With the release of Triple P earlier this year, the Platinum Pied Pipers presented a fresh faced approach of music. Producer Wajeed and his side kick Saadiq blended Detroit hip hop with intergalactic soul, house and rock and brought together a wide range of talented musicians for the features. The first two PPP singles sparked sold-out tour dates and a flurry of press, as well as a steady buzz in industry-savvy circles.

Last month you participated in a project called De Hop. A Dutch project, for which you had to record a track with two Dutch MC’s, Raymzter and Jawat, in one night. How do you look back on that project?

I had a great time, it was fun. I look back at it with great memories. It had to be like two weeks ago, right? Seems like it was just last week. There was a good energy, there was a good space. For what I understood I was working with two of Dutch finest MC’s, so I had a great time. They had the stuff arranged. I kinda spoke to them, I had some ideas about how I felt what we should be doing. I kinda had some ideas about what we should be recording about. They were like “Yeah man, we already came on the same page”. And we were kinda thinking about this concept anyway. We’re really looking forward to actually pressing the vinyl, so I can memorize it when I go back home.

Is it the first time you worked with Dutch artists?

I think so, yeah. I worked with German artists, I worked with French artists, artists from the UK, I worked with Sammy Deluxe in Germany and a hand full of other people too. But yeah, this is the first time I worked with Dutch artists. I’m not just into the US shit. A lot of people are. They think that the US shit is the world, and it’s not. So I definitely want to be a part of what’s happening, where ever it is.

Did you find it difficult to record a track in one night?

It was a bit difficult there. There was a huge crowd there. I’m not used to working or making music with a thousand people around. It wasn’t a thousand people, a couple of hundred people. I’m used to just being me in the studio. Just me. That’s how I did this Triple P album. That’s how I produced it. So yeah, it was a bit of a challenge. I actually spoke to someone about it two days ago in New York. I mentioned it, and he was like “Oh yeah man, I feel like I make my best music when I’m in front of people, I feel like I have to prove myself”. And I was like “Yeah man, that makes sense”. Cause that was kinda how I felt, I felt like I needed to make something that bangs.

You’re from Detroit, what was it like growing up there and did the local music scene encourage you to become an artist?

Crazy Detroit is a lot like Amsterdam. It definitely has its own identity, its own culture, its own pride, you know what I’m saying. Detroit is who I am, it’s what made me who I am and what I do. The good and the bad I guess. The local music scene kinda discouraged me to become an artist from being anybody kinda creative or anybody kinda like a stand-out. Detroit is like other cities I guess, it has its own way of thinking. It’s kinda like reoccurring, it didn’t encourage me to necessarily become an artist. I live in Brooklyn now. I kinda felt like I reached the sealing from what my opportunities where in Detroit. Any child that’s growing up, they grow out of their cloths. That’s kinda how I felt. I felt like I reached the capacity of where I was gonna grow as an artist or where I was gonna grow business wise. That’s why I moved to New York.

You were a founding member of Slum Village. How would you describe your time with Slum Village?

Slum Village, you know, these guys are some of my eldest friends. Until recently I was part of this group. I know what they’ve done for me, as a producer, as a human being, as a person. I don’t have many family members, I have my friends. They were my family. More than I can say. Everything I’ve learned from them. They were my best teachers regarding this business. I built my whole album, placed on some of the ideas, not like musically, but I can say the strategy of building an album. That was based on a lot of mistakes that they made.
I have little to no role now. When Slum started dealing with the record label that they are on, I parted ways. Just interests of me being more independent and fucking with that. I would be back in if there is room for it to be done. You know, with the situation that they’re in.

Okay, so how would you describe your role within your current group, the Platinum Pied Pipers?

I’m the asshole. (laughs) I mean, my role is kinda like everything I guess. You know what I’m saying, it’s my group. It’s my concept, my idea, I produced it, I picked the artists. Not to take credit away from Saadiq, but Saadiq works on the Platinum Pied Pipers from the live end, I produced the album, but he produces the live shit. But I did most of that live shit too. So yeah, I am Platinum Pied Pipers.

You founded you’re own label, Bling47. What made you decide to establish your own label?

Due to the fact that I’m a control freak, really. It really started, I have been producing for very long. I remember trying to get records out when I first started. You know what it is when you got something good, it’s like “I don’t wanna explain, I don’t wanna explain what it’s like..”. I mean, I didn’t wanna feel like I had to walk in a record company and explain to them like “Yeah I have something great!”. I just wanted to do it myself. That’s really how it started. It started out of frustration. I sent a couple of tracks in to a couple of bullshit labels in my opinion and having them say like “Yeah, we kinda don’t like that” and “It’s a little different” and “You should do this and this with the chorus”. It’s like fuck that, you know what I’m saying. I just wanted to do it myself, put out what I like, follow my ideas and just do something original. All the people that I’m inspired by, are the people that helped me to make music. Do something original.

You formed a new group, the Jazz Kats. How did that come about?

