Madlib Speaks. He Reveals That He & Pusha-T Are Planning More Music Together (Video)
Last month, Ambrosia For Heads decided that Madlib & Freddie Gibbs’ Bandana was the Best Album Of 2019. Announced the same night as the Grammy’s, the sophomore collaboration between the two veterans bested another producer/MC battery, Gang Starr, in the championship round. The decision came after the annual Sweet 16-themed tournament built around AFH‘s Best-Of list plus a reader-determined Wild Card winner.
Another publication, Complex, credited Madlib as “the best producer alive” for 2019 in their extensive yearbook list. With the honor, Otis Jackson, Jr. sat down with Pierce Simpson for a rare interview. “I don’t make music to try and be the best; I just make music that I would sit and listen to. If I like it, it comes out. We don’t overthink things; we just record.”
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In line with his laissez-faire approach, Madlib admits that he refuses to listen to his catalog. “I just do stuff, and move on. I just keep it movin’.” That idea lends itself to Madlib’s concerts. “My shows are kinda [odd]. People are confused, ’cause they expect Quasimoto; I’m just playing crazy stuff—all the stuff I grew up on or unreleased stuff.” The mention of Quasimoto leads Simpson to bring up Madlib’s vocal career outside of Lootpack. “I used to rap. I wasn’t great or nothing, but me and [J] Dilla know how to be a trumpet on a beat.” Madlib agrees that he distorted his vocals because he did not enjoy the sound of his voice. He suggests that even with the effect, he did not care for it. Referring to those days as past tense, he adds, “I ain’t have much to say either; I was mainly a beat dude.”
Madlib also confirms a tweet surrounding Bandana. The Beat Konducta reveals that he used a $200 Apple product to make his heralded beats. “The last seven-eight years, everything’s been [made on an] iPad. I never had great equipment; I always used low-budget stuff. I’m down with Flying Lotus, Ras G, all those type of dudes. We keep it minimal.” Madlib also says that his iPad production may go back farther. “Maybe longer. People think, ‘Bandana, them beats sound weird.’ I’ve been doing this for [years]; I don’t even tell people.” He calls the Apple item, “the best piece of equipment you can have; you don’t need a studio anymore.”
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“[Freddie Gibbs has] a different crowd,” Madlib says, as compared to his roots in Underground Hip-Hop and Jazz. “He kinda does Trap music. I also do Trap music, but I’m known for whatever y’all know me for. But it’s just the mesh of my weird, underground world and his gangsta, hood stuff. So I treated it like Compton’s Most Wanted; I used raw loops and crazy storytelling and stuff.”
In speaking of his West Coast Gangsta Rap origins, Madlib adds that DJ Pooh, who produced classics for Ice Cube, King T, and Snoop Dogg, was instrumental to giving him a break into the industry. “DJ Pooh, and DJ Broadway, Tha Alkaholiks, and King T.” Madlib worked on The Liks’ first three albums. His group, Lootpack, would also appear on the mic.
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Madlib does admit that he tailored his sounds to Gibbs. “[On Pinata], it was more that I just did whatever. He just talked crazy. The second album, I tried to come more where he’s at, and let him shine more. I made the beats more minimal. A lot of people [criticize] me for looping, but my name is ‘Loop Digga.’ I grew up on RZA, Prince Paul—that’s what Hip-Hop’s based on, if you know your history. I’m from the old school.” Madlib adds that his musical style can mesh with a spectrum that can go from Sun-Ra to Migos.
Pierce Simpson brings up “Palmolive,” which features Pusha-T and Killer Mike. He asked him how The Clipse MC got on the song. “Gibbs has a relationship with [Pusha-T]. I didn’t even think that he was gonna get him on [‘Palmolive’]. He just sent the song.” Asked if there could be more Oxnard, California to Virginia Beach collaborations, Madlib reveals, “He just hit me up; we ’bout to work…we’re just sendin’ music right now.” The producer who has done full albums with Freddie Gibbs, Guilty Simpson, and Strong Arm Steady, among others, says he hopes for something bigger. “I’m tryin’ to do that album with Pusha.”
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Simpson brings up another significant collaboration, 2016’s “No More Parties In L.A.” by Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Madlib remembers the session. “It was crazy; I was sitting [between] the Kardashians [and] El Debarge—me and El Debarge [were] talkin’ about doin’ an album and stuff.” He adds, “That beat was 10 years old too.” The producer claims his music has no expiration for freshness. “I try to do timeless music, so it can come out any time.” However, Madlib adds that it was a cypher-like recording. “They did like 30 minutes of stuff—just goin’ back-and-forth. I heard it; somebody played it on the phone [but I do not have it].” He describes, “They were going off too—I do my beat tapes [of] one-minute beats—that one, that one, that one; it was crazy.” Asked if the music will ever release, Otis Jackson, Jr. waves it off, “It ain’t gonna happen.” Madlib adds that his work with Mac Miller will also remain unreleased. The producer has played some of those recordings at shows.
Last month, Madlib partnered with brother Oh No for their full-length LP, The Professionals. He is also producing Black Star’s first album in more than 20 years. Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli have recently suggested that the LP is completed. A third album in the Madlib & Freddie Gibbs trilogy, Montanahas been said to be happening as well, .
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Music by Madlib is currently on the official AFH Playlist.