For anyone taking on such a daunting task as mixing an album of that class, you need certain qualities. Thankfully Webbafied has these in abundance, he's highly confident, has sublime songwriting skills, and has a good voice.
We recently caught up with Webbafied to find out more about his "Webbafied Does It Justice" project, and what else he's got planned in the future.
Q1. Where did you grow up and how did that affect your music tastes?
"First off...I wanna thank Music Liberation for taking the time to conduct this interview...and also thank you guys for taking interest in my project..I grew up in Brooklyn, NY...Born and raised...in a predominately west Indian/Caribbean neighbourhood...So I my environment had a profound impact on my musical taste...My parents were both music lovers...so everything from calypso, reggae, gospel, and disco would get heavy rotation at our house...Not to mention i grew up in NYC during the Golden Era of Hip Hop...MC's like Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, and Rakim we're at the top of the game at the time...Kane was actually the Emcee who influenced me to start rapping when i was 9 years old..."
Q2. Were there any particular artists who specifically influenced you as you got older?
"Artists like Common, 2Pac, Biggie, Busta, Nas and Wu Tang made an impression on me in the 90's...I got serious about my music during this era of Hip Hop..."
Q3. Are you purely a Hip Hop head or do you like other genres too?
"I am a Hip Hop head to the bone...but i listen to all genres of music... a true music lover...I love r&b, soul, funk, rock, hardcore, electro, reggae, alternative, etc... I like getting exposed to new artists and new styles of music...I have a very liberal ear for music...Andrew Bird's "Armchair Apocrypha" is my latest discovery...it's getting a lot of spins in my ipod at the moment....
Now let’s move onto the album,
Q4. What was it about the Justice album that attracted you to it?
"To be honest I wasn't very familiar with their music until recently...My little brother, DJ Vinyl Richie, does a lot of freelance promotion work for some major record labels...he's also an experienced Tour/Party DJ...One night me and him we're just putting on records having a good time...I'm freestyling..he's playing all kinds of shit...Then he says something like "You think you can rock on this?"..and he plays Justice's Cross album...i was so impressed by the music that I just started mumbling hooks and lyrics under my breath for an hour...He told me a couple guys rapped over Justice's DANCE...but that was about it...So the idea of doing the entire album was what really inspired me to do this project..and now that it's done...it's some of my best work to date..."
Q5. Did you ever feel under pressure working on such a well received album?Pressure?
"Just a little...I knew Justice was nominated for quite a few Grammy awards..so i knew i had to "DO IT JUSTICE" i didn't want to just go blabbing bullshit all over this masterpiece...i wanted to contribute to it..and bring it to life with my words...i know what I'm capable of when it comes to writing lyrics...so there wasn't much pressure..i knew what i had to do..it was just about executing..."
Q6. You seem to take each song, recognize the theme, and build upon it. Was there a lot of research that went into the project?
"I didn't have to do any research...most of the material was inspired by my own life experiences...It was very organic...in writing this project I actually discovered a new creative technique...get a beat CD with the all the song titles already confirmed...and just write the lyrics that are appropriate for that particular title... It was shear genius...not to mention it was creatively invigorating for me...I come from a unit of Emcees who believe in writing songs that actually have direction, concepts and meaning...not just random bullshit and a chorus...I'm very proud of this project..."
Q7. Who else worked with you on the album?
"This project was DJ Vinyl Richie's idea...He was the visionary who layed down the foundation for the structure of this entire album...My man Iron Solomon engineered the whole thing...recording..mixing..the whole nine yards...we worked some long ass hours getting a lot done in a short period of time...While mixing down the album he used my voice like an instrument, adding to to Justice's work, as opposed to just putting my vocals on top of their beats...he chopped and screwed on a few songs...pitching the vocals high and low...he also helped with arranging the verses..choruses..and bridges...it was just as much fun recording this album as it was writing it...I also bounced ideas with Iron Solomon and his partner Vanguard during the writing process...My homegirl Janelle documented the project and directed the Behind the Scenes Video we have on youtube...she also helped out a lot with promoting the project..."
Q8. What other artists are you digging at the moment?
"I'm into a lot of different acts at the moment...I like what Kanye West did with his last album...I like what Li'l Wayne is doing...I'm taking time to explore the whole Ed Banger records movement...There's an up and coming cat out of NYC I really like his name is Prezzure...I'm listening to a lot of Feist...I'm feeling Kano out of the UK..real talented dude..."
Q9. Any plans to come over here to the UK?
"I've done a few shows in the UK...and I'm interested in getting out there again in the near future..I'll be in Europe for a couple months this summer...so any promoters out there interested in booking me please holla at me...I've done tons of show in London..but I've never hit many other cities out there...i did do one show in Oxford a while back..."
Q10. Do you have anymore projects lined up in the future?
"I'll be dropping another free download called Hits of the Year in a few days...It's basically me rapping over some industry beats..but actually doing the WebbaFied Version of the song...For example...Kanye's "Good Life" is called WebbaFied's "Hood Life"...UGK's "Int'l Players anthem"...is called "Int'l Emcee anthem"...it was another fun project for me...I'm also gonna be in France this summer recording an album with a band called Phonk Addiction...it's always been a dream of mine to do a project with a live band, so I'm real excited about it...I'm also working on a new album entitled "Turbographix"...I've been talking about this project for years but i guarantee it will be worth the wait...and I have a new project available on iTunes entitled "Black n White"..."
Q11. If you could be on your dream bill with any 3 artists, who would they be? What would be on your rider? And where would the gig take place?
"hmmmm...great question...i love using my imagination...Let's see...I'd love to do a show with the entire Wu tang clan...the first Concert i ever went to was a Wu tang show back in like 93...we could open with some of the Wu Affiliates and go right into the Clan set...I'd also like to be on the bill with Justice...not only would I get to rock some of these songs form "Webbafied does it Justice" but they would draw a different crowd...They could do their set and i could come on wit them and lead right into my set...last but not least I'd like the Red Hot Chili Peppers to headline...I've never seen them live but I've been a fan of their music for years...and between what I've read and the video footage I've seen...i know it would be a killer performance...I'm not sure what the other acts would want on their tour rider..but I wouldn't need much...some water...a few cold cut sandwiches...green tea...honey...lemons... and a bottle of cognac..for after the show...i'm preety low maintainence...We'd do the show in Tokyo Japan...I can see it now...Kanishiwa!!!!"
As i'm sure you'll agree I think that was a great interview, really insightful, and great to see such energy and passion from an artist not just for his own work, but for others too.
Check out some tracks from the album and see what you think!
You can download the entire "Webbafied Does It Justice" album for free by clicking HERE.