How did you come to this point?
Tak: My background is with me and Cheapshot [Styles of Beyond DJ]. We did little talent shows, little demos. Around the first semester of college, I met Ryu…Another guy we knew introduced us and we ended up going to the parking lot and listened to some instrumentals. I heard Ryu bust and we just clicked.
Tak, what did you think when you heard Ryu?
Tak: I noticed right there and then, he wasn’t trying to put too much on it. He wasn’t trying to rap a certain way because he is white or something like that. It was natural, just raw.
Ryu, how about your impressions of Tak?
Ryu: When I heard Tak, I was like god damn. His rhyme patterns were so dope and the shit he was saying was so dope. It was straight off the top of his head…If I could have made my own partner on the computer, it would have been him. I think we were drawn together by uptempo music. It’s not so much you have to rhyme fast, you just got to be in the pocket with it. A lot of people, when you rhyme over fast beats, they think you gotta rhyme fast or double time slow. There’s a pocket for it. We hear it naturally when we hear fast beats, we know where the rhymes are supposed to fit in. I think me and him just got it like that when it comes to uptempo stuff.
How do you feel about being the only hip-hop act on your label?
Ryu: It’s good because they concentrate on us. We don’t get caught up in the mix of who’s hot at the time.
Tak: They’re not really trying to market us as an underground hip-hop group. They’re hitting us to completely new audiences that actually appreciate our music too.
Anybody gave you some props that surprised you?
Ryu: We would never think in a million years that the Dust Brothers would even hear our shit, let alone want to sign us to our label. That was a really big complement.
Describe your music.
Ryu: Our stuff is just hype. It’s not really old school or nothing, it’s just high energy music.
Who do you compare yourselves to?
Ryu: It’s hard to say because we’ve tried to pinpoint who were like and I cant come up with any answers. Were not like any other group. Were not super weird or anything, it’s just we don’t sound like anybody naturally.
When did rap music become your job?
Ryu: When we got our first record label check, that’s when I was like, “Damn, you can actually live on this shit.” You can make a good living putting out records.
What’s your take on guest appearances?
Ryu: I could say I want to do a song with Pharoahe Monch, but I don’t know Pharoahe Monch. We’d be in a room together twiddling our thumbs, trying to figure out what kind of song. I know how to interact with Tak, but I don’t know how Pharoahe Monch likes to do shit. It’s kind of uncomfortable.
Tak: People just pull names out and say, “do a song with this blah blah.” It has no impact just because of a name.
That’s one independent rule you’ve broken. On most of the cuts, you’re on your own.
Ryu: We don’t want to use anybody else’s name to get up any kind of credit. We want to do it all ourselves. We want to be known as Styles of Beyond first and foremost. It’s like me, Tak, Divine Styler, Bilal [Tak's brother, a one time member of it's Rhyme Syndicate], 007…
Tak: Our producer Vin Skully, DJ Cheapshot. Anything outside of that doesn’t exist. That’s it. That’s the circle we want to keep. That’s what made 2000 Fold.
What can we expect on your next album?
Tak: I think that [2000 Fold] came together well, but you know, that’s not it.
Ryu: Now weave got some money from the label, we built up a studio and everything sounds crackin’ now, sounds more professional. The album, whatever people think about it, is a really good stepping stone to the next album, That one, seriously, that is gonna be the shit. Were not gonna let that shit go until we think every single song is just ‘the shit.’
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