Monday, April 14, 2008

Exclusive PROHHS Interview: Kooley High

Kooley High
(left to right: Rapsody(girl), Sinopsis, Tab-One, Foolery & Charlie Smarts)

PROHHS
: How are you doing? How was your day?

DJ ILL DIGITZ: I am doing Fine. I am trying to get through this last month of college.

CHARLIE SMARTS: Im doing fine. I worked my 9 to 5. Now Im working my 5 to 12. But some work is play so its ok.

RAPSODY: That joint was wonderfully well! :-) Thanks for asking! I hope your day was peaches and creme, too!!!! Sweeeeeet! haha! =)

PROHHS: Hey Tab-One, word round the street is that Kooley High creeping on a come up?

TAB-ONE: Yes, as a matter of fact we are. Started at a creep. Now its more like...we're right behind you!!! Boo!! haha!

laughs

PROHHS: Being so diverse on the physical realm, How did you guys meet and develop such chemistry?

RAPSODY: It was like peanut butter and jelly! We just go together nicely! haha! We all knew each other in some way (2 degrees of seperation jumpoff like). I worked with Charlie, Charlie was in Inflow, Charlie and Tab knew DJ Ill Digitz from our campus radio 88.1, Foolery and Sinopsis were clickin...and then H2O happened and because we all had a profound love for HIP HOP we just came to be....the rest is history!

FOOLERY: It all started when I responded to an ad on Craigslist. It was supposed to be like a hip hop version of Captain Planet, but by the time I showed up the only element that was left was heart. I said, "yo, fuuuuuck that. I ain't bein' no damn heart. We're just gonna have to work something else out." That's when Rapsody suggested we just call ourselves Kooley High. I said, "aight, that's cool.

PROHHS: When K.High is making music,What is the atmosphere like in the studio?

RAPSODY: LOL!!!! It like a freakin birthday party! Naw, on the real, we just chill have fun...JOKE all the Time! Its real laid back. We will turn the tv on, put it on mute, play some beats...and just Kool out! Vibe together, write, record, listen, critique, bounce that joint...go downstaris and bug digitz, and on to the next one.

TAB-ONE: FUN!!!! A lot of jokes and a lot of inspiration. It hardly feels like work. We have a great time making music which, is the way it should be.

FOOLERY: It's usually a pretty relaxed atmosphere. We hang out, eat, clown around and have fun, and then the emcees get in the zone and hit the booth.

PROHHS: To Rapsody, As a female MC do you feel you have something to prove for female MC's everywhere?..Not just in the group but as in Hip-Hop as whole.

RAPSODY: No. I have never felt that way I dont think I will ever feel that way. We have been holdin our own for a while. The first femcee to ever spit did all the proving!!! Im just keeping the torch lit. MC Lyte, Queen, Bahamedia, Salt N Pep, Jean Grae, Roxanne, Lil Kim, Foxy....we dont have to prove we can rap, YALL KNOW! LOL! If anything Im trying to make a lane for myself and my people as a artist, as artist, and for NORTH CAROLINA as a whole. THere is a lot of talent here!!!!!!!

PROHHS: What is your writing process like?

RAPSODY: It usually starts with a dope cadence, and playing off some word, with some dope metaphors to tie it all together....my process is to just have fun and do me!!! O, but I must have some McDonalds SWEET TEA, Welch's Fruit Snacks, and nerds!!!!!! haha!
CHARLIE SMARTS: When Im alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall. And in the back of my mind, I hear my conscience call. Telling me I need a verse that as sweet as some nerds. For the umpteenth time in my life I see i need words.

PROHHS: Explain how a Kooley High song is made.

RAPSODY: We get a dope beat from Foolery, Sinopsis, 9th, or Kash...might right ther verses first...might do the hook first...maybe think of some subject matter...maybe not. We just go with the flow of things and have a good time doing what we love!

DJ ILL DIGITZ: A lot of times the rough cut of the track will be recorded, that has the verese and the hook. Then we all try to come together and mix the song. This includes anything from when the drop the beat, to coming up with outros etc...

FOOLERY: Me and Sinop scour the universe for vinyl that makes our hearts move. After we run out of money and fall upon some free time, we sit down at our homes and make beats. The crew congregates and listens to the new joints. The emcees pick the ones they like and they either write on the spot or take the tracks home to vibe on. Then we eat Bojangles or go to the K&W cafeteria. When we are satisfied we hit the booth. Once everything is recorded, we arrange all of the vocals and mix down the jam. You know add all them fly echoes and idish.

