Editor’s note: In “Tweets Is Watching,” Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline.
Statik Selaktah promises his upcoming album, Extended Play, will “remind you of the hip-hop you grew up on, but it’s like the new fresh version of that.” To hit his goal, the Brooklyn-based producer has called on vocal favors from a royal rap line-up: Raekwon, Bun B, Talib Kweli, Joey Bada$$, Black Thought, Action Bronson and Sean Price all grace the project. Ahead of the album’s June release date, we talked to Statik about the trolling consequences of pairing Mac Miller with Sean Price on a track, Black Thought’s four-minute recording session, and the so-very-important Trader Joe’s versus Whole Foods debate.
See also: Sean Price: “Cornell West Is the Devil”
— 5th (@FifthGod) May 15, 2013
What can people expect from Extended Play when it drops?
I think this is the sound that, if you take all my albums and grab the best songs and put them together, it’s on that vibe. I basically took all the feedback I got from the last four albums and put it into this. It’s aggressive.
What was the most common sort of feedback you got about your other albums?
The last album I tried to reach out to a lot of new artists and new names in hip-hop and some of my more older fans were kinda thrown off by it. A lot of the new artists are less hardcore and less street than my fans are used to — like the M.O.P.s and the Sean Prices and instead I went with the Mac Millers and the Chris Webbys, which I think threw people off. So this album I worked with new cats like Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson, but it’s really grimy and I kept a real underground vibe. It’s real sample heavy and it’s got the feeling I always wanted to put into an album.
Which studio session stands out in your mind?
Black Thought was amazing. He had a car waiting outside, got out of the car, spit his verse — 32 bars — then was like, “Yo, I gotta go.” He literally did it in one-take, like he was in my house for four minutes. That was the craziest shit I ever seen. I’ve never seen anything like that. He was so laid back when he walked in, I pressed record, and he went into it. It’s one of the best verses I’ve heard in a long while.
— DA GRODDFATHER (@SeanMandela) May 14, 2013
What’s the story behind you and Mac Miller owing Sean Price lunch?
They’re on a song together, “21 & Over.” It’s funny, ’cause Mac’s a superstar at this point, and when you’re that big you’re gonna get crazy criticism, and especially when you’re a white rapper that came out of nowhere and blew up like that. I guess Sean works with more underground rappers. Hip-hop heads are so funny, man, ’cause they’re so sensitive. If you do one little thing they don’t like they take it personal like it’s their own career. Sean is just trolling on Twitter that he’s done a song with Mac. He loves that shit.
Where’s this mythical vegetarian Popeyes?
Ha ha, it’s funny ’cause I live right around Broadway and Myrtle and there’s two Popeyes on the block so it comes from that.
Whose idea was it to put Sean and Mac Miller on the song together?
I saw Mac and he said, “Yo, next time I do a song with you, I wanna be on the record with Sean Price.” I had the perfect record, like the hook is saying, “If you’re under 21 you shouldn’t listen to this,” and it was like two weeks before Mac’s birthday, before he turned 21. Sean was down with it.
Who is your favorite producer??
— Wale Folarin(@Wale) May 13, 2013
You re-tweeted Wale asking people who their favorite producer is. Who’s yours?
My favorite producer of all time is DJ Premier, but right behind him is definitely Q-Tip and Dr. Dre and Quincy Jones, Pete Rock and J Dilla. With Premier, I remember being 12-years-old and the scratches on [Gang Starr’s] “Code Of The Streets” was the first time that a record made me want to scratch and do beats. “Code Of The Streets” is the record that changed my life.
When you first started producing did you ever attempt to recreate “Code Of The Streets”?
Nah, but the funny thing is we were on the tour bus for the Beast Coast tour with Joey Bada$$ and all of them and they had a beat that someone had sent them where they took the same sample as “Code Of The Streets” and they remade the beat but it doesn’t sound like that; they used the same sample — I think the original is like a Monk Higgins record — but it sounds dope as hell. The kids didn’t know it, I was like, “Yo, that’s like “Code Of The Streets!” They’ve all done different verses to it and I’m gonna do scratches on it. It’s gonna be a posse cut. We did it on the tour bus. Right now it’s Joey Bada$$, A La $oul and I think Dirty Sanchez, all Pro Era cats.
What do you remember about the Kriss Kross show you posted a ticket stub from?
That was the first concert I ever went to. I remember going with my father and my friends and I remember everyone there had the pants and the clothes backwards. The Pharcyde opened for Kriss Kross. I was already a Pharcyde fan; I had the “Passin’ Me By” cassette. I remember them doing the song “Pack The Pipe” and my dad used to literally smoke a pipe with tobacco in it. He as like, “Oh, I smoke the pipe too!” I was like, “Nah, nah, dad, they’re not talking about that.”
Did you wear your clothes backwards too?
Nah, I never did that. I was honestly more excited to see the Pharcyde than Kriss Kross. I think Kriss Kross came out when I was ten and by the time I was 11 I was moving on to KRS-One and A Tribe Called Quest and all that. But I had a good run with Kriss Kross.
Finally, is that a picture of you at a Trader Joe’s?
Yeah, that’s my girlfriend’s fault! I actually go to Whole Foods but we were on the way back from her crib and she goes to Trader Joe’s. [Pauses] I could go to Whole Foods all day, that’s my spot. I don’t eat home a lot but when I do it’s Whole Foods.