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- Posted on Mar 10th 2010 4:00PM by David Dennis Jr.
How would you describe your sound in your own words?
Cutting-edge traditionalist. I mean, we're boom-bap kids. If I had to describe my sound, that's pretty much it. It's hip-hop. It's boom-bap. But it's cutting edge and traditional. We take all kinds of flavors and do what we do in the highest degree.
Who were your musical influences?
Everyone from Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley to Miles David and Coltrane. Everything that was happening with Motown. In general, the music of the hip-hop culture that I was brought around. I was blessed to be around in an era when originality was stressed: Native Tongues, Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Eric B. and Rakim, Freestyle Fellowship. I'm influenced by what's around me but I'm also influenced by being bored. As soon as I find myself bored, it kicks me into another gear where I want to experience something else.
How did you come up with your name?
Rakaa is my real name. Iriscience was just a nickname that was based on a graffiti name and it became a song title. But Rakaa's my real name. I was in the graffiti scene. Ultramag, Big Brains and Fishbone were three big names in that coming up. You can add those to the list of influences.
What made you want to do a solo project?
I just had more to say. When you're in a group, it's a situation where you compromise and do that at the highest level possible. With a solo project, you're willing to stretch out completely and express yourself freely. You're able to give things more context because you can explore them in more detail. This isn't new. Anyone that's listened to Dilated Peoples over the years knows we've said we want to do solo projects. We started as solo artists. It's a situation where the business and situations allowed us to pursue solo projects.
What are the pros and cons of performing solo as opposed to with a group?
As far as pros, if I'm performing solo, I'm doing solo material so I'm able to do something unique. I'm able to control the pace completely exactly how I want to do it. Everything is based on my own sense of timing. Cons: the improvisation, support and motivation that comes with a group makes everybody better as well. When I'm a solo artist, I focus on being a solo artist, but I still channel that group energy because we carved out our name with that energy. We're a family so that energy stays with us.
What is your biggest vice?
Man, I'm far from a perfect person. I got plenty of vices. I would say it's somewhere between very good weed and taking on as many things that are technically possible instead of taking on as many things as are practical.
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