Platinum Pied Pipers: Triple P Funk
Working with a fellow Detroitian Saadiq, the two met through their mutual friendship with Slum Village, they made their first album Triple P together. Artists such as ?uestlove of The Roots swears by the album claiming hed go to jail for PPP because the album is that hot. Waajeed knows this, but do you? Brooklyn will with this month's upcoming Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, where Waajeed will assist in a Detroit-themed event. With the sophomore album, Abundance, set to be released in this fall on Ubiquity Records, the hopes to be played in the club and not Kinkos is expected. Keepin it fresh and unpredictable is always good.
HipHopDX: I read an interview a while ago where you stated that in Detroit they dont support you as much as in other states or overseas. When you decided to move to Brooklyn, was it done in spite?
Waajeed: I cant say that Detroit doesnt support their own [musicians], but what I will say is that the resources for Detroiters are not there. They cant support their own in the way that other cities can. I think thats probably what I meant when I said that. Its just more or less about the resources. There is only so much you can do in the city in regards to before you hit the ceiling." Ya knowas far as the connects you can make, or as far as the radio people who can play your stuff or the venues that you can play in. I think that is what I meant. This move to Brooklyn was only done for newer resources and for more opportunities for your music to be heard.
DX: What is your approach to getting you creative juices flowing musically?
Waajeed: Well I find that when Saadiq and I work, its better if we work on our own first. Generally, the way that this upcoming album was done, we would get together and speak about what weve been listening to, our influences, whats the latest and the greatest. We dont necessarily talk about the direction we came up in or where we wanna go, and usually we have the same idea or similar feel of what direction we want to go in. We usually have a general feeling of what is good and bad and we just work separately. Then I bring in my ideas and Saadiq will bring his and sometimes his are better then mine or mine are better then his and we kinda challenge each other that way. Generally, once the production, sketch or an idea is there, usually I kinda take the track and kinda manipulate it and kinda manipulate it or produce it or Saadiq will take it and add bass or keyboard.
DX: How do you incorporate what youre currently listening to into something organically your own? For instance, if youre feeling OutKast at the time, how do you work with that or incorporate that?
Waajeed: Most of our influences are older stuff. Like for instance a lot of Aretha [Franklin] and all the old school Motown stuff that my mom used to listen to. My mom had an interesting story. She was raised in the same neighborhood as Diana Ross. I believe they were both beefing about some boy who lived in the neighborhood. They both had a thing for him or they were both seeing the same guy in Detroit. So, a lot of my influences for On A Cloud are based around that, and the fact I couldnt listen to many Motown records as a kid because my mom didnt really like Diana Ross.
DX: The crowd that typically you attract is it what you had expected or did you go into your endeavors with no expectations?
Waajeed: No, not really, its kinda my job to make the music and I guess its peoples job to respond to it. I dont have any particulars about who likes it and who doesnt like it. I really dont give a fuck really. If youre into it great, if notkeep it moving. But yea I dont have any particulars about who is into it. The more the merrier.
DX: Since no one is buying records across the board - does performing in Europe work better for your career as opposed to playing shows in America? If so, how?
Waajeed: Not really, to be honest with you. As far as our last record. The sales for the United States and Europe were about the same. I think some artists kinda in general have this vision that the grass is greener on the other side. But it really isnt. The dollar is just better on the other side and thats really it.
DX: It seems like they try to make it that artists have this stardom and that there is more openness artistically overseas.
Waajeed: I really dont understand that either. The response we have gotten in Europe has been as relative as the results we have gotten here. I dont know, I think because our sound may be a little different, at least on the last record it was a bit different, people just wanted to peg us as one of those groups who would have more success with Europe, butthats bullshit.
DX: Since the Internet allows people to have better accessibility to resources such as music, have you found that it has given you greater success?
Waajeed: Yes and no. The problem with Internet success is you get a lot of buzz, but, buzz doesnt equate to success to some degree. With the Internet there are a lot of pros and cons. One being that it is a great resource to get your music out here and to be heard and to get people to check for you and whatnot. The con that comes with it is that the buzz is not a sustaining buzz. The buzz kinda comes and goes quickly and it affects sales. And sales affect everything. It is the music business and whether you are in it to make creative music or to make money or stuff thats just straight ahead like Pop, Hip Hop or whatever, sales are important. Sales ultimately affect how you get booked in a territory and how a promoter decides to use you or not. If a promoter hears about you and they check your Soundscans and [if] your Soundscans suck, they wont bring you to the territory because they know theyre not going to make their money back. For me, its a love/hate relationship because like I said, buzz doesnt equate to food on the plate. My landlord doesnt take buzz for rent payment.
DX: What was it like remixing Roy Ayers record?
Waajeed: Amazing and very intimidating. It was intimidating I think thats the word to be used. I mean thats Roy Ayers. When you get those parts, I was able to get all those parts. Just to hear him play and see how his mind kinda works just makes you think like man, I really need to get my shit together. My first thought was like man I got a lot of work to do, its very humbling.