SINOPSIS: The songs start with me at the record store looking around for samples that I feel will work for the crew. It's a real hit or miss process. Once I make the beat I'll play it for the crew. If they pick it they will discuss themes, hooks, and other ideas, but once they finish it. Foolery or I will record it and mix it until everyone is satisfied.

PROHHS: Each member describe each members personality and etc....

RAPSODY: Charlie: He's like Donald Trump mixed with Dave Chappelle! lol! Lex is the boss man, but soooooo goofy! lol! He handles his business but has fun doing it....and ENJOYS IS LIFE!!!! If smiling and laughter adds years...he'll out live dirt!!!! LOL!! Very creative!!

Tab-One: The koolest kid on the block! Tab is really laid back and all about the "good vibe" (shouts to GVC!!!!) He's easy going...and just as funny and goofy as the rest of us. He has long eye lashes that the ladies adore, and he looks cool in his camry! LOL!!! Naw, Tab is that dude though! CREATIVE, COOL, CRAZY, and he's got soooooooul!!!!!

Sinopsis: He is REALLY dark!!!! lol! On the real, he is the work-a-holic, EXTREMELY laid back, sleepy dude! lol! He falls asleep anywhere...cuddled with a transformer...and kisses his Kanye poster before bed (lol-SIKE). VERY FUNNY, CREATIVE, and SLEEPY!!!!!! =)

Foolery: He is the BAD BOYEEEE of the bunch! lol! FOOLERY DOES NOT LIKE SECURITY!! Yes, foolery must have the perfect peaceful setting and colors...like Yellow and Green...a cup of hot tea or coffee...a jamaican record....his shades and chirping birds...and a cuban cigar! lol! Thats my boy! Balls of goofy, too, and creative juice!!!

We arent that much different, all goofy and creative! lol!

FOOLERY: Tab-One is a soul rebel.
Charlie Smarts is an internet thug.
Rapsody is ladypimp
Sinopsis is a comic books villain.
Digitz is the man with the plan.
YO FUCK THAT I AINT GRUMPY… just kidding

TAB-ONE: Sin is a Transformers nerd. Foolery is constantly looking for the perfect setting. Rap is a ball of energy. Charlie is OLD. Digitz is a critic. I'm a complete loser. That should do it.

DJ ILL DIGITZ: Charlie Smarts- Internet Hustler
*Foolery- Africa
*Sinopsis - Transformers
*Tab-one - Good Vibes
*Rapsody - Mcdonald's Sweet Tea

PROHHS: If you could pick only (any) one album to listen to for an entire year,What would it be?

CHARLIE SMARTS: The Blueprint

SINOPSIS: Without a doubt College Dropout. That album was a hip-hop album that did well in a mainstream market that wasn't ready for it.

TAB-ONE: We've been asked this before so I'll switch it up. Today i'd have to say D'angelo's Voodoo. Insane album.

RAPSODY: Jay-Z: Reasonable Doubt

DJ ILL DIGITZ: De La Soul "Stakes Is High"

FOOLERY: I hate answering this question. And everybody always seems to asks it. But I guess if I answer it different every time then I will have madd different albums to listen to for that one year. So this time I'll say "The Budos Band II." Ha!

PROHHS: How did you meet 9th?

CHARLIE SMARTS: He was shopping in FootAction, where I was working at the time along with Rapsody. Told him I respected his music and that he should come out to the Inflow show later that week.

RAPSODY: Through Foolery, at a H2O meeting. He was doing what he always does and continues to do...being a mentor...a friend...a big brother to us youngster up and coming!!!!!!!!

SINOPSIS: The credit for that goes to Foolery. When I first moved down here he made sure that I was educated in N.C. music. And he introduced me to 9th at N.C. State on Harris field.

