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Interview with Domino, Hieroglyphics – June 1997 (Presented in Stink-E-Scope)

Posted by: Yameen on September 6th, 2011 in Hieroglyphics, Thangs

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I dug up a pretty amazing audio conversation I had with Domino of Hieroglyphics from way back in June 1997, right as Hiero was knee-deep preparing their debut “family album”, 3rd Eye Vision for mass consumption.

Presented in our all-new Stink-E-Scope theater technology, this is more than just a simple audio interview: Sit back and be amazed by the moving pictures, the talkie high fidelity audio and tons of Hiero history as we go back…WAY back…To 1997:

Errrrr…Put yer breaks on. Scratch that. We just noticed you’re using a mobile device. This chumpy requires a good deal of screen real estate. Something like a laptop or a desktop. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to view it at the moment. But, we promise, if you come back and visit on a non-mobile device, it’ll be worth it.

» Click here to email yourself a link to the page to check it out for later.

Errrrr…Put yer breaks on. Scratch that. We just noticed you’re most likely using a tablet device of some sort. This chumpy requires a good deal of screen real estate. Something like a laptop or a desktop. We’re also not quite convinced (at the time of this writing, at least) most tablet devices can sustain the power that is Stink-E-Scope theater. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to view it at the moment. But, we promise, if you come back and visit on a non-tablet device, it’ll be worth it.

» Click here to email yourself a link to the page to check it out for later.

Click above to begin interview

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All Talk: E3 2011 Podcast featuring Yameen

Posted by: Yameen on June 22nd, 2011 in Press

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Well, that’s me and Ed Boon of Mortal Kombat fame at E3 2011 in that pic above. I had a great time at E3 this year, and was invited by the All Things All Things podcast to stop by and talk about the show.

We get into Bastion from Warner Bros, Nintendo’s Wii U but of course, Sony’s Vita & Microsoft’s Xbox. As well as the hunt for niche titles like That Game Studio’s Journey and Last Guardian.

Check it out here:

All Talk: E3 2011 – All Things All Things

Interview with Wake Your Daughter Up Magazine

Posted by: Yameen on March 29th, 2010 in Never Knows Best, Press

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Here is an interview with Wake Your Daughter Up hiphop and audio blog. It originally ran right before the launch of Never Knows Best on June 15th, 2008.

WYDU: For those out there in the blog land that might not know who you are, can you give us a brief introduction?

Yameen: Sure. My name’s Yameen aka “Stinke”. I’m a producer born and raised in Philadelphia, presently living in San Francisco. I’m also a huge fan of the site. Thanks for having me.

W: Man, I already gotta questions your taste, liking this site…hahaha. You got an interesting start in the “game”, coming up on the infamous Heiro boards from back in the day and working with them, how did you hook up with that and do you think it’s benefited you as an artist?

Yameen: In 1995 while I was still in high school, I started a little website called Tha Threshold. It had a graffiti section, a video game section, a links page (which were really big back then) and a little section about my favorite crew at the time, Hieroglyphics. I originally made the Hiero page to see what was going on with all those guys because it was like the “Hiero Hotline” just dried up and no one knew where any of those guys were, or what they were doing.

So, you know, I had this cool little website. And it was getting a few hits. But the video game section was kinda popping…So I decided to shut down the Hiero section of the site and focus on the games part. Ironically, the day I decide to do this, I get a beep on my pager (1995, y’all) and it’s from the “510″ area code…I’m like, “Who is this?”. So I call the number back and it’s some guy claiming to be Tajai from Souls of Mischief. He wants to make my website, “Official”, he says! “Sure, sure buddy….”, I had assured him. “Well, why don’t you send me some stuff to prove you’re actually Tajai and then we’ll take it from there.” No joke, this is how it went down. So a week or two goes by and oh shit! A huge package arrives with all kinds of Hiero press photos, Souls of Mischief “No Man’s Land” promotional water flasks, stickers, all this stuff. I mean, I’m still in high school. So I take all this stuff back to school and I’m flossin this shit like, “YEA MOTHERFUCKERS!” Haha…

So yea, through Tajai’s connection we made the website official in 1995. A year or so later we acquired the “Hieroglyphics.com” domain name which cost $180 a year back then. In 1995, you could pretty much count all of the hiphop websites on both of your hands. We all knew each other too. Aside from Mystik Journeymen, Hiero was the first hiphop group to have a huge online presence. And we dominated between 1995-2001. We funded the entire recording of 3rd Eye Vision through the website and our burgeoning e-commerce initiative. We won tons of awards and established a lot of the web practices adopted by many other sites in the intervening years.

