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Rosh Mike and Marv are!

Index 1.Statik 2.gender 3.nothing 4. 5. 6.

Inside The Mind Of…Statik Selektah April 10th, 2010 So, Mr ‘Spell My Name Right’ himself Statik Selektah was in town for a one off show with The Yardfather, Saigon. FlavourRadio caught up with him, to delve into the mind of one of today’s hottest producers. After a few pleasantries, and some jokes featuring L Da Headtoucha(!), here’s what we came up with FlavourRadio: So, let‟s get right into it and go over your history, a little back-story. How did you turn music from a pastime to a living? Statik Selektah: I listened to Hip-Hop since I was like 6, 7 years old. I started DJing in ‟95 after I heard DJ Premier in New York with Funkmaster Flex and all them other DJ‟s that used to get it in. I was like 13 and all the DJ‟s back then were ill. Now, you go to New York and cats just press play. When I heard Premier mixing his own records I was like “That‟s what I wanna do. FR: In terms of your label „Showoff Records‟ a lot of your roster are from Massachusetts, your hometown. Is that something you‟ve actively done to raise MA‟s Hip-Hop profile or did it just develop from personal relationships? SS: It‟s funny because all those cats are from Lawrence a city like half an hour north of Boston. Me, Reks and Term[anology] are from there. Also, Krumbsnatcher and Scientific was from there. But the Boston Hip-Hop scene is my home so it‟s just funny working with cats that are from there. I work with everybody in Boston but the cats I ended up signing are actually from my hometown. (Saigon: Shout outs to Benzino!) FR: In terms of your sampling you‟re known as a sample heavy producer. Everyone talks about Kanye butSS: – There‟s not one Hip-Hop producer that doesn‟t sample. Even, say, Swizz Beatz, he‟s just not known for it. FR: But, in truth, out of a new generation of producers you‟re considered the best at using samples, you‟re just not known too tough. SS: It‟s coming. I only been producing seriously since like ‟05. Before that I was like…”whatever”. FR: So what‟s your process from hearing the sample, chopping it up etc? SS: I‟ll just hear it in my head. Then I‟ll chop it up and add some drums and usually play on top of it. There are some producers that can‟t move past the 90‟s and the simple style of sampling, I like to add a little instrumentation and make it sound like a mix between today‟s music and a classic. FR: Now, basically, you‟re known for your mixtapes. You‟ve done an obscene amount of mixtapes but only, strictly speaking, three albums. Is that purposefully? Do you prefer the mixtape game or are you gonna do more albums? SS: As far as Statik Selektah albums, I‟m not doing one for a while. I did three in the last three years and it was a way to get my name out as a producer. People would always be like “You‟re a DJ” and I‟d say “Yeah but listen to my beats” and they‟d be like (sarcastically) “Yeah aight”. Now I‟m at a point where peoples reach out for beats, so I‟m focusing on that. FR: Speaking of albums, your latest album „100 Proof: The Hangover‟ deals with the reality once the party stops. SS: It‟s a reality check man. Everybody‟s throwing in the bag and popping bottles but, guess what, now you got bills to pay. It‟s the moral that‟s missing in Hip-Hop. Tune like „Drunken Nights‟ (Reks, Joe Scudda and J.F.K.) especially gets talked about „cos it‟s something people can relate to.

FR: Is that because this album is coming form a more personal perspective than you last two that it‟s more relatable? SS: It‟s the first album where every song is connected to what was going on in my life. This album was longer in the making and, during that time, a lot of crazy shit was going on. So now I‟m trying to move past and get my grown man on. FR: You‟re known for being associated with names of quality; Talib Kweli, Styles P, Jadakiss, M.O.P, KRS One…yet still, in terms of chart marketing, you‟re still relatively unknown. Have you got any plans to change that? Be a Timbaland or Kanye? SS: Yeah man, I‟m tryna be on every album. I‟d like to be on a Timbaland status but the people…society in 2010 will not allow me to get to that status. It‟s like Primo working with Christina Aguilera; I‟d love to do something like that. I could meet the future Christina Aguilera right now and, in a few years, she could holler at me to work with her. That‟s a way I could be someone like that, but in the mean time there‟s no way I‟m gonna switch up my sound to make some auto tune shit. I‟m not gonna go outta my way to make a club record. FR: On the same theme, a quote I read said “…in terms of pure mainstream marketability, his songs (for good or bad) still fall short of having the overall appeal beyond those truly educated and in the art of beats and rhymes…he might have to rethink his hard-earned formula in order to accommodate the more radio-friendly folks” What are your thoughts on that? SS: Technically you could say that about a DJ Premier. If he put out an album it wouldn‟t be on Hot 97 everyday, it should be but the problem is, someone like a…a DJ Enuff gets hailed for playing Jay Electronica when you should be playing that „cos it‟s hot! You shouldn‟t have to ask the public “Do you wanna hear this?” You should be a taste-maker like a DJ should be. FR: Because a DJ‟s role is to break new music? SS: I mean that‟s not even a fucking question! Especially a mix show DJ…what the fuck is you here for?! You‟re here to tell people “listen to this it‟s new and hot” so people can judge it, but no one‟s doing that. If you think it‟s hot, play it. It‟s not even just New York, it‟s the whole world. I don‟t go nowhere where I think the DJ‟s making a difference.

