RECAP: Paid Dues 2012

By | April 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | No comments | Interviews, Recaps

When it comes to this hip hop shit, to get on, you gotta pay dues. It’s like a pre-requisite to stardom. In most cases, this due paying is done behind the scenes, involving long hours of establishing oneself in the musical circuit. Everyone seems to find a different niche to put in work, and at times it’s hard to gauge how much work has actually been put in, and which kinda work is most effective. Murs and Guerilla Union have found a way to celebrate the individuals and crews they feel have been paying their dues, and they showcase it with a massive concert series, which lasts for an entire day and spans three stages. The crowd response at the show is a great testament to the work all these artists have put in. If the emcees can move the crowd and rock that shit right, then rest assured, they have been paying their dues for some time now.

This year the concert featured everyone from the Wu Tang Clan, to Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Cunninlynguists, Three 6 Mafia and more. I was privileged enough to DJ for Kosha Dillz while he performed on the Monster Stage, opening up for the likes of Psalm One, Gangrene and Brother Ali. Being a DJ for an artist means I got access to all kinds of hard to reach places through one of those coveted wrist bands that allowed me back stage. The trailer area provided sanctuary from the huge crowds and let all of the up and coming artists rub elbows with the legends and get their network on. I gotta chance to catch up with Double K from People Under The Stairs, broke out my pocket recorder and asked the Los Angeles native a couple of questions.

Y’all have been grinding for a long time, making independent hip hop, digging thru crates, as far as dues is paid, how do you feel about this new generation of younger emcees that’s coming up underneath y’all?

Me, I’m gonna be truthful, we really don’t pay too much attention to all of the younger emcees coming up, but from what I hear, they’re studying, and they’re rapping. And that’s a lot more than I can say about a lot of dudes who came before in the late nineties and the early millennium.

Y’all are some infamous crate diggers, but everything has kinda gone digital… do you still find some little spots where you can go dig or are you into sampling somethings off of youtube?

Ah nah man, we’re digging in the crates homeboy. We ain’t sampling nathan off of youtube, you know, unless it’s a nudie flick of a chick or something. But nah, we’re into records all day, our hands are still dirty man. That’ll be fresh forever.

Word. Well I don’t want y’all to give away no secrets about the records you’re sampling, but as far as music, what do y’all got coming up? Anything new for the people?

You got Highlighter. That just came out in November man, I really love that album, it’s a great album, go find it. It’s on itunes. And you can check out and you can purchase it directly from us. And we’ll sign it, kiss it for you, you know, rub a little dog doo doo on it, make it funky, you know.

I didn’t wanna take up too much of their time, so I flicked them up for my instagram and kept things circulating. Wu Tang rocked the crowd early in the afternoon for the 4:20 hour. Word was that Tical had a show in Denver on the same night and the Clansmen agreed to rock early to allow Meth to get to his prior engagement. Hiero kept peoples third eyes dilated, and Boot Camp Clik kept it rowdy on the Paid Dues stage, that sat in front of the conglomerate of tents that housed a collective of Street Wear Brands. While checking out the gear, I ran into Psychosiz from the Project Blow’d collective Swim Team.

Yeah yeah, we’re here with Psychosiz, man, we at Paid Dues, his crew has been paying dues for a mad minute… know what I’m saying?

You already know what it is, Swim Team, Project Blow’d, Customer Service, Thirsty Fish, we got the history in this mother fuckah man. We put it down. Underground west coast. Yeah, we over here with illsociety doing our thing, you know what it is. We just went on a minute ago, right before LA symphony and Wu Tang Clan, they got the Shaolin cats in the building. We’re doing it big tonight.

Word, word. I’m just curious man, on some comic book shit… who’s the illest villain?

The illest villain… lemme see, uh.. the illest villain. I’d go with Sabertooth, man. Or maybe Namor. Cuz like a lot of people don’t feel the Submariner is a villain, I mean cuz he’s out there fighting Dr. Doom and doing hero shit, but on some background, you know, as soon as that nigga done, he’s trying to holler at Reed Richard’s bitch. You know that’s kinda trifling. I mean like if you come home and he’s chilling with your bitch on the couch, it’s like, nigga, you don’t even live on the surface, so you know something is up.

