any given night you can usually find DJ Evil Dee in Bushwick, Brooklyn
at Alice Dewgardes House. The three-room studio, that also doubles
as his place of dwelling, is still referred to by its traditional
name, “The Crib of Hits.” But, with their moms passing the Dewgarde brothers
felt it necessary to honor the woman who raised Da Beatminerz in the
place they still create nearly all of their music.
seems the more things change for the Boot Camp Clik, the more they stay
the same. With Duck Down Records turning into an independent product
powerhouse, and Da Beatminerz currently as in-demand by labels and artists
as theyve ever been, it would make sense if Evil Dees ego had
grown since Who Got Da Props? first hit the airwaves back in 92.
But alas, the heavyweight DJ with the high-pitch voice is still humble
enough to kick it with fans in record stores and personally respond
to MySpace messages.What
he will boldly proclaim is that now, more than ever hes disenchanted
with the direction of mainstream Hip Hop in North America. While it
may have more to do with ethics than ego, you get the impression that
Evil Dee is like the Don Corleone of Hip Hop production. His methods
are old school, hes meticulous about the details, and if hes not
feeling your product or your game plan, chances are youre not doing
business. Evil Dees seen and done it all before, so whether you love
him or hate him, youve got to respect him.
AllHipHop.com: Its almost
like youve never stopped performing live, whether its at home
rocking Sputnik or abroad somewhere.
DJ Evil Dee: I tell cats about
the whole live show thing, youve gotta do what you do. Me, I love
deejaying and a lot of people hire me to do parties. So Im always
running around doing parties everywhere, and at the same I go around
with my crew Boot Camp. Like this weekend that passed I was out in LA
with them at the Paid Dues Tour, so were just having fun.
AllHipHop.com: Not long ago
you were over in Japan doing shows. Whats the response like for DJ
Evil Dee over there right now?
DJ Evil Dee: Let me tell you
a little bit about Japan. A lot of people still dont know about Japan.
Its crazy over there, Hip Hop is back to like 88. Its not about
You the hottest thing. If your joints make sense, if youve
got that sound, if youre talented, theyll mess with you. With
me, I go over there and DJ every year and were selling out parties
over there. And a lot of cats from Japan listen to my podcast. So over
there is just fantastic man.
AllHipHop.com: You ever get a chance to do any of the cultural or tourist
things while youre there?
DJ Evil Dee: When Im over
there Im record shopping. Like I still havent seen Japan
Japan yet. But Ive seen all the record stores. Ive seen all the
Hip Hop stuff. Plus theyve got some groups over there thats killin’
it, just really representin’. I know it sounds crazy, but they got this
group called The Teriyaki Boys, and they are tearin’ it down over there.
And its a lot of other cats over there thats doing stuff too.
AllHipHop.com: What would be
your favorite thing about doing a show in Tokyo as opposed to a show
DJ Evil Dee: Oh thats real
simple. Anywhere outside the United States I can play whatevers dope.
I dont have to play the hits, all I have to do is play dope records.
I could be in Japan and I could throw on A Tribe Called Quest Once
Again, and theyll yell for it as if someone threw on Jay-Zs
PSA. Its like all cats outside the United States just want
to hear the dope stuff. No disrespect to the South, but a lot of cats
outside the States dont understand it. They dont understand a
Soulja Boy or a Young Berg and the rest of them dudes, you know? They
just like Hip-Hop, they like beats and flows. If you dont have a
good flow and your beat and head-boppin’, they dont mess with it.
AllHipHop.com: So you could
throw on some Black Moon and
DJ Evil Dee: Black Moon is
classic over there. Gang Starr is classic, Wu-Tang is classic over there.
Mos Def and Talib Kweli, EPMD. I could name records and cats that if
you throw on their stuff, its automatic classic.
AllHipHop.com: Is there a particular
record you would make sure was in your crate if you were going to a
DJ Evil Dee: Hmmm. A lot of
people who hire me do so because they know Im gonna come with my
flavor. And most of the parties that I do, if I throw on a Beatminerz
joint, cats know it. If Im doing a party in Japan and I throw on
I Got Cha Opin album version or Heads Aint Ready, theyll
lose it. What it is over here, music is segregated. Its broken down
into This is the south, this is the west, this is New York, and
Im just like Let music be music. I hear a lot of down south
stuff I like, I hear a lot of west coast music I like. Im a big DJ
Quik fan. I like Lil Scrappy, Rick Ross is dope. Music is music, you
have good music and you have bad music.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of
good music, Duck Down has a real strong movement going right now. Can
you describe the feeling of having dudes like KRS-One and Ed O.G. coming
on or having the History Channel reaching out for music?
DJ Evil Dee: Its funny because
I was just talking to Buckshot about that while we were on the plane
going out west last week. Its a good feeling to know that cats are
in the game and things are going their way. It shows that were not
just here, were here and were making people realize whats going
on. Those are some real big moves, cause these are cats that we watched
coming into the game. And its not about a hit record, its about
putting out quality records. KRS-One is making an impact, but KRS-One
also makes good records. Its all about good music. Ed O.G. and them,
good music. Its like Stones Throw [Records], they dont have no
million-dollar sellers but they have real, good music. Madlib is a genius,
and hes producing real good records.
