Honestly, I'm not sure if rock-n-roll enthusiasts debate over the G.O.A.T. in the same manner Hip-Hop junkies discuss the best MC. If there is a raging discussion, I'd definitely throw the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the arena of candidates right there with acts like The Rolling Stones and U2 (personal preference, people!). Now, it is safe to say that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (presently comprised of Anthony Kiedis, Michael "Flea" Balzary, Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer) don't care about those trivial matters so we won't walk down that path.
However, AllHipHop.com had the unique opportunity to talk Hip-Hop with Flea, the master bass player of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The result is a really cool interview with a legend that likes Dilla so much, he shed tears of inspiration. Enjoy this conversation as Flea extols Hip-Hop from Grand Master Flash to Ghostface to Odd Future and check for part 2, where he delves even deeper. (Editor's Note, the rest of the conversation with Flea continues in a separate piece, where he explains The Red Hot Chilli Peppers' new album, I'm With You.)
AllHipHop.com: Definitely. Um, since this is AllHipHop.com I have to ask you, how do you, you know, you guys have always had a slight edge of hip hop to your music. And even more so depending on who you ask, um, what are your thoughts on hip hop? Who do you like? Who do you appreciate, you know?
Flea: I go through phases, you know? I’m actually, right now, I was doing this thing. I was playing with Erykah Badu a while ago, you know, and she really…(got me into J. Dilla)
Flea: …and I know about J Dilla a little bit and she really…
Flea: …she got me hooked. And for, like, the last month that’s all I’ve listened to.
Flea: Actually, like, I was up in his house in the mountains? And I was up there listening to, I think, the rough draft EP of J Dilla?
Flea: It was like brought me to tears because of how beautiful it is. And then…
Flea: …and then (as a kid) I discovered – growing up Jimi Hendrix was my big thing, you know? And it was like, as a kid, it was almost, like, what raised me, you know? Like almost, like, almost like a guiding light to believe in.
AllHipHop.com: Right, right.
Flea: And that’s how it started out with Dilla, man. It’s just, like, right now it’s kind of consuming me.
Flea: Like the depth and the width and the long, the far-reachingness of everything he did. The different styles within the, you know, Hip-Hop beats. You know what I mean?
Flea: There’s so much just within that music. So lately, that’s my big thing, but man, I love Hip-Hop and I go in and out. There hasn’t been – I’m trying to think – like things that have, like, recently – things that have really excited me. But, um, uh, you know, these kids, uh, um, The Goblin and…
AllHipHop.com: Odd Future?
Flea: Yeah, the Odd Future kids. I can [relate] just, in terms, like, it’s like wild, you know
Flea: That real, exciting, you know, type of feeling?
Flea: But, um, through the years there’s things that I, like, love. Often there’s things that, often, things that to me are really popular and I don’t want to hear it. It’s like one of those things where I’ve got my, like, my tendency is to run the other direction.
Flea: So it may sound crazy to you, but just recently I’ve gotten into Jay-Z. And it’s new for me! Like, I would hear songs before…
AllHipHop.com: Oh, Jay-Z?
Flea: Like, I would hear songs before and would know that it was good, but because it was so popular and so huge and on MTV every other minute I would just run the other way, you know?
AllHipHop.com: Right. (Laughs)
Flea: But, recently I’ve gotten into the Blueprint stuff, but I love Hip-Hop. You know, Wu-tang has been, like, a big thing for me a lot through the years.
Flea: You know, all the solo records, and I love Ghostface and The Apollo Kids he came out with this year. It was good. Um, you know, I go back to all kinds of stuff that I love, like, I’m sitting here with my five year old and turning her on to music. I pull out my Grandmaster Flash and my Sugarhill records, you know?
AllHipHop.com: Right, right.
Flea: ‘Cause for a little kid it’s so colorful.
Flea: And exciting. You know, because she’s sitting there in the morning and I’m making her breakfast and she’s like, “Papa?”, and I said, “What?” She said, “I don’t like to brag, I don’t like to boast, but I like hot butter on my breakfast toast.”
Flea: So it’s like that, you know, for me, like I said before, it’s like there’s music that’s artistically exciting, and timeless, and there’s music that isn’t.
Flea: And categories just don’t really mean a lot to me. You know? I love Hip-Hop and always have, you know? Since I was in high school and Sugarhill Gang was really big I’ve always been into Hip-Hop, you know?