DX: Everyone enjoys reppin where theyre from. After Dwele appeared on Kanye Wests Flashing Lights track do you hope or expect it to help give Detroit music more recognition?
Waajeed: Absolutely. I mean we always kinda carry the Detroit banner whether it be consciously or unconsciously. After moving from Detroit and moving to Brooklyn about five years ago I find myself kinda representing my city even more then I did when I lived there. Ya know, its like I find myself ever wearing a New York Yankee hat since I been here. I think its just part of the whole thing, I don't know. I used to live in Bedstuy and I would wonder why a lot of the people from Tobago would have their flag up. I used to think like why they reppin Tobago so hard, if you love it so much how come youre not there? But since moving, I find myself doing the same thing now. You just want to represent where you from and ya know, it's home.
DX: The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival is coming up pretty soon. What are your plans for the festival? Are you going to participate on stage as well as off? Any plans on getting Detroit based acts to fly out here and perform with you?
Waajeed: Yeah, oddly enough I believe were gonna be performing at the after, after party and it actually has a Detroit theme. Where I believe Invincible, who worked with us on the last album will be performing and we got DJ House Shoes in there as well. So it will be a Detroit themed after party, oddly enough.
DX: In your music, you tend to put a lot more underground artists on tracks. What is the intention of doing this?
Waajeed: I think thats what its more about. Its also easy to kinda reach out to people with bigger names and get them on the track and to be honest with you its just fuckin boring. I think its much more exciting to work with new artists and people with a new vision. Just to kind of keep it fresh. I mean how many countless times have you picked up compilations and you just hear the producers fuckin with people who are the artists or flavor of the month. I think itss kind of corny. Its much more exciting for me to find out about somebody new, then find out about some old artist who has been doing things for the last ten years and not trying to re-invent themselves.
DX: Do you think its harder to have an American base when you put on artists who no one knows of?
Waajeed: I dont give a fuck really. They kinda get it after a while, its just more that you have to be more patient. You just gotta be more consistent and really just gotta put out some fly shit. If you start with the end in mind then youll get a lot further.
DX: On your album Triple P you had a lot of appearances from Tiombe Lockheart. Is she a personal favorite of yours? Where did you meet and has the relationship proven to be beneficial and something you plan on continuing to invest in?
Waajeed: Definitely. We met in New York at a Slum Village album listening party. Man, it was some time ago, it had to be five or six years ago. It was some time ago and we took a road trip up here for this listening party. I don't why we drove. That was one of my first opportunities and I had just recently started producing at the time and being with Slum Village, you just get beat in the head with demos. And out of all the CDs I had gotten that weekend there was one particular person who never gave me their CD directly. A friend told me you gotta listen to this CD this girl is really something. She was actually standing there and she was kinda reserved. I remember my father telling me as a kid that some of the most talented people never can speak up for themselves. They let the music speak for them. So when I got the CD I kinda had that thought going on throughout my head and all the way back to Detroit we listened to that CD over and over and over. It just ended up being one of those things that stuck to me. I remember saying to myself whenever I get the opportunity to start an album or be apart of a project, Im gonna bring this chick in with me. And sure enough when I signed a deal with Ubiquity, Tiombe was the first person I called. The first person I sent a check to. And she is definitely someone I will always continue to work with. Not with PPP, 'cause PPP is a spring board where we try to work with new artists, but, I will definitely work with her more and Tiombe is someone I would go to war for.
DX: Wajeed you are a pretty popular producer, especially after getting the shout out from Pharell on 106 & Park. Do you feel you will explore the realm of Hip Hop more? What direction are you planning to go?
Waajeed: I don't know. I cant say. I wont say as far away from Hip Hop as possible, but, I plan on exploring it all. I definitely wanna keep exploring options; Rock, Hip Hop, House whatevers good. Keep it fresh. Let's keep it ADD lets keep it moving.
DX: Your music is very straight forward lyrically. I find it to be very relaxing and the type you vibe to and just let it sit in the tape deck on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. When writing is it in your particular interest to create music that is made to chill and just shoot the breeze to? Would you call your style grown folks music in the sense that it takes a mature type of ear to appreciate it?
Waajeed: With the last album, it was more kinda jazzy and chill out shit. With this new album, its completely opposite. The last album we had the highest tempo we went was about 105 with the "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" track. With this new album were all the way at 130 BPMs. Its not super kind of chill out shit. We start with the ending in mind. We wanted to make a more danceable album, stuff that has more energy to it. With the last album, I was shopping at Banana Republic. Not that theres anything wrong with Banana Republic, but theyre playing our record at Banana Republic, and I was just like "Aw shit." Its definitely a compliment to be played anywhere, but, I remember thinking, "Nahwe need to be at a club." Yeah, they played the record in Kinko's I was like, "What the fuck? Whats going on here?"