Triple S, also known as Big Trip, has a new song floating around that I believe is part of his new EP that’ll be coming out fairly soon. The joint is called “Make Your Move” and you can peep it right here.
Very often you can tell apart those who actually work hard for what they’re accomplishing from those who benefit from luck. DJ Bizzon is one of those people who is hard at work to build up his reputation as not only a dope DJ, but as somebody who authentically loves Milwaukee and it’s Hip-Hop scene.
If you pay attention to fliers and Facebook, it’s possible that you’ve come across DJ Bizzon’s name quite frequently because I honestly don’t think this guy ever turns down an offer to DJ anything. It’s that work ethic, and willingness to put in time, that got him an opportunity to step in as the co-host of the MadKids radio show that holds down the traditional Hip-Hop spot every Tuesday night on 91.7FM WMSE with the growing legend, Kid Cut Up.
I didn’t have a chance to chop it up with Bizzon until very recently and with tons of people telling me how dope he is and seeing his name everywhere, I knew it was time to hit him up for an interview so we could all get to know DJ Bizzon a little bit better.
Everybody loves going to a party where the DJ actually knows what he/she is doing on the wheels of steel. On the other hand, a place can clear out pretty quickly if the DJ isn’t connecting with the crowd. Have you ever had to get on the tables after somebody has completely stunk it up? How did you bring the party back?
Well luckily I haven’t had to clean up a mess but I have had to do multiple different types of parties in one night. Working at Brooklyn’s, they’d throw birthday parties for 50 year-olds and then start up the club night right after. So, I’d see all the young people come in when the party was wrapping up with a “WTF?” look on their face ready to go home. But, once the party ended I just had to bring it and transition from an old school set into newer stuff. I’d usually drop a sample/break and then drop the new song that sampled it, and that let people know what was up. Or, I’d show up and they’d surprise me with whatever random event was going on, i.e. Fashion Show, 70’s/80’s/90’s party, kids party…even baby showers!
Every DJ has some tricks up their sleeve in the form of certain songs they employ when wanting a certain reaction. What is your “chill” song, “party” song, “end of the night” song, and “let’s get the ladies into it” song?
Hmmm, it’s so much. I like to chill it out pre-party with “Selfish” from Slum Village, or any SV for that matter. My party song is the Nick Catchdubs remix to “Champions” by Kanye West. It has the “Mama Said Knock You Out” beat with some hype extra vocals. I love it. The end of the night song depends on where I’m at but maybe something like “Umi Says” from Mos Def. It’s still uptempo but people can just vibe and relax, sing to it (we all do), and ease out. Although, one night I played “Dear Mama” from Tupac and the entire club was singing it. I’ll never forget that. It’s one of my favorite songs and to see so many people knowing all the lyrics was cool.
If a person pays attention to what’s going on out there, they’d see your name all over the place. You are on the MadKids show now as well. How did you go about getting a lot of these gigs?
Really? People know my crazy name? Literally, just by asking. The dominoes fell pretty cool for me. I hit up DJ Madhatter about doing the Saturday Session on 88.9FM. That led me to do a fund drive party and I met DJ Erich and Kid Cut Up which led to some gigs. I asked Kid Cut Up about the show and just sitting in to learn radio and after some weeks, he asked me to do the show with him. All the while I was DJing poetry open mics, just because I asked to do it, which led to my spot at Brooklyn’s. I’m guessing people thought I was alright at DJing too, so the practice I put in definitely helped.
You are very vocal about Milwaukee Hip-Hop needing to grow and get back to a certain level of authenticity. Please, if you would, break down for the reader how you could see Milwaukee Hip-Hop reach a greater amount of success while maintaining integrity.
Just by being open to different styles of rap and not getting caught up in boxes created by the media and themselves. We all know about the segregation in the scene here but I feel it’s because people either don’t know, or choose to ignore, all that’s going on. I’ve learned so much from talking with and listening to other DJs and I wish other artists would too. Also knowing the history of the music and where it comes from so you don’t make the same mistakes. People just try to do what they hear instead of what they really feel. I love checking out a DJ or rapper and after the set learning more about them as a person. If all artists would just tell their story, and not regurgitate what they hear, the success would come without sacrificing integrity. Money does not equal success.
Serato has been revolutionary in the world of DJing. Some people argue that it’s allowed a lot of people to DJ that shouldn’t be doing so while others champion the technology for what it can do for the seasoned veteran. How do you feel about the DJ moving further and further away from vinyl?
I, personally feel, just rock the party. Technology makes people lazy in all forms of life. With that said, you just have to make sure to stay ahead of the lazy people and be more creative. If somebody can kill a party with Serato or wax, or a mixture…in the end they killed the party. I do feel a DJ needs to learn the basics too. Like I said before, in whatever you do, know and respect the history while you take it to the next level. But, it’s very easy to tell when someone is wack and not using it right, the same way you can tell the difference between real oven baked mac and cheese versus Easy Mac. The microwave is good for some stuff, but you know what tastes better.
