Independent hip-hop offers the beautiful mixture of creative control, the opportunity for financial success, and just enough celebrity status & respect. Although Cesar Comanche is not extremely well known throughout the music industry, his musical contributions will be carved forever within independent hip-hop. Straight from North Carolina, Cesar Comanche is one of the founding members of The Justus League. An engineer and an emcee, Comanche was essential to the magnificent success of Little Brother and their crew.
After the release of the classic “The Listening” LP by Little Brother, Justus League grew in popularity and critical acclaim. 9th Wonder’s production became sought after by various artists like Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Murs, Jean Grae, Freeway, Memphis Bleek, Masta Ace, Kaze, and Boot Camp Clik. The Justus League took advantage of shining opportunity. L.E.G.A.C.Y., The Away Team, and Big Pooh (of Little Brother) all released brilliant LPs on 6 Hole Records.
During the ascension of The Justus League, Cesar Comanche remained creatively productive and successful. He started his own label & distribution company, Defenders Of The Free World. He engineered the recording sessions for the “Chemistry” LP by 9th Wonder & Buckshot. He also completed his third solo album, “Squirrel & The Aces”. Released on ABB Records / Hall Of Justus at the tail end of 2005, “Squirrel & The Aces” continues to satisfy fans of the League. Production is handled by 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Nicolay, L In Japanese, and DJ Resident. Guests include Tajai (from Souls Of Mischief), Edgar Allen Floe, Big Pooh, Joe Scudda, Ken Starr, Phonte, Supastition, and others. Not only does the LP have Justus League’s signature high-quality production, Comanche also delivers emotionally sharp lyrics with original flows. The varied subject matter gives the album a refreshing diversity. “Up & Down” is an everyday anthem that inspires listeners to accept change to cope with life. “Miss You (remix)” is a poignant song that deals with failed relationships. In front of the microphone or behind the scenes, Cesar Comanche will continue to hold the aces in the game of underground & independent hip-hop.
MVRemix: Tell us about your new album, 'Squirrel & The Aces', which was just released on ABB Records.
Cesar Comanche: Well, on this album, I am a band leader. The band is called Squirrel & The Aces. The album's theme is the life and issues of an entertainer. Each song touches on that.
MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the name, 'Squirrel & The Aces'?
Cesar Comanche: The album was named after a band. My father was the leader of the band of the same name, back in the 60's and early 70's, My mother was in the group too. I figured that it would be cool to name this album after them and to take the name of my parents’ group.
MVRemix: How is the 'Squirrel & The Aces' LP different from your last album?
Cesar Comanche: It’s different in a lot of ways. The biggest one is my musical growth from then to now. I got my musical friends very involved with the album, so it can have a band feel to it. But, you can tell it’s another Cesar Comanche record.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on 'Squirrel & The Aces'?
Cesar Comanche: Naw.
MVRemix: What song took the longest to complete? Why?
Cesar Comanche: I don't really know which one. They all took time because everyone had different schedules.
MVRemix: The shortest?
Cesar Comanche: The shortest was ‘All Praises Due’ because no one raps on that song besides me.
MVRemix: The song, 'Up & Down' is one of my favorites. It deals with the yin & yang of life. In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius writes, ‘It's my belief that history is a wheel… Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don't complain when you are cast back down into the depths’ Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it is also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away.' What other works of art, literature, songs, or whatever helped you maintain?"
Cesar Comanche: There ain’t one in particular that comes to mind. Everything that I enjoy helps me deal with the ups and downs in life.
MVRemix: How did you hook up with Little Brother and Justus League?
Cesar Comanche: I didn’t really hook up with the League. 9th Wonder and I started the League. Phonte and Pooh were solo artists. One day, 9th, Tay, and Pooh did a song together. It sounded real good, so they started a group. That was after 2 years of the Justus League was already existing.
MVRemix: How have things changed since Little Brother blew up?
Cesar Comanche: I don't think LB has blown up yet. I feel they are just at the beginning of their careers, just like the rest of us are approaching the beginning of ours. We all have a long way to go individually. There is a lot of work we must do individually.
MVRemix: How and why did you hook up with ABB Records?
Cesar Comanche: LB was already on that label. I communicated with ABB during that time. Instead of getting to know a new group of people, I figured that, for this album, it would be smart to make things happen with people who I was familiar with.
MVRemix: Out of The Justus League, which member do you have the most chemistry with?
Cesar Comanche: I feel that I have worked successfully with all of them. There ain’t one member of JL who I haven’t worked with.
MVRemix: You were also the engineer on the ‘Chemistry’ LP by 9th Wonder and Buckshot. How did you get this position? What was your main job?
Cesar Comanche: Yes, I am an engineer also. I’ve recorded and mixed a lot of people’s songs. I engineered my own albums as well. The ‘Chemistry’ album was done in Missie Ann Studios, which is the studio I own. I am in front of the scenes, but I do a lot behind the scenes work too. You just have to read the inserts to find that out. My main job is being an emcee.
MVRemix: Tajai of Hieroglyphics / Souls Of Mischief is on 'Big Game Hunters'. How did this collaboration happen? What was he like? What is the song recorded while you two were together in the studio?
Cesar Comanche: Well, we are cool with each other, so it just took an email and a phone call. Tajai is a regular dude, just like everyone else. He has a good sense of humor. He did his verse in a studio out there. All the recording info is in the insert of the album.