He’s been building a name for himself for years through the Detroit producer scene and now with his latest release has only solidified his staying power as a force to be reckoned with. I ran into Brett Fullerton at this year’s March Madness producer beat battle & he slipped me a flash drive jam-packed with ear candy. The main chunk on that flash drive just happened to be “I-BEX” his latest beat tape featuring twelve head nodding delectables perfect for an instrumental listening session or some off the dome freestyle fun with a pack of emcees. Each record brings a different flavor of the producer’s capabilities with shining moments for me being “Ruins“, the title track “I-BEX“. & “Venture“. The latter I played a good twenty times in the last few weeks securing its spot towards the forefront of my go-to playlist. “Oh no, Oh No….” so the beat goes but oh yes do we have a terrific example of production for all my instrumental lover’s out there.
Beware – “Learning Together 2”
In a follow-up to 2014’s first entry comes “Learning Together 2”. A spacy vibey instrumental invasion has begun and Beware is the producer pilot in this half an hour packed adventure. “Space Invaders” was a real standout starting off but as I dove in deeper between the talking bytes that pair sounds together in a way that just fits I was immersed. A journey into the technology of the past is the concept behind this here release and do I think it was able to convey this concept? Absolutely. “Cheap Mansion“, “Zoo Beans“, “Flipping Stereo“…..man the whole thing is dope. Detroit is spoiled with talent right now and Beware is yet another shining example.
Stream/Purchase: Beware “Learning Together 2” https://songwhip.com/album/beware/learning-together-2
AGiLE SOCiETY – the UNMiXED 420 LiST
After many trials & tribulations & some delay, the latest release from AGiLE SOCiETY was finally given the “green” light. Unearthed for your listening pleasure the two-part instrumental project had to battle through the distributor’s assumption that it was packing samples. However, when it comes to creative forces of AGiLE SOCiETY the sounds they were hearing indeed were not samples but the purposeful natural creations of the skilled artists behind “the UNMiXED 420 LiST“. The soul of side B had semblances of vocals that indeed were not but had the work called into questioning.
In the modern day music scene, it’s becoming less & less likely to have such original compositions, especially in hip-hop! However with “the UNMiXED 420 LiST” we’re treated with a double dosage two-part manifesto of instrument driven sounds compiling into one purely excellent listening session. Beat lovers and instrumental junkies rejoice, maybe puff a few dragons, and soak in the vibes of AGiLE SOCiETY in the purest form.
SIDE A FAVORITES: Cult, Go Harder, Let It Flow, Toy Story
SIDE B FAVORITES: Citybus, Coil, Open, Quagmire, Touch
These favorites just happen to be my personal vibes. Being an emcee myself when I listen to instrumentals I’m kind of always judging by whether I would really want to craft a record myself out of what I’m listening to. So with that those favorites are just the joints that had my lyrical mind flowing the most, however, there’s a ton to love throughout these two sides outside of my personal faves & even the records I maybe wouldn’t particularly write to are still standout offerings worthy of vibing out to. AGiLE SOCiETY continues their hot streak with yet another stellar release of which more is sure to come soon.
THE HIP-HOP LOCKER ROOM With Rod Wallace + “At The End Of The Day” Beat Tape
COMMi$$ION: With your latest release “At The End of The Day” you mentioned when reaching out to me that it allowed you to tackle a lot of tough situations in the last year. What was it about this project in particular that aided through rough times?
Rod Wallace: Just being able to process change. One of the only constants throughout my life has been music, so I turned to it to help me start processing some of the tough issues and choices I faced. As you get older, relationships change, your expectations of people change. You question your purpose. The only way to deal with some of it is to really become an evaluator of your own thoughts and emotions and how you interpret the things that happen. So I went into a cocoon but didn’t realize these were the records I was making until I looked at them as a whole. I came to realize that making this album was me processing the pain that I hid outside of the studio.
The reason that it is called “At The End Of The Day” is because you have to be really, really honest with yourself and your perception of yourself. It is what it is. There are truths that are inescapable, but living and flourishing within them and giving that to others can help you see the other side.
COMMi$$ION: For those just stumbling across your music or even longtime fans what’s the backstory behind Rod Wallace and when did you get your start in music?
