Studdah's interview with " ekskluzivno" online magazine in Slovenia Translated from slovenian to English
1. HOW ARE YOU TODAY, IT'S A PRIVILEGE TO TALK TO A HITMAKER, NEW YORK BASED COMPOSER, A&R AGENT, ENTREPRENEUR, MANAGER AND FINALLY A PRODUCER WHO RIDES WITH THE NAME OF STUDDAH MAN! CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE EUROPEAN AUDIENCE, WHO IS THE PERSON BEHIND ALL THESE TITLES?
Wow, thank you for that gracious introduction to your many readers. My name is Sean ''Studdah Man'' De Vore, I'm just a New York city born former rapper, turned road manager, who then turned into an artist manager who just has been blessed enough to have been able to get the opportunity to have produced some albums with the legendary rap group known as Public Enemy.
2. WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN? AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS THE TURNING POINT THAT REALLY SET OFF YOUR CAREER IN MUSIC?
Well to make a long story short it all began just before Public Enemy signed their record deal with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin of Def Jam records. Chuck D and Hank Shocklee (co-founder of Public Enemy) sent out flyers that they were looking for local rap groups to work with for production and getting them record deals.
I seen the flyer and went down with a demo tape of my group called '516' (516 is the local area code of Long island NY) to their studio in Hempstead Long island. The studio was located at 510 south Franklin avenue but people in the hood and in the music business just called it 510 studios. Chuck D liked what he heard from my demo tape and from there I and my group '516' started hanging at the studio on a regular basis. My group consisted of my dj 'Gary-G-Wiz' ( Famed Public Enemy producer and now Chuck D's manager and business partner),' kamron'( formerly of the rap group 'the Young Black Teenagers' and most known for his role in the Kid & Play 'House party 2 movie') and my rapping partner 'T.N.T.'. Back then we all was like a family and all of the local groups came down to 510 studios like 'Leaders of the New school' (that's Busta Rhymes first group before he went solo),'Mobb Deep' and even LL Cool j from time to time recorded there as well as Slick Rick and many other rap greats.
My group never did get a major record deal from Chuck D and Hank but what I did get was a bond and friendship that has lasted over 20 years. The turning point in my career is when Gary G Wiz first started to produce with the legendary 'Bomb Squad' for Public Enemy. Gary started to bring me in on as an assistant producer on most of the projects that he was working on, from there he and I became a production team and my musical life was born with Public Enemy.
3. YOU ARE ALSO KNOWN AS A PUBLIC ENEMY PRODUCER, WHAT IS YOUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GROUP TODAY, AND WHAT HITS DID YOU HELP THEM MAKE?
My Relationship with the group today is all love, I see and talk to all of them all the time, we are truly a family, we fight, we make up, we agree to disagree but at the end of the day our goal is to preserve and motivate the honor of Hip Hop and to help others out and make music for the people than can be called timeless.
My biggest record to date for Public Enemy is still 'Give It Up' (one of their highest selling singles ever), also Swindler's Lust" but this song caused a lot of controversy and was condemned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and 'Kevorkian' which is one of my favorite PE jams to have worked on just to name a few.
4. WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN Chuck D's slamjamz Record Label?
My role in slamjamz is to seek out and develop talent here in the United States and also overseas. My title is also Chief VP of the digital department for slamjamz/Tunecore.com which is our online distribution partner.
5. SOME PEOPLE CALL YOU THE CONSUMMATE PRODUCER AND A WORLDWIDE TALENT SCOUT, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ABOUT YOUR NEED FOR PERFECTION AND SIXTH SENSE FOR A RAW TALENT?
I wouldn't call it my need for perfection I would just say that I wouldn't okay any project to go out into the public that I couldn't see myself personally playing it in my car or home stereo and be comfortable with. My sixth sense comes from just knowing the culture, being born from it and just always keeping my ear to the streets, having an open mind and always remembering where I came from and how it was like when I was young growing up. Because when it's all said and done, it's just music, people want to have fun and have an escape from their daily life and taken to a place that makes them feel good about themselves.
6. TALKING ABOUT TALENTS, YOU WERE GIVEN A CHANCE TO GUIDE AND SHAPE THE RAW TALENT OF NOW ESTABLISHED HIP HOP ARTIST Tijana bass. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE?
