Friday, July 25, 2008

Interview: Tha Alkaholiks


Likwit Renaissance

West Coast veterans return to the hip hop forefront with a new tour, DVD and music

Since 1993, Tha Alkaholiks have brought their own brand of west coast hip hop to the masses. These “Hip Hop Drunkies” have been around the world, performed and recorded music with many legendary artists within the genre, and are still going strong today. While in New York, the California hip hop veterans spoke candidly about their solo careers, independence, and the importance of respect and longevity within the music industry.


*Interview Courtesy of PeterThomas

-PeterThomas: Tha Alkaholiks have had success both as a major label recording group and recording independently. Which do you prefer?

E Swift: I prefer the freedom of independence, but the power of the major. If I had to make a choice it’s definitely independent. I definitely like being my own boss.

Tash: I like both, man. I think the independent thing; recording independently is the way to go though.

J Ro: They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Being on a major you’re definitely going to get out there and be seen by the public. But with an independent you have a lot of freedom to do what you want to do. Being on Loud (Records) we always felt like we were on an independent because they always let us do what we wanted, so we had the best of both worlds really.

-PT: Has the recording process or the way you record music changed at all from recording as a group to recording solo material?

J: When you record solo, all the ideas you have to come up with on your own, all the concepts and rhymes. Sometimes it’s more relaxed to have a group because everybody puts their ideas together.

E: As far as making the music, it hasn’t really changed that much.

T: To me, it doesn’t really change anything. When I do my solo work and everything I have my brothers with me. When everything gets served up on that platter it’s up to me to represent all of us at the same time.


-PT: What expectations, goals and aspirations do you have for each of your solo careers?

J: A lot of people out there that like they style of rap that’s out now and there’s a lot of people that don’t like it. I just want to make a different album. I just want to give people an alternative to everything that’s going on right now.

E: Really as a producer I just want to bring the best out of everybody I work with. If I can do that then I’m satisfied.

T: As far as music and everything I want to go down as one of the greats from the west coast, one of the real lyricists that did it so the people get that great, quality hip hop music.

-PT: What are some of the defining moments and most memorable experiences of your careers?

T: Recording with ODB. There will never be another ODB.

J: One, when we released the first album, the first single actually, “Make Room.” That’s when we felt we were really official; it was just up to us to stay in the game. Things like going on tour with Biggie, hanging out with Pac, Jay-Z, doing shows with Wu-Tang, hanging out with Ice T; just being in the game with other artists that we were feeling and looking up to.

E: Oh man, there’s so many, dude. I would say like touring with Biggie, touring with Ice Cube, meeting a lot of people that were my peers. I’ve met almost everybody in the music industry at one point or another so that’s been a blessing. Putting out our first album definitely was one of them, just getting over that hump. After that first album I was cool, I could have retired (laughs).


-PT: determines success for Tha Alkaholiks, both as a group and as individuals?

J: Longevity, that’s what it’s all about. When we came into the game we said that we’re going to make the type of music that everybody might not get at first. You have to be a fan of the music that we’re doing. Our goal was to stay in the game for a long time instead of selling a million records and just fading out. Here we are 2008, still moving.

E: I can’t speak for everybody but for myself its just respect. If you do something and everyone respects what you do and appreciate it, that’s successful to me. Money is good, but that doesn’t determine success. And happiness within yourself; I’m a happy individual. I don’t have to walk around and be mad at the world.

T: We are already successful. We’re on a 17 year run right now and the people still want it, that real music. I look at it like this; my kids college tuition is there, I’ve got three cribs, one in Miami, one in LA, one in Vegas, people respect me and know me around the world, so that’s success to me.

-PT: At the end of your careers, both as solo artists and as a member of Tha Alkaholiks, how do you want to be remembered within the minds of the hip hop community?

T: How do I want to be remembered? I ain’t dead yet! (Laughs) I want to be remembered as one of the greatest. I could have done some corny-ass shit, I could have done some radio jams to please the radio, I could have done this, I could have done that, but I always kept my integrity. If I say I’m drinking a whole fifth of Hennessey right now I’m really doing it, not like others who say bullshit like I’m going to kill you, and I’m going to blow your head off and all that other bullshit. I’m blessed with this microphone, this is my life, and this is my heart right here. My lyrics and what I said on the microphone was really me.

J: Just as people who made good music, made music for the people who wanted to hear it. We want to hear good music so we make the type of stuff that we want to bump in the car after we come out of the studio like ‘that’s that shit.’ We want to be remembered as somebody who kept that vibe going, real hip hop.

E: I just want to be remembered as a trendsetter. I made my own rules, but I stuck to the code of what rap music really was, and I created my own lane and my own brand within Tha Alkaholiks and Tha Likwit Crew. I want to be remembered as a leader, I didn’t wait for people to tell me what to do and determine which way I was going to go. I want to be remembered as a pioneer, an innovator, a true hip hop connoisseur.


*For More Info On Tha Liks Visit: "ALKAHOLIKS.COM"