FOOLERY: I met 9th back round 2003. It was my freshman year at NC State University and I had been listening to God's Stepson and The Listening since high school. Being from Raleigh I was naturally psyched to be hearing good hip hop coming out of my surroundings. I finally ran into him while he was DJing at a freestyle battle on campus. After the battle I went up and introduced myself to him. I was so damn nervous that I didn't even know what to say, but he was mad cool, very friendly and receptive and all that.
At the time I was in a program for first year students and we were required to do a job shadow project. You know, one of those "be a veterinarian for a day" type things. I had been making beats and I really couldn't picture myself with any of those boring jobs that they had suggested, so I finally said "fuck it. Imma try to job shadow 9th Wonder."
I caught him again at a Spectac show (the one where Spectac and Phonte freestyled for like 45 minutes straight) and he invited me out to his home. I came out there and watched him make beats all day long. It was the shit, and I said to myself, "this is it!" From then on I would come by his house every once in a while to hang out and learn. He kept bugging me to start some sort of forum for hip hop on campus, but I had no idea how to. So when some acquaintances of mine told me they were getting ready to start a hip hop organization, I jumped on board with them.
After H2O was up and running I brought 9th around to see what we were up to. He liked what we were doing and what he heard. He told us that he would support us in any way that he could. The rest is history.

PROHHS: Did 9th's co-signing affect the groups view on yourselves?

RAPSODY: We always dug what we do, it different and good!! But, to have some like a grammy award winning producer to confirm it, just takes "skys the limit" to a knew limit!!!! Just a lil more wood to the fire to build the burn!!!

FOOLERY:Man, honestly I don't think I was ready for that shit. When I met Murs for the first time and 9th told him, "Yo Murs, buy beats from that dude. He's got hot beats." I was like, "Whaaaat?!?" I didn't expect it at all. Plus things have changed a lot since back in 2003. Being so close to a dude making major moves kinda fucked my head up for a little while. I had to sit back and reminded myself that I started making music because it was fun. That's the most important thing to remember.

TAB-ONE: We knew we were dope but, i can't lie. Having a co-sign from someone who's worked with Jigga and Mary J. Blige can do wonders for your confidence. No pun intended

CHARLIE SMARTS: Not really. Made me happy though.

PROHHS: Being associated with 9th. Do you get any Little Brother comparisons? Or for Rapsody any Jean Grae comparisons?

RAPSODY: Nah, we sound nothing like "Little Brother", but I think we have a "North Carolina" sound!!! Especially with 9th Wonder under our rhymes and that he is a big influence in Foolery and Sinopsis.

On the other note, YES, i have gotten Jean Grae comparisons. But, we sound NOTHING alike. She is one of my favorite emcees. But, people just compare us because we're both females. Shout out to JEAN!!! Go get her new album dropping soon!!!!!

SINOPSIS: Personally I haven't heard any Little Brother comparisons. I've heard people compare us to The Fugees and even The Black Eyed Peas.

PROHHS: For Sin & Foolery, Does 9th influence or inspire any of your work?

SINOPSIS: He does, Kanye does, Preemo and Dilla also influence my beatmaking process.

FOOLERY: Yeah, definitely. I've learned a lot from watching that man work.

PROHHS:For everybody, what musicians or artist inspire you?

FOOLERY: Bob Marley, James Yancey, Fela Kuti, Wu-Tang, George Martin, Erykah Badu, DJ Premier. There are too many to name. Don't even get me started on cats from the 70s.

SINOPSIS: The Beatles, Al Green, Biggie, Kanye, 9th Wonder, Dj Premier, Andre 3000, Jay-Z, Just Blaze, Coldplay, Dilla, Bink!.

CHARLIE SMARTS: The regulars: Biggie, Eminem, Common, Jay-Z, Andre 3000... and LIFE.

TAB-ONE: I'm inspired by all kinds of artists from Bob Marley, Harry Chapin, & Sam Cooke to A Tribe Called Quest, Common, and The Roots. I'm also inspired by my amazing friends. I've always been surrounded by creative people. Shout out to Davie Dave & Phil Genius!!!

RAPSODY: Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Andrea 3000, Tribe Called Quest, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Mos Def, Talib, Common, Erykah Badu..........and all the other DOPE emcees...you kow!!!

DJ ILL DIGITZ: Jazz Musicians really inspire me

PROHHS: So how is the album coming?

RAPSODY: Its coming along well. We arent rushng it at all which is the way we want it to go. Taking it day by day and just doing what feels right and having fun!!!!! Its gond be dope!!!! 4th quarter 08, BABY!!!!!!!

