the groundwork with their three critically acclaimed 12"'s, Lawless
Element drop their debut album "Soundvision: In Stereo" on September
20th on Raw Material/Babygrande Records. Collaborating with the likes
of J. Dilla, Diverse, Melanie Rutherford, Phat Kat & more, and featuring
production by J. Dilla, Madlib and Lawless' own rising superstar Magnif,
Griot and Magnif took some time off from perfecting "Soundvision"
to talk about their debut album, their new home at Babygrande as well
as their continually evolving sound.
doing pretty good.
good. I'm working on finishing up these clean versions right now for the
just signed to Babygrande, what's coming up for you with them? Griot:
We're putting out our debut album "Soundvision" through them.
What made you want to sign to Babygrande?
saw what we were trying to do with our music, and that's real when you're
getting a deal. It's not often that people see exactly where it is that
you're trying to go. So we had to jump on it.
believe in our talent and our sound, and what we bring to the table. The
new sound we bring to the table is like nothing that's been out here before.
It's a mixture of a lot of different sounds. They recognized and they
have a strong belief in us, and the way they feel about the project has
me even more excited to deal with them. It's always better when you've
got someone who is 200% behind you instead of second-guessing you. They
knew what was up when they heard us. Where exactly are you trying to go?
Griot: We're trying to go all the way with the music. We're trying to
put out our own music with our own flavor and style to it. A lot of people
are trying to keep you in a box with your music, and they just let us
be creative. How can you describe the music of Lawless Element? Griot:
It's got a lot of flavor to it. I'm trying to think of the best way to
describe the music. It's just against the rules.
got so many different sounds. I can't explain it in one word. There's
influences from Pete Rock, Nas, Mobb Deep shit, the Slum Village and Jay
Dee sound, Tribe Called Quest, De La, just music. Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers,
and the records I sample, even that is an influence in my sound. It's
a mixture of everything. Music is what I do. And what I listen to is going
to come out through me. Music is me.
you guys meet?
my cousin, so we've been together for a pretty long time.
do you play in Lawless Element? Griot: Mag is the producer and MC, and
me, I'm an MC. That's pretty much the roles of the crew.
you guys work together?
and G are two different people, so when I come up with beats, I have to
make sure that it fits both of our personalities. You get a different
mixture of shit. You get the hard-hitting shit, where we murder a track
with the punchlines. That's more G's flavor. Then you have the more laid-back,
soulful vibe, and that's the sound I'd rather do. We both switch the styles
up. Every song has a different delivery than the one before. We're so
versatile, whatever I come up with, and it's all good.
he'll make up some beats and I'll write to it, or he'll give me a couple
of beats and I'll select which beat we're going to use, and we'll write
talk about the production for a minute, what do you use? Magnif: I use
the MPC-60, the first MPC. I don't use the MPC-60 Version 2. That's the
main piece. I've got a couple boards, I've been playing on those lately.
ever see yourself branching out and doing a production compilation album?
yeah, of course. That's most definitely what I'm aiming for. I want to
produce for anyone in the game that's feeling my music. I got to work
with Diverse in Chicago, I did some beats on his album coming out. I'm
definitely trying to get out there and be known as one of the great producers.
with Madlib, how was that?
with Madlib was a blessing. It was crazy. He's one of the dopest cats
out. We got to do a joint and it was just crazy. We had to go through
so many phases. We had to holler at all the cats at Stones Throw. Peanut
Butter Wolf and Egon were really feeling the music. I got a lot of love
for Stones Throw. Griot: Aw man, that was crazy. Madlib is a musical genius.
It was crazy. He gave us a beat CD, and I think every beat on that CD
was used or sold.
it working with Jay Dee?
with Dilla! That right there, that's kind of hard to describe right there.
That was a great feeling too. Dilla's the man!
you guys trying to do with the new album?
trying to take it all the way, you know. As far as we can go, that's where
we're trying to take it. We're not trying to settle for anything. We're
going to work hard until we can't work anymore. Musically, we just kept
on coming up with ideas. There's a lot of hunger in the verses. The styles
switch up so crazy. It's kind of hard to categorize the music, and that's
the good thing about it because we hit you with all different types of
styles. There's no label you can give it because we switch it up so much.