What made you get into DJing?
Two things: First, I would be out at a club and think of so many combinations of songs that sounded cool. Second, I felt I could do better than most DJ’s out there.
I was always into music and DJing from an early age thanks to my Mom and Dad. Then, once I was able to go out and check out different spots, I wanted to be in control and get the place going…or just bring something different than what people usually heard.
DJs often find themselves with lots of different music in their repertoire, and not all of it is flattering. I have a few friends that DJ and it’s always funny to hear them mention some of the stuff they have in their collection. What are some records or artists that people would be surprised to know that you have, and listen to? Do you have a crazy obsession with Conway Twitty or anything like that?
Naw, not that crazy. I do like David Bowie and the Doors a lot though. Datarock is DOPE! Funny story though, I remember the first rap song I really got into was “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. In middle school I told this guy and he whispered to his friend, “man, this fool’s favorite rapper is Coolio”. You live and you learn.
Let’s talk a little shop for the DJs that are going to read this interview. What equipment did you start out on, what are you rocking now, and what is the perfect set up in your mind that you hope to have one day?
I started out on Numark HDXs. They were CD turntables with hard drives on them. It was perfect for me because when I started most of my music was digital. Also, it was built like a regular vinyl table so it had a real feel to them. I had a very basic numark mixer as well. Now I have Technic 1200’s for turntables with Shure M44 needles along with a Rane TTM57 mixer. It has great faders and Serato built in. I’m very happy with my set up now but I wouldn’t mind a Rane 68, which is a 4 channel mixer with Serato built in to have 4 turntables at once. An EFX-1000 would add some nice effects. Any MIDI control with multiple banks would be cool for easy access, and 2 1000 watt subs wouldn’t hurt.
Are that any artists in Milwaukee or beyond that you want people to listen to or check out?
Yes tons: Raze, A.P.R.I.M.E., Trellmatic, Frankie Flowers, SPEAK Eazy, One Self, J. Cole, Jay Electronica, Ali Ra, Sypher Squad, Ole P, Def Harmonic, Fresh Cut Collective, Black Milk, Blu & Exile, Madcon, Murs, and many others. Sorry if I left anyone out but just keep your ears open for good stuff so y’all can tell me who to check out.
If somebody wants to get ahold of you to DJ one of their events, how can they do so?
My number is 414-899-5359. Hit me up directly. My email is email@example.com. Or just come talk to me on Mondays at Timbuktu for Sucka Free Mondays. On Facebook, look up “djbizzon miller” or “true hip hop takeover of Milwaukee”. That group is for everyone to post events and information about Hip-Hop in Milwaukee. I just want to provide people with a place to find events they would be interested in and something else besides Top 40’s. I need all y’all help.
Any shout outs?
DJ Madhatter, Kid Cut Up, DJ E.Rich, DJ Webspinna, Him and Her, my uncle from yo mama’s uncle DJ JDL, DJ DMT, Why B, THOR, DJ D-Wood, Steve Marx, Cover Girl, Blackberry, Diva G, Papa Pro, K-W, Tre, G-Nana, Marcus Doucette, DJ Avets, Chalice in the Palice, One Self, WMSE, Radio Milwaukee, Ali Ra, Nigel Wade, Bobby Drake, Ecko…thanks for all y’all help.
Bizzon sent along a mix that he recent did that you can check out by downloading it RIGHT HERE.
DJ Bizzon is also the DJ for the Hip-Hop Hates Breast Cancer event happening this Saturday at the Cactus Club. If you have $5, hate Breast Cancer, love Hip-Hop, and have a free moment or two, stop on by!
Hip-Hop production has many styles and approaches. This diversity of sound leads to many different avenues for the lyricist that often accompanies the producer’s work, to go down.
Trellmatic is a producer known for his soul sound approach to Hip-Hop production and is the guy behind the smooth sounds of the group AUTOMatic, a duo that also consists of emcee A.P.R.I.M.E., as well as providing tracks for many of the various House of M projects.
Coming off of the success of the new AUTOMatic release Transistor, it was time to see what makes Trellmatic tick.
Producing Hip-Hop is something that a lot of people attempt to do, but not many do it well. It’s really a learning process from what I hear. How did you begin your journey with Hip-Hop production? When did you know that you absolutely had to make a beat?
Well, it all started at the age of 6. For Christmas I received my first keyboard which was a Casio SK-1. It had the 5 second sampling function. When I heard my favorite songs on the radio or stereo, I used to hold the keyboard up to the speaker and press the record function on the keyboard and play out the sample amongst the keys. I was so fascinated by this ability and from then on it was history. I still have that keyboard ‘til this day. As a matter of fact I just pulled it out of the closet right now! The first time I knew I had to start taking producing seriously is when I heard Jay-Z’s The Blueprint album and Little Brother’s The Listening album.
You are a guy who samples when putting together your beats. Is sampling essential to the Hip-Hop experience?
Very essential. Sampling is part of what laid the foundation for Hip-Hop and music alike. People say that sampling is cheating and not creative, but to take a sample and recreate it into something totally different or give it a different meaning or perspective is not an easy process if done correctly. Also, sampling is a way to keep the actual “song” that is sampled relevant through time.
Speaking of samples, there are a lot of producers that take offense at people airing out what records they’ve sampled within their beats, yet there are other producers who believe it’s better the air out what’s been sampled in hopes of leading people to find new records to chop up. How do you feel about this issue?
I believe in airing out samples. You know it’s funny, when I saw A-Plus from Souls of Mischief 3 years ago at Stonefly, I thanked him and his group for doing this very thing.
If it wasn’t for groups like Souls of Mischief, Digable Planets, Black Moon, A Tribe Called Quest, etc. for putting sample credits in their cassettes or CD’s, I most likely wouldn’t be where I’m at today and wouldn’t have known who Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey, Ronnie Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Fazeo, or any other of these great artists are. Because of Hip-Hop groups doing this, it opened me up to a whole new genre of music that I hadn’t discovered in its entirety.
When you listen to your two albums with A.P.R.I.M.E., Audiology and Transistor, what do you hear sonically that sets them apart and/or ties them together?
Well, from a production standpoint I think the sound scape is much better than the first album. My sound is a little more dynamic, but not too far out of the box, which I think still gives people a little connection to Audiology. Lyrically I think A.P.R.I.M.E. has definitely grown as an artist. His wordplay has gotten ridiculous and you can hear the confidence on this album, more so than the first. Overall, I think Transistor has shown how we’ve matured as artists, period.
This is a tough choice since I like so many. If had to choose, the one that really had an influence on me to become a producer was Pete Rock. When I heard Soul Survivor, I knew this was something that I wanted to do one day. His bass lines were ridiculous.
What are your weapons of choice when composing a beat?
Dell Inspiron, FLStudio 9, Cool Edit Pro, Audition, Technics SL-D3, Event Monitors, Vinyl, YouTube, my brain, heart and soul.
Do you have any other music or collaborations in the works right now that we can look forward to? If somebody wants to get a Trellmatic beat, how can one do so?
Right now I have two joints on SPEAK Easy’s upcoming LP. I have one joint so far on Frankie Flowers’ upcoming LP. I have a joint on the upcoming Malicious LP. I just did a joint for Mr. Miranda out of Arizona for his upcoming Tribute to Rick James EP. I’m actually about to send some joints out as we speak to Kerse-1 and Qewl Miles. Also, me and A.P.R.I.M.E. are in the process of putting together The Lost Stations which are a collective of songs that didn’t make Transistor and a couple of new joints, so be on the look for that at the end of the year. If any artists are looking to get beats, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter @trellmaticmusic.
Milwaukee Hip-Hop is really gaining the respect of some people outside of the city, as well as new ears within Milwaukee. As somebody who has several projects under his belt, how do you feel about the music, talent level, and respect within the MKE scene?
I feel that Milwaukee collectively has a lot of talented artists. The one thing I don’t like about the Milwaukee scene is how segregated it is. This unfortunately comes from stereotypes and misunderstandings. I am fortunate enough to come across, and work with, some very talented artists from all genres of Milwaukee music.
Any shout outs?
Yes sir. Shout to JR the Supastar (aka Scalez), Scott Knoxx, Rusty P’s, Black Elephant, Stricklin, King Hell Bastard, Malicious, A-Biz, UMG, SPEAK Easy, Frankie Flowers, DJ JDL, DJ Mad Hatter, Kid Cut Up and No Request Sound, DJ Stephanie, Jank One, DJ Venus, House of M, Jihad Baracus, Reason, Dave Derrilykt, AudioPilot, B-Luv, Steph (aka Supasuga), Hanan, A.P.R.I.M.E., Soulmatikk, Gambit, Lou Tang, Ms. Cream, Tre Mag, CT, Dino, Razetastic, JC Poppe, Evan Christian, Nate from Green Tree, Nate the Bartender, Mr. Miranda, and any other local artists, producers and musicians that I may have failed to mention.
Check out one of Trellmatic’s fresh new smoothed out soul beats called “As We Were”.
To kind of continue what ended up being almost like “Dope Folks Records and Stranj Child week” on Milwaukee UP, I decided to see what Stranj Child artist Ku Mays had to say about his solo music, the group, the new release, and Milwaukee.
I highly suggest you put the Stranj Child EP release party that is happening this Saturday night at Burnhearts on your calender, and then make sure you stop by.
Let’s start out with the obvious. Those of us who are familiar with your music, and those who are going to check it out as a result of this interview, have (or will have) one question on their mind. Why in the world are you so weird? I say that for a laugh of course, but your approach is very loose with your solo material and very open to interpretation. What is the process that you go through for creating your music?
My process has always been random when it comes to beat making or writing. Whatever flies into my head at that moment is getting on the track. Sometimes I have ideas of what I want to create but it usually turns into something else. I call it “not taking myself too serious”. It’s borderline recklessness though.
You were once a member of a pretty popular group around Milwaukee that did its thing in the early and mid-nineties. Recently, you and your former group mates decided it was time to take some of the music that you did together as Stranj Child, and release it. How did you decide as a group that you wanted unreleased music from the mid-nineties to finally now see the light of day?
We put a lot of work into those tracks. I’ve always wanted the world to hear them but I never pushed the issue. It’s not like I’m living in the past, it’s just that I’m so proud of the work we put in, the money put down, and the late nights and early mornings at the studio. Back then you couldn’t just go to the homie’s house and rock on his mic and PC, you had to hit up one of the local studios. We recorded most of that stuff in a studio called Monster which was above the old Globe East. We got a discount because our sessions were midnight to 8A.M. CRAZY!
I approached John a couple of years ago, before Dope Folks, about the project. I was going to release it myself and I needed some advice on how to do so. I just never got around to putting the money up to do it. Then John called me and asked if I still wanted to release the stuff, and I said “word up”.
I have had a chance to listen to the EP and it’s really fantastic and it honestly does take you back to the time when Hip-Hop was thriving in its pre-crunk and pre-jiggy era form. Do you have any more music that could be released later on?
Yes, there are others that didn’t make the EP. Right now we just have StranjChild.com that leads to our Facebook page, but in the near future we’ll post most of the music and video on our new site.
When you go back to listen to the tracks you recorded somewhere around 15 years ago, where does it take you emotionally, mentally, and maybe even spiritually? I mean, there has to be some effect to hear that “young man” version of yourself.
Like I said it makes me feel so proud that we not only tried, but we did in fact succeed. Record a record?!?! Three dudes?!? And we’re still very close friends to this day?!?! Who does that?!? StranjChild that’s who!!!!!
I’ve read interviews where you talked about possibly having a deal lined up, and that’s why there isn’t a lot of music available by Stranj Child…you guys just kind of put off recording because you thought that an opportunity was coming soon down the road. What happened with the deal?
It was a combination of many things. We were very over confident about our connections. We knew our music was good and we knew the right people, so we just waited and nothing happened. We’ve recorded here and there but new families, jobs, and distance put all of that to a halt.
You’ve stayed in Milwaukee and have kind of dipped in and out of the Hip-Hop scene here and there. A lot of artists don’t know the history of Milwaukee Hip-Hop and the struggle it had to gain venues, press, and ears. When you look at the segregation of the “club” and “Hip-Hop” scenes and hear the stories of “this person won’t rock with this person because of _____”, and stuff like that, what does it make you think now that Milwaukee Hip-Hop is far more accepted by the press and community at large?
It’s only accepted because some of the same homies that kicked it on East North Ave. free styling on the street corners are the dudes that are writing the articles and blogs. As for the feuding musicians, it has always been that way and it will always be that way. Take a group of Milwaukee musicians and stick them in Chicago at a Mos Def show or another show, and I bet money that they find each other in the crowd and represent their city.
The decision was made to release the EP on vinyl. Was there any reason for that and why you went with that over CDs or MP3s?
Vinyl is so much sexier. Plus, I’m a hand model.
A lot of people are saying that this is the most amount of talent Milwaukee Hip-Hop has ever had, across the board…be it club, indie, production, whatever…so being as there is a lot of talent around, what (if any) tips can you give them that may help them out?
I disagree. The talent has always been here. The scene is the same just different faces. The internet just helps us see the scene. I put Tory Tee, J Slim, J Bird’s 90’s production up against anything put out today and it’ll stand strong. Venues? We always had a place to rock but we complained about not be able to hit certain spots, just like they do today.
Any shout outs?
Shout out to the members of Stranj Child, @oosakibros and J tha Stranjah.
Buy a record & tee shirt.
In advance of his upcoming album, Mo Profit Mo Progress 2, Proph has released his first single from the project, a song called “Hunnid Karats”.
There isn’t a date nailed down for the release of the project yet but I’ve been told that it’s going to be relatively soon.
“Hunnid Karats” –
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