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Why? - conducted by Alex aka Da Baddest Poet  


May 2005

How can one begin to explain Why? His sound is distinctly unique to the point of being unexplainable. Is it hip hop or rock? Is the emphasis on rhythm and percussion, or is it on melody? He entertains the senses with his singsong, sweet chariot of a vocal chord that is both entrancing and fueling to audiences of almost every musical genre. Anticon, the label infamous for bending the rules of sound, has given us Why? to bring it straight to your griddle, and then some. Why? has worked on both Anticon and Mush records, allowing for a distribution of sound, ranging from a heavier emphasis on hip hop through cLOUDDEAD, (Doseone, Why? Odd Nosdam) to a more melodic sing song rap of his solo work on Anticon.

MVRemix: Tell the people a little bit about yourself?

Why?: Yoni Wolf, Cincinnati Ohio, I live in California. I wear red a lot, it's kind of what I'm into. And I have a beard now.

MVRemix: How did you get into music?

Why?: I found that four track in the basement. I was like 13, that's kind of disconnected. That was my first taste of recording. I did recording song things and then I got a 4 track when I was 18. I thought I was being funny, doing rap music, you know? And I didn't even listen to rap music. I was like 13 and I made these rap songs, it was silly, you know? Then when I was 18, I got the four track and started doing that.

MVRemix: What was it like growing up in Cincinnati? How would you describe the music scene in Cincinnati during your adolescence?

Why?: I don't know anything about the music scene growing up. I was into religious music. A band called Lamb, and then later on I got into sort of when I was 9 or 10 got into bands like Striper and Petra, these like Christian glam slash hard rock bands. And you know, I don't know, the music didn't really touch me, I don't think, and then later as I got into my teens I got into secular stuff.

MVRemix: For a lot of artists, it is easy to recognize or pinpoint their influences. You are a more difficult artist to pinpoint influences. Who would you say are your influences for the sound you make today?

Why?: I don't know, I mean, it's hard to answer that kind of thing. I mean, I'm not that kind of artist, really. I think especially since I've been doing this for a few years, I can't say really who I'm being influenced by, so it's like hard to say, cause it's like a build up of so many different things I've listened to. I don't know, Bob Dylan is still there, I think.

MVRemix: So you met Doseone at art school?

Why?: No, well, he went to the same university that I went to. I went to the art school, he went to the business school. But I didn't actually, I guess I did meet him there first. I met him at Scribble Jam, briefly, but we didn't talk at all. But I saw him in the battles and stuff like that. I thought he lived in Philly, that's what I was told, so I was like, ah, fuck it. Then I ran into him at University of Cincinnati, and I was like, hey or whatever, and I wanted to start a band. Actually I wanted him to be the rapper in the band, and that's kind of what happened.

MVRemix: Would you say meeting Doseone was the major pull into music, into hip hop?

Why?: Well, I think that there are two people in my life that have seriously changed the direction in my life, and seriously changed my personality or who I am. He's one of them. And like, I definitely wouldn't be serious about music or recording or any of that shit, if I hadn't met him, music was just kind of a fun thing before that, and he exposed me to some other things and to the stuff he was doing and it made me realize I could be serious about what I was doing, and still be who I was, you know what I mean? Without being someone else, or doing music like someone else, and I could be myself, and still make, it wasn't even music to me back then, it was just kind of like, recording.

MVRemix: How did you get the name Why?

Why?: It was a graffiti name. It came from Yoni. I used to write, Yoner, Y-O-N-E-R. And then like Y- One-er. And then Why-one-er, and then Why?, drop the question mark.

MVRemix: Were you ever involved in the battle scene?

Why?: No, I always thought that was stupid. I was impressed by him {Doseone} at that one battle, but it's corny to me, I don't like the idea of it.

MVRemix: A lot of people feel that battling is the focal point of an MC…

Why?: I'm not an MC. I mean, I rap. I rap my poems. I sing my poems. I mean an MC is someone that is master of ceremonies, I mean someone that, sort of, makes a party roll along or something, that's not really who I am. I'm not that type of personality. I'm an introvert.

MVRemix: How did you form cLOUDDEAD (Why? Doseone, Odd Nosdam)?

Why?: Adam and I moved in together. Adam is Dose. We moved in together into this little basement of this apartment building. We started recording, I brought my 4 track there, and this was '98. I brought my 4 track there and one day I was like, Adam, if you want to record some shit on here, just do it, and then we'll have these tapes that just are like these ongoing collection of whatever we do, I'll do some stuff, you'll do some stuff, we'll do some stuff together. And we started doing that. And we started calling that stuff Greenthink. We did two tapes worth of that, so we had two albums of that, and we had this band called Apogee, with my brother, Josiah, and this guy Mr. Dibbs and like some other guys from Cincinnati and that was the band that Adam and I started in, and people started coming to our shows. It was kind of cheesy, it was like funky dj and rapper and funk band type shit, I played like percussion type stuff and Josiah played drums and then this other guy, Dave Madson, Nosdam, the other guy in cLOUDDEAD he came to one of our shows or something like that, or heard about us on the radio station, there's like this independent radio station, or something. Anyway, he showed up one time to this rehearsal that we had. Dave Madson had gone to the same school that I went to but with my brother, he was my brother's age, so they knew each other from back then. So he came around, and he came up to me, and he was like, “yo dude, like, I want you to hear some beats, I know you’ve been rapping a little bit, I want you to hear some beats so you can do some shit on them.” So he brings me to his car and he had this big woofer system in his car, his whole trunk was sub woofers and he plays me his beats, it was really cool, like really dark shit. I was like, “this is great man.” I was like, “why don’t you come by to our apartment we’ll fool around with some shit.” So he came by, and him and Adam and I started messing around, and we put him on those Greenthink tapes. And we kind of thought that was the best stuff on the tapes. Then I went to Spain for the summer, and I was there all summer, and I got an email from Adam. We had met the Mush records guy just before I went to Spain, we had done this show with Boom Bip, and he really liked what we did, and he wanted us to do a record or something. So Adam emailed me, and was like, “Robert wants a record from me and you, and I think we should do it with Dave, let’s call it cLOUDDEAD.” And I was like, “why don’t we call it Greenthink.” Because that’s what we had been doing. And he’s like, “no, I like the name cLOUDDEAD.” His sister had told him this knock knock joke, she was like, “knock knock, who’s there?” She was like, “Cloud, cloud-dead.” She was like 4 or 5 years old at the time and so I was like cool, whatever. So I got back from Spain and we started recording.

MVRemix: What would you say the main distinction between your work on Mush and your work with Anticon?

Why?: I mean, I don’t think the label really makes what we are making, it’s just happens to be an outlet for it. At this point I don’t think I’m going to be doing stuff right now on Mush anyway. Cause the cLOUDDEAD stuff isn’t happening anymore. It’s just a label. It’s just a way to put your shit out.

MVRemix: When did you meet Sole?

Why?: I met Sole at Scribble Jam in ‘98, I guess. But I had heard his music before that on this compilation tape. He had this song called “Third Person” that somehow we had gotten hold of through Mr.Dibbs and we really liked that song a lot. And I guess Adam had been talking to him, actually had done a record with him. I met him at Scribble Jam a couple months later.

MVRemix: Last question, any last thoughts or comments?

Why?: Nope, not really.

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"I mean, I don’t think the label really makes what we are making, it’s just happens to be an outlet for it. At this point I don’t think I’m going to be doing stuff right now on Mush anyway."