This may be your introduction to Dj Skizz. Maybe you’ve been familiar with his music over the past few years. Maybe you’ve been an avid listener to The Halftime Show and have been familiar with his name for over a decade. Either way, hip-hop gladly welcomes artists like Skizz. Good producers with a generous range of sound, whether released or willing to, are hard to come by. Or, if they do have range they usually just suck and no one wants to hear their range (see your nearest radio for examples). Skizz is refreshing. Like an overdue exhale – the exhale you let out when you know it’s going to be okay and there’s still hope.
Skizz’s 2013 B.Q.E. (Brooklyn-Queens Experience) full length is a good time hop, let’s go there for a second. A seasoned boom-bap palette, a buttery confirmation that he is indeed a focused swordsman on the hardware. If a list of emcees like Masta Ace, Nature, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Roc Marciano, Torae and say, O.C. doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you have some homework to do. While you’re at it we’d suggest you checking out Kings from Queens (2012). Or you’re in the wrong place.
Fast forward to today. There’s a ridiculous amount of quality independent releases already this year. Cruise Control, Skizz’s second official producer LP, is a day shy of being one to add to your list of top shelf “underground” releases. You may have heard the few singles released via the internets. If those are any indication to what the new full length will offer, done deal. Guest artists include Conway, Planet Asia, Your Old Droog, Evidence and more. We’ll leave the rest a pleasant mystery and not bore you with an in-depth review. Below we had the pleasure of talking briefly with Dj Skizz to discuss the release and a few other goodies. Check the interview out, learn something cool, and be sure to cop/stream the entire record tomorrow (7/29). Peace and love:
RESPECT.: Before we set it off, thank you for your time. If you could give a new fan some backround about yourself what would you tell them?
No problem Sir. My name is Skizz. I like to drink coffee, smoke marijuana on occasion, and listen to vinyl records. I am also a Hip-Hop DJ, turned producer. Over the last 10 years or so I have been producing extensively for various artists, including Masta Ace, Cormega, Roc Marciano, Big Noyd, Your Old Droog, and many others. In 2013, I released ‘B.Q.E.’, a “producer album” that consisted of 14 tracks that I produced in collaboration with a number of very talented MCs. I have also worked as a tour DJ for a few acts you may have heard of, including Group Home, Big Noyd, Large Professor, Cormega, and Your Old Droog.
RESPECT.: You have some pretty rich history and involvement in hip-hop aside from producing records. Can you tell everyone a bit about the Halftime Show days and its importance leading up to where you’re at currently?
The Halftime Show was such an important part of my growth as an artist and as a person. I DJ’ed and co-hosted the show for over 15 years. That’s every Wednesday for over 15 years. Over the years, I was lucky to meet so many great people, both artists, label reps, DJs, graff artists, and just people who supported the culture. As I began to take my producing more seriously, I was able to work with a lot of artists that I met through my years on NYC Radio. When I started on the show, Hip-Hop radio was like another element of Hip-Hop culture, with shows like Stretch and Bob, Future Flavas, etc. Shows like these and the Halftime Show, had such a tremendous influence on the music and culture of Hip-Hop. I am just so grateful that I am a part of that legacy.
RESPECT.: Lets talk about your ‘Cruise Control’ album. The packaging is top notch! And from what you’ve released already off of the LP the featured artists are just as potent. What should heads be expecting with this body of work?
Thanks man, I appreciate that. Shouts to my label partner Tarik and my art genius, Deck, who played a major role in the packaging. This album is a bit different then my last, both in the features and sonically. The sound is a bit more slick and melodious. Less straight-up boom bap. There are definitely a couple like that (“Infamous Minded” with Big Twins and Big Noyd, and “Black Kings” ft. planet Asia), but as a whole it definitely feels different and has a bit more of a laid back Cali vibe to it. It’s a progression for me as an artist and I am really happy with this record.
RESPECT.: What’s your most memorable moment throughout the creation of ‘Cruise Control’? Any cool stories or pinnacle moments?
Hmmm… One of the more memorable sessions was with Hus Kingpin and Big Twins. Those guys are comedy and we definitely have good chemistry in the studio. The songs featuring those guys were recorded in Cali and I think you can feel that when you hear those songs.
RESPECT.: Though your catalogue is already stacked with a boatload of elite recording artists – if you could work with one artist dead or alive today who would it be, and why?
I could name so many, but i’ll say Biggie. He was just so Brooklyn and had such a unique personality that came across on his records. And the flow was extra shhtupid. Incredible MC. Wish he were still here making music.
RESPECT.: To close this out, if you had to give some advice to a new jack looking to produce what would you recommend him/her?
Don’t be scared to be original and do what feels right for you. And most importantly, practice your craft. Even with all this new technology that makes recording, beat making, etc. much easier and less expensive, it’s crucial that cats put in that time to hone skills and develop as an artist over time. Don’t take shortcuts.
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