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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Haven't You Learned Anything Today
Aka
Phill Makes You Wanna Chill


It's Time For A Huge Hip Hop Lesson

If You Want To Understand Our culture
You Gonna To Know Where It Comes From
Before Bling Bling,Crystal Champagne,And Pop Shit Hip Hop,
There Was A True Culture ,
A Powerful Culture.

Do You Actually Believe That
"Peace, Love, Unity 
And Having Fun"
Used To Be Our Motto Back In The Days,
When Nowadays It Would Be More

"Money,Power,Sex and Bullshit!"

I ve Got The Chance To Talk 
With One Of The True Historian Of Hip Hop
The Multicard and Legendary
Mc/Digger/Producer/Writer/
Phill The Soulman

He is A Humble Guy
But Luckily For Ya, Kidz, He's A Prolific Guy As Well
He Answered My Questions
Lots Of Questions

We Will Continue On
During This Days
With One Mix From The Soulman Himself
You'll Be Able To Get Some Others On His Blog This Year
Plus Some Phillies Mixes From
Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, Sat-One And Others

___________________

First Thing First, Can You Introduce Yourself To The Ignorant Kids?

Aw, don't disrespect the kids! They're just kids, it's not their fault.
I am THE
SOULMAN
from The
World Of Beats,

also known as
PHILL MOST CHILL


I have different names I've used for different projects I've done over the years,
but it's all this same guy doing this stuff.
Emceeing, producing, record collecting and record playing (I'm not a DJ),
artwork, journalistic type stuff, blogging...
all in the name of upholding the sanctity and helping to pass on the real history of this thing that we have been calling Hip Hop music.
That's who I am... never done any one thing that was significantly large but I've done a lot of stuff that I guess is noteworthy on some level.
When you put it all together I suppose it amounts to something,
I don't know... that's for other people to say.
I definitely appreciate all the respect and kudos I've gotten over the years.

When people give me the "legend" label, I'm like, whoa...
Primo's a legend,

Dr. Dre's a legend,

Mele Mel's a legend

Me? Again, I don't know, but I've learned to just do like Camille Yarborough says and "take your praise"... it means a lot, especially for someone who has basically just been involved with Hip Hop for the love, not because it's something that's ever been lucrative.

How Long Have You Been A Hip Hop Activist?

Well, I wouldn't call myself an activist, just like I wouldn't really label myself as a deejay or a rapper or a producer or any of those things.
I would think an activist is somebody who's really out there, being active and aggressive in pushing their agenda. I'm not, this is all a hobby for me in all actuality. The only label I really wear, and one I wear proudly, is the label of a father. Raising my children is what I'm living for now, definitely not Hip Hop.

But whenever I can I still try to do my small part to enlighten people about what Hip Hop really is and where it comes from, because that term "Hip Hop" has been twisted and misused so ridiculously that this new generation , for the most part, has NO idea what Hip Hop really is, and that's sad. And you can't tell them anything, they really think they know what it is! So hey, you can lead 'em to the water but you can't make 'em lap it up. I just use my blog, thatrealschitt.blogspot.com, to tell some of the story and play some of the music, basically illuminating a lot of the lost history, and people can take it forever it's worth to them. I don't worry about whoever doesn't get it, it's just a joy for me to put something out there for the people who DO appreciate it.

Who Are You? 
Phill Most Chill, Baritone Tip Love, Soulman, 
Don't You Get Lost With All Those Names?

At the end of the day I'm Phill Stroman... all those other names are just to designate whichever different project I'm working on. I don't have a problem wearing a lot of hats, figuratively or literally. I love hats.

Talkin' Of Baritone TipLove You Were Way Ahead Of the Quasimoto Concept In A Way?




I think Baritone Tip is waaay different than what Madlib did with the Quasimoto concept,
and I'm sure he didn't bite the idea. He probably never even heard of Baritone Tiplove when he came up with his thing.