Every time we hear a track, we approach it more differently, and we keep
on getting better. At first, I'd get the beat and vibe with it a little
bit, and then I'd write a 16, but now, I'll get a beat and the verse is
right there. It's a lot easier and it's a lot more natural. Magnif: You've
just got two great artists. A great MC in G, and a great MC and producer
in me. This is only the beginning. The album is ridiculous. That's why
it took us so long. The shit is crazy right now, and it's not going to
do anything but get better.
How do you
feel about the way "Soundvision" came out? Magnif: I'm loving
the album. It took three years for us to do this album. Our growth that
we've had has happened so fast. You can hear it as we keep recording,
so it's been a constant motion.
feel comfortable putting out this album right now?
we feel comfortable. We came out and dropped the single "The Shining"
with J. Dilla. A lot of people heard the single, people were asking J
about that single, everybody wanted to know who we were. We dropped a
joint with Madlib, cats out there were loving it. We did a performance
in New York, and they were saying that they had downloaded our music off
of Kazaa earlier that day! Word got around, I feel pretty comfortable
putting "Soundvision" out. What is your live show like? Magnif:
You just get raw energy, it's crazy. You get a great performance. That's
what you get. We've shared the stage with some of the greatest, and we
know what it's about. Whenever you come out to an LE show, you're going
to get an amazing performance.
from Detroit, do you ever worry about any Slum Village comparisons?
really. I'm not really worried about the Slum Village comparisons. Slum
is great at what they do, and they're a great group, but at the same time,
we're a lot different. We might have gotten some of the comparisons before,
but now, I don't think we'd get a Slum comparison. Even if we do get a
Slum comparison, that's a great group, and that's a compliment in itself.
does Lawless Element fit in the Detroit scene?
give it the edge, the rawness, and the smoothness. We give it that edge
too that no one else is bringing out right now. It's a different sound,
definitely. I don't think anybody else is coming out with anything that
we're doing right now.
could people have heard you in the past?
Check" was the first vinyl we ever did, that was our first single.
When we did that, man, I think I was 16 when we first did "Mic Check"
and Mag did that beat in about 15 minutes in the studio, because we lost
the first beat we had. We had a crazy buzz off that, even in China, people
couldn't get enough of that.
seeing your vinyl two years ago, how hard was it pushing your records
was a real hard job right there. A lot of the time, when you first come
out, cats don't know who you are and you don't have anyone famous with
you. But we kept grinding and shit is beautiful now. I mean, I had the
opportunity to work with my favorite artist this early in my career, and
that's a blessing.
back, is there anything you would change?
there's nothing I would change back. We kind of came to where we're at
real quick, and there's a lot of people that have been in the game way
longer than me and aren't in the position I'm in. We've had our hard times,
but we dealt with it and got through the shit and everything is good right
we check for Lawless Element?
nothing like it. And I'm not saying it because it's me, which is the same
shit that everyone else says. But there really is none like it. Just listen
to the music, that's my whole shit. It's like some brand new shit for
real, it's hard to put it in words. It's not made for underground fans
and it's not made for commercial fans. It's just real music that everyone
can feel. It's music for everybody.
next for you after "Soundvision?"
working like you. That's what I do. We're gonna get a tour popping off.
An LE show is real crazy. The tour will definitely be something the Hip
Hop Heads are gonna want to check out for real. What do you want to say
to your fans? Griot: I just want to say thanks for supporting us. We're
very appreciative to that. Please go out and purchase "Soundvision."
Thank you to everybody that believes. It's never been easy, and for everybody
that's been down from day one, and even the new fans, much love. Magnif:
Get familiar. Just listen. That's all I want to tell people, is listen
to the music. The music is real. Everything I've been through and the
places I've grown up and my environment, it's all there. When you listen
to Lawless Element, you get the real, nothing else. It's 100% real. No
fiction, none of that shit. Straight raw music.