HHS: Virginia’s state slogan is “VA Is For Lovers.” Yet, with Teddy Riley, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Neptunes and now your emergence, perhaps it should be redubbed “VA Is For Beatmakers,” is it something in the water down there?
Nottz: It’s gotta be! Some of the best backdrops for the biggest Hiphop and R&B artists come from right here in Virginia!
HHS: Your name is definitely on the rise, you’re getting accolades from fellow artists and more mainstream Print Magazine coverage, do you feel you’re finally starting to get the recognition you deserve?
Nottz: Hell no, because I have to be changing my shit up because of a new cat trying to soun like me or others in the game! They will take your shirt, add some of their shit too it, call it there’s and get rich off of it.
HHS: We also hear you were recently named one of Urb Magazine’s “Hot 100″ artists for 2005, that’s a good look no?
Nottz: Hell yeah, that’s a great look!
HHS: You have worked with a slew of veritable hip-hop heavyweights, but what is more rewarding for you, working with someone like Ghostface, or working with that next dude that everyone is going to be hyped for?
Nottz: Definitely the “next dude,” its fresh meat for the wolves; everyone’s likes that new shit!
HHS: What producers, past and current, have had an influence on you?
Nottz:PETE ROCK, DIAMOND D, NEPTUNES,LORD FINESSE,EASY MO BEE, DR.DRE, BATTLE CAT, Q.TIP, PREMO, DA BEATMINERS, KANYE,JUST BLAZE, DJ SCRATCH, ALCHEMIST,JAY DEE ,ETC.! The list could go on for day’s dawg!
HHS: There is a lot of talk about the lab 9th Wonder and Little Brother have setup in North Carolina as a place artists can go to get busy and really focus on working, but we’ve heard your work ethic is ridiculous and you have a similar coziness to your lab, how many beats tracks would you say bang out a week?
Nottz: I’ll mash out about three to four tracks a day, you do the math on that (laughter). I stay grinding!!
HHS: When you get into that creative mode, do you sit down and specifically cater beats to certain artists, or do you just go with what you feel?
Nottz: I do what I feel. The one thing I hate is for an artist to tell me he wants a track like this and that. Get off the next man dick ya know! Get your own identity. After all, who’s to say you’ll sell like him (next man) anyway?
HHS: Being that you’re all from Virginia, we’d love to hear Pusha T and Malice (The Clipse) on one of your tracks, any chance of that happening in the future?
Nottz: They already have already gotten on one of my tracks before. I did a joint for a lava spitting ni**a from Texas named K.Ruger (Jay-Z signed him to Def Jam), he’ll be dropping soon. The song is crazy, everybody did their thing!
HHS: Your about to release a mixtape/LP with D.M.P. on 3-22-05, can you break down the project for us and tell us how long you’ve been working together and what drew you together for this project?
Nottz: Well, the mixtape is coming out via Koch and is really on some hood shit. Some of the songs we already had in the stash; we work everyday so you can imagine how many songs we already have! We got a few nice features (Royce, Canibus, Petey Pablo, Krumbsnatcha, FamLay) on it as well.
HHS: You guys really flip the script on New Edition’s “Mr. Telephone Man” (“Mr. Smif N Wesson Man”) how did that idea come about?
Nottz: Dawg, I always loved that shit homey! I was always singing that shit around the crib and studio to myself! One day I was in the lab cooking up a track, I laid a hook to it, D.M.P. heard it, wanted to fuck with it and baam—-it’s a wrap!
HHS: Besides the D.M.P. project, you’re also working on two highly-anticipated releases with Royce 5’9 and Canibus. How are those projects shaping up?
Nottz: First, both are incredible emcees! But one of the albums is turning into a mixtape (Canibus) because someone is leaking songs. Royce’s LP is coming along CRAZZZEE! Trust me, you’ll all see and hear!
HHS: No one questions Royce and Canibus’ lyrical skills, but at this point both of their Achilles Heels have been their inability to generate a commercial accessible single, has that been discussed internally as something they’d like to remedy with you?
Nottz: All they needed were the right tracks, they got em now!!
HHS: A lot of producers are throwing their hat into the emcee arena, do you have similar plans, or are you content producing?
Nottz: Nah man, I’m sticking to the music. I’ll put in a verse or two here and there, but no long term shit.
HHS: Were hearing murmurs that you will be involved in some capacity working on Dr. Dre’s Detox LP, would you like to confirm or deny those rumors?
Nottz: Yeah MAANNN! I gotta joint on it! Right now, it’s the first song on the LP; if everything goes as planned!
HHS: What else should we keep our ears on in regard to who you’re working with this year? And any parting comments?
Nottz: Well, there are allot of joints I got my imprint on; Corey Gunz, Royce, Canibus, Kardinal Offishal, D.M.P., Cee-Lo, Busta Rhymes, Lloyd Banks, Bilal, Stimuli a few soundtracks etc. Just keep your ears open people! Oh yeah, too all of the aspiring artists out there, do yourself a favor and get yourself a book or two before you jump in this hip-hop game dawg!
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