7L (7L & Esoteric) conducted by Todd E. Jones  

The Dangerous Connections Of 7L & Esoteric

September 2004

Making connections in the hip-hop world is essential to survival. While white emcees and producers tend have to earn the respect of hip-hop lovers, 7L & Esoteric have been an underground staple since 1992 and their list of friends and supporters continues to grow. Straight out of Boston, 7L & Esoteric took the same format as Gangstarr. Like Gangstarr, 7L & Esoteric consists of one DJ and one emcee, both of them are from Boston and scratching is an essential aspect to their music. Some journalists have even labeled them as the white version of Gangstarr. 7L first heard Esoteric on radio show. From then on, 7L has been making beats and rocking the turntables as Esoteric has been spitting his "bars of death" on the microphone. Like Premier, 7L's boom-bap beats have thick kicks and strong bass lines as well as unique samples. The scratching is also an essential part of their sound. While some may think of 7L & Esoteric as underground or backpackers, they are simply lovers of hip-hop.

Their debut album "The Soul Purpose" had collaborations with Inspectah Deck, Akrobatik, Mr. Lif, and Jedi Mind Tricks. Their 2nd album "Dangerous Connection" had collaborations with J-Live, Count Bass D, Kut Masta Kurt and more. Fast forward to 2004, 7L & Esoteric signed to Babygrande Records (now home of Brand Nubian, Canibus, Jedi Mind Tricks, and more). Their brand new album "DC2: Bars Of Death" is an extremely tight LP with guest spots by Celph Titled, Main Flow, Rise, and Army Of The Pharaohs (which consists of Vinnie Paz, Outerspace, & King Syze). While one track is produced by J-Zone, one by DC, and another is produced by Apathy, 7L produces 90% of the LP. On a hot evening in September 2004, I had a conversation with 7L, the producer & DJ behind 7L & Esoteric. We discussed the new album, production, labels, and even their beef with Vast Aire. While their connection to the underground continues to flourish, 7L & Esoteric will continue to survive in this dangerous world of hip-hop.

MVRemix: Your new LP 'DC2: Bars Of Death' just came out. Tell us about it. Who is on it? Who produced it?

7L: On it, we got our Army Of The Pharaohs and Demigod fam, plus Main Flow, J-Zone blessed us with a track, so did this new cat DC, aside from those, I produced the remaining 14 cuts.

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind 'DC2: Bars Of Death?

7L: No real meaning, the DC2 is for 'Dangerous Connection 2', as sort of a sequel to our last LP. This was originally supposed to be an EP, but we kept doing more songs, and since we already had the Bars of Death thing out there, we just stuck with it.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

7L: Mine would be either 'Loud & Clear' or 'Rise of the Rebel'.

MVRemix: What song took you the longest to do? Why? The shortest? Why?

7L: Really they all came pretty fast, well at least faster than our previous albums.

MVRemix: You recently signed to Babygrande Records. Why did you choose Babygrande? How are they different from your last label?

7L: They are a bigger label with more resources. We feel that we have been on the grind for a minute now and needed someone with more connections. Everything has been great. Big shout to Jonathan and Jill who been helping out big time with all the press and what not.

MVRemix: How would you say 'DC2: Bars Of Death' is different from your last 2 LPs?

7L: It's probably our best, and I know that seems like the obvious thing to say, but we just had a little more time to work on it, and we had fun, which was real important for me at least.

MVRemix: You did an amazing collaboration with Inspectah Deck. How did you hook up with him and what was he like to work with?

7L: Our manager at the time was a guy named Matt, who now runs Solid records. At the time, he was working at Loud and we had expressed interest in working with Deck because he had just signed to Loud. More importantly, we were big fans, you know. So, we went to my man Sean C's crib in BK and banged it out. Deck came through. We ordered Pizza. It was a wrap.

MVRemix: Although you produce most of the tracks, sometimes, you get an outside producer to produce a track. How is your production style different from other producers?

7L: I just make what I am feeling at that point, I don't think that I have a definite sound, where you would hear a beat and you would be like 'Oh 7L did that'. Still, I feel I do stick to a certain criteria of how I make beats, as far as using original sample, keeping the drums clean, sh*t like that.

MVRemix: When making hip-hop songs, does Esoteric go into the studio with pre-written rhymes, lyrics, and themes or does he hear the beat first and write then and there?

7L: Usually I will give him a beat CD, and he will pick from those. Then, he will go off on his own, and let me know which tracks he wants to record in the studio. I don't get involved with any of the lyrics, while at the same time, he doesn't get involved in the beats.

MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?

7L: Uh...the fans and the drinks.

MVRemix: How has your live show evolved?

7L: We have our man Beyonder more involved now, and we really spend time on working on our set.

MVRemix: When did you first begin making beats?

7L: Maybe around 1994. They weren't any good then, but I learned fast.

MVRemix: Production wise, who are your major influences?

7L: In the past, Showbiz and Large Professor. Today? Alchemist and Just Blaze. Out of all-time? Premo.

MVRemix: Recently, Vast Aire dissed you on a track ('9 Lashes') on his new album ('Look Mom No Hands'). When did this beef between you guys and Vast Aire begin? Is there still a beef? What did you think of the track?

7L: I think Vast should worry more about his heath condition, being that he is overweight, rather than making phony threats on record about smacking me, or was it eating me? I am not sure.

MVRemix: What song made you fall in love with hip-hop?

7L: Doug E fresh & Slick Rick's 'The Show'.

MVRemix: What producer would you like to collaborate with in the future?

7L: Working with DJ Premier of Gangstarr would be dope.

MVRemix: What are the 3 best things about living in Boston?

7L: The best things about Boston are the girls, the clubs, and girls...

MVRemix: What was the lowest or dirtiest thing you ever did for money?

7L: Uhhh, no comment.

MVRemix: What has been in your CD player or on your turntable recently?

7L: Paul Nice's 'Black Album remix'. It's f*cking incredible! I know people aren't sleeping on it, but I have no idea why he isn't getting the same press as the 'Grey Album' or even 9th Wonder's Nas remix LP. This Paul Nice thing was so f*cking well done. I mean, it's on par with the real Black album. I have been listening to G-Unit 'Radio 6' with The Game hosted by Steev-o. That new Beatnuts record is f*cking dope, that 'Find Us' joint is such a banger.

MVRemix: Since you guys are white, what kind of obstacles or issues did you have to deal with?

7L: Having to work harder on account there are so many corny white dudes who get into the game and out faster than an eye blink. But I don't mind it, cause as it slowly pays off, we appreciate what we have done more.

MVRemix: Abortion - pro-choice or pro-life?

7L: Next question. Well, I do feel it is the woman's choice.

MVRemix: Death Penalty - For or against?

7L: If they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, like you got a dude on video killing a family, sure, kill them.

MVRemix: Where were you on Sept. 11th (The World Trade Center Terrorist Attack)? How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected music?

7L: I think it has made me more aware in that George Bush is f*cking Satan, and I have to go and vote this November, because, truth be told, I have never voted before. So it made me aware that if all the f*ck ups, like myself, went out and voted last election, we may have not have been in such a tough place right now.

MVRemix: What collaboration are you most proud of?"

7L: I like them all pretty much the same, but I think our first 12" under the name God Complex, where we worked with Madsoul, was our first real taste at making our own sh*t. It was the best time in my life. That period from 94-96 was my favorite time ever.

MVRemix: Word association time. I'm going to say a name of a group/emcee and you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say 'Chuck D', you may say 'Revolution'. Okay?

Wu-Tang Clan.

7L: Tiger Style.

MVRemix: Eminem.

7L: Detroit.

MVRemix: 50 Cent.

7L: Bang em smurf

MVRemix: Phife Dawg.

7L: Atlanta?

MVRemix: Cee-Lo.

7L: Bugged out.

MVRemix: Jay-Z.

7L: Greatest rapper alive.

MVRemix: Vast Aire.

7L: Who?

MVRemix: Gil-Scott Heron.

7L: Take a look around, Master Ace

MVRemix: George Bush.

7L: Satan.

MVRemix: What do you think hip-hop or music (in general) needs these days?

7L: People to lighten the f*ck up!

MVRemix: What is the biggest mistake that you made in your career?

7L: F*cking around too much early on, just going out every night and sh*t, not grinding as hard as we should have, but we are on the right track now.

MVRemix: What are some major misconceptions that people have of you?

7L: I think most of the people who hate on us, haven't heard a song we have done since, Be Alert.

MVRemix: What is next in the future for 7L & Esoteric?

7L: We are going on tour with Jedi Mind tricks and Outerspace in the fall.

MVRemix: What collaborations should we look out for?

7L: I am working on a record with Main Flow, plus me and Beyonder are finishing up 'VINYLTHUG vol. 2', which will feature cats like Apathy, Esoteric, Celph Titled, Outerpace, it will also be out in the fall.

MVRemix: Any final words for the people who are reading this?

7L: Buy the album, it's out now!

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