Rod Wallace: I was born and raised in Flint and I grew up around plenty of music. I was in my father’s records on the daily. I started recording music in 1989 and was always more curious about that process than being an artist. I went to Eastern Michigan University and wanted to become a professor, but I continued making music. I put out my first album in 2000. I went to Recording Institute of Detroit and met @MicNotes and we started Double Negative People by bringing our crews of artists together. At the time, I was also a teacher in Detroit, and I used hip-hop as a learning tool in my classroom and eventually as a school administrator. I came back to music in 2013 thanks to my wife, and I founded a music production program for kids at River Rouge High School with Travis Beane called RRAMP that has helped hundreds of kids get started in production and making music. Now, I am back at Eastern Michigan University studying hip-hop pedagogy and urban education as a doctoral student. In the process, I get to work with young people AND advocate for hip-hop and producer culture and the creators in the area. I get the best of both worlds.
COMMi$$ION: Throughout “At The End of The Day” elements from the classroom seem to be sprinkled throughout. Is there, in fact, a theme you were following during the creation process?
Rod Wallace: Since I wasn’t working in the school anymore and that was what I did everyday for a long time, I think I went through a withdrawal to a point. I felt guilty about not being on the frontlines helping kids everyday, and even though the program I direct at EMU works with high school students, a part of me was missing.
I think that you have to be a good leader first in order to be a good teacher. The problems that exist in education are not necessarily new, especially when it comes to the gap between teachers and kids. Teachers have to realize that being in front of a classroom is not about power, it’s about service. The same is true of life overall. Soon as you think you can exert power over it, you find out quick that you really can’t. If you listen to the teacher, he figures out that he is making the situation way worse than it needs to be.
I think its also about education in general. “Teacher Teacher” is about a teacher that is overwhelmed…..kids going through changes, trying to understand society in general while developing. Teaching can be chaotic, and that songs represents that chaos. I try to convey things through music without having to say it.
COMMi$$ION: You recently were the executive producer on “Phuckenum” by The Dirty Ol Men, a group of producers that meet in a city once per year. This time around that city was San Francisco, Ca. What was the most memorable experience well working on that release & is there any future plans to join them again?
Rod Wallace: The Dirty Ol Men is a group of producers from all over the world. Many of us meet in a city once a year and buy a bunch of records and make music for a weekend or so. We do a weekly vodcast with Digital Hustle Films called the Scratch Magazine Hangout every Friday night. We talk about music and gear and all that, but we spend alot of time laughing at how we interpret life. We have released over 20 projects in the past three years or so. I usually mix the projects.
COMMi$$ION: I’ve noticed that you constantly are contributing to the hip-hop scene both as an artist and as support. Amonsgt the Detroit area are there any particular artists you look up to or have been influenced by either past or present?
Rod Wallace: I’m a curator of hip-hop. Always have been. I would never disrespect DJ’ing by saying that I am a DJ, I can’t do what Los or Uncle P does. To be honest, I am inspired by the unity and support I see people showing each other more than anything.
I appreciate the music and the culture itself because I critically study its actual power and influence, and because of that I have grown to love and respect the process and people who are hungry for it around me. They deserve unadulterated support because I feel like they are doing it for the right reasons and not only chasing a bag, but adding something to the conversation. Merch Music deserves support. I think Swoop is a star. Street Gang could be the Wu of production teams. Tru Klassick has my favorite record on the planet right now, and I told him that. Middle Finger Music and Big Gov and Supa and Team Money Hungry, so many different styles. I think knowing that somebody is in their corner is sometimes just enough for an artist to keep plugging in.
I think the most inspiring thing is how many of my former students are making music now and on the come up at the same time. Milfie, E Baby, Jonnie Morris, E-Man Bates, so many others. I mixed a whole album for Damn Jamz called Math In Ink, I was his fifth-grade teacher! To be told that I helped to inspire them is the best feeling in the world because I will always be their teacher.
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Ketch P – “Death Soup” ft Guilty Simpson & Paradime – Prod by Blizzard
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Danny Brown – Dirty Laundry
So Easy – “Greyhounds And $50 Hotels”
Big Gov & Pierre Anthony – “No Love”
3269 CHISE – DBOY OR DIE (PRODUCED BY: MERCH MUSIC)
Danny Brown – Dirty Laundry
So Easy – “Greyhounds And $50 Hotels”
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