On-tour diary: MC Trek Life rhymes within reason

May 10, 2010 at 23:16 1 comment

This is a tour diary entry, I suppose: it’s an interview I did with Trek Life who repped L.A. on this year’s Diamond District European tour. It was one of the last gigs of the tour and we had a chat before a wicked performance in Berlin, still pretty cold outside at the time (Feb.)

I decided to blog the whole thing as Trek Life said and meant it: basically, alongside some impressions of the tour with Oddisee, XO, yU and DJ Quartermaine, the main focus is on what it takes to be an MC.

As you can tell when reading this, Trek Life is very outspoken and passionate about this – I’m sure that comes across (podcast to follow soon).

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“What up y’all, this is Trek Life, LA. Innsbruck is the funniest thing that’s happened on this tour. Period, point blank. All due respect to getting drunk and apologizing for this not happening to me, but I don’t I’ve ever invited anybody to go to the club and eat pussy. That’s what one of the promoters did – sometimes that’s what  happens!

“This will be the fourth year that I’ve been to Europe, but I guess the first year that people knew I was out here. From the first moment everybody clicked up it was just like a crew and we ran the streets in every place we went to. You develop a family relationship and you’re like ‘Now I kind of know this person because I’ve travelled with him and hang out with him every day. I’ve lived with him.’

“We all get along and that’s the thing: I’ve been on tours where people didn’t get along but it happened with ease with us.

“What does a lyricist do on tour? I’ve definitely written out here kind of project-specific. My writing experience has changed over the last year, I’ve been writing a lot more personal. There’s a dark side to this tour that’s going on back home so I’ve been trying to curb it and not necessarily write about it so much, so I think the larger portion of this experience for me has been, being able to freestyle again on stage.

“What does it take to be a good MC? Do it with your fucking talent. It’s not as though all the bells and whistles aren’t part of it. You definitely need to have positive press, good press photos. You definitely need to be able to speak well in interviews and able to take good pictures and wear really, really nice tennis shoes and shit. But the most important thing: learn how to fucking rap, you’re not going to get your licence if you can’t drive. But if you do get your licence you’re gonna kill somebody.

“You’re going to have to learn to be the best rapper you can be. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I’m the teacher that will give you an ‘F’. You need to be able to do your craft. There are a lot of sucka DJs out there, there are a lot of producers that don’t even know how to IQ their own snares, their own kicks. Kev Brown had to tell people ‘Stop taking my drums’.

“You need to know your craft. It’s cool that you take pictures and I like the photography and shit you have on your websites, shit is cute. But don’t call up promoters and converse with them as if you’re Jay-Z. You’re nobody at this point.

“You need to learn the terminology from top to bottom and be good at what you do before you jump out there and get turned around by this industry and then try to blame everybody else. ‘Oh, it must be the tide that’s changing’, ‘It must be the fact that people don’t listen to music anymore’. Fuck that, it’s the fact that you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. You need to get out there and learn your craft first. Period. Disclaimer: my peers don’t necessarily have to take the brunt of this message, I’m just saying it straight up.

“A lot of times when people talk directly, they get pegged as upset or angry or whatever. I’m definitely not mad, I want to make sure that people understand that. I’m talking generally, the reason why I’m so aggressive about this point is because I don’t care if everyone is a millionaire off of this shit. To me, that would be the greatest thing to ever happen: if everyone who puts up a twitter page could be successful, that would be the best thing in the world to me.

“If we could all share this shit, that would be perfectly fine. It’s just that you can’t swindle your way into this. You’re completely setting yourself up for failure, if you’re trying to sucker your way into things.

“The straight-away way is the way that will feed your children for generations off of your music. Learn to play the guitar like Jonny Guitar Watson learned to play the guitar, learn to rap like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane or Ice Cube did it. Try to be the best at your actual craft, it doesn’t make any sense to try and wear the nicest clothes if you can’t rap. It’s not that I’m hating on anybody. If you find a side door, then more power to you. I would just like to see you all to be better and I would like you all to want me to be better and check me as well. Period.”

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Entry filed under: Interviews. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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