Tag Archives: HipHopDX

HipHopDX Producer’s Corner: Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis

22 Jun

 For the latest segment of HipHopDX Producer’s Corner, I interviewed Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis. He isn’t a celebrity name, but plenty of music lovers will recognize his work with Wyclef Jean. The Haitian-born musician has co-produced or played on nearly all of Clef’s classics – The Fugees’ seminal The Score, to Carlos Santana’s “Maria Maria,” and many more. Check out an excerpt below:

DX: Don’t mean to only focus on Fugees, but how would you describe a studio session with them? If I were to randomly walk into one of your sessions, what would I see?

Jerry Wonda: It would be like going to a family dinner. You see everybody hanging, chilling, eating, drinking and laughing. Nothing that crazy, just everybody chilling. We used to have everything, with the equipment. Nobody knew we were doing a classic album. I just remember I used to play the Top 40 singles and hustle, because I was buying equipment. I’d go play with Top 40 bands then come back to the studio and do what I was doing with Wyclef and Ms. Hill. At the time, that’s what we had. If you walked in there, it was just chillin!

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the interview.


Aliya Ewing: Plans of Exodus

6 Apr

Whutupdoe Speechers?! I know I’ve been slacking on my credo to take the pressure of off Ketch with blogging support, but when I made that pledge I was a part-time social worker in between projects. The difference is now I’m a full-time social worker, heavily embedded in the grind.

But lets switch gears before I become less apologetic and more apoplectic with my rants about my day-to-day. I caught up with Aliya Ewing, a well-respected journalist in the hip hop-o-sphere with her sporadic trudging through HipHopDX.com, offering a very spiritual opinion on all things music while dodging the oft-misogynistic waters (all the while raising a young child). She bid the popular website adieu back in November in search of something different and that exodus brought her to her own promised land, culminating with the launch of her own brand new website, MyAliya.com. The site, explained by Ewing as a “compilation of personal reflections, [as well as] a platform for musicians and other respective artists,” aims to take the reader on a spiritual journey that permeates in and out of the consciousness of music and other works of art. Read below for the interview.

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Bragging Writes: Ketchums x Drew Correa x HipHopDX

6 Mar


In the latest segment for HipHopDX’s Producer’s Corner, I interviewed Drew Correa: the producer behind Lil Wayne’s “Mr. Carter” (feat. Jay-Z), “Prom Queen,” and several other tracks from Wayne’s upcoming Rebirth rock LP. An excerpt:


HipHopDX: First off, congrats on the Grammy nomination for “Mr. Carter.” What was it like being part of Tha Carter III, especially the song with Lil Wayne and Jay-Z?

Drew Correa: Thank you, man. It was an incredible experience. I’m glad Wayne [click to read] chose that record, and for Jay [click to read] to be on it, it was even more special. I kept submitting beats to Wayne, a bunch of ‘em. I had this weird dream where I kept hearing a hook similar to that, with a sample behind it, saying “Hey Mr. Carter.” I made it specifically for Wayne, I never expected Jay to jump on it. I had my friend Sharon, he’s a singer out here, I had him sing the hook that I wrote, and I sped it up and made it sound like a sample. Then I pretty much went in on the music.

I told Wayne that I found this record, I told him it was an actual sample. That’s how I sold it to him.

DX: So you told him it was a sample, but…

Drew Correa: But it wasn’t, yeah. He was kind of blown away. He’s like, “Where’d you find this sample?”

DX: When did you end up telling him that it wasn’t a sample?

Drew Correa: I never did. [Laughs]

For the rest of the interview, CLICK HERE.