Neither is original, anyway... George Clinton did it with Sir Nose,

Slick Rick would do the multiple voices,

Shock G did Humpty

(although my first Baritone demos were way before Humpty came out),
so on and so forth. And I'm sure there were others.

I'm a big fan of the Quasimoto records and a big fan of most of what Madlib has done.
He makes my kind of music.


You've Been On The Internet For a While Now, You're a Pioneer in this Blog Madness What is Your Point Of View On The too Many Blogs That Spread Like Viruses Nowaday?

I think blogs are great. Having a lot of blogs is not a problem as far as I'm concerned... I mean, you just ignore the ones that hold no interest and check for the ones that you like, it's that simple. I love a lot of the blogs that are out there, no doubt. Right now I'm just trying to limit my time on the internet period. The internet is great and terrible at the same time.

At The End Of The Day, Don't You Think You're The First Hip Hop Geek Ever?

Nah, I'm DEFINITELY not wearing the geek label, homie!
I'll tell you, that makes me think about one of the main problems I have with the internet...
a dude like me gets on the 'net and messes around on these message boards,
and some of the message boards are populated with real-life geeks.
So because I'm on this forum talking to them I guess they assume I must be in some way like them, a muthafuckin' geek or nerd or some shit.
Naw, b... just because I have a brain and can formulate sentences,
do NOT get it twisted around.
I might stab a muthafucka for talkin' some stupid shit to me like I'm that dude. Fuck that!
Somehow, all the shit that used to be the coolest shit- diggin' for beats, underground hip hop (and it was ALL underground once upon a time)- now it's regarded as being nerd or geek shit? I'm still scratching my head over that. Don't get me confused with none of that bullshit, I'm not havin' it. I'm not directing that at you or anything, Mass...
I'm just saying, I'm not letting anybody put me in that hip hop nerd box.
That's like an oxymoron to me. And that doesn't mean I'm a thug, either, because I'm not. Today it's like either you're a thug or a geek.
Whatever happened to just the regular everyday people? Shit is real crazy to me these days.

You've been Writin', Diggin' Rhymin' Producin' What Is Your Favorite Activitie?

That's a great question. I just like the whole process of creating something out of nothing but an idea. That's what I live for, man. I think I like putting together my mixes more than anything else. Having all these ill records and selecting which one to play, constructing the whole mix- and I do this with the same approach I would if I was producing an album.
it's just a great feeling when everything comes together the way you planned and it ends up being a good listen.

Did It Make Any Difference, Back In The Days, To Be Livin' In Philly Instead Of New York?

Oh, most definitely. I LOVE New York. I grew up right outside of NY, so that's like my home that I've never actually lived in.

I've grown to love Philly and it's definitely my home now, but when it comes to Hip Hop, New York is it. Or I should say WAS it, I don't know about right now in 2008. I have always felt that if I'd have done like Primo and Guru did, leave home and just move to NY for the music back in the 80's, I would've done way bigger things in the Hip Hop world than what I ended up doing. New York was where everything was poppin' at back then. But everything happens for a reason and my life is great right now, so I have no regrets at all.


How Was The Philly Hip-Hop Scene?
Do You Think Your Course Has Been Influenced By Philadelphia?

I was barely a part of the Philly scene, ever. Part of that was my own fault- I'm basically a humble guy, pretty quiet and all that. But I also do have an ego and a quiet arrogance. When I first came to Philly in the mid 80's I had a lot of disdain for their version of Hip Hop.
I came from the NY area and was used to
the Cold Crush, Flash, Zulu Nation, etc.



The REAL Hip Hop, the originators.

Philly was a different style, it was all about fast beats, fast scratching, and a lot of the emcees were straight up saying NOTHING on the mic. I mean literally saying gibberish, just making up nonsense words that flowed with the music. I was not feelin' that style, and I felt like I knew Hip Hop better than all of those dudes. I should've played it humble and just got on with whatever crew I could to make a name for myself in Philly, but I just couldn't bear sucking up to dudes who I honestly felt at the time were inferior. I don't think that way now, of course... a lot of that 80's Philly stuff was dope as hell. Especially what the deejays were doing- they truly revolutionized the art.

