Instrumental albums have become the trend lately in hip hop and it only helps the music become a more respected art form by musical purists. Beat smiths world wide are mastering their MPC and creating a whole new branch of music set to move you without the aid of words. I met up with one of these talented instrumentalists, Maker from Chicago, at Scribble Jam. While we did not get the chance to do the interview at the festival, we did reserve a later time to discuss his future plans, Carson Daly, prank calls and Wayne’s World.
Blake: First off, how has the response been from the album?
Maker: Well, it’s been really good so far. I’m happy with it. Some of it has been surprising like emails or people I’ve met on my travels, the stories and their versions of what the meaning was to a certain song. I think that’s awesome.
What prior work did you do leading up to this?
Well the first thing I was apart of was Them Badd Apples around ’98, I think. We released a small press. Spread around here and there. And soon after that I did an album with Concept and Vertabreaker under the name Costume in ’99. Also, small local stuff. Around that time I met Adeem and we did a song on his album called “Maker Mine” which came out very well and then worked with a few other people here and there leading up to my album coming out.
So the song featuring Costume on your album is actually a group you’re a part of?
Are you doing any further work with Costume? An album maybe?
Yeah of course. Those are my brothers also. We have a bunch of songs put together that we have been doing. Everyone is busy so it’s been going slower than normal and Vertabreaker is also working on a solo project which is going to be crazy. I’m doing like 4 joints on there. He also has production from a lot of other people. It’s going to be a hot one. Look for it sometime next spring/summer.
How did you hook up with Canadian emcees Governor Bolts, Josh Martinez, and Sarcasm?
I invaded Canada one day with an axe and a carton of parliaments and they were like “hey man …its cool aye” and I was like sorry. Haha nah really we met at a show, Them Badd Apples opened for them and we just clicked, worked on some stuff and we just worked well together. That song on my album was written and recorded in like four hours, they stopped by my house on tour and we banged it out and Sarcasm is an Auroran. He’s in Them Badd Apples and my child hood homie.
He delivered one of my favorite verses so far this year.
Yeah. Just wait for the remix! I got the peanuts teacher on there doing the hook like “waaawahhawawaaa, wawa, waawaaw”
Nah but seriously, Sarcasm is very very dope. Haha nah but it’s a good idea. Maybe ill roll with it!
Might as well I think the teacher could bring the ruckus; she’s got a crazy dose one style. In fact he might have bit her style.
puuahahahha…dose one vs. the teach on Carson Daily! Yesss
How do you feel about your fellow Glue teammate Adeem being on Carson?
I think it was great. I mean he got to be on TV, rapping with the “Carson girls” dancing in the background and he got to spit with some dope mcs. You can’t get mad at that. Carson is on the herbish side. But whatever. It was all in fun.
Yeah. Do you ever notice how Carson turns on his hip hop button every time he’s in the presence of mc’s?? All the sudden he’s fluent in Ebonics?
Yeah. It’s like I hate kids who change their personality when they get around different people, but people are people. I was watching dance fever the other day and the host is that dude from real world. And like tap dancers were on and he was all regular and bboy crumbs, I think is his name, was on and he was like “that’s fresh yo, word.” Etc I just laugh.
Word. So what’s the process you go thru when you’re composing a beat? Do you sit down like the mom from American Beauty and tell yourself “I will make a beat today!!”?
Ha, I wish. When I do that I make nothing. It’s really like if I’m feeling it. Its weird, sometimes I hear something and sometimes I don’t. I don’t have like a method or anything. When I’m feeling it, it just happens. I don’t think about it. I just make something out of nothing, things fall together I guess. When I don’t, I just quit and put on a dope record and wait for inspiration or something.
When I talked to Qwel he described you as a Mastodon that plays the harp. How would you describe him?
We talked about that before. Hmm I would describe him as a swan with metal wings. He can gracefully punch you in the face with his lyrics sometimes and you don’t even notice until your nose is bleeding.
so you’re producing all of the Harvest. Can you give everyone something to make their ear wax tingle?
