Casual (Hieroglyphics) - conducted by Todd E. Jones  


Smash Rockwell, The Alter-Ego Of Casual

October 2005

MVRemix: Do you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?

Casual: I donít think they are exclusive. It depends on how you measure success. I could consider myself as having a good rap career because I havenít worked a hard labor job since I was 16 years old. Iím 30! Thatís a 15 year or more career. Thatís success right there, but if I had a pension or retirement fund, thatís something completely different. I am successful enough to live, work, and support my family with something that was once my hobby.

MVRemix: Has being a father altered your approach to creating hip-hop music?

Casual: Always. It made me throw away a lot of the BS. I try to latch down at being a more serious artist. I examine myself. I ask myself, ĎWhat are the things am I trying to say?í Being a parent will change you by having more or new responsibilities.

MVRemix: What is hip-hop lacking?

Casual: It is always lacking originality, but that is not because of the heart of hip-hop. Basically, all of the corporations and mainstream media affect the minds of the young or aspiring artists who want to do hip-hop. Iím glad I came up in the era that I came up in. Back then, the radio wasnít supporting hip-hop. I had to dig through crates and examine what was really dope by myself. I wasnít forced into liking a song on the radio that is played 40 times. We donít let the youngsters listen to the radio. When they do listen to the radio, they hear the same song 30 times in the same day. No matter what song is or who the artist is, the song becomes hot because of that. If they didnít like it before, they like it now because of the repetition. If they really want to be a rhymer, they are going to start looking up to people who really arenít the top choice picks.

MVRemix: Any non-Hiero collaborations coming out?

Casual: Iíve been on the road lately and working too much. I donít remember. Wait! Iím trippiní! I just did one with The Wu-Tang Clan on that ĎThink Differentlyí album. I have a song with Masta Killa, Tragedy-Khadafi, and Roc Marciano. Roc is raw.

MVRemix: Who have you been listening to during the last couple of days?

Casual: I-Tunes. I buy all of the top albums. I only buy the actual CD if I know it will be dope. Now they are making music so convenient, so you donít buy the bullshit. You can turn on the computer, go to I-Tunes, and buy what you want. One problem with that is the record company has to have enough money to be featured on the front page of I-Tunes. The companies control all of that. If Iím an artist who doesnít have a budget to get on I-Tunes, Iím losing out on a whole new genre of money thatís out here. Itís crazy, man! Iíve been buying whatís out. Iíve got everything from Little Brother to Jay-Z. I put my music on party shuffle, just to keep it cracking on my computer. I donít even sit down and concentrate on the record. I just like listening to new music.

MVRemix: As a producer and emcee, how have you evolved?

Casual: As a producer, I havenít been producing as much as I used to. Evolution in production is far easier to describe because we are not really instrumentalists. Basically, if I switch from an MPC to something else, you can tell that it sounds different. I just switched up equipment. How much you sample effects your sound too. Iíve been trying to put samples in my production too. Production canít really go through a complete evolution at the point where Iím at. I feel like a master, like a 6th level black belt. I just want to take a piece of clay and mold it to sound completely different from what Iíve been doing. Thatís how I view creation. The older stuff, that people are fascinated by, doesnít thrill me anymore. We need to find the ĎFear Itselfí album for 2005. I want some young dudes to come out with an album today so I can admire it. Iím not trying to recreate myself as someone 17 years old. Now, Iím 30 and a whole different person now. I want people to hear that Iím wiser and sharper. You can hear it in the album. You can hear it in the rhymes. There is a lot more depth and more clarity in everything Iím saying.

MVRemix: On Guruís ĎThe Street Scripturesí album, Talib Kweli states that Pro-Tools made producers lazy. Do you agree?

Casual: Yeah, definitely. Technology is the art of making things easier, but all things arenít supposed to be easy. You arenít supposed to just turn on a computer program that has every song. Thatís not the art of what we are doing. We are supposed to go to the record store, find the rarest record, and turn it into a hip-hop song. Computer programs now have 20 million breaks. Half of the art was simply timing. Letís see if I can get this one record to go on-beat with this other record. Then, letís add a drum loop from another record. The final result will be my song. Thatís all timing. Now, they have programs where you donít even have to be on time. You can play it close to how you like it and the computer will fix it. Technology is messing up a lot of things, not just hip-hop.

MVRemix: Whatís next for Casual?

Casual: Iím doing some videos and Iím about to put out a new album quick. We have the O.C. album coming out on Hiero. We have a bunch of stuff. Delís coming out with a new record. A-Plus is coming out. Weíre supposed to have another Hieroglyphics album next year. We stay busy.

MVRemix: Any final words?

Casual: Thank you, Todd. Thanks for supporting Hiero. Check out Casualís ĎSmash Rockwellí album.





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"Iím glad I came up in the era that I came up in. Back then, the radio wasnít supporting hip-hop. I had to dig through crates and examine what was really dope by myself. I wasnít forced into liking a song on the radio that is played 40 times."