Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present a Hiphop group who recently exploded on the MP3U scene and made waves with a sound so polished and professional that some listeners had doubts they were unsigned. But unsigned they are, and currently running off their own indie label. This interview is especially interesting because it was conducted just before the American Presidential election, so politics were the topic on everyone’s lips. And here’s how it went, with frontman Brill:
MP3U: Blakheart S.O.U.T.H., thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
BRILL: No problem, we love MP3UNSIGNED.COM. This is my first interview… So this is a big step for me and the unit as a whole. DJ T-rail DAMUZIKGOD has had a few, but this is the first I’ve done. It’s proof that quality over popularity is still relevant. I’m excited about that. :^)
MP3U: Most of your tracks are described as being silky smooth or laid-back. The ultra-smooth “Do you have the mindset…?” or “Back When It Was Ryme” spring to mind. Eric “Bad Love Junkie” said, and I quote “I love the whole vibe this… is… smooth… as… silk”
BRILL: lol … YEAH! I love those joints. I’m big into R&B and love the movie Shaft. “Mindset” was originally sampled with Anthony Hamilton’s “Since I seen you”. I remember hearing the record and saying “that organ is crazy! this should be a hip hop record!” light bulb! lol I wrote it in about a day, recorded it, emailed it to da god. He sent it right back! With a note… ”Put it out. Doesn’t need anything.” So I put the record out. It did well, and we decided to push the record as more single then mix tape based off how well we did on mp3 and various other sites. By that time we had linked up with Cotton. He loved “Mindset” the message, the beat, everything. So he recorded a verse for “Mindset”. That when T-rail’s light bulb went off to put the 2 together. That’s how “GOD’S ALUMNI REMIX” came about . It’s DAMUZIKGOD doing what he does best! He’s an excellent producer/dj/emcee. A Kanye West of sorts. The one thing he has over Kanye is this… He lives for the music and the music alone. “Back When It Was Ryme” was a no brainer. It was a remake of the 1995 Keith Murray hit “IT’S THAT HIT” .There is a trend going on in hip hop right now where they are going back and sampling out hip hop hits kinda like old school hip hop did to funk , jazz and R&B .So for me it was one of my favorite songs back then it was a true piece of hip hop. Underground feel… on a grand scale. I wanted to update it give it more of a political edge, to express the way it made me feel in 1995 to be young and black in America lol. So I chose subjects that I thought would be edgy enough to provoke conversation but real enough to stand for something. Shouts out to Erick Sermon. He is my favorite all around artist. Shouts out to Keith Murray as well . He can still be heard on the record say “yes yes yes indeed!” lol! I just like to flow with more of a Rakim tone keep it smooth and simple.
MP3U: Amsterdam celebration is another slick tune with 70’s sounding backing vox samples (almost like from a Bond movie soundtrack). I also love the clever rhyming schemes – rhyming “gods” with “lightning rods” and “camouflage”. Inspired! Is there a reason that the song is split into parts 1 and 2 instead of keeping it as one song? The first half is short and together they aren’t that long…
BRILL: I put the song out in two pieces because that’s how it was made. It was made in light of Rick Ross’s AMSTERDAM (God forgives but I don’t ). I heard the beat… I loved it. So I decided to do a promo 16 for my M.O.N.E.Y mix tape. Saint was in the studio when I did that sixteen and had it on his phone listening to it. He showed up the next day after I already put the record out saying he had a verse he wanted to record for it. I had anticipated him doing this so that’s why I went ahead and named the first part “PART 1” because I seen the look in his eye when I did that beat . He was hungry . So I knew he was coming back with something lol.
MP3U: Wow, That’s a hell of an intuition to have, especially as a producer.
BRILL: I even went ahead and wrote another verse to help round it out and give it more of a remix feel so it would seem more like a team record then anything else. It was just us being in the moment. We recorded and mixed both records in less than a day. That was a day after Rick’s record broke. You see in hip-hop up to the min is everything. Especially in the mix tape underground scene. It’s a contest to see how many beats you can do. It’s like verbal sparring, so it’s widely respected in the hip hop scene. So we were just doing what we usually do. Just keeping it hip hop.
MP3U: Listening to some of your songs I have heard political lyrical themes such as in “4AM (Frontlines)” or you, Brill, speaking as President in “Up! Freestyle ‘Zonin'”. But your latest release is probably your most political, and arguably your best song to date. I am speaking, of course, about “Politics and Bullshit”. Can you tell us a little about it?
BRILL: “Politics and Bullshit” was just a progression or should I say finale of what all the other records were saying. What was different about “ P&B” was that instead of saying it in a mixtape format I was saying it in one of my singles. “P&B” is an original song. It was produced by seriousbeatz when I heard it I fell in love with it . Reached out in the email he reached back and I wrote it a day after the first debate. They were really giving President Obama a hard time. Working class people were getting tense you could feel it . So I wanted to give them an anthem to stand behind. I just wanted to speak to my people. Not black people… not white people… Working class people as a whole. I also wanted to provoke thought to our 90’s babies because I feel like some them… well to be frank the majority of them have no sense of direction. Our greatest natural resource… the young women are really viewing the world at the wrong view. I personally feel it’s tainted by the young male view which is sometimes no better. In short they just don’t care.