Yeah it’s a new group. I have this habit of putting a select group of people together. It’s called Wajeed & The Jazz Kats. I really just started with this project. It’s really soulful, kinda jazz, hip hop R&B. We did a remix that really nailed down what I wanted to do with the record. Hip hop and jazz music, kinda together. I always have this idea in my head of how the chemistry should work with the people. And I mean, the Platinum Pied Pipers project was probably the bigger project of all these little groups. It’s several people I combine that are related to a project or on a project.

Let’s talk about the album Triple P. What were your thoughts in making the album – what vibe were you going for?

Like I said, a lot of it had to do with learn from the mistakes with Slum. There’s been times that they wanted to do other things outside hip hop, like they wanted to do other things outside and they hadn’t been allowed to, because everything that was said when they came out with the record. It was overwhelming, people loved the record. And if they decided, like Baatin wanted to sing a couple of years ago and he kinda wasn’t able to because people were like “You’re a hip hop guy, why the fuck are you singing?”. I knew that I needed to establish myself as a producer, not just a hip hop producer. And that was my biggest interest, to show that I just don’t make hip hop music, I make music. I like to think of myself as a well-rounded producer, or a producer that’s looking to round himself. It was my first effort, I felt like I needed to put that out there to the world, to the universe. So that people know I just don’t wanna make boom bap. I can do that, it’s cool. I just don’t wanna make soul music. That’s easy. I want to cover Paul Simon. I wanna cover a Lenny Kravitz track.

Like a refreshing, cuttin’ edge type of sound?

Yeah, I was looking to create a new sound. Every work that I do I want to have its own identity. I don’t even know if people know that I produced it. I just kinda wanted to remain anonymous. That’s also the reason why there’s a wide range of artists on the album. It keeps it fresh. I got a lot of weird shit, you know. The stuff that I let out and stuff that’s out, it’s more straight ahead. Some people would say it’s too straight ahead. I’m definitely inspired by Miles, inspired by Prince, those dudes made music and they never even went back and listened to it. They just kept moving forward. I didn’t want to put an album out that scared people. The Platinum Pied Pipers project is probably the most simple you’ll ever get it from me.

Tonight you’ll be performing here in Amsterdam. What does a Platinum Pied Pipers show look like?

A bunch of jackasses having fun. (laughs) No, I mean, I don’t know what it looks like, cause I’ve never seen it. (laughs) We’re just trying to embody the album. The album in my opinion is kinda fun, it’s not very serious, heavy. So the performance is a reflection of that. I just kinda like to think of it as a variety show. We got MC Invincible, from “Detroit Winters”. One of my favorite MC’s, she saved hip hop. Tiombe Lockheart, as well one of my favorites on the album. The only people that are consistent on stage are myself and Saadiq. Georgia is not here with us, she is still in LA working on a new album. So that’s kinda what it is, a variety show.

You performed in a lot of European cities, did you notice any big differences between the European hip hop scene and the American culture?

Yeah, the last time I was here in Amsterdam, all the Amsterdam MC’s were kinda telling me that they thought that hip hop here was more pure. And that it was better. That’s fucking crazy. Man, it’s not any more pure here than it is in New York City. I never really got a chance to respond, I was just so overwhelmed. I understand, you know. There is a difference, but in a nutshell: no. In my opinion, working with an MC that’s in Brooklyn is no different than working with the cats that I worked with that day. It’s still readdressing the issues that are relevant to young people. Still heartfelt, still poetry, still the basic ideas of it. No matter if they speak in Dutch, they speak in French, they speak in German or they speak in English. In my opinion it’s all the same.

Yeah, it doesn’t really depend on the country I think, but more on a person whether something is pure or not.

Right, right. I was lucky to hook up and produce at De Hop. I didn’t understand what they were saying, but the patter. Cause that what I really here when I listen to music. Patters. They started out well. I knew that what they were saying was relevant to good music. It sounded like music.

What else do you have going on in the future?

The biggest things are the Tiombe Lockheart project and Invincible project. I put that project even before my new project of the Jazz Kats. Her album is going to be amazing man. Both of the albums are coming out. Amazing. Tiombe’s album is more like the rock hip hop type of shit. Invincible’s album is like a new chamber of hip hop. I never even produced anything like that.

Any last words to the fans?

Stop downloading, stop bootlegging. Internet bullshit. Stop that shit. Just purchase music man, that’s really what it’s about. Support real artists. Everybody is independent. We’re not fucking Nas walking around with 80.000 dollar chains on. Even if somebody is, that’s no reason to download or not support what they do. But in general, that shit is outrages. It affects the bottom line. Now I’m not saying no names of the groups that are on television, but people look on television and they get these false prejudices of what kind of music we should be making. But that shit is wack. And the reason that it’s wack is because that an album that’s independent, people don’t go out and buy it because it doesn’t affect the sound scans. The sound scans affect commercial television. They looking at sounds like “Yo, you’re gonna sell the records or we’re not gonna play this video”. And then it affects what you see on television. So the bottom line is put your money where your mouth is. Support real music, that’s really what it is. It’s my job. I didn’t fly all the way to Amsterdam to hang out. I would love to, but I’m here working, this is my job. Support real music. Even if you have one song and you just have to have it on CD. Support them when they come out. Support them, give money to see their shows. Support Bling47 Group, bling47.com.

Geplaatst door bowie op 3 september 2005