9th Wonder & Buckshot: Funky Equations

If there is a true school, the Buckshot and 9th Wonder are both teachers and students, still in love with what they do but also sharing gems for others. After building their Chemistry in 2005, the duo are set to drop their latest collaboration, The Formula, on April 29th. As the single “Go All Out” builds The Formula a buzz, as well as the latest video, "Hold It Down," and Buckshot readies a collaboration with KRS-One, the BK to NC connection sat down to explain their self-coined “adult contemporary Hip-Hop.” AllHipHop.com: Where are Buckshot and 9th Wonder coming from with “adult contemporary Hip-Hop?”9th Wonder: Adult contemporary Hip-Hop means that there are ways certain real Hip-Hop records are. Those records that have a texture that the kids just aren’t gonna understand.Buckshot: Just going into the music with a natural appeal. 9th came up with the idea to name it that and shape what we do as adult contemporary Hip-Hop. 9th Wonder: I believe that if timeless music is continually played then the next generation is going to understand it because there’s not that drop off. The thing with the Motown sound and the Marvin Gaye sound is that it was continually played so it trickled down to me. There wasn’t a drop off so my generation understands it. With early 90s Hip-Hop, the radio won’t play it, BET won’t play it, so there’s been a drop off. How in the world are you gonna get a kid to understand that music? But I get who does understand “Who Got Da Props,” “I Got Cha Opin,” and “Black Cop.” I get who understands Brand Nubian. We’re all adults, we’re all older now but we still love Hip-Hop. I’m happy for Souljah Boy, but you can’t be 33, 35 years old and dancing to it.[9th Wonder & Buckshot f/ Talib Kweli "Hold It Down" Video]AllHipHop.com: So is it a question of subject matter or sound?Buckshot: I’m gonna say both. 9th has a sound that captures something that when adults hear it they don’t go turn that off. 9th has a way of creating a sound that can capture [the youth’s] ears as well as the natural evolution of good music.

"I’m an MC, I’m a master of ceremony, and there’s things that come with that. You have to be clear, you have to be understood, you have to have

a certain amount of charisma." -Buckshot

AllHipHop.com: Along the lines of that evolution, you [Buckshot] have a line in the single that says, “If you can’t follow my lead/follow my rules.” What are the rules for approaching the Hip-Hop that you bring forth?Buckshot: First and foremost, go into it naturally. For us, if I get in the booth to create, I’m looking right at 9th. If I don’t get a reaction I know it. I always want that reaction. When it comes from 9th, we’re on point. If he’s bobbin’ his head, we’re on point for the world. And then for me, I’m an MC, I’m a master of ceremony, and there’s things that come with that. You have to be clear, you have to be understood, you have to have a certain amount of charisma. 9th Wonder: There’s not a whole buncha rules followed in Hip-Hop these days. There has to be new music but you think you can kinda excuse some rules because you make money or you went platinum. That you can break the rules and disgrace the face of what’s been built up by the forefathers because you make a whole lotta money. But you can’t. Every building has a mathematics to it and you need the foundation to stand strong.AllHipHop.com: Buck is talking about the essential aspects of being an MC. What are the essential aspects of being a producer?9th Wonder: Just controlling the session, man. The thing about rappers that producers don’t understand is how rappers can come up with some of the things they say. I know it sounds good when I hear it but I don’t get how they can come up with it—how they can sit down and write a rhyme and come up with what they say—a good rap—but I know it when I hear it. But producers understand the final product. Once we hear that rhyme, what are we gonna do with the song next? Rappers don’t understand how we can hear that end product, that end song, how we can flip a sample and see it through. As far as the body mannerisms of a producer, I learned that from Pete Rock in his videos and interviews. He didn’t say a whole bunch. Neither did DJ Premier, neither did Da Beatminerz or Evil Dee. But I knew who was the person behind the boards and I had to learn that mystique, that “the legend of.” Producers were heard and not seen. The people who do understand both sides like Kanye [West] does, that’s a beautiful thing. Dilla did, Erik Sermon does, RZA does.

