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Crew Love: Statik Selektah x REKS x Termanology

When your heroes are classic hip hop duos like Gangstarr and your sound is more DJ Premier than DJ Khaled, the majors with an ear for the next 2 Chainz aren’t going to knock down your door. A lot of artists fold when they face that truth. But for Statik Selektah, Termanology and REKS, it was just a fact of the independent life. For them it’s always about doing it their way. After the Lawrence, MA natives connected as part of the Boston’s Hip Hop scene in the early 2000’s, they took the city’s blueprint and went independent. Through a steady stream of album, video, mix tape releases along with near constant touring they now have an international fan base for a sound built on Statik’s production. Consider Statik’s audioscape the latest incarnation of the scratch hooks and dusty samples of DJ Premier and Pete Rock. Around the ShowOff Basement (the team’s New York studio and crash pad) Preem and Pete are deities with MPC’s as well as good friends. Some of the genre’s icons like Bun B have embraced ShowOff for their true Hip Hop aesthetic and back to the basics approach.

After creating mix tapes with icons like Nas, Talib Kweli, Q-Tip and DJ Premier, rocking crowds worldwide and building his weekly show on Eminem’s Shade 45 radio station into must listen radio for Hip Hop heads the time seems right for Statik and ShowOff to bring the full Game Of Thrones level onslaught. Founded in 2006 by Statik, ShowOff Records has built a reputation on being a home for hard body boom bap. ShowOff has released collaborations with Freddie Gibbs, Freeway and Bumpy Knuckles along with their own artists like Termanology, JFK and REKS.

REKS has crafted a blend of razor sharp lyricism and everyman conscious content that allows him to attack political injustice while analyzing his battles with the world’s temptations. His Statik Selektah produced Straight No Chaser remains one of the stand outs of recent memory. Reks isn’t alone when it comes to working. As a former Source Unsigned Hype alum, Termanology has turned the attention his DJ Premier produced hit song “Watch How It Goes Down” brought him into a career of consistent heat. His 50 Bodies mix tape series and bangers from iconic producers like Large Professor, Buckwild and Pete Rock have gotten him more blog love than a new Nardwuar interview. His new work with Statik on their new album 2012 could be counted as some of his best. His trademark rapid fire rhyme style is still intact. Now he has added a bit of introspective maturity to balance out the street tales and party life. It doesn’t stop with Statik, REKS and Term either. There’s a full slate of releases including projects with Bun B, Styles P and Strong Arm Steady and a crew album for Termanology’s team ST Da Squad on deck to close out 2012.

On the day Term & Statik released 2012 under their group name 1982, we talked with them along with REKS about the newest addition to the ShowOff roster, the highs and lows of being independent and just exactly how to survive representing classic boom bap in a era of swag.

KillerBoomBox: Statik I remember seeing you and Term right after you started working together. I heard one of the first things that you had worked on and told you I was feeling it. You turned to Term and gave him a look like “I told you so.” It’s been a long road from then to now. What have been the biggest changes?
Statik Selektah
: That was when my life wasn’t ruined by REKS yet. (Laughs) As far as the accomplishments, it’s working with people like DJ Premier, Bun B, Nas and Q-Tip. People that are respected in that arena. Now we have to carry the torch.

KillerBoomBox: It started with you and Term working together and now it’s beyond that. In your original vision were you always thinking of growth?
Statik Selektah
: Originally I was just DJing for REKS. I just did one beat on his first album. When I decided to start ShowOff Records it was a whole different situation. REKS came into that after Term and Granite State did. REKS was always one of my favorite rappers and I was always so frustrated cause he kind of disappeared for a while. I felt like he never met his potential. One time I was down in Miami and we met up. I said if you are going to come up to New York and you’re ready to do this then let’s do it. He came up and we started knocking out joints.

TERMANOLOGY

KillerBoomBox: What’s the big difference between this and the last 1982 album?
Termanology
: The first one was just raw and more crazy. We were just going some crazy times. Me and Stat were just staying up all night and just being totally destroyed. The second album is more we have already gone through the wrath of the first time so we were a lot more conscious of the music we made with this album. This is a more mature version of us. We still party. We wild out and shit but we are a lot smarter with the selection of music.

KillerBoomBox: You think this is a more focused record?
Termanology: Yeah. The first shit was scatter brained. It was also like my sophomore album in a way because I only had Politics As Usual as a real album. Even though I had a million mix tapes I still had a lot to prove. I feel like on this last album I was more happy with myself as a person and not so bitter over the fact that I feel like I should be a platinum rapper. I’m more happy with who I am now. Before I was more disappointed in the whole crumbling of the music industry.

KillerBoomBox: Its funny to hear you say that because there are people who look at you and say these dudes are killing it. Do you ever run into that situation where people see the success and think life is a whole lot better than you think it is?
Termanology
: I was talking about that today. People assume we’re rich. I was at a baby shower the other day. Everyone was putting a dollar, five dollars in and the end someone wins the big pot. So my girl won it. And I heard these girls in the back saying “Rich motherfucker. He don’t need that shit.” That shit was drastic. Just made me realize how crazy it is.
REKS: It is like that. Coming home I always see it the most. Fam and friends just think you’re doing it cause they see you traveling. But they don’t know what it takes to even be on the road. We just came from doing 18 hour drives from spot to spot. That’s the reality of what it takes for us to do what we do. Im just at the point of being comfortable not having a job. But people think automatically when they see the fanfare and love we receive on blogs we just gotta be doing it. They rocking with Preemo. They rocking with Bun B. I tell people all the time don’t quit your day job.

