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Raydar Ellis - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

A Late Pass For Raydar Ellis

October 2006

MVRemix: Gangstarr.

Raydar Ellis: Consistent.

MVRemix: Jay-Z.

Raydar Ellis: Hov!

MVRemix: Eminem.

Raydar Ellis: Label head.

MVRemix: Kool Keith.

Raydar Ellis: ???

MVRemix: Akrobatik.

Raydar Ellis: Dreads part two.

MVRemix: George Bush.

Raydar Ellis: Toddler.

MVRemix: What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career so far?

Raydar Ellis: That you have to damn near do everything yourself before folks want to offer you what you've already been doing.

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

Raydar Ellis: I really don't know what people think of me. I never really thought about it.

MVRemix: What is the main thing that every good emcee needs?

Raydar Ellis: Love for the culture and an urge to be a student of the culture.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite sampler / drum machine?

Raydar Ellis: I love my MPC 2000XL. Before that, I was using my keyboard to trigger my drums, which didn't feel as right. I have been rolling with my MPC since 2001. I want to try out the 500 soon. It looks really dope.

MVRemix: In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius writes, 'It's my belief that history is a wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like but don't complain when you're cast back down into the depths. Good time pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it's also our hope. The worst of time, like the best, are always passing away.' What works of art, literature, or songs helped you maintain?

Raydar Ellis: Sandro Boticelli is definitely an artist who helped me stay grounded and loving what I do. His paintings had a lot of symbolism and meaning to them. I've always been personally big on that. As far as music goes, Gil Scott Heron's 'Pieces of A Man' got me through a lot! Bobby Hutcherson's 'Montara' relieves me as well. There's not too much I read that relieves me. I'm a multi-tasker and really fidgety, so I can never really just sit down and do one thing. Ge-ology is another visual artist who keeps me maintaining too. Plus, he's got beats!

MVRemix: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

Raydar Ellis: Wake up, handle the hygiene thing, play records, make a beat, have a Short Bus meeting, check e-mail, look for a place to live in ATL, have a meeting with Brick, search for a booking agent because I still need one, finish some beats for clients, hit the post office, more beats, web designer meeting, client meeting, more beats, eat, play records, and go to sleep.

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

Raydar Ellis: Success, for me, is way more an individual and personal thing. I don't gauge my success by what the masses think. Like, I could make a goal to record a song today, and if I do that, I consider it a success. I think credibility requires more than one person though, because you can consider yourself credible all you want, but it takes someone else to re-enforce the validity.

MVRemix: How has your live show evolved?

Raydar Ellis: I think, in the past years, I've learned how to keep it fresh and fun for myself. I've tried different things out. Some of them worked, some of them haven't, but it took experimenting to get to a level of comfort with a crowd that I didn't have, when I first started. When I first started rapping, I was looking at the ground and wouldn't say much between songs. You know? All the new jack mistakes. Now, I just go all out! I have a lot of fun with the crowd now.

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

Raydar Ellis: When I need the crowd to say something and when I point the mic towards them, they say what I needed them to say. That, for me, is where the whole show comes together. That's the point when a lot of folks look around the room to somebody near them like, 'You feeling this too? Hell yeah!' That's when I'm like, 'I reached them!' So, that call and response is very important to the lifeline of a show.

MVRemix: What's the best thing about living in Boston?

Raydar Ellis: Brick Records and Traffic Entertainment!

MVRemix: What's the worst thing about living in Boston?

Raydar Ellis: The high rent, the winter, a lot of the people's attitudes, the driving, and the fact that everything is closed at 2 AM.

MVRemix: Do you have an idea or concept for your next album?

Raydar Ellis: I have little bits and pieces of my next solo floating around in my head. Like a melody here, a concept there, and a hook over there. But, I haven't played a note for it yet. I like to take time to really form my records. You'll be hearing other projects that I'm involved with before my next solo.

MVRemix: What else is next?

Raydar Ellis: The next project you'll probably hear, that I worked on, will be Project Move's Raheem Jamal's solo album, 'Boom Box'. Then, you'll hear some more from the core members of the Bus like RuDi, Ansom, and Rhimestone. I'm thinking about a production album, but I want to get some of the aforementioned projects finished first. Also, a record with Clokwork, where he's on beats and I'm on rhymes. Really straight forward. Also next, is some more work in R&B and learning some more instruments. I'm cool on the keys and bass, but I want step up my guitar skills and pick up a horn.

MVRemix: Final words?

Raydar Ellis: Thank you to everyone who supported 'Late Pass'. S.B.A. all day!

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"When I first started rapping, I was looking at the ground and wouldn't say much between songs. You know? All the new jack mistakes. Now, I just go all out!"