Thursday, November 29, 2012


Wu-Block-Wu Block-(2012)
Artist: Wu-Block (Wu-Tang Clan & D-Block)
Album: Wu-Block
Label: E1
Producers: Fithestate, Vinny Idol, Termanology, Shroom, Red Spyda, others 
Groups joining forces to make an album were not common at all. In fact, that has never happened during hip hop history. You would think either egos get in the way or just creative differences would not make it possible to create a supergroup album. That does not stop Shaolin’s finest Wu-Tang Clan from joining forces with Yonkers based D-Block members to form the supergroup “Wu-Block” as Ghostface Killah and Sheek Louch they cook up some fire tracks from the their supergroup album “Wu-Block”.
            Indeed, if you’re going for lyrical content and storytelling, these groups will keep your mind stimulated. “Crack Spot Stories” by Ghost and Sheek featuring Raekwon and Jadakiss starts off nicely over a smooth 70’s track as they spit their stories visually. “Guns for Life” brings the 90’s essence back as Ghostface and Sheek blends this into a mix of Nas’s “I Give You Power” with Organized Konfusion’s (Pharoahe Monch solo) “Stray Bullet” and 2Pac’s “Me and My Girlfriend”. “Different Time Zones” is one of the favorites as Ghost and Sheek spits their time zone stories nicely while featuring Inspectah Deck whose usually leads off is the last one and spits nicely on his Florida vibe: “Living VIP life I’m ain’t spending clams/I get weight on the spot that’s instagrams…I’m doing my thing, how I'm reppin they salute king, and they don't even know I'm Wu-Tang.". Another favorite track “Drivin Round” featuring GZA, Masta Killa and the soulful songstress Erykah Badu brings a nice mellow track to ease the listener with stories of life that is not always glitz and glamour. Although Ghostface is not on this track and it fits his flow, Sheek and Masta Killah tells their stories from jeep windows while GZA just owned this track by strangling the dope out of it: “These street corners just overcrowded saunas/Biggest losers drop weight, sweating from the trauma,”
            The lyrical content brings the feel of the 90’s hip hop that is missing. However, the production is not as strong as expected. A few tracks produced by the RZA, Swizz Beats or Pkilla Tracks would have sealed the deal. The Jon Woo produced “Take Notice” threw dwindled the consistency with an off 90’s gangsta beat and the lyrics didn’t help much while “Pour the Martini” is just plain awful and forgettable. The lack of diverse subject matter didn’t perk the album further as it strictly street stories and slick wordplay.
            This album is not a disappointment especially if you’re Wu-Tang and D-Block fans. There are tracks worth listening to while other tracks are so yawn provoking you can press the skip button despite the lyrical content. Despite the different producers, Wu-Block creates good musical chemistry and hopefully there will be another album in the works. Ghost and Sheek gave the fans what they want on this album. If you’re into street storytelling and slick verbal play, this album is for you.
            Strong Tracks: “Crack Spot Stories”, “Different Time Zones”, “Guns for Life”, “Drivin Around”
            Weak Tracks:  “Pour the Martini”, “Take Notice”
            Rating:out of

Monday, November 26, 2012

Interview with DJ Pain 1

Interview with DJ Pain One
The Midwest has made its strides to become the focal point in hip hop music. Just ask Madison Wisconsin’s native DJ/producer DJ Pain 1, who stays on his grind on the regular. Working hard producing for local talents in Wisconsin as well as on the national level with Young Jeezy, Joe Budden, 50 cent and many stars on his production resume. He had paid his dues and receiving a gold plaque for his song “Don’t Do It” on Young Jeezy’s “The Recession” speaks volumes. On Intrigued, DJ Pain 1 showed love and talked about his musical career, how he got started and becoming successful in his craft.

1)            You know me, what it is. Intrigued up in this, joining me is my dude DJ Pain One. Holla at ya boy! So what’s good with you these days?
Just working.  Got home from tour this week, about to hit the iStandard "Beast of the Beats" in a couple days, got a few shows here in my hometown and of course, I'm making beats every day.

2)            For those who don’t know, tell us where you’re from and how you got started?
I'm from Madison, WI.  I started making beats back in the late 90's just as a bored teenager who happened to be a lifelong hip-hop fan.  I started dj'ing seriously a few years into my production career.

3)            What is the hip hop scene like in Wisconsin?
It's a struggle, I'll say that much.  But there's a lot of talent out here-- from TCI crew in my city to Rico Love and Tony Neal, who are both from Milwaukee.  

4)            When did you decide to say to yourself being a DJ/Producer is for me and I want to take this to the next level?
When I finished my undergrad, I had been playing shows and making beats for years and it just seemed to be the right transition period in my life to choose to either abandon music as a viable career option or really see how far I could take it.

5)            What was the feeling of being nominated for DJ of the year and Producer of the year in the 2011 Underground Music Awards?
It was a big surprise the first year.  I don't think I ended up going.  The second couple of times, I went out to NY and had a good time.  I got to meet a lot of great people out there-- Coast2Coast staff, Skyzoo, MGK, etc.  The UMAs are a huge event.

6)            It comes to show you that hard work and dedication really pays off.
It's the only guaranteed path to progress.

7)            So what kind of equipment are you working with?
Spaceships and EKG machines.  And PC platform and Sony ACID pro, ASR-10, turntables, serato, the usual.

8)            I’m feeling the beats, you got a versatile sound. How can you describe your production sound?
I think you already did-- versatile 

9)            As a DJ/Producer, what do you look for in an artist?
Self-sufficiency!  If you are talented and building a fan base and handling your business on your own, then you really don't need much.  That's a good prospect.  A lot of artists try to contact me who have nothing going for them but they expect free beats or life coaching or whatever.  The artists who are out working and making fans are the ones everybody is looking up to and wanting to work with.

