You know what it’s all about, I gotta look out for my homies. In all honesty though, that ain’t what this New Artist Spotlight is all about. True, I’ve had contact with SoulClap for over four years now, but I’m not doing this as any kind of “favor”. I’m doing this because with his MCing partner, Tony Tigerstyle, the form the Soul Occs and they are putting out some incredible music. SoulClap and I met while frequenting the Mastaace boards back in late 2003/early 2004. We both had a common tastes in hip hop music and while he was a younger cat, he was already up on his history and that he didn’t know, he was eager to learn. It wouldn’t be long after that Clap would take up making beats. I won’t say the Clapster was horrible at first, far from it, but truth is that Clap has improved in LEAPS and BOUNDS. You can feel the love in the music he makes. Truth is, I’m often somewhat hard on Clap. He asks for my opinion on a beat and I give him an honest answer. If I’m not feeling, I’ll straight up tell him, I’m not feeling it. Hopefully he respects the honesty, because I don’t think it does him any good by hyping everything up. If I am feeling it, I’ll pump it up as well. I kind of take him for granted, because to me, he is “SoulClap”, fellow WYDU contributor and mastaace.com confidant.
Clap would get his hustle on and a year or so later after he started making beats. He would send me a track with this cat from L.A. rhyming on one of his beats. It struck me as, “dayum, this dude is pretty nice”, soon, the Soul Occupants would be born. It’s been great watching Clap and Tony progress and morph into a group that has the talent to really make some noise. Currently, the two are holed up in Germany, working on an album. I truly hope the take full advantage of this, because this is the type shit dreams are made of. Fucking around and making music. And hopefully, it’s just the beginning.
I got a chance to talk to Tony and SoulClap and here is what went down
Tony: What’s hood y’all? I’m ya kid with 9 lives, Tony Tigerstyle.
Clap: I’m the Clapster. Most of y’all already know me, so I will keep it short… Making Beats for 3 ½ years now…
W: Alright, so you are pulling the “Foreign Exchange” trick, with SoulClap being from Germany and Tony being from LA, how did the two of you hook up?
Clap: In the end of ’05 Asphate Woodhavet hit me up, and asked if I wanna make some beats for the label Madeline Soul LLC. It’s DJ Episodes label, and HE told me to hit up Tony. It started through myspace, then we started chatting on Yahoo messenger, got to know each other. I sent him beats, he took his picks, and the rest is history… The first track we did was My ChildHOOD, everybody loved that joint, so we decided to start working on an album. We came up with the name “Soul Occupants” pretty quick, cause that’s who we are and we represent.(the sole owners of our position) Since we have great chemistry we became really close friends with time.
W: A lot of the WYDU fans know about SoulClap and his past, but Tony might be a bit more of mystery if they haven’t read the interview that he did early on WYDU, can you give some info on your background?
Tony: No problem, I’m originally from the south-side of Chicago, Illinois. I was raised in a place called the Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa/ Rock Island, Il.) It’s the home of football legend Roger Craig. And, I’ve resided for the past 18 years in Long Beach, Ca. I was a finalist in the same competition that launched Joel Ortiz (EA Sports Livestyle Rap Battle 2004), but didn’t get the decision before the final round to meet Ortiz. I’m mostly known just as a battle emcee, but I’m working hard to change that. I’ve performed and written with numerous top musicians who’ve helped me develop myself over that time, and I’m just trying to not have my contribution to hip-hop as an emcee go unnoticed. Live shows and recording is my sh%t! You know that guy who can rip anytime anywhere, but just hasn’t got that chance or proper forum to show it off….well, nice to meet you, lol. I was blessed, however, to do a few things in LA, but it’s hard to stand out. The area is very saturated and cliquish; if that’s the right term for it. But, I still love and rep Cali too.
W: So you two are vibing together for the next three months in Germany, right? How is that going down and how did that come about?
Tony: It’s going like I expected, great! We’re taking our time to fill in the pot holes we see missing, and give the fans like us, what they really want. Good beats and rhymes…classics. We met through a mutual friend, DJ Episode of Madeline Soul Music (Des Moines, IA). And we just were on the same level in lots of ways. We both wanted to give hip-hop a shot in the arm. Speaking for myself, I love the fact that it’s still evolving and growing, but so does fungus, lol. To me, certain aspects need to be preserved. The main goal for me is to push the envelope, and re-establish the level of quality writing, performing, and emceeing in general. The clothes, cars, and who you’re down with is played. For real listeners, and fans…..you just gotta bring it.
