Whatuppers nerds, it’s Monday. The most hated day of the week. Hopefully your daily dose of FreshNerd will make it better. Today I bring you my fresh and random 21 question interview with 1/3 of Dilated Peoples, Rakaa Iriscience. For those of you that don’t know, Rakaa will be releasing his full length debut title, Crown of Thorns (Decon Records), on July 20th. With all of the unique elements that make up this LA emcee (graf artist, events host, Universal Zulu Nation member), I’m sure we’re going to be in for a pleasant listening experience. The above track, Delilah, is a fresh introduction to the record as we await the official release date. Enough of my babble, lets get to the interview….
How many songs were recorded (in total) for this project?
I believe I recorded a total of 15 songs, if you count the songs that I ultimately rerecorded. The album has 13 songs on it, so I didn’t actually go through the process of recording much that I didn’t use. I did most of the sketch work and comps in my head.
Before you got in the game, what’s one thing that you envisioned being a particular way that ended up being completely opposite?
Not much… I was ready for almost all of it. The only thing that really caught me off guard was how much disingenuousness, cowardice, and jealousy is really bouncing around record label corporate ranks. A few of the cats I’ve dealt with in this game are real people, but some of these guys will lie and then literally hide under their desk. I’ve seen it.
Which do you prefer, the struggle or the achievement?
I feel like I should say the achievement, but I honestly enjoy the struggle more.
You’re on a raft. Babu and Evidence are overboard drowning. You can only save one of them. Who do you save and why?
Hmmmm… Probably Babu because I don’t think he’s a great swimmer. Ev grew up at the beach and I know he can swim well so, unless he was injured, I would probably think to try to save Babu first.
Whose beats do you prefer, Babu’s or Ev’s?
Ev’s to listen to and Babu’s to rap on… Usually. I have destroyed beats by both and enjoyed every moment of it.
Hip hop is….?
…everywhere on the planet thanks primarily to the Universal Zulu Nation.
That recurring dream you have, what is it about?
My younger brother being released from incarceration… There is always that unbelievable feeling when he is home from the nonsense he is dealing with… Feels real. It is always tough to wake up from that.
What, if anything, do you actively boycott?
Bullshit, hate, and boredom
Explain the meaning behind the new album title, Crown of Thorns.
Crown of Thorns represents the rays of the sun, and also represents the sacrifice and cost of standing up to lead.
What’s your favorite hip hop record and where were you when you first heard it?
”My Philosophy” by BDP… I think I first heard it on an old Sony Budokan Walkman in the quad at Fairfax High School.
You recently did a show in Amsterdam, a place I had a chance to visit for the first time this year, do you think Cali will follow footsteps as far as the legalization of marijuana?
Yes, eventually. The funny thing is that Amsterdam is consciously becoming more conservative everyday. The laws appear to be going in different directions. That said, I love it there and find myself there at least a couple times a year.
What differences were evident as you went in to record this full length solo debut as opposed to group projects?
Just the double-edged sword of 100% creative freedom. It proved to be more responsibility than relief… I had to have it though. It was a necessary yet often frustrating mixed blessing for me.
If you had to choose, which could you do without….your hands or your eyes? Why?
Wow… Well, I’m naturally curious and visually oriented, so I would have to say my hands.
How long have you known Ritzy and is Eric Estrada from C.H.I.P.S. really not related to her?
She isn’t? That’s not her Tio?
How do you feel about the current state of the music industry? Do you embrace technology?
I don’t fight it… I use technology, but I don’t chase or rely on it. Do I embrace it? Yes, but usually not warmly.
Hard to Earn or Daily Operation? And why?
I LOVE Daily Operation, but since you’re forcing me to choose I will have to say Hard to Earn. Why? Because it reminds me of when Evidence and I really solidified the base of what would later become Dilated Peoples. Also because of “Mass Appeal”, “Code of the Streets”, and of course “DWYCK”. Then again Daily Operation has “Take It Personal”, “Ex Girl to Next Girl”, and “I’m the Man”. That’s just wrong of you.
Do you still get nervous when release dates approach?
Not really, as long as everything is in motion and everyone is doing their job. Even then, I am really more nervous that I am going to have to hurt somebody for doing something blatantly stupid.
What’s the newest personal goal you set for yourself?
To become fluent in Spanish and Korean. Right now, I speak a little Spanglish and can get around in a Korean restaurant. I have a long way to go.
What non-essential item do you always carry with you?
Day to day: it depends on what you mean by non-essential. On tour: a comb.
If you were forced to pick one song from the new album to redo, which one would it be and what about it would you change?
Hmmm… Nothing specific comes to mind. I’m an artist so I’m sure I force myself to find something, but I think I took enough time to get it right.
What one piece of advice would you give to any new MC entering the music biz?
Educate yourself on the ever-changing inner-workings of this business so that you can develop a plan to accompany whatever talent you think that you have.