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Mr. Rictor - conducted by Nick Gianopoulos  

Mr. Rictor

January 2002

This interview was conducted by Nick Gianopoulos on January 21st, 2002.

MVRemix: How did you get into Hip-Hop?

Mr. Rictor: I heard a Canibus single, you know that real old-school shit from '98, and said I want to do that. But nah, I've always had a love for music ever since piano lessons. But my old production partner 2 Phat, back in Houston, introduced me to making hip-hop tracks and shit. Then I started doing beats and rhymin' under the moniker "Muskratt" around age 15. But before me actually doing music, the main years that influenced me getting into Hip-Hop are like 1990 and 1991. I'm a young cat. Also, around the time I started doing beats with my crew Xian Nation (now defunct) - I was writing for magazines like Subculture, Houston's Urban Beat Magazine, and So that's how I got into the media end of the music and really studying music from the press side of things.

MVRemix: Do you think the press takes a different perspective of Hip-Hop than a fan or actual artist?

Mr. Rictor: Oh hell yeah. But man, aside from all the political things that go into reviewing albums and shit, more artists should take the perspective of a music reviewer when they do their albums. Good album reviewers/writers look for completeness and how full albums flow from track to track and not just throwing stuff together. The wholeness of a project if you will...

MVRemix: From that, do you think Hip-Hop lacks depth and structure nowadays?

Mr. Rictor: Yeah man, a lot of folks aren't doing it right. The bad thing is, it's not their fault all the time. Many of these big label A&Rs (idiots) completely screw up structure of albums and stuff and a lot things can effect the flow of an album - like not being able to clear a sample and stuff and having to have your local elementary girl replay the sample on her casio.

MVRemix: Since your a producer, and speaking about samples, clearance, and production, how do you feel about non-sampled beats in general? Are there advantages or disadvantages to sampling?

Mr. Rictor: Yeah. A lot of both actually. Advantage is that you don't have to deal with clearing samples and if you play your own stuff well and make it sound like a sample. A&Rs will love you and I think you'll get a lot of props. Hell it don't even have to sound like a sample. I like the Neptunes and Tahir and Scott Storch, they're dope. On the flip side... If you can't play your own stuff correctly, you get bad, terrible, horrible results. Going out and buying a Triton doesn't give you the license to play your own stuff all the time. I tell a lot of beginning producers that balance is important. That's why Jay Dee (Slum Village) and Ali Shaheed are so dope because they can sample and play instruments. I consider myself a balanced producer because I recognize Hip-Hop was built on old records but I like to add my own original touch with original keys.

MVRemix: For the readers out there that haven't heard any Mr. Rictor records, run down your discography for us.

Mr. Rictor: Well I produced the Sporatic Signals CD that dropped a few years back. I produced a cut on Scienz of Life's first album called "God Core." I didn't produce anything on Divine Mind's "Forever" 12" but I rhymed on the cut featuring Kimani of the Masterminds, L-Fudge, Mr. Complex, and Celph Titled. I produced "Venus Brown" on Divine Mind's "Trivial Pursuit" 12". I produced a cut on Basik from Living Legend's album featuring my artist Anon called "Complex Simplicity." Man, what else - did unreleased stuff for Dutchmassive from Equilibrium. A cut on Sev Statik's new CD and I did a remix with my production partners for Outkast that will never drop because Arista is no longer putting money into the Stankonia album. But it's bananas - "Humble Mumble" featuring Erykah Badu. More stuff but I can't remember. The future is what's important.

MVRemix: You have quite a track record, with the hip-hop market so saturated, do you think its hard for up and coming producers to find work?

Mr. Rictor: Yeah man it's hard. It's all about who you know. That's why I decided to start a new production company/management company that give producers a chance to get beats to artists through me. You know to give them a start. At the same time, artists don't want to mess with you until you have a track record. So, having your own stable of artists and putting your stuff out independently or whatever is important too. Look at Hi-Tek, Tahir, Rza, they all started with their people then people came to them.

MVRemix: Thats similar to the contest you hold annually at, Battle of the Beats, go into a little more depth about what exactly it is...

Mr. Rictor: Yeah. I'm happy to say that I put on the first ever online producers tournament. Big shout out to Yeshua and all the other folks that gave a hand. It gives novice producers to compete against each other...beat for beat. In an NCAA tournament style competition. A lot of names have been through my competition. Cheapshot, M.F. Doom, Memo of the Molemen, Protest from Planet Asia's crew, DJ Kno from Cunninglynguists, Jake One from Seattle. Moodswing from Anticon - all types of people.. Joey Beats from Non-Prophets too.
and the ultimate goal is to get rather unknown producers heard?

Mr. Rictor: Yes... and it works... We have their email linked from the competition and from there people can contact them..

MVRemix: That's a great way to get some expose, do you think the internet overall has helped hip-hop, or hurt hip-hop?

Mr. Rictor: Wow both. It's helped spread the culture to those that don't necessarily live in the urban areas, but the question is, "What are they doing with the culture?" You know? It's helped bring more money to the equipment companies, because everyone wants to produce now, which really isn't a positive. It's part of the reason for the over saturation of the Indy market and its hurt album sales to a certain extent too with all the downloading and stuff. But I think it balances it out because of all the awareness that's been spread about the music to so many areas. Tough question.

MVRemix: It definitely is a tough question, and a question I think will be asked a lot in the future. So talk about what's in the future for Mr. Rictor and your new Management Company

Mr. Rictor: The management company is I.M.A.D.U. Music and my business partner in that is Lamar "Merlin" Gilliam. That's my little bro. We share a brain as far as the music and business stuff. And some of the artists to look out for are Finale, Anon, Chazz, B.I., Mikchek, and Saj... Some of the producers to look out for are Chazz, Amiri Gamble, J. Bless, Staffro, Tic Toc, and DJ Black Panther from the Ancients.

MVRemix: Any production credits from yourself well be seeing on future records?

Mr. Rictor: Yeah... the new Divine Mind 12" featuring MF Doom, Rubix, Scienz of Life, and Mikchek. My production album that'll be mostly instrumental and will feature the reuniting of Ayana Soyini (Essence) and L-Swift of Natural Elements on a song. The name of my production album is [Craft]ed Music... I'm mostly working with just my own crew for now man. Getting ready to launch my own indie label (Shaman Work Recordings) and a new partnership label with Merlin, DJ Mike Czech of Roundtable MCs, and my man Ian Davis (Final Four Records) so you'll see my beats on those releases. Other than that man - about to do a track with me and Ian's artist Saj featuring Breez Evahflowin'... and Philly's Most Wanted approached me to work on their new album. I'm shopping beats to a few "popular" artists but we'll see...don't wanna jinx anything...
sounds hot Mr. Rictor, Thanks for talkin the time to answer some questions, any last comments?

Mr. Rictor: Look out for I.MA.D.U. Music, Shaman Work Recordings, Final Four Records and all my peoples. Thanks for giving a brotha some shine.

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