But yea, as far as benefiting me as an artist, definitely. My first music EP commercially-released was with Tajai of Souls of Mischief in 99′. And it was released on Tajai’s label through Hieroglyphics Imperium. So right there, that was a great jump-off. I also got to tap into the Hiero fanbase since I had Hiero members on my records. And likewise, that worked in different scenarios: When I did Aesop Rock’s website in 1999, we were able to hit up the Hiero fanbase and turn them onto him, for example. It all worked cause I think all the Hiero Heads were on more or less the same shit. It wasn’t like I was posting up links to Doritos like, “OMG, check this shit out, blood!”

Also, if I can just mention this…The time I tried to interview Kwest Tha Madd Lad from a payphone in Queens was one of the more bugged out memories I have from this era. I really wanted this interview to go down, but it just rang and rang. I still want to do that interview, Kwest. Hit me up yo.

W: There is always some weird shit going on with interviewing Kwest, I think that he makes that a prerequisite. The Heiro website was basically one of the first of its kind on the web and you are somewhat credited for that, as you mentioned, being the webmaster and all. How was it working on something those days that was still fairly new? How did you create the “blueprint” for indie hip hop on the web?

Yameen: My official title was “Webmaster and New Media Coordinator”. I was spearheading ideas that would take the entire crew and indeed our fanbase and online community further. “Yo, there’s this new technology called RealAudio that lets you stream audio we need to get that;” or “Let’s document the entire production of 3rd Eye Vision from start to finish and post it online each week;” or “Let’s release albums like Del’s shelved 3rd studio record online-only.” I was also designing the site, and we got bit quite often.

But I think it was about being original and pushing new ideas and rallying the online community and charging ahead. The entire Hiero website, the record label that spawned from the web initiative, everything that Hiero became in the mid-to-late-90′s up until today can be single-handedly attributed to the worldwide Hieroglyphics fanbase. They were the ones buying the web-only cassettes, the t-shirts, spreading the word, coming to the shows. Essentially, making sure Hiero survived. Our “blueprint” was exciting the online community and keeping them engaged.

W: Never Knows Best is your first album as being known as Yameen, how long in the making was this project?

Yameen: Word, Never Knows Best is my first album under the name Yameen. It took about two years to finish.

W: Describe the album, how did you come up with the concepts and what influenced you?

Yameen: The album is me on production with a bunch of great guest artists including Shock G, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Maylay Sparks and Lady Alma from Philly, Azeem is on there, Casual from Hieroglyphics and DJ Icewater.

When I first conceptualized the album, I was going to do a full instrumental album with a running musical narrative, much like I’ve done in the past with some of the concept records Tajai and I worked on. But then I was like, “You know what? People like lyrics. People like remembering songs, and humming and singing them to themselves.” And so I dropped the full-on instrumental idea. Then I started to think about the instant-on internet generation and how attention time is precious, and how you really need to grab people and entertain them quickly because there is so much access to instant media now. And so I experimented with making what little instrumental songs are on there short. And they kindof bump right into each other, as can be heard especially in the beginning of the album. I try to just get right to it and make a record that is fully enjoyable from start-to-finish.

W: The sound on this album is rather unique, how would you describe your music on this album?

Yameen: Man that’s a great question.

W: Why thank you…

Yameen: I’m really not sure. Of course I call it hiphop and soul, but I have dance influences as well. It’s different. I’d suggest anyone interested should peep the sound clips on my site or on iTunes and make your own decisions. If anything, I think it’s exciting.

W: Playing devil’s advocate here, what would you say to someone that would say that “this isn’t hip hop”?

Yameen: Well, I mean, I grew up listening to all the dope artists covered on this website, know what I mean? I love Kane, I love X-Clan, I know who the fuck 3X Dope and BWP is and shit, hahaha…If you’re reading this, most likely we have the same exact influences. Some of my stuff might push the BPMs a bit faster than your normal boom-bap, but shoot: in my opinion I’m still making hiphop. Soul music.

