Preach Jacobs interviews Exile for Vapors Magazine
*hey, this is an interview i did w/ exile for vapors magazine back in april. some folks haven’t seen it, so i felt it’ll be cool to post it up. enjoy.*
Words By Preach Jacobs
In hip-hop, it’s sometimes hard to make the distinction between beat-makers and producers, but with Exile the choice is clear. Best known as one of the heroes in the independent game, Exile is pushing the envelope on what we are accustomed to hearing from producers, and Exile’s collaborative effort with emcee Blu on Below the Heavens has skyrocketed him to the top of the list of most-sought-after producers.
“While we were recording the Below the Heavens record, there were some commercial records we did that we didn’t put on the album. We wondered if we should go in the commercial direction, but we chose not to. Instead we decided to do us. We agreed to make the music we enjoy.”
As a result Exile gained a reputation for having a sound that captured the golden age of hip-hop, as well as going beyond the norm with his new concept record Radio.
“Everything on this album is sampled off the radio. It was a way to make beats in a different way. I hate to say it, but I got bored and wanted to challenge myself. This album was the perfect way to go about it,” Exile admits. The grandson and son of acclaimed musicians, Exile is a product of his environment, explaining how his upbringing crafted his sound.
“My grandfather played traditional Italian stuff, and one of his pieces was actually stolen by Ricky Ricardo and used for the Lucy show. My father was with a group called Lost & Found in the 60s. I grew up around that, it’s in my blood.”
On Radio, Exile orchestrates the songs with a unique brilliance. Every random sound from radio static, classic talk radio vocal clips and weird sound effects were blended seamlessly to make the songs. Sonically speaking, the album is unlike anything I’ve ever heard and will no doubt get him more attention for his beats. Exile acknowledges this but still is able to remain grounded.
“I’m willing to make beats for major labels and artists, but the only thing I’m afraid of is my sound changing. When I got my beat on the Mobb Deep album, I was getting my beats pitched to a bunch of places and I started to cater to them. I had to catch myself and I promised that if I do it, I have to make the beats the way that I want to.” It’s becoming clear that he’s a producer with very vintage hip-hop morals.
“I still wish we were still rocking tapes and vinyl. There’s something special about it. Back in the days you got props for having the dope tape with shit on there nobody else had. Now, with the internet, even though it opened the door for everybody to get some recognition, the mystery was lost. With this new stuff I’m doing, that’s something I want to bring back.”
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