"Hank Shocklee pulls me to the side [and] says, 'It seems like you’re the chosen one.' Do you understand how scary that is?" -9th Wonder

AllHipHop.com: Buck definitely has a place in the history books and 9th has received wide accolades. What keeps you two hungry to make music? Buckshot: Just the love of the reaction to what we do. That love, that feeling. There are still records and artists who still give me that run to my radio, that run to my CD, that run to my iPod feeling whether old or new. That’s what keeps me going. When I hear production that’s got that fire, that’s what makes me love rhyming. When I hear certain MCs and rappers, it gives me that love of rapping. 9th Wonder: Knowing that I’m a part of something that’s bigger than myself keeps me going. I’m a part of Hip-Hop. It’s hard for me to believe that sometimes but I am a notable figure in Hip-Hop right now. And one of my callings is to carry the torch, point blank period. There’s a reason I sat in my room in high school and listened to certain records over and over and over, there’s a reason I heard certain things in records that my friends didn’t hear, there’s a reason that I bought keyboard after keyboard after keyboard. It led me to be a part of Hip-Hop. Now Ali Shaheed Muhammad—I hate to sound like it’s a name dropping thing but this is a true blue testimony—he pulls me to the side and says you’re doing what we started. Hank Shocklee pulls me to the side [and] says, “It seems like you’re the chosen one.” Do you understand how scary that is? How much weight that puts on a person? To have an older God telling you, look man, we need you to carry on what we started. That’s what keeps me going. It’s your responsibility to keep pushing what we started. We need you to do what you’re doing.AllHipHop.com: And Buck is working with KRS now.Buckshot: It goes along with the Duck Down movement and increasing the influence of the Duck Down sound. It’s a sound that we are promoting. It’s called Conflosations and it’s basically a Batman and Robin album for me. I used to walk to my summer youth job and blast The Blueprint everyday all day. I would keep this radio up there called Lil’ Man and I’d bump KRS- One like don’t die on me Lil’ Man. Who knew that years later, [we] would be collaborating on an album? It’s history. I’m Robin, I’m proud to be there with Kris, there’s no ego. This is crazy for me, this is love for me, I’m in paradise. [Buckshot & KRS in the Studio]AllHipHop.com: During the cipher at that Smirnoff show [in New York last month], how come Kris didn’t give you the mic?Buckshot: It’s not an ego thing. I’m rolling with KRS at a show. You might know me as Buckshot but tonight I’m just with Kris. Melle Mel, Positive K, they needed that mic time. When I used to see them, they inspired me. And I’m still that little dude looking up to them.AllHipHop.com: Duck Down is really revitalized. Where do you see the label fitting in at this point in time?9th Wonder There’s music and then there’s controlling the face of a culture amongst black men. Especially a black man my age. There are black men my age right now in America wearing Timberlands because of Black Moon. What Jay-Z had on in “Change Clothes,” that skully with the brim, I saw Buck wear that first in the “I Got Cha Opin” video. Give it up where it’s due. 50 Cent on his record with the singing, “Window Shopper,” all of that sing-rhyming, Buck started that, man. It’s not like he was in his basement doing it either. He put it on a record that was nationally known. He put it out there first. [Duck Down’s influence] is something that lives today. It’s not a thing of the past. You can see it, bruh. I swear you can see it. [9th Wonder & Buckshot f/ Charlie Murphy "Go All Out"AllHipHop.com: Buckshot, being there at the start, is Duck Down’s influence an accident or was it something calculated?Buckshot: There are no accidents. It’s a matter of divine presence. What you have in your heart is eventually what surrounds you. We say, “Thank God for that happening,” and yes “Thank God for that happening.” And things happen. Evil Dee said on the air that, “Right now my favorite producer is crazy, his name is 9th Wonder.” For Evil Dee to big someone up—I heard that and I said to Dru [from Duck Down], who’s 9th Wonder let’s build on that. Then we did a song together and our chemistry was so good that we created an album called Chemistry. Then our formula was so good together, well let’s make another album. And then for me, it’s all relevant to the movement. When you listen to the KRS album, even though it’s got production from [all different sources], we’re all on the same side. Kidz in the Hall are the new kids but with the respect for what 9th and Buckshot are talking about, that pure sound, that pure energy of Hip-Hop from the heart. DJ Revolution, Duck Down signed DJ Revolution. A lot of deejays have x-ed out cutting and blending and have become human iPods. At some point in time, what do I need you for if you’re a human iPod? With the internet, that era of breaking a record before anyone else is finished. So you have to really have skills as a DJ to be relevant. DJ Revolution will show people that. It’s all part of the same movement.