Likwit Crew’s most underated affiliates have been putting it down for years on the Cali underground scene, debuting one the Alkaholiks first album “21 and Over”, and producing a number of tracks for the ‘Liks over the years. Most recently, the crew brought forth their first major offering, “Soundpieces: Da Antidote”, a collection of original, dirty beats, and fun loving hip-hop from the good old days. While certain mainstream hip-hop magazines have blasted the Lootpack for “one dimensional subject matter”, that being the execution of wack emcees, those with ears still glued to the underground recognize the brilliance of Madlib’s SP-12 freaking, and the goldmine of obscure samples that make up his beats. Despite these negative reviews, the group’s independently released album has reached 20,000 units sold.
Are you guys from L.A.?
Wildchild: No, we’re from Oxnard, California.
Dj Romes: It’s between Frisco and L.A., but it`s closer to L.A.
What kind of neighborhood do you live in?
Wildchild: It’s not the ghetto, maybe more suburban.
Dj Romes: It’s very small, a lot of fields, farmlands and so on.
Did the social enviroment shape your music?
Wildchild: Where we stay hasn`t really shaped it.
Dj Romes: The music is what shaped it. Hip-Hop. It’s not where you from, it`s where you at. I think our music is pretty universal. That`s what we rely on. We heard hip-hop and it just clicked. We started doing experimental stuff, doing our own thing, Dj-ing and everything. We had good acces to radio. The collage radio stations started playing hip-hop in 1978 and ’79.
What are your past and presence influences?
Madlib: My parents, a lot of jazz musicians, all the world music, old school hip-hop, all the real music…
Dj Romes: The people who started it, of course. Dj Kool Herc, Grand Wizard, Dj`s like Charlie Chase, DST, Grandmaster Flash …
Wildchild: Kool G Rap, Ultramagnetic Mc’s, KRS-One, Gang Starr …
Madlib: Miles Davis, Thelemous Monk, John Coletrane, The Meters …
Wildchild: The Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship …
Project Blowed ?
Wildchild: Yeah, it gave a lot of people who haven’t got deals a chance to show their skills and to come together …
Dj Romes: Do you know what it was called before?
Dj Romes: The Good Life.
Hip-Hop from the West-Coast was ruled by gangster rap for a very long time. Did that bother you?
Madlib: No, it doesn`t bother me.
Wildchild: I was just worried that it would put a wrong impact on hip-hop music.
Dj Romes: It didn`t start as gangster stuff, but with people like NWA or Ice T it turned out that way. Ice T was actually the first one, but he was straight up hip-hop and it just eventually went up to gangsta stuff because he talked about things he was seeing. ThereÂ´s good gangsta rap and there`s bad gangsta rap.
Madlib: There are a lot people who don`t live that life and are talking about shooting people and all that, that`s the only thing we trip off.
Dj Romes: But right now, it’s looking real good cause we have got real good radio teaching everybody about the true hip-hop. When you turn on the radio right now in L.A. you will hear the Beatjunkies, all the Beatjunkies on big commercial stations. Every Friday and every Saturday they play all the independent stuff like Dilated, Lootpack and also Breakbeats. That`s the vibe right now and it`s helping us a lot.
Wasn`t it hard for you to get into the game?
Madlib: Yeah, it was very hard.
Wildchild: We had to go through a lot of stereotypes just because of the area where we’re from.
Why’s the independent movement happening now? Just because people are fed?
Wildchild: Yeah, as far as the artist themselves, I think it gives a more and better chance to trie to come different with the type of music and stuff because everyone already knows what the whole area is about.
Dj Romes: It’s going back how it started and it`s going round in circles. I`m sure gangsta rap will come back and it`s still here these days. I mean you got people like Too Short. He’s one of the dopest and he stays original.
Madlib: A lot of Too Short`s running around, yeah.
WhatÂ´s the difference between the L.A. and New York?
Wildchild: Is there a difference? Hmm, I feel a difference as far as the clarity of the music. East Coast was more underground, but the clarity wasn`t as good and that`s the time when the West Coast seems to be more shining with a lot of clarity in the music. Now underground is started to put up more clarity in the music and stuff on both sides.
Dj Romes: It’s no more like West Coast and East Coast.
Could you please explain what “bringing back to the essence” really means?
Wildchild: Basically, hear the music and enjoy it. Doing it from the heart.
Dj Romes. Just getting people together and that`s how the cultural movement of hiphop started. We just going back how it started.
Wildchild: You got the industry taking over a lot of artist and forcing them some form of gimmick these days.
Madlib: They don`t come up with some original material.
Wildchild: We’re pretty much trying to be more positive. We’re talking about concepts and stuff. It’s one thing to express negative things in the music like when people start thinking about gangsta music. Rather than using that lesson that you went to to show the people how not to do, you know, we don`t follow that path. We don`t really following to that categories to distinguish between good and bad music, we just pretty much try to keep pushing good music.
Doesn’t “bring back to the essence” implies that nothing new is gonna happen and that everything is already said and done? What is it that this new generation of hip-hop has to add?
