Kazi’s Madlib-Produced 1996 Song “To Be Lost” Gets A Video 20 Years Later
In 1996, Madlib’s career was taking shape. In addition to his spot in Lootpack, the Oxnard, California producer/MC was selling tracks to Tha Alkaholiks and Boot Camp Clik’s O.G.C. Appearing on albums, the dusty beats from Otis Williams, Jr. were alluring. He was welcomed to the burgeoning Likwit Crew, alongside talented artists like veteran King T and the emerging Xzibit. However, just as Madlib has done in the 20 years since, he had side projects. Kazi, also from the O-X, recorded Black Market Seminar back in 1996—produced entirely by Madlib. Over the years, the recordings circulated through tapes, and later a limited run 2014 vinyl release.
Now, Below System Records helps properly bring Black Market to digital light. Premiering at Ambrosia For Heads, “To Be Lost” is a newly-made visual to the ’96 song featuring Kazi, and Madlib beats and vocals. Like he might have then, the MC finds Hip-Hop images as backdrops, and kicks his hard-hitting verses from the stream of consciousness. From his performance, the hunger for Kazi has never left.
“We recorded this album in the wee hours at CDP Studios back in ‘96. It was pretty much me, Madlib, and Declaime in the lab when this album was recorded I learned so much from Lib cadence, rhyme patterns, timing and how to dig for records. What some people don’t know is this cat actually took the time to show me how to make beats. I must say working with ‘Lib was an amazing experience,” Kazi tells AFH. “The Blackmarket Seminar is a very raw and dark album. We came up with ‘Black Market’ because at the time we were doing Hip-Hop that nobody else was doing and to us you could only get it on the ‘Black Market.’ When you first play the album you’ll hear characters on a skit in search of the Blackmarket Seminar. We really tried to make it seem like the characters were outside walking around looking for it.” Speaking on why this video launches the re-release campaign, Kazi says, “We shot a new video for the song ‘To Be Lost,’ as it is about MCs selling out to remain in the game and still makes perfect sense in the present day.”
Remembering that era in 1996, the MC recalls, “The vibe we set working on the album was very dark just how we wanted the album to be. We started at like 10 in the morning and wrap up at like 3am sometimes. Even sleeping in the lab just to keep the momentum and the vibe we set. Lots of weed was smoked, I can tell you that. Most of the songs were done in one take, mainly because I was younger as opposed to now where I’m doing songs in like three takes.”
Heading into 2017, the music and the messages will continue. “I’m currently working on an EP with Kriswontwo, that will be released on Below System Records next year. But for the most part I’ve just been recording like a madman and I can honestly say that when I pass my legacy will live on with a vault full of music.“