As far as my course being influenced by Philly, probably not much. I have a lot of respect for my city's contributions to Hip Hop, though.
My main influences are almost all New York...
old school New York.

What's up with djs in philly?

Cash Money


Jazzy Jeff

Tat Money

Cosmic Kev

Why All Those Super-Skilled Djs Happened To Be In Philly?
Is There A Secret Guild Of Djs?

Don't forget people like my man Jazz (from Robbie B & Jazzy Jay fame)


and DJ Miz

I know most of the guys you mentioned there or have had some contact with them, plus there are a lot of other legendary Philly deejays too. As soon as I came to Philly in the mid 80's it was pretty clear to me that the deejays were on that next level from what cats were doing in New York. Certain dudes like Cash and Jeff and Spinbad looked at how New York deejays like D.ST

and
Whiz Kid,
were elevating the scratch by speeding it up and getting more complex with it, so they just took it a step further with all the fast stuff and then coming up with the Transformer, which totally changed the game. You know, you're a product of your environment... if you were a deejay in Philly you had to do it like the big dogs were doing it and you had to keep up, so a lot of great deejays were spawned back in the 80's.

Here Is A demo Of Cash Money Gettin The Dmc World Championship Title In 1988
And Hell Yeah They Got Skillz In Philly


Who Were Your Influences?

Everybody that I thought was dope at what they did influenced me, be it emcees, deejays, record collectors, artists, writers, whatever.
Some of my biggest influences were
Mele Mel,

Kool Moe Dee,

Run DMC,

LL,

Big Daddy Kane,

Slick Rick,
Native Tongues,
Pete Rock & CL Smooth
and Primo

Those are some of the main people that I looked at what they were doing and said,
"wow, that's incredible.... I want to do something like what they're doing".

Also on the record tip were dudes such as
Beni B and Mr. Supreme.



















Those were the dudes that really opened me up to that deeper level of record collecting. I was just a record shopper before I started seeing how deep those dudes went with it.


My main influences as far as writing magazine articles was
the classic 1987
Hip Hop issue of
The Village Voice,

the debut issue of the Beastie Boys'
Grand Royal magazine

and also Cosmo Baker's "Diggin' In The Crates" articles in
On The Go magazine.

Ultimately, though, I just sponge off of everything I see or hear that's dope and take that influence to fuel me towards whatever it is I'm trying to do. As I've said before, there is NOTHING better than the creative process for me. I just love making new shit... probably why I haven't retired from all of this shit yet!

Do You Collect Anything Beside Records?
Sneakers? Toys?

I used to collect throwback jerseys real tough. I have about 150.

I've chilled with that, though, just as I have with records. I'm not into the sneaker shit at all. All of that shit takes up too much space.







I was gonna do the Biz Markie move and buy the house next door to me just to have someplace to put all of my shit, but I decided that that was just a little bit ridiculous.

I kinda wish I'd have done that now, because back when that house was sold I probably could've gotten it for a decent price. But right now all I collect are things off of the internet. MP3s, all kinds of nostalgic jpegs and things like that. I'm kind of a novice historian, I like to go back and get old pics relating to sports,
vintage drum machines,

old products from back in the days like cereals that don't exist any more, old school fashions, old tv shows and cartoons, blaxploitation, vintage porn, record covers, everything that's OLD. Is that my inner geek coming out? I guess I'm just stuck in the past, man, what can I say.























As A Digger,You're Considered By Many As One Of The Top Ten Digger Worldwide,
Can You Estimate Your Collection (In Size And Money)?