Black Milk & Elzhi x HipHopDX’s Producer’s Corner

12 Jan


I’m actually pretty pissed that I couldn’t find a picture with Black and Elzhi in it together, but oh well – I guess this Elzhi picture I’ve got above is cool, anyway. The homie Melanie Cornish, my co-writer behind HipHopDX’s Producer’s Corner column, linked up with the pair of Motor City heroes to talk both about their solo work and their work as a team, along with how they’re putting Michigan on the map. And as usual, she brings results. An excerpt:

DX: What do you think is crucial for a cohesive working relationship between a producer and an artist being that you worked closely together on the Preface?
 Well you know one of the reasons why a lot of the music is done by Black, and not to say that in the future I wouldn’t do an album with just Black’s beats, this time around I was working on a strict time schedule and I only had four, well three and a half weeks to get an album completed. Since Black was right there, I was able to pick from beats that was looked over in the past, a couple of new tracks and that is the reason why you got to hear a lot of Black on this Preface album. I like to do things many ways. I have been doing this for a long time so if I could do a project with just one producer that is cool, but if I could do a project with lots of producers, that’s cool too. It is all about what you are looking for and the kind of sound you are going for. 
Black Milk: Of course there has to be a certain type of chemistry, you know a god vibe and once you establish that and you get in the studio that is when the music comes out well. You get to be creative and you get to be more opinionated. El and I have that and we have been working for so long and outside of the music he is family. But I have that with everyone I work with in the D, you know we all vibe off each other and everyone is cool and we are friends and as long as we have that we are going to continue dropping this great music that we have been putting out these last few years. All we have is us at the end of the day, and we know how the industry works and we have to all work together to have the spotlight put on us.

For the rest of the interview, CLICK HERE.

Ketch-Up 12-15-08 – Nick Speed x Drumma Boy

15 Dec

Looking forward to the new week. But first, let’s get y’all up to speed with some pieces I’ve gotten published recently.

Nick Speed

I interviewed Nick Speed for Metro Times. We had a super long conversation because of how well we know each other, but once I got on track to transcribe everything, the article came out well – just like all of my articles are Michigan rap artists are. It’s so dope that I get to do this for a newspaper, as opposed to a hip-hop magazine/web site. But anyway, to read it, CLICK HERE.

Drumma Boy

For HipHopDX’s Producer’s Corner, I spoke to Drumma Boy – the Atlanta-by-way-of-Memphis producer who crafted Young Jeezy and Kanye’s “Put On,” T.I.’s “What Up What’s Haaapnin,” Scarface’s “Never,” and a slew of other heaters for the south’s premier emcees. In this interview, he talks about differences between working with T.I. and Jeezy, coming up around parents who were classically-trained musicians, and putting on for his city. To read, CLICK HERE.

More coming soon…

Ketchums x Guess Who?

15 Dec


I’m the co-writer for a column on HipHopDX called Producer’s Corner, in which me and Melanie Cornish take turns interviewing the game’s hottest knob-twisters. For the section, I’ve gotten the chance to talk to some of my all-time favorite musicians ever: Will.I.Am, Hi-Tek, and others. It’s been incredible.

But to bring in 2009, I’m shooting for a producer that’ll have me as excited as ever. It’s one of the 10 people I’d like to interview before I leave this earth, and I think I’ve really got a chance at interviewing him. But as much as I like y’all to share in my good news with me, the homie Danya Steele’s infinite wisdom prompted me to enact a 90% rule. Basically, I don’t reveal details on anything really important until it’s 90% completed – which means that I won’t say who it is until the interview is done, recorded and transcribed.

But I love y’all. So what I’m going to do is give you guys five clues. There’s obvious ones, but I couldn’t give it away – but at least one of these should be a big hint to any real fans.

  1. He loves pop tarts.
  2. He’s got a couple experimental blemishes, but with his string of hits and his ridiculous versatility, he’s still part of my Top 10. If you disagree, you should stop frontin’.
  3. He’s made heaters for both Jay-Z and Nas. But his best song with Nas, you’ve probably never heard.
  4. Repp’d Nu Nu when she was new new.
  5. You might see him driving around Miami in that Suzy Loves Ricky.

Ketchums x Slim x HipHopDX

8 Dec


The photo above was taken over the summer, I caught Slim (of 112) for an interview at Cadillac Club in Lansing, Mich. The interview was done a while ago, but now that it’s posted, I’m happy with it. Got kudos from editor Jake Paine, and at this point, that’s honestly what’s most important to me. The intro:

While Hip Hop is a genre that notoriously disrespects its veterans, R&B is a little more considerate. But it’s not like Slim needs the help: the lead singer for veteran quartet 112 has always been about staying ahead of the curve. The group teamed up with the late Notorious B.I.G. and Mase to put together the “Only You” remix, which was a club-ready single that managed to keep people moving without coming across as contrived.

