Flush from the success of co-producing Eminem’s “Bad Guy” from the rapper’s platinum-selling The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the Australian-based producer M-Phazes has furrowed back into the New York City rap turf to team up with Sean Price for a new EP project titled Land of the Crooks. You can stream the first fruits of the venture exclusively here, as Sean Mandela drops his inimitable punchlines all over a dusky M-Phazes production that they’ve charmingly titled “Dump in the Gut.”
The full Land of the Crooks EP will drop on December 17th and comes complete with artwork inspired by the vintage ’80s flick Crocodile Dundee. Adding on to “Dump in the Gut,” the project also includes collaborations with Roc Marciano, Guilty Simpson and Loudmouf Choir (on the equally alluring “Bag of Shit”), plus a Small Professor remix and instrumental takes of the tracks to boot. Read on to hear M-Phazes break down his creative tryst with Sean P and ponder which bars he’d take the Boot Camp Click man to in Melbourne.
See also: Sean Price: “Cornell West Is the Devil”
How did the idea to record a project with Sean Price come about?
It was actually my mate Matt Diamond, who runs Coalmine Records in New York and is putting the record out, he came up with the idea and as soon as he mentioned Sean Price I was all for it. At first I was concerned about the timing — I was really busy working on an album and a bunch of other things — but luckily I had a few beats in the stash that Sean liked so it worked out. It was nice to get back to the excitement of not so much throwback stuff but just some hip-hop stuff, ’cause I produce a lot of other music in Australia and it was nice to get back to where I come from.
Did you have many conversations with Sean Price about what the project would be about?
Nah, not really! I’d get sent some of Sean’s rough demos and I’d add things to them and work on producing around him. So there wasn’t too much contact with Sean but I know him from working before and it’s pretty easy to work with people over the Internet these days.
What sort of vibe do you aim for when you’re producing someone like Sean Price?
I think for a rapper like Sean I try and leave a lot of space in the track — I try not to overdo it production wise ’cause he’s more lyrical and I want to let that be the highlight of the song as opposed to me flexing my production skills. But at the same time I want to make sure the drums snap and it has that ruggedness that he raps so well over.
How would you describe “Dump In The Gut”?
It sort of reminds me of Monkey Barz, like the earlier Sean Price stuff where it’s half comedy and half I’m-gonna-fuck-you-up, you know? That beat’s been in the stash for a while and it just made perfect sense. It’s dope to have him rapping in that manner over one of my tracks.
So is “Dump In The Gut” representative of the rest of the EP?
Yeah, I think there’s quite a similar sound across it. I think me and Sean are similar in that we find it hard to escape our signature sound and that comes across in all we do. Sean’s the same in that he’s pretty apologetic and has his style and sticks with it and it works for him. That creates the cohesiveness of the project.
Were you tempted to give him some more poppier beats just to see what he’d do with them?
Not really but a couple of the beats he wanted to use are west coast inspired which was kinda weird to me at first, but I think it suits him with his sort of laid back flow. But I didn’t try and shop him too much that was out of the ordinary.
If you could take Sean Price on a trip to Australia, which tourist spots would you take him to first?
Ha, well I’ll give you a funny story: He was out here recently, a few months ago, so I called him up and asked if he wanted to come out and see a bit of Melbourne. He basically said no. He doesn’t want to go out or anywhere. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the show that night so that’s why I offered to meet up later, but he just didn’t want to leave the hotel room. I think getting Sean out and about is difficult, but if he was willing, I’d take him to the spots where the ladies are, I think.
Is there a local bar you’d want to take him to?
Yeah, I’d take him down the Laundry bar ’cause it can get a bit rowdy and they play a lot of hip-hop.
Beyond Lands of the Crooks, what else are you working on now?
Right now I’m gearing up for a trip to the US — I landed a track on the Eminem album so I’m trying to build off of that. I’m also chipping away at my own solo album but that’s kinda a slow process.