Ghettosocks on Mixtapes, Liner Notes, and Vinyl

Ghettosocks: “All right, we’re back.”

Back with our exclusive interview of Ghettosocks for DOPEfm. Download it for free, stream it with the player below, or keep reading. 

Chase: “Yeah, that was awesome. We just heard ‘Ricochet’ and there’s an awesome line in that song that says, ‘I make it fit like I’m playing Tetris / so don’t get it vexed when I’m coming after your ex like the ‘a’ in ‘Texas.’”
Ghettosocks: “You like that, eh?”
Chase: “It’s like a battle rhyme. I could see you saying that in a battle against someone. Do you battle, or work on battle-type rhymes during your writing process?”
Ghettosocks: “I’ve battled. I don’t consider myself to be the best battler ever, but I like to freestyle battle. I have a pretty decent battle career under my belt. I like battle rhymes. It’s like part of rapping. L.L. Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, those types of dudes have these sick rhymes and were really aggressive. That’s where it comes from. I’m glad you appreciate that.
Chase: “Another thing I appreciate about what you do, Ghettosocks, is that your mixtapes are actually mixed. There are so many mixtapes floating around the World Wide Web that, number 1 aren’t mixed, and number 2 are just using other people’s beats. When you go over someone else’s beat, you pay tribute to the original artist.
When you did ‘Sock Ebonics,’ you flipped Big L’s “Ebonics’ in your own way, but you made it known that, ‘This is the track I’m rhyming over.’ You also said, ‘Rest in Peace Big L’ at the end.
I’ve heard too many mixtapes where they don’t pay any tribute to the original artist. And that is something you do very well.
Your mixtape, ‘I Can Make Your Dog Famous,’ is completely mixed. Even your album, ‘Treat of the Day’ is mixed too.”
Ghettosocks: “Yeah, it’s got a continuous flow to it. I wouldn’t say it’s like a mixtape per se, but it definitely has like a show continuity to it.”
Chase: “And I love to hear that as well, from a listener. Eternia and Moss did the same thing with their ‘At Last’ album where all of the tracks flow in to each other. It gives you a hip-hop experience. I don’t want to see a show where all the tracks fade out. So, your album reminds me of the radio show, college radio, it’s kind of seemless.”
Ghettosocks: “I think mixtapes should be used as a way to show what kind of music the artist is feeling, what other artists that they’d like to be paired with, whether it be influences or just their taste. That’s why I think it’s appropriate to pay homage. Whether it be ‘Catch a Beat Down’ which is paying homage to Run-DMC ‘Beats to the Rhyme’ or ‘Sock Ebonics’ where I’m doing Big L’s ‘Ebonics’. Paying tribute is a natural thing.
Mixtapes should be fun and interesting. I think a lot of people are just making mixtapes so they can get up, and get known, and saturate the market. I think mixtapes are a lost art nowadays.
College radio is doing it right every week. You guys are doing your show and there are people who are recording it or saving it into their iPods. And it’s like a mixtape every week, so it’s up to you guys to keep playing the dope shit.”
Chase: “I agree with that. I used to do that way before the Internet. It was a lot harder to keep up with the shows and record them, but I still did. I’d stay up till midnight when Mastermind was on Energy 108 just to hit record and then go to sleep. I’d listen to it in the morning.
It was more of a hustle to get the music back then. Nowadays, music comes to you all the time. There isn’t as much an effort needed. Kids don’t appreciate it as much. Kids these days! I sound old when I say that.”
Ghettosocks: “That’s what it is. We’re living in a different era.”
Chase: “That’s why I like podcasts. But there are still some great radio shows that still don’t have a podcast so you do have to hustle to listen to them. It’s nice when they have the podcast too. It’s like you said, ‘Free mixtapes!’”
Ghettosocks: “It’s also cool because it’s not like one artist and that’s all you hear on the tape. It’s not them on every single track. You get a sample of that DJ or that radio show’s style and what they are feeling collectively. You never know what you are gonna find. It’s a surprise. Big ups to the DJs. That’s what it is. Big ups!”
Chase: “For sure. That’s definitely where it started. You’re getting a lot of love worldwide too. You’re getting play in Europe, Australia, Japan, and places like that. Have you ever toured overseas?”
Ghettosocks: “I’ve been to Europe. This summer it’ll be the fourth time. Going with Muneshine for the Twin Peaks tour. Been to Japan once. Been to the states a bunch of times too. I love touring. That’s where it’s at.”
Chase: “I have never been overseas. Is there a difference in the crowds or the audience depending on where you’re playing?”
Ghettosocks: “In Poland and the Czech Republic we have a lot of fans supporting us. At the show in Hip-Hop Camp in Czech Republic we were pouring vodka into the mouths of those in the front row. It was just like a wild party. It’s just the type of energy. People are so excited to check us. It’s just a good feeling to be out there.
It’s the exotic thing, like the grass is greener on the other side kind of thing. People come from the country of Canada they get all excited. It’s like that in Europe. When they get to see some real rap, they get real in to it. So, it’s a good feeling.”
