Busta Rhymes & Mick Boogie: Tale Of The Tape
Almost two years after the loss of James Yancey, the biggest star he ever worked with is still committed to the recognition of his favorite producer. With the foresight of one of the most creative deejays in the field, Mick Boogie, Busta Rhymes excavated his archives of unreleased tracks for Dillagence, a mixtape-collection of collaborations previously unheard. In an exclusive with HipHopDX, Busta Rhymes and Mick Boogie discuss the importance of Dilla as well as how one of the most significant mixtapes in recent years should reach the masses.
HipHopDX: Why Dilligence now? Its almost been two years, firstly, tell me about the timing and significance of Dilla to you?
Busta Rhymes: I felt there was enough time passing by, and not enough people were saluting the God. There hasnt been enough due diligence being done, nahmean?
Mick Boogie: Well, I've wanted to do something Dilla-related for a while, but didn't know what. Busta and I have had a good working relationship for a minute. And Busta was really one of the first people fucking with Dilla, dating back to The Coming. So I suggested we collaborate on some sort of Dilla tribute...and that's when he explained how he had all these songs he and Dilla did that never came out. We felt giving them to the fans would be a great way to show the love Busta had for Dilla, as well as let people know Busta is coming back out this winter. So we decided...why wait? Let's put this out as soon as possible.
DX: As a producer, producing the mixtape had to be a special experience for you... besides just shedding light on the tracks, what sorts of hands on things did you do?
MB: I mean, I'm doing a little A&Ring. I'm sending him some shit to spit on for the intro that DJ Spinna produced [called] "Dillagence," and looping some other track for him to spit on, but this isn't a Mick Boogie creative opus. I'm just putting it together and handling the marketing.
DX: How or why did you link up with Mick Boogie for this project?
BR: I linked up with Mick by picking up the phone and calling him. [Laughs] Mick Boogie came up with this idea of us doing this tribute to the Dilla. Mick is a real Hip Hop historian, and he brought this concept to the table, and I felt like the timing to rep the late, great J Dilla was right. I felt it was necessary to meet Mick halfway on this project and we can put out that shit work our magic and get it out to the people. Something beautiful for Hip Hop.
DX: Busta, you, Common and Ghostface really helped put Dilla on the biggest stages of his career. Going forward, it seems you continue to put his name out there.
BR: I continue to put his name out there, because unfortunately a lot of people never got to understand the late, great J Dilla. You have to understand Dilla has been apart of every one of my solo albums, from the beginning. He wasnt just a producer, he was the best producer.
DX: Mick, tell me about the first time you heard the diligence of Dilla... what that experience was like, and what it meant as a mid-wester?
MB: I was a big fan of The Ummah growing up...but didn't realize Dilla was from [the midwest]. There were no blogs and websites in the '90s. I remember him doing remixes for The Pharcyde and me loving them... then The Ummah...then Slum Village came out, and it was over. Fantastic Vol. 2 was one of the first ever downloads I ever found on the internet. I remember all the kids in the [college] dorm being excited about it.
DX: Dilla, at times, was known for his mildness... Busta Rhymes is loud and energetic. how would you describe their chemistry... both on the tape and off?
MB: Busta can answer that better... but him and Dilla were mad cool. And it's funny 'cause Dilla was known as being mellow, but some of his aggressive beats are his best. And Busta is known for being [this] rah-rah, dungeon dragon, but some of his best shit is smooth, [such as] "Put Your Hands," or "I Know What You Want."
BR: My chemistry with Dilla from The Coming all the way to You Cant Hold The Torch, I dont even think words can do it justice. Its more of a feelingits a vibe. Its an energy. Without getting too deep, Dilla was always the one producer who could find that pocket that the average producer was never able to find.
DX: Mick Boogie tapes do so many things. I think back to when you hipped so many of us to The Game, or marketed Ghost so brilliantly. You've got mainstream and underground love. On the surface, at the end of Dilla's life, he was the king of the underground and Busta had risen to the top. Tell me about the sort of impact you anticipate in this tape?
MB: Well I think everybody will love it. That's the goal. Its a bridge between all worlds. Neither myself nor Busta consider ourselves in one world...but we are rooted in the fundamental beliefs of Hip Hop. So this CD kinda plays into that.
DX: J. Period was recently talking to us about iTunes and other commercial outlets for tapes. You used the free download for a minute, but tell me about the longterm strategy here?
MB: Well, these tapes are promo for the artist. We did the Little Brother [And Justus For All] CD for free as a gift for their fans. We remixed the Kanye [West] CD as somethings for the heads who couldn't get enough of Graduation, and Kanye liked it so much he put it on his site. Then Def Jam made him take it down. [Laughs] It's not about money. There's no money in mixtapes anymore. It's about being creative and exposing your talent, which can lead to other opportunities, and also helping the artist. With that said, sometimes artists approach me directly about doing something for profit with them. For example, Kidz In The Hall and I just did an excellent project called Detention made exclusively for iTunes. It's selling crazy.
DX: Did you have any interaction with the Yancey family in this?
MB: No I didn't, but Busta is real cool with them.
DX: What do you think is the most striking track, and why?
MB: I can't even answer that. All of them just convey such a needed sound that Hip Hop is missing. My favorite song changes daily.
DX: You're moving to New York soon, how's that transition been going?
MB: Going great. I'm currently doing a weekly party in New York City as well as special events while still living in Cleveland. As time goes on, I'll be transitioning that more to New York City while still keeping some mid-western things going as well. For example, similar to The Rub [DJ Eleven and Cosmo Baker] in Brooklyn, we do a monthly out here called "I Got 5 On It" that's crazy and I'll definitely be doing that in the midwest even after I move. I'll probably do a New York City edition as well.
DX: What does Mick Boogie have planned for '08?
MB: Lots of stuff. Some cool A&R opportunities. More mix projects. Lots of touring and traveling. That's my main focus right now, actually... promoters, holla at me! [Laughs] Maybe a small album deal, if not, definitely something digitally.
DX: Lastly, Dilla was an underground God. Busta Rhymes is one of the greatest in the mainstream. How did your collaborations open doors?
BR: Thats funny you say "God" 'cause Godfather was the name Dilla always had for me. He would call me like, Whats up Godfather? It was almost like he was saluting. But to answer your question, on the underground levelit was likelet me help bring some different tax bracket success to him. He was go gutter with itso much creative geniushe deserved to get that mainstream paper. At the end of the day, we had so much lyrical shit to marry with his production.
DX: Please tell us what you can about the next Busta Rhymes album?
BR: The name of my new album is called Back On My Bullshit, coming early 2008. I wanna give people that shitthat shit they know and love. So they can learn who Busta Rhymes really is.
For a collectors edition of the Dillagence mixtape, Mick Boogie fans can [click here.]