(AllHipHop Features) Statik Selektah may have a serious addiction. Going off the continuous projects, tours, and events attached to his name, it appears the DJ/radio personality/producer is a functioning work-a-holic. And Statik does not seem to have any interest to kick his labor habit any time soon. Up next is more new music.
After dropping critically acclaimed LPs like Population Control (2011) and Extended Play (2013), Statik is set to release his latest studio album this week. What Goes Around is a collection of tracks that feature a diverse group of emcees including Joey Bada$$, Freddie Gibbs, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Snoop Dogg, Black Thought, Ransom, Styles P, Talib Kweli, and many more.
Statik’s musical career has always consisted of working closely with other artists. From 1982 with Termanology to Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away with Freddie Gibbs to The Proposal with Ransom, the Massachusetts native has created numerous collaborative projects. Even as What Goes Around is about to hit stores, Statik is also helping craft the forthcoming albums B4.Da.$$ by Joey Bada$$ and Mr. Wonderful by Action Bronson.
The current New York City resident took a break from his various jobs to chat about What Goes Around, connecting with Joey Bada$$, the new era of NYC Hip Hop, and which rapper could be his next full project collaborator.
Read part 1 of AllHipHop.com’s exclusive interview with Statik Selektah.
There are a lot of interesting collaborations on What Goes Around. What is your process when you’re trying to decide what artists you want to put together on a track?
It really just comes natural. I hear certain people on the beat, and we reach out. That’s it. A lot of these guys are a phone call away. I basically have a list of who I want to work with when I start the album.
Sometimes things happen through chance. Sometimes I might bump into someone at the right time. It really depends. Every collaboration is different.
Did you ever have any rappers that ask if you could put them on a track with a particular artist? Or do they ever request that you put them on a certain track?
Yeah, it happens every day. On this album one specific one was I had Joey [Bada$$] on “Carry On” by himself. It was supposed to be a little interlude in between two songs, and I was like, “Let’s put [Freddie] Gibbs on this." Joey and Gibbs actually did a record together for Cocaine Piñata at my crib a long time ago, and Gibbs ended up doing the song by himself.
I was like, "There’s still no Joey Bada$$/Freddie Gibbs record." Me and Joey were out in San Diego, and Gibbs came to me like, “What do you want me to get on for the album?” I asked Joey what he felt about putting Gibbs on “Carry On.” He said, “Let’s do it. That sounds dope.” It came out crazy, and now the video is coming out.
You've seemed to really embrace Joey Bada$$ and the entire Pro Era movement. How did that relationship first start?
We’re literally together every day. I’m on the road with him, so in the last two years we've done over 300 shows. It came about early when he was working on 1999, and his manager Jonny Shipes reached out to me to do some scratches. He came through my crib, and we just started working.
It was just a natural vibe. Ever since then we've been rocking, literally every day. I’m very involved in his album. He’s on my projects. He’s like my little brother.
You worked with him on his album. So you have production on it?
Yeah, I mixed a lot of it too. I brought him ideas. I’m very, very involved with his album.
A lot of your previous work has been critically acclaimed including Extended Play that you put out last year. Does that add any pressure when you’re creating your most recent project knowing that people have a high expectation for a Statik Selektah album?
Nah, if anything I think I surpassed it big time on this album. Extended Play was me finishing a chapter of my first five albums that are kind of similar. To me, this album is a lot different. There’s a theme to it. It’s real jazzy. I brought in a lot of live music.
I think it’s time to bring, on a music level, everything to the next level. So when you start hearing a lot of the records I produce now, you’re going to start hearing a lot more live instrumentation. Obviously, I’m always going to stick to my samples and certain drums, but you’re going to hear a lot more live music.
People associate your production style with the “traditional New York sound,” and you've worked with a lot of the new NYC acts like Joey, Troy Ave, Action Bronson, Nitty Scott. How do you feel about where New York Hip Hop is at the moment?