MP3U: I recall in 2Pac’s song “changes” he pondered about whether he would “ever live to see a black president”. Unfortunately he didn’t, but when Obama was elected, I remember thinking “Pac would be proud”. I suppose I don’t need to ask who you’ll be voting for this time?
BRILL: TEAM OBAMA! We as a unit endorse President Obama. We do this because we are working class people. Not because he’s black . We endorse Obama because he is for us working class people who struggle to make it, but work hard jobs just to be broke. 40 hours… 60 hours… just to be broke, while the rich get richer just to do nothing but sit on their collective asses and get richer off our sweat . Then to top it off they get tax cuts before we do when they have all the money – it’s crazy. He is actually off mixed race we like that :^). We like that because he represents all of us. White… black … whatever.
MP3U: As admin, I prefer not to discuss my political opinions, but let’s just say that when John McCain was running against Obama he had a choice of either Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin as his potential vice president. He chose Palin. I think Americans ought to think long and hard about that and draw their own conclusions
BRILL: True but he ran with Palin because she was a women. He was trying to corner the womens’ vote. What he didn’t realize is that Sarah Palin is a fucking idiot! That’s why they lost. He is an idiot. Sarah Palin is an idiot. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney is an idiot too! PERIOD! PRINT THAT! So if you’re working class the choice is obvious. If your rich and greedy then the choice is obvious lol.
MP3U: Getting back to your music, I really like your freestyle uploads. My personal favorites are “grammy family freestyle” and “Quiet Storm”. When you say ‘freestyle’ is that really 100% improvisation, or are at least parts of it pre-written?
OK, what I mean is, even in live rap battles, I often feel a certain amount has to be rehearsed. When the second guy’s rap mentions something the first guy just said, that’s specially impressive, but the whole rap? Hmmm… I know pro-rappers are always composing and writing down rhyme ideas. So what’s the inside juice? How much of professional freestyle is really “free”?
BRILL: 30 percent mental prep…. 30% practice…. 40% off the top off the hip whatever you want to call it! LOL Well that’s my makeup. I can’t speak for any other emcees but with me it’s simple….A writer writes…. Always. But you are correct, we all write! Anyone who says they don’t is lying. Anyone. If your like me jay or wayne you work on a memory tip where you have an ability to write a 16 and store it in our memory and impose it on any beat and it will sound like a free style but you wrote it a while back we do it with no pen and most of the time file it all in our head. Me I like to listen to a beat a bunch of times. Then I go in and go off the top and do 10 takes the hottest like I come up with make the cut and that’s how my verse gets constructed. I also will consider a remix and write for it because I’m trying to stay on subject.
So I’ll write it to go with the actual song like “Far away” remix or “sure thing“ remix. I do that so DJ’s like T-Rail can have there fun in the mix and mix me with hit songs like Kelly Roland’s “motivation” that’s a DJ’s job to have records that no one else has so I do it to give the people something they might not hear. Again another hip-hop tradition, But if I had to say how much is free off the top and how much is written about 60% freestyle 40% written. I like that though. When you prepare for the battle or cypher or whatever it makes for a better show for all involved.
MP3U: Well said! Your reasoning makes perfect sense.
BRILL: Anyone can rhyme cat with hat and do a mother goose rap. The objective in a battle/cypher is to WOW people. You can’t do that with a mother goose plain Jane rap. Yeah that brother might have said something about what the first guy said, but all that means is that what the first guy said was so good that all he can do is think about getting him back for it. He is wondering how he can flip it and he’s got at least 2 min between passing of the mic to think of it 2 min is along time to think of how to flip a phrase. To y’all that’s no time to an emcee that’s forever lol
MP3U: OK, I didn’t realise they had 2 minutes. The movies make it seem like the mic is handed over immediately. 2 minutes on stage just waiting your turn DOES take forever,
Of all your tracks so far, what is your favourite track that you consider the BHS masterpiece. Even if all group members have a different favorite, that’s cool. Give us your recommendations!