…and that was pretty much it, before we started going off on our own little tangent, getting into the nitty gritty of the state of music today. Stay tuned ‘cos the full audio, with all the bullshit kept in, is coming soon!!

The Role of Gender in Books The role of gender in books is a hotly debated topic. On one hand women writers and female-centric books dominate the YA market (An interesting phenomenon given the “general knowledge” that a girl will read a book by or about any gender, but most boys will only read books about–or sometimes by–males.) On the other hand there is a lot of sexism. Female characters are held to ridiculous standards, especially by female readers and vilified for having faults. Male writers are showered with praise and awards while comparable books written by female writers are not. In a recent blog post Lizzy Skurnick argued that while a short list may be evenly split along gender lines, a pattern eventually emerges. Some books, it seemed, were “ambitious.” Others were well-wrought, but somehow . . . “small.” “Domestic.” “Unam –” what’s the word? “– bititous.” Many of Jane Austen‟s contemporary male authors weren‟t such huge fans of her work (Nabokov, Emerson and Twain to name a few). And while Nabokov „could never see anything in Pride and Prejudice‟, Edmund Wilson, a literary critic argued that „her [Austen‟s] greatness is due precisely to the fact that her attitude toward her work is like that of a man…and quite unlike that of a typical woman novelist, who exploits her feminine day dreams‟. So she is good, but only because she writes like a man. Because no male writer has ever based a great work of literature on a day dream. Austen‟s heroines don‟t have super powers or tortured souls – they are normal, ordinary women. However another famous critic of Austen‟s, Ralph Waldo Emerson argued that her work was „narrow‟ and concerned only with „marriageableness‟. It seems that he forgot that the women in Austen are concerned about marriage because that was the only „business‟ that they were allowed to conduct. The onset of marriage goes hand in hand with the onset of respect (Elizabeth Bennet‟s friend Charlotte decides the stigma of being an old maid is more humiliating than being married to a fool with good prospects.) But even if it can be argued that Austen is too „narrow‟ for readers today, the criticism doesn‟t stop in the 18th century and still somehow holds for women working in media today. Nancy Meyers, a famous writer/director/producer of films such as Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, It’s Complicated, writes about affluent women and their families and their romances. Recently Daphne Merkin wrote a profile of Meyers in the New York Times. She calls Meyer‟s women – centric films „retro‟ and „post-feminist‟, labels I disagree with. The women in Meyers‟s films are successful and (usually) wealthy from their own accomplishments. Diane Keaton‟s character in Something’s Gotta Give is a hit playwright with a tenured professor (in Women‟s Studies, yet!) for a sister. Cameron Diaz‟s character in Holiday owns her own movie trailer production company (and a mansion in Beverly Hills). Diaz puts it bluntly in that film when she tells Jude Law‟s single-dad character that she feels comfortable telling him about her success because she knows he won‟t be intimidated, having been raised by a mother who was a high level executive editor at Random House. The romantic elements of the film do not detract from the feminist ones. At one point the writer agrees saying „when men do appear on the scene…they awaken dormant desires that nevertheless have to be fit into pre-existing, busy lives‟ but then argues that the whole genre is „inherently fuzzy‟ and that Meyers films are „sweet little middle-class romances‟ The idea that anyone living in the Hamptons mansion in Something’s Gotta Give is middle class is laughable. But this is just a side point. In Merkin’s criticism of Meyers I can hear Emerson’s and Nabkov’s dismissal of Austen. Can’t you? Why is domestic a dirty word? Why is a character driven movie about a successful person dealing with their personal lives a Best Picture nominee if it stars George Clooney, but not if it stars Meryl Streep? Would an article by Merkin have been written if Nancy was Ned?

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