a producer on the rise, a surefire piece of advice is to be prepared
to pay dues. “There will be many to pay,” as the production due of Sam
and Jay will tell you. Its usually a rough road to travel just to get
a buzz in your own hood, let alone outside of city limits, and you can
double that if youre from New York.
Queens cronies that make up Thorotracks have grown together by waiting
in long lines, handing out beats for free, and pushing themselves to
make the best music they possibly can. Theyll tell you how it sucks
having to be annoying and putting your beat CD in the hands of that
same rapper 15 times just to get him to listen. But eventually, they
will listen, and if youve dedicated an equal combination of blood,
sweat and tears to your product, it will be reflected in the sound of your music.
and Jay are no strangers to the grind of the street, after hustling around
Queens together for the past six years trying to get the Thorotracks
name out. The obstacles were many, and even after catching the ear of
DJ Premier and scoring joints on his latest project, their hustle is
far from over. As a testament to that, they gave AllHipHop.com a few
courtesy minutes while pulled over on the side of a busy New York boulevard,
in whats just another day in the life of two producers who dont
know the meaning of the word stop.
AllHipHop.com: You were on
the way to Killah Priests album signing yesterday. Howd that go?
Sam: That was dope man. It
was really like his in-store with ours, ’cause we just put out a street
album/mixtape too at the same time. So it was cool, we was in Long Island,
he performed with Hellrazah. It was a good vibe.
AllHipHop.com: Nice. So you
guys dropped a street album?
Jay: Yeah, its called The
AllHipHop.com: Whats the
response been like to it so far?
Sam: Its pretty good, we
got it all over the place already. Were goin’ hard with it, and we
got J-Love to host it for us.
AllHipHop.com: So since youve
been getting with artists like Priest and everyone, have you been forging
some good relationships?
Sam: Yeah, you know some people
well do joints with for them, and theyll do something for us.
A couple of people weve got real good relationships with, like Killah
Priest, Shabaam Shadeeq, Killa Sha. A couple people were real close
AllHipHop.com: It must have
been dope to get with the NYGz for their project, since thats the
first one dropping on Premiers new imprint right?
Jay: Yeah, word. We were glad
to do it. How long ago did you do those songs?
Sam: We did those songs like
two years ago probably. Two years and change. But theyre like family
to us though man.
AllHipHop.com: Did you get
to jump in the studio for those sessions, or do you usually just shop
the beats and hear the final product?
Jay: A little of both man.
With the NYGz project, we were in the studio with them.
Sam: Theyre like fam, so
yeah. Were about to go to the video shoot too today, right after we
do this with you.
AllHipHop.com: I cant imagine
what its like for you guys having tracks alongside someone like Premier,
and you guys really did your thing on Welcome 2 G-Dom. Did you feel
any pressure working on that?
Jay: Naw man, no pressure.
Its respect just to be alongside Premier.
Sam: Yeah, and Preem showed
us a lot of love. Like he wore our shirt in London at a press conference.
Jay: Yeah he showed love, and
it was originally through Blaq Poet back in the day cause we had something
with him and thats how we met. We did something for Poet, and it
was supposed to be for our album, but Preem was like Naw, we keeping
it for the album. So I was just like Yeah go ahead man, just
happy to a part of anything that he was doing, you know?
AllHipHop.com: Now a lot of
up-and-coming producers like yourselves end up signing in-house production
deals with labels. Have you ever considered that avenue, or been approached
with that type of offer?
Sam: I mean, weve been approached,
but it was all labels that wasnt really worthwhile like that. So
we never did, but if the numbers are right, and the people are right
wed definitely do it. But were so independent, we do everything
ourselves. No manager, no nothing, we just grind.
Jay: Thats just it. Most
of the labels out there making us offers, they werent doing anything
for us that we couldnt do for ourselves. You know what Im sayin’?
So why do it?
AllHipHop.com: Right. I like
a good come-up story, so tell me a little about the origination of Thorotracks
coming together and creating music.
Sam: Oh damn. How do we wow.
