ability to mix traditionally dusty-fingered East Coast-flavoured samples with progressive, organic live instrumentation conjures up images of early-80s graffiti-covered subway trains careering along rail-tracks built on the rings of Saturn.

Although West’s full-length 2010 album “Everything’s Berri” with A.G. initially confused some listeners with it’s spacey keyboards and minimalist feel, it also drew in many fans who eagerly awaited collaborations with Rotten Apple representatives like the late Party Arty and Roc Marciano on releases such as “Pianos In The Projects” and “The Pianos Companion EP”.

The producer’s latest project “LUV NY” is the work of a Hip-Hop super-group that would almost seem too good to be true if it wasn’t for the fact the music is already out there as proof their album has been completed. Consisting of D.I.T.C. legends A.G. and O.C., Ultramagnetic space cowboy Kool Keith, Uptown fly guy Kurious, Dave Dar and Strong Island smooth assassin Roc Marciano, the LUV NY crew’s rap pedigree is unquestionable and when matched with West’s intriguing soundscapes results in music that draws from the past whilst also looking towards the future.

Here, the BX studio maestro speaks on his early days as a fan of Hip-Hop, how he came to be surrounded by a posse of such iconic rap figures and the science behind the LUV NY release.

Beings that you’re from the birthplace of Hip-Hop what are your earliest memories of the music?

“My first true experience of Hip-Hop was the song “Roxanne, Roxanne” by U.T.F.O.. There were a bunch of older kids on the block I grew-up on who were deejays and they had the boombox outside and they were playing “Roxanne, Roxanne”. I was still a little kid, about eight or nine-years-old, but I was just totally mesmerised by that song. I mean, I always loved records even before that. I was like a record collector as a child (laughs). I had like old comic book records and things like that. So I started buying rap records around that time and I also got along with those older kids so I started deejay-ing around when I was about twelve-years-old. I already had a bunch of rap records from collecting beforehand, but those older guys helped me out and gave me a turntable, a mixer and I started really deejay-ing. So to answer your question, it was the deejays in my area and “Roxanne, Roxanne” that really made me fall in love with this music.”

Given that you were so young at the time were you already aware of the historic connection between the Bronx and the music you were discovering or was that something that came later?

“I learned about the history through really listening to brothers on the block. I mean, I really couldn’t get enough of the music and the culture. I was watching “Beat Street”, “Wild Style”, listening to KRS-One and analysing lyrics. Then the older cats would tell me about the records and artists before my era like the Sugarhill releases and Melle Mel and they would always tell me to respect where the music came from. So I really learnt about the history of the culture through listening to the music and from the older cats.”

When did you make the transition from deejay-ing to producing?

“It was awhile after I started deejay-ing. I deejay-ed from the time I was twelve to when I was in my twenties. I mean, we used to make songs in high-school but we didn’t have a sampler or anything, I’d just beat-juggle to keep the breakbeats going like “Impeach The President” and my friends would rhyme. So I was always around emcees but they would rhyme over instrumentals or breakbeats, not beats that I’d made. I was in my early twenties when I first brought a sampler and then I started making beats. But I didn’t really consider making a song or getting into the business. I was deejay-ing all over town in Manhattan and around the Bronx and then I was making beats for myself in the basement. I just loved digging through records and finding samples. I didn’t really try to make a proper song until I’d been making beats for about five or six years.”

Did any of the emcees you were working with in high-school go on to make a larger impact in the rap game?

“Most of them were cats who stayed local and just did the music thing for fun. I remember in high-school I got to meet Lord Tariq before he made any of the big records that he blew-up with. He was a little older than me but he came to a talent show that I was deejay-ing at and he rhymed over my set. I think I was bringing back the beginning drum track of Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill A Man” for him to rhyme to. We exchanged information but I never followed through with him and then he blew-up. Then years later I made about six or seven songs with him and I reminded him of that night but he only vaguely remembered and didn’t really remember me being there (laughs). All the other cats that were rhyming at the time were just cats from the buildings near where I lived. Some of them still rhyme, some of them don’t. Some of them aren’t around anymore. The only one from back then who is definitely still rhyming is Abdul Jabar who was on A.G.’s “Everything’s Berri” project and also on one of my vinyl releases. He’s like one of my boys from way back in our high-school days who always stuck with the music and he’s still a really good friend. He’s a family guy and doesn’t really work too much on music but I always try to include him when I can.”

An obvious question, but who would you say influenced you as a producer?