BRILL: “ MINDSET” GOD’S WORK ALUMNI REMIX . It’s a song that was the most personal at the time that I made it. Then DJ T-Rail and cotton just took it to another level and made it HOT. Even people who didn’t listen to hip hop loved it. To me it was gritty but had crossover appeal and it spoke volumes about who we are and what we represent. I also liked the ain’t no half steppin free style because I’m a huge BIG DADDY KANE fan! Another song that was near and dear to me is “Dear Winter”. It was a song I made in light of Jay-z’s “Dear Summer”. Lupe fiasco did a version of it to promote food and liquor called ‘Dear Fall”. So I did “Dear Winter” to keep with the theme hoping some one would hear my version and do “Dear Spring “ and complete the cycle. Then it occurred to me that no one else was as deep as jay Lupe and I So I will be doing “Dear spring” myself. It will have lines like ..”Use to be an acorn….Now I’m a mighty oak/used to be a seed now I’m weed come take a toke/now listen to the words I spoke …/ I said all that to begin and all I’m doing is talking about growth!”. To be honest I love them all lol . Especially our new stuff. I’m evolving in such away. We all are that the future just looks better and better as we grow into our own selves and projects. Another favorite of mines that near and dear to me is “Angels blak mixx “ because me and DJ T-Rail rap together on it!!! It was so fun in the studio that day we was just toking away and decided to do something. Great fun with the god lol. When we get in the studio together we can have your side hurting lol good green… good friends….GREAT TIMES!
MP3U: What can we expect from Blakheart S.O.U.T.H. in the future? More laidback tracks, more political epics, or something completely different?
BRILL: All of the above DJ T-Rail is currently working with this group called Rarri gang. Doing some tracks for them. We all are working on next unit mix tape called “MT. OLYMPUS” FEATURING ALL THE GODS TOGETHER!! Very excited about that It will also feat. my GREENHOUSE INC. signee SAINT the DISCIPLE. My solo project “ T.L.D 2012” has 2 singles out and will drop 1st of the year.
T-Rail is also grooming his mix tape “the takeova” it will be out soon it’s will be a hood staple must have. I’m also working on an R&B mix tape dedicated to our female fan base. A mix tape dedicated to and name after my wife called “ Dearest Tessbacher…Heartbreaks or whatever it takes” where I will ryme over all R&B instrumentals. More from the 30 day mix tape series “ MY HEART AND MY WORD” coming in December right before “T.L.D. 2012”. Also I have a spoken word album coming called “GREENHOUSE POETS”. Lots of projects coming . Saints debut “ORDAINED INSAINE “ a bunch of stuff . Cotton’s “ Sand Skript” on his label ALUMNI MURDA MUZICK T-Rail’s mix tape on his label DUB S. A lot of big things this year and early next.
MP3U: Have you collab’ed with any other mp3u members yet? If not, who would you like to work with? Are there any artists you heard on the site who just blew you away? Genre doesn’t matter.
BRILL: As of yet no. You mentioned Eric Saltz earlier. I like him I wanna work with that guy! He gives me a Jim Morrison feeling when I listen to his stuff I like that. He blew me away . I love Essence Too very smokey sound she has . My man Andrew Sheilds (DNA CODEX) I LOVE HIM!! HES COOL! Wednesday x , Christy, etc. too many great artist to name ! ALIVE, the list goes on and on every one get at me! Trying to do something different!
MP3U: One question that is always of interest to readers who admire an artist’s sound and wonder how they achieve it, what kind of musical hardware/software set-up do you use?
BRILL: We work off of a computer based set up. I use the SAMSON STUDIO GT along with a variety of music programs for mastering and editing like frooty 10, adobe audition 3, cool edit, magic music maker, and DJ T-RAIL likes to use virtual DJ as well. I myself have a 2 mic set up. One SAMSON mic and one SHURE SM58 mic that help me get that stereo surround sound. We just believe that computer studios are the wave of the future. So many of them are interchangable and you can buy so many sound samplea and sound kits the possiblities and options are as endless as your imagination. Instead of going and buying this piece and this pice of equipment you can buy a frooty loops or a pro tools or a reasons programs and just keep up dating your sound kits so instead of all that equitment taking up all that space the board is on your laptop and/or pc. If on laptop it’s portable and you can take your studio virtually anywhere. Very practical if you ask me.
MP3U: Absolutely! And, thank you again for granting us this interview. I’m sure we can all expect many exciting new tracks from the BHS team in the near future. Any shouts out you’d like to give for friends or family?
BRILL: SHOUTS OUT TO ALL THE WIVES AND BABY MOMMAS LOL! TO ALL THE KIDS FRIENDS AND FAM YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE TO MANY TO NAME DON’T WANT TO LEAVE ANYONE OUT !!YOU GUYS ARE EVERYTHING TO US!! SHOUTS OUT TO THE FANS, WORKING CLASS PEOPLE,REVOLUTION ,HATERS, LOVERS , EVERYONE UNDER THE SUN O..M..G IT’S B..H..S ! shout out to TEAM C.E.O GREEN HOUSE, DUB S , ALUMNI MUSIC,44LO, CHAMPION MUSIC, EVERY RAPPER IN THE TRI-CITY WE HERE BABY ! THE GODS MP3 UNSIGNED.COM AKA WORLDWIDE!!!!
MP3U: Like a boss! Thank you, Brill.