I dont know, we just met one day. Jay started doing the beats before
me, and I ended up buying the MP[C], but I aint really know how to rock
it. My man was from Kelona, and he was a DJ and he introduced me to
Jay, and we clicked instantly. And thats really how it started.
AllHipHop.com: So its been
a while since you came together.
Jay: 01, 02. Something
AllHipHop.com: As a duo, how
do your attributes mesh together to form the team?
Sam: Well were both well
rounded, and we criticize each other. Sometimes if youre by yourself,
its harder because you dont have someone to go Aww, thats
wack. And whoever is feeling stronger about it one way or the other
is how we decide how the joint goes out.
AllHipHop.com: What was the
first situation you guys got in where you felt like you were on your
way up with your foot in the door?
Sam: Maybe the stuff we did
with Poet? Probably the Royal Flush projects we worked on with him.
AllHipHop.com: And what was
your mindstate like back then working on those projects?
Sam: It was real cool man,
we were rollin’ around with him a lot and we just met a whole lot of
people. Everybody in the game knew who he was so, he showed a lot of
love and brought us through to everybody.
Jay: Any and everybody. It
was like family, we spent every day together for like two or three years
and that was our whole crew at that time.
AllHipHop.com: Poet seems like
a pretty crazy dude, and you guys must be pretty heavy in the streets
too if you were rollin with him like that.
Sam: (Laughs) Yeah, theres
been plenty of crazy times, but it is what it is and we were from the
streets anyway. We did what we had to do, but were just really positive
right now with the music, cause we aint trying to do any of that
other s**t anymore.
AllHipHop.com: Thats good.
Whats the current state of affairs in New York right now, particularly
in Queens with you guys having your fingers on the pulse of the underground
Sam: Its cool, but you know,
New York is just New York and theres not that much love over here
man. Youll go to shows and itll be big shows with big rappers,
and therell be 30 or 40 people there. If that was out of state, therell
be tons of people there. It used to trendsetters in New York, but now
its a bunch of followers. They aint really doing New York music
out here, but its coming back now, little by little.
AllHipHop.com: You guys have
a chance to get out of town at all?
Sam: Yeah weve hit Boston,
Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston
Jay: Weve gone other places
to spread our music out a little bit more, but you know how it is. People
aint being receptive to underground Hip-Hop right now. But were
not gonna change what we do, so its like you either love the underground
or you dont. Thats as simple as it is now.
AllHipHop.com: So in terms
of the artists youve worked with to this point, do either of you
have a favorite project youve been able to work on thus far?Sam: Weve got a real crazy
joint with Killah Priest thatll be coming out for his next album,
and were a good six joints deep in with him already.
Jay: And with Shabaam Shadeeq,
hell be dropping his mixtape/street album and we did a lot of joints
on there with different artists on there.
Sam: Connect Four was real
crazy too, I dont know if you heard that one but it was on Sean Ps
Master P album too. And were about to do Connect Four Part 2, he
said hes down, ready to go.
AllHipHop.com: Alright, I know
you guys endorse the phrase Hip-Hops not dead, its on life support.
Can you get into where youre coming with that a little bit?
Jay: Realistically, Hip-Hop
is never gonna die cause theres too many people out there that love
it. But I look at the type of Hip-Hop that we make, and its on life
support man. A lot of people arent showing it the respect how it
used to get maybe eight to ten years ago. The hard Hip-Hop, what I grew
up on and what I love, I feel its on life support. Its not dead,
but its not fully alive like in the mid to late 90s.
Sam: They call it underground
now, but then that wasnt underground, that was just Hip-Hop man.
What made it underground? I dont know. Maybe its not as commercial
as the other stuff thats right now. But me, I dont see it as underground
I just see it as Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: You guys will
be trying to bring that mentality back to New York?
Sam: Yeah, theres a lot
of people thats part of that movement. These older rappers are coming
back out. MC Shan is coming back out of nowhere. Marley Marl coming
back with that project with KRS One. A lot of people are coming back
right now, so hopefully it will turn around. I mean how much more can
people take of the bulls**t thats out now? These rappers arent
saying anything, you cant relate to it.