“I’d say Premier, D.I.T.C. of course, Diamond D, I always really liked KRS-One’s beats, the Kenny Parker stuff, Q-Tip, Pete Rock. But really I’d say DJ Premier had the biggest influence on me prior to me hearing J Dilla and Madlib. Once I caught onto Slum Village I really loved Dilla’s sound, that minimalistic approach to it.”

When you and A.G. dropped the “Everything’s Berri” album in 2010 it was met with mixed reactions from people who felt it was so different from what they were used to hearing from him – how did you feel about the way the album was received by some longstanding A.G. fans?

“I try to read all the comments and take everything in and see what people are saying. I mean, A.G. has some die-hard fans that only want to hear some traditional A.G. s**t, but what me and A do isn’t in the typical A.G. style. It’s not the straight boom-bap, raw rhyming that people have come to know him for. So I knew there were going to be people that liked it and some people that didn’t. But I also knew that there would be people who’d never listened to A.G. before who might start to listen to him because of that project. So I knew we might lose some people with “Everything’s Berri” but also gain some other people along the way and give A a fresh platform. I mean, we do some street stuff sometimes as well, but it was interesting to see the different reactions people had to that project. People listen to music for different reasons and the vibe is always more laidback with my stuff. Some people like to take music to the gym to help them workout, but “Everything’s Berri” isn’t the album to take if that’s the type of energy you’re looking for (laughs).”

Maybe for after the workout…

“Exactly. Like afterwards when you’re relaxing having a glass of wine or something (laughs)…”

So how did you actually hook up with A.G. to make that project?

“We met through a friend of mine who had contacted A.G. to do a song and he asked me to engineer the session for him. So I actually picked up A that day and drove him to my man’s house to do the song and then I dropped him back, but all through the day we’d really been getting along. I was always a huge D.I.T.C. fan and felt that A.G. was a really strong lyricist in that crew, so I wanted to show him more of my stuff and he really took an interest in what I played him. I had an idea for an EP at that time called “Pianos In The Projects” and I asked him about it and he was really interested in the music. We just really got along on a personal level so it made the creative process easy. We started recording under this “Pianos In The Projects” umbrella but the songs we recorded never actually came out as part of that project. We still actually have those. But recording those tracks was the basis of our initial relationship and we really felt like we’d hit on a style of music that was something that we’d created together that was different to anything else. A.G. having so much confidence in my sound pushed me into being even more obscure, and in turn me having confidence in A.G. and not telling him to rhyme about certain subjects but just letting him do whatever he wanted to do conceptually, it opened him up to be more free and make songs about girls and other things that he might not usually do. Plus, A introduced me to Party Arty early on and he was another guy who believed in me immediately. Party started taking beats home that I’d play him to make his own songs and then I’d see him three or four days later and he’d have two songs done. Arty lived in the projects and his house was so crazy because he had his Pro-Tools set-up, a picture of J Dilla on the wall, a gold Big L plaque and a bed. That was Party Arty’s environment (laughs). I’m kinda going off on a tangent here from your question…

Not at all…

“When I used to listen to Ghetto Dwellas before I even knew any of those guys I always liked Party Arty and D-Flow, but you always got the feel through the music that Party Arty was really A.G.’s man. But when you actually met them, you knew why Party was his man like that. Arty was a real stand-up, honest, positive guy who was a real musician. When you were working with Arty he really knew what to do to make a song better and he was way more talented than the world actually got to see.”

It was definitely a tragic loss because leading up to his passing it really felt like Party Arty was starting to step into the spotlight in his own right musically… 

“Yo, it’s so sad bro. You know that Showbiz album “Street Talk”? I feel like Party Arty dominated that album with some great work. That’s such a great album because of 80 and if you look on the credits Show thanks Party Arty in particular, so you could tell he really did a lot in terms of tying that album together and filling the spaces wherever Show needed him.”

Being such a huge D.I.T.C. fan it must have felt like a dream come true to have A.G. and Arty really supporting what you were doing as a producer?

“It really was like living a dream and still to this day I  cant believe the situations that I find myself in with this music. If you would’ve told me ten years ago that this is what I would be doing I wouldn’t have even believed it. So I really am thankful to both A and Party for their confidence in me as they gave me the opportunity to really take things to the next level.”

You mentioned earlier that you’re aware your sound is something different, so how would you actually describe your production style?

“I believe I’m capable of what I’m capable of. I’m not about duplicating someone else. My style is sample-driven music so the inspiration for it comes from digging through a lot of old records, but it does also have a lot of live components to it as well. I use a lot of Moog synths, hand instruments, conga drums, things like that. So I feel like my style is very free and as long as I believe it sounds good and it hits my soul in the right place I’m able to feel confident and work with that. So it’s really about freedom but it’s also sample-driven at the same time.”

