Boom Bap is alive and well in the hands of Jihad Baracus, but more importantly Jihad is alive and well. After a temultuous couple of years on the personal side of things, Jihad is back and ready to re-launch back into the music community beyond being a Miltown Beat Down contestant…which is great for emcees that are seeking the punch, stab, crunch, pound, and slap sounds created by Jihad’s sample placement and powerful drums.
I was able to catch up with Jihad Baracus, no relation to Bosco, to see what’s good.
I know that you started out as an emcee. What got you into doing Hip-Hop?
I use to play records on my Fisher Price turntable when I was five. My dad copped some Grand Master Flash records and some Sugar Hill records because he didn’t want me messing around with his Motown records. I started doing my thing on the mic around ’86 just for fun ribbin cats on the yellow bus and what not. I got really really serious around the mid-nineties. I used to spit in my dorm room back when I was at Alabama A&M.
You are now behind the boards, composing beats. What led you to transition in making the music instead of the lyrics?
It used to mess around with drum machines back in the late eighties, my freshman and sophomore years of high school. My dad had a really nice record collection. I would go in the basement after I came home from Tech and listen to records for hours. I used to deal with a couple of local producers that were unorganized or control freaks so I copped an ASR10 back in ‘96 and here I am.
As a producer, you are more of a hardware type of guy. What equipment do you use to compose your bangers?
I learned how to make beats on the ASR10. All of my homies from A&M were rocking the 10 and a lot of kids I knew in Milwaukee were using it too. Now in 2010 I use the MPC 2500. The work flow is crazy, it has a USB port that I use to backup and transfer files from my computers and the sequencer is the best hardware sequencer I’ve ever used. I’ve been in the lab making beats on my SP1200 lately. I’m working on a project that’s all SP1200 called 10 Seconds of Murder. It should be finished in the fall.
2 years ago you were a quarter-finalist in the Miltown Beat Down. Last year you were one of the champions. This year, the beat down underwent a facelift as Jordan Lee tried some new things to keep the event fresh. How did you feel about the changes?
Let me clear this up, I’m the 2009 Champ. I won the main event which was the freestyle head to head competition. Some heads that were not at the Beat Down or who did not follow it that year got it twisted. Magic [Fingaz] won the remix competition and Adlib won the live battle. It was kind of like first, second, and third.
I welcome change. I’m always game to try new types of shit. It gets kind of boring doing the same thing every go ‘round. Different types of challenges make you a more well-rounded producer.
Your NFL beat is legendary among those of us who attended the beat battles regularly. Can you walk me through the process Jihad Baracus goes through when making a killer beat like that one?
The process was crazy. I never set out to make a banger. I was at work with my laptop, I downloaded The NFL on FOX theme song and started chopping it up in a program called Recycle. I think I chopped it into ten pieces. When I got home I loaded it to the MPC and added some drums. It was really just an experiment. Once I got the samples into the MPC it only took me about 20 minutes to make. I wasn’t going to even play it that night but the dude I was going up against was so cocky and I was in front of a capacity crowd…I had to kill him! I actually made two NFL beats. I put the new NFL beat on the five minute beats set I sent you.
What and who are you working with/on right now?
I just joined the House Of M, I did a cut on the new Raze album, I’m working on some songs with Speak Easy, JC Poppe, Yetudae (Critical Analysis) of my old group Black Surreal, Bru’Tal, and me and Lex Luther are working on a project called Championship Material.
You’ve been holding Milwaukee down for a while. There is a lot of buzz about this new school of MKE Hip-Hop artists. I know you aren’t a man to hold your tongue, so what are your views on the state of Milwaukee Hip-Hop?
I dig some of the new cats. I really dig Frankie Flowers, Blizz McFly, The Cranberry Show, Pizzle, and Prophetic. There are some older cats that I would like to work with like Strick, Twan Mack, Drew, Cal, Scotty Knoxx, and Rico Love.
The locks that you had been carrying for years are now missing. What led you to start fresh?
I got tired of them. I may grow them back. Who knows?
At the Beat Down finals last year, you got nasty on 40 Mil with the sample “…40? Nobody gives a fuck about 40”. I know myself and others were hoping for a rematch between you two this year, which unfortunately didn’t happen. If 40 was down, would you give him a chance to get you back?
I had to go hard on 40 if I wanted the crown. I grew up with 40 and we produced some of the same people back of the day so he knew what I had in my catalog. Me and 40 can have a rematch any time he’s ready. Shit 40 has been over to the crib. I don’t give a fuck, we can set up the equipment on my front porch and bang out for the neighbors. The diss clip I used against 40 was from the HBO show The Wire.
Any shout outs?
DJ Madhatter, Kid Cut Up, Moda3, The House of M, and all of those who support Jihad Baracus. If you need some beats for a project, holla at ya boy. JihadBaracus@yahoo.com.
Here are two of the infamous beats Jihad used to level the competition in his 2009 Miltown Beat Down win as well as a 5 minute arrangement of bangers for your enjoyment.
NFL on FOX –
STYX (Forty) –
Five Minute Beat Set –