That’s so Random
SN&R chats with the local emcee who trademarked the term ‘indubitably’
Sacramento’s most lyrically dexterous, focused and prolific emcee Random Abiladeze, who’s dropped six projects in the past five years, will officially unveil his latest, Indubitably!, this week with two record-release gigs. He took time away from watching films and lamenting the death of good music to chat his new record, his love for Raven-Symoné and what happened with him and DJ Rated R in Las Vegas.
You just posted on Facebook about Paul Mooney Jr. and The Help. Did you actually see that flick?
I didn’t; just like I didn’t have to see Precious.
So you’re a mind reader. What else is garbage out there these days? And, more importantly, what’s good?
What is good … hmm. I like Kendrick Lamar. I don’t follow too many youngsters; I dig Blu, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Ruby Ibarra, Ryan Nicole, Reggie Watts, Who Cares. Don’t get me started.
A lot of emcees don’t work with non-hip-hop producers in this town. How’d you meet up with Dusty Brown for your new album?
I was riding the light rail to last year’s Sammies, 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.
Ha! He’s like, “Only one, bud”?!
Two months pass without anything, then we finally linked up in December and it was on. Yeah, he kept saying that … 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. Was it more work to corral everyone than to actually record?
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. Jon Reyes is possibly the most difficult human being on the planet to reach, but it was worth it.
You sound pretty pissed on the opening track, “Live My Life.” And I thought you were such a nice dude.
“Live My Life” is indubitably a song of genuine frustration, bordering on the line of passionate rage. I’m glad you asked about it, because I’m tired of not being taken seriously. … Two instances directly inspired this, and hope you print this: 1) I asked someone from my childhood why they never come to see my shows or check for my new music. … They said, “I already know what you’re going to say.” I appreciate the honesty, but that’s one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever heard. … 2) Somebody completely tore apart my album Skill Before Swagger in a very vindictive review. … I knew this person had a personal vendetta against me for years, even though I could never pinpoint the underlying animosity whenever we met. Well, they got their chance when they basically reduced my hard work to a pile of trash. The funny part is, I spitefully booked my Northern Exposure tour with extreme fervor starting that night [and] got love all over the Northwest, from Davis to Seattle. … I hope they diss me again so I can travel all over the nation. I guess I’m sick with my desire to prove naysayers wrong.
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 that 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.
You’re not at Splash Bar tossing back drinks?
Exactly, I never drink Red Bull or vodka! I wonder how many people will read that and think I’m being paid to mention them in this interview.
Are you being paid?
I’ve been blamed for product placement before; it was, uh, “flattering”?
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. 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 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.
Fair 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.
What did your parents listen to?
My mom always played gospel music on Sundays and she loved Luther Vandross, so that and Motown dominated. Mariah Carey was huge. “Bow Down” by Westside Connection was the first CD I bought.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to marry Brandy, Monica, or Raven-Symoné.
You should have hooked up with Brandy.
That’s so Raven of you to say that.
Are you a “Kreayshawn” hater?
I don’t even know how to care; hate is such a waste.
I think she’s catchy. Better than Coolio, no?
Oh, no! Please never put Coolio and that individual in the same sentence again!
Oh, now I’ve done it!
I’m seeing all sorts of shapes and colors right now. Trying to regain focus.
You like her dubstep hook on that song?
I am intrigued by dubstep to an extent; it’s not my bag, but I see it and have no complaints that come to mind. I connected with that world through the Davis community and even more so at the Bobolink [Music] Festival last year. I’ve actually done a dubstep song with Djunya; we just haven’t release it yet.
What are you most excited about at your album-release gig at Blue Lamp?
One, getting to do over an hour of my own material, spanning six of the projects I’ve released since 2006, and knowing that people know my music and will be energetic participants. Two, bringing the Northwest together on one stage: Sac, Chico, Bay Area, Seattle, Central Valley. Three, watching everyone lose it when Ruby Ibarra hits the stage.
I like that you’re an emcee who brings the scene together. Kudos. And then when the gig is over, we can all bump some Kreayshawn and drive down to the Arden domes to see The Help?
Oh, maaaaan. Long as I can bump my Coolio tape and marry Raven-Symoné.