With more and more outspoken voices becoming noticeable in the Milwaukee Hip-Hop scene, there is a decision to get louder so that one can be heard or to simply yield to those voices and get down to work. Producer/engineer/occasional emcee, Adlib, has taken the later path.
Now, don’t take that as him being silent…this is far from the case. Adlib speaks his mind and is followed for it as well as vehemently hated because of it. More often than not however, Adlib chooses to focus on recording at his new studio and making music for artists and companies. After a strong 2009, he’s spent his 2010 thus far working towards new goals. So, what is Adlib up to?
When 2009 closed, you were one of the winners of the Miltown Beat Down. However, this year there was no Adlib on the roster of artists battling. How come you weren’t in the battle this year to defend your title?
Well I was about to enter it, BUT, I didn’t because I didn’t want to do all that extra crap. I just want to come, press play, and battle. I really didn’t have time to dedicate to create an ultra mix to possibly win and move to the next round, you know? And, this year I didn’t make a lot of “battle” beats, I produced a lot of different type records. I’m all about making music now. Muuuuusic!! Not rap, or hip-hop, but music in general.
I feel very accomplished by it. Not only did I show that I can create a lot of different diverse types of music, I also showed off my engineering skills and rapping skills…even though it’s [rapping] subpar. I produced recorded and mixed that whole record except for “Blow Pops” and “Show me the Money”. My guy Antagonist (www.califloridaproductions.com) hooked me up with the mixes and even the vocals. As far as changing…I don’t think I would have done anything different. Speak [SPEAK Easy] also helped me sequence it. He was there one night choppin it up with me and giving his opinion on things.
Earlier this year you opened up Digital Kitchen, a recording studio. How did all that come together? Tell me about the studio. What’s kind of equipment do you have and what are you equipped to do?
I opened up Digital Kitchen studios with a childhood friend of mine, Lorenzo “Fela” Vasquez. I needed a new place to set up and I as long as I’ve known Fela [pronounced like fella] he always did the studio thing (Check El Gordos “Momento de Verdad”). So, I came up with a small business plan that would allow us to open a new studio at a very small cost. The studio actually paid itself. We set up shop in Bayview and now we’re together giving local artists a great place to record without having to spend a lot of money and without compromising the quality.
Our setup goes as followed:
Custom Built Vocal Booth
Mbox 2 and Mbox 2 Pro
2 Technique 1200’s
A custom built PC
2 event 20|20 Monitors 2 Yamaha studio Monitors 2 event Tr5 Monitors
Yamaha 24track Digital Recorder
Rode NT Mic
For software I have stuff like the Wave mixing bundle, Komplete 5 for producing, Cubase, Auto Tune, and just about everything else…oh yeah and Fruityloops. But, fuck FL. I’d rather bang beats on a pad like a human than be all point and clicking. I feel like I’m forgetting something but oh well. Anyone who rents the studio has access to all this stuff so just holla!!
As somebody who is very vocal about sound and are a perfectionist as an engineer, how do you achieve the perfect sound for each project that you undertake?
My thing about mixing is the simpler the better. When you start trying to use plug ins to fix a recording, that means that your recording sucks and you should really be looking for a way to enhance the recording quality. Plug ins are used to shine up your Vox or instruments, give it that UMPH! So, if the project is recorded by me, I make sure that the recording itself is on point. Everything else after that is a piece of cake. I barely need to use EQ on vocals because my recording already comes out “bright” with a nice shine to it. Now I’ve mixed some terrible sounding stuff and have made it sound great, but that don’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to improve your quality as often as you can. I still try to find ways to make my recordings sound better.
Aight, this is what I do, seriously. I light a blunt and just go in. I have no special approach or anything like that. I’m also pretty well rounded on the keyboard so I usually can play anything I want. Sometimes it’s not that easy though. But, yeah, usually I already know what I want it to sound like unless I’m using a sample. I don’t depend on samples though. There’s no money in samples!
Wade Wilson is out, your studio is up and running…what are your plans for the next couple months?
My plans…hmm…I don’t know. I know I stay working on UMG music all the time so that won’t stop unless I tragically die tomorrow or something. But for now I’ve really been trying to land placement with my beats, and not with major artist but with companies. I had a chance last year with GMR but unfortunately they haven’t solidified their urban department yet so right now I’ve been working with another company that Prophetic hooked me up with, and everything has been dandy!
Are you considering doing another album at all?
Um, maybe. Not too sure yet. Sorry for the vague response but I really don’t know.
What artists have you been working with recently?
Well of course UMG, Diva, and Tonye. I really haven’t reached out to too many people cause I’ve really lost a passion for our “local” scene, but I did end up on Pizzle’s last 2 mixtapes he just dropped. Oh yeah, Tay Butler right now has my hotest material up to date. His record is gonna be cold and the production is beyond immaculate.
I like to ask everybody what they think about the current state of Milwaukee Hip-Hop because some really good stuff is coming out of the MKE scene right now. How do you feel about the state of the scene?
Honestly I haven’t heard anything, and it might sound assholeish but that’s because I really don’t care anymore. A lot of the “emcees” only rap about how others shouldn’t rap about this or that. I say who gives a fuck! I like music, whatever it maybe. I’ll listen to Talib today and then some UGK or 3-6 tomorrow. I don’t pigeonhole artists or discriminate against artists. If it sounds good it sounds good. What’s the point of being an angry rapper all the time? I couldn’t even tell you what the last project that came out was, besides Pizzle’s. I like to have FUN, and enjoy music at many different levels and Milwaukee’s “scene” just don’t do it for me anymore. Matter of fact the next CD I’m getting is Young Dream and Franchise’s project. Unless I know you personally or you’re in my camp, I haven’t been really keeping up and that’s sad considering that I have been around this scene since ‘01. My first show was the last emcee battle at Tai Joes. This dude named Kane won. I still remember it to this day like it was last night.
Any shout outs?
Sure. Shout out to the whole UMG squad, Pizzle and I94, the A-Team, Streetz and Young Dueces and all of EMP, Speak Easy, Misen Lync, TCS, my kids and to whoever created us. Holla spik yall! Oh yeah check my blog www.digitalkitchen411.tumblr.com and www.umbrellasup.com.