It’s tough cause as much as I would love for everyone to be into it, I know my music’s not for everyone. But I have a lot of different sounds on the album. I have battle MCs and r&b crooners. Got some blow-your-speakers-apart rap shit and I have some housy-r&b shit. I can’t help it!!

W: How do you see the state of hip hop in general changing in the future. With the experimentation of sounds, such as whats your album, it’s something that some the hardcore extremists might have a problem with. For those calling for more creativity in the genre, they might praise the expansion of the sound such as found on your album? How do you walk the fine line between being to experimental and keeping those hip hop roots close by?

Yameen: I don’t think I’ve ever worried about losing my hiphop roots. This is my life, it’s intertwined, it can never leave. But I do think about accessibility in my music, and how people will receive it. Especially as I have gotten older. At the end of the day, when I’ve made a song, I only need to consider: Do you like it? Is Yameen happy with what he has produced?

I am always interested in hearing how people respond to the album and the music: What songs did they enjoy, what did they absolutely hate. I am already starting to get some great feedback. Truth is, I never know until it’s out there.

But as far as the future of music and the future of hiphop in particular, I am more-so interested in the changing media landscape. Before Never Knows Best, the last album I released was “Nuntype” with Tajai in 2005. In those three intervening years, there has been a tremendous change in the way music is sold and distributed. Look at how many of our online vinyl stores have fallen since then: HipHopSite, Sandbox…Everyone downloads music now. There was even a bit of resistance from the label when I wanted to press CDs this year. It’s changed so fast and so dramatically. The distributors too have been heavily affected. Everyone has.

I mean, I’ve been pricing my CDs at $9.99 for years. I think all artist should do that. It doesn’t make sense cause most cats is gonna download your stuff anyway. Either to get a taste or from iTunes, etc. But my point is soon I see CDs becoming just a promotional tool cats give away. Gotta give it up to Prince, Radiohead, Trent Reznor…These are artists trying new things. It’s good to see.

W: You have an interesting line up of guest artists that you worked with on this album, how did you choose who you wanted to work with?

Yameen: For each song I had each artist in mind. I was lucky to work with so many professionals, too, in the Leon / Jean Reno sense of the word. Everyone was laser-sighted, precise. I had never worked with any of the artists on the album before so that was a lot of fun.

Also have to give shouts to Matt Kelley, my engineer, and Ken Lee who mastered the album. These guys are two hiphop legends. They’ve worked on so many classic records, it’s ridiculous. One of the reasons why I recommend the CD version are because of these two guys, it just bumps. Oh and peace to Doug who laced the album artwork. That shit came out really sick as well.

W: Was there anyone you wanted to get on the album but couldn’t? Any artists you want to work with in the future?

Yameen: Yea, I’m lose-mapping the next album in my head and pretty much know everyone I want to work with. I get a bit superstitious, tho, so I can’t name drop anyone until it’s recorded.

W: Understandable, don’t want to jinx anything. What does the future hold for Yameen? World tours, cars, women? haha

Yameen: Yea, all that shit man! Hahaha…Lifestyles of the rich and infamous, word up. But definitely more music, more media convergence ideas: music mixed with visuals and interaction. Synesthesia. We are, to quote a song title from my record, Sifters In The Land Of Fun, after all. More so now than ever before.

W: Any last words for our fine readers in the blogosphere?

Yameen: Yo, go cop Never Knows Best on Ropeadope Records, in stores everywhere. Amazon.com, iTunes, yameenmusic.com. Download the free album sampler at my website mixed by DJ Statik. Big ups to Travis and the entire Wake Your Daughter Up crew. I love the site, keep doing what you’re doing. And to all of YOU! Thanks for supporting. Peace!

W: Thanks man, this was most enjoyable and best of luck with the album!

• Check out the Wake Your Daughter Up HipHop & Audio Blog

D-Nice Presents: True Hip-Hop Stories

Posted by: Yameen on December 23rd, 2008 in Thangs

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My man, D-Nice has always maintained a dope internet presence. The former MC/producer of the Boogie Down Productions crew has become an amazing photographer and is now flexing some serious video skills as well (on the Canon 5D MKII, no less…I’m jealous, dog!!).