You got some new music coming out?

Yeah, we just did a Swim Team DVD anthology man. I’m working on a comic book album right now, featuring my comic book niggas on there, VerBS, I might throw Murs on there, I dunno, there’s a lot of niggaz that we fuck with, all day.

Where can they find that? Where can the people get a hold of you?

Yo… they can catch me at Psychosiz at bandcamp. You know what I mean?

And I did know what he meant, as far as comic books are concerned, Dr. Doom is my shit. And as far as rappers are concerned, Murs and Guerilla Union need to find the masked villain, aka Viktor Vaughn, aka King Gheedora, aka MF DOOM, and get him to come rock Paid Dues. No telling if that will happen anytime soon, I’m not complaining though, the line up was still hella fresh. Big ups to Psychosiz for the interview. I did run into several other villains at the festival. Gangrene, consisting of the Alchemist and Oh No, rocked mics hella hard, bringing out Evidence, M.E.D. and Roc Marciano all as special guests during their set. I caught up with Agallah, who has produced hits for the likes of the Diplomats and Busta Rhymes, and even got to borrow a lighter from Kimbo Price, better known as Sean P! Yet one of the most infamous villains I ran into at Paid Dues was R.A. the Rugged Man

We’re here at Paid Dues, with R.A. the Rugged Man, a man who has been paying dues for mad long, you know what I’m saying? One of the unsung heros in this rap game yo. And one thing that I know, is that you are an avid horror fan. I was wondering if you could let us know about some ill flicks that might be under people’s radars…

There are so many man, you know like, I just watched recently, which I mean I’ve known the film for a long time, but I just watched it again recently, a movie called “Possession” from 1981. Starring Isabelle Adjani. And it’s fucking insane. It starts off like a dramatic, kinda, you know, marriage, drama, but then it turns into the most fucked up movie you’ve ever heard of in your life. It’s just crazy, crazy and twisted.

Fa sho, I like that kinda thing, like “Suspiria” was an ill flick too.

Yeah, Dario Argento. Yep, “Suspiria”.

You got any new music people can check out soon?

Yeah, the new album, “Legends Never Die.” I’m gonna have it finished in May. And so about three or four months after that, it’ll be released. I think the first single will be out this summer. But the new album is titled “Legends Never Die” and it’s almost finished. And it’s a beautiful album, it’s my best work.

Where can they get at your work if the people wanna support?

Oh, you know, just get on the god damn computer, just google it and all that shit will pop up.

As midnight approached and the headlining acts flooded the stages, I was still in the trailer encampment, getting ready to burn a blunt with the A$AP Mob, when they heard Dipset storm the stage they took off to go represent for Harlem on the west coast. Shout outs to A$AP Yams, the bucket boys and A$AP Ty Beats. Mac Miller did his thing, but for sure it was Kendrick Lamar and the Black Hippie crew who took the crown. The sheriff and fire marshall mounted up a team of police men on horse back to supervise the warehouse the Top Dog camp was performing in and allowed fans in one at a time to watch the spectacle. K.Dot even pulled a fan out of the crowd to rap along to one of his songs on the microphone, and the fan knew the joint word for word as Kendrick just played hype man. For real, their whole performance was bonkers. ScHoolboy Q was there, burning blunt after blunt, and the crowd definitely showed the most love to their new emerging hometown legends, letting everyone know who has been paying their dues. Once again, Murs and Guerilla Union displayed hip hop at its finest, putting together an eclectic mix of established artists and rising stars to make an event worth the entrance fee and crowds. Rock the Bells will be next in 2012, and I can only imagine how crazy Paid Dues will be in the years to come. Make sure you check out the photo gallery to see all of the legends I was able to catch up with at the event. It’s an ill world out there, make sure you connect with illsociety.

– You know what it is… your man’s “Drop Jewel”

1. People Under The Stairs 2. Sean Price 3. Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) 4. Odd Future 5. ASAP Yams 6. ASAP Tybeats 7. Open Mike Eagle 8. Evidence 9. Three 6 Mafia 10. Agallah 11. R.A. The Rugged Man 12. Tek 13. Oh No

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