Souls of Hip Hop

Throwback: Rahzel

March 30, 2021 Soulidarity LLC Season 2 Episode 5
Souls of Hip Hop
Throwback: Rahzel
Chapters
Souls of Hip Hop
Throwback: Rahzel
Mar 30, 2021 Season 2 Episode 5
Soulidarity LLC

In 2006, I got to interview the human beat-box champ and emcee Rahzel. He was a member of the Roots, won 2 Grammy's, collaborated with numerous music legends and made history with his album "Make the music 2000".

We talk about his early influences, going the distance to become of the greats, the importance of diversifying your skills and finding your own unique style, and much more.

You can find him here:
www.twitter.com/rahzelthelegend
www.instagram.com/rahzelthelegend
Spotify 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Show Notes Transcript

In 2006, I got to interview the human beat-box champ and emcee Rahzel. He was a member of the Roots, won 2 Grammy's, collaborated with numerous music legends and made history with his album "Make the music 2000".

We talk about his early influences, going the distance to become of the greats, the importance of diversifying your skills and finding your own unique style, and much more.

You can find him here:
www.twitter.com/rahzelthelegend
www.instagram.com/rahzelthelegend
Spotify 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Unknown:

Welcome to Souls of Hip Hop: throwback edition. Between 2004 and 2015, I interviewed many hip hop artists and recently discovered some of the recordings in my archive. We wanted to share a selection of our favorites and bring you these throwbacks in between our regular episodes. Enjoy. In 2006, I got to interview the human beatbox champ and emcee Rahzel at one of his shows with DJ JS-One. Rahzel was a member of the Roots and collaborated with legends such as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Old Dirty Bastard, Rakim Common, the Beatnuts, and so many more. With his album, make the music 2000 he single handedly popularized beatboxing and etched his name in history. Hence, it was a huge honor to get to hang out backstage and chat with him for a bit. Here's the interview. How did you first get into hip hop? I mean, pretty much, you know, hip hop was around and then this being related to him, you know, that kind of made me want to get involved with a, you know, musically rapping, DJ and beatboxing and all this stuff. And when did you first start working with the roots? 1993 put the album out in 94. So do you want more Are you still a part of the roots? I really didn't leave the roots. Because, you know, basically, when I got with the roots, I was solo, building a name, building foundation. What are your plans for the future? future is to continue to build, continue to grow, continue to open more doors, make it bigger than life. Currently, you're not signed to any label, is your aim to stay independent? You can say he could say so. I'm just you know, I'm just anti industry. And I like to be creative. I like to do what I want to do. And you know, with some commercial things, they don't let you do what you want to do. And, you know, they force you in a box and they make you look silly. You know, I can name a few people that has done it, but I won't name the names. And, you know, to me, I rather have control over my career. What inspired you to start beatboxing? I mean, basically, my whole take on on a beatbox is totally different from a lot of people. Were when I first started listening to the Fat Boys, you know, to me it was it was it was about Sonics. You know, I think that's what drew my attention, Sonic is sonic boom, that he had that nobody else can really ever, ever duplicate. And to me, it wasn't, you know, that was something that then inspired me to do what I do. That was the biggest inspiration for all us beatboxers. That's fabulous. Nothing complicated, but at the same time complicated. Because low in, everybody can't duplicate low in free some frequencies. As you know, it's about anatomy. So you can be the greatest beatbox in the world. But if your body is not built for that frequency, you can do it no matter what you can try, but it sounds distorted. There are a lot of different styles to beat boxing. What do you relate to most? I mean, it all depends on what side of the world you want. Where like if you're in Europe, like here, I know it's more about fast drums and, you know, drum and bass techno where in America is this, it's not about that. It's about more hip hop. You know what I mean? So to me, I stick with what I know, you know what I mean? To me, I can do it. But that's not that's not my forte, I don't you know, I don't do Drum and Bass shows. I do hip hop shows. So drum and bass is cool. And a lot of kids doing the drum and bass. That's cool. And it helps the beatbox evolve into that. But at the same time, you got to be rounded from where it came from. Without knowing where it come from. You have no future just spitting on a mic. You know what I mean? So you got to know every aspect of this like for myself, it's To me, it's not really just about, you know, hip hop. I listened to Bobby McFerrin I listened to take six. I listened to George Benson. I listened to Al jarreau. I listen to zap Mama. I listened to vocal sampling. So it's like all different styles of vocal instrumentation vocal percussion. I listen to the Tibetan monks, you know, and I do to vn singers. So to me, it's all