REKS

KillerBoomBox: Talking about the grind, I always remember something that Statik said a while back about how his first couple tours he went out for free because he believed in what he was doing that much.
Statik Selektah
: A lot of people do that. Term did it with Red & Meth. Drove cross country for 60 dates. That gas ain’t cheap. Hotels ain’t cheap. People don’t really understand what it takes to get over that hump. It’s crazy. We are in such a different age now. Kids like Mac Miller and Chris Webby come out of nowhere it seems and are selling out shows without having to deal with a lot of that shit. A lot of cats don’t understand what it was like pressing vinyl and putting CD’s together in your apartment. Those are the days to me. The mix tape I did with Nas we picked up 5000 CD’s and sold them in 2 hours. Put them all together and then moved them in a couple of hours going around New York.

KillerBoomBox: I still have that mix tape. I used to always tell cats that the remix you did of that Method Man and Busta should have been an official remix.
Statik Selektah:
You know what’s funny? I had a meeting with Tina Davis. She was the president of A&R at Def Jam. She called me up there because of that remix. They were playing it on Hot 97 everyday. This is when I lived in Boston. I drove to NY for this meeting. Sat down with her. She’s like we are going to get the paper work in. They were about to press it on 12 inch. But then she quit the next day. She quit because she found Chris Brown.

STATIK SELEKTAH

KillerBoomBox: You all are prolific. Feels like you are dropping a project every month.
Termanology
: If you count us as a crew with all the stuff I do with me and ST, Statik’s projects, then with other artists. And then add REKS it is like we drop a project every month.
Statik Selektah: Yeah it’s almost too much.
Termanology: I just realized it the other day when this kid showed up to buy our album and he showed up with 12 CD’s. He was like I left the rest of them at the crib cause you already signed them. The fact is like we have like 20 albums that people can buy.

KillerBoomBox: What do you think it is that you are doing that is making people not just listen to it and download it but come out in the rain on a day like this and buy it?
Statik Selektah
: We fill a gap that is just missing with that certain quality of soulful Hip Hop. No one is really making it. I can’t really name many artists that have cuts in their shit and it’s just raw. There are a couple groups. You have cats like Random Axe, Skyzoo, Freddie Gibbs but there is no DJ element there.
Termanology: Me and Statik are in a weird place though. Because we go chill with Preemo and he’s like 45 and he looks at us like little kids. Then we chill with Mac Miller and then I feel like I’m mad old. So we are like in this zone where we are legends to some new cats and to legends we are the new cats. but its dope though. Because we have our own lane.

SHOWOFF FAMILY with Nitty Scott & Styles P

KillerBoomBox: What do you think it is that you are doing that is making people not just listen to it and download it but come out in the rain on a day like this and buy it?
Statik Selektah
: We fill a gap that is just missing with that certain quality of soulful Hip Hop. No one is really making it. I can’t really name many artists that have cuts in their shit and it’s just raw. There are a couple groups. You have cats like Random Axe, Skyzoo, Freddie Gibbs but there is no DJ element there.
Termanology: Me and Statik are in a weird place though. Because we go chill with Preemo and he’s like 45 and he looks at us like little kids. Then we chill with Mac Miller and then I feel like I’m mad old. So we are like in this zone where we are legends to some new cats and to legends we are the new cats. but its dope though. Because we have our own lane.

KillerBoomBox: But even though you have success in that lane do you ever feel pressure to change it up?
Statik Selektah
: The new album is as commercial as its going to get with records like “Up Every Night” and “Happy Days”. You won’t see us get much more commercial than that. I might go back to my grime shit. My next album might be the dirtiest thing.
Termanology: That’s what I told you to do.
REKS: I’m getting my first bit of serious hate. Where cats are saying you are doing these type of records with Statik, you better slow down or you will sell out completely.
Termanology: Told you that was coming.
REKS: I do records like “Breakups”. “Cancel That” is raw. “Oh you got 50 on the hook you selling out.” Its crazy. Cats just don’t get it.
Statik Selektah: Internet critics can suck a dick.

KillerBoomBox: Do you think it’s because of us being in a social media age? Before as an artist you were a bit insulated from all that.
REKS
: Of course. It opens us up more to one on one conversations through Twitter and Facebook. They have more access to us. And they have a lot more to say. I don’t have a problem interacting with cats. I feel like I’m a people person so it is what it is.

KillerBoomBox: You guys stay working. So what do you have musically coming up?
Termanology
: I got an album coming with Lil Fame from M.O.P., the long awated Fizzyology. We got an ST Da Squad album. Wrapping that up right now with 5 beats from Statik on it. I been doing my thing with the beats too. I think me and Statik are going to do an EP for 1982 too.
REKS: July 24th I’m dropping an album Rebelutionary with a cat named Numonics. Term’s on that with Jon Connor and Strong Arm Steady. I think this is an album I should have made a long time ago. It speaks volumes to what I talk about with social issues. I never delved into it for an entire project. This covers that and it doesn’t come across preachy.
Statik Selektah: The next thing is my album with Strong arm Steady called Sterotypes. That’s on Stones Throw/ShowOff. It’s a different sound. There is a lot of West Coast shit on there with my flavor mixed in. We have a lot of people on there. We got Black Hippy on there. Planet Asia, Chace Infinite, Wais P. I haven’t started the next solo record. I’m still trying to figure out what I am going to do. All my albums are different but I want to do something experimental.
Termanology: One more too. I finally got Statik to take Easy Money serious and we signed him to ShowOff. So now he is ST/ShowOff and it’s a good move for Ed. I’m happy for him. He has some amazing records coming. Be on the lookout for that too.