Interviewed by Darin Gloe
Individually you know the Polyrhythm Addicts. Each member has had their share of success in the independent hip-hop realm. Whether it was done with collaborations, solo efforts or production, you know these artists. What you might have not known is they released an EP in 1999 that is now considered classic by many hip-hop heads and are finally back together to do it again minus one member. On April 24th, Break Glass comes out on Babygrande Records. The Polyrhythm Addicts are out to make another classic and for the heads wondering where Apani B. is is and what went down, keep wondering. The other members of the group are moving past all that and feel that they have an album that will withstand the test of time. I got a chance to sit down with Mr Complex and newest member Tiye Phoenix to discuss the album and the deal with Babygrande.
HipHopSite.Com: What is up, so good to see you guys back in the fold.
Mr. Complex: what’s up?
Tiye Phoenix: Hey!!!
There are so many things I want to ask, where to begin? I guess the question on everybody’s mind is where have you guys been since the EP in 1999?
Mr Complex: I released 5 CDs, toured the world and been makin’ babies….lol.
Before we get into the new member Tiye Phoenix, can you break it down what happened with Apani B? Are you guys all still cool?
Mr. Complex: Next question…
Tiye, what was your initial reaction when asked to join the Polyrhythm Addicts?
Tiye: I was extremely excited about the opportunity. Traditionally, female hip-hop artists are always affiliated with some crew, or posse, or clique or whatever… I had never been affiliated with anyone in the past so this was an amazing platform for me. After all, I creatively and professionally respected Poly’s work. I mean, an opportunity to make credible “purist” hip-hop with “real” emcees and a “real” hip-hop producer? There’s nothing better than that….
What would you say the major difference is between 1999 when “Rhyme Related” dropped and today?
Mr. Complex: We’ve acquired a great deal of experience. Back then, everything was fun; now, we’re on a mission to hurt somebody.
So, “Break Glass” drops on Babygrande the purveyor of good music as I like to call them on April 24th. How did the relationship with Babygrande come to pass?
Mr. Complex: Babygrande saw our live show and they really liked it and a conversation ensued from there.
It’s been said that “Break Glass” means breaking the emergency glass in hip-hop today. What do each of you hope that fans, critics and hip-hop enthusiasts come away with from this album?
Mr. Complex: This album should be respected as a classicâ€¦hopefully; you will regard it as one of your top 10 favorite hip-hop albums of all time.
Tiye Phoenix: I agree with Mr. Complex…. I hope that people regard it as a classic, and I hope that people respect us for our bravery in a time when many hip-hop artists are afraid to trail blaze and be honest with themselves and the public.
Tiye, you have been compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and one of my personal favorites Jean Grae, but how would you say you stand out from those two along with all the other females in the game right now?
Tiye Phoenix: First, let me say that female hip-hop artists whose identities are unique and self-defined are always compared to one another. However, there are individual characteristics that distinguish us. I must say that I am flattered to be compared to Lauryn, as she is an accomplished Grammy-winning, multi-platinum selling, world-renowned superstar….I am humbled and gracious to be mentioned with the likes of such a remarkable woman. However, it is my personal mission to give the world a diverse presentation of the new-age female hip-hop artist. For this reason, I have entered the beat battle world and defeated its top male competitors. Many producers are politically-connected enough to get a beat placed on a fellow artist; however, the beat-battle world involves a whole different level of skill with respect to the “ear-grabbing” factor…. In a beat battle, the audience determines if your beats are hot immediately; you don’t have the luxury of heavy rotation for appreciation-there’s that 5 second timeframe to win the audience’s approval …many producers who are famous and successful would not be if they had to go the beat battle route first….Women have not been seen in this light to a large degree, as musical contenders and innovators; also, I’m classically trained on the piano and I incorporate this in my musical expression because women are rarely seen as contributors to the evolution of music as an art form, in hip-hop and beyond. Basically, female musicianship is unheard of in hip-hop, and it’s been my mission for many years to revolutionize this. Also I have a specific intent as a lyricist, which is to enlighten, inspire, and inform as well as entertain. That’s what makes Tiye Phoenix Tiye Phoenix- the new-millennium B-girl, if you will….lol
How have you changed as an artist and as an individual from the first album?
Mr. Complex: I have acquired experience from performing, and from the feedback I received from the audience members. My rhymes, my style, etc. have all developed from my interaction with my audience.
Pharoahe Monch was on the first album and you brought him back for the track “Reachin” on Break Glass. Who else makes appearances on the album?
Tiye Phoenix: Large Professor, Planet Asia, and Joc Max produced “It’s My Life” featuring Phonte of Little Brother…
What is your favorite song on the album?
Tiye Phoenix: This week, it’s “Thoughts of You”….
Mr. Complex: I have a new favorite everyday, today it’s “The Purist” featuring Large Professor.
So now that you are all back in the public eye, what is next for everybody?
Mr. Complex: Some sit-ups!!!
Tiye Phoenix: A solo record, TV and movies, and beats for everyone!!!
Any last words?
Mr. Complex: Thank you for your time.
Tiye Phoenix: If Nas’ most recent album is “Hip-hop is Dead”, “Break Glass” is hip-hop’s resurrection…..
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