They dont breed MCs like Edan anymore. The D.C. area native relocated to Boston in pursuit of creating the Plymouth Prowler of Hip-Hop classic styling with technological upgrades. His debut, Primitive Plus was a buzzing record that celebrated early drum machines, boom-bap, and twisted 1988-minded deliveries.
2005 finds Edan lounging in a hotel room high above Paris with his girl. Such a description would make Big Daddy Kane proud. The MC will return to the United States with his album release this month. Beauty and the Beat is one of the most stylistic Hip-Hop records in years. The album channels 60s Rock, 80s Hip-Hop, and 2005 awareness in pursuit of butt-shakin good taste. This is Hip-Hop not intended for dummys, and neither is Edan. Learn a thing or two about Hip-Hop, and how a young guy has found his way into the deepest inner-circles of Hip-Hop. History books not included.
AllHipHop.com: Youre a lot younger than the Hip-Hop records that you make and inspire you.
Edan: Thats true. I think sometimes people try to call [me] out behind that, but its nothing to be called out for. Its just loving that s**t. But I am younger than a lot of those records in terms of when Id logically be rockin those s**ts.
AllHipHop.com: What was your coming of age with Hip-Hop? Because, you made Ultra 88 which was a tribute to the Ultramagnetic MCs.
Edan: That Hip-Hop was the best to me. Its when human beings needed to make music to satisfy some greater appetite within their soul. Its a more calculated game now. Back then, it was more: Anything goes, lets just see what we can do with the art, and have fun and s**t. I think any era where theres still some experimentation going on regardless of whether its Hip-Hop or Rock who had its burgeoining era in the mid 60s anything when its still in that phase where people are still really excited to push it as far as it can go, Im always gonna be into that era of any movement, more-so than the decline of the movement. Im lookin at all types of things when mankind was just sparkin some s**t. Its a large span of time with Hip-Hop. It got interesting around the mid 70s. By the early 80s, all those pioneering groups that really amaze me [came out]. Then it got a lil bit Electro, the break-dancing, then Run-DMC, then Mantronix which is what the stuff thats out now reminds me of most like the Crunk stuff. Its across the board way beyond Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: Even Missy Eliot tried to bring it back a little with Under Construction.
Edan: I think most DJs that could be bitter about the records they have to play felt good about her playin her records as opposed to playin a lot of those other records.
AllHipHop.com: Making that old-school sound isnt easy. As a producer from modern times, how did you learn to make that sound?
Edan: I didnt really have to make sure. When you love something, you gravitate towards it. I just love things that seem human, have something organic in it, some flaw, some warmth. Synthesizers and drum machines, I really cant get down like that because theres no mystique to where the sounds originated, and no mystique as to the scenario that created that sound. When you know a dude is using a certain keyboard on a record, its how to give a f**k as to how he arrived at that certain sound. I love old records. I feeling the depth of being alive now when I have history to surround myself with.
AllHipHop.com: That seems very apparent on Beauty and the Beat. This feels like a 65 67 Rock record, musically. Was that stuff intended to be part of the big picture?
Edan: I would have to say yeah. Because the psychedelic movement that sort off originated in London is crazy. It was like The Beatles got large but were very clean cut. The [Rolling] Stones sort of the alternative to that a little more dark, a little uglier. That led to a whole lot of bands getting raw with it in the wake of all that with LSD and all that. 66 started to go buck wild. That whole scene and everything that came with it was about everybody opening their minds and making the most beautiful s**t they could make drugs or not.
AllHipHop.com: Well you bring up drugs. You have a single called, I See Colors thats gaining much acclaim.
Edan: Once we get past all this rah-rah s**t, and whos gangster and whos not, its about who can put the most beautiful s**t down on canvas. Thats what I feel about this music. I feel that approach is frowned upon or considered passé in these days so f**k that. Some of us need to take it upon ourselves to reinforce that aspect of making music. We cant forget that Hip-Hop music is really love. Anything that really isnt of love hasnt got much place in this s**t.
AllHipHop.com: You featured a true underground legend, Percee P on the album. How did you guys link up?
Edan: [Growing up] I heard Lung Collapsing Lyrics, then all the other stuff. Great guy. Hes a legend. Me and him did a song called Torture Chamber. We each just 32 bars about torturing mothaf**kas. [laughing]
AllHipHop.com: This is a whole other sound than Primitive Plus. When did you decide to go this route?
Edan: Its weird. Primitive Plus had a distinctive sound. But I wasnt thinking that, This is how I want to define myself. It was just where my head was at [then]. I was really buggin off hearing Marley stuff. The 85-86 Marley s**t, or Dont Do It by Tragedy, Just Shout by Craig G. That had a hypnotic effect on me, like a stimulus. A lot of music was too tame or sort of soft and generous. I was getting jaded with the politeness of music. I needed the sandpaper to my face and scrape my mind up. It started to seem like pyschedelic music to me. All the drums, and all the Marley Marl drums going in reverse – I started thinking: this is just like Hendrix. Im seein the same type of s**t through these different genres here.
AllHipHop.com: You look at the way DJ Premiers drum patterns and productions have evolved. Then look at Picassos blue period. Great art has phases of evolution.
Edan: You cant know whats gonna happen next. But as an artist, you put concepts and ideas across to people. Once youve done it, you sort of want to move on.
AllHipHop.com: When you get back to the US, whats the plan of attack?
Edan: Theres a tour in Europe already scheduled. Im trying to secure a tour with Cut Chemist [Jurassic 5] in the States by June. I need to stay busy. Hopefully, I can keep trying to make new music. I just did a DJ gig here. Im doing a gig in New York as soon as I get back.
AllHipHop.com: As a journalist, I have to ask you about this joint, Let Be Friends you put out a few years back. Its all about you wanting to be friends with rappers in a schoolgirlish sort of way, and I think every journalist needs to hear it.
Edan: I literally woke the f**k up from sleep and made it within half an hour. I did it in one take. The whole thing for that EP was doing songs as quick as possible. I just wanted to see where I was at if I just ran with it. It ended up being silly and kinda stupid for the most part. It was just on some make myself laugh s**t. I made a song everyday for six days.
AllHipHop.com: You called it stupid. You dont regret it, right?
Edan: No, it makes me feel good that I can approach Hip-Hop that way and not have to have a screw-face on. I was just being myself. Im being myself now. I just want to be as free as possible, honest as possible, and never put myself in any corners where people expect me to be.
AllHipHop.com: As a lover of records, has there really been a particular record or artist that had Garage or Psychedelic appeal to it, in your opinion?
Edan: The closest that Ive come in my listening experiences is in live tapes. Like Soulsonic Force was always tight with the echo machines. Just hearing people like Bam play Monkees records and Beatles records and cut em side by side with Rhythm Heritage and all these crazy breaks. The chaos and the rawness of the routines thats just straight up vital as s**t ever has been. The s**t gets real dusted. People havin a hard time with the primitive belt-drive [turntables], when the records wind up slow, building up to the right pitch. Its just chaotic in the best possible way. The honesty in that s**t. It just dont get more lucid than that!