I don't know if I'm really in that top ten category... there are a lot of heavy dudes worldwide, a lot of dudes who aren't even well known. But again, I'll take my praise. The real truth, though, is that I haven't been actively digging for records since 1999, so that's almost a decade. Since then I've been getting rid of way more records than I've been acquiring. At my peak I probably had around 20,000 records, but I'm sure I'm much closer to 10,000 right about now. I sold almost all of my Hip Hop vinyl and would like to sell everything else, but I've gotten tired of that whole Ebay hustle. At some point, though, it's got to go. My collection is like an anchor right now...I don't want to ever have to move again while I have all these records. I think if I do decide to move again, the records will all stay except for the most valuable ones. I've almost killed myself a couple of times trying to transport all of that vinyl.

What First Make You Became Addicted To Diggin?

It just becomes a habit... you would hear all of these obscure breaks being cut up by deejays back in the days, so when you get into spinning you want to have all of theese breaks too. Then when sampling comes into vogue, you want as many breaks and grooves as possible to make songs with. It keeps growing from there until you just like hearing the music whether you sample it or not. And you want stuff that nobody else has. It becomes a competition, a whole oneupsmanship type of thing. Before you know it it's just out of control, you can't stay out of the record shops. I had a major addiction to this shit for awhile, I can't front. It can really get to be something that's not healthy. I still love the music, but I'm glad I'm not in it that deep any more.

You've Been A "Convention Hustler"
You've sold Records To Many Producers
Do You Remember Selling One Sample That Actually Became A Huge Hit?

What's ill is that I don't even know most of the records I sold to producers. I was just trying to get that money at the time, I wasn't remembering selling this record to that person or whatever. I'm pretty sure I sold a lot of records to dudes that went on to be big hits... people have come back and told me, "yo, you sold that such-and-such joint to so-and-so!" and I'm like, "did I?" I don't remember at all.
The only one I know about for sure was the beat to Jay-Z's joint...
"cough up a lung, where I'm from, Marcy, son"...
see, I don't even remember the name of that song!

The Name Of That Song Is A Little Track Untitled"Where I'm From"

I sold beats to almost all of New York's finest back in the 90's, so I'm pretty sure I'm responsible for a lot of songs. A lot of dudes have sampled off of my mix cds too to make records. I've been paid a number of times too, because dudes had to come to me for the publishing info so they could clear the sample after lifting that shit off of my cds.

Who Is The Father Of Diggin'? Beni B (from ABB)?

Well, no dis to my dude Beni but it would have to be Afrika Bambaataa in my eyes. The GRANDfather of diggin'. Diggin' goes back to the 70's, it didn't start with us dudes in the 90's era. And that's just on the Hip Hop level- I'm sure you had people before that, especially in the UK and other places where they may have had a retro scene and played rare old records at clubs. I've heard a little about that but I don't really know about it... I'm a Hip Hop guy.

What's Your Point Of View About Diggin' Madness Nowadays
And The Huge Rise Of Prices That Goes With?

Is there still a diggin' madness nowadays? I'm completely disconnected, I don't even know. I guess I need to sell my records now, while people still want that stuff! Since all I'm doing is selling and not buying now, I am in favor of the high prices and hope they will continue to skyrocket.

What Is The Weirdest Place You Remember Being To, To Buy Some Records?

I used to hit this store in West Philly that sold old furniture and appliances and there was this old black man in the front of the store who would be playing the shit out of this Hammond organ while I would be diggin' through the records I found in the shop. I mean, dude would be KILLIN' it, really getting into it! I always wondered was this guy once a famous musician who was now down on his luck, because the dude was really good. Other than that, just various ghetto crack house-type places and a few other shops that were not record stores but had major heat.


Did You Ever Refuse To Buy A Record From Someone
You Feel Was About To Rob You (Prices Too High)?

Yeah, I mean that's common. No big deal. I don't consider any price to be robbery, really... the dealer can sell a record for whatever he wants to sell it for. As a buyer you just need to educate yourself before you go throwing your money around. Sometimes overpaying for a record can be the best education. Caveat emptor, I say.

