Apathy On “Honkey Kong” And Sampling

JLBarrow • May 31, 2011 • No Comments

Words By Jack Nickelz

Ok, I figure for my first piece for NODFACTOR.COM that I would dive into the mind of one of the more prominent underground hip hop names that I know, Apathy. The beastly emcee from CT has been providing some insane beats for a variety of projects. From his own projects to joints he has produced for Cypress Hill. Apathy’s production style is based in the age old art form of sampling. So it is only right that I talk to him about the wild world of sampling and its place in hip hop.

Jack Nickelz: Ok, Apathy..you have been known to have a very unique ear when it comes to the sounds on your tracks. What is it that you look for when you are sample hunting?

Apathy: Anything interesting. I try to think outside the box. Even if a sample’s fly… it doesn’t mean that it would make a unique or interesting song. I want some fly shit, that fascinates people. I sample shit most people wouldn’t think of…. or end up saying “Damn… I shoulda done that”

Jack Nickelz: When it comes to the samples that you are looking for, do you have like…a fall back source you can always go to. Like soundtracks, video games or anything like that?

Apathy: Never… I have tons and tons of vinyl. Chum and I have a collection that we merged… and it’s crazy… but I haven’t sampled off vinyl in eons. I dig for everything on blog sites. I don’t give a fuck if elitists or psuedo-diggers judge that… I make good shit with it. You could have the most rare crazy collection in the world, but if you don’t make great shit with it, it’s fuckin’ irrelevant. “Wanna Snuggle?”, all the shit I produced for Cypress Hill, and everything I’ve done has all been from mp3s. But you’d never know, the way I flip shit. I search for obscure shit. I look on a lot of blog sites that have weird prog rock from Greece or shit like that. Also, I have homies… and we all share samples with each other. My homeboy Vanderslice provided me with like 3 or 4 samples that I made beats out of, for Honkey Kong.

Jack Nickelz: How important is sample hunting to Hip Hop? Especially in this day & age where people tend to stray away from sampling.

Apathy: HUGE issue. It’s very important. But people are lazy, and unoriginal now. I listen to the shit kids send me. It’s 99.9% soul samples that are extremely unremarkable. They just take ANY soul shit they find and make beats. It all sounds the same. You don’t hear people diggin’ through jazz much anymore. And a lot of classic shit came from jazz records. A lot of the classic Jay-Z and Nas shit. Also, a lot of kids are flipping any random classical music sample. Shit just sounds weak. Everyone needs to step up their standards.

Jack Nickelz: Who are some of the producers that have influenced the samples you have hunted for or how you have used samples?

Apathy: Premier, RZA, Q-Tip, Diamond D, Pete Rock, Beatminerz, Showbiz, Muggs, Alchemist, Havoc, Black Sheep…

Jack Nickelz: Now with the amount of producers you have meet or dealt with, who are you listening to when it comes to producers that are out now?

Apathy: New guys?

Jack Nickelz: yeah

Apathy: Statik Selektah, Teddy Roxpin, Vanderslice, Stu Bangas, Smoke The World, Grand Finale,Tommy Mas, Apollo Brown, MoSS, Mr Green, Skammadix… probably a couple people I’m forgetting.

Jack Nickelz: Ok, some good producers that you just name.d Where do you see yourself as a producer?

Apathy: I’m on the humble… trying to make the best shit I can. I became a producer out of a need for the exact type of beat I wanted. I’m a psycho perfectionist and I had songs in my head… and if no one was making exactly what I wanted at the time… I made it myself. I’ve been making beats for a long time… since about 1996. Started on Open Mic’s ASR-10.

Jack Nickelz: I’m glad you brought that up. What inspires you when you do a track?

Apathy: You never know. It just comes about… nothing in particular… there’s never a formula. Either a find a crazy sample… or just wanna make an idea come to life.

Jack Nickelz: How do you feel about the laws on sampling and the way artists handle their samples being used?

Apathy: Some  of them are cool… some are unreasonable, out of touch cock suckers. Some understand what it’s worth, and what works… others are starving, asshole, losers who are just trying to take advantage of a situation.

Jack Nickelz: How would you handle someone wanting to sample some of your work?

Apathy: Depends on who, how and what it would be used for.

Jack Nickelz: Ok, now to the last question…what words of advice do you have to give to any inspiring beat makers and sample diggers or just any producer out there trying to find their sound?

Apathy: Go for quality over quantity. Be a perfectionist. Make shit knock. Learn from producers, but don’t copy. Sample interesting shit!!!

Jack Nickelz: Nice. Man, thanks for taking time out of your very busy work life to give us this interview, Ap. I’m sure alot of your fans will a little insight into that wild mind of yours.

Apathy: Definitely brotha! Thank you!

You can get more info on Apathy at http://www.facebook.com/ApathyDGZ & http://apathydgz.tumblr.com/ or follow him on  twitter: @ApathyDGZ. Also show some support http://www.merchdirect.com/Apathy & http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/apathy/id3633561

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