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HHS: How did you guys get together to do this album? You’ve obviously worked together before, but what got you together to do this album?

Skyzoo: We’ve been working together for a long time. Great friendship, great business relationship. Every mixtape or album I’ve done, except for Cloud Nine which I did with 9th[Wonder] has had at least one !llmind beat on it. We’ve always had a great working relationship. We never really thought of doing a whole project, but Dru Ha from Duck Down suggested it and I thought it made a lot of sense. !llmind and I spoke and laughed about how we’d never thought about it before.

!llmind: Yeah, same deal on my end. Dru Ha just shot me an email one day and asked how I’d feel about doing a whole album with Skyzoo and I hit him up a minute after that like “yo I’m down”. It was just one of those things that was in front of us the whole time and when you put two and two together it just made perfect sense.

HHS: You guys have a lot of chemistry in your prior work together. Do you forsee doing more of this and creating a Skyzoo/!llmind collection going forward or have you not looked at it like that yet?

Skyzoo: I don’t think we’ve really thought about it, but it could happen. Like I said, !llmind and I are real tight and have a good business and personal relationship. But even if we don’t do a collabo album again, you will see him on future projects. I’m already brainstorming my next mixtape and album to follow up on The Salvation and he’s on those already. He’ll always be a part of what I’m doing musically. It could happen if the demand is there and the people are going crazy and requesting it and the magic is still there (which it will be) it could happen.

HHS:!llmind, on one of the episodes of “Tales From The Tape” you said you wanted this to be a one producer vision. What did you mean by that?

!llmind: It’s a different approach when you’re working with just one artist or one group as a producer, as opposed to creating tracks and submitting tracks and working with artists on a one-off. When you’re working with an artist and doing an entire project together you have more creativity. I like using the metaphor of painting a picture on a canvas. When Skyzoo and I did the album together, I knew that as a producer I’d have a bigger canvas to paint on as far as doing more than ten tracks on the album. Everything as far as really molding it together including sequencing, arranging, producing and also brainstorming ideas and content, we did together. Everything from the content to the artwork to any kind of creative ideas on the album, we worked on together. As a producer that gave me the opportunity to paint a picture on the whole canvas instead of doing one or two tracks with an artist and then keepin’ it moving. Personally, I get a high from doing projects like this and you’ll definitely hear more full projects from me with other artists in the future. I feel like I can express myself more doing it like that.

HHS: Also on “Tales From The Tape”, Skyzoo said something about not wanting this to be a boom-bap or a throwback album. I kind of understand where you were going with that, but at the same time, isn’t that the sound that you’re going for? You obviously weren’t trying to make it a ‘snap record’, so what did you mean by that?

!llmind: Sonically, what I like to call it is futuristic boom-bap. And to be, there really is no specific sound as far as boom-bap. I consider it more of that head-nod music, that gritty New York head-nod hip-hop music.  The reason why I call it “futuristic” is because I’m manifesting that feeling of good boom bap records and applying to that modern day feeling. So it’s like that 2010 boom bap because it feels updated because of the certain grooves and certain musical approach that I’m using with the music. Technology has really changed music in a good and bad way, but back when boom-bap beats really started, a lot of it had to do with the kind of technology and equipment. You were working with samplers that had twelve second sample time, so you were limited to chopping a sample and adding drums to it and bass. So with this project I tried to maintain that warm sound, but still take advantage of today’s technology, so that’s why I call it futuristic boom bap.But at the end of the day it’s hip-hop, it’s honest hip-hop, it’s passionate hip-hop and Skyzoo embodies that.