Man of course! For those who don’t know, the harvest is the album Qwel and I are making together on Galapagos4 and its naaasty. He let me pick the beats. Most of them and the first song he finished blew my mind. It’s gonna be a fun collab. I’m excited.
How many songs deep so far?
He’s writing to them as we speak and recording will start soon. He has like 12 of my beats right now and I’m fixing on giving him some more.
After talking to both of you, I’m very excited for this album.
I’m excited too. He’s my brother and also one of my favorite artists. So what else can you ask for when working with someone?
What else do you have coming in the future?
Well, I’m in a group called GLUE (Adeem, DJ DQ, and Maker). Which is getting mastered as we speak and should be out very soon. I’m very excited about that album also. I loved working with them, it was very natural and all came together.
What can people expect from that album?
This album Seconds Away is very much like what we were going through and feeling in that time we spent together recording it and putting it together. A lot of our souls went into the making of it. It’s just honest music. We have released a few songs here and there so people can get a taste of it. One on my album “Jump in Lily” which is about our travels across country in a car, just a fun song and the one on the Scribble Compilation called “lullaby for the sun” which is about a street musician. It’s a weird mix of song concepts and styles and we hope everyone can enjoy it.
Sounds like the type of music I can enjoy.
Oh and DJ DQ… KILLS it.
I love the Outkast scratch on “Jumpin Lily” of “rolling down the strip.”
He’s a sicko on the turntables. He’s from the Animal Crackers of Cincinnati and they are all dope, but people will all know his name soon. The dope thing about this album is like we all had control over what we did. I was working on the beat while Adeem was writing while Dan was in the other room looking for scratches to put on it and then formed like Voltron and or Go-bots at the end.
So who are your influences? Was there an album that you heard that made you want to do instrumental music?
One of my big influences when I was coming up was Prince Paul. I loved his production and was one of the first like producers I really started paying attention to sequence and drops and etc. Dr. Dre was a big influence, the N.W.A. and D.O.C. albums he did were amazing. Pete Rock, Primo, Shadow, Rza, Muggs were also influences and all great. All of them helped me in one form or another.
So you a De La Soul fan?
Oh of course! I think Bulhoone Mind State made me wanna make beats and their albums were so great. All the Native Tongue albums; Tribe, Jb’s. I was a big fan. Before that it was all about N.W.A., AMG and Public Enemy. Haha very extreme angry young man I was haha. Then that music (Native Tongues) was like “hey man …its cool…you know…its aight.” “Lets just hang out” and I was like yeah, hey lets hang out. I mean it all made sense.
It’s like polar opposites; you went from shouting fuck the police to passing the peas because it’s a daisy age.
But, I needed it. I was too angry and I’m glad I decided to pass the peas before I decided to pass a beat down on the “man” the “devil” or the “Po-Po”.
So you’re from Aurora? Right?
Yup, land of the A-town Brown and Wayne’s World. It’s right outside of Chicago but big enough to be the second largest city in illy.
Do people still say “schwing” Wayne’s world style there?
Aurora is like 60% Mexican and like 30% Black. There is no schwinging going on here. It’s more like “schwing, oh crap he has a knife”. Man that movie wasn’t even filmed here. They made us look like we celebrated diversity for nothing.
So at the end of your album there is a prank call, is that a regular thing at Maker’s crib?
Man. Like we might pretend like we are serious like artist cliché deep thinking traditionalist record dudes, but really we are just a bunch of homies kicking it and talking crap, and busting jokes. I have a bunch of those we recorded, that’s just the one I liked the best. hahahha
Prank Yankers can’t hold a candle to you!
Will we be hearing any more of these in later albums?
Actually, if you can track down the earlier version of Honestly, there is one right after the Glue song (Jump in Lily) and yeah, there will be more.
Well, anything you would like to say in closing?
Be nice to people, but don’t let them walk over you. I don’t know. I’m never good at those things. Thanks for supporting ya’ll and say hi if you ever see me.