Ugliest Memory About Diggin'?
(For Example We Have That French Producer Called Kheops
Who Used To Mark With A Key,Records Similar To The One He Just Bought 
So That No One Will Use The Same Sample...That Is Super Ugly!)

None. It was always a beautiful thing for me. This dude you're talking about, I can't even imagine anybody doing anything that stupid and destructive. He needs to get his ass whupped just on GP (general principle).

What Is Your Favorite Record Of All Time?This One Is Tuff!

Impossible to name. There are waaay too many.

What Is Your Favorite Label?

Nah, I don't even get into it like that. I like whatever I hear that sounds good to my ear, I don't even care about this label or that label.

You've Been Super Prolific In The Mixtape Business,
Puttin' Out More Than 80 Archeologist Tapes (I Wish I Have Those?)
And Countless Mixed Cds...
What I Love So Much About The Soulman Mixtapes,
Is That Listenin' To One Is Like Watchin' A Movie,
It's Not Just Playin Crates And More Crates,
It's All Blended Perfectly,
It's A Movie Actually!
Does It Takes Times To Make One Mix?





Thanks for the compliment on how I do my mixtapes, because that is pretty much what I am trying to accomplish. I wanted it to be more than just playing records, I wanted shit to be just like you said, like experiencing a movie or something. I really accomplished my goal almost perfectly with my "Drugs" cd. That's my favorite out of all the mixes I've done. I had a concept, planned out how I was going to do it, and it all came together almost exactly the way I wanted it to. See, I'm not really a deejay, I don't have the incredible turntable skills that some people have. But I think I'm pretty good with the creativity side of things and I think I do okay with the arrangement of things. So I focus on those angles and boom, there it is. I actually take a lot of time with my mix joints, I put a lot of work into them. And by the way, I stopped at an even 100 volumes of my Archaeologists Classics series. That's got to be a record, isn't it?








Do You Still Consider Records As Drugs?

Yes... drugs that other people are addicted to, not me. I know I said I'd "neva stop diggin'", but I have at least slowed down considerably.

Why Did You Stop Makin' Mixtapes?

I got tired of doing the mixes, especially the whole "name that sample" style I was doing. Primarily because I don't listen to most of the new rap music that's coming out any more and a lot of rap these days isn't sample based anyway. But also because people don't buy the mixes like they used to, they just download off of this or that blog or off of some file sharing client. That's the problem with getting free music, you're gonna have a lot of people just saying "fuck this shit" and they're going to stop putting new shit out if they can't get paid for it. I'll still do some stuff in the future just because I love doing the shit, but the drive isn't there like it once was. I'll probably never go to the lengths that I once did, there's no reason to go all out on something that I'm just giving away anyway.

Will You Ever Hit The Stores Again With Raw Buddah Blessed Mixes?
Are You Ever Gonna Quit Diggin?

I'll never stop diggin' totally... I just hit a store last week, actually. And it was pretty much a waste of time. So every now and then I might check out a spot, but it'll never be anywhere close to where I used to be with it.

What's Your Point Of View on Serato Djs?

It's a new day, everything's done a different way, so you can't look at deejays the way that you used to. Even as an mp3 deejay you can still have some joints that nobody else has. You still can dig for music, but now it's just done on the internet. I honestly think it's gotta be better traveling with just a laptop and whatever else serato dj's use as opposed to having to lug crates of records. So I think it's a good thing ultimately... I'm not a deejay, though, so what do I know. Seems like all the "real head" deejays are on that serato just like everybody else now anyway, so I guess it's a moot point.

How Do You Feel The Actual Hip Hop Production
And The Fact That People Get Scared To Use Samples, Nowadays It's All About Keyboards?