More than a decade later, “So Fly”—the first single for his new album, Love’s Crazy—utilized Yung Joc and did the same thing, catapulting near the top of the Billboard charts. Slim’s rolling solo now (yes, the group is still intact), and he’s pushing his own M3 label under Asylum Records instead of rocking with Bad Boy Entertainment or Def Jam, but otherwise, ain’t nothin’ changed: he’s still making timeless R&B music that everyone can relate to. In a candid interview with HipHopDX, Slim talks about balancing integrity with keeping up with current sounds, and how he lives his music.

It’s a complete, solid article. For the rest, click here.

Ketchums x Evidence and Alchemist x HipHopDX

10 Nov


I interviewed Evidence & Alchemist – collectively, the new duo of Stepbrothers – for HipHopDX’s Producer’s Corner. I had to tackle a lot of adversity for this one – not being able to talk to them both at the same time like I wanted, Evidence having shitty phone reception, and playing phone tag with Ev to redo part of the interview – but it still came out pretty well. Editor Jake Paine told me it was “the most sophisticated, organic Producer’s Corner yet.” Bong.

To read the article now, click here. To read the intro first and then check out the entire piece, check under the cut.

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88-Keys x URB Magazine

30 Oct

I’m really proud of URB for this.

88-Keys is a Harlem producer that, early on in his career, crafted heaters for Black Star (“Thieves In The Night”), Mos Def, Talib, Foxy Brown, Musiq and others. But these days, he’s going solo: he’s got an album that hits stores in a few weeks entitlted Death of Adam. Executive produced by his BFF Kanye West, the album is based on the (non)fictional story of Adam, a man who died in the pursuit of the p-u-s-s-y, so each song talks about the power that the female sex organ can have. He won’t send me the album early (jerk), but the songs he’s leaked have blown my mind, and I’m looking forward to being able to cop it. Guest apppearances include Kanye, Phonte of Little Brother, Redman, Bilal and more.

I remember befriending 88-Keys online a couple summers back, when he was getting started on the project. He had his AIM name on his MySpace page, so I holla’d at him for an interview. He replied, “William E. Ketchum III? That’s a dope name.” We’ve chopped it up ever since, and I’ve done several articles on him: I got him in the highly-regarded URB Next 100, did an 88-Keys HipHopDX Producer’s Corner, and I have a Show & Prove piece with him in this month’s Freshman issue of XXL. Seeing him ascend from URB Next 100, to having an URB blog, to landing on the actual cover isn’t only a confirmation of how I can pinpoint dope artists (lol) – it’s just further evidence how, like I said, real music is really starting to matter again. From abundant remixes, to elaborate concepts, to just being dope, 88-Keys gets what music is all about.

Anyone who’s not already on 88-Keys, do one of the following: check his MySpace (where you can stream his “Viagra (Stay Up!)” single feat. Kanye before you cop it on iTunes), or download his incredible Adam’s Case Files: The Mix Tape (which features my homies Guilty Simpson and Big Sean, Tanya Morgan, and others). As a bonus, here’s the Illmind-laced “Viagra (Stay Up!)” remix that features Kids Incorporated (Evidence, Alchemist, and 88-Keys).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Congrats, Keys. Shout out to B-Perk @ URB, too.

Follow the jump to see video footage of the URB photoshoot.

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Ketch-Up 10-14-08 – stic.man x Method Man x Foreign Exchange

14 Oct

I won’t even get into this week’s Fantasy Football, because it was pure disaster. Luckily, I’ve got a slew of articles going up this week to reassure me that despite my football fuckery, I can still write a good article. Yesterday (Monday), I had three pieces go up on HipHopDX, which is the best rap site on the Internet (other than MichiganHipHop, but I’m not counting area-specific sites). I should have more material published in Metro Times this week, and I’ll keep you updated as it’s posted. But till then, follow the jump to see why I’ve got the Internet goin’ nuts.

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