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Raydar Ellis - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

A Late Pass For Raydar Ellis

October 2006

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

Raydar Ellis: Some Mandrill, Charlie Watts, Hank Mobley, with a little Manu Dibango on the side.

MVRemix: Some songs on 'Late Pass' have live instrumentation. Creative-wise, how different is creating a song with live instrumentation as opposed to the usual way?

Raydar Ellis: It's definitely different, as far as constructing the instrumental, because I'm working with other people. So, before I want to change something on a record, I have to check with six other people, The Fundamental. As far as the writing and recording of the lyrics though, it's pretty much the same. They just let me go off to write and record the way I usually do it. But, neither side is more difficult, just a different approach.

MVRemix: The song, '3 Steps' is about the full life-cycle of a romantic relationship. Do you still speak to the woman in question? What is your relationship like now? Did she ever hear the song?

Raydar Ellis: Her and I still communicate every once in a while. Mostly, a text message here and there on holidays. My relationship with her is cool, but I haven't seen her in about a year. She still hasn't heard the song though.

MVRemix: How much of '3 Steps' is actually true?

Raydar Ellis: All of it, the whole shebang.

MVRemix: How have women reacted to the song, 'Fat Chicks'?

Raydar Ellis: A whole bunch! Most ladies I run into, who have my album, say that it's their favorite song. The only complaint I've gotten is from skinny girls because I didn't do a song for them.

MVRemix: My favorite track on 'Late Pass' is 'And It Sounds Like'. Tell us about the creative process of this track.

Raydar Ellis: I wanted to set that song as a marker for myself. I try my best to be a student of the culture of Hip-Hop. Even though I'm in this industry, there's always room for growth. 'And it Sounds Like...' is like my starting point to hopefully making songs in the same caliber as the records I scratched on the hook. The verses were to let folks know exactly what it took to make this album because it wasn't easy at all.

MVRemix: What is the Short Bus Alumni?

Raydar Ellis: The Short Bus Alumni is a group of over 30 of my homies. Most of them make music, but some of them are just homies who like to hang out. We started on the campus of NC A&T. The Short Bus is comprised of 4 core members. They are RuDi Devino, Ansom, Rhimestone, and me. So, there is The Short Bus and Short Bus Alumni. We have other sub-groups inside the Alumni, such as Ex Cons, Bionic 6, Nobody Knows & Nobody Cares, et cetera.

MVRemix: What was the last incident of racism you experienced?

Raydar Ellis: When I was in Boston shopping for some Fig Newtons. The store clerk kept following me around the store. That was about a month and a half ago.

MVRemix: Where were you on the September 11th terrorist attack? How did you handle it?

Raydar Ellis: I was asleep, so I didn't find out till way later in the day. When I found out, I called everyone I knew in NY to make sure they were okay. I spent the rest of the day chilling, discussing the last time we experienced loss and what this event could mean to America.

MVRemix: Word association. When I say a name of a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said, 'Flava Flav', you may say 'Clock', 'Crack', or 'The Surreal Life'. Okay?

Raydar Ellis: Okay. Hit me.

MVRemix: Mr. Lif.

Raydar Ellis: Dreads.

MVRemix: Dead Prez.

Raydar Ellis: Blackness.

MVRemix: Public Enemy.

Raydar Ellis: Boyeeeee!

MVRemix: Common.

Raydar Ellis: Be.

MVRemix: Mos Def.

Raydar Ellis: Oscar.

MVRemix: Happy Mondays.

Raydar Ellis: Office Space.

MVRemix: Phife Dawg.

Raydar Ellis: Classic.

MVRemix: Curtis Mayfield.

Raydar Ellis: Legendary.

MVRemix: Atmosphere.

Raydar Ellis: Space.

MVRemix: J Dilla.

Raydar Ellis: Missed.

>> continued...

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"I try my best to be a student of the culture of Hip-Hop. Even though I'm in this industry, there's always room for growth."