“I like to look at myself as a superhero. When The Roots need me, they put the bat signal up, and I come.” – Dice Raw
Dice Raw is only half joking when he says that his longtime collaborators, The Roots, actually need him. Yet, for fans of the most famous rap band in the land, his memorable lyrics kicked in Illadelph studio doors right from the start. For example, remember two little, amazing tracks entitled “Diedre vs. Dice” and “Adrenaline” off The Roots’ hit 1999 album, Things Fall Apart? You remember them because that was Dice Raw – the zany-brainy MC who sheds his man-made gear for a superhero cape every time he enters the booth.
On “Adrenaline” and other Roots’ hits over the years, Dice Raw, now head honcho at his own Raw Life Records, is beloved for his uncanny existentialism (“You’re face down in the ocean/ And no one’s up in the lighthouse“), while keeping his MC assault rooted in the gulliest of streets (“Yo, look at all these scavengers/ Wanna be pretenders, dismember/ Wack n*ggas I intend to…”). His verses are reliable and necessary – perhaps making him the milk to Black Thought’s lyrical cereal, or the “ying” to ?uestlove’s percussive “yang.” Still, even he admits, full praise has sometimes been slow coming from the media and the masses.
In Dice Raw’s superhero world, though, there’s diplomacy (as in his quote at the top), and then there is just plain honesty. And his honest truth is that there was no better Hip-Hop/rap album in 2011 than undun. The Roots’ album collaborator feels confident about that – and if the rest of us are honest, three of the most popular tracks on the critically-acclaimed December 2011 release bore his triple-threat singing, rapping, and/or writing. In part two of AllHipHop.com’s interview with the hilarious Dice Raw, we learn where he fits in The Roots scheme, why he has no idea who our #1 Album of 2011 pick is, and what formula is working for him in the ever-changing music industry:
The Caped Crusader should take a breath now, because 2012 finds him busier than ever: leading a record label where he produces artists such as MySpace Music winner, Tess Henley; recording and touring with the Money Making Jam Boys; already working on The Roots 11th studio album; constantly recording possibles for the next installment of his The Greatest Rapper Never trilogy; and developing the next generation of rappers like Philadelphia’s battle champ, Rone, and Young Gliss, who is featured on an upcoming Prodigy single with Atlanta’s Killer Mike.
So, full praise or not, Dice Raw’s mission remains – to save Hip-Hop. Check out new music from his Raw Life Records imprint:
Young Gliss – “Charles Bradley” (Les Professionnels Edit) from the upcoming release, The Glimmer EP
Rone – “Workaholics” Freestyle (VIDEO)
Did you miss Part 1 of AllHipHop.com’s interview with Dice Raw? Read it HERE.