Freitag, 24. Dezember 2010

X-Mas Special: The Sons Of Sam Story !!!

Wassup !?

Another year is gone and as you guessed it already it´s time for another X-Mas special on my Blog !!!

I hope ya´ll enjoyed the ALPS Cru story i posted 2 years ago and were able to get a bit more info and knowledge about the Cru !!!

This time you get another very informative read from none else but The Xav of the Sons Of Sam !!!

Check it out:

The Sons of Sam started putting beats and rhymes together in 1992. We had a Casio
SK5 and a turntable. The Casio had a 1 second sampler, no time to do anything with, so we had to put the record we wanted to sample from on 45 and spin it with our finger and listen real close for the part we wanted to sample to come up. Perfect loops every time.
It would freak people out who we got clean loops like that. We finally we ended up getting an Ensoniq EPS in 92. The best machine in the world to me. We do and did everything on that machine. Today I use an Ensoniq ASR 10 but we still got the same EPS and they work perfectly. The name goes like this; Samson, now known as Pa-kid, and myself, The Xav, are brothers. Our father was called Sam the snake man so we easily thought of S.O.S. Most people didn’t get why we chose that name because they
related it to the killer, David Burkowitz. Coincidentally, David is our fathers given name. So we had to explain to people that we kill the beats with rhymes. It was a perfect fit. My middle name is Xavier so Xav came about from Charles Blake (rip) a fellow MC who I used to DJ for around 84-85 and Samson is as simple as Sam’s son. I started writing rhymes in 1986 after hearing Rakim and Check out my Melody. Before that I was a Scratching, Breaking and riding BMX bikes. I didn’t like any of the rap that I was hearing before that so when I heard Rakim, it was a weird feeling of being attracted to this song and the flow. The voice was hypnotizing. I was hooked and started writing and trying cadences and flows like Rakim. Over time I found my own voice, style and character. Samson and I were always individual writers and were more lyrically skilled than other local rappers we were hearing. Our beats were also strong. We just decided to get together for a song called Ooooohhh he got an afro while we were rocking twelve inch afros. There was this one time when I put a ruler in my hair and it almost disappeared.
So it was close to 12 inches. We recorded the song at Up & Up in New Jersey. Megahurtz, who got his identifying shine on the sound bombing project and producer of several tracks for Busta Rhymes, was one of our engineers. He was also producing at the time and he and Samson use to trade beat ideas. Deciding to put the afro song out as a single we needed another song for the B side so it came down to two songs; Rising Son and Charisma. Rising Son was a solo track by Samson. It was the first song that was recorded in the studio but I don’t think he was feeling it for the single so Charisma was chosen. We used to sleep with pen and pad next to the bed so if we woke up in the middle of the night with lyrics on our mind, we could put it down. I wrote and produced Charisma in 2 days after dreaming of the lyrics and the cadence as it all came together over a simple drum loop and a flashed/played/fingered base line. Production wise we were experimenting with a lot of samples and sounds. Sampling drum hits and creating custom drum kits was challenging and nobody was doing it as much as we were at the time. If you listen to the ep that was released by Vinyl Addicts, the original unreleased material from 93, you’ll notice that none of those sounds were heard before. The only tracks with recognizable sounds are Charisma for the drum loop, Afro remix for it’s drum loop and it may be one other. But everybody was just looping the same drum patterns you heard on every rap record played on the radio and in the hood. We programmed and tapped out our drums. We were always going against the grain with everything we did. There were a few rappers from Delaware who stood out. Grand G was one of them and I was influenced by him in some way to make flawless tracks. His sound was like a NYC veteran. There were others of course. Everybody was good, don’t get me wrong, but not everything is of interest to me. I’m very critical when it comes to that kind of stuff. So when the record was made I figured out how to get distribution through record pools.
There was no money in it but with a 300 piece pressing, it was good to get the buzz needed and press more if we had too. Funk-o-mart, was one of the stores in Philly that took the record on consignment. There was also Armands. I don’t remember what other stores took it on consignment but it wasn’t about that for me at the time. It was about making noise and getting enough attention to bait the labels.
In 1993 we recorded 12 songs for the album and had the owner of Up & Up going to bat with labels for us after he heard the material and felt we had potential. He would give us free studio time to redo the songs and make them hype for...”a hit”. Not feeling the direction, he suggested we make new songs so we went back in the lab. We got up in the morning, kept a box of corn flakes cereal next to the machines for breakfast and banged out new tracks to shop. We probably went through a giant box of cereal in a day. We made 12 complete new songs in about two weeks. Beats and rhymes. We mixed them, sent them to him, he went to bat and we waited. Nothing happened for months and we started getting frustrated and restless and burned out from writing and producing so much in so little time. I realized that this was the pressure that can do a rapper in. I could feel the pressure of creating a dope sophmore project after the first project was real and not forced. The songs were great nevertheless. The good news was that there was an interest from some of the labels but we didn’t really know who they were. The bad news was that we needed to make more songs. Something more hype, something for the future because by the time we would get a deal the songs would be three years old. At least that’s what the owner of the studio thought. By that time we were so far ahead of what was going on, I still don’t think people have caught up yet. We didn’t pay attention to what we were doing as writers. It was actually building consistency and I think that’s why we still get down to this day the way we do.
