Chase: “We’re back with BK-One. If you missed Part 1 of the interview you can go back and read it on Silent Cacophony or download the entire show as a podcast from the DOPEfm page. There is also a player at the bottom of this post if you want to stream the show. Enjoy!
Alright, so let’s talk about the extensive touring you’ve been doing. You’ve been all over the place, haven’t you?”
BK-One: “Touring is a really important part of the Rhymesayers business model. We don’t spend a ton of money forcing our music down people’s throats. We’re not up have billboards, Clear Channel playlists, we don’t have videos all over TV. The resource we have is out tour vans.”
Chase: “So what’s the response like? Is it different from region to region? Can you provide any insight there because I haven’t been overseas or to too many places, so what’s the scene like where you’ve been performing?”
BK-One: “We just got back from a month in Europe. The public in general there takes art and music and the people who make it very seriously. And so interviews, the people in the crowd we talk to after the show, they have insightful questions and seem to have a lot of respect for you. In France, in particular, we saw a lot of people showing up who weren’t even that familiar with what we do. They just heard that there was an artist in town and came out to see what it was all about. And that’s a reallt great feeling.
I’m speaking in broad over-generalities. But in the mid-west, we play in a lot of smaller towns and even bigger cities with large populations that get skipped over a lot. A lot of artists don’t see them, I don’t know if it’s financially worthwhile or if they are not even on their radar, but we play a lot of shows in the mid-west where not a lot of shows are happening. And so, the kids are very appreciative and in some cases seem to be just starving for entertainment so they really go wild and the shows have a lot of energy.
In the west coast there’s a warm, positive electricity. I don’t know if it’s all the good weed out there or what it is. Out east, people tend to be a little, I guess I’m thinking about New York in specifically, there’s so many good shows that come to the east that sometimes people feel very analytical when you’re playing in front of them. I see a lot of, ‘Let me see what you’re all about’ and when you talk to them afterwards you get a really strong reaction.
So when it comes to shows, you can never really predict what’s gonna happen. We’ve been touring consistently for 8 years now. So a lot of the cities we’re making it to this time, it’s our 8th, 10th, 15th time there and every show is still a little bit of a surprise.”
Chase: “How do you do that? How do you manage to tour so much and still make the show a surprise. I mean, when you come to town, someone who’s a fan may have seen you ten times, so how do you keep that a fresh experience?”
BK-One: “That’s specifically what my job is as the DJ. That is what I’ve been hired to do. Brother Ali has so much personality both in the way he carries himself on stage and the music that he writes, there’s so much different emotional bases that get covered that if when we sit down to put out show together, if we’re able to properly present those things, then it’s a full experience. And we’re really trying to present him as a human and more than just play these songs for people.
We could probably not get away with coming up on 10 years with playing the same songs over and over again and having people be excited about it. But because what we’re really presenting him as a human, people never know what’s gonna come through, and what they’re gonna connect to, and what experience they’re gonna come away with. And that’s why it’s been such a treat working with him specifically.
I’ve met and worked with a lot of really good rappers but he is better at letting who he is as a human being come through than almost anybody I know. So, it is a challenge to come back over and over again and play these same songs but it’s a really fun and exciting challenge.”
Chase: “Nice. I’ve never seen you spin before so I’m looking forward to the show tonight for sure. Let’s play another song right now.”
Gamma Krush: “Let’s play the Raekwon joint.”
BK-One: “Yeah, ‘The True and Living.’ That’s with I Self Divine, who a lot of people might not be familiar with but he is one of those favouite rapper’s favourite rapper kind of guys. He came up from LA and then Atlanta an Minneapolis and as was part of the crew the Micronauts.”
Chase: “Oh yeah. I remember when I was first getting online on the Usenet and newsgroups, they were all over the place.”
BK-One: “Yeah, they made a lot of serious music and he’s had a really great solo career. Maybe it’s because he’s a friend of mine but it’s always made me mad that a wider appreciation hasn’t been cultivated.
One of my favourite things about this album is that I got to merge people I grew up listening to, heroes of mine, like Black Thought from The Roots, Raekwon, Scarface, people like that with the people that I work with so closely and are good friends of mine. Putting them on track next to each other and sometimes even on the same track together and really showing people that there is no separation. These people are part of the same thing and are completely compatible regardless of what region of the country they’re from, of what made-up category of rap-”
Chase: “Or even what generation they’re from.”
BK-One: “Yeah! And so to put I Self Divine and Raekwon together on a track and watch him really shine was really a treat for me. Likewise with the Ali and Scarface track we played earlier. Alright so this is ‘The True and Living’ by I Self Divine and Raekwon.
Randy: “Ten minutes. We gotta be starting in, actually nine minutes.”
BK-One: “I’m getting interviewed! Geez, Randy.”
Randy: “You’ve gotta be starting in nine minutes. We have a strict curfew here so we have to get you off the stage pretty much ASAP.”
Chase: “Well, it seems the tour manager is pulling BK-One out. I would love to be able to talk to you for a little bit longer here but you gotta go do your thing. I know we want to see you spin. So thanks a lot for sitting down with us, for sharing your expertise and your music with us. It’s been an honour man.”
BK-One: “Absolutely, thanks for having me.”