Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jake One- Perfect Beat Writer

The Seahawks have a woeful 1-4 record, The Seattle SuperSonics are no longer in NBA existence, and the Mariners....have always been the Mariners. As a matter fact the city of Seattle has been suffering from a championship drought for the longest; although the Seattle Storm recently won a WNBA championship- but who cares nobody really watches the WNBA. (Ladies, please don't take offense, I am sure some of you cannot name this season's recent champions) Seattle's crowned jewel per say has always been the omnipresent Starbucks. But alas, Seattle has another hot commodity it can hang his hat on- Jake One. Despite having an extensive and eclectic catalog, Jake One is still only widely known for his works with G-Unit. Nevertheless, with the release of his debut, White Van Music, on independent label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, it is as though this perfect beat writer has come full circle. I recent caught up with Jake One via telephone just days after his debut's release with one major question on my mind- what is White Van Music?

ER: Whaddup, How are you?

Jake One: I am real good.

ER: iight, you ready?

Jake One: Yup!

ER: iight, wassup with your Seahawks?

Jake One: (Sighs) man- it's a hard life youknowwhatiamsayin' (laughs). I am ready for Holmgren to get the fuck up out of there and start of fresh cause' it's just this never ending era of mediocrity that has to end. I can't even apologize for what they have done this year; I can't even come up with a reason.

ER: But you can't put the entire blame on Holmgren though...

Jake One: Man he has been year for like fifteen fucking years, at some point this is all he created, and this where we are at youknowwhatimean.

ER: True, true. So what is White Van Music?

Jake One: White Van Music started from- that was the first song I ever did with somebody in high school. We had done a song about riding around in an ol'skool kidnapper van. I don't why I just named my tapes White Van Beats. Like when I make a beat tape, I just used it as my publishing company and then people referred to it like it had some meaning. So I figured I had to use it for the album cause' it's a term that goes back from where it began.

ER: How did the name Jake One come about?

Jake One: When I was getting ready to do my first mixtape, I think in '93 or something like that, I was trying to come up with a rap name or whatever. I was going to be JD, but there was a hell of JDs.

ER: Yeah...

Jake One: Those are my initials...

ER: What's your name?

Jake One: Jake Dutton youknowwhatimean; it's funny I actually spelt it J-A-Y-D-E-E. I used to tag that when I was in high school and youknow the real Jay Dee came a little later but I think I just needed a name and I was like, "Well there's KRS-One so I will be Jake One."

ER: (Laughs) I guess you can't go wrong with that.

Jake One: Yeah, I have been stuck with since.

ER: Iight So, Seattle is not geographically known as a city that caters to hip hop, how did you get into producing, and how has the scene transformed since your beginnings?

Jake One: I got into producing just by being a super fan more than anything. There is this dude, a good friend of mine, Vitamin D, who was doing music back in the early 90's for the group called Ghetto Children. Kind of seeing them do their thing, made me think...I wanted to try my hand at it youknowwhatimean. As far as the scene, I don't know if the music is better now than it was then, but it's definitely more unified and there's more support. When I first started people didn't like to claim Seattle as the place where they were even from. People would try to be from the Bay, whatever that was hot at the time; and now people want throw on 206 hats and all kinds of shit.

ER: Which local acts are big out there?

Jake One: Locally, Blue Scholars is probably the biggest thing locally. Obviously Mix-A-Lot; to me the person that has done the most out of here is Ish from Digable Planets. I know people don't associate him with Seattle but he went to high school here, he grew up here; and he made the classic record. As far as the scene there is a lot of guys that doing their thing though.

ER: Are you a fan of the WWE? The reason I ask because you produced John Cena's entrance theme song, how did that come about?

Jake One: It's funny because I wasn't even watching wrestling when that came about. I used to watch wrestling when I was a kid, the ol'skool wrestling. I think once they started introducing the youknow Elizabeth, people crying and the dressing room and all of that I got out of it. Somehow my manager at the time met John Cena at a radio show and gave him like a tape of beats. I honestly didn't know who he was and I was like, "Iiight, whatever." And then I got the call from him [John Cena] like, "Yo we got to clear this sample because I want this song to be my entrance music." And (laughs) they end up clearing it and the record came out and it sold pretty well. It's wild because the kids, I do workshops with kids and to get them familiar with who I am, I might play them some songs that I have done. And all I have to do is play that and they cool with me after that.

ER: What is the "perfect beat writer"?

Jake One: The whole beat writer thing is kind of like a little joke. Somebody told me I write great beats, which I just thought was hell of funny, so I have just been rolling with that. To me like a good producer has their own sound and they have something individual and unique about what they do. Like when you hear their beats you can say that has the qualities of so and so. Like when you hear Hi-Tek, you know it's Hi-Tek, or 9th Wonder or whoever it is.

ER: How did you compile the artists for White Van Music?

Jake One: You know everybody that I have worked with was either somebody...I mean I would say that 90% of the artists on the album I already worked with personally. When it came time for me to do the record I just reached out to them with a particular track that I thought they would sound good on. It was either that or someone like Freeway I reached out to because I was a fan and wanted to do something with him.

ER: Explain your process in making '04 Rock Co. Kane Flow beat?

Jake One: It's funny because that is everybody's favorite beat that I have done. I probably tried to make the beat a couple of times and it just didn't feel right. I just remember one day doing it and I had the little regular sequence. I was like its pretty hard youknow, kind of like some Busta Rhymes only five years left or some shit. I think it was in 2003 and Kanye and Just Blaze had that style where they started having breakdowns, having the powerful kicks and shit. So I kind of did that and was like that would be kind of crazy if I just slowed it down while I am doing it, and that's all I did(laughs). So I slowed it down, sped it up, and I guess no one had ever done that before, and it just blew people away.

ER: Who do you consider your influences?

Jake One: I definitely have to say like when I first started beats; my biggest influences were like DJ Premiere, Pete Rock, Dre, DJ Quik, is a big influence of mine. As I started making beats, Jay Dee was definitely a big influence, Nottz, Alchemist; there's a lot of people that have done stuff that I try to incorporate in what I do...I am not going to bite it.

ER: Are you still touring right now, what else do you have on your table, any notable production credits?

Jake One: We are just doing little dates here and there. I am just basically working on new material for next year. I am going to try to come out with a couple of different projects with different artists next year.

ER: Any more words?

Jake One: If you like the record, please go buy it. If you don't like it don't buy it. But if you downloaded it, you dig it, go spend ten bucks. I mean maybe you could smoke a little less weed that day or something.

ER: I know you are cool with Doom and all is his album really coming out this month?

Jake One: (Laughs) I don't know, I did some songs for it but I don't know when it's coming out. I have been playing some of his songs at my DJ gigs, so if people come check me out they will hear a couple of new ones (laughs).


Jake One feat. Freeway & Brother Ali- The Truth

Jake One feat. D. Black- God like

Jake One feat. MF Doom- Trap Door

Jake One feat. Bishop Lamont & Busta Rhymes- Kissin' The Curb

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