Blacc Thought: The Aloe Blacc Interview

January 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm (Daily Offerings, Exclusive, interview, Music) (, , , , , , , )

Aloe Blacc (of Emanon) is the quintessential artist with an intellect to match

Aloe Blacc is one-half of the Hip-Hop duo Emanon (with renowned producer Exile). Based out of talent enriched LA, Aloe and Exile found a chemistry that would prove to their solution to refresh the soul of Hip-Hop. From pressing their on vinyls to distributing their own material, Aloe and Exile created a lane for future Hip-Hop groups and artists seeking to give the people a soulful sample of life.

And on the day we celebrate an instrumental figure in history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Journalist discussed the past, present, and future of Hip-Hop with a lesser known but important figure in the foundation of the art.

The Journalist: You hooked up with a rising producer in the game, by the name of Exile in 95. Tell me how that union came together?

You are now watching a master (Exile) at work

Aloe Blacc: That was a really serendipitous event. I was literally just a student in high school. I had been penning my own raps for a few years. My friends around me befriended Exile. He was going to adifferent school, a different part of town.

But Exile was a DJ and he was making a mixtape at the time and he wanted to work with some local emcees. This was 95, mixtapes were big but on the West Coast, mixtapes weren’t what they were in New York.

Exile was an anomaly on the West Coast. Especially where we came from in the suburbs of Orange County, he was definitely unheard of. And he was making mixtapes, and on the A side he was putting 45 minutes of whatever tapes were hot at the time, in the indie Hip-Hop scene. And on the other side, he put 45 minutes of his own music. Music he produced with emcees he was working with.

So he chose to work with me on project called “Imaginary Friend.” And from that point on, we just kept working together. Basically, that was our first album. And when we put that out, it sold like hot cakes at the B-Boy Summit, at local events—we did it. Basically we were using the popularity of the A side to get people to listen to the B side, instead of rewinding through the A side. And it worked. Great technology and he was definitely and unconscious genius back then.

The Journalist: We got Exile. We got Aloe Blacc. Now we got Blu, Fashawn. It’s like the West Coast Soul.

Aloe Blacc: There’s a lot of talent on the West Coast, unfortunately there’s not a lot of executive music industry leadership on the West Coast, and so we miss out on the business that gets made to get people signed. Kid Cudi was found on a mixtape in New York, because it’s New York. But on the West Coast, it’s hard to get that kind of decision making going.

But we got the talent. We got the artists right here. Blu was an artist that was working with some Hip-Hop friends of mine back in early 2003 when I met him. We were just walking around Long Beach one day; because we were suppose to be making some music. It was about five of us. Blu was one of kids that were there. And we started reciting some lyrics like Slum Village, Elzhi lyrics.

And we were going back and forth reciting different things and he knew a lot of stuff. And I was really impressed with the body of work that he knew, that I was interested in. At the same time I was impressed with his lyrical skills.

He invited me to a show. He was like, “Yeah, come to the show.” And I went to go see his show and I called up and said, “You gotta come with me. You gotta meet this kid.” So we went to go see Blu’s show at Universal City Walk; they were doing Hip-Hop night. And we were both impressed. And from there Exile and Blu just started working together.

The Journalist: You’re on both Blu’s and Fashawn’s album.

Aloe Blacc: The first time I met Fashawn was recording on the album. But I was already a fan, because I’m already peeping the music and I’m already knowing that the kid is nice.

Both Blu and Fashawn started really young. And they had their mind in the right place when it came to writing rhymes.

The Journalist: How do you feel about the new generation—who’s getting on and who’s still underground? Blu. Dope album. Still underground. Fashawn. Dope album. Still underground.

Aloe Blacc: I think at least on the West Coast, it’s the social-political climate. Back when I was 15, 16 and I got my license to go to a Hip-Hop club. I swear to you, I was watching Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, Jay Z. Everybody whose anybody, I saw them perform live for like ten dollars, five dollars. And that is not possible anymore. If you’re under 18, you can’t go to a Hip-Hop venue; you can’t go to any venue really.

The Journalist: Not with the price of those tickets.

Aloe Blacc: A lot of that communication about what good music is, a lot of those events and culture are gone. Hip-Hop events start shutting down when raves got shut down, because kids were coming home high and dying because of the drugs at the raves. So Hip-Hop suffered for that.

Be sure to check out Aloe Blacc’s projects with El Michels Affair, fiancee Maya Jupiter, and Exile (Bird’s Eye View).


1 Comment

  1. Strong Arm Steady… In Search of Stoney Jackson « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] From the same studio that brought you the late, great J. Dilla & Aloe Blacc… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: