WEAPON X INTERVIEW
G FORCE (G): The Nod Father compilation is being pressed as we speak, or so I believe. How did this come about, and how did you get so heavily involved, did you take the idea to Out For Fame (O4F) of did they come to you?
WEAPON X (X): I’ve actually had plans to have a crack at a producer LP for a while however the format and general vision for what it would be didn’t come around until I started producing for those outside my crew. The O4F involvement came up when SYN FM, which play host to O4F Radio, expressed their interest in putting together a product – initially a mixtape – that would build off the O4F radio format and go from there. Andrew approached me to be involved in the production of the project and after some meetings with the SYN FM crew we decided to work on a compilation / production LP instead of a mixtape. We figured exclusives are what move mixtapes, so instead we’ve served up an exclusive album.
G: Did you have ideas of who you wanted on the album, it seems to be full of the younger fellas, the up and comers, is this what you set out to do?
X: I wanted to have a mix of both rising stars and established artists. The plan was to work with people who I thought would gel with my style of beats, and for the most part, people I haven’t worked with before. In terms of the new talent, artists like Equills (Mantra & Whisper) and Fergo One are guys I put my heart and soul into. Their inclusion was assured well before it had a title. Artists like Downsyde and Solomon are people who I have wanted to work with but the opportunity hadn’t arisen. Bliss ‘N Eso are some crazy MoFos who I really work well with. There were a few people who I didn’t get to put tracks down with who I hope to catch in 2004, be it on another album like The Nodfather, or their own releases. The Chino XL thing was an eleventh hour opportunity which seemed too good to pass up on, even if it did push the release back a bit.
G: Working with a diverse range of people on the album, any interesting stories to tell?
X: The strangest thing happened working on the Downsyde track. My initial beat CD had no track names, so when selecting a beat Optamus went by description (i.e. “Ya know that one with the horns that go da-da-daah..”). Of course, I think I know what he’s talking about, and cross that beat off the list – a little disappointed they didn’t choose the one I’d hoped they would. Sure enough, I’ve got the mix all ready to go, I drop in the vocals and they don’t match the tempo. Turns out they’d used the beat I wanted ‘em to, and luckily no-one else had taken it. I now name all beats and keep a record of who has what in fear of having an Alchemist / Jadakiss / Ras Kass incident.
G: When producing the albums beats did you have artists in mind for each one, or did they sort of select a beat from you? What was the process for the compilation?
X: I would hand pick around five beats from a pool of around forty and give an artist a week or two to soak ‘em up. I chose beats which I felt they would sound right on, usually with one particular beat in mind. It’s different having an artist pick from 20 beats, this way I could leave out tracks which I didn’t feel would suit the album as a whole, or suit the artist full stop. The Bliss N Eso track was the one beat I wrote with the artist in mind. I got half way into writing that beat and its destination was apparent so I steered it toward them.
G: I ask most producers I interview this one, but it’s my interview and I will ask it again. Where do you draw your inspiration from, what do you listen to get you in a beat making mood?
X: Hearing another producer hit the mark with their sound really drives me mentally. Style wise I take inspiration from everything, all genres of music, from film, random noises etc. However, I get the most inspiration from listening to Hip-Hop. It’d probably be the done thing to say I throw on some dusty old funk record and transform into Primo, but I just throw on the latest shit and lap it up. Lately The Black Album has been on high rotation, but it’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and listen to music, or write new beats for that matter.
G: I haven’t heard anything from the compilation as of yet. Well, except for the snippet at Checkout Wax. Did you try to offer a diverse range of beats, or simply production to suit the emcees?
X: The first half of the album fell together, the remainder was a matter of juggling those two factors. Again, what I offered artists in terms of variety of beats dictated to a degree what would come back.
G: Onto yourself, we haven’t really seen a lot of spits from you since Battletown EP’s. Calibur was shelved a few years back. What can we expect to see from you in the future and who are you going to be working with?
X: My hiatus was calculated to say the least. I’ve done a bunch of collabs with artists overseas and have been plotting my return for some time. I am just putting the icing on the Weapon X & Ken Hell LP which will see a release real soon.
G: Alright, time to hear from the other side of the fence. Accents, most people know you spit with one. What is your take on the whole situation?
X: It’s funny, It’s like when Lisa Simpson breaks Ralph Wiggum’s heart. I’m like Bart, because I’m able to replay the videotape in my head and actually see the moment the debate was born. To say most people I know spit with an adopted accent is untrue these days. I’m kind of an anomaly now with no firm allegiance, except to good music and mic skills. I don’t take the accent debate seriously. Anyone who takes that shit to the point of trying to persuade others to share their views, or draws conclusions about me as a person based on my accent is a joke. I stood in the crowd at the Looptroop gig and saw the same people who hate on accents throw their fist in the air for Promoe, whose speaking voice is more like Stefan Edberg. It’s all in what you’re programmed to love/hate. The same goes for unskilled artists with a solid following. Said programming however has no effect when one travels outside the region it originates – whether good or bad propaganda. My favorite emcees in the country are and Ken Hell (Naps) and Mantra (Equills). You do the math, I’ll just keep making music I’d listen to.
G: Production wise you have been working with a lot of people as of late. J Wess, 1200 Techniques and Bias B. Do you find it odd to be doing work for what seems like two different scenes at times?
X: I find it a challenge more than anything. For artists like Bias B the process is quite simple as he’ll pick from the same pool of beats I’d pick from for the Weapon X & Ken Hell LP. That said, I do keep a lot of shit for myself but I often choose tracks others wouldn’t tackle. With the remixes I’ve been doing, most people don’t understand how little time you are given. At most you get a week to do it. I turned in the last one from scratch with only four hours including mixing. Opinions are like assholes when it comes to the success of The J-Wess Project and to a lesser extent 1200 Techniques. I want the industry to take notice of the local scene and all its parts. They are beginning to pay attention, and like it or not, it’s due in part to the success of the aforementioned artists.
G: Back to the NodFather, will there be future volumes instaled into the series?
X: I hope so, I’ve got a few other projects penciled in which take me through to the end of 2004. We’ll have to see what happens.
G: The Anniversary gig that is coming up for the launch. You are performing, will we be seeing some new material then?
X: For sure. I’m amped about this gig. The line up has to be the best all local one I’ve even seen.
G: You are also known as a bit of a Sneaker Pimp. What would be your favourite all time shoe for the fellow footwear enthusiasts out there?
X: Too hard. Top Three – Air Jordan IV, Air Revolution and Air Force 1.
G: Any further shout outs or additional info you wanna add?
X: Nodfather in stores Mid-January. Thanks to yourself , OzHipHop.com, Out 4 Fame, SYN FM 90.7.
G: Thanks for your time X, good luck with the compilation.
X: Thanks for the chance to rant. Peace Bro!