different styles that you have to you know, it's like the kung fu movies, you have to know all style, not one style, because you're done at the one style. You know, one person note a tiger style, but, you know, tiger and crane. What is your opinion on the beatboxing today in the new generation? I mean, I think the new generation is cool. You know, I mean, my only thing is, it's it's repetitive. That's the only thing that is good. But the only thing I don't like is repetitive. Okay, like the school I come from? I'm totally different from Kenny Muhammad Kinney mahama is totally different from me. I'm totally different from scratch, scratch is totally different from me. So it's like, everybody developed their own technique and their own style, and they own personality and character. Well, a lot of the new guys that are coming up, they sound the same, everybody 150 beats per minute. Okay, that's great. But after you hear, like, five guys do the same shit. You're like, okay, who has personality who has character who's developing something different? To me, that's what it's always been about. For example, when fat boys came out, it was real simple. Alright, okay, simple. But as music changed, like Public Enemy, where when you duplicate a Public Enemy sound, it's like, you know, I mean, it's like, layered sound. So you have to switch a technique to adapt to that music, where now we don't have that. There's really no music, you have commercial music, which is real simple. And thinking, you know. So I think that's why a lot of the kids, they, they gravitate now towards the drumming base, because that's something that they can emulate, because there's nothing else to emulate. But if you do research, there's so many things that you can imitate, and you can emulate, and you can develop, because, to me, it's about sound. It's about that frequency, different frequencies, you know, it's like, this is all here, it's all here, the air is what you pick up, you know what I mean? And to me, it's like, it's like Africa Bambataa you know, what makes Africa Bambataa so great, because he has more records than anybody. So that means his repertoire is as vast, you know, it's not one thing, he's not just like a house DJ. This played out all night. And that's all he has an iPod, or Serato. You know, I mean, like, he has like, a house. Like, his, his catalog is great. And to me, that's what puts you in separates you from everybody else, your repertoire, your catalog. Like how much shit you know, that's like a scientists is how much shit you know, you know, so, um, if you only know one thing, then you only know for that, but if you know different things that that helps you build, build, you know, build what you are, you know, to me, and I think that's what separated me. And to me, that's what kept the beatbox going, when music change, and nobody was really listening to the beatbox or wasn't popular anymore. How did you experience that evolution includes evolution, it always it always revolves, it's gonna come back as 360 it's the inevitable. And to me, that's why I never stopped doing it. Like when people stopped doing it, I was still one of the few that was doing it. You know, I was still so to me, it's like me continuing to do it. provided as why everything is going now. Make the music 2000 was a monumental album, because it opened up the door again, for not just from back in the day, it was just America, maybe UK and a little places here near wasn't that huge internationally. Now, the door is wide open all over the world, Australia, Brazil, Japan, China. I mean, you got it on this shirt, Denmark, Hungary, you know, everywhere to me. So to me, it's like make the media 2000 was a monumental album, that opened the door for everybody that made people go, Okay, I can put out an album beatboxing nobody's done that. You know, most people, they It was kind of like the beatbox and then the MC and all rolled up into one but it was never just the B box stand alone is never So to me, make To me, the 2000. monumental, And to me, that's what it's all about. It's about evolving. It's about doing, doing something that's going to elevate that's going to take it to the next level. Yeah. So I mean, I like the new guy, you know, like, skills, timing, you know, as great, but at the same time, you got 50 other guys doing the same thing. So you got to what's going to make you you You that's gonna stand out from everybody else. That's very important as far as longevity. I mean, you can be good now that I but you want to do it five years, seven years, 10 years, you got to separate you got to start separating like, what's gonna make me different from everybody else? Where if you do one sound Oh, that's so so automatically, you don't have to think about it. You feel I'm saying it. Everything you know, it's like automatic because you heard it before it's already registered in your mind. And that's the level you want to take it from every time. Yeah, you find that and older elements or elements or elements even, you know, you talk to JS-One about DJing. You know, the difference between mix, Master Mike, and cubert. And the execution is like, all these guys have their own style. And that's why they were able to elevate and ticket to when he taken it, you know, but you have 50 million Jews doing a crab scratch. And cubert already did it already. So what is it? I mean, it's