Interview – Skyzoo

What do you get when you take an ill mc and pair him up with a dope producer and lock them both in a studio for one month? You get “Live From the Tape Deck” brought to you by BK mc Skyzoo and New Jeru producer Illmind. I had a chance to chop it up with Skyzoo when the Duck Down 15th Anniversary show produced by Hip Hop Livs rolled through Washington DC to talk about how the album came about and how it feels to be a part of the Duck Down family.

Coming off “The Salvation” which had different producers, how did “Live From the Deck” album come about with just Illmind?

Well, the way that came about is me and Illmind have known each other for about 5 years now. And every time I put out a project he would always have at least one beat on it. We’ve always been real good friends and made great music but we never thought about making a whole album. And then Dru Ha hit me in June and said what do you think about doing a whole album with Illmind and I gotta give all credit to him. He thought of it and I was like that would be sick! He called Illmind and he felt the same way and he was with it and we got on the phone with each other and said “dag how come we never thought of this? We’ve been cool forever!” So we started working on it and did the whole thing throughout the month of July, knocked it out in a month and here we are.

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A lot of times it can take months and sometime years to make a dope album, but you and Illmind banged out one in only 1 month! How were ya’ll able to accomplish so much in such little time?

It’s a combination of things, we’re blessed with the talent we both got. He’s an incredibly talented producer and I feel like I’m a talented mc. And I think the chemistry was there. You can have two incredibly talented people and it don’t work. Like it happens time and time again with different people but it worked with me and Illmind. The chemistry was there and we think a lot alike. I would think of something and he would feel the same way or he would think of something and I would feel the same way. It wasn’t a tug of war, like I wanna do this or I wanna do that. It was none of that. We didn’t disagree on anything.

Now I read in an interview that you said you didn’t wanna make a traditional “boom bap” album, what did you mean by that?

In music outside of hip hop, you don’t stay stagnant and in the same place. When you look at the golden era ’92, ’94, ’95 no one who was active in ’92, ’94, ’95 wanted to sound like ’88. No one. Nas didn’t wanna sound like ’88, Rae, Big, Wu none of them wanted to sound like ’87, ’88. So why in 2010, why should you want to sound like ’95? We can still make great music that follows along that path, with dope beat and dope rhymes while making it current. I don’t wanna a lot of boom bap. I don’t wanna lot of cutting on the hooks, I wanna grow. It’s not to knock any of that but I wanna grow. And when I say me, I mean all of us. Cause where would we be if we still sounded like ’86?

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After doing such a dope album with Illmind, would you lean towards doing another album with just one producer?

You know I think it’s 50-50 man. I’m not saying I’m gonna work with one producer or that I won’t do it again. I think it’s about being organized and just getting a feeling for it and just doing whatever feels natural at the time. You got people who do 1 and 1’s, 1 producer, 1 album and it’s trash and then you’ve got people who have 16 records with 16 different producers and it’s a classic. The Game’s 1st album is a classic and he had a million producers! It’s just about the album being cohesive and the people having chemistry and being on the same page no matter how many people in the room.

How does it feel to be a part of a record label like Duck Down that has such a rich hip hop history?

It feels great man. As somebody who was in junior high and high school listening to Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah and Smif n Wessun and the Fab 5, it’s dope to rub shoulders with them and they be family. Sean Price tells me everyday when he names 3 rappers, I’m one of them.

That’s crazy! How does that make you feel?

It’s amazing man cause when I name rappers, I name him! He’s somebody I listened to coming up and when I met him I was like “dag, that’s Sean P” and now he bbm’s me rhymes like “yo, what you think” and I’m like that’s crazy. It’s a dope situation!