The King Has ReturnedApril 24, 2007 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Interviews | Leave a comment
The “Break Beat King” is officially back to reclaim his throne with his soon to be new release, Black Life II. With this long awaited sequel to the previous Black Life Chris Lowe is truly proving him self as a bonefied Emcee. The Source recently sat down with the D.J. turned producer turned rapper to speak about his up and coming new release.
Max: The new album will be out on April 17…could you tell me a little about it?
Chris: Yeah uh…Black Life II, the next thing smoking, were taking it back to the 88 era-I wanted that 88 sound with a new edge. I’ve missed 88, 89…so that’s where I wanted to go with it.
Max: Would you say it’s back to when you were the “Break Beat King”.
Chris: Basically! I’m using breaks that never hit the surface; the same technique that we used in 88 and 89.
Max: I noticed that on Black Life you had so many guest appearances, what made you not use any this time around?
Chris: Yeah, I wanted to prove my credibility as an emcee. People know me as a D.J. and a producer. I heard that it was going around the industry that, “he’s just a half a rapper.” So I wanted to prove to all the nay-sayers that yes I am an emcee. What people don’t know was that I was actually one of the first ghost writers for Hip Hop.
Max: So what made you go from producer to emcee…I mean you say you have always been, but what sparked the original change? Was it based on the fact that you just wanted to prove to people…
Chris: …Um what sparked that whole emcee thing was that I was ghost writing and selling songs during 88 and 89 and I had a lot of songs that didn’t get sold that I thought were good songs. So I would rap them out and no one would pick them. So with all the ones that people looked over I decided to put them out because I felt that these were solid joints that needed to be out.
Max: So what else can the listeners expect from this particular album.
Chris: I’m talking about different subjects like we used to do back in the 80’s. You have your club song, got your jeep song, you got your song about the girls, I’m bringing that variety back.
Max: That’s cool…What’s your favorite song off the record?
Chris: I did It’s My Thing over by EPMD. That’s my favorite joint. We were all on the same label back in the 80’s. I was like behind the scenes with them, and It’s My Thing was one of my favorite songs from them. It happened to be the song that basically opened the door for them. So I just wanted to bring that same hook back over a different funkier beat. It’s sort of a dedication to EPMD.
Max: I wanted to ask you about a specific song. What was the concept behind Chick On the Side
Chris: Oh no (laughs) controversy! I know the women are gonna throw spears at me (more laughs) you gotta have controversy. I told you I was going back to that element. I wanted to have everything on my album like back in the day. I’m just touching on things that are happening…
Max: Chick on the Side is definitely something people can relate to. All of the songs are relevant. You have maintained relevancy in this game. What is the secret to your longevity when people are known to come and go?
Chris: You have to keep reinventing yourself. When I first came to the game in 87 I was basically only a D.J and a producer. But, I diversified myself behind the scenes. Cause when the 90’s came that’s when I started getting into writing and selling songs. Later, when I realized that rap is in the state that it’s in, I think that I needed to just come out. I knew I already had that credibility in my background so there was nothing stopping me.
Max: So what exactly is the state of Hip Hop in your opinion?
Chris: Well I know a lot of people are saying that Hip Hop is dead, but I think that mainstream Hip Hop is dead. I think that underground Hip Hop is alive and breathing. Because there is so much the world hasn’t been exposed to and major labels keep force feeding us one kind of Hip Hop. What I think the major labels need to do is look further and pull up some of these underground groups. Then Hip Hop will be alright. We’ll be right back to where we were.
Max: So what is your advice to these underground and up-and-coming groups?
Chris: Don’t give up. Keep your faith in God. Do like I did, that is, keep diversifying and reinventing yourself. If you don’t get on one way, try another way. If you might not get on through rapping, try producing. You might get on selling some beats and then you can come back to the Mic. You gotta have different tactics to getting and staying on.
Max: Well it’s clear that your still here, so u must know a thing or two…
Chris: So you heard my album what do you think of it?
Max: Well I did notice that you did have a different range of topics, and now that you say you were trying to take it back to 88’, I definitely understood that and it came across on the record.
Chris: I’m hoping a get a good reaction.
Max: How do you think the reaction from this album will be different than the last one.
Chris: Actually, I hope its going to be better.
Max: Did you do anything differently this time around:
Chris: The last album had no promotion. I put a team together and I’m better staffed this time around. I’m hoping that people would be more receptive to this one and then turn around and go get the other one. People ain’t think I was a bonified emcee. I was like I don’t need y’all. F*** it!
Max: Do you feel that not having anyone was a brave move.
Chris: I was trying to piss people off this time. I was like fuckem’. I got conceited.
With a true 80’s vibe, that mirrors the music of the time, this conversation felt like Chris Lowe was an upper classmen sitting across from at a table me in a high school cafeteria. The conceited risqué swagger that so many 80’s Hip Hop artists had in the past had now returned strong and ready ripe both with controversy and glory. Black Life II definitely accomplishes what Chris Lowe set out to do. The variety that comes with the 88’, 89’ feel that he misses so much wraps around this album and propels it back in time inside a new age time machine that is filled with a boom box of universal issues and themes that could be rightly mistaken for contemporary.