What’s goin on RoQ Riffs?!?! … time to hop in the time machine..
Long ago.. in a galaxy far.. far away… there was
… for those who are just now checking out my catalog and have yet to retroactively listening to my discography, this here is called RoQy TyRaiD at The Podium: A Musical Editorial. It was a weekly series in which I would take the current events of that week and address them in song format. At the time, I only intended to do a couple weeks of contemporary music ( a jazzy, less redundant way of saying “weekly series”, which was the cliche thing at the time for indie rappers) before bowing out and setting my sights on other goals. I didn’t know the impact this would have on my outlook of the world as a human being, my perception as an artist, and the impact it had on the limited fan base at the time. With all the crazy events going on, I started to subconsciously call back to the beginning of my tenure in the underground / indie hiphop field, and what drove me to eventually create what would become “The Podium”.
My dude Ramses Ja of 101.1 FM / AZ Channel 3 fame approached me with the idea of doing a series for his show with Bootleg Kev titled “Redy Set Radio”. His idea was to create an organically evolving 2-3 minute segment for his show which would create a contemporary “here-an-now” vibe for the audience. The segment was suggested to be about current events in the entertainment field; ranging from artist news to rumors… or pretty much anything I felt like doing. We had a pretty dope conversation about the matter while riding through the empty streets of Tempe on a warm Sunday afternoon. I went home, taking Ramses’ words into great consideration.
I mulled over it for days.. what should I do? Should I rant? Should I freestyle? Do I even need to “rap”, per se ? Admittedly, I was not as 100% confident in my skill set as I would have liked to have been at the time, in terms of being able to rapid fire current news and keep it “fresh”. After submitting a rather stellar intro to for my skill set at the time, I worked up my courage to take a leap with Redy Set Radio.. why the hell not, right? I have an opportunity to speak to the entire city of Phoenix, as well as the Vegas and Idaho markets RSR was being played in, at that point.
Eventually , I met up with Ramses down at the station’s former Scottsdale, AZ location to tape my inaugural segment for RSR. My thought process was.. “You know what? I’m just going to spaz on the city and show them what time it is!” — which I did. Received props and everything, of course.. but I felt unsatisfied. The next week, I tried going off on another verse and left feeling a little more “empty” , still, despite it being well-received. For the third and fourth week, I tried a more politically aware approach, thinking a black & white approach to what shapes our lives would be appreciated. What did all of these things have in common? No beat.. just raw rants which also included me literally going on a tirade , outside of rhyming LOL.
I was starting to feel discouraged and as if I took the wrong leap. I REALLY did not want to rap about “rumors” and current events pertaining to entertainers who I felt contributed nothing back other than base entertainment. It would just feel like a glorified “gossip column”, at that point. Also, I wanted to have some sort of beat in the background .. and given how the segment was broadcast, that was not a possibility. So, how do I step it up a notch?
Why don’t I just pre-record the segment and save the hassle of having to physically incorporate it into the set? Also, instead of just speaking about these entertainers mishaps, why don’t I analyze it from MY perspective? Give it a little bit of “RoQy TyRaiD” flair, with my overly opinionated ass LOL! So, I started going through beats I had not currently used for upcoming projects, as well as a huge .RAR file of assorted up-and-coming producers.. namely two individuals by the names of Nameless out of Michigan, and Gravity Movement out of N.C. … two seperately dope producers I had never met but were instant fans of , once my friend DJ Young Native of New Mexico gave me a huge flash drive containing their music which he discovered online… boom. Everything is a go..
… How the hell do I record this in time to drop this in Ramses’ email???!!
So, after advertisements for family meals, car insurance, and an upcoming movie which starts Friday in theaters everywhere, I hit my dude DJ John Blaze with a hailmary-pass of a question… “do you have time for an emergency recording session??” Blaze, being the fam and a huge contributer to Phoenix HipHop, said “No doubt , fam. Come through tomorrow”. With that session came the first recording… “Week 5” . The series was officially named “RoQ’y TyRaiD @ The Podium: A Musical Editorial” , inspired by a song “The Podium” from a previous project. Initially, I took current events about certain celebrities and pretty much slandered them for irrationality and irresponsibility in their actions as public role models.. in my own sarcastic ass ways. LOL. But if you listen, you can hear the general idea of “The Podium” series formulating. A little Oscar Grant case update here, a little shumtin shumtin there. Same for Week 6 and such.. a little N. Korea / S. Korea clashing.. a little spazzing on entertainment figure heads.. a little shumptin shumptin. The audio quality was horrid.. it was horrible lmao but we worked with what we had.. the idea was formulating. With “Week 7” you saw the scale tipping in favor of more of what was on my mind in the world than entertainment news. Although, when I did talk about the latter, I pulled the veil off their silly games and so-called “(publicist-fueled) beef” .