Pianos seem to be an ongoing theme in your music – is there a particular reason for that?

“I love how pianos sound. My mother has been a piano player since she was little, she’s played in Carnegie Hall and she still does play. So a lot of the time when I’d be in the basement working on music I could hear the piano upstairs. I actually recorded my mother into Pro-Tools (laughs). But she’s not an ear musician, she has to read music, so she plays a lot of classical material rather than being someone who would sit there and vibe out and play some s**t. So I think growing up my whole life hearing the piano being played, I guess now I just gravitate towards that sound in my music. Plus, I think that rhymes over pianos from a rapper with a good voice just sound right. I mean, it can sound hard, it can sound emotional. I make beats using other instruments as well but I always feel like I move forward more with the piano stuff.”

The new “LUV NY” project features a number of New York legends coming together as a group – how did you manage to bring together A.G., O.C., Kurious, Kool Keith and Roc Marciano for this album?

“Right after introducing me to Party Arty, A.G. also introduced me to O.C. kinda early. Me and O formed our own relationship. We actually have our own project that we’re still working on, which O took a break from to do the Apollo Brown album. So O became family very early on. Then we did a show with Kurious and Dave Dar at the Bronx Musuem and A and Jorge knew each other, but we didn’t know Dave and I didn’t know Jorge. But we really got along and I loved what they were doing as the Bamboo Bros, so then we started working together on songs just having fun with it.”

What about Kool Keith?

“A.G. knows that Kool Keith is my favourite rapper of all-time. I’ve been a fan for years and have been to so many of his shows, he’s just the most hilarious, real dude ever. A.G. ran into Keith on Fordham Road in the Bronx and told him how much of a fan I was and that he should come by the studio and check out what we were doing and listen to some of my beats. Keith actually lives fairly close to me, so he came through to do a song with A and then me and Keith started working together and recorded maybe like thirty songs.

And finally, how does Roc Marciano fit into the puzzle?

Now, the thing with Roc Marciano, I had credits on his “Marcberg” album. Also, years ago I reached out with Roc to do a song with A as I felt the two of them would be great doing a song together. I was willing to pay him and approached him on a business level, but Roc was like ‘Nah, for A.G. I’ve got no problem doing that for free.’ So they did a song together. Me and Roc then started working together and while I was recording and mixing “Marcberg” we would do songs together inbetween. So now all these brothers were coming in and out of my studio at different times or sometimes people would arrive early and would be in there together with each other. It’s not like I reached out to a bunch of people just to do a project, the artists on the “LUV NY” album are the people who are around me on a regular basis who I’m making music with out of love not because of business. Me and A years ago came up with the name LUV NY and said that if we ever put together a big group or something that’s what we should call it. So I brought that back to the table and told A that with all the brothers we had working together, with all the songs we’d recorded, we could just do a couple more songs to solidify it and we could make it the “LUV NY” project. Everyone involved in the album has mutual respect for each other, everyone worked on it together and I feel like it’s special for that reason. There are no emailed vocals involved, it wasn’t about money, it really was a crazy blessing to be able to work with these brothers on a project like this.”

So does the name of the group purely reflect the sound of the album or is there a deeper meaning to the LUV NY concept?

“It stands for the blessing of being from this place. It’s not about having any malice towards anywhere else, or being critical about the music that’s coming from anywhere else, it’s just about showing what we do here in New York. It’s not necessarily about constantly waving the New York banner in the rhymes, it’s just everybody doing what they wanted to do and by doing that they’re showing you the different flavours of NYC, with Kurious being from Uptown, A.G. from the South Bronx, Roc from Long Island, O.C. being from Brooklyn, Dave Dar is from Washington Heights and Keith being from the Bronx as well. It’s just about some brothers coming together and making the music that comes naturally as artists who were born and raised in New York. It’s a happy album and is really just a celebration.”

How do you feel the city has changed when you think back to the NY of your childhood compared to today?

“I think it’s definitely got a lot safer (laughs). In the 70s and 80s it was definitely a wild place with things like the crack era and what happened around that in New York during that time. Then in the 90s the city started to get cleaned up a little bit and then by the time we got to the 2000s it was definitely a much safer place to live and visit. There were a lot of neighbourhoods that before you wouldn’t really want to go to or would even be able to go to, whereas now you can go there, sit down and have a cheese platter and some wine or something (laughs). So the city has definitely changed on that level and it’s definitely not as segregated as it used to be. But in terms of the energy, it’s still very much that same fast-paced New York and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Do you see a parallel between how New York has changed socially and the changes in some of the music from the city given that many people feel the Rotten Apple has had something of a sonic identity crisis in recent years?