Clap: We just needed to get together. Tony didn’t have the chance to record whenever he wanted and needed some change, so we got him over here. Now we can work on everything more effectively. We can pick the cuts together, he can directly tell me how he wants the beats to be, he can spit the rhymes for me before we record it, we just contribute to the others work, which wasn’t possible in that way before. Everything is a lot easier now. When the track is written we can directly go over to my boy Esperado’s (www.myspace.com/esperadomc) and record it. Plus I purchased a new computer specifically for music only. I can copy the whole sess
ion from Esperado, and mix it at home. Perfect!
W: Tony what is it like being in Germany for all of this? That would have to be a great big culture shock. What did it take to take three months to do this?
Tony: Honestly, it is very different, but I’m so used to change it’s not that big of a shock. I do like the energy for the authentic approach we have. I’ve received a warm welcome from everyone I’ve encountered so far. I just want to do the fans justice, and let ‘em know there’s much, much, more out here for ‘em. And, to knock down the wall for the emcee who is reading this right now, and knows he or she has that hotness. WE (undergrounders) make the game go ‘round…believe that. As far as what did it take? God blessing us, and I guess just the love of my friends, family behind me, and the haters to motivate me. Gotta have them haters, hahahaha.
Clap: OK, this is a hint to one of our album joints called “The hate that made me”. Let’s just say the player hater’s ball on Dave Chappelle was just the beginning, lol. I think the main difference is that everything is much more expensive over here. You ( in the U.S.) complain about the gas prices? We have to pay twice as much…
W: How important do you think it is to be able to actually sit down and discuss things to the outcome of the album?
Tony: I think conceptualizing is mandatory for making classic art period. You gotta have vision, and be in a comfortable place, wherever that is for you. And, if you have a partner, they and you have to be on a similar page. Respect for each others contribution and creative process is also very valuable. Without that, it’s kaos.
W: What do you two hope to achieve with this album? Do you have big label dreams or just hoping get the Soul Occ’s name out there?
Tony: God willing?!? What I want to give is the same feeling Run gave me at the Fresh Fest back in the day. Also, the same feeling I got from all of my ‘big brothers and sisters of hip-hop’ watching them on Yo! MTV Raps and Classic RapCity growing up. Man, If I can transfer that energy to the next kid comin up…. job well done. What about you Clap?
SoulClap: Our approach is, to make good music. We are just doing us. You can’t push us in any direction, we got our own, very unique sound. If we wanna use synths, we will do that, cause if it’s hot it’s hot. We will add our own flava, we will have cuts on it or whatever. We got shit to bang your trunk, we got shit to make you think, we got shit to make you feel, we got it all, and everybody can relate to it, that’s important! We will check the label opportunities later, that’s not the most important thing right now.
Clap: It will be a concept album called “Soul Brothers”, and updated version of the Blues Brothers theme, but I don’t wanna tell too much right now.
W: I know you’ve been keeping potential guests underwraps, but any chance of WYDU exclusives being mentioned? Hahaha
Clap: We got a track with Punch called “Dedicated to the B’s” and a track with Superstar Quamallah called “The Raw”. Those are the names that are already definite. I really don’t wanna say too much, but I got a mail from my hero today and he might end up on it too… We also have Rosevelt from Inland Empire, CA on a track called “Paper Steady” and might have 2 or 3 more guests, but I really can’t say anything else right now.
W: What is in the immediate future for the Soul Occs, besides just working on the album? Any shows planned for while Tony is there?
Clap: We got a show with EMC, Torae and Marco Polo on May 26th and will be performing as the main act in a freestyle battle on May 31st, I will be one of the judges too. We are working on doing a birthday Bash with The Smile Rays too. They will be in Germany for three months too, Daisey’s b-day is June 9th, mine is June 10th, so I came up with the idea of doing a show together around that time, it may go down in Berlin. Besides that I’m trying to get us some more shows. Holla, lol!
W: Also gotta ask if Clap is going to be making it across the pond? It’s his turn next to get his butt over hear so we can show him how to do it American style….haha
Clap: It’s just a matter of time, give me those dollars (or better euros at this time) and I’m on the next plane… It still might happen that there will be a Soul Occs Canada tour in August/September, but we don’t have a definite word on that yet…
W: Any last words to the fans out there in blog land?
Tony: Hey, I just want to say thank you for listening, pull ya shoes up, and getcha neck ready, lol! Hope you enjoy what we have in store for y’all. Keep it regular!!
W: Alright, best of luck to the two of you, looking forward to the album
Clap: Thank you, much appreciated!
Tony: No doubt, and thank for the interview. That’s what’s up! Soul Occs baby!