Then.. “Week 8” was almost virtually about Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks scandal, as it was just then starting to unfold.
…. The basis for what The Podium is: “current international highlights with a little bit of hip-hop info” , came into form with .. “Week 9”
All things continued and such… my dude Blaze and I trying to give yall that exclusive via RSR airwaves and now, various blogs who were taking interest. So with this formula, I started pushing it more towards a song based format, as opposed to ranting. You know, riding the beat, cadences.. it was evolving. Time was progressing and I was entering a new year.. it was now the dawn of 2011..
Autism via inoculations, unemployment, bank robberies, new Speaker of the House, health care concerns.. Things were taking shape. Had some really interesting episodes.. despite “raw” sound quality and all. I really wished we had more time to really “produce” these joints.. as already informative songs such as Weeks 13 and 15, would really be digested as intended; playing back and forth with the beat samples and such to hone in a point ( i.e. “Michael” voice sample in 13 and “nobooooody” in 15)…. This applies mostly to Week 16 and it’s spotlight on the Egyptian Revolt .. Still, give them a listen.. take that trip back in time and ask yourself where you were during these events..
(TyRaiD Tidbit: DJ John Blaze PRODUCED Week 17.. which talks about Chinese cases of food poising due to produce companies substituting real rice with PLASTIC rice.. as well as other cases poison cases… a mother birthing and abandoning her freakin NEWBORN BABY in a bathroom stall after giving birth moments before. Of course, it also pays homage to Big Pun and the great J Dilla, as their respective anniversaries were that week, as well. Thanks for giving me that platform, Blaze!!)
Things rolled on as planned.. touched on various things in the following week.. Big L anniversary, corrupt politicians who got caught up in their own bs, absolutely racist bills being passed by AZ, vigilante murders of corrupt abortion clinic drs..
Week 19 ..lol.. started out with a damn pirate hi-jacking.
It also touched on SB 1611 by our ever-liberal AZ on it’s continued attack of illegal immigration. Christchurch, New Zealand’s unfortunate earthquake was also touched upon. Around this time, people really started to show more attention towards this series and it’s intent on giving out information of the world at current. Definitely an honor..
Week 21 brought about our “indirect” (clandestine) involvement with Libya and the manipulative media campaign to garner support for putting boots on the ground out there. Other subjects include record high prices for gallons of oil and the overall meaningless involvement in the day-to-day of the Middle Eastern Region..
…… if you listen closely , at the very end of that week’s recording session, Blaze and I received news about the Japanese earthquake… this information directly lead over to the following week’s Podium:
The horrific news of the casualties.. the damage.. rewatching the footage over.. the damn radiation containment failing at power plants. Truly, truly horrific. Why the hell wasn’t hip-hop talking about this? Love & Hip Hop was the social norm, not this. Not something that could immediately impact our lives with just a pushes via the pacific wind currents.
Week 23 immediately dealt with government cover ups of the Fukushima disaster following the horrific earthquake, as well as it’s connection to our good old General Electric. ridiculous plans such as building a freakin thunderdome over the plant.. lol..
Other environmental disasters occurred that week in the Gulf of Mexico, thanks to our good friends at BP.. who tried to cover that mess up, too.. so you have that week.. in an evolving rap format, of course!
Week 24.. 6 months. Huge step. Reached across the pond and touched the Trade Labor Union marches and government infiltration of the protests in attempt to start riots. Police Brutality, de-masking anonymous protesters. More BS from G.E. skipping out on taxes despite making billions of dollars within the country… during an economic disasters. Even spoke on a peculiar case where this mother attempted to give her 8 year old daughter plastic surgery.. what the hell? Can’t even lie, this beat was one of my favorite at the time..