On his blog, D runs a series called “True Hip-Hop Stories”. The first two entries out the gate feature Masta Ace and Doitall of Lordz of The Underground; both from the Marley Marl school of hiphop.

So check it out, and be sure to hit up D-Nice’s blog for more great hiphop media.


True Hip-Hop Stories: Lords of The Underground from D-Nice on Vimeo


True Hip-Hop Stories: Masta Ace from D-Nice on Vimeo

Interview with Blockhead (Ninja Tune, Aesop Rock) Spring, 2001

Posted by: Yameen on December 6th, 2008 in Thangs

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I came across an interview I did with my homie, Blockhead in 2001 — right before Aesop Rock’s Definitive Jux debut, Labor Days dropped.

I’m going to re-post it here since it is no longer available online anywhere else. I’m also going to re-post the original images that were used for the interview since everyone is mad young and looks funny as fuck (Block is 24 in the interview).

(Photographs Courtesy CentralCali.com)

Yameen: WHATS UP BLUD???

Blockhead: Nuttin…Chillin like the internet villain that I am.

Y: So, yo. Aesop Rock’s, Float (Mush Records) was the shit. How much did you produce of it?

B: I did 8 joints and the three little instrumental interludes…

Y: And you’re doing some work on the next joint too?

B: Of course. I did 9 joints out of 16. Movin’ up in the world…

Y: Does the next one have a name yet?

B: Yup, Labor Days. Ironically enough, that’s about when it’ll be dropping too.

Y: Hot. How did the El-P / Definitive Jux team-up come about?

B: Well…Aesop’s publicist is also El-P’s. I think she gave him a CD and he liked it enough to what to put out his new record on Def Jux. Also, being down with Cannibal Ox and the Atoms Fam is a bonus.

Y: Do you wanna talk about the kind of equipment you use?

B: Sure…I use an ASR 10. No more, no less. What do you want to know about it?

Y: How long you been rockin it?

B: Hmmm…about 5 or 6 years now. I just paid my last installment a year ago though.

Y: Have you been able to perform live? Do you bring the ASR out with you to shows?

B: Nope…that would be hell. The ASR is like a big ass keyboard. It weighs about 80 pounds. I’m not trying to move it anywhere. I think DATs, records and CD’s work better for live shows anyway. I’d look like a dickhead on stage pressing buttons.

Y: Do you make a ton of beats and Aesop picks the ones he digs?

B: It’s different. Most of the time Aesop will come over and just listen to my new beats. If he likes something, he takes it. Sometimes he will actually write to the beat but most of the time he just picks a beat that suit whatever mood he’s written for. I got mad beats too so it’s not like he’s limited to just a few kind of tracks. He surprises me sometimes. Sometimes he’ll pick a beat I would never think he’d be into. Other times he’ll not be feeling a track that I would assume he’d be feeling…You never know with him…

Y: A little background history if you would please: Age, residence, preference in female anatomy?

B: 24 years old. Downtown NYC and and round ass with a flat smooth stomach connected to some nice titties

Y: A lot of cats may not know this, but you’re a sick freestyler and rhymer in your own right. Do you still get down?

B: Hah! Sick rhymer…that’s funny. Nope…I gave up emceeing a while ago. I realized that my voice just wasn’t there for emceeing. Too bad more mc’s don’t realize that…I will tell you this though: Me and my boy Jer (you know, from the Overground) are working on a parody album. We rap on that. We got a bunch of tracks so far but we just need to fine tune them. It should be dope. We did the illest R&B song ever. [This album became Party Fun Action Committee, released on Definitive Jux in 2003 - Ed.]

Y: What was it like working with Dub-L and the rest of the Overground crew. Do you guys still hang out?

B: Of course. We chill all the time. It’s just now we’ve seperated musically. Dubs is doing his own thing. I’m doing mine. Jer is doing instrumental work. And Niles is going to be a famous filmmaker. But we do shill on the regular. That’s my party crew. We get fucked up together.

Y: The thing that always struck me about your crew was the amount of creative talent and things ya’ll were into, like the public access show or making music together. How long have you known Aesop? And how has it been for you personally in the Do-It-Yourself age of indie hip hop?