Wildchild: More original material, stuff you havn`t heard…
Madlib: Different styles and flows, better mixes, hmm, a new generation …
Are their new values or messages?
Wildchild: We pretty much talk about influence of life, drugs and stufff like that, that people don`t have to do it and whether youÂ´re an artist or not, try to be creative with your own.
But hasn`t hip-hop grown from a “Youthful Expression” (like A.T.C.Q said) to a higher plateau? I noticed the pictures of your kids on the CD inlet and this kind of family orientation isn`t quite a common virtue in hip-hop until now, isn`t it?
Wildchild: Right! My whole expression is right now with my family and stuff. They inspire me to do what I`m doing with the music and everything. So I really want to support everyone who supports me.
Dj Romes: It’s like it is, it comes from the heart. Do whatever comes from the heart. It’s just us, we’re just doing what we feel and that`s it. We’re just doing it our own way. We are just in the studio and it comes out that way. It sounds good to us. Independend label, do whatever we want.
How would you define the relationship between mainstream and underground?
Dj Romes: All the mainstream was once underground. We could be underground right now, but then all of the sudden the radio starts playing our music and it could change.
Wildchild: But it also has got a lot to do with the music …
Dj Romes: It all goes back to the street. Mainstream always looks at the street to see what`s going on. So whatever is in the mainstream is mainly already old and there`s already something in the underground that`s gonna take it`s place.
Wildchild: What the industry tries to formulate is that you sound like other groups on their label. Usally the undergound artists has a more of chance to be creative and to come up with different types of stuff.
Isn’t it dangerous to stick to the underground and finally to fall in this underground pit where you can’t get out? Do you consider to be more mainstream orientated next time?
Wildchild: The music that we pretty much use will be more universal, cause it`s always gonna be like that and I guess it will be more focused next time.
Madlib: It’s gonna be the same but differnt, it`s hard to explain.
Dj Romes: We don`t even know yet.
Few people actually critized the album for being too long …
Madlib: We do what we feel. I like that. A lot of albums are very short nowadays and that why we`re trying to bring it back to the old days. This album is just a day in life.
Dj Romes: And we got a few albums ready to go.
What do you want to achieve?
Wildchild: The whole focuse is pushing the underground to a mainstream audience.
Madlib: We’re trying to bring the real stuff.
You`re part of the Likwit Crew, how did you fall into Stones Throw?
Wildchild: We were already working on our own material before we were down with the Likwit Crew. The things that we went through the past three years was little read between the linie type-contract, you know. It just coincenditial happen.
Madlib: We shopped a lot of stuff.
Dj Romes: Yeah, like the first Likwit albums were part of one of our demos in 1990. The Liks picked up their favorite songs from our demo and put it on their album. Lootpack started about 1989 but we`ve been all friend since 1984. We been struggeling through differnet labels , trying to get signed since 1990 and we ended up at Stones Throw and that`s just the best things that could have happened.
Wildchild: Basically it was like all over this long period of ten years gave us a chance to create and define our material. We kinda completed the album already in 1996 or 1997 itself. But before we had a lot of demos and the (major) labels tried to form us to sound like other labelmates. So the whole thing at the time when Tha Alkaholiks or Xzibit came out was that we should be another Alkaholik or Xzibit group.
Your album is from 1996/1997?
Madlib: Not all of it. It’s like a mixture.
Who did the beats on the album?
Wildchild: Madlib. All the groups that you hear on the album he does the beats.
Madlib: We’ve got five groups with two albums each ready to get on a label who want`s to pick them up.
Wildchild: We try to formulate a foundation like Souls Of Mischief first came up with The Hieroglyphics. They tried to keep it more group orientated with their area. They had their own producers who did all the music cause it just worked out that way.
How would you describe your music?
Madlib: B-Boy Music.
Dj Romes: Music from the heart.
Madlib: It’s all raw but yet universal.
Dj Romes. Experiments with differnt sounds. Soundpieces.
Okay. The Antidote. Does it refer to hip-hop only or does it contain a broader meaning?
Wildchild: Yeah, both. As far as hiphop music, I feel ‘The Antidote’ is like a chance to show a lot of hip-hop whether it`s underground or mainstream, as far as, not really what should played and what should be focused on , but the cloning of other mc to another mc and we pretty much feel like that without having to do that ‘The antidote’ will show you don`t have to clone other people to have that type of sound. As far as the way of living and stuff like that, it definitly has a influence on people who aren`t even in the hip-hop music. Just expressing that hip-hop can be positive and doesn`t always have to be negative and as far as the music you can enjoy, it’s not something that`s too hardcore and….. hmm, I can`t get into poitics too much now …
That`s also hard to figure out with your lyrics. ‘The Antidote’ seems to consist of 90% battle lyrics at first, but if you listen to it more closley it like, you get a bigger picture …
Wildchild: Me personally, I like those types of albums that I can hear over and over again and, you know, I pick up little things here and there over the time and I enjoy it. There are some albums who hit you right from the beginning. We trie to show different types of sounds. Some people might feel it`s too long, but when you get into it, listen to it more, one day it hits you different.
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