have heard the name Juice by now, or at least you should have. The
Chicagoan earned his MC stripes in the late ’90s by smashing big name
MCs in head-to-head freestyle battles. Legend has it that Eminem, Kanye
West and Common all came out on the losing end after battling Juice. He
has released a slew of albums, been heard on numerous mixtapes and
spread his highly metaphoric style of serious lyrics throughout
internet chatrooms and college campuses all over the world.
Today, he has a new menagerie of musicians and vocalists called Juice
and the Machine. They are currently working hard honing their skills
and sharpening the edges on their first full length album. Juice and
the Machine is fueled by jazz riffs and powerful lyrics. This
collection of music makers uses the vibe of live instruments and
improvisation to deliver a full-blown musical experience to fans. The
jazzy feel is supported by Juices liquid flows, slick metaphors and
tell-it-like-it-is lyrics. The combination is the equivalent of what
would happen if The Roots met Rage in the Machine and created their own
Stetsasonic Hip-Hop band.
AllHipHop.com: Juice, how did you transfer the battle-rhyme skills into band-backed music?
Juice: It was a natural chord progression because Im known for
freestyling. At first, the sound was too jazzy [and I] had to shape it
into what I wanted Hi- Hop to sound like. The transition occurred
naturally. The total sound gives respect to Hip-Hop and its roots. It
also encompasses elements of all music. [Our sound] pays tribute to all
AllHipHop.com: The new music has a feel thats part jazz mixed with funk and certainly Hip-Hop. Whos the inspiration?
Juice: I dont know if theres anyone in particular. My family has
direct relatives from Charlie Parker. As a kid, that didnt mean s**t,
but as I grew up, I realized that that was significant. [Our music is]
also influenced by Neo-Soul and R&B. We wanted a diverse sound. As
the MC, Im the mouthpiecethe conduit and the band came together and
sculpted the sound.
AllHipHop.com: How did all of the cogs come together to create Juice and the Machine?
Juice: My business partner, Eric Sheinkop, was having a birthday party
and asked if I would be interested in rocking with his band. We met,
and after the second rehearsal, they picked up the music like a
machine and there it was. I didnt know anybodys credentials and
they didnt know mine. [It] just ended up happening because of synergy.
So from that experience as a collective, we decided to stay together
[as a band].
AllHipHop.com: What was the motivation for the song, Black?
Juice: Well, I wrote Black and nine other [songs] in seven days. Its
the story of how I grew up and how being Black shaped my experiences.
But all of us can imagine doing things to get money in this economy. It
[the song] uses a play on the definitions of Black. The band picked up
the groove and added some accents and like everything else it clicked.
See, I approach music like a writer. Look, Im not gonna be around forever. So, my songs are like letters to my fans.
AllHipHop.com: Who is The Machine?
Juice and the Machine: First of all, all of these guys are accomplished
musicians in their own right. There’s Russoul, the lead singer. Theres
Aaron Getsug on sax, Brian Abraham on drums, Tim Lincoln on bass, Brian
Felix on keys and my business partner, Eric Sheinkop.
AllHipHop.com: How can fans hear your music?
Juice: They can check us on myspace. We aim to have personal contact
with people that like our music and the internet makes that happen.
That way, well never overstep our major goal which is to stay
connected directly to the fans.
AllHipHop.com: We appreciate your time. One last question, if you could
work with any producers in the industry, who would it be and why?
Juice: Wow Anybody? The ultimate situation would be recording sessions
with Rick Rubin because of his ability to understand the different
genres [of music that] were dealing with. Maybe Timbaland and
definitely Dre. But we want Rick Rubin. We get Rick Rubin and s**t
gonna be mean.