WYDU and Bloggerhouse will be featuring Spotlight week for this week. Check WYDU for a spotlight on west coast Project Blow graduate, NoCanDo
Let’s face it, Detroit has been killin’ it the last four or five years. I would say hands down, it’s my favorite city/region. They have a “sound” that just oozes bangin’ drums, hard snares and rigid basslines. The emcee’s are on point as well, with Elzhi and Royce The 5’9 arguably the best emcees to be spittin’ on the mic these days. The D is runnin’ things on the hip hop scene.
So naturally I’ll check for just about anything new coming out of the city, that’s what lead me to checking out Denmark Vessey and Quelle Life (along with Dart’s seal of approval), together they are known as Crown Nation. The group’s album, Slut Bag Edition, is a complex collection of unique sounds sounds on the production tip, very diverse. The two of them were in charge of the beats, and they range from dense and soulful (Bobby Womack), to the bare bones sound of “Tha Bass Song”. They also both handle the mic duties as well. Quelle also released Blue Mondays late last year, which is equally dope and complex.
Download BOTH albums at their website: http://www.crown-nation.com/
Bloggerhouse: What’s good gentlemen? Can we get a brief introduction of who you are and where you represent?
Denmark Vessey: What up doe. We Are Crown Nation which is Denmark Vessey (me) and Quelle Life we represent good music, beautiful women, maybe a good book once in a while…
B: Before there was Crown Nation, what were the two of you doing and involved in as far as musically?
DV: I was in a couple groups in high school rapping Xtribe, RothChilds, Minorites, all high school stuff. I quit rapping for a while then I started doing beats got good at it and then people were like “you should do both,” so I started rapping again. Then I got with Silent Riot, a label in the D and start working with a lot of artist I looked up to like, Guilty Simpson, Korona, Big Tone and 87 of Wasted Youth, D12, Marv Won etc.. oh and Monica Blaire and LRe’nee two of the Dopest vocalist people don’t know about…..
Quelle Life: A lot of rappin and making beats. Tried school, didn’t like it so I was like, “Fuck. I better be real good at this shit.” I made a couple albums, Blue Monday, being the most heard yet slept on. If you haven’t got a copy get one. Did a shit load of shows with everyone you’ve heard of from the D. Then I met this bastard. (Denmark)
B: The two of you met through common acquaintances, how did you go from from friends to a group? How important is chemistry in the group dynamic, at least for you two?
DV: We met through Loose Cannon of Wasted Youth. I heard some of the songs Q did and thought they were cool and so I asked him to get on a song I did called “Sole Food”, it wasn’t wack so we do anothee one called “Deal Wit It”. People loved the songs so we did an album Slut Bag Edition. I really don’t give a fuck about conforming if it sounds good and different I’m down. That’s why we sound tha way we do, cuz we both don’t conform. I’m really on some ole fuck-a-box shit. And you heard Blue Monday… But then again Q does alot of drugs.
B: What makes Crown Nation work as a group? How do you guys create a song (find a beat first, work from the lyrics)?
DV: I make joints he likes and vice versa.
QL: It’s like being on all of your favorite albums or jumping into your favorite tv show. We get along, as friends we just understand each other. So we’ll grab a couple drinks and the shit just happens naturally. I’ll be like “this shit’ll be funny” and Den will be like “cool lets do it”. To much formula can be heard in peoples music and that’s boring.
B: The recent run that Detroit has been on musically in the hip hop culture has been nothing short of remarkable. It’s truly my favorite city/region doing it right now. What to attribute to the city’s success and it’s sound?
DV: Look at the way the city look. Look at what the condition’s are. So we turn the bad to great. Detroit is the butt of a lot of joke in the media but people gotta think, if it wasn’t for Detroit the world would be walking and listening to whatever wasn’t Motown music and that pretty much changed popular music even today.
B: Does Detroit have as close of a scene as it seems on the outside? It seems like a lot of the artists are very close, Royce, Elzhi, Black Milk, 14Kt, all y’all seem to be close…
QL: Yeah, it’s like 1 degree of separation at most. I’ve know some folks since I was knee high. Everybody’s got some history with someone. I feel like everybody I know there rapped at some point (laughs). I bet my mom rapped at some point.
DV: Yeah pretty much, all the dope cats know each other.
B: The latest project you did as Crown Nation, was “Slut Bag Edition.” The sound is very diverse on it, was that something you were shooting for as artists?
QL: We were just doing whatever. The name of the album kept changing cause we didn’t know what it was gonna be til we put that shit together. I remember listening to for the first time. It was like, “what is this? This is amazing.”
B: Denmark, you play the drums, the guitar and other assorted instruments. How does that help you as a producer? How does it “extend” your sound?
DV: It helps but I started off sampling then picked up the instruments. Now I’ll play something, record it then sample what i played or something. I’m like 50/50 or sometimes all original depends on the day. When I sample I like to cut up different parts from a song and play it like its an instrument just in a different arrangement. But it’s all good either way I got those radio joints too. I just like producing really, fuck all that rap shit.
B: Quelle, you dropped “Blue Mondays” recently. How is that project different from a Crown Nation project or a Wasted Youth album?
QL: Blue Mondays is old as shit actually. I love that shit. I made Blue Mondays before Slutbag.. so i think its just a difference in life situations. Different cites even. So the change of atmosphere really made a big shift in how I feel. I never put much thought into my music making process, so how I feel makes a big difference, and i feel pretty good. Unfortunately I never did an album with Wasted Youth as a collective. It was always an idea but life didn’t lead it to fruition. That shit would have been dope though.
B: The new album is Well Spoken Negroes, what can listeners expect from it? When does it drop?
DV: Actually, “Well Spoken Negroes” is not the name of the new album. I don’t even know what the name of the new album is going to be. That was what I thought the first one was going to be. I might have a solo joint called “Well Spoken Negro” don’t know yet. As far as the new album just expect the unexpected. We’re a couple songs into it and the songs sound dope. If we like it we run with it but i don’t think there is a specific direction we’re going for.
QL: Going for space. Gonna shoot for the summer.
B: What else is in the works for Quelle, Denmark Vessey and Crown Nation for the year 2010?
DV: I a solo joint I’m working on called I Hate My Job. I’m going to release it by the end of March. When you hear it, you feel my hatred for “jobs” in general. I’m also thinking about scoring a couple porn films if the money is right. Right now me and Elzhi got some shit we working on me and Marv is in the lab workin on shit. I finished an album with a cat named Lek Lansky from Detroit who is nasty. Working on Monica Blaires album as well. Trying to get it y’know.
QL: The Apples EP is my next release. Was gonna drop it last week with just a few songs, but i fell in love with it and decided to make a few more songs. February 20th is the date for it. I’m doing a project with Frankie Banks called Team Social, which is sounding pretty swell. its so early in the year i dont even know what to expect. im pretty excited though. the new crown nation shit is bananas. bananas
B: Any last words?
DV: I’m bringing back four finger rings real hard this year. Don’t bite my style