I’ve never been good at getting on people’s nerves, and from the little I read, it’s like, ‘You’re not doing enough in your life if you’re not making someone angry.’ And I’m like, ‘Man. But my life – I seem to help people get somewhere, so am I not? Should I be more aggressive?’ That’s the way my inside voice sounds.
I grew up around electronic instruments. To me, the turntable is an electronic device. At the same time, I had access to drum machines and keyboards through my uncle; then track recorders into computers. At an early age, I was messing with computers more than most hip-hop musicians.
That’s the beautiful thing about being an artist, is you can take risks and take chances and hopefully be secure enough to just keep going with it if you fall flat on your face.
Corporations always are controlling things, and we have the ability every day to do something about that. Every day.
Some people become artists for whatever reasons. Some of it’s frivolous. And I don’t think there should be any shame on that, but I think there comes a point in life where you want to offer more.
Here in America, our use of time is not harmonious with humanity’s better spirit.
I believe in a ‘give us this day our daily bread’ sort of thing. And what I draw from that is, I try not to stock my refrigerator for groceries for the week, cause I might not live to see the full week.
Because I express myself through the music, I want to be responsible in that expression and how it carries on well after I’m here. But that’s just me.
My mom used to be concerned ’cause I would never go outside. And when I’d go outside, I’d have friends, but I just was always in the house listening to music, practicing DJing all the time. Then my uncle got a keyboard, drum machine, so I’d just be in the house at 12, 13, just, like, messing up his presets. And my mom was like, ‘My son is strange.’
If you allow yourself to be closed, especially to a younger generation, then that’s death. That’s instant death.
When it comes to music, something I’m passionate about, and knowing the reach and the power and how it transforms, it saves lives. Music does.
I really care about what I put out, and probably more than the fans care. At times, I think I over-care. But I just know that the body of work has such a high standard that it’s kind of like, in my own head, I need to at least match it if not get over that, so that’s the challenge.
But I could not imagine having a child and the child not having a relationship with music that opens up their mind and their imagination and teaches them things.
Raphael Saadiq said to me, quite often, that Chuck D was his history teacher. And so he got a lot from the music, things that he wasn’t getting maybe in school. And I feel the same way with regards to Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder.
Our records are commodities. We’re looking to make a sale. The radio stations are looking to get the advertising dollars. The end.
I think at some point there may be artists who will get fed up, and they deliberately want to use their art as a means to rock the waves a little bit. And instead of doing the status quo, they’ll deliberately go out to really make a change. I think Kendrick Lamar is an example of that.
I’m a believer in the nap. I don’t care what it is. 15 minutes. Five hours. If you know someone’s going to come back and come to work.
Nothing new is on the earth right now. Technology, the things that we’re discovering, it’s been sitting here just waiting for someone to brush it off and go, ‘Oh, let me read that. Let me see how I can use this information.’ And it doesn’t matter if it’s from a tech perspective or a philosophical perspective.
Hip-hop has had this history where the predecessor just is so harsh and not nice to the next coming generation that it creates this separation and this gap.
Discipline is not consistency, and the reason why I say that is – like, for an example, making prayer five times a day, that establishes routine and consistency. That I can do. And having certain fundamental consistencies in business, can do. But time management, outside of that, that’s where that’s a challenge.
Music is an important thing of energy. And there are a lot of wonderful aspects that come with it and vibrations, the physical vibrations, the movement of notes through an instrument and creating a wave that resonates into our spirit.
I keep saying if I ever get a good amount of quiet time that I want to learn to play cello. It’s a very warm instrument. The tone of the cello and the movement – I don’t know what is; I love it so much.
The DJ still has the relationship with the people, I believe. I don’t know to call the DJ ‘the ambassadors’ or what, but we still are connecting the dots, getting the good stuff and passing it on to the people. DJs still have relevance, even with the technology that elevates the DJ beyond being a selector.
You should be able to be influenced by art no matter where it comes from.
Anything in this life that goes against love, we all should fight it.
Kanye West, I love you. You might not have known, but I have said in other interviews that you’re my hero.
I’m a very good listener. I think that’s one of the things that makes me a good producer. But it’s a challenge for me because my custom is to listen and absorb what someone is saying and take it in, and not necessarily comment.
As an artist, sometimes you’d rather not do the interview. You might feel the interviewer isn’t educated on you… or what you’re about.