Exclusive: Prince Po, Main Flow, Black Silver and Tash form group, emcee says Amalgam Digital revived his career.
Hip Hop fans have known Tash for over 15 years, being the frontman of west coast bar-buddies, Tha Alkaholiks [click to read]. Presently, the man who helped mentor both Xzibit and Madlib to the game, is at work on his second album in a decade. On Monday, the Lik told HipHopDX about how the game has changed, but the love for music has not.
"[Tha Alkaholiks were] the first artist on Loud Records [operated by] Steve Rifkind [click to read]. We started that," Tash said of the label that would be home to Wu-Tang Clan, Big Pun and Pete Rock. He continued, "We got traded a lot to do different labels. Koch, EMI; we got bounced a lot where the labels woulds sign us and they would feel like they’re in control of everything you do." Recalling industry experience led to Tash calling his second solo Control Freak. "Being with Amalgam Digital and everything, I’m in control of my own destiny, you know? So its like, I paid for the whole album myself. I didn’t get no budget I didn’t get nothing. I came out my own bank account. Got people I thought was dope and I’m in control of my own situation."
The result is a June 30th album that features B-Real, Knoc'turn'al, J Wells [click to read], and furthers Tash's reputation for finding new talent. "A lot of names on the album and everything, you might not have heard of them yet, but we opened the doors for Xzibit, and we were the ones that did that and everything and we never really got our just do for putting so many people in the game, man. I mean you know, we helped Madlib out." The Liks would later be pivotal associations in the careers of artists like Defari, Phil Da Agony and DJ Babu as well.
Going with Amalgam Digital, Tash was asked if it was hard for the veteran to adapt to the digital age, marketing trends and lack of physical product. "My closest friends tell me I’m a dinosaur, man. It took me a minute to get used to it, but it’s where everything is going and it’s positive. If I didn’t go with a label like Amalgam Digital, nobody would ever hear from me again." Admitting that he missed the way things were in 1994, Tash did joke, "To tell you the truth, my cousin E-Swift used to have me carrying those big ass [record] crates. [Laughs] I used to get hernias carrying those crates because he had so many records and shit. [Laughs] So I’m glad the computer age came in. We’re here and we’re having fun with it. Everybody need to have fun with it. Quit being so serious and mean. Quit lying, talking about who you shot and all this bullshit. We already heard enough sad stories, it’s time to hear some happy stories."
Flowing along with happy stories, Tash was asked about his proudest verse. Despite his vast group work and two solo albums, the emcee thought back to Xzibit's track "Alkaholik" for sentimental reasons. "I had the flu one night, and my man Xzibit calls me up like, 'Man I’m doing this album (Restless), come to the studio I really need you on this song.' And the song was called ['Alkaholik'], [sings] 'Call it what you wanna call it, I’m a fucking alchoholic.'
The song's place in the rapper's catalog has several meanings. "From the name of the group being Tha Alkaholiks and from working with one of my favorite rappers and producers, Erik Sermon, I said I’m sick, but I’ll still come up there. I had a nasal cold and everything," recalled Tash. He says of the 2000 song's legacy, "I’m still on tour with that song right now. Even if Xzibit ain’t there, they still love that hook [sings hook again]. People just love that comradery with me and Xzibit, [J-Ro] Well, the rest of the group and with Erik Sermon being there. I just think that’s my favorite rap because I know what I did to get there, I had to drive there with the flu, record the vocals I sound all nasally and everything and I still did my job and people still respect it to this day. That’s my favorite verse as far as, I know what I had to do to get there to do it. How hard I had to think to do this and that to make that song happen."
Speaking to HipHopDX from a Las Vegas studio, Tash revealed his next project is a group with Prince Po (of Organized Konfusion) [click to read], Main Flow and Black Silver (Analog Brothers) called Concrete Babiez. That release, along with the next Alkaholiks project, is due by early 2010.
Backed by single "New Bikini," Control Freak is available digitally June 30 on Amalgam Digital.