Well, I think a lot of people do still sample... nothing like they used to, of course. I like a lot of keyboard beats, but I'm always gonna feel that most Hip Hop in it's purest form is gonna have that gritty sampled sound taken from old records, not that crisp and clean commercial sound that's pretty much neccessary these days. There are exceptions to this, of course. But it's just a whole different game now. I try not to dis what people are doing in this era, because I do believe that music is supposed to change and everything is not supposed to remain the same for very long. I just know for myself what the music we know as Hip Hop is supposed to sound like, and that's the kind of music that I personally like. Although I can get with some of the new stuff, to me most of it is not really Hip Hop music and it's just not what I want to listen to. That's okay, though... the music that's popular today is the music of the young people and it's not supposed to be the same as what I loved 20-30 years ago. Think about that- that really wouldn't make any sense at all, would it? I take more of an issue with the fact that people are still using the term "Hip Hop" when they talk about current rap than I object to the actually music that's being made today. I just think it's a different thing, that's all. From the same lineage, of course, just as Mele Mel was from the same lineage as Gil Scott and The Last Poets and Pigmeat Markham and James Brown and the jamaican toasters and the african griots from centuries ago. But all of those people, though from that same lineage, were doing something different. Hip Hop to me describes a sound that originated from New York in the 70's and 80's. I know what that sound is, I grew up with that sound. I've heard that same sound being made by other people who were not from New York in the 70's and 80's, but it was still that same sound. Updated maybe, but still that same sound that gave you that same feeling. The sound of rap that's popular today is not that same sound. It's not coming from the same place, and I don't mean geographically. That doesn't mean that it's without merit, it's just different. I will never understand why you have people today who ride for this stuff yet still want it to be labeled as "Hip Hop". Why would you care? Why would you get your draws all twisted just because somebody states that "Hip Hop is dead"? Be proud that you're doing your own thing and creating your own legacy... that's actually not such a bad thing at all in principle. I just think you have people running the game now who are dictating what Hip Hop is and they have absolutely NO idea what it is and worse, they don't respect or care about the history. What's so bad about that to me is that Hip Hop history is primarily an important part of Black history, and our history has always been hidden, changed and distorted, and I just hate to see that pattern continuing in modern times.

What's The Future Of Phill Most Chill/Soulman?

I don't know... right now I'm still doing things,
so as long as I have my health and the desire to do whatever, I'll continue doing stuff.

Your Projects?

I've made it my new year's resolution to release all my unreleased Phill Most Chill stuff from the 80's, so that's coming. I'm still bustin' raps... I want to put out the Phill Most Chill "Philly Phill's Old School Jam" cd this year, which is a new album done in the old school style, just yes-yes y'allin' over breaks and boomin' 808 drops. I think it's real hot and the people who like that style of raw early 80's Hip Hop should go nuts over that one. I did a few projects with the Bankrupt Europeans and my man Jorun Bombay. I still want to do a few mixes too. Got a line of Phill Most Chill t-shirts coming from Japan, like a box set of tees with an exclusive mix cd as part of the package. And of course the THAT REAL SCHITT blog will be hittin' real hard this year. It's still goin' down, baby!


One Last Question, Have You Stayed In Touch With Your Super-Thief Friend 5 Finger Felipe?

5 Finger is still around, in and out of jail. I think he's rockin' the ankle bracelet right now. Son stays thievin'. He got me for a Sequence 12" last year, that fuckin' wet armpit! He's lucky I love him like a brother, otherwise I'd shoot his syphillis infected ass!

8 comments:

hooray said...

yeah, great interview, big up to mr. mass & soulman!!!!!

Dirty Waters said...

nice interview Mass, that was a good read. Soulman mixes always get constant spins for me and would love to hear some more in the future.

benjurr said...

GREAT interview. Phil is an incredibly interesting guy. I like how you conducted the interview too. Keep up the good work

snicka said...

dope interview! thanks Mass! Thats crazy about the French producer that scratches up all the other copies of the records he uses for sampling. Dude should get beat...very badly!

Marty aka Marty Mcfly said...

Classic!!!

Anonymous said...

great interview

dj day said...

THOROUGH!
That was a good read. If fools only knew the half their heads would explode.

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