Skyzoo: I think nowadays people think that if it’s not a snap record or an auto-tune record it’s automatically boom-bap. But that’s not the case and that’s why we wanted this album to sound the way it does and that’s why we went on record to say that we didn’t want this to be a boom-bap record. We’re not trying to be stuck in ’92, we’re not trying to be stuck in ’95, we’re not trying to be stuck in ’89, we’re not trying just recycle what’s already been done. We’re trying to update it and go forward. So if you take artists like us, when we were kids we listened to what was huge in ’92, 93, 94 and so on, to us that was our hip-hop, that was what mattered the most. But you can’t ask kids that are 16-17 years old in 2010 to listen to those records and understand them because those records were made for that time period. You can’t ask the kids that are 16-17 now to feel the way that we felt when we heard Illmatic or T.R.O.Y. They should, because it’s great music, but you can’t expect that. It’s a different frame of mind. So we’re the T.R.O.Y. for 2010, we’re the Illmatic for 2010, we’re the Reasonable Doubt or 36 Chambers of 2010. That’s what we were trying to do. We’re just giving the kids what we had when we were 16-17 years old, but for their time and their generation.

HHS:Right.

Skyzoo: I have a 21 year old brother who grew up on everything I grew up on, but in a different way. When I was listening to all that stuff, he was a little kid. So he’s huge on Dipset because when he was 16, that was what was hot. Wu Tang for us was Dipset for him.  You can’t be mad at them for not understanding Illmatic or 36 Chambers because they didn’t live that. So here’s that version for them, know what I mean?

HHS: Let’s talk about the album a little bit. “Frisbees” is a really lyrically aggressive song and beat-wise it hits you in the face. Is that what you’re going for on the rest of the album, with that kind of aggression?

Skyzoo: Yeah, it’s aggressive in the sense of how it sounds and feels, but not in the sense of shoot-em-up bang- bang or me yelling over the beat. People know that I’m more of laid back with a Jay or Nas or Jadakiss type of delivery. But it is aggressive more so in the sense of the beats hitting you hard. We purposely wanted “Frisbees” to come out first because we wanted people to wonder what the rest of the album would sound like. So before I even wrote it, I told !llmind that I wanted to do a record called ‘Frisbees’ and wanted for it to be the first leak off the album. I already had the plan before I wrote. So he played the beat, I said this is it, then I wrote the joint and we laid it down and we decided that it would be the first leak and it worked.

!llmind: There’s a good variety of things of the album and that was our goal from the beginning. If you listen to the singles that are out now including “Barrel Brothers”, all three records sound different from each other, sonically and feel-wise. But when you hear the album all the way through, everything is tied together and makes sense. Skyzoo as a lyricist is influenced by lots of different music and I as a producer channel my influences from lots of different genres, so I think you’re going to get a mash-up of all that, together in one, with hiphop obviously being the underlying theme of the album.

HHS: After this album drops, what individual projects are you working on?

Skyzoo: I’m going to be touring and promoting the project, but after that I’m working on a couple things. I’m going to start working a mixtape called The Great Debater, which should be out in early 2011. I was actually on twitter and a couple of fans hit me up requesting for me to do an ode to Reasonable Doubt.  So, an ode to Reasonable Doubt is coming at some point next year. Also, my sophomore album, the follow-up to The Salvation is called The Dream Deferred and that’s definitely coming next year.

!Illmind: I’m still going to be touring and promoting for Live From The Tape Deck. After that I’m coming out with my first official instrumental album called Behind The Curtain, which is coming out on Nature Sounds Records in November. After that I have a few artists under my belt that I’m developing. I’ve got my crew from Hawaii called Fortilive with two emcees Mushmouf and Slo-Mo. I’m executive producing their album right now, we’ve leaked a few songs that last few months from that project. I’m also doing this alternative pop-hiphop-rock project with a group called Smokey Robotic which I’m really excited about. And I’m also working with these two big Korean artists who are doing a cross-over project. Their names are Drunken Tiger and Yoon Mi Rae and they formed a group with Rosco Umali called Sun Tzu. So definitely look out for that, it’ll be a huge project for me internationally and here in the states. Me and Redman are going in. We just leaked the first single that I produced called “Fly”. Redman and I are doing a whole album together next year, so look out for that as well. And finally I’m working on a few side projects with majors that I can’t really talk about yet (laughs).

HHS: Dope! We’re looking forward to the album fellas. Thanks for your time. Live From The Tape Deck drops October 5th.

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