“It’s weird because I just feel like Hip-Hop became such a big business that the organic element of the music became lost as people started to try and emulate successful formulas or sounds from other areas. I mean, there are definitely still good artists out there that are unknown in New York but the business isn’t built for that. If you’re going to pay attention to New York radio then you’re going to feel insecure about the music you’re making because if you’re doing something that reflects where you’re from as a New York artist it’s not going to sound like what they’re playing on the radio. It’s all good for people to monopolise the business like that, but the culture will still be here when they’re done making their money out of Hip-Hop. But I really try to avoid all of that stuff. I don’t listen to the radio at all, I don’t pay attention to pop artists and what they had for lunch, I don’t do that. But at the same time, I don’t want people thinking that all I’m listening to is “Return Of The Boom-Bap” from KRS-One because I listen to a lot of new artists and am constantly buying music from those artists because there is a lot of quality out there that you’re not hearing about on the radio etc. But I really try to avoid getting caught up in all of that stuff and I don’t move in those circles because if you stay away from that type of energy that you can’t become infected by it to the point where it starts to influence what you do.”

Do you find it frustrating when people think that just because you’re being critical of new music that must mean you only listen to old Hip-Hop instead of understanding that you’re actually also listening to new artists who just aren’t being promoted by that mainstream machine?

“I hate it when people think that. It’s almost like mass brain-washing the way these major outlets present artists and make people feel as if they have to like them or follow them. But someone, somewhere who doesn’t even care about the music is getting paid off of that and that’s what it comes down to. But like I said, we will still be here after they’ve made their money. Hip-Hop will still be here, the culture will still be here, and we’ll still be here doing what we do. I mean, if you look at a younger artist like a Blu who’s been making some great music, it gives you confidence that the music isn’t going anywhere and that there are still artists coming up who have that creative spark. But it’s frustrating that so many people out there don’t understand that just because you don’t like what’s being played on the radio that doesn’t mean you’re not listening to new music. I mean, I don’t really talk Hip-Hop with a lot of people outside of my circle and there’s probably people at my day job who don’t even know what I do because it’s frustrating to have the same conversation over and over.”

Considering your previous projects have been released via Fat Beats or on your own Red Apples 45 imprint why did you decide to go with France’s Ascetic label for the “LUV NY” album? 

“They reached out to me back in January and told me they’d been following what I’d been doing and would really like to put a project out. I mean, I’ve been with Fat Beats for awhile now but I know that I’m not a really big seller compared to some of the other artists they deal with, so I was looking for a smaller situation where the label could really concentrate on the record. So it was actually good timing as the “LUV NY” project was done and I’d actually been talking to some other labels here but everything kind of felt the same, so I decided to take a chance with Ascetic in France. I looked into the label and the projects they’d put out from people like Count Bass D and Pace Won and really liked what they’d done. It’s been great being involved with Ascetic and they’ve really been on top of their game and done a lot for this project in a short space of time.”

So given the numerous artist connections you have there must be some other projects currently being put together in the Red Apples lab?

“Right now I have a seven-inch EP with A.G. and Party Arty called “Dancin’ In The Rain” which is under the “Pianos In The Projects” style. I have the album coming with O.C. called “Ray’s Cafe” plus an album that I did with A.G. and John Robinson which was great to work on as J.R. brought in some horn-players and singers, so it’s my mellow production with some really great live instruments. Then we also have a D-Flow solo album on the way. We’ve done about six songs already and we also have a few choice guestspots on there from people like A.G. and Milano so that’s something to watch out for. I’m really looking to build Red Apples into being a harmonious little label that me and A can use to help quality artists survive in an honest way in a dishonest business. It’s definitely a challenge (laughs).”

Ryan Proctor

“LUV NY” is out now on Ascetic Music.

LUV NY ft. A.G. & Roc Marciano – “Egyptology” (Ascetic Music / 2012)


New Joint – Kurious / AG / Diamond D

Kurious ft. AG – “Competition Disappear” (@OfficialKurious / 2012)

Diamond D-produced Mr. Magic / Roc Raida tribute from one of Uptown NYC’s nicest emcees.


New Joint – Mighty Buda / Cause & Effect

Mighty Buda / Cause & Effect – “IGotDis” / “Urban Velocity” (Benchmark Music / 2011)

Back-to-back video clips from the Kurious Jorge-affiliated NY representatives.

New Joint – Kurious

Kurious – “High Noon” (@OfficialKurious / 2011)

Produced by DJ Puerto-Roc.

Uptown Sh*t – Kurious

90s rap favourite Kurious on MoFlavorTV talking about his forthcoming album “II”.