Video : Jaw Modulation

By Sarah L. Myers

With Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif and Sage Francis becoming part of the summer festival circuit, how underground is underground hip hop anymore?

Well, how underground is it when you can just post up a website and, depending on how you go about promoting yourself, it determines how many people are hearing about it. The exposure to put your music out there- you have more access to do so than when I first started, so how underground really are you?

Do you consider yourself part of that genre?

I never really considered myself underground. It's just a matter of exposure. The more exposure you have the more people know about you. So less exposure is underground. I think I'm known for doing this, a certain particular music- I'm really just trying to do more of that and use my position in that, so I'm not really concerned with whether its commercial or over ground or underground, it's really just trying to play my position really.

I've been to many of your shows where there are a lot of punk rock kids. With punk rock being rooted in reggae and dub, what role does hip hop have in punk rock now, and vice versa?

...I mean, in terms of attitude, approaching how things got started, I know there was more of an open communication between those two genres, more so in the 80s with Deborah Harry and Fab 5 Freddy. There was perhaps an early inclination, but as of now I don't see a connection with punk. Most of the people who actually know or who have heard of my stuff are usually just very open-minded people, regardless of whether they're punk or what not. I just appreciate people who are willing to hear my shit.

Video : Papercut

Do you see yourself doing a concept album such as Danger Mouse and MF Doom's "Danger Doom"? Maybe after the new Beans record?

Nah, not now. I mean maybe but not now. This next record is going to be the first time I've kind of used outside producers outside myself. I did like three tracks with Dabri, and I did stuff with Holy Fuck, this band Holy Fuck, based out of Toronto. My man Rontronik did a track. It's the first record where I've used outside producers. To do a whole collaboration with another artist, for me, yeah it works, but for me, I don't know yet. I would do stuff on other people's joints before I'd do a whole album of that.

Regarding underground music: Would you rather a culture, and a culture's music, stay within its own community and cultivate and thrive there, or would you rather see it gain exposure?

If it's only speaking to the converted it doesn't really grow, does it? .... But it's supposed to do that. It'd be stagnated if it didn't do that. (But) the more you can make money off it, the more it sucks. It's the nature of music.

Name five artists or albums that are currently inspiring you:

Uno Spoerri
Thom Yorke's Eraser
TV on the Radio
Curtis Mayfield
Busta Rhymes


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