TAB-ONE: Fantizzle. We have some great music coming. I can't wait to drop it. I'm very pleased with what we're doing. ba-ba-ba -Bangaz!!!!

DJ ILL DIGITZ: It is coming good. We have a lot of it already recorded. We basically gotta do a few more Jams, and tighten everything up

PROHHS: Who is going to be on the album? Any guest appearances or producers?

RAPSODY: The Kooley of course, our brother HALO, Kash (on the beats), 9th Wonder, Median, and the others we wont let out of the bag just yet...but keep your ears open....=)

PROHHS: Whats the central focus or concept of the album?

RAPSODY: Doing like only Kooley of Karolina can do it!! We just are being ourselves, having fun, writing about our lives!!! To be us...dope artist is our main focus!! MAKING GOOD MUSIC!!!

TAB-ONE: Good music at the moment. It's untitled for the moment so, we'll see what we come up with. We tend to make the music as we go which, I like. Planning on a concept from the jump can constrict you creatively sometimes. Its always about being us, being positive, & being honest.

PROHHS: So how was the double release party with M1, Sky, 9th & The Academy?

TAB-ONE: To quote Gwen Stefani, it was "B-A-N-A-N-A-S!!!!". We had a great turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Sky was in the building, 9th, Edgar Allen Floe, Khrysis, Median, & too many others to mention. It felt good. It was incredible.

DJ ILL DIGITZ: The Show was tight. There was a good turnout, and it seemed like everybody was diggin' our set. It was also really tight to rock with Skyzoo and 9th

RAPSODY: OFF THE FREAKIN CHAIN, cuz!!!!!!!! MAN, good turnout! Dope crowd enery, DOPE performances, SKY and 9th were in the building. It was just out this world for me. One of the best shows...no the best show we have done thus far!!!!! A lot of good music and good love!!

PROHHS: Alot of my readers & myself have been wondering, What & who is the Academy?

RAPSODY: The Academy is like "the Justus League" of 08' and beyond. Some dope Carolina artist supporting each other, and making this NC movement move. The Academy is made up of: Kooley High, M1 Platoon, Young Swift, Phocus, Carlitta Durand, TeeThree, Actual Proof...(hope i didnt forget anybody)....but its just a collection of heat makers doing it together!!!! ALL FOR THE LOVE OF HIP HOP!!

PROHHS: Is there any future K-High/9th collaborations? Featured on Wonder Years? Or is that top secret 9th Wonder material.

RAPSODY: Collaborations...mos def!!!!!!! Wonder Years...not sure...gotta ask 9th that. =)

SINOPSIS: Working with 9th...hopefully there will be a lot more to come. I dunno know about the Wonder Years though. We all got our fingers crossed.

PROHHS: How is 9th on a professional and personal level? Describe how he is?

RAPSODY: He is a FOOL!!! lol!!! He like a big brother. He is always there when you need him, with advice, ALWAYS THERE FOR A LAUGH, pushes you to do be so much more!! He is a leader, and just really laid back and cool. He will probably remind you of some cousin you have and just love to hang out with because they are so funny and just naturally good hearted!!!!!!
THAT due LOVES MUSIC TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SINOPSIS: 9th wears more has than he gets credit for. On one level he is an incredible beatmaker/producer but one another level he is a great teacher because he able to understand and communicate what will and won't work when making music. During all of this he is still a fan and that is something that I believe a lot of people look over. As a producer working with him live action tutorial on how to turn a song into a jam.

PROHHS
: Is M.E.C.C.A records in junction with It's A Wonderful World?

RAPSODY: Not at all....its a independent Kooley THANG!!!!!

PROHHS: Are you happy with the reception of Summer Session EP? And why?

RAPSODY: MOS DEF!!!! To have several college radios with it in their playlist, be featured on mixtapes between Tribe and Lupe, numerous Blog love (like People Republic, thank you by the way!!!!!) radio plays like crazy...etc...is more than a good start with our first EP...original material!!!

TAB-ONE:So far, so good. We've been getting radio play across the country and over seas. So we've surpassed our expectations as far as that goes. We're still waiting to see how many we've sold online. It's on i-tune, Amazon.com, e-music, napster, & Rhapsody. Go cop it!!!!
CHARLIE SMARTS: Very Happy. People are telling everyday that we are bringing hip hop back to a type of music they enjoy. Even if the rest of the world hates it... Those that love it make it a success to me

PROHHS: Charlie, Is that you singing on Too Late & Rainy Days? If so, you how did you start singing? Any professional work?