In 1994, a year after the record came out and we were sitting on about 40 complete tracks, we won an award for the best rap group in the Delaware valley. The Delaware Valley Music Poll Awards was an annual music competition that celebrated local musicians and groups. Thinking this award would give us more label attention and public interest, we prepared for a ride that never came.
Long story short, I got tired of doing all the footwork and spending the money and frustrated with bullshit passing us by. And not knowing where to go after that award thing didn’t turn out anything because it was so political, I took a break from S.O.S. I still continued to write rhymes but got more into Breaking, photography and writing.
1996 brought me to a new writing style and having fun, letting go and not being so serious about music was now my focus. I set up studio time at D&D, a major underground studio that housed Gang Starr, Jeru, Onyx, Diamond D and even Jay Z.
The engineers were credible and I felt this was were we needed to be so we could get the attention of some major producers and rappers. I became friends with Easy D, an engineer of the studio and former rapper himself. He would give me prime time slots and a cheap rate and I started recording as a solo artist. The man with the glass eyes was my first solo project recorded there and it was a shit talking track. I brought Samson in with me when I recorded it and the vibe was so dope, I decided to get back in it again. Technique and Big Deal were the new tracks we recorded. We changed the name to Wry Penmen as we started to notice everybody was a Son of something. They weren’t going to come close to this name. It would be a representation of our new sounds. By this time Samson is called Pa-kid and I’m still Xav but go by ZNo-Zeen in the B-boy world. It was time to play with characters and have fun with the game. I started going by Henry Bemis and Archie Rays as well as Xav and Z-no-Zeen.
And they could all rhyme differently than the next.
We recorded a ridiculous amount of songs, solo and together. The man with the glass eyes was distributed in Australia as an ep disc. Then it was distributed in California as a 10 track disc with my solo cuts and production by Pa-kid.
In 1998 I ended up working as a photographer for Rap Pages, Blaze and Vibe for about a solid year then went on the road as a Breaker. To this day I’m still on the road as a Breaker. I create theatre shows with the form and incorporate my rhymes in the work.
It’s getting more attention than the work I did before so it keeps me on the edge of creating Hip Hop theatre so to speak. I’ve done that for the last 15 years. I never stopped writing or making beats. In fact I got a new untitled solo project that is super raw and edgy. Back to the beats, loops and rhymes again. It’s fun again. I’m creating some dope ass DIY videos for the songs and creating a film from all of them about a 40 year old rapper still trying to make it and a half ass A&R who tries to get back in the game after being black listed. They become good friends and help each other realize who they are.
But in any case the videos are for the songs I’m doing now. 15 songs and skits no longer than 2 minutes long. The attention span of a lot of people today is only about 2 seconds long and the music I hear is boring and don’t really take any skill to produce.
So I’m joining them but with all my skills from the past. It’s just magnified and mature now and comparable to anything out there today. Underground and mainstream. What ever that is supposed to mean. Pa-kid is still making tracks and is still a monster. We talk about the state of the music today and keep it moving. It’s just fuel for the fire. I live in Hollywood so when I visit the east coast we get up and make some songs if I got time but we always write and pass off ideas and what we’ve come up with to each other.
I can go on for years about a lot of things that happened along the way but the most important thing is that we still make good music and it’s still original shit and gets better every time we put pen or pencil to pad, paper, post it note, napkin, back of a receipt, on a parking ticket or a bill, which ever one is closer.
There has been a lot of support from Chris at Diggers Wit Gratitude, Bibow who turned everybody on to each other, Buddah who stands up for the little left out man who loves genuine rap shit and Maze of Vinyl Addicts who just don’t stop. With the project I’m working on now, I’m hoping to generate an interest in picking it up or slinging it to the fans. It’s a dope project and relaxed in the way I’ve been able to put it together. I’m just writing what ever I feel like writing and smashing down any stereo types about rappers from the 80’s and 90’s sound too out of date and have lost it. It aint happening here! I promise you that! It may have if I tried to play the radio/mainstream game but that shit is all cosmetic and patch work. No real foundation for longevity. It’s made in the moment, played in the moment and will stay in the moment.

I hope ya´ll enjoyed the read and wish ya´ll merry X-Mas and a happy new year !!!

Peace & One Love,

Bibow (TNR)