This week Statik Selektah and Termanology held an album release party at New York City’s SOBs with special guests Freddie Gibbs and Rapper Big Pooh. The venue hosted the duo, known together as 1982, for their album 2012, which officially released May 22. This is the duo’s second album together.
The conversation with Statik Selektah touched on his role in Kanye West’s MBDTF, telling DJ Premier that Guru passed away, how Q-Tip influenced his sampling method and why people call him the Boom Bap Khaled. Termanology discussed his understanding of the term (no pun intended) ‘underground,’ raising his children around hip-hop and what he would change if he could go back in time.
1982 – the name comes from both you and Termanology being born in this year, in same city (Lawrence, MA) and same hospital. I wanted to know if you guys ever considered naming the duo “Lawrence”?
Statik: (Laughs) Nah, because there’s a lot of history in Lawrence. A lot of the groups that are known for Boston hip-hop actually come from Lawrence. So it would be kind of disrespectful given the city’s legacy.
I learned that you might be contributing to Nas’s upcoming project Life Is Good. Is that right?
Statik: Yeah, we just did a couple new records. I have a couple that we did one or two years ago for it. He’s done over a hundred songs recorded for the album, but we’ll see. His camp just hit me up last week, so I’m really hoping.
Do you know when you’re going to know? July 17th is slowly creeping up.
Statik: I don’t know if he’s gonna meet that date. I know the album is not done.
Now, you started interning at HOT 97 in Boston right?
Statik: When I first got there I was 18 and fresh out of high school. I was real eager. I came from the battle scene and if someone was wack, I’d just let them know. I was on some ‘yo, that DJ is not even cutting it up right’ and I burned a lot of bridges that way – real quick. So I had a lot of good people around me like Clinton Sparks and Chubby Chubb. I found out that I was messing up through a couple different ways and I learned real quick and humbled myself and waited my turn. But instead of waiting, I made them come to me by [me] doing a bunch of mixtapes. I was doing clubs six nights a week in Boston and I made it to the point where people were calling the station like ‘why isn’t he on the radio?’ I was doing a lot of parties with them, so it got to the point where they had to come to me. Shout out to Chubby Chubb. I was already spinning once in a while, but then he went away with Kelis on tour for a long time and he wanted me to do all his shifts and that was huge for me.
When you were working at Boston’s Hot 97, were you able to spin what you wanted?
Statik: Yeah. Never in my life have I had to compromise what I wanted to do. Sometimes I understood that I had to do certain things, so I would throw in a record that I wouldn’t necessarily like, but I knew that if I did it, I could play 5 of what I did like. So it was like a trade-off. At the last commercial radio station where I was, it got to the point where they were basically letting me know that it was getting to a point where I’d have no freedom. And I was like ‘I don’t wanna do this anymore.’ I didn’t really quit and I didn’t really get fired – it was like a mutual agreement. I went from having 6 radio stations to have one on Shade 45, where I spin what I want.
Word. Some people call you the Boom Bap Khaled. How accurate is that moniker to you and what’s your take on it?
Statik: (Laughs) His hustle is amazing. I love the records he puts together, too. I definitely look up to him as far as being a businessman. I consider myself a bit more hardcore when it comes to actually DJing and producing a record. It’s funny because Khaled used to produce a lot of stuff. He would do Fat Joe’s records and a lot of the Miami cats … and then he started making these smash records. He’s still technically a producer because he comes up with the ideas, but I’m hands-on – I mix, master, do all the scratches. I don’t know if it’s a fair comparison, but I know what the fans mean, because I take a lot of people that might not have worked together and put them together.
I know you consider yourself a hip-hop purist and when producers originally started to sample, they wanted to make it so hard so people couldn’t pinpoint the original. Do you have a specific method for finding records to sample?
Statik: It’s always changing. Some of the earliest records I ever found was when I was on tour and I’m inspired to go digging. A lot of the times I get weird sources for samples. I have kids hitting me up with ‘my parents were in this band in the ‘70s’ and I can get samples from wherever.’ Q-Tip is a big part of that. I wouldn’t buy records for a month and I’d go on tour with him and he’d buy $5k on records, then I’ll be like ‘I gotta buy something.’ So I’ll end up go spend a G on some records. I’ll be out in London with Spin Doctor and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, Primo and Alchemist were here last week going crazy.” Ultimately, it comes from everywhere.
You have few projects with Action Bronson who’s known for his odd-sense of slang. What’s your favorite Action Bronson term or ad-lib?
Statik: “Respect the mustache.” It came from the first song we did together, which was “Money Is Reality.” When we were doing the song “Respect The Mustache,” the hooks were empty – so I found that scratch and he was like “cut that!” We laugh a lot in the studio, we bug out … half the time we’re eating. It’s a real natural process.
Is he cooking when you guys are eating?
Statik: Yeah, a lot of times. He’s taught me a lot.
Who say’s your tag “Statik Selektah” on your tracks?
Statik: This girl Erica Clark from Brockton, Massachusetts. It must’ve been 2001 that I had to do it. I started using it on my mixtapes and people always started asking me who it was. And it got to the point where it was just my thing. I try to keep it on records that I produce, but since I DJ so much that I use it on some tracks.
I heard you took part in making Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. What exactly was your role?
Statik: I did additional drums on “Lost In The World.” A lot of confusion came because four people did drums on that song. I didn’t get the credits on there, but it was a great experience. I also worked on “Hell Of A Life” as well. I ended up laying down the drum track and he ended up laying down 100 drum tracks and he used who knows how many.
What was the last album that you bought?