good. It's good to practice. But what are you going to do now with the crab scratch? Are you going to elevate the crab scratch? Or are you going to take something from the crab scratch and make something better? It's like technology, you know, you have a big bulky machine now you what you're gonna do with that, you got to make it better. Okay, this do the same have big, bulky, you know, it's this elevation, man is revolution, you got to keep evolving and keep involving it. And to me, it's like me, I'm more. I'm a hip hop, dude. 150% hip hop. So I'm doing hard beats, low in sound effects, voices singing the whole, that's the environment I grew up in is is different. So you do what your environment dictates but at the same time, in order to elevate what your environment dictates to you. You have to research. You have the graph from other elements. Like what he did what he did a few minutes ago, if he had to add some elements from Bobby McFerrin it'd be totally a whole different ballgame. Totally different from somebody else's doing the same thing. If we add a different element to it, you know, saying, like, I don't know, if you listen to Bob McFerrin Oh, you know, all this totally different, you know, I mean, you add those different elements, you add elements from Michael Winslow. It's like, you take these elements, and you form your own you know, I mean, that's that's the way I viewed it. That's the way I looked at it when I was coming up because it's like okay, what's going on? I can do Doug e fresh. I can do Biz Markie I can do ready, Roxy, but what's gonna make Roswell Roswell? What what's gonna separate? Some other things, I had to think of something like Dan, what's going to gravitate? What's going to make people go? So you know, practicing and thinking and doing research. I'm like, Okay, I'm big into, you know, different music. So my thing is, like, stumble on something like, okay, I can do the beat, I can run and do the beat at the same time. Maybe I can sing into the beat at the same time. But it's all about this inventing. And this some accidental turns into something big. But that's when you thinking on that level. Not thinking I'm not thinking about nobody. I'm thinking about inventing. It's like, taking it to that level taking it to somewhere else. Nothing else. So what you know, younger now is how do you 18 a battle all day, every day battle go everywhere, all over the place, battle battle battle battle, that's good to get better, to get better to know what to do what not to do. You know, you learn stage, you learn the crowd, you learn different elements of being an entertainer. Because that's important, too. I mean, you can stand on the stage in one spot for 15 minutes. And that's all you got is 15 minutes. Can you do an hour? Can you do an hour and a half? Can you do two hours? And that all goes back to repertoire? 15 minutes. Great. Yay. After that done. Can you go hour? Can you go two hours? See that's that's when it really is like being a boxer. You can get that one hit. But can you go the distance? You know, can you go if you can go the distance. That's what makes you great. Like Muhammad Ali. Hands down. There's been trillions, and there's been 1000s of other boxes that are great. But he's the guy that went the distance. Even when he was older, he was still 12 rounds all the way No, still standing. And that's what making you gotta go. You gotta gotta give it up. not know, like, boom, one knockout. And that's it. You get lucky. But if you can't go past the second, third, fourth round, to show me and I'm talking. I'm talking from experience. I've been doing this for over 20 years. And I've seen it, I've seen it rise. I've seen it fall, sea rise again. And that's the distance out I went the distance. So people Why you call yourself the undisputed beatbox champion the world because I went the distance I didn't give up. When no one was doing it. I was still doing it on here. I was like, in your face like in your face all the time. Go into distance. And now once again wonderful your first performances was already on a huge stage, the Showtime at the Apollo, which gave you map props for major artists. How was that experience for you? Yeah, man. I you know. Yeah, man. To me now to me, that was that was one of those moments, man, you know, you're a young kid and you're so excited. He's, you know, just to be a part of that whole. That whole era the Run DMC, LL Cool J, salt and pepper, novena, ah, coming up, and, you know, for those guys would be like, Oh, you know, you're sick, you know, wanting to do something with the beatbox and emceeing and a DJ To me, it was it was a great thing. I mean, it didn't go nowhere, at that time, but to me this to be in the companies of icons, and legends is only inspirational. So you know, I got to always, you know, bow and pay respects to those guys, because, you know, they definitely opened the doors to what hip hop is today. Like, you know, big international, huge, you know, our theme music was beatboxed y Denis the Menace and produce by Zede, a big shout out to he brothers from Switzerland. he background music was produced by Taki Brano. A big thank you o our broski from Providence. O r podcast basically runs n coffee. To keep our sh w running, you can support y buying us a copy through t e link in our show notes. I m Candy. I'm DJ Razor Cut. And his is souls of h