10)         What is it like working with Young Jeezy?
I've never met him.  Did two songs with him though, that's the power of the internet.

11)         I know it’s an honor to have gold plaques in your wall under the work of Young Jeezy’s album “The Recession”.
Yeah, I've had people come over to my house and see the plaque and say, "I didn't believe you actually did that, but now that I see it, I believe it."  It's kind of an insult, but I understand.

12)         You also received a master’s degree in Applied English Linguistics. Did you used that degree to utilize music and how important is education as well as joining in the music business?
Being educated is a huge plus for me as an aspiring music industry professional.  The fact that I am well-read and have a lot of career options by virtue of my degrees makes me less desperate to sign a bad deal.  I know better.  

13)         Which producers are you feeling right now that you think is bringing that heat?
I respect any producer who is surviving in this industry because I know how hard it is.  As far as producers I like, definitely  Happy Perez, Chink Santana, Darkchild, Traxter, Frank Music, T-Minus, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Roc n Mayne, too many to list.

14)         I know you’re been touring and it comes with the territory. Do you have any favorite tour moments DJ’ing for clubs in American and across the world?
I think my most memorable touring moment was when I dj'ed at House of Blues Chicago many years ago.  The show was sold out.  It was just an amazing feeling.  That experience opened my eyes to how close that life was.

15)         Any artists you would like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Dead Prez, Drake, The Dream, Plies... 

16)         What do you think about hip hop nowadays?
It's my job, so I love it.  But all jobs have their draw backs.

17)         You also got some heat for one of the legendary emcees Chi Ali. How was it working with Chi Ali?
Great!  We're working on a track right now called "Baby Sky" with Maino.  Once we handle all the mixing, it will be all over the internet.

18)         How did the joint you did for 50 featuring Schoolboy came about. Did he reach to you or you holla at him and send him a beat cd?
I've known Dre over at G-Unit for about 4 years.  Nu, a producer manager from "Solid Projects," introduced us.  He told me he'd get me a record with 50 sooner or later.  He was telling the truth.  

19)         One of my favorite joints you produced is the Joe Budden’s “Pain Won’t Stop” from his latest mixtape. Shout out to Joe Budden and the Slaughterhouse camp. It has a soulful vibe with a hard bounce to it. Do you have an ear for only soulful tracks or any kind of genre of music?
I like haunting melodies, so 80's soul music is a huge influence on my production.  That's the type of sound I was going for on that track-- eerie pads, bells and rhodes similar to what you would hear on a slow R&B track from '83.  Otherwise, I use a lot of soul samples.  I'm glad that a lot of records I've been placing lately haven't been sample-based though.

20)         Who are your musical influences on the production tip and have you incorporated some of their techniques into your own sound?
Bomb Squad, Traxter, Boi-1da, Juicy J, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, D Rich to name a few.  A few years ago, I had a conversation with T-Minus about drum layering and that changed the way I programed drums forever. 

21)         Take us to a DJ Pain One beat. Do you sample, play instruments or both?
Both!  Usually both at the same time, but the "Pain won't stop" and "My hoes they do drugs" records are sample-free.

22)         Which method do you prefer working with an artist, in the studio or emailing tracks back and forth?
Studio is always better. 

23)         How important is chemistry in dealing with an artist whether it’s in the studio or emailing tracks?
Extremely important!  But it's hard to build chemistry over a series of emails.  Sometimes it works out though, I can't say it doesn't.  I like talking with artists though, not even necessarily about music.  I just want the lines of communication to be as open as possible.  It makes for better music.

24)         When you send beat CD’s to artists, do you have any dilemmas with tracks such as an artist jacked your beat and pretend like it’s theirs or two different artists using the same exact beat?
It happens to me all the time.  I let it be known.  I don't respect any artist who takes my tracks and makes a name off them without giving me credit or working out payment/barter.  

25)         You came into the game so quickly from djing and getting your feet wet to working with established artists in such a short time span. Has this type of success changed you or did it change the people around your circle and how have you handle the success giving to you?
I made my first beat in 1998 and went on my first tour in 2004.  I signed a synch license with Sony in 2005 or 2006 and finally got my first major placement in 2008 on Young Jeezy's album.  It didn't feel like it came quickly at all, but I got what I put in.  As far as me changing, yes, absolutely, the garbage producers go through will change anybody. I'm just very serious about my music.  That's a good and bad thing.  That's only with matters of business though.  

As far as meeting new people and appreciating the few successes I have, I am constantly humbled.  It amazing!  I'm nowhere near my goals, but all that I've experienced so far has been priceless.

26)         Which do you rather prefer DJing or producing?
They're completely different.  I love producing, that's my first love, but there's no performance element.  I can't tour as a producer.  Some of the biggest DJ's in the world are producers first, so the two are complementary.

27)         Are we going to see a DJ Pain One production album in the works?
Yeah two years ago haha, it was called "The Waiting Game."  I've released two mixtapes as part of my "Painkillerz" series that features all original production from me.  I have a couple more volumes on the way, so be on the lookout.

28)         You also do graffiti, what got you into graffiti.
I stopped doing that a long time ago-- music is stressful enough.  I'm a hip-hop fan so everything artistic that came with the culture, I made a part of my life pretty much.

29)         What is your advice to new producers on the come up?
Brand yourself as a rapper would.  And have some damn pride.  All this free mixtape beat stuff is cool, but you need to be getting something in return.  

30)         It was definitely a pleasure interviewing you, where can headz get at you and do you have any shout outs?
You can find me on twitter @djpain1 on facebook as "DJ Pain One," on youtube as "Jacksonwondeful" or online at

Appreciate you reaching out, Peace!