Talkin’ new music, Vegas and the death of good music with Sac MC Random Abiladeze
Sacramento’s most lyrically dexterous, focused and prolific emcee, Random Abiladeze, who’s dropped six projects in the past five years, just unveiled his latest, Indubitably!, in August, and he took some time to chat before bringing it to Chico and his show at Origami Recording Lounge Friday, Oct. 7.
What is your sound, in your words?
Intelligent—lost a lot of people right there—observational hip-hop that can be taken seriously, despite its scattered satire. There’s a lot of dry wit in my music; much like my personal conversations, I lyrically mock things with a straight face.
A lot of emcees don’t work with non-hip-hop producers in Sacramento. How’d you meet up with Dusty Brown for your new album?
I was riding the light rail to last year’s SAMMIES [Sacramento Area Music Awards], and this guy kept looking at me; everyone’s crazy on public transit, so I ignored him. Then the guy followed me with his kids. He knew my name, but didn’t identify himself. It was Dusty. We exchanged words of respect for each other’s work, and he said that he wanted to do just one song with me; he made that very clear. He was open to doing more, but he felt that we should just focus on making a solid jam … which is fine because I wanted to work with tons of producers on Indubitably!
Seriously, you really packed them in, and some of the best—Styles 1001, AdamBomb, Dusty, Jon Reyes.
It was quite the experience, but actually easier than working with one producer, because when one person falls out of the picture, I just talk to two or three other producers.
Can people be honest with you? Can they say, “That sucks!” or …
I’d say Dusty, Tofu [de la Moore] and Adam were the most involved with the process; I trust them all, but I think they also realize that I’m a loner weirdo who will ultimately create things the way I feel.
You see yourself as a weirdo loner? You’re such a nice, outgoing, accessible dude.
Yes, this is why I made the song “Life of the Party” as an ironic anti-party song. I attract a lot of attention for being on stage and for being quiet most of the time amid chaos. I’m actually just reading, thinking or watching movies by myself most of the time when I’m not creating in seclusion.
Tell me about your song about visiting Las Vegas for the first time.
Oh, man, Vegas. I guess I’m an awkward customer there, since none of their trappings can keep me hooked. It’s just the ultimate people-watching spot. There’s an energy there. It’s exciting, disgusting, hilarious, sexy and bright. Coolio was shakin’ it up with some Jersey Shore extras at 7 a.m. as we left the hotel to return to Sac.
Did you listen to Coolio way back when?
All day! He was the man back in the ’90s!
But he’s a joke, right?
I’ll get down to “Fantastic Voyage” right now. I don’t even know; he’s a perfect example of what this industry will do to you if you hang around long enough.
What’d you listen to in the ’90s?
What did I listen to? There was this radio station called 102.5 that played something called hip-hop and R&B. A few years later, this other radio station, 103.5, they also played this archaic, hard-to-find artifact known as hip-hop. MTV, BET and VH1 brainwashed me. I was given Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em on cassette and danced to “Can’t Touch This” for show-and-tell in kindergarten. Kriss Kross’ Totally Krossed Out was the first tape I actually got myself.
What can radio do to fix things?
Go off the air? Break their contracts with large corporations that force them to play the same mindless garbage over and over?
I literally have my dial on the Latin station, and I can barely speak or understand Spanish! Everyone complaining about radio should just switch to the Latin station; it’s a cultural experience, uplifting, and you won’t have the words “Gucci, Gucci” stuck in your head.