Chase: “I know. I’ve had the chance to grab the mic and rock the stage. And it’s just a good feeling to perform and have the crowd respond to it. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, I think.”
Ghettosocks: “It’s one part of the art from. We do the music in the studio, but when it comes to rocking shows, we take that very seriously as well. Big ups to Jorun Bombay, DJ Irate, DJ Frame out in Ottawa, and everybody I work with. They’re all talented DJs and that’s where the party originates, that’s where the music comes from. When we do live shows, we like to integrate deejaying into the routine and have all this stuff going on. Rocking shows is very important and that’s what gets me to where I am today.”
Chase: “Do you freestyle in your live shows?”
Ghettosocks: “Sometimes. It’s fun to slip into a freestyle. You make friends every show, you get introduced to new people, and if you can reference them right away on the spot, drop some inside jokes. Some people might not get it, but they know it’s live. And even if they don’t get it, they are still interested and they can tell that the pieces of the puzzle are floating together. It’s not contrived. There’s that live element that we all enjoy.”
Chase: “I love a good freestyle. You can tell when someone has slipped into one and it’s not a written. It brings a new element to the show too. Another thing you did on one of your mixtapes, was you had a beatboxer in the background. It’s nice to see the different elements of hip-hop in play. Like, you’re rocking actual vinyl today. A lot of DJs aren’t doing that any more. So, you’ve got this whole old-school hip-hop vibe.”
Ghettosocks: “Shout outs to EMC (the beatboxer on the track you mentioned) Beatboxing is all part of the whole thing. It’s an awesome aspect to the music. Fat Boys, Buffy-”
Gamma Krush: “Rest in Peace.”
Ghettosocks: “Rest in Peace. Rahzel brought a lot of people into the culture of beatboxing. Not to say that everybody is a great beatboxer. Some need to spend more time smacking the lips in the shower. It all belongs.
Twin Peaks put out a vinyl peace. A 12 inch for ‘Kaboom’ which features production by M-Phazes. It’s available on our website too. Just Google ‘Twin Peaks Bandcamp’ and you’ll find it. Order that online.
I think it’s important to have vinyl. It’s a testament to the physical artifact of music. It exists, it’s tactile, and you put it on the platter, spin it, and you hear the crackle. It’s like a fireplace.”
DJ Irate: “You read the sleeve. Find out who’s on it. Read every little credit. Find out who produced what, what label.”
Ghettosocks: “Exactly. And then you put it in your collection. You have your wall of records and it becomes part of your archive.”
Gamma Krush: “We need that too, People just start to make up their own history. They don’t own the record and they don’t know those credits. I meet people all the time who make up their own history. It’s like, ‘Oh, how do you know?” I know because I actually own a physical copy. You’re going by something you read on the Internet.”
Chase: “Even so, not having liner notes. We have tons of digital music at the station. And I was just talking to 2Rude and I had no idea how many records he produced. I get so much music that I don’t have time to look at the liner notes or try to find them for all this digital music I’m receiving. So when I talked to 2Rude and he mentioned some records he’s done, I was literally surprised. ‘You produced that?’
I used to be on top of these things when I owned physical copies of my records. I used to know all that stuff. Gamma Krush still does know most of that stuff. But for most people only know the MC, they don’t know the DJ or producer anymore because they don’t have a physical product to look at. It’s kind of a shame.”
Ghettosocks: “I met 2Rude for this first time last year at the Junos. He came and checked out our showcase. But it’s true, you don’t know what’s going on. Half the time nowadays, you don’t know the name of the song. New jacks will go download some shit and to them, “It’s track 6’ whereas if you own the album, you know the name of the song, you know who’s featured on it, not the guy who raps second on track 6 of that album or whatever.”
Muneshine: “What made me want to make beats was reading credits. I’d keep seeing produced by Pete Rock and I’d be like, ‘Who’s Pete Rock?’ and then I’d find out other shit that he produced. Then this guy became my f*cking hero. Then I learned what he does. You can learn so much from credits.”
Ghettosocks: “There’s a whole academic side of the thing. People are hesitant to be considered academic. They just want to be the cool guy or celebrity. But it’s a culture. Just enjoy it. It’s there to be enjoyed and savoured. So vinyl, keep it alive. Keep buying it. Big ups to all the DJs still spinning it. That’s what’s up!”
Chase: “Let’s spin a song. Do you have anything you’d like to hear?”
Ghettosocks: “How about we play an exclusive Wolves joint, ‘Air Pump and a Mushroom Cut.’ Let’s play that.”

Chase: “One last note, about your unique style.”

Ghettosocks: “I’m wearing Frames, glasses that were hand made by my homeboy BJ. Big ups to BJ, Big ups to Keith Relic and the whole State Family Guilds. They sponsor me and give me gear. I wear lense-less glasses. I’ve been wearing them since junior high school. I began wearing them as a social experiment to see if I’d get better grades and it worked. Here I am now, still applying that science and dominating the world.” That’s right. Dominating the world.

Hope you enjoyed this podcast.

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