Statik Selektah: Hip-hop? Because the last album I bought was Mayer Hawthorne. Hip-hop wise … the last album I bought was Obie Trice’s, but I produced on that one (“Richard”).
Are you more of a digital buyer or do you still buy CDs?
Statik Selektah: I don’t really buy CDs. I buy vinyl. Oh, I also bought Jeezy’s album. I’m definitely buying K.R.I.T,’s album on Tuesday. I don’t buy shit all the time, but I support cats like him, Gibbs, Kendrick.
How long did it take to complete the entire 2012 album?
Statik: About 6 months. Five of the songs on the album – we did the first night we started it. And the rest were spread out. We did about 25 records for the album and only 16 made it.
Do you have a favorite cut from the album?
Statik: Either “Happy Days” or “Lights Down.”
What’s your take on the game right now?
Statik: I think it’s wide open. You got kids like Mac [Miller] that are becoming cultural phenomenon, coming from Pittsburgh. A lot of people say it’s because Rostrum was behind him, but they weren’t really behind him until he had the ball rolling. The kids now use Internet to get their buzz going, so it’s wide open.
Termanology: I think it’s good, man. I think it’s gotten to a point where it’s gotten so fucked up, that even big artists realize that you gotta do something about it before it really dies. Even MBDTF, that shit was mad hip-hop. Kanye and those types of people are in the position to make what’s cool and everybody will follow them. It’s dope when they do real shit like that.
When it comes to terms like “underground” or “real hip-hop” or “true school,” a lot of artists shy away from being labeled. With underground hip-hop, how do you define it? Is it something that has to do with content, the sound, the style – or is it something completely intangible?
Termanology: I get confused sometimes about what’s underground and what’s not. The term really means that you’re not famous. But somewhere in between, it got turned around to mean that you make music for a certain type of crowd. Like Nas is not underground. He’s a multi-platinum selling artist. Yet, he’s at underground as it gets, but he’s not at the same time. It’s kinda weird. You fall into these weird categories. If someone calls me underground, I don’t get mad at all.
Statik: If someone’s too good at rapping now, they can be considered underground.
Who would you say gets thrown in that box?
Statik: Being biased – Termanology. We can make a record like “You Should Go Home” which is on MTV everyday and people say it’s underground. We had a meeting with Jive and we played that record first. It’s our biggest crossover record. And they asked, “do you have anything that’s less underground?” I think it really comes down to who raps on what because Jay-Z can rap on the most underground beat and it won’t be underground because it’s Jay-Z.
What’s it like having the producers who you look up to – DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Kid Capri – and now having them be your peers in this hip-hop game?
Statik: It still bugs me out sometimes. I’m the one that told Primo that Guru died. I called him at like 7 in the morning saying “that shit ain’t true right?” and he’s like “what do you mean?” Yo, you don’t understand – my whole career is based off Gangstarr. Even Term, our whole concept as a group…and plus I toured with Guru. He was standing right next to me when I blew the candles on my 19th birthday party. It’s so crazy.
You guys toured with Reks in Canada earlier this month. What’s the love like abroad?
Termanology: It’s crazy man. We tour all year around different countries. Over the last two years, between me and Stat, we did 30-40 countries. Japan, Australia, Thailand, China, Italy, Greece…we’ve been everywhere man. It’s crazy to see how much love we get so far away.
Is there a place you haven’t been that you’re trying to go?
Termanology: I’ve never been to Australia yet, though Stat’s been there mad times.
What does your down time consist of?
Termanology: I try to spend time with my kids. I got two baby girls. And just do regular life shit – pay the bills, chill with the fam. And then it’s right back to the grind.
Having kids and being in the hip-hop world, how do you plan to raise your kids around the culture?
Termanology: We dress hip-hop, talk hip-hop, live hip-hop, dance hip-hop, we are hip-hop, so that’s gonna reflect. But the negative sides – bringing in a bunch of guns and drugs and grimey shit around your kids, we gotta keep that away. You gotta balance it out. Even my daughter, she’s old enough to understand words now, so when we’re in the car, I just have to play instrumentals.
You mentioned that one of your goals in hip-hop was to become a multi-platinum selling artist, and now your goal has shifted to just live off of rap. Would you say that’s your same goal?
Termanology: Man, I don’t even know. I’ve been living off rap for a while now, so I think I’m just trying to do different stuff that I haven’t done.
As far as?
Termanology: I’ve done a little bit of acting. I was an extra in “The Town.” I did a show on HBO called “The Shop.” I played a drug dealer in an AZ video. I’ve been making beats a lot lately, you know, trying to help artists.
You have a Pun tattoo, right? I just saw a dude the other day with “Harlem World” tattooed on his forearms. Growing up, did you ever think that hip-hop could take it this far?
Termanology: I’ve always loved hip-hop that much. I think I used to love it more. I think as it got wacker and it became more of a job instead of me loving it, I started feeling some sort of resentment towards it. You couldn’t tell me nothing about hip-hop when I was younger.
What do you resent about it now?
Termanology: Because it’s a job. Everybody goes to their job, works 40 hours and they’re tired. They don’t wanna go back to work. As a rapper, you don’t really get much rest, especially when you’re out on the road so much.
What would you want the listeners to get from this album?
Termanology: Me and Statik, we’re going to keep hip-hop alive. We’re the future and we still mad young.
On the track “Time Travellin” if you could pick one of those things you mentioned in your songs to change, which one would it be?
Termanology: Wow. That’s fucked up. That’s a hard one. I don’t even know if I can answer that one. But for the sake of hip-hop, I’d bring BIG back to life.
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