Beatmonstas - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
You can never have too big of a Hip-Hop crew. Living proof is the Beatmonstas, which is a massive collection of emcees and producers from the Windy City. Consisting of Phashara, Noble Dru, Nipples aka Therapy, Diamond Back, Aum Mu Ra and DJ Sean Doe, the Beatmonstas offer a refreshing and unique style of boom bap Hip-Hop that is sorely missed today. This is evident on the group's debut album, The 3rd Weapon, which the Beatmonstas discuss in detail with MVRemix.
MVRemix: I just want to start with some background and history questions so the readers can get to know you guys beyond the music. So, where were you born and raise and what was it like growing up there over the years?
Phashara: I’m the only member from the west side of Chicago. The same area where Do or Die, Twista, Crucial Conflict & Bishop Don Juan is from. Life in Chicago growing up was a gang culture similar to what we’ve all come to know Los Angeles as except without so many drive bys but with more pimpin. It was trippy on the west side… we had our own styles it’s like a different planet from the south and north side.
Noble Dru: I’m from the South Side of Chicago. I grew up around Stoney Island Park close to 87th street. In my neighborhood if you weren’t in a gang, you would get fucked with. Chicago is a real gang city.
Diamond Back: Born and raised on the low end of Chicago, life was basketball, break dancing and writing music. I had many people I loved in the street life,
But my father kept my fam together.
Nipples aka Therapy: I was born and raised in Chicago "Southside baby" with a little Mississippi influence. My life growing up was a little wild, truth and consequences.
MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip-Hop?
Noble Dru: Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper Delight. I use to hear it on the radio all the time. I asked my mom to buy it. I had Casper the friendly ghost 12” back then.
Phashara: My first memory of hip-hop is when my mom used to play Rappers Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang & Christmas rapping and the breaks by Kurtis Blow. I loved it. I was in a trans every time she played those cause it was so different.
Diamond Back: Count Cool-Out on the Herb Kent Punk -out Show in 1981.
Nipples aka Therapy: Boom boxes and Krs-1's "The Pussy's free" and Beastie Boy's "Cookie puss".
MVRemix: What was the one album you broke the tape listening to growing up?
Phashara: BDP’s Criminal Minded
Noble Dru: Eric B & Rakim “Paid In Full”.
Diamond Back: Paid in Full
Nipples aka Therapy: Too many to choose from…but I'll say Chill Rob G
MVRemix: With so many members, how did the Beatmonstas form?
Diamond Back: D-back and Aum Mu Ra grew up together. Nipples and Noble Dru grew up together and we all ended up at the same college and meet Phashara.
MVRemix: Who consists of the Beatmonstas - for fans reading this that may not know?
Phashara: Me (Phashara), Noble Dru, Nipples aka Therapy, Diamond Back, Aum Mu Ra & DJ Sean Doe.
MVRemix: How would you guys describe your style or sound as emcees? What are your strong points?
Phashara: I was once told that I’m like a brick wall when spittin. I kind of dig that. As an emcee my style is dominant and rhythmatic like a drum machine or something I like to get freaky with the flow.
Noble Dru: I got a rapid-fire delivery.
Diamond Back: I have different feelings and I like to let that shit come out as I feel it. I never thought what kind of sound I have. I just want what I say and do to
sound good for people to hear. Whatever I feel, I do.
Nipples aka Therapy: Witty, gritty, fly and fresh!
MVRemix: How would you describe your production style or sound?
Phashara: As a producer I like to play keys and create mostly. But thanks to my man Noble Dru, I’ve gotten more and more into chopping and sampling in the last couple of years. I’ve always done both but my forte is playing keys and programming bangin drums out on the MPC.
Noble Dru: I like to dig in the crates to find gems. Sampling is all I do. I don’t sample from CDs because I love the way the vinyl records sound wit the cracks and imperfections that come wit it. I can play keys too but I find myself just using the MPC to bang shit out. Records inspire me to make music.
MVRemix: With so many producers involved, does each individual have a specified task? How does the group come together, organize and manufacture beats, while still keeping everybody involved and happy?
Phashara: Good question. We don’t really trip on any type of specified tasks in production. Noble Dru and I do a bulk of the production but we all make beats and produce. It’s actually pretty easy to do what we do cause we just crank out tons of beats and pick and choose. Cats may listen to my joints and say yo lets do that or Noble Dru will say Phash let me add a bass line to that one. Same with Noble Dru he’ll mess around and play beats for us and who ever is in the studio will just freak out and jump on it or sometimes Diamond Back will be like listen to these keys or Nipples will throw one of us a sample to flip or he’ll be in the studio with Noble Dru and create something ill. Our man Aum Mu Ra is one of the illest guitar players in Chicago if not the illest so he adds a ill flavor too… he’ll play a melody that will strike a chord in us and it’s on from there. It’s all a collaborative effort on everyone’s part.