Then we jump to Week 25 which dealt with increasing cases of religious discriminatory cases in the direction of people of the Islamic faith in our country. This also bleeds into talk about zionistic influence on the genocide in the middle east.. funny how little has changed since then. Which is why I adamantly supported anti-war rallies.
Week 26 was a response to some right-wing flak I caught for the direction I placed my support, the previous week. So, that was passionately discussed along with a case involving the TSA assaulting a 6 year old and forcing her to conduct drug tests. As usual, that crap was slept right the hell under the rug. Since it was officially 150 since the end of the Civil War.. I did a little math between the end of that and Civil Rights …. listen for it… !
Week 27 I can’t even lie.. I really dug this damn beat. Classy. Classy, damnit!!!!! Went a little left field on folks with discussions on the HAARP program and it’s ability to shoot condensed airwaves into the atmosphere and … literally affecting weather.
Oh, then there was that whole thing about the UK publicly considering sending more troops to Libya.. which completely pissed off China who is about as stable and trustworthy as your drunk homie you used to tell people is your cousin, who likes to cause fights outside Red Lobster… but I’m not speaking from personal experience, there…. *ahem* .. there’s also an homage to the late, great Gifited Unlimited Rhymes Universal.. be sure to check this out..
Week 28 .. the final week.. 1/3 of a year of soaking in a crap load of information, mentally placing it into musical format, showing up at Blaze’s at 7am to record it before work.. then shooting it to Ramses in time for that evenings edition of Rhyme & Reason. In order to celebrate all that was The Podium.. and the newly forged friendships I had with Gravity Movement and Nameless.. I decided to split the week and use both their beats for this final edition. It’s crazy.. because we did not know each other.. I was essentially “mixtaping” their beats and placing them on air for the first half of the series, while making sure to shout out their hard work and production expertise . After a couple of sessions , I finally emailed their respective beats laced with my vocals from specific weeks hoping for an approval from at least ONE of them. Being open-minded, intelligent brothas that they are.. they both were ecstatic about how these beats were repurposed. I was given both of these blessings and it’s something I’m forever grateful for, to this day.
Let’s get to the final week though, shall we??
This series, while admittedly mentally exhausting, after devoting the amount of time to creating and recording the material as stated above — plus the extra 3-4 days of personally emailing the information out…………. I was really a bit upset to see it go. It felt like the completion of a huge milestone; especially seeing the transformation and evolution of not only the show but myself as an artist. Secretly, I was hoping some other artist would take the idea and run with it. It wouldn’t be considered a “style jack”, at all.. because this is specifically for informing people of the current events which shape their world. With all the goings on in our world today, I greatly miss doing something like this… I think I may step back into the cockpit , in a matter of time. I can see the Batsign 🙂
I’d like to thank DJ John Blaze for taking the time out .. for HALF A YEAR.. to record the series , and ultimately apply the good ol DJ mix. Definitely could not have done this without you! Also, thank you to Ramses Ja for being the inspiration and green light behind this entire situation; and for of course going out of your way to air each and every damn episode, no matter how FCC-able it may have been considered LOL!! Much success to you both. Who knew highly opinionated yet factual and verifiable “political hiphop” would grace the airwaves of multiple radio regions. Heavy.
And thank you to those who checked for it.. applied the misc news to their everyday, and anticipated upcoming editions.
Soo… RoQ Riffs… what did you think? I don’t want to come off as someone who revels in their own accomplishments or seeks a pat on the back for something beneficial to folks.. I ultimately wanted to introduce some of the newer heads in our circle to previous work of mine and explain why it means so much to me, even today. Did you have a chance to listen to it? Any suggestions.. ? Yes.. it was a little raw-sounding damnit, I know.. LOL! Outside of that.. feel free to drop your comments below.
R – O – Q – Y T- Y .. R-A I-D .. and until my next piece, I’m checkin out… peeaaaaaace!
You can check out “RoQy TyRaiD at The Podium: A Musical Editorial” in it’s entirety riiiiiiiiigggghhhhhhttt **HERE** FREE DOWNLOAD, btw!!
You can follow DJ John Blaze at https://twitter.com/DJJOHNBLazE ! You can also follow DJ Ramses Ja at https://twitter.com/RamsesJa