AllHipHop.com: Its nice
to be in a position where you dont have to worry about the hits,
and just put out what you feel is good music and have the fan base to
DJ Evil Dee: Exactly. Black
Moon, were not selling platinum. But if we do SOBs, well sell
it out faster than some of the big acts. I went to a showcase at SOBs
where the number one radio station was doing something and it wasnt
even crowded. But Ill be in there deejaying or something and itll
be sold out. So that tells you something. Right now the people are really
taking notice of whats going on. Even if you look at the number game,
the big cats aint selling like they used to. People are tired. People
want better, they want a change.
AllHipHop.com: Whos gonna
DJ Evil Dee: Well hopefully
us, and some of the new cats that are coming out. Theres a new MC
coming out every five minutes, and hopefully one of them will bring
it. Were putting together a new Black Moon album right now, Im
putting together 5fts solo joint. Were putting together some Beatminerz
stuff and a whole bunch of other projects, so hopefully all of those
projects will make a difference. One thing I will say is every time
I put something out, we dont sell millions but we always put a dent
in. We always realize that people are listening. I know a lot of producers
listen to see what Im doing, and Im happy about that. That shows
me Im still effective. I tell people Your favorite producer knows
who I am, and its not because Im selling mad records. Its
because when I make something, theyre listening.
AllHipHop.com: I dont know
if you caught Q-Tips recent interview where he said something along
the lines of Hip Hops current course driving it the same way as
disco. Do you have some thoughts on that?
DJ Evil Dee: I will say that
the way Hip Hop is going, at the end of the day thats whats making
more people look at us. Why do you think theres a 90s resurgence
going on right now? People are tired of whats going on with current
music. If you even listen to music, listen to a new Hip-Hop album, and
[then] put on .off the top of my head Eric B and Rakims Paid
In Full. Ima tell you whats missing from music, the depth.
The his, the mids and the bass, thats not there no more. Right now
music sounds tinny. And its not only cause of Pro Tools. Prince
Paul said it best, were in the microwave era. Cats are dropping albums
like its cool. Cats are recording albums within a week or two. Back
in the days you took six months to do your album, and the quality was
better. Now you recording your album in your house, your mans and them
is mixing it for you, Bubba is mastering it and youre throwing it
on the internet. Yeah, my studio is in my crib, but I hire engineers
to come in. My electricity is filtered so I dont get those surges
and I have a clean currency going through my house. Little things like
that makes a difference in your sound. Its sad that I make stuff
in my house thats cleaner than a pop stars album, and they have
a million dollar studio and Im in my house. Im more home-cooked
music, I cant record an album in a week and Im not making your
beat in 15 minutes. Thats not happening with me. When you leave here
I want everything sounding right, a snare sounds like a snare, a kickdrum
sounds like kickdrum, you feel the bass line. Music right now, people
are taking notice. The pop stuff, it may go the way of disco, but the
underground will live forever. Its like Q-Tip is right. I wont
say Hip Hop will go that way, but rap might go that way.
AllHipHop.com: You were saying
youre doing Da Beatminerz thing right now. Are you and Mr. Walt always
in the studio together doing beats?
DJ Evil Dee: Mr. Walt is always
here. Other than the music, thats my older brother, so if Im in
the studio hes always there. It doesnt help that I live on the
first floor and he lives on the third floor (Laughs). But we always
work together, whether Im programming a beat or he is. Well keep
working until music stops. It aint about a paycheck, its about
AllHipHop.com: Aside from Duck
Down projects, are you feeling a demand from other artists to provide
beats for their albums?
DJ Evil Dee: Its funny cause
I thought cats was going to really be on some BS, but the phone still
rings and cats call us left and right. But a lot of the cats that are
calling, were not feeling. The commercial cats are calling us and
Im like Yo, Im not gonna do a Soulja Boy record. People
from different camps call us for beats and I turn things down, because
when I listen to the artist I dont feel it. Im an old school producer
where if you call me for a beat, I gotta hear your stuff and be able
to vibe with you. I dont just make generic beats and put it out there.
Its like a home cooked meal, you go to the house and the meal is
being cooked for you. Were old school with it, and you get a better
record when you do music like that. Right now thats another reason
why music sounds the way it sounds. Lets say Ima do a record with
Jim Jones. I email him the track and he emails me his verse, I mix it
and no one meets. Thats the worst! Theres no chemistry there.
AllHipHop.com: You gotta have
a couple arguments in the studio before it starts sounding good.
DJ Evil Dee: Its funny but
thats so true though. You gotta be able to sit down, and I gotta
see where your mind is at. Heltah Skeltah is coming back out, and I
sat down with Ruck and Rock and I was explaining that to them. Come
to think of it, they probably gon be here tomorrow. But thats
how I work. You can call me up and say you want a beat, but we gotta
listen to your stuff. And if at the end of the day were not feeling
it, well tell you No. You cant just be a beat whore. Im
not gonna sit there and produce everybody because its a check. Money
brings problems and too much money brings too much problems. You start
living for the money and you get caught up in that. Im hearing rumors
now about a famous producer whos broke, and I feel bad cause hes
a cool dude. But he started living for the money, and thats sad.