I think it’s great. I don’t always look at it from the artist's perspective. I look at it from when I see the fans. I go to a lot of shows, and I think there are a new wave of fans now from the age of 15 on. These kids are really rocking out with the traditional New York values now. From the style - the way they dress - to the vibe of the music, and that was missing for a long time.
A lot of kids were into Soulja Boy and s**t like that for a long time. If you ask the average kid walking down the street in Brooklyn what they’re listening to now, they’re probably going to say some dope s**t. I really appreciate that, because the history got lost for a little while. The people weren’t looking back into Nas, Biggie - real music. Now when I meet these kids they know what they’re talking about.
That’s bugged out to me, because my whole career I’ve been DJing clubs and for Q-Tip, so I meet a lot of adults. I never got to do all-ages shows until I started rocking with Joey Bada$$, so now I'm meeting all these kids that I never would have had a chance to meet. It’s dope. It’s like a new energy to this Hip Hop s**t.
What’s your take on New York artists that have incorporated other regional sounds into their music? Like for example Bobby Shmurda. He’s hot right now, but he has faced some criticism for kind of sounding like he’s from Chicago or the South.
I don’t knock anyone else’s hustle if they’re trying to put on for New York, but to me that’s like a flash in the pan right now. If Bobby Shmurda makes a career out of that, and he makes real music then I’ll be impressed, but right now I haven’t really heard anything original that’s really impressed me.
His single is cool, but it’s a freestyle to me. I understand the dance and all that, but let’s see if he’ll make some music that will last a couple of years. We’ll see. I hope he does. I hope everybody makes good s**t. But I felt like it was a Chicago type of thing when I first saw it.
We’ll see what he does with it. That’s not really what I’m rocking with though. We got our own thing going on. ["Hot N***a"] is a fun record. You play it in the club, people do the dance. To me, that’s - I don’t want to say a gimmick, there’s just a catch to it. What happens when you take that element out? Is he going to put out a real good record? We’ll see. I hope so.
Going back to your album. I noticed there’s a hidden track on there. Why did you decide not to list that particular song on the official track list?
I wanted an element of surprise on there, but even besides that, literally I had way too many songs for the album. It was one of the last songs that got turned in, and to me it just hits you in the head. When you think the album’s over it surprises you.
He’s somebody that I grew up listening to - from Ultramagnetic to Sex Style and Dr. Octagonecologyst. He’s a bugged out dude. I got to get cool with him recently. I think I’m going to throw people off with that.
Your catalog includes a lot of collaborative projects. Are there any particular artists that you haven’t worked with you that you’d like to do a full album with?
I have a wish list. How realistic it is, I don’t know. Something that could happen in the future - me and Ab-Soul. We’ve been working. I think we’re going to do an Ab-Soul [project]. Obviously, I love Kendrick [Lamar]. I love Common. I’d like to work Common, Jay Z, Nas, Eminem. The regular top dogs.
I like Chance [The Rapper] a lot. I see him going in a different direction now. I see him doing a lot more soulful s**t which I enjoy. I went to see him in London. He was real dope. I like Vic Mensa. He’s dope.
I feel like I’m working with pretty much everybody I want to work with. If anyone's not on the list of who I've worked with, it’s definitely Kendrick.
Do you think we could see a Statik/Joey Bada$$ full project since you guys are so close?
I could put one out right now if I wanted to. We have so much unreleased music. You’re going to see a lot. I think when people hear his album they’re going to hear my influence on it. When you hear Action Bronson’s album - those three points are going to connect, and people are going to see it. I can’t give away too much right now.
How do you have time for yourself or anything else? It seems like you’re on a constant grind.
I’m actually moving this week too. I just landed from Europe, and then we’re leaving again in a couple of days. It’s madness.
Statik Selektah's What Goes Around is scheduled for release Tuesday, August 19. Order the album on iTunes.
The What Goes Around album release event featuring Pro Era, Freddie Gibbs, Ransom, and more takes place tonight August 18 at SOB’s. For more information visit sobs.com.
Watch the trailer for What Goes Around below.