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DJ Mathematics - conducted by Arthur Sapounas  

DJ Mathematics

July 2003

These are the transcripts of an interview with Mathematics. The interview was conducted by Arthur Sapounas (DJ A.R.T.) on July 31st, 2003.

Mathematics is best known for being the official DJ for the Wu-Tang Clan. He has been around since the group formed and is responsible for a lot of Wu-related beats. He's also the man behind the infamous "W" logo. Mathematics will be releasing his debut album; "Love, Hell or Right (Da Come Up) on High Times Records later in the year featuring many core Wu-Tang guests in which he both raps and produces...

MVRemix: How'd you and the Wu hook up initially?

Mathematics: Well I was a DJ from Queens. The south-side of Queens and I knew RZA from back in the day, the 80's. Then I hooked up with GZA. So with RZA and GZA - it was all family back in the day. And RZA was doing a video with Prince Rakeem (RZA's former moniker), so GZA was like 'come through' so I went through and it was like 'Oh shit! Alright' and it all started like that. I was their DJ.

MVRemix: Why the name 'DJ Mathematics' or just 'Allah Mathematics'?

Mathematics: That's just my name. You know like everything comes from some source. Whether you puttin' together a building or structure or whatever. Numbers like 1,2,3 just mathematics - that's my thing. So that's just my name, but back in the day my DJ name was 'Supreme Cut Master'.

MVRemix: What's the story behind the Wu "W" logo? How'd it come to you and how does if feel to have created the most recognizable logo in hip-hop's history?

Mathematics: The logo came through cause I used to do graffiti. I love the five elements of hip-hop. When RZA and the Wu-Tang were first coming around, I did the first stickers and whatever. But when it came to putting out the first single, "Protect Ya Neck", it was like "I need a logo." So he (RZA) called me and on the phone he was like "I need a logo by tomorrow." I was like "Ok, yeah." And began sitting on the projects floor drawing. In the Southside Queens projects you know that's just what came out. At the time I was working carpentry, RZA and Ghost came to my job the next day and picked up the drawing... that's all history. I didn't think it would be this big, you know, the way it is. It's like a blessing.

MVRemix: What equipment do you use to produce and how do you come up with inspiration for your beats?

Mathematics: Well music has always been a part of me and as far as hip-hop goes I use the ASR-10 keyboard. I just love the sound I get out of there, so why go somewhere else. I got other keyboards and drum machines but they all fall to the ASR-10. I got Rowland 505 and 909 many different things. As far as inspiration goes, in the studio I go through these feelings and it just comes. I can't say where it comes from except it's what I'm feeling at that time.

MVRemix: What beat are you most proud of to date?

Mathematics: I love 'Cobra Clutch' (by Ghostface Killah), that's just my favorite beat. There aren't any that I don't like 'cause I like all my beats.

MVRemix: Now I want to talk a little about your forthcoming album "Love, Hell or Right (Da Come Up)." First of all, what's up with the title and the cover... is that where you grew up?

Mathematics: That right there is Baisley housing in Queens, a part of the Southside of Queens. I spent ten years of my life up in there. Inside the cover I got another part of Queens where I first started doing jams and block parties getting my first DJ'ing experience. So "Love, Hell or Right" is basically the struggle that people go through, how people love "hell" - happy where they at right now but it's not right and you got to go through hell to come up.

MVRemix: I interviewed Masta Killa a week ago and he said he waited to release his album and now is the time for him to shine. Does "Da Come Up" mean it's your time to come up as a rapper not only in the shadows as a producer?

Mathematics: Yeah, that's what it's all about. "Da Come Up" is my coming up right. I'ma do it cause I was a background cat and I've done a bunch of joints playin' my positions for my brothers. Now I've perfected my craft and got to that point where I wanna show the people what I can do. Doin' that, my whole intention is to come up. With the 'Love, Hell or Right' album I'm taking it to another level. I'm a whole new cat. I've started on my second album right now and its gotta be better than the first you know? But to me the first one is what I wanted to do to get my status right. I'm gonna keep steppin' it up, give the people a taste of paradise before they there. You can't give people paradise before they happy with it. Then they gonna go and change (what paradise is).

MVRemix: How many tracks on your album did you produce?

Mathematics: I produced all of them with this one skit co-produced with the RZA. Everything on the album I did--production-wise and mixing.

MVRemix: You said you're working on the second album right now...What else are you working on with the Wu-Family or outside the fam?

Mathematics: I am working with members of the Wu-family right now. As for details I'd rather not say I'd rather just show it like you hear it. You know how it is with this business, people saying they doin' a track with someone and it doesn't happen for whatever reasons. So I'd rather keep it under wraps.

MVRemix: Can I ask how you feel about the whole RZA/Cappadonna situation with Cap driving cabs and accusing the RZA of not paying him?

Mathematics: Well me personally I don't have the knowledge of things like that. Cap is on my album and respect to Cap but we don't get into saying things about contracts and that. I didn't hear him saying that on the radio personally it's not my business right there. So whatever contracts I couldn't even answer to that. Did you hear him say that?

MVRemix: MVRemix: Well yeah. I heard some of the things he was saying - only receiving 2 royalty checks ever and things like that....

Mathematics: That's something you gotta ask the Cap. I don't know things like that.

MVRemix: How do you feel about ODB (aka Dirt McGirt) on Roc-A-Fella and doing tracks with Kanye West and the Neptunes instead of Wu-Production?

Mathematics: It's a fact of life, it's like this Meth is on Def Jam, Ghost is on Def Jam and Rae is on Universal. So if they getting at him Roc-A-Fella is an established label and I guess it's all good if they promote him right.

MVRemix: Are you going to tour following the release of your album?

Mathematics: Yeah I'm gonna do some shows showcasing some individuals on my album like 'Eyeslow', 'Buddha Blast' nah mean? Take some of those individuals there and I'm also going on tour with Meth cause his albums getting ready to come out, and with Ghost too.

MVRemix: Are you coming to Canada at all?

Mathematics: I would like to you know what I mean? Wherever I can get shows I'll do them. I definitely would like to come out there. I just don't like crossing the border with the customs situations and all.

MVRemix: There seems to be a bunch of skits on your album - what message(s) are you trying to get to the people through them or your album in general?

Mathematics: Well it's like... stop blaming someone else for something you're doing or not doing.

MVRemix: Any last words to your fans/potential fans out there?

Mathematics: There are never last words cause I'm gonna keep on coming.

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