CHARLIE SMARTS: Yes, It is I. I had a tune fresh out the womb. My Mother Sung professionally. She's opened up for KRS-1 and MC Lyte before. She always encouraged it, especially when I was in youth choir. Sung on "Everything Aint Easy" on Carnage by Chaundon. Go Buy that Album.

PROHHS: So I recognized Rapsody that some of the lines you were spitting on the interludes on Dream Merchant 2, were from There You Go & The Flow. How did you land that spot? And what was it purpose?

RAPSODY: I was at home one day...9th called and said he was going to take the records from the Listening and Minstel show and make new beats and put me on as interludes and told me to bring it on to DE STU!!!! I was thrilled!!! He told me to spit some verses over the joints...and did just that. It a marketing tool, i guess you can say....give ya a little bit to wet your appetite...but leave you hungry for more...like a LP! :-)

PROHHS: I saw it as more of a "Get Familiar" type thing and essentially introduced Kooley High to a wider audience.

You guys going on tour anytime soon?

RAPSODY: We are def trying our darndest to get up and down the east coast, midwest, west....overseas...lol...if you can help we would be appreciative!!!! lol!!!

SINOPSIS: We'll go on tour as soon as we can get some cities outside of N.C. Other than that we'll just hold down North Carolina.

PROHHS: Definitely visit Dallas. Ill be there for sure. I'll take you round the city in my little Honda.

laughs

PROHHS: So what other artist currently on the come up do you like or look out for?

DJ ILL DIGITZ: Halo, Inflowential, M1 Platoon, Blu, Sharon Jones....

RAPSODY: EVERYBODY in the ACADEMY!!!Jay Electronic is dope, too!!!!

FOOLERY: Kareem Riggins, Median, The Budos Band, oh and this cat Halo… hes fuckin crazy!

PROHHS: There has been this floating discussion of Hip Hop being dead or dying. A lot of comparisons to disco. What are your feelings on Hip Hop's current state & is it really on it's deathbed?

RAPSODY: Come ooooon!!! Yall know better than to get caught up in the hype!!! Hip is alive and will always be alive...it might not be on ya TV ya radio...etc..but its here....jsut gotta look a little harder these days.

CHARLIE SMARTS: Too many people keep it current for it to die. It is an ever changing music with endless possibilities.

DJ ILL DIGITZ: It's kinda too hard to have an official statement on this. Some days you might be psyched on whats going down, other days you might be pissed off about the current situation. I just try to take it one day at a time.

SINOPSIS: Hip-Hop isn't dead. It's not even on its deathbed, its just that people do not focus on it. If anything hip-hop isn't in the forefront like it was in the past. There are plenty artist that still make hip-hop records, like us. As long as people play it, it will be alive.

PROHHS: I know exactly what you guys mean. Hip Hop is live in my opinion but it seems every older head or MC is saying it all watered down. Truthfully I think as far as the non mainstream goes, we're in the beginning of a goldren age with so much talent around. But I saw Q-Tip compared hip hop with disco & earlier that day my english teacher did the same. Just wondering how you guys feel.

Do you follow politics? What are your views on the current presidential
race?

RAPSODY: I have never been into politics...but for the record I support Obama!

PROHHS: So thank you for the opportunity and taking time out your day.

PROHHS: Keep up the hard work & great music.

TAB-ONE: Thanks homie!

PROHHS: Surely their be more Kooley High/PROHHS in the future?

DJ ILL DIGITZ:
Thanks so much for the support man, I really appreciate it

TAB-ONE
: Oh fa sho

PROHHS: Alright, wait wait wait where's the peace? PEACE!

TAB-ONE: PEACE!!!!

CHARLIE SMARTS: Pz, Maliz.

4 comments:

Island Dreams said...

DOOOOOOPE Interview..

*Looks around*

:(...

mALiZ aka Uncle Maliz aka UNK mAL aka Dat Angry Guy In The Corner aka Ol Grump said...

??? u didnt see the questions u asked??

Island Dreams said...

Naw,I did.

I meant the :( for lack of peoples commenting...

Blair Smith said...

loved the interview and the blog