hen you think of Colorado, a few things instantly come to mind: high altitude, thin air, Kobe Bryant, and rehabilitation facilities. Hip-Hop music does not necessarily roll off the tongue. As it turns out, the city of Colorado Springs is the stomping ground of three MCs who would eventually come together to form The Procussions.
Driven by their mutual love for Hip-Hop, the triumvirate of Mr. J Medeiros, Stro, and Rez performed tirelessly in their hometown until they finally outgrew their surroundings. Colorado was not necessarily a Hip-Hop mecca, so they made the inevitable move to Los Angeles to increase their chances of being heard. The collective released an LP, an EP, and a couple of singles before their grind paid off in the form of a deal with the new Rawkus Records. The Rawkus signing may be symbolic, whereby the independent giant chose The Procussions to relaunch the label.
With their latest album, 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, The Procussions take a big step toward that goal. Utilizing in-house producer/mc Stros percussion heavy tracks, The Procussions live up to their name while making a name for themselves. The Procussions move to the beat of a different drum. Not compromising their artistry for record sales, they are adamant on staying true to themselves, and make it known that they do this for the love, clichés be damned.
AllHipHop.com: I feel that. How long have you guys been together?
J. Mederios: Weve been a group for eight years. We coined The Procussions name about eight years ago. Our first album came out about three years ago, and we had a single brewing for like two years before that. Wed been touring for about five years.
AllHipHop.com: This is your first situation where you have a major label backing your effort. Do you feel any pressure to meet certain expectations from the Rawkus?
J. Mederios: Not really. I wanna be honest, I mean you got two battles going on here. You got the battle to be yourself. You got the battle that magazines and websites and all these underground Hip-Hop heads have on you to fit some certain mold that Rawkus has. Those people are gonna be extremely disappointed when they hear what weve been working on already. Were gonna be ourselves. Unfortunately, you know, were not young were all almost 30 years old. Were at a point where we really want fresh ears. We want like a new look on like what music should sound like. I dont want to live my life in tribute to something else. Were not a cover-band, were not a tribute band. The only pressure that we would feel is if we try to make those people happy. Were not interested in making those people happy. We cant let people dictate our careers, or else I would go do something else. I did this cause it was free. Its a free feeling to be able to write what I wanna write and put that out. I mean, if Im gonna be living under somebody else I might as well work as a waiter or something.
AllHipHop.com: Thats refreshing to hear. You mentioned being compared to other groups. I read a couple of reviews on your album where youre compared to Jurassic 5.
J. Mederios: Oh God! I mean, Ive noticed especially with me I get three people they say [I sound like]: they say Ad Rock, Zack De La Rocha [of Rage Against The Machine], and they say B-Real. People are obsessed with not being able to pick up something new. They have to pull from their little bag. Like some people, like, if all they know is Rage, then I sound like Zack De La Rocha, if all they know is Beastie Boys all of a sudden Im Ad Rock, and if all they know is Jurassic 5 its like and its really hard cause if you listen to songs like Carousel, American Fado, I dont see it, but some people see wed rather be ourselves. If thats not getting across this album, then I definitely think it will on the next.
AllHipHop.com: You got Talib Kweli to guest on your song Miss January. Was it hard to get him for the song considering how vocal hes been about the mistakes Rawkus made in his own career?
Stro: I dont know of it was fabricated or not, but it didnt seem like it was extremely hard. I think, besides the fact, whatever the situation was with his relationship with Rawkus, I think he genuinely did like the music. We had met him a couple times before, we even opened for him a couple times, and whatnot, so I think he was at least familiar with who we were, and at least what we sounded like. So, um, when it came down to it, we told the owners of the label, Hey, send him a copy of the tracks that we think he might like being on, and he chose two or three of them, actually, but that was the one that seemed to fit the best. It all worked out.
AllHipHop.com: The album has been out for almost a month. Are you satisfied with what it is doing sales-wise? Is it reaching the people you wanted to reach?
Stro: I dont know whats going on with the numbers. I sort of judge the situation as, you know, we had a first album out, how does this one really compare to the last one. And I feel like already with the cities weve been, were halfway through this tour, with the people that have hit us up on various internet sites, overall whether its reviews good or bad, I feel like if anybodys paying attention to us, its worth it. I feel like its a real good situation to be in. We make music as best as we can to suit our own needs as well as what we think people might want to hear from us and so far its been good.
AllHipHop.com: What can people expect from a Procussions show?
Stro: Well, I can only tell you what people tell us from the audience. Theres a lot of energy, we have a lot of musicianship going on whether vocally or whatever interaction going on between us and the DJ or drum kit. But mostly a lot of energy, people tend to say that a lot about us that it feels like we are having a good time. We like to keep the crowd involved and have them have a good time as well. Its sort of an aggressive party, so to speak.
AllHipHop.com: How long have you been producing?
Stro: Kinda off and on since I was 16, 17 years old. Ive been a musician for longer than that. I started off playing trumpet, moved over into percussion when I was in Germany. I was a military brat, so I lived everywhere. I had the luxury of telling schools what I played without them having my [track] record. I did about a year at a music program in Colorado when I got stationed out there which is where I met these guys. I pretty much wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember.