Answer the following question:
What does acronym stand for in One Be Lo’s new album “R.E.B.I.R.T.H”?
send the answer to:
WYDUBLOG@yahoo.com (DO NOT send it to the contact email, it WILL be ignored)
You will have from 9am EST (or as soon as I post this) to 9pm EST March 11th to submit your answer. I will draw two lucky winners from the correct answers. I will contact the winners to get their addresses and the such, so if you want me to send it to a different email address or something, please leave it.
NOTE: Sorry, but anyone associated with WYDU are not eligible.
One Be Lo has long been another personal favorite of mine. I’ve long considered “Masters Of The Universe” one of the greatest LP’s of the current decade. That album was made when Lo was part of the Detroit Michigan duo, Binary Star with Senim Silla. After breaking up, One Be Lo (then known as One Man Army) went the solo route and would drop the WaterWorld Too compilation in 2001, along with the F.E.T.U.S. compilation in 2003. In 2005, he would drop another critically acclaimed album in the form of S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. He recently dropped the first of what could be four albums in the next two years, R.E.B.I.R.T.H. We had a chance to kick it with the man and this is what became of it.WYDU: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, do you mind doing a quick introduction?
One Be Lo: No problem…I jumped on the scene as OneManArmy with a group called Binary Star, moved on to do my solo thing as OneManArmy aka One Be Lo.
W: Before jumping into the new album, how about some background. How did you come into being an MC? Who were some of your influences coming up in the game?
OBL: I was always just a fan. Never thought I would be rhyming one day. Even when I was rhyming back in school, it was for fun not because I was trying to go somewhere with it. The shit that inspired me the most was ’92- ’94, those years is when I started to wake up.
W: How is it different coming up as part of group, i.e. Binary Star, to being a solo artist?
OBL: The only difference is I gotta write more verses, do more on stage, come up with all the ideas and try to make my thoughts make sense to everybody else knowing that I can’t blame nobody else if the shit ain’t tight.
W: How do you look back at “Masters of The Universe” and it’s role in the hip hop culture, some (meaning myself) have often included it in the short list of the best releases of the decade.
OBL: Honestly, I don’t really know what kind of role that record played in hip hop. I was on this end trying to build a name for myself and from a Michigan perspective, I didn’t even know heads knew that we existed. We didn’t have publicity, management, a booking agent, no video’s, poor distro, and we wasn’t even a crew by the time the record came out. So I wasn’t even thinking about Binary Star back then.
W: Starting with even the Binary days, you always had “more” to say than the average MC, what do you credit to that transformation from an “M.C.” to someone who has something to say? Does religion (being Muslim) have any ties to that?
OBL: I was a fan of those type of emcee’s, so then and even now I talk about what I wanna hear an emcee talk about. I’m my biggest fan, so I make the kind of music that I wanna hear.
W: Was the concept of “S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M”, “F.E.T.U.S.”, “R.E.B.I.R.T.H.” and the rumored “L.I.F.E.” was this all something planned out, or did it just come out that way. Discuss the whole meaning of the concept.
OBL: It was all an accident. It started with the idea of me doing a record called L.I.F.E.(Lo is for everybody). That was back in ’01, and I didn’t think I was ready yet, so I started putting together other projects to document my growth as an artist. It’s all about the growth and development on One Be Lo that’s all.
W: Let’s jump into the new album. You recorded a lot of this at your own studio, how does
that in itself effect the creative process of making an album?
OBL: It makes a big difference. I can take all the time I want, I can spit anytime I feel like it, I can record as many different versions that I feel, I can make as many changes that I need to make. I don’t have to involve anybody in the process unless I want to.
W: What goes into the creative thought process of one of your albums? Do you choose the beats, then write or write then choose a beat or a little of both?
OBL: It’s all about how I feel at that moment. Spontaneity is important to me, as well as the vibe. If it feels right at the time, I’m gonna do it. I listen to some of the shit I wrote in the past, and I know there’s no way I could come up with that shit right now, but at that moment that’s what I was thinking so that’s what I did. Same with the beats, the interludes, sound clips, etc…
W: This album doesn’t contain the “in-family” production that the past albums have included. Who are some of the producers you worked with on this project and why did you choose to go with them.