B: I met Aesop in 94 at Boston University (where he graduated from and I dropped out). I think the Overground was a dope thing. I will always be a silly person. I’m not serious about much. Some heads take life too seriously. The Overground and the Baby Show public access TV show really put that in me.

As for indie hip hop business…man I have no clue. When it comes down to it, unless you’re the boss, you’re getting fucked one way or another. Indie or major.

Left to right: Murs, El-P, Blockhead, Cryptic, Aesop Rock

Y: So what’s up with your solo record, Let A Player Be A Player?

B: Well…it’s pretty stagnant right now. I got like 6 or 7 joints done (Aesop, Illogic, Slug, Percee P, Chase Pheonix, Beetlejuice) but the rest I’m just waiting on. I do all my recording at Aesop’s crib so with him being the busiest man alive (believe that!), I haven’t had a chance to record. It’s be a while…let’s just say that…

Y: You are, in fact, one of hip hop’s O.G.’s as far as the Internet and Usenet are concerned. Has feedback been good regarding your production and to the album as a whole online? Do you feel the internet serves any true advantage to the artist beyond promotion?

B: Well, as far a album feedback, it’s been mostly good. People’s biggest problem with me is that apparently I have weak drums. Who knew? It’s funny to me how people can go out of their way be like “He’s ai-ight but his drums suck.” I’m a pretty realistic person. My drums ain’t the illest but they’re good enough. Other then that, it’s been mostly positive. As for the Internet helping…oh yeah. Man, this whole shit wouldn’t have gone down if it were not for the net. But at the same time…sometimes I think the net is too much. Like, I never imagined Aesop or my fanbase would be what it is. For better or for worse. The net’s got it’s fair share of newjacks with opinions that just piss me off. Other than that, it’s all gravy.

Y: A lot of cats on the net, you have to remember though, keep to themselves and don’t express their opinions vocally. So, for as many people that are quick to talk shit, there’s just as many not saying anything at all, nahmeen? For better or for worse.

B: Of course…I just wish the vocal ones would pipe down once in a while and instead of talking shit, maybe learn the history of the music they think they know everything about. As much as I talk shit about the net I can’t deny what it’s done for me. Not just me but a lot of good music that would otherwise go unheard.

Y: And with that: your thoughts on MP3s? Aesoprock.com launched a successful promotional campaign targeted at MP3.com and shot “Obedience” to number 2 on their charts [At the time MP3.com was the largest MP3 portal -Ed.]. Do you feel MP3 technology empowers artists such as yourself and Aesop or does it detract from a larger potential?

B: Well…in the case of Aesop’s early shit, it did nothing but good. It’s because of shit like that we’re where we are now. But nowadays when some new Aesop joint leaks on to Napster, that’s money out the pocket.

Y: You’re entering new territory being signed to Def Jux, huh?

B: Oh yeah…Def Jux is real deal.

Y: Will you guys be touring?

B: Aesop will. I won’t. They asked him to go in June but he works a full time job, has a serious girl and has mad bills to pay. Hopefully it’ll work out for him. I’ll be chilling in the cut regardless. He-he.

Y: So next up for Blockhead: More ass, more videogames, solo joint and new Aesop joint?

B: Hmmm…hopefully more ass (as apposed to the same ass, ha!). I’ve been steady playing Nba2k1. That’s my shit. I’ll challenge anyone. My solo joint will come out but when I have no clue. Also keep an eye out for this breakbeat record I did for Mush Records, Blockhead’s Broke Beats. That should be out soon. And of course Aesop’s shizzle will be heard by all. I swear…heads ain’t ready for his new shit. Oh and I’m working with a bunch of different MC’s that will be named later…

Peace to Stinke! Aesop, the Overground…Anyone I’m down with.

Wake Your Daughter Up: Interview & Contest

Posted by: Yameen on June 15th, 2008 in Never Knows Best, Press

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Check out this interview I did over at the Wake Your Daughter Up website:

http://www.wydublog.com/2008/06/new-artist-spotlight-yameen.html

The interview covers a lot of subjects including Hieroglyphics.com, the future of music, and of course the new album to name a few.

Big shouts to Travis and WYDU for the interview!

Also, they’re running a contest where you can win one of 3 free copies of Never Knows Best by answering a trivia question! so hop on over!