In 2004 you totally ripped it at the Hip Hop Kemp festival in the Czech Republic. How do you remember your show?
I appreciate that greatly man. That was one of our favorite shows we’ve have ever done, the crowd was all you could ask for. We would love to return next year!
Why did you decide to make a solo album in the first place? What do you want to accomplish with it?
I was interested in making a solo record because I feel my creative energy wasn’t being used to its full-potential as an emcee. I had a lot I wanted to get out there and express through the actual production, not just the lyrics. I feel that I can express myself just as easily with a beat and some soundbytes as I can rapping.
Egoclapper has a superhero-based concept. Can you tell more about it?
I’m a nostalgic dude, and when I was growing up, I was in love with the golden age of hip-hop and the silver age of comic books. I wanted to bring them both to life on Egoclapper and had a lot of fun doing it.
In Incredible Hulk Rap you rap: „Everybody wanna spit, everybody wanna hit, but nobody wanna grind, so nobody is gonna shine.“ Why has hip hop got saturated with MC´s who should have never touched the mic?
Most kids are drawn to the lifestyle that has been glorified and romanticized by MTV and BET, so naturally they set out to emulate it and try to bring it into their own world. Others saw 8 Mile and figured that anybody could do it as long as they were true to the themselves. Well some people stay true to themselves, and they truly should have been told the truth: that they should never be rhyming. It takes years of dedication to the craft. You can’t pick up a mic today and be an emcee tomorrow but with today’s technology, it is easy to think you can.
Truly one of the best songs on the album is First Of A New Breed. The beat, the rhymes, the cuts, everything fits. Can you elaborate on this song a little bit?
Well Raydar Ellis produced that track, and said that he made it with me in mind. It was reserved for me. Now if my grandmother knits me a sweater and said she designed it for me, I’m gonna rock it with extra flare to show her I appreciate it. It’s the same situation here. I wanted to really flex a little with a topic most emcees can relate to so it came together like that. The Deck Demons are doing the cuts on it and they tear it up.
You made a few beats on Egoclapper and also on A New Dope. When did you start producing and what equipment do you use?
I started producing on my own in 1992-1993…then I completely dropped it when I started working full-time with 7L. I recently got back into it again, probably 2 years ago, when we decided to take our music in a slightly different direction. I felt I could contribute to A New Dope because we threw the rulebook out the window and cleaned our palette…we were starting over and I felt it was the right time. I have messed around with the MPC-2000 and the SP-1200 but Celph Titled showed me the first version of ACID and that’s what I do a lot of the stuff on now…I’ve been using it so much that making beats has become an extension of my will.
Is Fly Casual Creative going to release just stuff by 7L & Eso or even albums by other groups and MC´s?
We are keeping it for just us right now. I feel like any artist with a head on his shoulders needs to be very concerned with how his project is being handled. I feel like every artist needs to badger and harass his label until things get done. They need to make sure they are paid what they are due. As an artist, I know it difficult to meet such lofty and ambitious goals and you have to take a lot of the frustration out on the label and blame them sometimes. At this point in time, I don’t want to deal with that from other artists so we are keeping Fly Casual for ourselves.
With A New Dope you and 7L completely changed your sound. Who (of you two) and why came up with the idea of doing something different?
We both did. We were tired of following the same format that are last records fit into. We wanted to spread it out a little, be a little more exciting. We weren’t excited about the music we were making when DC2 came out, so we had to make some changes.
Will the next 7L & ES album be more like A New Dope, or Egoclapper?
Here are 4 of your songs. Tell us what the creative process was like making them and what these songs mean to you.
I loved this track. 7L produced it…we recorded it at Joe Mansfield’s Wax Museum. I remember Joe and Lif having very awkward conversation. It was a rainy day when we recorded that.
This song was a dis track and it had to be done at the time. In hindsight, 7l‘s beat and cuts were just too dope for the concept of it though.
This was another 7l banger, and I felt like the beat called for some introspective lyrics, or perhaps a little insight into my personal life and that’s what I wrote for it. I never got too deep into personal stuff in the past, and this song was one of the first examples of me doing it.
I really felt like attackin the mic over this beat. When 7l gave it to me I looked it at as a return of 7LES song. This was actually a song we both loved when we first made it, but we always do that one at shows, and after doing so many shows you get numb to the ones you perform a lot. We love this joint, but just perform it so much, know what I mean? The songs we never perform surprise me more, like I really said that?
You have been in the game for more than 10 years and released 4 albums and 1 EP. What have been ups and downs of your career?
We have had a lot of ups, the shows overseas and worldwide are always the ups. Seeing kids with the 7LES logo tattooed on them really says something. That is an up. When a kid from Iraq told me how much he understood the Terrorist’s Cell joint off Dangerous Connection. That was an up. When Prince Paul called us, that was an up. When Bobbito invited us down to the Stretch and Bobbito show, that was an up. Lots of little things. Downs? The only downs happen when you are dealing with paperwork and the shady labels.
You are a member of Army Of The Pharaohs which is about to release a new album called Ritual Of Battle. On how many songs do you rap and what is this album like?
I am involved with 4 songs on the record…I produced 3, rap on 2 of those, and rap on another one. I really love the songs I had a part in, and the one Beyonder produced is a banger… I am anxious to hear the finished, mastered, product.
(laughs). It was an honor. There is nobody like Keith and we have always been fans of his, especially during the Ultramagnetic MC’s days. I think he knows that because he really came with that golden era version of Keith on Daisycutta. We were very happy to have that song happen.
If you could change one thing about hip hop what would it be?
The way it is exposed through the bigger media outlets because it is becoming a mockery of its former self. People have been saying it is all about the money for years, but right now in 2007, it really is all about the money for most artists.
Air, Gary Numan, Colder, the Raconteurs, and the first Geto Boys album.
I walk and run and play with my Labrador Logan. He has become a real highlight in my life. You can catch him on my youtube Pterovision video blog (link).
What´s your favourite cartoon? What do you think of the new Transformers movie?
My favorite cartoons are the 1967 Spiderman series, the 1981 Spiderman & his Amazing Friends, and the Challenge of the Superfriends show from the late 70’s. I fell asleep twice at the Transformers movie, but that might have been because I just got back from Hawaii when I saw it and was jetlagged. I will give it another chance when it comes out on DVD.
Well, Egoclapper is coming October 23rd, if you buy it at the right places, you can get my Esoteric vs. Gary Numan: Pterodactyl Tubeway cd as a free bonus. That is 20 tracks long, I produced them all, and I did so using primarily Gary Numan samples and there are tons of new rhymes on there. The early feedback on it has been great. We also have the online store at www.myspace.com/7lesoteric and we ship worldwide so there is some new stuff in there for the people. My next solo album Saving Seamus Ryan will be out in 2008. Then a return of 7LES in 2009.
Thank you very much for your time. Would you like to add anything?
Thanks for the interview man! Make sure you check out Pterovision on youtube for more updates on me and my crew. Peace.