Tijana is a rare jewel who really appreciates the culture of hip hop and the only thing greater to her than that is the love that she has for her people and country and I respect her a lot for that. The experience working with Tijana has truly been a learning one of music, her pain and what her country has gone through and in life in general. Tijana and I wrote and sent songs and ideas back and forth for 3 years via the internet before we actually met in person. Chuck D sent me to Maribor, Tijana's town to meet and see her family, Tijana and country.
What I learned from Tijana and her family about what they and many others had gone through during the wars over there was very moving, disturbing and humbling to me as an American. From our face to face meeting it help me to relate a little bit more to what Tijana was trying to say through her music and made it easier for me work to with her. When I left Maribor Tijana came back to New York with me and then I really seen how hard she worked and how determined she was to succeed. We recorded and finished her entire album; shot 3 videos and did 2 radio interviews all in one week's time. Now you want to talk to me about an experience. Lol.
7. YOU ARE THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF THE ALBUM PLAYGROUND, Tijanas FIRST RECORD. WHAT IS PLAYGROUND ABOUT? AND HOW DID YOU COMBINE AMERICAN HIPHOP BEATS WITH Tijanas EUROPEAN BACKGROUND?
The album Playground is basically the world seen through Tijana bass's eyes; it's a collection of club bangers, party songs and message driven joints. It's easy to combine music with other cultural backgrounds, because at the end of the day everyone knows melodies and enjoys a good beat, so we just needed to stay true to ourselves, party with a purpose and keep it funky. But what really helped us a lot to make this whole transatlantic connection click was when Tijana hooked up with Ms. Kaly Kalonic.
Kaly is a PR wiz and knows how to get her artist out into the market place. Kaly's work ethics has gotten the praise of Chuck D several times over and she has become a member of our slamjamz record family. Also to help with the whole Tijana bass movement and the combining of cultural differences was when I enlisted Dj Phat Phillie (croatia's # 1 dj and hip hop promoter) and his production partner Baby Dooks (member of known Croatian Hip Hop group ''Bolesna braÄ‡a'') to do a remix of Tijana's song 'Face of Freedom' featuring her and Chuck D.
8. YOU HAVE YOUR ALBUM OUT AS WELL! WHY DID YOU NAME IT ''THE DEFICIT''?
The reason why I call this album The Deficit is that I feel that there is a music deficit going on. A music deficit occurs when an entity (often the labels) puts out more music than the general public is actually buying. The reason why the general public is buying less music is not because there is a lack of interest for music, or that more people are illegally down loading music, or that getting music is too accessible. The main reason is that people have gotten tired of spending $19.95 for 20 songs and out of the 20 songs on the album only 2 songs are worth their money!
9. YOUR ALBUM HAS RECEIVED NOTHING BUT POSITIVE CRITICISM, DO YOU HOPE IT WILL DO JUST AS WELL IN EUROPE AS IT DID IN THE STATES?
I believe it'll do even better in Europe because the hip hop heads and the overall musical fans in general here in Europe study, appreciate and really stand behind their artist that they like for the long run, not just for who's on the charts or on the radio this week like they do in the United States.
10. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE PLANNING TO BRING TOGETHER YOUR AMERICAN ARTISTS AS WELL AS Tijana bASS AND SOME OTHER EUROPEAN ARTISTS TOGETHER FOR SOME HOT LIVE PERFORMANCES...
My ultimate goal is to have Tijana bass go on a tour with Public Enemy, have my other artist such as Mel Gates, J.A.E and Brittany Evans do some collaborations and shows with other artist from Europe. I feel that if music is truly universal then why can't other artists from different countries be on a record at the same time. The world is changing and becoming one big melting pot so why can't we bridge the communication gaps, different religious beliefs and cultures through a song.
11. HIP HOP TODAY... YOUR OPINION ON WHERE THE GAME IS GOING AND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IF GIVEN A CHANCE?
Hip Hop today is bigger than ever and has become a multi billion dollar business. The game is going too negative with all these diss records, fights, and rappers taking stuff too personal. I wish rappers would stop trying to portray that you have to be a gangster, drug dealer, money balling womanizer to be successful, because truth be told that most real rappers didn't get their first arrest record until they became known from their first record deal. Lol