OBL: I used to call myself recording albums, but now I just record music. Back then, I might here a smooth beat but I wouldn’t use it because I already had one for the album. Now, If I hear 10 smooth beats and I like them all, I’m gonna record them all. they don’t have to go on the same album. They way I put this album together had nothing to do with the producers, it was more about me looking at my stash and putting together what I thought would be the most cohesive. Most of the producers on this record I got mad shit recorded with them as well as other producers. But I thought these songs fit the Rebirth theme the most. It’s about to get real crazy.
W: Do you have a favorite cut on this album?
OBL: They all special to me for different reasons, I can’t single out one joint. I know when people listen, they ain’t hearing what I’m hearing. I record these songs one at a time so I got time to digest everything individually. But when you listen to the record, it’s all new all at once. That’s a lot of shit to digest, and sometimes it can take people years to catch some of the lines. To me that’s why it’s timeless.
W: I thought the concept for “Hip Hop Heaven” was rather ill, it kind of reminded me of “I’m Dead” from the first Scarface album. How did you come up with that idea? How do you get inspirations for albums/songs?
OBL: So many things inspire me in general, from conversations, movies, books, people, just life in general. But when I heard this beat, it made me think of something not real, like the beat was a dream or something. I thought about that movie sixth sense, and I figured I would try to do my own version of it. I didn’t think it would make sense at first, at least not to other people. It sounded forced, so I tried to write other shit to it, but I couldn’t hear anything else but that concept. So I finished it.
W: You are putting this album out on your own, correct? Did the Fatbeats thing didn’t feel right, or was this something that you wanted to do all along? How do you feel about being in that part of the game, putting out your own work that is?
OBL: I wanted to put this record out myself to have something I could sell on the road, something that nobody else would have control of. I wanted to put it out even when I was signed to FatBeats, and then I offered to turn it in to them so I could be one album from completing my contract. Some much other shit was going on, I decided to bounce and they agreed to let me go. Now I’m right where I wanna be.
W: How do you feel about the concept of making albums and making songs? In the Ipod age, are albums something that are kind of an extinct creature?
OBL: I feel like whether you make albums or make songs, just make good music. I don’t know what everybody else is listening to, but that ain’t got nothing to do with what I do. I just do what I do and whoever want it can come and get it.
W: You spend a lot of time on the road. How does the live show figure in to being a complete artist? What are some of the livest spots to play at?
OBL: I’m not sure what a complete artist, I just know One Be Lo. I spend mad time on the road because first and foremost, that’s how I pay my bills. Seeing the world has helped me grow as a person and as an artist as well, but whether you an artist or not I think you should travel as much as you can.
W: What do you have in store for the future? I’m sure you are sick of this question, but you know I have to ask, any chance of a Binary Star album in the future?
OBL: I got so much in store for the future. My library is deep right now. Expect at least 4 albums in the next 2 years, a bunch of collabs, instrumental albums and all that good shit from One Be Lo.
W: What producers do you have on slate for the next projects?
OBL: I’m working with anybody who got that illness. Some of my favorite shit on Deck right now is with Black Milk, Jake One, and a whole list of others. Stay tuned.
W: Any parting words of wisdom? How do you feel about the current state of hip hop? What’s your thoughts of the internet’s role on how things are marketed and promoted?
OBL: All I can say is, if you like the music you hear, then support as much as you can. Especially the independents. I don’t really know much about the current state of hip hop because I don’t keep up on it like that, but I think One Be Lo is relevant. The game is so different now, the internet is that shit, you can find that good shit if you look for it, but you still gotta sift through a lotta garbage. I used to think everybody and they momma was rappin like 10 years ago. But now, everybody and the momma, daddy, cousin, and uncle is rappin and making beats too.
W: Thanks for your time….